A NEW CUBAN CONNECTION TO JFK'S MURDER
6 November 2016 - Only days after the John F. Kennedy assassination, top White House aides read an eyes-only report that Cuba was behind the shocking Dallas murder. Castro had warned he’d retaliate if the Kennedy administration kept trying to kill him. They had continued. New President Lyndon Johnson ordered the secret report buried. If made public, the U.S. would have to attack Soviet-backed Cuba and thus start World War III.
It’s been 53 years since that terrible day in Dallas and the “Cuban Connection” has resurfaced in newly-revealed secret diaries of a deceased Cold War spy and assassin. Douglas Bazata was a decorated O.S.S. special forces “Jedburgh” in World War II and a celebrated freelance spy who, after the war, worked for the CIA, among other intelligence agencies. His now decoded secret diaries tell for the first time the extraordinary story of his close friend, Rene A. Dussaq, a fellow “Jed” and larger-than-life clandestine, who he says hatched the assassination plan and led it as a shooter in Dallas. The fascinating story and evidence, pro and con, is in my new book, Target:JFK The Spy who killed Kennedy?, a mystery story that could be the key to that famous murder.
Dussaq, Argentine-born, naturalized an American in 1942, was the son of a Cuban diplomat. While being educated in Switzerland, he spent summers on the island and considered himself Cuban. He hatched the plan, according to the diaries, in order to free Cuba from U.S. domination – exploitation vividly illustrated in the movie Godfather with gangsters cutting a cake shaped as Cuba. Suave and fearless, Dussaq was an Olympic athlete, Cuban revolutionary, Hollywood stuntman, deep-sea diver and treasure hunter who, during WWII, became the legendary “Captain Bazooka” in France who helped the Maquis defeat the Nazis. Almost singlehandedly, he captured a garrison of over 500 Germans.
But few in America have ever heard of Dussaq, although some of his exploits have been chronicled. He kept a low profile as a successful post-WWII Los Angeles insurance agent while secretly working undercover for the FBI against Hollywood communists in the 1950s. It also appears he was a double and perhaps triple agent working ostensibly for the CIA but actually for Cuba, if not others. Characteristically, the CIA will neither confirm or deny that. Bazata too, after the war, worked for the CIA and was a good friend of William Colby who headed CIA from 1973 to 1976. Because of who he was and his access, his secret diaries must be taken seriously.
Dussaq and Bazata met in Cuba in the 1930s. Bazata was a young marine assigned to assassinate a Cuban revolutionary. The mission went awry but Dussaq saved his life. Bazata was in his debt. He also admired Dussaq for his mind and fearlessness. As Jedburghs, both men jumped into Occupied France where their bond deepened. After the war, writes Bazata, Dussaq grew angry at U.S. exploitation of Cuba and once JFK became president, his administration’s Bay of Pigs invasion and continual attempts to assassinate Fidel Castro gave justification in Dussaq’s mind for implementing “Hydra-K,” the JFK kill-plot detailed in the diaries.
The diaries say Dussaq “picked” Fidel Castro from among other young possibles to lead Cuba against outside manipulators. The relationship between the two is vague and mysterious in the diaries but Dussaq joins Castro on his infamous “Granma” expedition from Mexico to invade Cuba. Although that 1956 venture was a failure it installed Castro in the Cuban mountains from where he eventually prevailed. During this time and after, Bazata, who headed a freelance clandestine organization in Europe, writes he helped Dussaq with money, material and key personnel. Meanwhile, Hydra-K took shape.
The plot was fluid. Dallas was hoped for as the site because, in Dussaq’s eyes, it was near Mexico, which gave easy access, was a hotbed of anti-JFK sentiment, and had law enforcement that could be bribed. Rehearsals were held in remote areas of Europe. There were five shooters with “handlers” involved, including rogue CIA, world class assassins, and the U.S. Mafia. The killing shots came from the front, not the rear. Dussaq did not want Oswald involved but was forced by higherups, not named, to accept him. He devised a plan where Oswald would be a patsy, as Oswald claimed, but the patsy plan has wrinkles never voiced before.
Should the diaries be believed? Not only was Bazata in the thick of Cold War clandestine when the assassination occurred – and thus is credible - but another infamous Cold War spy and assassin, Lucien Conein, backs him up. Conein, now dead, was as close to James Bond as an American spy can get. It was Conein, a CIA operative, who was in charge of getting rid of Ngo Dinh Diem, the South Vietnam leader assassinated a month before JFK. Documents I believe are authentic which I received from Bazata and the national archives indicate he and Conein discussed Hydra-K before the assassination.
Previously withheld intelligence documents about the assassination are scheduled to be declassified in 2017. It’s probable that the eyes-only documents naming Castro as behind the assassination (with which I opened this piece) will be among them. If not, an account about them and their shocking content can be found in Inner Circles, by Alexander M. Haig, Jr., the former secretary of state under Ronald Reagan. Since then, Oswald’s trip to Mexico just prior to the assassination and reports.
The tragic death of John F. Kennedy has never been conclusively solved. Most Americans don’t believe the Warren Commission’s conclusion that there was only a lone shooter, Oswald, and no conspiracy. I’d be derelict in my duty as a journalist and an American not tell this story. It could be key to the assassination mystery.