Larry Hancock was born in 1947 in Oklahoma and attended Oklahoma State University and the University of New Mexico. After receiving his BA in History/Anthropology/Education he served in the United States Air Force and went on to work in a variety of communications oriented companies including Continental Telephone, Hayes Microcomputer and Zoom Technologies. He has worked in various areas of communications technology for 34 years and is currently Marketing Manager for Zoom Technologies of Boston.
Hancock has been involved in the study of cold war history and the assassination of John F. Kennedy for approximately 14 years. He is co-author of November Patriots, a docufiction novel and author of Someone Would Have Talked a factual analysis of both the conspiracy and cover-up, published in November of 2003. Mary Ferrell argued that: "Larry Hancock's power of analysis and the context he brings to his work, I much admire. He is a tireless and relentless researcher and I am happy to recommend his book to all those who continue to search for the truth.
In addition he has researched and published several document collections dealing with the 112th Military Intelligence Group, Richard Case Nagell and his intelligence connections and the CIA segregated files. He has been a contributor to the JFK Lancer Chronicles and to the journal of the research group, Dealey Plaza UK. Hancock most recently served as Conference Chair for the 2003 November in Dallas Conference.
Larry Hancock currently works as Director of Marketing and Communications for Hayes Microcomputer Products.
A totally revised edition of Someone Would Have Talked was published in 2006. Other books by Hancock includes Nexus: The CIA and Political Assassination (2011) and Awful Grace of God (2012), a book about the assassination of Martin Luther King.
As one who has been involved in the investigation of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy from the afternoon of November 22, 1963, I am often asked to put my imprimatur on books and articles devoted to the case. My goal has always been to share my research with anyone who requested help, without regard to whether I agreed with their interpretations. Many times, I did not agree. It is an unpleasant task to decline lending my name to the promotion of their work. Some of my colleagues are no longer with us and I am mindful that I will be joining them one day. An important facet of my focus in recent years has been to encourage the development of new researchers. In that regard, I am very proud to introduce Someone Would Have Talked. Larry Hancock's power of analysis and the context he brings to his work, I much admire. He is a tireless and relentless researcher and I am happy to recommend his book to all those who continue to search for the truth.
In recent years, no researcher has been more dogged in pursuit of the truth about the Kennedy assassination than Larry Hancock. His meticulous scrutiny of thousands of pages of new documents, released through the efforts of the Assassination Records Review Board, has turned up many leads - all pointing to a coming-together of Cuban exiles, renegade CIA officers, and Mafioso that resulted in the President's demise. If you thought you'd seen the "last word" on the tragedy of November 22, 1963, read Hancock's book!
During the last six months of 1963, a small number of action-oriented Cuban exiles were maneuvered into a conspiracy targeting President Kennedy. The individuals involved were persuaded that unless Kennedy was eliminated he would negotiate a compromise with Fidel Castro which would leave Castro and the Communists permanently in power in Cuba.
The individuals involved in the actual conspiracy included both exiles and a small number of their most radical American supporters. Neither the exiles nor the Americans belonged to a single group although some of them had held membership in Alpha 66, SNFE and other militarily active organizations such as AAA and Commandos L. The conspiracy participants were individually recruited and acted as individuals rather than as members of an established group. However, a common thread among them was a variety of associations with members of the former Havana "casino crowd." This crowd in turn had connections to gambling syndicate members in Las Vegas and to the former Trafficante organization in Cuba. The influence of their gambling connections had grown during 1963 as the individuals involved had rejected CIA and U.S. government association and funding (as well as its implicit control).
Some of the key individuals also had extensive right-wing involvement, ranging from the political and propaganda efforts of the CCFC to arms and supply purchases from supporters and members of the Minutemen and other extremist groups. Perhaps more importantly, key individuals were in contact with Texans who had extended offers of political and financial support for the anti-Castro movement contingent upon the elimination of President Kennedy. The final decision to move against JFK most likely was a culmination of all these influences operating over the 12 month period following the resolution of the Cuban missile crisis and the initial exile anti-JFK dialogues among the exiles. These dialogues were intensely fueled by the political and propaganda activities of David Phillips’ political/media network.
