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«NOVEMBER 22, 1963 (Friday) 12:00 AM (Nov. 22, 1963) Nine Secret Service agents drinking at Pat Kirkwood’s bar the “Cellar Door” in Fort Worth, ...»

-- [ Page 90 ] --

The Nov. 30, 1963 memo by the agent in charge of the FBI’s Chicago field office referred to Homerio Echeverría, a Cuban said by the Secret Service to warrant further investigation as part of a possible assassination plot. But any mention of the FBI’s link to Echevarria’s father, Ebelia, had been blacked out in a version of the document made public by the Federal Bureau of Investigation earlier. “Ebelia Echeverría has furnished general information regarding Cuban matters to (the FBI) Chicago office as (a) source of information,” the previously secret portion said. Along with hundreds of other pages containing once-secret material, the memo was made public by the Assassinations Record Review Board, an independent federal body responsible for overseeing release of records related to the 1963 killing. The new information about the FBI’s link to Echeverria’s father may raise questions about why the bureau failed to follow up on the Secret Service’s interest in the son. In 1979, the House Select Committee on Assassinations faulted the FBI for not looking deeper into the younger Echeverría, who had been quoted by a Secret Service informant as having discussed an illegal arms sale on Nov. 21, 1963, the day before Kennedy was shot in Dallas. Echeverría was quoted as saying his group had “plenty of money” to mount an anti-Castro operation and that his backers would go ahead “as soon as we take care of Kennedy,” the House panel cited a Secret Service memo as saying. The committee said it had been unable to substantiate the content of the informant’s alleged conversations with Echeverría or any link to the assassination. But it said it had established “that the original judgment of the Secret Service was correct, that the Echeverría case did warrant a thorough investigation.”. It said the FBI “did not pursue the Echeverría case.” The House panel found that Echevarria’s group, known as the 30th of November, was financed by the Junta del Gobierno de Cubo en el Exilio, a Chicago-based coalition of anti-Castro groups with alleged links to organized crime. It said the umbrella group, founded in April 1963 and dissolved soon after the assassination, had backed the activities of militant groups reportedly in contact with Lee Harvey Oswald. The presidentially appointed Warren Commission said in its 1964 report that Oswald, acting alone, killed Kennedy by firing three shots from the Texas Book Depository. But the House committee concluded in its 1979 report that Kennedy was probably the victim of a conspiracy that could have involved organized crime or Cubans opposed to President Fidel Castro. The FBI press office, its ranks thinned by a partial government shutdown due to an impasse over the budget, could not be reached for comment on the Echeverría matter. The fate of the Echevarrias, father and son, could not immediately be determined. Tom Samoluk, a spokesman for the Assassinations Record Review Board, said Homer Echeverría was 32 years old at the time of the assassination.

January 25, 1996 Richard E. Sprague, a pioneering member of the first generation of researchers into the assassination n of JFK, dies today after a long period of failing health. He is 74 years old. Mr. Sprague was a prolific writer on all political assassinations of the 1960s. His work appeared primarily in Computers and Automation, and later in People and the Pursuit of Truth, a newsletter he started with his longtime colleague, Edmund Berkeley. Mr. Sprague is recalled by friends as an historic figure in the assassination research community, who “always viewed the JFK assassination as a political coup at the center of American power.” He described his views in the privately published The Taking of America 1,2,3. In the 1960s, Sprague was a friend and advisor to former New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison, who unsuccessfully tried businessman Clay Shaw in connection with the assassination. In the 70s, Mr.

Sprague was a first a lobbyist for, and then an outspoken critic of, the House Select Committee on Assassination. He is survived by three children.

January 27, 1996 Former Senator Ralph W. Yarborough of Texas dies today after a long illness. He is 92 and lives in n Austin, Texas. On Nov. 22, 1963, Sen. Yarborough rode in the Dallas motorcade in which JFK was killed. He later criticized the Secret Service agents for failing to respond quickly enough, and sponsored federal legislation of offer assistance to the family of J.D. Tippit, the Dallas police officer who was killed that day also.

