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Killing Castro by Edward Jay Epstein

Killing Castro by Edward Jay Epstein

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Published by: edepstein on Oct 21, 2011
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12/15/2012

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This an excerpt from the book Killing Castro By Edward JayEpstein (http://amzn.to/rijsWc
 
)[1] The Day of the Two Jackals
  November 22, 1963. Even as the open limousine carrying President John F. Kennedy wasmoving into the cross-hairs of Lee Harvey Oswald’s telescopic sights in Dallas, a high-rankingCIA official in Paris, representing himself as the emissary of Attorney General Robert Kennedy,was delivering to a Cuban assassin the weapons to kill Castro. So there were two differentassassins in two different cities with two different targets.The assassin in Paris was Major Rolando Cubela, a close associate of Fidel Castro. In 1961, hehad Cubela boldly approached by a CIA officer, identified himself, and then offered to act as asecret CIA operative inside Cuba. The CIA determined from its data bank that, despite his brashness, he had possibilities. He had been a close associate of Castro’s, headed Castro’sInternational Federation of Students, and he was allowed to go abroad to attend internationalmeetings. On July 30
th
1962, during an international conference in Helsinki, Finland, he met withanother CIA and again offered his services. Specifically, according the CIA’s Inspector General’s Report on Plots to Assassinate Castro, he offered to “execute” Carlos Rodriguez, whowas one of Castro’s key operatives. The CIA gave him the codename AMLASH, and offeredhim a lie detector test, which is standard procedure in the recruitment of walk-ins. InWashington, the CIA Directorate of Plans, which was under pressure after the failure of theCIA-sponsored Bay of Pigs invasion, carefully weighed his offer. If it was legitimate, the CIAhad finally found an assassin who could get to the Castro’s inner circle. But on August 18,1962, when AMLASH refused to take a lie detector test, Richard Helms, then head of theDirectorate of Plans, put the mission on ice, instructing in a cable that AMLASH was not to beused for a “physical elimination missions” (which was then the CIA’s euphemism for assassination.)
 
By September 1963, however, after a CIA-sponsored coup d’etat against Castro failed tomaterialize, the CIA, and Helms in particular, came under increasing pressure from PresidentKennedy and Attorney-General to take action against Castro. Richard Helms said he could feel"white heat" from the Kennedys. So he allowed AMLASH to be reactivated. In earlySeptember, AMLASH was representing Castro at the Pan American Games in Port Alegre,Brazil. The CIA dispatched Nestor Sanchez there to ask him if he was willing to carry out anelimination mission aimed at Castro. AMLASH said he would carry it out on one condition: hewanted a personal meeting with a high-ranking official of the Kennedy Administration. He saidthis meeting was necessary because he wanted to make certain that President Kennedy hadauthorized this move against Castro.As extraordinary as this request was, Desmond FitzGerald, chief of the CIA’s covert unitresponsible for orchestrating the overthrow of Castro, decided that as a friend of AttorneyGeneral Robert Kennedy, he would go to meet the assassin. While top-ranking executives of the CIA usually did not meet operatives, he decided it was worth the risk. The contact plan for the meeting stated: "FitzGerald will represent himself as personal representative of Robert F.Kennedy who traveled to [Paris] for specific purpose of meeting AMLASH and giving himassurances of full support with the change of the present government." Even though Fitzgeraldused the alias “James Clark,” he was physically recognizable from press photographs as a socialfriend in the Kennedy circle.The meeting took place in a hotel room in Paris on October 29, 1963. Fitzgerald wasaccompanied by Nestor Sanchez, who wrote in his report "Fitzgerald informed Cubela that theUnited States is prepared to render all necessary assistance to any anti-communist Cuban groupwhich succeeds in neutralizing the present Cuban leadership.” They discussed, in this regard,eliminating Castro. AMLASH asked for a high-powered rifle with a telescopic sight– the sametype weapon Oswald would use 23 days later in Dallas– but Fitzgerald told him the CIA would provide a safer weapon.After that meeting, Fitzgerald authorized Sanchez to supply Amlash with a weapon thatwould provide better deniability. It was a papermate ballpoint pen with one hiddenenhancement: a tiny needle that release a lethal toxin. The poison, Blackleaf 40, could be either injected into a beverage Castro might drink or, as it was transdermal, it could be put on an objectthat Castro might touch. AMLASH, after surreptitiously administering the poison, woulddiscard the pen.Meanwhile, the CIA's counterintelligence staff, under the legendary James Jesus Angleton,developed serious concerns about AMLASH's provenance. Angleton, as he later told me, couldnot accept that it was merely a coincidence that, first, AMLASH is reactivated in Brazil for amission to assassinate Castro in Brazil, and, only a day or so later, Castro goes to Brazilianterritory, the embassy of Brazil in Havana, to tell an American AP reporter that he knew theAmerican government was behind plots to kill him. If it was not a coincidence, then Castroknew about the meeting in Brazil. In Angleton’s parallax universe of deception, it was adistinct possibility that AMLASH was an agent provocateur, who Castro dangled to the CIA toascertain if President Kennedy had authorized his assassination. The danger was clear toAngleton: By working with Cubela, Fitzgerald could give Castro evidence of the involvement of the highest echelon of American government in the assassination plot. He warned Fitzgerald thathe considered the operation “insecure,” and suggested it be terminated.But it was too late. To further convince the AMLASH that the President had authorized the
 
elimination of Castro, Fitzgerald wrote a "signal" into a Presidential speech, a phrase thatdescribed the Castro regime as a "small band of conspirators" that needed to be "removed."When President Kennedy himself delivered those very words in a speech in Miami on November 18
th
AMLASH, would have his proof that Fitzgerald was close enough to the President to insertwords in his speech. And, if AMLASH was a double agent, as Angleton suspected, Castrowould also have his proof.The next meeting took place in Paris on November 22
nd
1963. Sanchez handed over theassassination pen to AMLASH, and was instructing him how the Blackleaf 40 poison could beobtained in Havana. Suddenly, the meeting was interrupted by an urgent message: PresidentKennedy had been assassinated in Dallas. The AMLASH mission was aborted. So ended theCIA's futile assassination attempts against Castro.
This chapter is excerpted from Edward Jay Epstein’s book Killing Castro, now availableon Kindle (http://amzn.to/rijsWc
 
) and Kindle apps for ipad. It is also available on Nook (http://bit.ly/nHO4NI
 
)) and the itunes Store.Other books by Edward Jay Epstein can be found at: (http://amzn.to/ndfiNf) 
Killing CastroBy Edward Jay EpsteinOther Books ByEdward Jay Epstein InquestLegend News From NowhereCartelThe Rise and Fall of DiamondsAgency of Fear Between Fact and FictionThe Assassination ChroniclesThe Big PictureThe Hollywood EconomistMyths of the Media
EJE Originals
 

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