The people who implemented the Dallas conspiracy very much wanted the world to see a Castro-sponsored conspiracy; the instigators wanted John Kennedy dead and any blame associated with that to fall on Communists. Even the quickest scan of Oswald’s public history and activities prior to November 22 would make the average person suspect that he might have been influenced to act, if not directly assisted. The earliest news coverage out of Dallas suggested conspiracy; reports of a burst of shots, witnesses describing shots from multiple locations and Oswald seen being picked up leaving the scene in a car driven by someone else. Conspiracy charges were prepared in Dallas but then rewritten. Kennedy died, but at one level the conspiracy failed – not for any one single reason or any major failure on the conspirators’ part. It failed because of bad luck, vested interests, lack of due process and basic human nature. However, the failure was aided and abetted by two types of official cover-up:"Institutional" and "Executive".
Martino's sole CIA association was in regard to the Bay/Pawley/Rec Cross project which JM WAVE and Shackley supported but which was initiated by Pawley not by the CIA. The concept was brought to Pawley via Martino and certain of Martino's press contacts in Miami after his release from prison. We have a record of Shackley and Pawley discussing having Martino participate but Shackley speakingly negatively of him because of his crime network association. Martino certainly did have CIA connections in 1963, primarily Morales and Rip Robertson. However he did not work for Roselli and in fact (contrary to Hinckle and Turner) there is a rather small window in which they might have associated in Miami (based on what we have of Roselli's FBI surveillance records). That window would have been in the August -September time frame.
Martino very likely was a disinformation source for the conspiracy after the assassination but that does not mean he was acting for the CIA. On the other hand we know from David Phillips book that he spread a great deal of information, especially about Oswald in Mexico City. However there is still a question of how much of that was CIA party line and how much might have involved Phillips own agenda or CIA. It's very clear that both CIA and FBI knew much more about Oswald's activities and contacts in Mexico City than they ever wanted to become public knowledge. Especially in 1963 while the Warren Commission was seated.
Baker went to great lengths in his own book to relate his business activities and even his financing to Senator Kerr of Oklahoma, merely mentioning that "additional" investment came from a "hotel-casino" man named Eddie Levinson and a Miami investor and gambler Benjamin B Sigelbaum.
He makes only brief mention that Fred Black had helped him with introductions to Levinson and Sigelbaum.
Baker describes Fred Black as a "super lobbyist" for North American Aviation, among other clients. We are already familiar with Black as a close friend and long time associate of John Roselli. Black's importance to both Baker and Johnson may be further indicated in an April 21 telephone call from President Johnson to Cyrus Vance, a call in which Johnson indicated to Vance that he was especially sensitive to charges of corruption.
He instructed Vance to ensure that the press should find no grounds for charges of bribery in his administration. The call had been prompted by newspaper coverage of the trial of Fred Black in which Black had been charged with taking $150,000 on behalf of the Howard Foundry Company to intervene with the Air Force in a $2.7 million claim against that firm. 360 The Chicago-based Howard Foundry was one of Black's two employers of record, paying him $2,500 per month while North American paid him $14,000 a month.
John Simkin: The idea that David Phillips was involved in the assassination appeared in several of the early conspiracy books. Looking at the evidence you provide (in Someone Would Have Talked) this is not surprising. However, I have always had severe doubts about this.
Phillips was a skilled operator. If he had been involved in planning this operation I am sure it would have been done in such a way that would not have raised so many doubts about Oswald acting as a lone gunman. For example, Phillips would have been aware that the Oswald impostor would have been captured on film in Mexico City. Therefore, why did they select someone who clearly did not look like Oswald. The setting up of Oswald seems a very amateur operation. Phillips might have been aware of what was going on, but I cannot believe that he played a major role in the assassination.
If Phillips had been organizing the conspiracy would he not have made sure there was no link between himself and the assassination. For example, would Phillips be the CIA’s direct contact with Antonio Veciana? (MI5 and MI6 defintely don't behave like this). Surely he would have used someone else to have met Veciana in public. Also Veciana claims that in August, 1963, he saw Bishop and Lee Harvey Oswald in Dallas. If Phillips knew that Oswald was being set-up to be blamed for the assassination of JFK he would not have got anywhere near him that summer.
