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« Still Guilty After All These Years: Sirhan B. Sirhan | Main | Cold War Origins »

11 June 2008


Pat Speer

While John Simkin undoubtedly has his own interpretation of history, and has spread himself so thin over so many subjects he's bound to make mistakes, much of what he says about Operation 40 appears to be true. Here's a link to Sturgis' Church Committee testimony, normally cited as the source for his never having been a CIA agent:

On this and the following pages he acknowledges that fellow Watergate burglar Bernard Barker, a known CIA employee, approached him about committing assassinations. He also admits to having regular contact with Sanjenis, and of obtaining approval from Sanjenis on committing the assassination proposed by Barker. Contact reports in the CIA files, and published by Larry Hancock in his book Someone Would Have Talked demonstrate that Sturgis was indeed reporting to both men.

The fact that Sturgis was never officially a CIA agent does little to erase the problem created by his having been asked to commit assassinations by a confirmed CIA agent, and the paper trail demonstrating he was reporting to multiple CIA agents. While we can pretend the CIA did not get in bed with men like Sturgis this will not make it true. The post Bay of Pigs career of Sturgis only adds to his credibility on this issue. Somewhere somehow Sturgis did something to earn the trust of Barker and Hunt, or he would never have been invited to participate in the "Plumbers" unit, a unit tasked with performing covert ops on behalf of Nixon, whose presidency depended on their secrecy. Ironically, Sturgis proved his loyalty by keeping his silence so that Nixon could get re-elected, and it was the career CIA agents McCord and Hunt who refused to take the fall and blew the whistle.

Nathaniel Heidenheimer

Check out the thread on Operation Mockingbird on Education Forum and Spartacus. There are more quotes from so many different sources, that it puts THIS SITE to shame.

Also on Education Forum there is free discussion and debate. DOn would be free to make his point on that site and he knows it. The problem is that other posters would be free to debate him and make counterpoints.

I note that it says above Comments are moderated, and will not appear on this weblog until the author has approved them. On Education Forum the comments of those who disagree ARE SHOWN. Perhaps Don is just too professional for such democratic challenges? Better stick to the Beltway Boxing Ring, Don!

John Simkin

It does not surprise me that Don Bohning has made this attack on me.

For several years we enjoyed a good relationship via email. He was a close friend of Chi Chi Quintero, and he used to ask him questions for me. In return, I helped publicize his book, The Castro Obsession, on the forum and my website.

However, Bohning turned nasty when I started asking Quintero about his work for Operation 40. Bohning was especially upset when I asked him about the Gene Wheaton interview where he named Quintero, Carl Jenkins, and Irving Davidson as being involved in the assassination of JFK.

According to Bohning, Quintero and Jenkins were “winding up Wheaton” with their false confession of assassinating JFK.

The problem for Bohning is that if you type in the words “Don Bohning” into Google my page on him comes up top of the list:

[Editor's note: The rest of Simkin's comment was deleted as being not responsive to any of the facts presented in the “Operation 40” article.]

Grateful Reader

Mr. Bohning,

Thank you for raising concern and seriously arguing Mr. Simkin's website. Finally, someone has!

Delving into the JFK Assassination Debate thread and, further, into the many threads about Dorothy Kilgallen proves not only confusing but also misleading. The Kilgallen threads are full of misinformation, guesswork, and posters using false identities to push their propaganda.

It is indeed true that any poor soul who stumbles across the "Education Forum" can easily lack the necessary knowledge needed to discern between fact and fiction. It is a shame that unfounded conspiracy theories about both Kennedy and Kilgallen are presented as fact.

I am personally grateful that someone [you] has questioned and argued Mr. Simkin's UN-Educational Forum.

A Grateful Reader

Don Bohning

John Simkin resorts to a familiar tactic when confronted with my documented account of his website's ideologically-based historical fantasies. Concede nothing, and go on the attack.

It is true that we had a reasonable e-mail relationship after he first contacted me when my 2005 book came out. He is not accurate, however, when he says I "turned nasty" when he [Simkin] "started asking about [Rafael] Quintero about his work for Operation 40." Simkin never asked me about Quintero's work for Operation 40--an operation which Quintero never belonged to, in the first place, and which never existed as Simkin perceives and presents it, as I pointed out in my article.

I actually turned "nasty" when Simkin posted a quote from Quintero which Simkin said he received in an e-mail from me. The only problem is I never sent any such e-mail from which Simkin claimed the quote came.

I happen to have all the e-mails that I sent Simkin once our correspondence began. There is no such message from me with the alleged quote from Quintero in any of them. In a 27 November 2006 e-mail to Simkin I demanded a correction and challenged Simkin to send me a copy of my e-mail with the alleged quote. He never responded, of course, because no such e-mail exists. Yet the last time I looked, which was several months ago, Simkin still had the fabricated quote posted on his website.

