Saturday, October 31, 2009

Embassy Overview

:::Mexico City was the Casablanca of the Cold War:::
...the spy capital of the world.
It was the closest city to the US where Russian spies could congregate; a massive KGB operation placed multitudes of spies in positions of hotel clerks and bartenders etc.
There they mingled with other spies from virtually all continents... German, Canadian, Cuban, US, Japanese and various Latin American spies met at locations known within the underworld to be frequenting spots for trading or dangling information. This was a community of single, double and triple agents employed by various entities that sometimes shared agendas; each agent tossing out a script to see what others would bite, to guess at why and report back. To find OSWALD in this world, floating through parties and sleeping with other spies fits like a glove. It's a virtual carbon copy of his earlier military period in Atsugi, Japan where he guarded the U2 plane (a CIA project) but often wandered over into restricted sectors and frequented the most commonly known 'spy bar'. He's been said to have dated both men and women who were likely Japanese/Russian spies in situations that resembled missions, using OSWALD as a 'dangle'... hence the fact he was famously given a written excusal from his superiors after contracting gonorrhea "in the line of duty".

LIERODE was the codename for the CIA's operation that spied on the neighboring Cuban and Russian Embassies in Mexico City to keep track of who was most likely working for the competitor's interests. The CIA used offices in the American Embassy as their cover and was especially interested in any Americans who wanted to leave the country on a path frequented by undercover agents. Headed by David Phillips, LIERODE's daily operation photographed anyone entering the foreign Embassies, researched all the Embassy employees and tapped the phones. During Oswald's visits to the Cuban Embassy alone he would have walked by the LIERODE cameras a total of 6 times, but (as discussed in an earlier post below) pictures of another man were taken instead and no pictures of the real Oswald have ever been seen.

To this day, the facts surrounding the 2 most well-known witnesses of Oswald's trip to Mexico directly before the assassination remain confused and the CIA is still protecting what 'went wrong' with it's surveillance operation.

Silvia Duran

Silvia Duran just happened to be the person working at the desk when Oswald was said to have entered the Cuban Consulate in Mexico City to obtain a visa for travel into Cuba. She'd only gotten the position 1 month beforehand.

Oswald showed Duran his passport and displayed a relatively elaborate Pro-Cuban backstory by providing his correspondence with the American Communist Party, his membership card for the Fair Play for Cuba Committee, a newspaper clipping about his activities in New Orleans and a photograph of himself in custody, accompanied by two police officers after his showdown with anti-Castro refugees (also mentioned in an earlier entry).

After JFK's death and Oswald's arrest Duran would become a source of major interest for LBJ and Hoover as they tried to understand the significance of Oswald's trip to Mexico just before the assassination.

One of the central enigmas of the Mexico dilemma is this:
The CIA depended greatly on Silvia Duran as their main witness of Oswald's presence in Mexico, but was simultaneously suspicious of who she really was... and extremely concerned with controlling her interpretation of her interaction with OSWALD. On the request of the CIA she was arrested by the Mexican Secret Police and underwent interrogation and torture concerning her relationship to Oswald... and then was later re-arrested for trying to escape to Cuba herself!

After being terrorized she began to be less sure that it was Oswald that she'd seen... AND! She was never interviewed nor called as a witness by the Warren Commission. Why wouldn't they want her on the record? The Commission "never learned of either of her arrests" and relegated her to being more of an Communist enemy in their report.

From the Warren Commission report:
"[Duran and her husband] were active in far left, political affairs in Mexico, believe in Marxist ideology, and sympathize with the government of Fidel Castro, and Senor Duran has written articles for El Dia, a pro-Communist newspaper in Mexico City."

The CIA were able to control the Mexican Secret Police and all subsequent public discovery of Duran's existence, stating in an agency cable that "we want to insure that Silvia Duran gets no impression that Americans are behind her re-arrest. In other words we want Mexican authorities to take responsibility for the whole affair."

