This an excerpt from the book Killing Castro By Edward Jay Epstein (http://amzn.


[1] The Day of the Two Jackals
November 22, 1963. Even as the open limousine carrying President John F. Kennedy was moving into the cross-hairs of Lee Harvey Oswald’s telescopic sights in Dallas, a high-ranking CIA 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 different assassins in two different cities with two different targets. The assassin in Paris was Major Rolando Cubela, a close associate of Fidel Castro. In 1961, he had Cubela boldly approached by a CIA officer, identified himself, and then offered to act as a secret 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’s International Federation of Students, and he was allowed to go abroad to attend international meetings. On July 30th 1962, during an international conference in Helsinki, Finland, he met with another 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, who was one of Castro’s key operatives. The CIA gave him the codename AMLASH, and offered him a lie detector test, which is standard procedure in the recruitment of walk-ins. In Washington, the CIA Directorate of Plans, which was under pressure after the failure of the CIA-sponsored Bay of Pigs invasion, carefully weighed his offer. If it was legitimate, the CIA had 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 the Directorate of Plans, put the mission on ice, instructing in a cable that AMLASH was not to be used 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 to materialize, the CIA, and Helms in particular, came under increasing pressure from President Kennedy 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 early September, 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 an elimination mission aimed at Castro. AMLASH said he would carry it out on one condition: he wanted a personal meeting with a high-ranking official of the Kennedy Administration. He said this meeting was necessary because he wanted to make certain that President Kennedy had authorized this move against Castro. As extraordinary as this request was, Desmond FitzGerald, chief of the CIA’s covert unit responsible for orchestrating the overthrow of Castro, decided that as a friend of Attorney General 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 him assurances of full support with the change of the present government." Even though Fitzgerald used the alias “James Clark,” he was physically recognizable from press photographs as a social friend in the Kennedy circle. The meeting took place in a hotel room in Paris on October 29, 1963. Fitzgerald was accompanied by Nestor Sanchez, who wrote in his report "Fitzgerald informed Cubela that the United States is prepared to render all necessary assistance to any anti-communist Cuban group which 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 same type 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 that would provide better deniability. It was a papermate ballpoint pen with one hidden enhancement: 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 object that Castro might touch. AMLASH, after surreptitiously administering the poison, would discard 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, could not accept that it was merely a coincidence that, first, AMLASH is reactivated in Brazil for a mission to assassinate Castro in Brazil, and, only a day or so later, Castro goes to Brazilian territory, the embassy of Brazil in Havana, to tell an American AP reporter that he knew the American government was behind plots to kill him. If it was not a coincidence, then Castro knew about the meeting in Brazil. In Angleton’s parallax universe of deception, it was a distinct possibility that AMLASH was an agent provocateur, who Castro dangled to the CIA to ascertain if President Kennedy had authorized his assassination. The danger was clear to Angleton: 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 that he 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 that described 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 18th AMLASH, would have his proof that Fitzgerald was close enough to the President to insert words in his speech. And, if AMLASH was a double agent, as Angleton suspected, Castro would also have his proof. The next meeting took place in Paris on November 22nd 1963. Sanchez handed over the assassination pen to AMLASH, and was instructing him how the Blackleaf 40 poison could be obtained in Havana. Suddenly, the meeting was interrupted by an urgent message: President Kennedy had been assassinated in Dallas. The AMLASH mission was aborted. So ended the CIA's futile assassination attempts against Castro. This chapter is excerpted from Edward Jay Epstein’s book Killing Castro, now available on Kindle ( and Kindle apps for ipad. It is also available on Nook ( and the itunes Store. Other books by Edward Jay Epstein can be found at: (

Killing Castro By Edward Jay Epstein Other Books By Edward Jay Epstein Inquest Legend News From Nowhere Cartel The Rise and Fall of Diamonds Agency of Fear Between Fact and Fiction The Assassination Chronicles The Big Picture The Hollywood Economist Myths of the Media EJE Originals

Armand Hammer: The Darker Side The Rockefellers The JFK Assassination Theories Garrison’s Game Zia’s Crash Who Killed God’s Banker Tabloid America: Crimes of the Press Killing Castro James Jesus Angleton: Was He Right? The Money Demons: True Fables of Wall Street

Copyright © by EJE Publication 2011 All Rights Reserved ISBN 978-1-61704-077-1 Cover Design by J. Elissa Marshal About The Author Edward Jay Epstein studied government at Cornell and Harvard, receiving his Ph.D. from Harvard in 1973. His master's thesis at Cornell was published as Inquest: The Warren Commission and the Establishment of Truth and became a national best seller; his doctoral dissertation at Harvard was published as News From Nowhere: The Selection of Reality on Television, and is today a standard textbook in media studies courses . He taught political science at MIT and UCLA before becoming a full time author. He lives in New York City. His website is

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