In his response to my current article, Simkin says "According to Bohning, Quintero and Jenkins 'were winding up [Gene] Wheaton' with their false confession of assassinating JFK. That's absurd. Simkin is either delusional or a liar since I never sent any such e-mail and Quintero never told me any such thing. In fact, Simkin's current response to my article is the first time I have ever even heard this concoction.

Finally, Simkin claims "the problem for Bohning is that if you type in the words "Don Bohning" into Google, my page on him comes to the top of the list."

I was not aware of that until reading Simkin's reponse to my article. I'll have to try it. In the meantime, I would recommend Simkin spend some time doing some real research to clean up all the factual mistakes on his websites, only a few of which I had room to enumerate in my piece.

By the way, John, another of the enormous number of errors on your website is the claim that "in 1952 Carl Jenkins joined the Central Intelligence Agency and for several years was involved in clandestine operations in Guatemala against President Jacobo Arbenz . . . "

I have been in touch with Jenkins. In a recent telephone interview, he said that he "had nothing to do with Guatemala" and wasn't even in the CIA at the time. "I was a captain in the Marine Corps on active duty as an instructor for a reserve unit in Rome. Georgia. I didn't even know about Guatemala until years later."

Another correction for your website, John.

John Simkin

At the beginning of Don Bohning’s article he states: “In the guise of education, John Simkin’s website delivers agitprop.”

According to the Merriam-Webster online dictionary the word agitprop means: Etymology: Russian, ultimately from agitatsiya agitation + propaganda; Date: 1935; propaganda; especially : political propaganda promulgated chiefly in literature, drama, music, or art.

Another online dictionary defines the word as “Propaganda, especially pro-communist political propaganda disseminated through literature, drama, music, or art.”

Later in the article Bohning argues: “It takes a little digging to figure out Simkin is much more interested in indoctrination than education, in keeping with his unreconstructed left-wing views. Simkin exemplifies the kind of militant socialists, once peculiar to the Labour Party, who were all but run out of that party by former Prime Minister Tony Blair.”

Bohning does not provide any information to indicate that I am more interested in indoctrination than education. His suggestion that I was expelled from the Labour Party as a member of the militant group could not be further from the truth. Not only was I not part of this group, I was not a member of the Labour Party at this time. It is true that as a young man I active in the Labour Party but left in the late 1960s in protest against the Wilson’s government failure to develop an independent foreign policy.

If he did do the research he suggested he did, he should have discovered that I have a long record of being opposed to communism. Nor have I ever supported militant groups that have been inspired by the teachings and writings of Leon Trotsky. I am a libertarian socialist - the kind that was persecuted by Lenin, Stalin and Trotsky when they were in power. My independent political views are hated by all those in power, whether they go under the heading “left” or “right”.

I am a member of no political party. However, I am not an anarchist and do vote in elections. After all, a large number of people died in order that everyone got the right to vote. For many years I voted for the Labour Party. However, since the arrival of Tony Blair, I have voted for the Liberal Democrats. They are far from perfect but at least they have policies that would reduce economic and political inequality and were against the illegal war in Iraq.

Bohning also argues that much of my work has been self-published. That is indeed true. Tressell Publications was set up in 1979 by a group of teachers dissatisfied with conventional history textbooks for students. We felt that our ideas were too revolutionary to be accepted by mainstream publishers. Our books and teaching packages were very popular and we were soon employing seven workers (not me, who remained in the classroom).

The establishment of Spartacus in 1984 was very similar. It was even more successful than Tressell. However, we decided to retain our independence when we turned down a takeover bid from a major publishing corporation.

I have had work published by national newspapers. In fact, I have been on the staff for two of them, the Telegraph and the Guardian. However, I found it a frustrating experience because you have so little influence over such large organizations.

Even the ownership of the Spartacus book publishing company created limits on what you could say. You are under the control of market forces and it is difficult to be too experimental in what you publish. That is why I created the Spartacus Educational website in 1997. Because the production of information is so cheap, it gives you complete freedom to produce the educational materials you believe in. As he happens, the financial rewards are greater than it was from publishing books.

Isn’t technology wonderful?

John Simkin

Don Bohning describes me as being more interested in “indoctrination than education”.

According to the Merriam-Webster online dictionary, to indoctrinate means 1) to instruct especially in fundamentals or rudiments; or 2) to imbue with a usually partisan or sectarian opinion, point of view, or principle

It is true that much of education is indoctrination. It was the reason that socialists in the 19th century opposed the idea of state education.

