Ron Ridenour

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Chapter Three
U.S. Subversion Leads to Cuban Missile Crisis

[November 24, 2017]

Bay of Pigs invasion was the first United States failure of several hundred military interventions-wars throughout its history (Vietnam was next).

President John F. Kennedy was indignant and sought revenge, not only by firing a few CIA heads but by launching other plans for sabotage and for a new government. In contemporary language: a regime shift for human rights in support of an internal revolt by democratic-seeking Cuban patriots—a la Syria today.

“In keeping with the spirit of the Presidential memorandum of 30 November 1961, the United States will help the people of Cuba overthrow the Communist regime from within Cuba and institute a new government with which the United States can live in peace,” Gen. Edward Lansdale wrote.

Air Force Brigadier General Lansdale was placed on loan from the Defense Department to Attorney General Robert Kennedy as Chief of Operations of Operation Mongoose (aka “The Cuba Project”) subversive plan. William King Harvey was Lansdale’s main CIA liaison operator. (1) (See Appendix 11, 25 July, 1962, nr. 1: f
The November 30 memorandum referred to did not contend that the Cuban government was attacking United States’ peace—hardly something that one could expect seven million people to undertake—rather that the United State governments, including President Kennedy’s, could not bear not being in charge of all of its Latin American “backyard”.

Ironically, JFK had recently castigated the CIA for advising him that the population would back its Bay of Pigs invasion; yet now he approved another plan based upon another illusionary revolt.

The November memorandum’s first of five decisions was: “We will use our available assets to go ahead with the discussed project in order to help Cuba overthrow the communist regime”. (2)

Lansdale’s February 20, 1962 Mongoose report (Appendix 11, nr. 2) called for “the open revolt and overthrow of the Communist regime” in October 1962, which was exactly when the U.S. started the “Cuban Missile Crisis” (CMC), by threatening to invade Cuba and perhaps the Soviet Union. (See the next chapters).
Mongoose called for “activating the necessary operations inside Cuba for revolution and concurrently applying the vital political, economic, and military-type support from outside Cuba.”

That included “sabotage support plan” and psychological and intelligence support plans. This report, the earlier January 18, 1962 “program review” (Appendix 11, nr. 3).

All reports were sent to the Kennedy brothers, key CIA heads, General Lemnitzer, and other military heads.

The Program Review concludes: “CIA has alerted Defense that it will require considerable military support (including two submarines, PT boats, Coast Guard type cutters, Special Forces trainers, C-54 aircraft, F-86 aircraft, amphibian aircraft, helio-couriers, Army leaflet battalion, and Guantanamo as a base for submarine operations). Also, CIA apparently believes that its role should be to create and expand a popular movement, illusory and actual, which will create a political climate which can provide a framework of plausible excuse for armed intervention. This is not in conformity with the Presidential directive now governing Project tasking. Actually, the role of creating the political climate and plausible excuse for armed intervention would be more properly that of State and Defense, if such an objective becomes desirable.”

I have not found any document, however, that states President Kennedy rejected the idea of using “considerable military support”. In fact, the July 25 memorandum stated there was a continuing planning and “essential preliminary actions for a decisive U.S. capability for intervention.”

Operation Mongoose states that "such a plan would enable a logical build-up of incidents to be combined with other seemingly unrelated events to camouflage the ultimate objective and create the necessary impression of Cuban rashness and irresponsibility on a large scale, directed at other countries as well as the United States."

"The desired resultant from the execution of this plan would be to place the United States in the apparent position of suffering defensible grievances from a rash and irresponsible government of Cuba and to develop an international image of a Cuban threat to peace in the Western Hemisphere."
Wow! Little Cuba was preparing to attack the mightiest nation in the world and other countries, too. Castro was one hell-of-a macho man, who could whip up enough of the seven million Cubans to do all that. But where would the internal uproar against such a ballsy idea come from?

Lansdale tried to be optimistic with the plan for an internal uproar. He said that there was a potential “sizeable guerrilla force” underway with an “estimated 250” recruits. “We brought in extra weapons, for which there were immediate recruits…” “Our best hope is that we will have viable teams in all the potential resistance areas by early October.”