Another reason why I do not believe Phillips was involved in the assassination is the interview he gave to Kevin Walsh. If he had been part of a conspiracy would he really have said: "My private opinion is that JFK was done in by a conspiracy, likely including American intelligence officers." If he had been guilty of such a crime he would have kept on denying any possibility that the CIA could have been involved in such an event.
When he died on 7th July, 1988, Phillips left behind an unpublished manuscript. The novel is about a CIA officer who lived in Mexico City. In the novel the character states: "I was one of those officers who handled Lee Harvey Oswald... We gave him the mission of killing Fidel Castro in Cuba... I don't know why he killed Kennedy. But I do know he used precisely the plan we had devised against Castro. Thus the CIA did not anticipate the president's assassination, but it was responsible for it. I share that guilt."
I suspect that this extract reveals Phillips’ true involvement in the assassination of JFK. Maybe that was the real reason Oswald was chosen as the patsy. When the CIA realised that one of their agents recruited to kill Castro had killed (or been made to look like he had killed) JFK, they had no option but to try and cover up the crime. The same goes for Robert Kennedy, who was likely to have been told as part of Operation Freedom, that Oswald was the agent being trained to kill Castro.
Larry Hancock: John, I certainly do not see Phillips as either the organizer of the Dallas conspiracy nor as the prime mover in building any sort of a frame of Lee Oswald. My current belief is that Phillips was very likely manipulating Lee Oswald in a relatively minor role in a new CIA propaganda project targeting the FPCC outside the United States, specifically in Mexico. As to the mechanics of that and whether it involved Oswald himself, an impersonator or perhaps even both are beyond me.... several different scenario's are possible. I think it's pretty safe to say that whatever the plan was it was built on the "performance" and image that Oswald had built in NO only a short while before and which had been well documented by Phillips covert "media network'. There is also some reason to think that this game involved CI/SIG assets in MC and at HQ which were independent of the other MC office staff. Whatever it was though became hugely dangerous for Phillips and the CIA as a whole after Nov. 22.
At a minimum, Phillips - as others in the CIA and FBI and individuals in New Orleans - knew there was a lot more to Oswald than the official Lone Nut story. It's also pretty clear that Phillips jumped on the "lets tie Oswald to Castro" bandwagon with the whole Alvarado incident (which Phillips undoubtedly knew to be bogus) and had the nerve to cover up his games in MC (his letter to the FBI stating that as of February 64 the CIA had full photo files on every American entering the Cuban embassy in Sept and Oct of 63 is raw hubris, almost daring them to ask for the photos of Oswald going in and out). The fact that such photos were never provided certainly does raise the issue of an imposter or of an Oswald associate/handler.
Whether or not Phillips had shared information on Oswald in advance with Morales, whether or not he had signed up for some propoganda/media role in promoting Castro as a conspiracy sponsor is an open question. Remember, his speciality was propaganda/media control/counter intel not black ops or tactical matters, he had no military experience at all. I think it's safe to say that Phillips knew all along that the WC story was bogus, at a minimum he knew there had been a conspiracy and that his final words point in the right direction.
Beyond that it's also important to remember that much of his work - such as with Veciana - was on his own initiative. He was not Veciana's CIA case officer, his manipulation of Veciana and Alpha 66 and other groups he was in contact with was at on his own agenda and generally directily opposed to that of Headquarters and certainly the Administration.
Morales and Jenkins had been the first of the JM/WAVE alumni to move to the Latin American fight against Communist expansion. By the early 1970's the list would include Tom Clines at the Chile desk in CIA HQ, while David Phillips had moved to Washington to become Chief of the Cuban Operations Group Western Hemisphere covering all of Latin and South America. He would remain in this position during the CIA's effort to remove Chilean President Allende, eventually being named by the Church Committee as the CIA officer in charge of Track 2 of the Allende project-the track involving CIA efforts to produce a military coup.
Henry Hecksher became Chief of Station in Chile during the CIA's massive effort against the Allende government. He retained his outspoken manner, taking exception to the lack of resources being allocated to the project against Allende and calling for sterner measures. One of his particular targets was a supporter of Allende within the Chilean armed forces, a General Schneider. He also worked separately with the DIA on coup plots against Allende. Reuben Carbajal relates that his friend Dave Morales spoke of having arrived in Chile just in time to support the CIA move against Allende; Morales also spoke of personally killing a Chilean General. Although it may be sheer coincidence, General Schneider was mysteriously killed in the midst of Hecksher's crusade against him.