In those countries where the state completely controls the education process, such as in the former Soviet Union and China, indoctrination takes place. Even so-called liberal democracies, such as the UK and the USA schools, teach a common message that is favourable to the capitalist system. However, the great advantage of the capitalist system is that it does allow some dissent from the dominant ideology. That is why I would rather live under capitalism than communism. However, one always needs to be on guard because capitalism sometimes resorts to fascism to preserve itself, as we saw in Germany, Spain, Portugal, and Italy in the 1930s.

Although dictatorships can attempt to indoctrinate its people, this is not possible in a democracy. The idea that any lone individual within the capitalist system is in a position to “indoctrinate” anybody is a ridiculous notion.

It is true that in a capitalist society the mass media does help with the imposition of a dominant ideology. However, liberal democracies do provide alternative news sources.

The education system is more problematic. Take for example, the teaching of history. School textbooks will invariably transmit a view of the past that supports the dominant ideology. However, it is possible for the teacher to expose students to different interpretations of past events. This was the main reasons why we set up Tressell Publications in 1979. One of the main objectives was to present different views of past events. This is what made our books so popular with teachers and in 1984 this approach was adopted by the examination boards when they introduced the GCSE exam. Three years later “interpretations of the past” became part of the national curriculum for history.

Therefore, when I create books or web-pages, I always provide different interpretations of past events. Britain is fairly unique in this approach to history teaching and foreigners with little understanding of our educational system often become confused by what they are reading. For example, a couple of years ago, a national newspaper in Finland reported that Spartacus Educational was involved in promoting Soviet propaganda. This even led to questions being asked in the Finnish Parliament because they believed, quite wrongly, that the website was being sponsored by the European Union. As it happens, another Finnish journalist, who had a better grasp of the British educational system, wrote an article for another newspaper, explaining how we taught history and pointing out that as well as the extract from the Soviet textbook about the invasion of Finland, the page also included extracts from other sources that supported the Finnish view of this event.

Don Bohning has made a similar error in his account of my web page on Operation 40. For example, he writes that “Simkin also fingers, without providing any documentation, Porter J. Goss as a member of Operation 40. The Spartacus website even features a photograph, which it claims was “'taken in a nightclub in Mexico City on 22 January 1963. It is believed that the men in the photograph are all members of Operation 40.' Among them, allegedly, is Goss (with glasses, at the bottom left-hand corner).”

If he read the page carefully he would see that it is not me that says this but Daniel Hopsicker writing in Mad Cow Morning News on 24 August 2004. I do not pass any opinion on this claim. It is one of many sources that I provide on this web-page. This includes a passage from Don Bohning’s “The Castro Obsession” and the recent article he wrote for Washington Decoded.

Don rightly claims that Frank Sturgis and Gerry Hemming are not reliable sources. However, can we rely on his sources to tell the truth? In the passage I quote from “The Castro Obsession” he relies on an unnamed member of Operation 40 for his information. How are we to judge the value of this source? In his Washington Decoded he uses information provided by Chi Chi Quintero and Porter Goss? Are they more likely to be telling the truth about Operation 40 than Frank Sturgis and Gerry Hemming? Personally, I prefer the analysis of Larry Hancock in “Someone Would Have Talked” that is based on CIA declassified documents. As he points out, "new documents provided by researcher Malcolm Blunt confirms that Sanjenis, the individual in charge of Operation 40, was actually the number one exile in the AMOT organization trained and prepared by David Morales." (page 111).

Larry then goes onto argue that evidence has emerged that suggests that members of Operation 40 were involved in the assassination of John F. Kennedy: "The individuals knowingly involved in the actual conspiracy included both exiles and a small number of their most committed American supporters... It is likely that some of the participants were part of the Morales-trained and organized intelligence service that was developed to support the 1962 action against Cuba and which had a political assassination (black list) component. Elements of this group were retained as Morales's intelligence and surveillance force in Miami after the failure at the Bay of Pigs. Some of them had been involved in Agency sanctioned (and possibly unsanctioned) projects to assassinate Castro. This group was unofficially known as Operation 40." (page 372).

Don Bohning

I am glad for another opportunity to respond to Simkin so that I may again ask him why he has refused - despite my repeated requests - to provide me with an explanation for his fabrication of an alleged quote from Rafael Quintero that Simkin posted on his website, and attributed to me. I am still waiting.

Otherwise, with respect to Simkin's last posting:

1. Re the alleged picture of Operation 40 members at a dinner in Mexico, which purports to include Porter Goss: It makes no difference where the picture originally appeared. The fact that it appears on Simkin's website - along with other erroneous information about Goss - suggests that Simkin endorses it and is further "evidence" of his own personal bias.