Lansdale was clearly uncertain that a potent enough internal revolt could succeed so he concluded this report with some alternative ideas:
“Commit U.S. to help Cubans overthrow the Castro-Communist regime, with a step-by-step phasing to ensure success, including the use of U.S. military force if required at the end, or use a provocation and overthrow the Castro-Communist regime by U.S. military force.”

At this time Cuba was not yet part of the Warsaw pact, and thus another U.S. military intervention in Cuba might not prompt Soviet Union involvement, or so hoped Kennedy. The generals were not worried about that. But before their Mongoose plan could be fully enacted, other events occurred: the United States discovered Cuba was about to have Soviet missiles for its legitimate defense.

Operations Patty and Liborio

Concurrent with Operation Mongoose, attempts to assassinate Fidel Castro continued. No direct mention of murdering Fidel Castro is in Kennedy’s Cuba Project plans but there were such efforts with Operation 40 in the previous administration, activities that did not cease under Kennedy. The most famous attempts to kill Castro in the early 1960s were the plots revealed by the Church Committee hearings of the 1970s. The Committee found evidence to support at least eight such schemes dreamed up by CIA spymasters William Harvey, David Morales and other CIA officers.

Regardless of whether JFK directly ordered the murder of Fidel, he had to know what was going down. According to Cuban General Fabian Escalante, there were 42 attempts to murder Fidel under Kennedy, and 38 under Eisenhower. Author Tim Weiner found 163 major covert operations against Cuba under JFK’s reign and some of them were murder attempts. (Legacy of Ashes, Doubleday, 2007, p.180)

Operation Patty—murdering Raul and Fidel Castro, and taking over the government following a fake Cuban attack on the U.S. Guantanamo base—was to occur on July 24, 1961. There would be large celebrations on this eighth anniversary of the rebel attack (July 26) on Batista army’s Santiago Moncado Garrison, which was hoped to spark a national revolution. Here is what Cuba’s Radio Rebelde reported, on August 9, 2011, for the 50th anniversary.

“On August 11 the Cuban Ministry of Interior announced the capture of a contra-revolutionary group that tried to murder Commander Raul Castro and fake a retaliation attack by the Cuban Army against the Guantanamo Bay US naval base. These actions had been orchestrated by the US Central Intelligence Agency.”

“The CIA couldn’t put to rest the sound defeat it had suffered barely four months before at the hands of the young Revolution when in less than 72 hours the 1600 men strong mercenary forces had surrendered in Bay of Pigs.

“The new plan was known by the codename ‘Patty’, one of the most complex plans it had devised so far. The idea was to shoot Raul Castro using a 30 caliber machine gun from a house near the Santiago de Cuba baseball stadium where on July 24 the provincial main activity to mark the eighth anniversary of the attack of the Moncada Garrison was to be held. At the same time other team members were to throw hand grenades and shoot the tribune and the crowd.

“In case the first attempt to kill Raul failed, they had set an ambush with six men armed with m3 rifles on the road to the airport, since they were expecting that the then Defense Minister will take that route to report the incident to Commander in Chief Fidel Castro.

“At the same time, the plan included a mortar attack on the Hermanos Diaz oil refinery in Santiago, and one hour later a similar action against the Guantanamo Bay base…Also, they were to bomb a Cuban artillery unit close to the border to fake a retaliation action.

“While the CIA was plotting to kill Raul, the Pentagon had organized a similar action against Fidel Castro in Havana city. The chief of the Guantanamo Bay had supplied another team, through the fence that surrounds the base, close to two tons of weaponry to shell the Jose Marti Revolution Square where Fidel would address the Cuban people.
“The Cuban State Security had managed to infiltrate both groups and its members had risen to important positions among them till the end, on July 22. On that date the mercenary forces were captured along with all the incriminating war material.”