Following his return from SE Asia, Morales was assigned to Latin America and served as a counterinsurgency advisor to the ultra rightwing military establishments in Argentina, Panama, Paraguay and Uruguay in the period 1971 to 1975. It was during this period that the infamous Condor alliance of right wing governments emerged -involving Paraguay, Uruguay, Argentina, Brazil-and eventually Chile.
Henry Hecksher retired in 1971 after his Chilean service. David Phillips was promoted to Chief of Western Hemisphere (replacing Ted Shackley) but took early retirement in 1975, at the peak of his career.
David Morales also retired in 1975 and died in 1978, shortly before Tony Sforza. Sforza is known to have operated within Cuba and to have conducted JM/WAVE exfiltration missions for Morales. His contact for one such mission involved passing information to David Phillips in Mexico City. Sforza (cryptonym SLOMAN) had been a major CIA covert operative inside Cuba and there is reason to speculate that he used the alias Frank Stevens, known as Enrique inside Cuba, where he operated under the cover of being a professional gambler. If so, he is associated with at least one major CIA Castro assassination attempt and at one point he served as case officer for Morales' AMOT group an attempt verified in a newly located document and one which was apparently withheld from the Church Committee.
Hancock's book Someone Would Have Talked is a decidedly mixed bag. From the title, it tries to circumvent the notion that Warren Commission defenders always trot out. Namely: If there was a conspiracy to kill President Kennedy, why has no one talked about such an enterprise before or since? The book enumerates several people who did do just that. But its real aim is to outline the actual conspiracy as he sees it. And he tries to tilt that conspiracy in a certain way. It's the way he tilts it that I have some major problems with.
The first chapter focuses on John Martino. Martino was involved with a Mafia-owned hotel in Cuba prior to Castro's revolution. He was then arrested and jailed by the revolutionaries. Once he was released in 1962 he began to speak out against Castro, joined up with some para-military types like Felipe Vidal Santiago and Gerry Hemming, and was also a speaker on the John Birch Society circuit. He died in 1975. But before he passed away he spoke about what he had heard of the plot to kill Kennedy to a couple of friends and to his wife. One of the friends, Fred Claasen, went to the House Select Committee on Assassinations. According to Hancock, the HSCA did only a perfunctory investigation of the claims. Later on, in Vanity Fair, (December of 1994) Anthony Summers fleshed out the story more fully. Hancock, on page 16, puts the Martino findings in synoptic form:
1. Cuban exiles manipulated Oswald in advance of the plot and two of them were snipers in Dealey Plaza.
2. Oswald was a U. S. government undercover operative who was approached by anti-Castro exiles representing themselves as pro-Castro.
3. Oswald was supposed to meet an exile contact at the Texas Theater. Oswald thought he would help him escape the country, but the actual plan was to shot him. Tippit's killing aborted this. Therefore the planners had to have Ruby murder Oswald.
4. The motorcade route was known in advance, and the attack was planned thoroughly in advance.
It is interesting to note here that shortly after this, in Chapters 3 and 4, Hancock begins to summarize the story of Richard Case Nagell, another person who had knowledge of the assassination. I think to any knowledgeable and objective observer comparing the two stories, Nagell's is more compelling. For by 1975, when the Martino story first surfaced, all of the enumerated points above were realized as distinct possibilities or contingencies by most serious researchers. The one exception being the anti-Castro exiles presenting themselves to Oswald as pro-Castro. But this would be the most speculative part also, since the only people who could actually verify it would be Oswald and the Cubans who approached him. And since I have noted elsewhere, most of the Cubans in this milieu are notoriously unreliable, that would leave Oswald.
I said that by 1975 Martino's information was pretty well known to serious investigators. But really, as Hancock relates it, it was known earlier than that. For by the end of 1968, all of the points -- except as noted -- were working axioms of the New Orleans investigation by DA Jim Garrison. To use just one investigator's testimony, researcher Gary Schoener has said that Garrison was "obsessed" with the Cuban exile group Alpha 66. At one time, he thought they were the main sponsoring group manipulating Oswald, and that they had pulled off the actual assassination.