2. Re Hemming and Sturgis: I knew both quite well, which gives me a much better sense of their credibility than Simkin has or ever will have. I also knew many other people who knew them - including Bob Brown, the editor of Soldier of Fortune magazine - all of whom thought they were BS artists of the first order. There is, as well, sufficient documentation that neither ever worked in any capacity for the US government regarding its anti-Castro operations.

3. I did not identify in my book a Cuban exile who worked for Operation 40 because of the ongoing controversy within Miami's exile community over Operation 40's spying on fellow exiles. But the infiormation came from Carlos Obregon, who worked three years for Operation 40 in the late 1960s. He has now authorized me to use his name to help counter the misinformation about the unit by people such as Simkin. The other unamed Cuban whom I quoted, who was wary of Operation 40, was the late Rafael Quintero. Simkin erroneously identifies Quintero as a member of Operation 40. In fact, he was a critic of the unit and was never involved with the organization.

3. Re Malcolm Blunt's newly uncovered documents: It has been no secret around Miami for years that Joaquin Sanjenis Perdomo was head of Operation 40, aka the Cuban Intelligence Service in exile, and codenamed AMOT. The unit operated from a building near what once was Tropical Race Track, in southwest Miami off the Palmetto Expressway.

It is certainly possible that Dave Morales helped train the unit in intelligence matters, since he was assigned to the JMWAVE CIA station in Miami after the Bay of Pigs. That does nothing to document that it was a "worldwide assassination team," as Simkin claims, with no foundation.

Among those who AMOT was reporting on to JMWAVE was Frank Sturgis/Fiorini as indicated by declassified documents that can be found in the Lyndon B. Johnson Library in Austin, Texas. Some of the documents note that the source of the information was "a member of a group of Cuban exiles trained in intelligence gathering," or a variation of such. A lengthy description of the the unit's work can be found in a USG document about the history of the Miami CIA station, declassified on 1 November 1995.

A detailed insider's account of AMOT - that might help educate Simkin - can be found in a small and obscure book published in 2002 by Ancient Mariner Press LLC. Written by Frank Belsito, it is entitled, CIA: Cuba and The Caribbean. CIA Officers Memoirs. Beltsito, who died in 2006, was the AMOT case officer in Miami from 1970 to 1972.

As he describes it, "intelligence production was the main, but not the only purpose of the service. We had boats and exfiltrated people from Cuba. We conducted infiltration and exfiltration operations and, my successor learned in time, that the AMOTs had investigated the CIA station."

4. As for Simkin's quote from Larry Hancock's book that ..."It is likely that some of the participants were part of the Morales-trained and organized intelligence that was developed to support the 1962 action against Cuba and which had a political assassination (black list) component."

The key word here is "LIKELY." A check of Hancock's book gives no referenced document for that statement, so one must assume it is nothing more than Hancock's idle speculation.

It should also be noted that Hancock runs JFK Lancer, a profitable private organization/publisher focused on the JFK assassination. It published the Hancock book which Simkin cites and hosts an annual conference in Dallas on the Kennedy assassination, complete with tours, et al.

John Simkin

Don Bohning writes:

"By the way, John, another of the enormous number of errors on your website is the claim that 'in 1952 Carl Jenkins joined the Central Intelligence Agency and for several years was involved in clandestine operations in Guatemala against President Jacobo Arbenz . . .'

I have been in touch with Jenkins. In a recent telephone interview, he said that he 'had nothing to do with Guatemala' and wasn't even in the CIA at the time. 'I was a captain in the Marine Corps on active duty as an instructor for a reserve unit in Rome. Georgia. I didn't even know about Guatemala until years later.'

Another correction for your website, John."

I am always willing to correct the narrative on my web-pages. It is possible that Carl Jenkins was not in Guatemala. However, according to papers submitted to the ARRB that have been examined by Larry Hancock, Jenkins was working from the early 1950s:

"In the area of paramilitary operations, Rip Robertson joined the former PB /SUCCESS alumni. However the officer in charge of paramilitary operations may have been an individual not found in the official (or the CIA histories) of the Cuba project, one Carl Jenkins. According to papers submitted to the ARRB, Jenkins reportedly had served in the Marine Corps in WWII, and in the early 1950s became a CIA paramilitary, survival, evasion and escape trainer for the CIA. From 1955-1958 he served as an instructor for paramilitary tactics and resistance, and trained cadre for both the Thai Border Police and the Chinese Nationalist Special Forces. He was also training and operations officer for maritime infiltration and worked in Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines.