San Francisco researcher Bill Simpich wrote about Operations Patty and Liborio:“Operations Patty and Liborio, both staged during 1961, were not revealed during the ‘limited hangout’ conducted by the Agency during the 1970s. After Cuban intelligence chief Fabian Escalante wrote about these programs, the author took a look at how much supporting documentation existed in US intelligence files. The result of that research is that Patty and Liborio are important windows into the history of US covert operations in Cuba and the milieu that conceived the JFK assassination.”

“New plans were brought into play after the collapse of Operation Patty. One network that tried to move assassination plans forward was AMBLOOD, run by former Cuban government official Luis Toroella [under CIA JMWAVE control] in Miami. The exiles were trained by the CIA inside Guatanamo naval base itself. The network was rounded up on or before September 24, 1961.

“AMBLOOD's work seems to be tied to Operation Liborio, also run from Miami. CIA records show Anthony Veciana [Cuban leader of the exile terrorist group Alpha 66] had a meeting with Harry Real at the CIA's New York field office. He asked to speak to a senior CIA officer to discuss plans to assassinate Castro and requested CIA assistance. According to Veciana, he received a call from ‘Maurice Bishop’ months after the Bay of Pigs. Bishop was actually CIA covert action officer David Atlee Phillips. Phillips told Veciana that he had ‘decided that the only thing left to be done was to have an attempt on Castro's life’. The plan was to kill Fidel with a bazooka from an apartment overlooking a public plaza on October 4, 1961.”

Things started going badly when a terrorist member, Dalia Jorge Diaz, was arrested while leaving a suitcase of explosives inside a Sears department store in Havana. Those known to her were also arrested. After Diaz’ arrest, bombs and explosives were discovered planted in 15 stores. Diaz was released from jail and the plan was abandoned. Dalia may have been a double agent.

(Veciano wasn’t dissuaded, though. He tried to murder Fidel three times.)

Operation Mongoose came soon thereafter. The key change here was that the U.S. would not invade directly after false flag operations, but indirectly following up a “real or simulated” Cuban revolt. Kennedy’s purported sensitivity could tolerate that nuance difference.

President Kennedy was also fulfilling what The Cuba Project (Operation Mongoose) called for economically—a complete embargo on Cuban trade, but not only for U.S.-Cuba relations. The mighty state believed that it could force other nations to end trade ties with the rebellious Cubans, and there was some success. The July 25, 1962 Mongoose memo stated: “Diplomatic means were used to frustrate Cuban trade negotiations in Israel, Jordan, Iran, Greece, and possible Japan.” Soon, the Organization of American States cut trade. That meant all of Latin American except Mexico.

Yuri Gagarin in Havana, July 27, 1961 just as Operation Patty called for Fidel murder

February 3, 1962—Total Embargo.

Minutes after Kennedy’s press secretary Pierre Salinger handed him 1200 Cuban Petit Upmann cigars, which his boss had ordered him to find and buy the day before, the glad Havana cigar smoker signed his Proclamation 3447—a total embargo of all trade between the United States and Cuba. No one in America could any longer smoke the world’s best cigars in their own country other than the President and his press secretary.

That boycott has cost Cuba an estimated $125 billion up to 2016. (Its GDP that year was $87 billon.) The Cuban government’s estimates were reported by the U.S. government news agency, Voice of American News, on September 9, 2016, “Cuba says US embargo cost it $4.6 billion last year.”

“The Cuban government has called on the United States to do more to ease economic pressure on the nation in light of improved relations between Washington and Havana, saying U.S. economic sanctions cost Cuba $4.6 billion in the last financial year…[in its full course] it had cost Cuba a total of $125.9 billion. The figure includes actual costs, such as fines on Cuba's business partners, and hypothetical figures, such as sales Cuban businesses could have been making in U.S. markets.”

The United Nations General Assembly has condemned the embargo since 1991. The U.S. has rarely had more than Israel and one or two other small States backing it while Cuba has had the backing of over 180 nations. Last year was the first time that the vote was unanimously for Cuba (191) when the U.S. and Israel abstained.