From writer Peter Dale Scott:
"One of the most crime-ridden CIA assets we know of is the DFS [Mexican Secret Police], which the US helped to create. Such alliances [as the CIA-DFS alliance] were often first formed in order to deny drug assets to the enemy."

"As late as 1967 Durán reportedly told a CIA agent, LIRING-3, that in her November 23 interrogation she had been "interviewed thoroughly and beaten until she admitted that she had an affair with Oswald."

And from researcher John Simkin:
"When Lee Harvey Oswald was arrested in Dallas shortly after the assassination of John F. Kennedy, Duran immediately recognized him as the man who visited the Cuban consul's office on 27th September. This was reinforced by the discovery of Duran's name and phone number in Oswald's address book."

...but when interviewed in '79 by Anthony Summers she described Oswald as being half a foot shorter than he was... so Summers showed her a film of Oswald and Duran said: "The man on the film is not like the man I saw here in Mexico City." I go back and forth on this but for some reason, and I'd love to know what, Duran seemed to have been throwing a curve ball here... (relatively late in the game too, perhaps because so many people were dying and she felt she was in danger...)

How do we explain CIA Station Chief Win Scott's assertion that "Silvia Durán had sexual intercourse with Lee Harvey Oswald on several occasions when the latter was in Mexico City" if she doesn't recognize him? Several people have put forward that Duran and Oswald did date, if only for a brief time.

There are residual traces that a theory was bandied about by the CIA of an international Communist assassination conspiracy, using the Oswald-Durán relationship as it's centerpiece.
I sometimes meditate on the fact that a man in the ambulance (after Oswald was shot) said that Oswald made a distinct fist-in-air gesture as he was dying... one must wonder if Oswald had been led to believe that he was part of this theorized Communist conspiracy.
But all theorizing of his true background was officially ceased when LBJ and Hoover brought down the hammer, shutting down all inquiries into who OSWALD really was after the lone nut theory was posited (punishing agents who would deliver contradicting evidence).

The heat was obviously very heavy upon Duran... in a sense, all pressure that JFK had possibly been murdered by a Soviet/Cuban agent was being lowered down on her by the US government by way of Mexican authorities. It is still rumored that 'Duran later admitted to a close friend that she had dated Oswald while he was in Mexico City.' (from this excellent bio of Duran by John Simkin)

Gilberto Alvarado

After the assassination Gilberto Alvarado stepped forward to say that he saw Oswald approached by 'a Negro with reddish hair' who gave him $6500 in cash inside the Cuban Embassy for the mission of killing the president. Alvarado then changed the date of the sighting by 10 days after being told by the CIA that Oswald wasn't in Mexico on that date... then the Mexican Secret Service informed the CIA "that Alvarado has signed a statement saying that his story of seeing Oswald inside the Cuban Embassy is completely false." Then Alvarado retracted his retraction a few days later, explaining that his retraction was a result of being threatened to be hung by his testicles by the DFS. Then he underwent a lie detector test and failed.
Alvarado's story is interesting because it was obtained by David Phillips in a safe-house. Phillips reported that "Alvarado had admitted he was a member of the Nicaraguan Secret Service (another agency under the tutelage of the CIA), but saw that as no reason to question his story." The ultimate use of Alvarado's script came to pass when LBJ used it as evidence of a Soviet-backed assassination and the inevitability of a coming world war to convince Earl Warren to form the Warren Commission against his will. If only for this result, David Phillips' scheme did end up pulling some massive strings.

from writer Peter Dale Scott:

"Given the known ambiguities about Alvarado's double identity as an intelligence agent, one can easily fault the leaders of the US Embassy in Mexico for claiming that "there appears to be a strong possibility that a down payment was made to Oswald in the Cuban Embassy here." But it is not clear that the management of the Alvarado story was integral to the Kennedy assassination plot. It is clear that the CIA was and is hiding something about Oswald and the Cuban Embassy. The Alvarado story might have been no more than a convenient diversion: a chance to focus attention on a different (and false) narrative."