Jenkins came into the Cuba project in 1960 and served with it until the Bay of Pigs; he performed selection and training of paramilitary cadre, selected officers, and managed small teams and individual agents in maritime infiltration of Cuba.

In general terms, it appears that while Morales dealt with the development and deployment of security and intelligence forces in conjunction with the landing, Jenkins selected and prepared paramilitary cadre for small, individual missions in advance and support of the invasion force. There are also documents which connect him to at least one Castro assassination project, involving a small team using rifles. After the Bay of Pigs, Jenkins became Special Warfare Advisor to I Corps in Danang, South Vietnam prior to returning for further service with Cuban exiles in 1963...

1963 saw the inauguration of a new and highly confidential project. The CIA cryptonym for its activities in the project was AMWORLD. In general terms the project involved a new attempt to establish an autonomous Cuban leadership which could assemble the military force and political clout to produce a coup inside Cuba and create the conditions for the United States to come to the aid of a new, non-communist Cuban leadership. Manuel Artime (AMBIDDY-1) was a key figure in this project and a small task group was organized to support AMWORLD; it operated out of compartmentalized facilities in the Miami Station (LORKE) and conducted activities in venues ranging from New York to Mexico City to Spain. Henry Hecksher was attached to AMWORLD as Artime's case officer (among other responsibilities). Carl Jenkins was brought back to oversee paramilitary support and serve as case officer to Artime's second in command, Rolando Quintero (AMJAVA-4).

Jenkins and Hecksher were also involved in the Artime's initial travel to Europe for contact with Rolando Cubela (AMLASH). These AMWORLD activities began in mid-1963 and continued through 1964. Very few CIA station personnel were allowed knowledge of the AMWORLD project; in Mexico City the only officer authorized for AMWORLD was David Phillips."

Don Bohning

Either Carl Jenkins doesn't know his own career history or Simkin and Hancock have it wrong. I believe Jenkins.

Note that Simkin quotes Hancock as saying re Jenkins: "However, the officer in charge of paramilitary opeations MAY HAVE BEEN [emphasis added] . . . one Carl Jenkins."

The following is from a lengthy 28 August 2007, telephone conversation i had with Jenkins at his home in Texas. The first question I asked him was about Guatemala - as a direct result of the (erroneous) information posted on the Simkin website.

Jenkins responded by saying that he had "zero . . . nothing to do with Guatemala in 1954. I was on active duty and a captain in the Marine Corps. I didn't even know about it until years later."

Jenkins said he enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1943 at age 17, served in the Pacific, and stayed in the Marines until 1946. He then went to Centenary College in Louisiana, finishing in three years, doing various civilian things (teaching, pipeline work in Oklahoma, etc.) until the Korean War broke out in 1950. At that point he went back on active duty with the Marines.

In 1952 he was recruited by the CIA and went to "The Farm" as part of the agency's paramilitary training program. He spent a year there and met Jake Esterline, who later was to become project director for the Bay of Pigs invasion.

Once the Korean War ended in 1953, the CIA began cutting back. So Jenkins contacted the Marines and they asked if he could "get freed up from assignment" and sent him to Rome, Georgia, to rebuild a Marine rifle company. He was there from 1953-54, and when he left the Marines he contacted the Agency again and he went back in and spent four years (1955-1959) in Saipan. He was then supposed to go to Greece, but instead wound up in Indonesia.

In March 1960 he received a phone call from Esterline, requesting him to join the Cuba operation (Bay of Pigs), and he did.

I note that again Hancock engages in undocumented and erroneous speculation with his "MAY HAVE BEEN"--just as he used the word "LIKELY," with no documentation, in Simkin's previous posting.

John says in his most recent posting that "he is always willing to correct the narrative on my web-pages." If that's so, then it is time to correct the fabricated quote from Rafael Quintero that he attributes to me. I notice he has plenty of responses to most everything else but remains silent about that.

I wonder why?

Pat Speer

Larry Hancock's book, Someone Would Have Talked, is almost certainly the best-sourced and researched book on the possible anti-Castro connection to the Kennedy assassination. He is not some charlatan out to make a quick buck as Don Bohning implies. He might want to read his book, or attend a Lancer conference, before criticizing them. JFK Lancer, by the way, is owned and operated by Debra Conway, and is not "profitable" as you seem to believe. Debra runs Lancer as a tribute to her friend Mary Ferrell.

