James Lewis

James Lewis

James Arthur Lewis was born in California. He joined the United States Marines and was a member of the Underwater Demolitions Team (UDT). Lewis held extreme right wing political views and was involved with the John Birch Society.

Lewis was a member of Interpen (Intercontinental Penetration Force) that was established in 1961 by Gerry P. Hemming. Other members included Loran Hall, Roy Hargraves, William Seymour, Lawrence Howard, Steve Wilson, Howard K. Davis, Dennis Harber, Bill Dempsey, Dick Whatley, Ramigo Arce, Ronald Augustinovich, Joe Garman, Edmund Kolby, Ralph Schlafter, Manuel Aguilar and Oscar Del Pinto.

This group of experienced soldiers were involved in training members of the anti-Castro groups funded by the Central Intelligence Agency in Florida in the early 1960s. When the government began to crack down on raids from Florida in 1962, Interpen set up a new training camp in New Orleans. The group carried out a series of raids on Cuba in an attempt to undermine the government of Fidel Castro. This involved a plan to create a war by simulating an attack on Guantanamo Naval Base.

In 1963 he travelled with Dick Whatley to British Honduras to set up forward operating base for Cuban invasions. He was arrested with others on Sombrero Key.

Some researchers believe that a combination of Interpen members and anti-Castro Cubans were involved in the assassination of John F. Kennedy. This included Lewis, Edwin Collins, Roy Hargraves, Steve Wilson, Gerry P. Hemming, David Morales, Herminio Diaz Garcia, Tony Cuesta, Eugenio Martinez, Virgilio Gonzalez, Felipe Vidal Santiagoand William (Rip) Robertson.

Lewes served in Vietnam and after he returned to the United States he went looking for treasure off the Miami coast. James Arthur Lewis died in a diving accident in 1970.

Primary Sources

(1) Tom Dunkin, letter to Richard Billings (June, 1967)

First contact with No Name Key group was in July or August, 1962, when small group was camping on south shorts of Lake Okeechobee, near Pahokee-Belle Glade.

Among those present were Howard K. Davis, identified as "car leader", Gerald Patrick Hemming, aka "Jerry Patrick", Joe Garman, and Steve Wilson.

Group a bit publicity shy, but in September, at request of WFLA-TV Tampa friend, Don Starr, tried for footage on their activities. Met with Davis and Patrick in Miami on Sat. Sept. 15, finally, around 2 a.m. Sunday Sept. 16, got approval.

Two carloads departed Miami for No Name Key, including Davis, Patrick, Cuban known only as Pino, among others. At the camp on No Name Key, Steve Wilson was in charge. Other Americans there included Ed Collins, Bill Seymour, Canadian Bill Dempsey, one individual identified as Finnish and in doubtful status with Immigration, named Edmund Kolbe, also Roy Hargraves.

Number of men transported by boat from No Name Sunday, Sept 16, for a demonstration which was filmed on Big Pine Key, near No Name, by WFLA-TV sound crew, by myself with film going to WTVT Tampa, plus stills which were used in Miami Herald story on 20 September and in Glades County Democrat 21 September 1962.

Democrat article read by a friend Larry Newman Jr., managing editor of Dayton (Ohio) Daily News, resulting in request for a feature with fresh art, dated 15 October.

Returned to Miami on Saturday 20 October, or possibly Friday. At any rate, after beer-drinking session in bar of Hotel Flagler, at which time Dennis Harber first encountered, accompanied Roy Hargraves to tourist court on Flagler where he was living with female know only as "Betty" whom he later reportedly married.

Arrival at 2 a.m. brought protest from Betty, who rather profanely instructed Hargraves to "get the hell out of here and take your queer friend with you." Later gratifyingly learned she had thought Harber was outside instead of me.

She protested to Hargraves that he was wasting his time with a revolution. He advised her he had too much time invested to quit. We slept in my car outside Patrick's headquarters, Federico's Guest House, 220 NW 8th Ave.