Many companies even some banks in several nations have been fined by the U.S. for trading with Cuba. The losses are in the billions, also for the U.S. economy. The United States Chamber of Commerce maintains that the embargo hurts business to the tune of $1.2 billion annually, an estimate made during the Obama administration. The Chamber seeks a total end to the embargo.

Operation Northwoods

“We could develop a Communist Cuban terror campaign in the Miami area, in other Florida cities and even in Washington. The terror campaign could be pointed at Cuban refugees seeking haven in the United States. We could sink a boatload of Cubans en-route to Florida (real or simulated).”

Operation Northwoods (See Appendix 111) is the codename of this and scores more false flag terrorist plans aimed at casting blame on the Cuban government, thereby allowing for “pretexts which would provide justification for US military intervention in Cuba.” So wrote the Commander of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General L. L. Lemnitzer and approved by all chiefs of staff, on March 13, 1962. General Lansdale of Operation Mongoose had asked the JCS for such a plan. (3)

United States military and CIA terrorism would even include paying some Cubans to attack the U.S. Guantanamo military, kill a few American soldiers, and blow up a U.S. ship—“Remember the Maine”, referring to a U.S. ship which suddenly exploded, on February 15, 1898, in Havana Harbor, killing all sailors aboard while the officers were on shore leave. This unsolved explosion was blamed on Spain, which provided the U.S. an excuse to invade Cuba and prevent Cubans from winning their liberty from Spain.

The Northwoods plan hoped for similar results, that "casualty lists in U.S. newspapers would cause a helpful wave of national indignation." file:///C:/Users/ron/Documents/Pentagon%20On%20Alert%20The%20Russians%20are%20Coming/Appendix%20111%20Operation%20Northwoods.pdf )
“The plans were developed as ways to trick the American public and the international community into supporting a war to oust Cuba's then new leader, communist Fidel Castro,” wrote David Ruppe, May 1, 2001, “U.S. Military Wanted to Provoke War With Cuba”.
“Details of the plans are described in Body of Secrets (Doubleday, 2001), a new book by investigative reporter James Bamford…but they apparently were rejected by the civilian leadership and have gone undisclosed for nearly 40 years.”

These documents came to light, Bamford said, partly because of Oliver Stone’s 1992 film JFK. The film caused massive interest in assassination efforts to kill Kennedy, and U.S. official endorsement of murdering Fidel Castro.

Kennedy apparently told the mad general that he would not authorize an obvious U.S. invasion plan. And he did not rename Lemnitzer to continue as JCS chief after he proposed the Northwood plan, but he did make him NATO’s supreme allied commander.
Bill Simpich wrote in, “The Hidden Castro Assassination Plots”:

“Although President Kennedy and Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara refused to consider Operation Northwoods, military chiefs and even Robert Kennedy lobbied for a ‘Remember the Maine’-type incident, where the US allegedly sank its own ship in Cuba as a pretext to start the Spanish-American War. Robert Kennedy suggested at an early point of the Cuban missile crisis:
“’We should also think of whether there is some other way we can get involved in this, through Guantanamo Bay or something. Or whether there's some ship know, sink the Maine or something.’"

“On RFK's advocacy of a ‘Remember the Maine’ pretext: See McCone memo, August 21, 1962, in ‘CIA Documents on the Cuban missile crisis’, CIA/CSI, 1992; RFK ‘questioning the feasibility of provoking an action against Guantanamo which would permit us to retaliate’, FRUS, Vol. X, document 383. Also see Tim Weiner, Legacy of Ashes, pp. 192-193.”

The Castro and Khrushchev governments could not avoid knowing that the Kennedy administration had not given up on retaking Cuba even after its defeat at the Bay of Pigs. As General Lansdale was preparing his July 25, 1962 “Review of Operation Mongoose” report, the two leaders agreed to construct sites inside Cuba to store defensive nuclear missiles hoping thereby to deter future U.S. invasions. Khrushchev, we can recall, had advised Kennedy, in his April 18, 1961 letter, that the Soviet Union would render Cuba “all necessary help to repel armed attack”. He added that he hoped the U.S. would relax the “international tension”. But Kennedy chose to ignore this plea.