Hancock does not claim that Jenkins was involved in the Guatemalan operation. The record, however, indisputably ties him to the Bay of Pigs invasion, and to his being in charge of the training of penetration personnel on Usepa Island. He is named as such in the 1978 HSCA testimony of Carlos Hernandez, p.43, here:

While it's certainly possible that Operation 40 has been much maligned, and was designed to penetrate into Cuba and blow things up, but not assassinate anyone, it is quite clear that certain Cubans were to be singled out and detained after the BOP invasion. It is willfully and woefully naive to believe that at least some of these men were not slated to be killed. The CIA's own internal history would not rule this out, and even printed a "must go" list found in the files. (You can read it on p. 11, here:

So, if not Operation 40, what was the name of the team picked to round up and control those on the "must-go" list, or whatever expanded list they were provided, prior to the BOP? No invasion could have been successful without such a group. No "penetration" of a few thousand troops could possibly have hoped to succeed without a concurrent operation designed to minimize an effective response.

Perhaps Mr. Bohning can use his considerable contacts within the CIA and anti-Castro Cuban communities, and identify just who these men were, and who trained them, if they were not the men identified by researchers and historians such as Hancock and Simkin.

Don Bohning

I had no intention of implying that Larry Hancock was a charlatan. But when John Simkin quotes Hancock as saying, re Operation PBSUCCESS (Guatemala), that "the officer in charge of paramilitary operations MAY HAVE BEEN an individual not found in the official (or the CIA histories) of the Cuba project," it implied that the quote was made in the context of the Guatemala operation, at least as I read it.

Reading the same passage in Hancock's book (p. 416), it certainly implies to me the reference is to Guatemala and not Cuba, though Hancock cites no reference for the passage.

Further evidence Hancock was referring to Guatemala is indicated by the fact that it has long been well known and documented that Marine Colonel Jack Hawkins was in charge of paramilitary operations for the Cuba Project (Bay of Pigs), which again suggests Hancock again is referring to Guatemala.

There is a reason Jenkins is not found in in the official or CIA histories of PBSUCCESS, since he had no role in it and was not even in the CIA at the time.

Neither is there any question that Jenkins was involved in the Bay of Pigs, a role that has been long documented. In fact, I have had several telephone conversations with Jenkins about that over the past year and he makes no secret of his role in the Bay of Pigs.

He has given me the names of several Cuban exiles in the Miami area who he transported to Useppa Island for infiltration and communications training in the spring of 1960 after he joined the project. I have had interviews with three of those folks in the past few months.

As for Hancock, he does his own credibility and the reader a real disservice by using such hypothetical phrases "it is LIKELY" and "it MAY HAVE BEEN" [emphasis added] while simultaneously providing no references/documentation in his book, which I have on my bookshelf.

Had it been published by a recognized publisher, instead of JFK Lancer, it would be taken much more seriously, and likely undergone a more rigorous editing process that would have raised red flags about speculative comments.

I am not sure whether JFK Lancer is a non-profit or not, but I do know from its website - and a personal invitation from Hancock to its annual November conference when my book first came out - that it not only organizes tours to Dallas locations associated with the JFK assassination for a fee, but also has for sale DVD's, etc., and other related Kennedy assassination material.

As for your observation regarding Operation 40, it was the last battalion formed for the Bay of Pigs and it's mission was described in books by its members (such as Nestor Carbonell) and also the Taylor Commission report on the Bay of Pigs failure.

In addition, on page 340 of "Operation Zapata," edited by Luis Aguilar and published in 1984 by University Publications of America, Manuel (Manolo) Ray, a member of the exile front formed to take over the Cuban government had the Bay of Pigs succceded, is asked: What was Operation 40? His answer: "Operation 40 was a group that followed the invasion force to organize each of the cities. It was outside of our organization."

Also, Carlos Obregon was an exile in Miami who tried to enlist in Operation 40 but arrived from Cuba to late to make it. He did join the group following the Bay of Pigs when it "morphed" into the Cuban intelligence service in exile.
According to Obregon - who, I believe, probably knows more than you, Hancock, or Simkin about Operation 40 and its history - described the group to me this way: "It's main objective was to take over the administration of towns and cities liberated by the invasion force, round up government officials and symphatizers and secure the files of the government's different intelligence organizations. At the time, it was not known to me that the Cuban behind this effort was Joaquin Sanjenis Perdomo, whom I came to know personally in late 1967. On the field the person in charge was Vicente Leon, I think, a colonel in Cuba's police force. Leon landed with an advanced Operation 40 party and instead of surrender, killed himself."

Unlike the misinformation Simkin continues to post there is ABSOLUTELY NO EVIDENCE that Operation 40 ever was a "worldwide CIA assassination unit."

Pat Speer

Upon re-examination, I realized I posted the wrong link to the CIA "must-go" list prepared in advance of the Bay of Pigs invasion. It is here:

For clarity purposes, I should also point out that I asked Larry Hancock if he had any info tying Jenkins to Guatemala, and he said he did not-that his main source on Jenkins was a resume submitted to Gene Wheaton, in which Jenkins said he was in the Marines at that time.