February - 1996 This year Robert Kennedy Jr. and his brother, Michael, travel to Havana to meet with Fidel Castro. As a gesture of goodwill, they bring a file of formerly top secret U.S. documents on the Kennedy administration’s covert exploration of an accommodation with Cuba -- a record of what might have been had JFK not been assassinated in Dallas. Castro thanks them for the file and shares his “impression that it was [President Kennedy’s] intention after the missile crisis to change the framework” of relations between the United States and Cuba. “It’s unfortunate,” says Castro, that “things happened as they did, and he could not do what he wanted to do.” February 13, 1996 NEW ORLEANS -- (AP news story) “A former investigator for Jim Garrison, whose Kennedy assassination probe was fictionalized by Oliver Stone in the movie “JFK,’’ is thrown in jail Tuesday for giving secret records to a federal panel. A judge also was considering contempt charges against a television reporter who obtained the secret grand jury transcripts from investigator Gary Raymond and aired the names of witnesses who testified decades ago. Shortly after Harry Connick succeeded Garrison as District Attorney in 1974, he ordered Raymond to destroy the records of Garrison’s grand jury proceeding. Instead, Raymond put the files in the trunk of his car, then kept them hidden for 21 years. He wasn’t sure what to do with them -- until Connick told the Assassination Records Review Board last June 28 that the files had disappeared when Garrison left office. “Not only is the man lying about these records, but he is trying to pin it on Garrison’s people,’’ Raymond said. Raymond went to WDSU-TV reporter Richard Angelico with the files, and asked him to pass them on to the review board. “These documents are an important part of the historical record of the Kennedy assassination because they were part of the Garrison investigation,’’ said Tom Samoluk, spokesman for the review board.``They involve an important and much-studied chapter of the Kennedy assassination story.’’ But Criminal District Judge Frank Marullo ordered Raymond jailed for six months, the maximum, for violating a state law regarding the secrecy of grand juries. He was taken into custody and released shortly after posting a $10,000 bond. He remains free during his appeal. Marullo said he was inclined to find Angelico in contempt, but would rule on Feb. 22 after studying court cases regarding reporters’ rights. Raymond said he only went to Angelico because the reporter knew who to contact on the review board. He said he knew nothing of Angelico’s plan to report on the transcripts.





“If Mr. Angelico wanted to have some fun with Harry Connick, that was his business,’’ Raymond said. “Connick was embarrassed and he deserved to be.’’ Samoluk said the board, which now has the records, wants to release them to the public. But Connick wants them back on the grounds that state law guards the secrecy of grand jury proceedings. “We have not released them,’’ Samoluk said. “We intend to clarify their legal status before we do anything with them.’’ The board was created by Congress in 1992 in an attempt to address any public concern that the government has not divulged all it knows about the assassination. Its job is to uncover any new records related to the assassination and review for possible release those records the federal government wants to keep secret. It can delay release only until 2017, the deadline set by law. So far, hundreds of thousands of Kennedy assassination records have been logged with the National Archives.” February 25, 1996 U.S. Coast Guard vessels are crisscrossing the waters off Cuba today in search of four pilots missing after their private planes were shot down yesterday by Cuba. Cuba admitted downing the two “pirate’’ aircraft because they were flying inside Cuban airspace. White House national security advisers are meeting this morning to discuss the situation. In Florida, hundreds of angry Cuban exiles vow to meet today to organize protests and demonstrations. The four missing pilots were members of the exile group “Brothers to the Rescue.’’ Last year the group dropped anti-Castro leaflets from planes over Cuba.

April -- 1996 JFK assassination witness, Jean Hill (the Lady in Red), suffers a series of strokes during the first week of this month. A school teacher, she is carried to an ambulance by her students. After therapy, she can write again and there is only small impairment to her arm and leg. She retires from teaching in order to receive Medicare.

