The Ballad of "Eduardo"
Get your fix of morbid fascination by reading this Slate interview with E Howard Hunt. Lots of bases briefly touched, including the toppling of the Arbenz government of Guatamala ("What deaths?" Hunt asks, when prodded about some 200,000 lives), Batista ("I thought he ran a good government there"), the murder of Che ("What I thought was great foresight was that the Bolivian colonel had Che's hands cut off"), Felix Rodriguez ("can do no wrong in my book"), and the rumours surrounding the Watergate-era death of his first wife ("there was all this speculation from conspiracy buffs that the FBI blew the plane up or something" - you can read more about that here). Most interesting is this brief exchange as the interview ends:
Slate: I know there is a conspiracy theory saying that David Atlee Phillips—the Miami CIA station chief—was involved with the assassination of JFK.
Hunt: [Visibly uncomfortable] I have no comment.
Slate: I know you hired him early on, to work with you in Mexico, to help with Guatemala propaganda.
Hunt: He was one of the best briefers I ever saw.
Slate: And there were even conspiracy theories about you being in Dallas the day JFK was killed.
Hunt: No comment.
We mentioned Phillips briefly in an earlier post. The best source for Phillips' link to Oswald is Gaeton Fonzi's The Last Investigation. You can read more about the search for "Maurice Bishop" here and on the Real History Archives.
As for Hunt, post-Watergate, when it looked like some concession to the truth on the JFK assassination was unavoidable, the CIA floated the "problem" of his presence in Dallas as a possible limited hangout for the involvement of "rogue elements" of the Agency conspiring in Kennedy's murder. He lost a libel suit in 1978 - the jury was convinced he was lying; that he had indeed been in Dallas on November 22. The trial is the subject of Mark Lane's Plausible Denial.
From Watergate's "smoking gun" tape of June 23 1972, it's evident that Nixon feared what an investigation could reveal about Hunt:
Of course, this is a, this is a Hunt, you will- that will uncover a lot of things. You open that scab there's a hell of a lot of things and that we just feel that it would be very detrimental to have this thing go any further. This involves these Cubans, Hunt, and a lot of hanky-panky that we have nothing to do with ourselves.
But that's not the most interesting revelation on the tape.
HR Haldeman, in his book The Ends of Power, cites several conversations where Nixon expressed concern about the Watergate affair becoming public knowledge and where this exposure might lead. Haldeman writes that he was puzzled when Nixon said, "'Tell Ehrlichman this whole group of Cubans (involved in the break-in) is tied to the Bay of Pigs.' After a pause I said, 'The Bay of Pigs? What does that have to do with this ?' But Nixon merely said, 'Ehrlichman will know what I mean,' and dropped the subject."
Later in the book, he reveals that he discovered that Nixon spoke in code about Kennedy's murder. He writes that Nixon's code for the assassination was "the Bay of Pigs."
Now here's Nixon again on the tape:
When you get in these people when you...get these people in, say: 'Look, the problem is that this will open the whole, the whole Bay of Pigs thing, and the President just feels that" ah, without going into the details... don't, don't lie to them to the extent to say there is no involvement, but just say this is sort of a comedy of errors, bizarre, without getting into it, "the President believes that it is going to open the whole Bay of Pigs thing up again. And, ah because these people are plugging for, for keeps and that they should call the FBI in and say that we wish for the country, don't go any further into this case," period!
Over and over on the tapes, Nixon talks about Hunt, the Cubans, the Texans, and the "Bay of Pigs thing."
See what's going on here?
Nixon is directing Haldeman to warn the FBI off probing Watergate because it'll touch Hunt, and that could reopen the Kennedy assassination. He expects the FBI, since it has a vested interest in perpetuating the cover up, not to pry any further for the good of the country.
You'd think that men like Hunt, if they had any grace or good conscience, would have sickened themselves to death years ago. And undoubtedly, some of them did. Perhaps David Atlee Phillips was one. As Dick Russell tells in The Man Who Knew Too Much, when Phillips was dying of cancer in 1988, his brother James asked him at the end of a telephone conversation: "Were you in Dallas on that day?" David began to cry, and answered "Yes."
Sickened to death?
Not this man.