In my mind, however, there are still many questions about Operation 40, and its possible role in assassinations. As asked in my last post . . . if not Operation 40, then who? It simply doesn't fly that the U.S. would sponsor an invasion, create lists of men that "must-go", and not assign anyone to round these people up. It also doesn't fly that those to the right of Manolo Ray would just sit by and let "Fidelism without Fidel" take root on fertile Cuban soil. It makes much more sense that some group--with a nod and a wink from the CIA, if not their overt approval--would remove Ray from the scene as soon as the invasion had been successful. It also makes sense that people like Sturgis would be involved in such a plot, as he was reporting to Sanjenis, and was close to Barker, who was close to Hunt, who DESPISED Ray.

While Marita Lorenz was undoubtedly a fabricator of the first order, common sense would indicate there was a kernel of dangerous truth in some of what she said, otherwise she would have been publicly destroyed after 1) she testified that Operation 40 was a team of assassins, here:
and 2)

She repeated this assertion in her book. It certainly seems strange that no one--as far as I can tell--ever bothered to bring perjury or defamation charges against her. As a consequence I suspect she knew something about Hunt, Sturgis, and Operation 40 that no one wanted to come out.

It seems more than a coincidence that Sturgis also testified about Operation 40--claiming that Sanjenis reported to Frank Bender (Gerry Droller), who was, of course, working with Hunt.

At the link above he says their "main job was intelligence. These men were going to be used to infiltrate Cuba to make contact with the underground." This, of course, does not rule out their committing assassinations.

As Sturgis testifies further on Operation 40, moreover, he mentions Rolando Masferrer's involvement. In her book, Marita Lorenz also mentions Masferrer's involvement, but seems to think his group was competing with Sturgis's group. This suggests there was a certain amount of compartmentailzation, and that she did not realize Masferrer's people were also part of Operation 40.

The Wikipedia article on Masferrer, moreover, indicates "In December, 1960, the Miami Herald, reported that Masferrer was leading a small group of fifty-three people who were polishing their killing skills at a ranch owned by multi-millionaire Howard Hughes. Masferrer might have intended to hire a few of them for his organization."

To me, this suggests the possibility that the assassination crew that has come to be known as Operation 40 was in fact an off-shoot of the Operation 40 known to Mr. Bohning and his contacts. This offshoot was run by Sturgis and/or Masferrer, and was most likely on the payroll of someone other than the CIA. In the testimony cited above, Sturgis is very secretive about the source of his funds. Masferrer, of course, is believed to have been funded by organized crime. If the article mentioned on Wikipedia is true, moreover, Howard Hughes--with his men Maheu and Moody, is yet another suspect. Perhaps, then, the "assassination capability" of the CIA in 1961 had been outsourced, not unlike the "extraordinary rendition" of today, and that it was these outsourced Cubans who turned on Kennedy--as discussed by Rosselli and then Phillips.

Don Bohning

I had intended to quit going 'round and 'round responding to the comments about my piece on John Simkin and all the misinformation contained on his websites, including the "Education Forum." But I couldn't resist reacting to Pat Speer's last comment.

In a brief posting on the Education Forum, Speer says he found my Washington Decoded article "a bit strange, considering [Bohning's] a member of this forum and could just as easily have posted it here for all to see. I mean, if he's worried that people are going to be misled, why not come here and set them straight, as opposed to posting on on a website where newbies rarely dwell."

My response to Speer is that because Simkin alters postings to fit his own views, as I can personally attest, I will not post on Simkin's websites. He fabricated a quote by Rafael Quintero and attributed it to me. I will have nothing more to do with Simkin or his websites.

Don Bohning

On May 18, 1961, as reported on page 340 of the Taylor board (appointed by President Kennedy as the official inquiry into the Bay of Pigs), Manolo Ray was asked, "Mr. Ray, What was Operation 40?"

Ray's verbatim answer: "Operation 40 was a group that followed the invasion force, or it was planned for them to follow the invasion force, to organize each of the cities."

If, as Speer claims, Ray complained to JC King that Ray had learned Operation 40 was a "mopping up" operation designed to eliminate Ray's followers in Cuba . . . how does Speer rationalize Ray's sworn testimony to the Taylor board of inquiry, which, in addition to General Maxwell Taylor, included Attorney General Robert Kennedy and Admiral Burke?

In any case, my article stated at the outset that Operation 40 engendered enormous suspicion in the fractious exile community. But allegations must be proven; they just can't be aired and accepted as proven.