1. Edward Lansdale also asked the military to draft the Operation Northwoods invasion pretext proposal as part of Operation Mongoose. (See Appendix 111). Years later he said the idea had not been viable because it depended on recruiting Cuban exiles to generate an uprising in Cuba, and he had not formed that team, or rather could not.

Lansdale may have been Graham Greene’s eponymous character in his novel about Vietnam, The Quiet American (Penguin, 1955). Lansdale was a key character in Eugene Burdick’s and William Lederer’s, The Ugly American (W. Norton, 1958). Oliver Stone used him as one of the “three tramps” seen near the Texas School Book Depository shortly after the assassination of John F. Kennedy in his film JFK. Stone was motivated by Col. L. Fletcher Prouty’s testimony to the Church Committee about Lansdale being one of the those fake tramps (E. Howard Hunt and Frank Sturgis were also identified as “tramps”, who played a role in the assassination.)

2. 278. Memorandum From President Kennedy (1)
Washington, November 30, 1961.

MEMORANDUM TO: The Secretary of State, The Secretary of Defense, The Director of CIA, The Attorney General,
General Taylor, General Lansdale, Richard Goodwin
The following is a summary of the major decisions which have been made in regard to the Cuba Operation.
1. We will use our available assets to go ahead with the discussed project in order to help Cuba overthrow the communist regime.
2. This program will be conducted under the general guidance of General Lansdale, acting as Chief of Operations. It will be conducted by him through the appropriate regular organizations and Departments of the government.
3. The program will be reviewed in two weeks in order to determine whether General Lansdale will continue as Chief of Operations.
4. The NSC 5412 group will be kept closely informed of activities and be available for advice and recommendation.
5. The Secretary of State and the Secretary of Defense and the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency will appoint senior officers of their department as personal representatives to assist the Chief of Operations as required. These senior officers should be able to exercise—either themselves or through the Secretaries and Director—effective operational control over all aspects of their Department's operations dealing with Cuba.
Knowledge of the existence of this operation should be restricted to the recipients of this memorandum, members of the 5412 group and (Page 689) the representatives appointed by the Secretaries and the Director. Any further dissemination of this knowledge will be only with the authority of the Secretaries of State or Defense or the Chief of Operations.

(1)Source: Kennedy Library, President's Office Files, Countries Series, Cuba, Security, 1961. Top Secret; Eyes Only. Internal evidence indicates that the memorandum was apparently drafted by McGeorge Bundy. An earlier version of this memorandum was sent to the same seven people on November 22. (Department of State, Central Files, 737.00/11-2261) The most significant difference between the two memoranda was that the responsibilities assigned to General Lansdale under point 2 in the November 30 memorandum had been assigned to Attorney General Kennedy in the November 22 memorandum, with Lansdale in a subordinate role as the Attorney General's Chief of Operations. Point 4 in the November 22 memorandum reads “The NSC 5412 group will be informed of activities.” The Attorney General was included under point 6 in the November 22 memorandum among those listed as controlling dissemination of knowledge of the operation.

3. General Lemnitzer was on Eisenhower’s war staff during the Second World War. Lemnitzer ran the invasion of Sicily in 1944 in association with the regional Mafia. Once President, Eisenhower appointed Lemnitzer commander of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. During the Bay of Pigs invasion, Lemnitzer advocated that President Kennedy launch a total attack. Two months later, July 20, at a National Security Council meeting, Lemnitzer presented Kennedy with a military plan for a surprise nuclear attack on the Soviet Union. Kennedy refused. Then came Northwoods proposal, followed by the Cuban Missile Crisis, during which Lemnizter and Air Force chief General Curtis LeMay advocated nuclear war once again. Kennedy transferred him from JCS command to NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander, in November 1962, just after the CMC. When he died, he was not spoken of as the chief behind the nefarious plot to kill his own men in Operation Northwoods but as a “war hero”.

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