J.Edgar Hoover, Lyndon Johnson and James Angleton all remained suspicious of a Soviet plot behind the president's murder but worked to shut down the public's inquiry into the subject of their own fears. But eliminating fears of a Cuban/Communist plot was the exact opposite effect that David Phillips had been shooting for by inventing the Alvarado and the Garro stories. His purpose was to nudge Washington with scenarios that could re-awake aggressive tactics toward Cuba. CIA disinformation specialists had gotten comfortable using the media to put pressure on JFK... Directly after the Cuban Missile Crisis, Kennedy awoke to read a front page headline that stated there were still Russian missiles hidden away in island caves that he hadn't gotten the Russians to remove. Knowing it was disinformation and perceiving it's purpose, he asked his assistants to look into where the writer got the false story... they definitely could have pushed a lot harder to discover his exact sources... but that didn't matter so much as Kennedy already knew that there was only 1 organization in Washington who had the power to create false frontpage headlines.

Who developed these news stories? David Phillips was a PR specialist, a writer of several books and an ex-actor/undercover agent... Here's another story it appears he may have come up with:

An internal CIA cable said that their phone-tapping operation intercepted an American male calling the Cuban Consulate from the Russian Consulate that spoke in broken Russian and said his name was 'Lee Oswald'. He mentioned that he'd just met with a man working at the Soviet Consulate named Kostikov. Not only do experts believe that this phone call was probably invented, but Kostikov was known only by agents with top CIA clearance to be a KGB agent working in 'Department Thirteen', the section specialized in assassination. The implications of this are worse than they sound...
The central issue to me is either that:

A: Oswald supposedly had this very high-level knowledge of who Kostikov was...
which is to admit that he is an agent of one of the sides... either way is bad for the CIA because if they knew he was either a Soviet agent or meeting with a Soviet assassination specialist, how could the FBI men that were routinely keeping tabs on his whereabouts and activities avoid supervising him on the day JFK passed underneath the window he worked in?

B: If the phone call is faked, it also only indicates the CIA... who else would know to drop Kostikov's name and what it meant, with the foreknowledge to document it in the CIA's own records?... It's terrifying that they do not want to clear this issue up because it suggests that someone in extremely high levels knew exactly what was going to happen in Dallas only weeks later. And who was responsible for explaining the mysterious phone call, why the tape's of it were erased so quickly and why the camera's couldn't manage to take a picture of Oswald?... Again!: David Phillips. How could one man appear and re-appear so many times within Oswald's path?

Disturbingly, there was also a suspicious letter sent from 'Oswald' to the Soviet Embassy in Washington that was 'intercepted' and mentioned "my meetings with comrade Kostin (sic)", saying "had I been able to reach the Soviet Embassy in Havana as planned, the embassy there would have had time to complete our business."
...Who writes this kind of shit to an Embassy in Washington?... not to mention it's illegal interception... but who would've known what this meant enough to document it before the assassination?

David Phillips, Howard Hunt and Win Scott wrote a lot about themselves... the former 2 publishing many books about spying and the latter having had his last manuscript confiscated and classified by the CIA. This characteristic of being a writer is of great importance. In espionage your central talent is developing an alternate script to reality, controlling the perception of the false story and selling your version to the public or whoever you might currently be trying to manipulate.
David Phillips was placed at the forefront of the attempt overthrow Cuba, unseat Castro's control and/or kill him, and cover the operation up because of the swift success he'd experienced in the overthrow of the Guatemala a few years before. By demonstrating that you can end a regime without spending much money, losing American lives and convincing the public on both sides that it was for the greater good, he had climbed to the very top of the CIA.

Former CIA chief Win Scott's writing attempts didn't bring him as much success. To this day the manuscript of his lifestory lies in a CIA vault unpublished... with 1 entire chapter dedicated to Oswald that his son Michael Scott and author Jefferson Morley are still fighting to get unclassified.