Lamont Cranston

I suspect the problem lays in Operation 40 getting confused with Kennedys very real Operation Mongoose

Mel Ayton

Don Bohning’s implied characterization of Simkin as a rabid left-wing ideologue is not without factual support. As a schoolboy Simkin suffered abuse at the hands of a “vicious teacher” who claimed he had been a member of British Intelligence during the Second World War. On one occasion the teacher tried to make the young Simkin cry in front of his friends after he learned of the death of Simkin’s father.This no doubt had a profound effect on him.

It is no stretch of the imagination to assume that Simkin’s politics and his bitterness towards intelligence agencies arose from the abuse he allegedly suffered from the former intelligence agent/teacher. He became interested in the role intelligence services played in ‘undermining democracy in the developed world’ and 'US support of military dictatorships in underdeveloped countries'.At various times he has blamed the CIA for virtually every ill that befell the world including the assassinations of JFK, MLK and RFK, the murder of JFK’s mistress Mary Meyer and the ‘removal’ of Jimmy Carter from office.

Simkin went to school in Dagenham, a slum town with a poor educational system. His education at this time can be characterized as ‘unsuccessful’. Simkin left school without any educational qualifications and then entered the print trade. It was in the print trade that he met union activist, Bob Clark, who introduced the adolescent Simkin to left wing politics. The print industry was notorious during the 60s and 70s for militant industrial action led by committed Marxists. Clark suggested that the next stage in Simkin’s education should be to join the youth wing of the Labour Party. There is no doubt that in the 1960s the ‘Young Socialists’ was a Marxist-dominated organization – I know, I was a member of the Labour Party at the time. That view also applies to his far-left printer’s union which was led by organizers who had more of an interest in toppling democratically-elected British governments than protecting the interests of its members. When Simkin states he is really a ‘libertarian socialist’ he is simply repeating what all good Trotskyites in the 1960s and 1970s did – cloak their true politics in the kind of socialism which allows them to deny they are ‘communists’.

Simkin has visited China, Hungary, the former Czechoslovakia, the former Soviet Union and Cuba and admired their welfare systems, low unemployment and the way the people in those countries ‘felt a sense of security’. He believes the people of China, especially, are fully supportive of their communist government but they also appear to be ‘brainwashed’. He reserves his greatest admiration for the people of Cuba who he believes are the ‘happiest’ he has ever met. He also can’t resist criticizing capitalist societies which he claims do not have freedom of expression because the tools of communication are dominated by the ‘Rupert Murdochs and Tony Blairs’ of this world.

In 1979 Simkin was a founder member of the Tressell Publishing Cooperative, which became the vehicle for his books/pamphlets, some 20 in total. In effect, he is self-published. Simkin gives as his reason for pursuing this publishing route as “…… I chose to go with small publishers… because they gave me the freedom to write what I wanted… mainstream publishers are usually unwilling to publish controversial books. This is especially true when you want to be critical of organizations like the CIA and the FBI.” This is clearly self-serving absurd nonsense. Numerous mainstream publishers have been critical of the CIA/FBI, including NYRB publications (Thomas Powers) and Shapolsky Publishers (David Scheim). JFK conspiracy books critical of the CIA and FBI have been published by Carroll and Graf, Mainstream Publishing (Citadel Press), Cumberland House - the list is endless. The reason Simkin’s books haven’t been published by mainstream publishers is because they are infused with political left wing paranoia.

Simkin has misrepresented his website on a number of occasions. Recently he told Black Op radio’s Len Osanic that ‘lone gunman’ advocates in the JFK/MLK/RFK assassinations are not willing to appear on his website for fear of intense cross-examination. Simkin has thus deliberately ignored the contributions to his forum by me, Dan Moldea and Don Bohning. We willingly appeared on his website over the past few years to offer our considered expertise about the murders of JFK/MLK and RFK despite being aware the forum was monopolized by rabid conspiracy buffs.

Simkin also dishes out lies when it suits his purpose. In one posting he accused Dan Moldea of having changed the conclusion of his RFK assassination book for financial reasons. Moldea responded by telling Simkin, “… flat-out accused me of being corrupted by a publisher's advance and suggested that I was controlled by the CIA and/or the FBI. I can assure you both of these allegations are not true.” Simkin was forced to issue a retraction - “Dan Moldea has complained about the comments above. It is of course pure speculation on my part and I have no evidence that anybody put him under pressure to change his mind about the assassination of Robert Kennedy. From the email exchanges I have had with Dan I am now convinced that I made a false assumption and I would like to apologise for questioning his integrity.”

Simkin has also viciously attacked Professor John McAdams - because McAdams has the temerity to run a website devoted to challenging the conspiracy nonsense which Simkin and his friends are devoted to spreading.

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Washington Decoded