Saturday, October 28, 2017

JFK Archives - Poison In Castro's Face Cream, HSCA Cuba And Mexico Trips, What Does It All Mean?

I'm just poking around in these archives to see if that might produce some items of interest, but I suspect that to really do this justice, one has to spend a lot of time so that the connections between documents start to become clear. And it would help to have spent time reading all the conspiracy literature on the Kennedy assassination.

I'm not going to drop everything and dedicate my life to mining these data bases.  I'm just trying to get a sense of what these files look like and contain and share a bit of that with readers so they know a little more about these than references to them in news stories.  The prior post on these files is here.

So first I'm going to give you some observations and tidbits from the archives I've looked at.  Then I'm going to look more deeply at one lengthy, typed set of notes from the House Select Committee on Assassination trips to Mexico and Cuba in 1978, along with an embedded copy of the whole document.

I seem to be getting random bits of information that, on their own, may be interesting, but not important.   Such as this CIA document about setting up contraband business in Paraguay:

Click to enlarge and focus

This document appears to be notes the CIA took on an Inspector General's report.  It's long and has lots about Cuba, assassination attempts on Castro, links with the Mafia.  I'm guessing that all this information has already been made public.  What's possibly new here are what the CIA note taker thought was important.  This note is about a plan to poison Castro:

I'd observe that CIA handwritten notes that I've seen are much more legible than FBI handwritten notes. But if you have trouble reading this one, it says:
"P. 18  NY Daily News - 1976 - story ??? Marie Lorenz in 1960 acted for Sturgis [I'm presuming this was Frank Sturgis, one of the Watergate burglars who was linked to Cuba activities] in an attempt to assass Castro.  this story says that soon after her mission failed the CIA recruited mafia mobsters to kill Castro.
Lorenz claims that the plan included the use of poison pills concealed in a jar of face cream, she said they dissolved and could not be used"

This one is titled "Oswald Soft File" and is made up of what appears to be descriptions of different documents.  But where are the documents?  It does say Box 22.  Here's the beginning:

[At the top, the SECRET stamp is crossed out and there's a stamped number:  11112432]
1) 46-39   [I'm guessing these are page numbers]
2) 1517-1093: [Probably not page numbers since the go from higher to lower]  11/23/63 [day after JFK assassination] Memo for Dir., FBI from DDP;  RE:  Anonymous phone call in Cambridge, England (as in #46-39)  [so 2) refers back to 1)]
You can see from my [bracketed notes] that as you go through this stuff in more detail, you start changing your hypotheses as you see things clearer and see relationships between items, but I still don't know what the numbers refer to.  I'm guessing they are identifiers, but what do they mean?

Again, you have to know a lot more of the whole context to be able to spot something that is new and significant.  Maybe that's how the Committee felt - lots of random bits of information.  What's true?  What's not?  How does it all fit together?

This Deposition of Victor Espinosa looks like there's lots of background information, again, the bigger importance of which I don't know - Espinosa was the son of wealthy Cubans who was somewhat involved with preparing for Castro but then later with Bay of Pigs.  Discusses how he got involved in things and people he knew who were connected to the US Embassy and CIA.  Mentions of a long list of people from Fidel and Raul Castro, Che Guevara, Frank Sturgis and Howard Hunt (Watergate), Meyer Lansky,   Includes index of people mentioned, summary of deposition, and deposition itself.

The House Select Committee on Assassination's trips to Cuba and Mexico

Here's an interesting document.  It's the notes of the House Select Committee on Assassination's trips to Cuba and Mexico in 1978.
Appendix I (p. 82  also stamped 2000414) HSCA Procedural Write-up  Cuba Trip 1
Chairman Louis Stokes and Congressman Christopher Dodd were accompanied by committee staff G. Robert Blakely, Gary Cornwell, and Ed Lopez on this first trip to Cuba.
Appendix II (p. 86 or 2000418) HSCA Procedural Write-up  Mexico Trip
This trip included three committee staffers - Cornwell, Lopez, and Harold Leap.
Appendix III (p. 94 or 2000426)  HSCA Procedural Write-up  Mexico Trip 2
August 7, 1978.  This time staff members Lopez and Leap.
Appendix IV (2000439 - 2000447) is Cuba Trip 2
This Trip included Congressman Richardson Preyer and staffers Blakely and Juan Lopez Soto.
Appendix V  Missing
Appendix VI Missing
Appendix VII (2000448) is titled "Analysis of Lee Harvey Oswald's activities in Mexico City.  Basically looks at the evidence to determine if Lee Harvey Oswald or an imposter was in Mexico City and visited the Cuban and Soviet Consulates.   It's not clear cut.