Howard K. Davis at that time lived at 3350 NW 18th Terrace. He accompanied both trips to No Name Key, and was reported leader of group. (Davis, interestingly, was listed in Associated Press Florida wire story F56MH ( believed to be March 24, 1960, but could have been 1959) as among 29 persons whom the Miami News listed as banned from aircraft rental on Border Patrol orders. Davis, and another American known only as "Art", later identified as Arthur Gerteit, were check pilots for CBS-Rolando Masferrer Haitian invasion "air Force" in November, 1966. Gerteit was later identified in United Press International dispatch from Tifton, Cal, early 1967 (Apr. 11) where Cuban arrested with bombs as he rented an airplane, as "an FBI Decoy")

On second trip to No Name on behalf of Dayton Daily News, Harber accompanied group, which included Cuban known to me only by last name of Pino, who also had been present at first filming session. Pino reportedly head of an exile group called Christian Army of Anti-Communist Liberation (ECLA), and not quotable by name at that time.

Harber was drunk on departure from Miami, and took one pint of whisky with him, which he asked be rationed to him slowly. I performed this task. Pino much amused at Harber, whom he called "el profesor."

Harber at that time was night clerk for the Flagler Hotel, 637 West Flagler, and also taught English (to Cuban exile students) at a language school next door to the hotel.

Harber was described by Patrick at that time as having terminal cancer. At present, according to last report from Patrick, Harber was serving sentenced in Mexico for murder, undocumented to me.

Harber lived in a small apartment behind Flagler Hotel, and shared it with various of the Americans occasionally, including Seymour, Collins, and a Czeck lad known as Karl Novak, who I don't recall seeing on No Name.

(2) Gerry P. Hemming, International Education Forum (27th August, 2005)

Jim Lewis, upon his return from Vietnam during 1970, and while working in Miami with CIA contract agent Tom McCrory (a certified Marine Surveyor), took an interest in yet another treasure trove opportunity - and it was to be the last of a half dozen well paying previous hunts...

With $40,000 RVN earned money in the bank, Jim Lewis purchased a Beckmann Electro-Lung from California (a rebreather/helium/oxy/nitro SCUBA which required no decompression stops ascending after lengthy dives) - paid the fee for a company instructor to check him out off Fowery Rocks before the sale could be made - and behind both mine and Wilson's backs, joined with "Skinny Ralph" Sclafter on a series of dives.

Jim deduced that one of the promising sites might be near Egmont Key, off the entrance to Tampa Bay. His fatal mistake was diving solo (a real "No-No"), leaving "Skinny" in the boat as diver/tender. A SEAL team buddy from 'Nam showed up the day after he went missing (trip paid for by his wealthy Republican mother in California); and we searched for the body for two days.

Later that week I had a violent disagreement with said SEAL, who suggested that "moi" should have been supervising the scheme more closely - whereupon "moi" explained that Jim and "Skinny" were "Claim-Jumping" us all.

Weeks later, one of our previous pro bono attorneys (John Bircher); who had since been appointed U.S. Attorney for the So. Dist. of Florida; was astounded when we confronted him with evidence that he had been in collusion with IRS/CIA/FBI "pogues" in reporting that the treasure trove was actually goods stolen from a private collection, whose owner was extremely reluctant to report same. Clark had supposedly died while driving off of a Key's bridge, (BNR)"Body-Not-Recovered"; however, the IRS was caught jack-hammering the concrete floors of Clark's father's house/Florida Room/Garage without a warrant.

The day of the JFK assassination, Jim Lewis was (as usual) playing Chess at "Little Joe's" apartment by the Miami River - together with Eddy Collins, "Skinny", Dick Whatley, Bobby Willis, and Bill Dempsey. When Garman started dancing in the street soon after hearing the news from Dallas, Jim chastised him severely (along with Cuban pissed-off neighbors); He reminded him that just four days before; he had been a member of our security detail for JFK at MIA (Monday, 18th Nov.), and that he had been prepared to "take-a-bullet" for the President!!

Bill Dempsey wasn't on that detail because he was once again in-country illegally; however Whatley had been at MIA with us also. Whatley and Lewis didn't accompany us on the Rorke/Sullivan search because they had just returned from British Honduras (Belize), and were persona-non-grata there. We had just returned from Guatemala the first week of November 1963.