Also this month, Marina Oswald writes the following letter:

Mr. John Tunheim, Chairman JFK Assassination Records Review Board 600 E Street, NW, Second Floor Washington, DC 20530

Dear Mr. Tunheim:

I am writing to you regarding the release of still classified documents related to the assassination of President Kennedy, and to my former husband, Lee Harvey Oswald. Specifically, I am writing to ask about documents I have learned of from a recent book and from a story in the Washington Post by the authors of the same book (as well as other documents they have described to me). The book reviews Dallas police, FBI, and CIA files released since 1992, and places them in the context of previously known information. I would like to know

what the Review Board is doing to obtain the following:

1. The Dallas field office and headquarters FBI reports on the arrests of Donnell D. Whitter and Lawrence R. Miller in Dallas on November 18, 1963 with a carload of stolen U.S. army weapons. I believe that Lee Oswald was the FBI informant who made these arrests possible. I would also like to know what your board has done to obtain the reports of t he U.S. Marshal and the U.S. Army on the same arrests, and the burglary these men were suspected of.

2. the records of the FBI interrogations of John Franklin Elrod, John Forrester Gedney and Harold Doyle (the latter men were previously known as two of the “three tramps”) in the Dallas jail November 22-24, 1963. All of these men have stated that they were interrogated during that time by the FBI.

3. The official explanation of why the arrest records for Mr. Elrod, Mr. Gedney, and Mr. Doyle, as well as for Daniel Wayne Douglas and Gus Abrams were placed “under federal seal” in the Dallas Police Records Division for 26 years as described by Dallas City Archives supervisor Laura McGhee to the FBI in 1992.

4. The FULL records of the interrogation of Lee Harvey Oswald, including his interrogation in the presence of John Franklin Elrod as described by Elrod in an FBI report dated August 11, 1964.

5. The reports of army intelligence agent Ed J. Coyle on his investigation of Captain George Nonte, John Thomas Masen, Donnell D.

Whitter, Lawrence R. Miller, and/or Jack Ruby. I am also requesting that you obtain agent Coyle’s reports as army liaison for presidential protection on November 22, 1963 (as described by Coyle’s commanding officer Col. Robert Jones in sworn testimony to the House Select Committee on Assassinations). If the army does not immediately produce these documents, they should be required to produce agent Coyle to explain what happened to his reports.

6. Secret Service reports and tapes of that agency’s investigation of Father Walter Machann and Silvia Odio in 1963-64.

7. Reports of the FBI investigation of Cuban exiles in Dallas, to include known but still classified documents on Fermin de Goicochea Sanchez, Father Walter Machann and the Dallas Catholic Cuban Relocation Committee. These would include informant files for Father Machann and/or reports of interviews of Father Machann by Dallas FBI agent W.Heitman.

8. The full particulars and original of the teletype received by Mr. William Walter in the New Orleans FBI office on the morning of November 17, 1963, warning of a possible assassination attempt on President Kennedy in Dallas. I now believe that my former husband met with the Dallas FBI on November 16, 1963, and provided informant information on which this teletype was based.

9. A full report of Lee Harvey Oswald’s visit to the Dallas FBI office on November 16, 1963.

10. A full account of FBI agent James P. Hosty’s claim (in his recent book, ASSIGNMENT: OSWALD) that Lee Harvey Oswald knew of a planned “paramilitary invasion of Cuba” by “a group of right wing Cuban exiles in outlying areas of New Orleans.’ We now know that such an invasion was indeed planned by a Cuban group operating on CIA payroll in Miami, New Orleans, and Dallas--the same group infiltrated by Lee Oswald. We know this information ONLY from documents released since 1992, as described in the book I have mentioned. On what basis did agent Hosty believe Lee “had learned” of these plans, unless Lee himself told him this? I am therefore specifically requesting the release of the informant report that Lee Oswald provided to agent Hosty and/or other FBI personnel on this intelligence information.

The time for the Review Board to obtain and release the most important documents related to the assassination of President Kennedy is running out. At the time of the assassination of this great president whom I loved, I was misled by the “evidence” presented to me by government authorities and I assisted in the conviction of Lee Harvey Oswald as the assassin. From the new information now available, I am now convinced that he was an FBI informant and believe that he did not kill President Kennedy. it is time for Americans to know their full history. On this day when I and all Americans are grieving for the victims of Oklahoma City, I am also thinking of my children and grandchildren, and of all American children, when I insist that your board give the highest priority to the release of the documents I have listed. this is the duty you were charged with by law. Anything else is unacceptable--not just to me, but to all patriotic Americans.



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