There were typed page numbers on Appendix I (pp. 82-85)  Presumably these continued from the main document.   Hand written page numbers continue the sequence on Appendix II, but they end  at page 99 in Appendix III.  There are stamped numbers on every page in the lower right corner starting with 2000414.  I note all these things as I try to get my bearings.  I don't know what will be important and what won't.

Each page has this statement:
"(This form is to be used for material extracted from CIA-controlled documents.)"

 I'm struck by the kinds of details that are recorded -

Even with the randomness of my file reading, I'm seeing threads.  In the previous post on JFK investigation, I wrote about Elena Garro de Paz who said that Lee Harvey Oswald had had an affair in Mexico with Silvia Duran.  In this document, both women are on the list of people the committee staffers want to meet.

"Pedro Gutierrez Valencia was interviewed at 2:30 p.m.  Ruban Duran was interviewed at 5:00 p.m.  Horacio Duran was interviewed at 5:30 p.m.  Silvia Duran was interviewed at 6:15 p.m." (88)
"The Mexican officials also offered their observations on the preliminary interviewed conducted the previous day.  They pointed out that they found it strange that Silvia had told Oswald he could not travel while in Cuba.  They wondered what she was trying to tell him and whether she thought that Oswald had some objective in going to Cuba other than that ascribed by the popular version.  They considered the manner in which Silvia obtained employment at the Cuban Consulate unusual.  Generally they noted that Silvia and her brothers seemed to have almost programed responses and a defensive demeanor.  They pointed out, however, that all the Durans had been very interested in talking to us.  In their opinion, Ruben Duran was the most credible of those interviewed by the HSCA the previous day." (89-90)

Mexican Agent Martinez is going to help them find a Mr. Alberue.
"Luis Alberue Suoto lives at Mechelet #7, apartment #301, Colonia Aneura, Mexico City.  His phone number is 545-9947.  The landlady at his apartment explained to the Mexican officials that Mr. Alberue had left town hurriedly on Monday, August 7, 1978.  Mr. Martinez, wishing to know when he returned, had place a piece of scotch tape at the bottom right edge of his door.  Mr. Martines explained that he checked it every four hours and would notify us if Alberue returned before we left." (99-100)

But apparently the Mexicans don't want them to meet with Alberue.  We now have Mexican Agent Martinez, lying to his superiors for the sake of the committee members.  One wonders what was really going on here:
"At 2:30 pm, Agent Martinez [A Mexican agent] telephoned Capitan Ventura to report on his progress, pertaining to his work with the HSCA.  When Martinez told Ventura that he had located Alberue, Ventura asked him if he was alone.  When Agent Martinez lied and stated that he was alone, Ventura told him that he should under no circumstances allow us to interview Alberue.  When Agent Martinez completed his phone call, he said, "I don't understand why nobody wants you to talk to him."
Is Martinez really helping the Americans against his boss' wishes?  Or is this staged to make the Americans trust Martinez more?

Here's more with details that I don't quite understand.  That is, why did the writer think these details were important enough to include?
"Agent Martinez attempted without success to telephone Oscar Contreras Lartigue to inform him of our visit.  At 3:30 p.m., Agent Martinez finally reached Mr. Contreras' child who informed him that Mr. Contrereas was not in Tampico.  He had traveled to Mexico City for a Partido Republicano Institutional convention.  When Agent Martinez asked the child if he knew where his father was staying in Mexico City, he responded that he did not.  Agent Martinez explained to the child that he would call at a later time to speak to his mother."
Here's the whole document.  Fortunately it is typed and reasonably well written with lots of details that may be totally unnecessary or may provide interesting tidbits to people on top of this stuff.

I'd note that in these documents Oswald had only two or three contacts with Silvia Duran. Those would have been when he visited the Cuban Consulate where she worked.  That's very different from Elena Garro de Paz's claim mentioned in documents from my previous post, that Oswald and Duran were lovers and that Garro saw them at a party at Duran's brother's house.

Here's the whole document.  You can look through it yourself:

As I said, I've not gotten involved in the JFK assassination conspiracy materials.  I'm just looking at these documents out of curiosity.  But in trying to figure out the exact name of the HSCA, I did come across a couple of posts online that give a larger context to the HSCA - namely this description of a work of fiction by the former Deputy Counsel to the HSCA Robert Tannenbaum called Corruption of Blood.
The first is by MLK Assassination Special Investigator Gary Revel

The second is by Bill Kelly, an independent researcher who has focused on the assassination.

I don't know how reliable either of these sources is, but they do give some perspective on all this for people who haven't kept track over the years.

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