Few knew Fidel Castro quite like the CIA’s Brian Latell.
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Here’s how Aspillaga tells the story: At around 9:30 that morning, as a young Cuban intelligence officer, he received a coded message by radio from his headquarters. There was no phone in the building where he operated. The message instructed him to go to the another buiding that he used (about 100 yards away) and place a call to headquarters via the secure phone.
When he did, Aspillaga was told to immediately stop all of his regular CIA tracking efforts. This was extremely odd. During the several weeks he had worked there, and for the next dozen years, his only target had been the CIA, namely spies on the island and incursions at sea—those were the only things that mattered. This day, November 22, 1963, would be the only exception—ever.
“The leadership wants you to stop all your CIA work,” Aspillaga was told, “all your CIA work.” He was ordered to immediately redirect his antennas away from Miami and from CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia. To where should he redirect his antennas? The answer was as short as it was strange: Texas.
As Aspillaga recounted: “I was told to listen to all conversations, and to call the leadership if I heard anything important occur. I put all of my equipment to listen to any small detail from Texas. They told me, ‘Texas.’ It wasn’t until two or three hours later that I began hearing broadcasts on amateur radio bands about the shooting of President Kennedy in Dallas.”
Kennedy was shot around 12:30 p.m. Dallas time, or 1:30 p.m. Cuba time. Aspillaga looked Latell in the eye and plainly claimed: “Castro knew. They knew Kennedy would be killed.”
Latell is convinced that Aspillaga is telling the truth, and that there is no reason to think otherwise. Aspillaga has nothing to gain, is not selling his story, and, in fact, remains in hiding. He wants the world to know about this astonishing crime. Latell has gone back to Aspillaga again and again, revisiting, scrutinizing. His account remains consistent and checks out.
Importantly, if true, this doesn’t mean that Castro sponsored or ordered or took part in Kennedy’s assassination. It suggests that Castro had prior knowledge, which would have stemmed from Lee Harvey Oswald’s continued outreach to Cuban officials, most dramatically during three extraordinary visits by Oswald to the Cuban consulate in Mexico City between September 27 and October 2, 1963. Those visits could have begun some sort of relationship between Oswald and the Cubans or, at a minimum, Cuban knowledge of Oswald, his adoration of Fidel, his earlier two-and-a-half-year defection to the Soviet Union (starting in 1959), his hatred of JFK, his Marine background, his love of weaponry and marksmanship, and perhaps his plans to kill the American president. “We never had any individual so persistent,” said the Cuban consular officer who claimed to have argued with Oswald—and allegedly denied Oswald a visa. He maintained that an angry, frustrated Oswald slammed the door in rage as he departed.
This alone would prove that Castro’s statement about Oswald on Cuban television the day after the assassination—“we never in our life heard of him”—was not true. “We,” meaning certain high-level Cubans, had heard of Oswald. This was just one of countless inaccuracies and blatant untruths Castro told about the assassination. He even went so far as to blame it on the CIA.
Again, this does not mean that Castro prompted Oswald. But if we believe Aspillaga’s story, then at best Castro knew of Oswald’s intentions but did not alert American authorities. The precise nuances are covered with great care by the skilled hand of Brian Latell—and which I will leave to readers to explore in detail.
Latell relates “what I now believe was Fidel Castro’s most despicable decision during his nearly five decades in power: to stand aside, build an elaborate alibi, lie and dissemble, launch decades of disinformation pointing at others, all the while maintaining a conspiracy of silence about the murder of John F. Kennedy.”
The one thing we do know is that Fidel Castro knows more than he has ever dared admit.
This year, 2013, will mark the 50th anniversary of the assassination of John F. Kennedy. One need not be a conspiracy buff to understand there is much about the shooting still shrouded in mystery. This is a book that earns a spot in that discussion, and which generally broadens our knowledge of a crazy, destructive dictator still wreaking havoc.
There were giants in the earth in those days, and Stan Evans is still standing, a man of great wit and erudition, a fighting journalist whom several generations of young conservatives have gladly followed into ideological battle.
The wit was on full display at The American Spectator’s 2011 Robert L. Bartley Dinner, at which Evans accepted the Barbara Olson Award. He spoke of the similarities among Texas (where he was born), Indiana (where TAS was born), and Alabama, whose Sen. Jeff Sessions was in attendance. In those states, he said, unlike Washington, “Alcohol, tobacco, and firearms is not a bureau. It’s a way of life.”
Addressing his remarks to Congress, in the person of Rep. Paul Ryan, also in attendance, Evans urged repeal of Obama’s health care law, “in order to know what is not in it.” He pointed out that even Nancy Pelosi said she didn’t know what was in it (and no doubt still doesn’t). But with repeal, “whatever is in it, will not be in it.”
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?