Discussion:
The Cubana Airlines Flight of November 22, 1963
(too old to reply)
Raymond
2012-01-08 15:15:09 UTC
Permalink
The Cubana Airlines Flight of November 22, 1963
Peter R. Whitmey

The Fourth Decade, January 1995

In June of 1976 the Senate Select Committee described in Book V
of its report the mysterious delay of a Cubana Airlines flight, not
long after the assassination of President Kennedy, originating in
Mexico City and destined for Cuba. The reason given for the five-hour
delay (from 6:00 to 11:00 p.m. EST), according to information received
by the CIA on Dec. 1, 1963, was for the purpose of transporting an
“unidentified passenger (who) had arrived at the Mexico city airport
in a twin-engine aircraft at 10:30 p.m.” (1) The man had apparently
boarded the Cubana flight without going through customs, and traveled
to Cuba in the cockpit.

During the HSCA’s investigation, the Cubana Airlines flight
incident was reviewed. The committee ascertained that the Cubana
flight had been delayed, but by four hours and ten minutes, not five
hours as previously reported. It was also learned that the Cubana
flight left Mexico City at 8:30 p.m., an hour before the twin-engine
private aircraft arrived, so a transfer of a passenger was not
possible. Had such a transfer occurred, the committee felt that it was
highly unlikely that it would have gone unnoticed, given the extensive
records maintained at the airport. However, for some reason, the
committee failed to divulge the name of the mystery passenger who had
landed in Mexico City in their report. (2)

The likely identity of the individual first referred to by the
Senate Select Committee as an “unidentified passenger” was revealed in
two CIA reports dated Jan. 25 and Jan. 27, 1964, released under the
Freedom of Information Act in November 1983. A detailed summary was
provided by Henry Hurt in his 1985 book Reasonable Doubt. (3)
According to CIA sources, the man’s name was Miguel Casas Saez. He was
born in Cuba, and at the time of the assassination was either twenty-
one or twenty-seven, 5’5” in height, and weighing 155 lbs. Saez was an
ardent admirer of Raul Castro, Fidel Castro’s brother, and was
possibly a member of the Cuban intelligence service; he even spoke
Russian.

Much of the information about Saez was provided to the CIA
before the assassination, on November 5 and 15, 1963. He had entered
the U.S. in Miami in early November using the name “Angel Dominiguez
Martinez” on a “sabotage and espionage mission”, according to one CIA
source, and had been in Dallas on November 22 with two friends
(confirmed by CIA sources inside Cuba), returning to Dallas later that
day. Saez apparently had experience with weapons while in the militia,
and was described as being “capable of doing anything” by the same
source. Further investigation by two men working under the Cuban
source determined that Saez had gone from being poorly dressed to well
dressed with lots of money, after having disappeared for several
weeks.

Another CIA source, considered reliable, provided further
details from Saez’s aunt, who knew him as “Miguelito.” She also
confirmed that he had been in Dallas on November 22, had left the U.S.
at Laredo for Mexico City and then onto Cuba. The aunt described her
nephew as one of “Raul’s men” and “very brave, very brave.”

Hurt also points out that in late 1964, the CIA informed the FBI
that an “untested” source had provided information from a Cuban
scientist who had been at the Havana airport late on Nov. 22, 1963. He
had noticed a plane with Mexican markings land at the far end of the
air field, with two men, whom he recognized as Cuban “gangsters,”
emerging from the back door of the administration building. The
scientist learned that the flight had originated in Dallas. Were they
possibly friends of Saez and co-conspirators in the assassination?

An intriguing footnote to the Cubana Airlines incident came to
my attention in the fall of 1988 during a telephone conversation with
Alan Edmunds, a former Maclean’s journalist. (4) He mentioned to me
that a small contingent of Canadian and British journalists, including
himself, had been granted visas by the Cuban government to cover the
trial of two Canadian pilots who had been caught smuggling explosives
into Cuba, hidden in cans of papaya juice. (5) The trial was to begin
on November 23, 1963, and the reporters arranged to meet “at noon in
the bar of Mexico City Airport on November 22.” Their flight to Cuba
on Cubana Airlines was scheduled to leave at 2:00 p.m. CST, but they
had been warned that “the plane would be held until the last of the
refugee passengers had been cleared by U.S. Immigration.” (6)

While at the bar, Edmunds and his eight colleagues learned that
President Kennedy had been shot in Dallas, and immediately ran for the
phones, with seats available on an Eastern Airlines flight to Dallas.
However, Edmunds was told to continue on to Cuba, despite the feeling
that Castro was behind the assassination, which could likely have
resulted in a nuclear attack on Cuba.

Edmunds recalled that their flight was not called until 9:00 pm—
a delay of seven hours—and that they were the only passengers allowed
on board. It was pitch black as they were escorted by “a small man
with a nervous smile and impeccable New York English…across several
hundred yards of tarmac.” They were led up the front steps and seated
in what had been “the first class compartment in pre-egalitarian
days.”

After the seat-belt sign went out, Edmunds got up and began
walking to the rear of the plane in search of the washroom, which he
assumed was in the economy section, separated by a curtain. As he
opened the curtain, the Cuban escort, who doubled as the steward,
grabbed his arm and abruptly directed him to a washroom in the first
class section. However, Edmunds had been able to take note of four to
six people in that area of the plane, including two men to his left
and a woman to his right.

Edmunds recalled that years later, possibly in 1978 (more likely
1975, unless he meant the HSCA) a “U.S. Senate Inquiry into the
Kennedy assassination had been presented with the theory that Lee
Harvey Oswald had been a patsy, and it was a Cuban hit squad that had
got Kennedy from the grassy knoll near the book warehouse. They’d
driven Hell for Leather to Dallas airport and boarded a scheduled
flight to Mexico City. The inquiry had been told that the Cubana
Airlines flight to Havana that day had been deliberately delayed so it
could fly them back to Cuba before anyone caught on.” Edmunds
indicated that someone had suggested the possibility that one of the
Canadian journalists aboard that flight might have seen the hit squad,
and therefore should be questioned. Although Edmunds states in his
manuscript that neither he nor his colleagues were contacted, he did
recall during our conversation having been phoned [by someone from the
committee], with the expectation of a follow-up interview, which never
materialized.

In his manuscript, Edmunds suggested that, had he taken the
theory at all seriously, he “should, in all conscience, have at least
phoned Washington.” But then he would have been forced to publicly
admit that further investigation on his part might have been expected.
In retrospect, Edmunds wondered whether the other passengers were
merely rejected refugees being sent back to Cuba, or maybe cabin crew
from the previous flight returning home. If not, he facetiously
suggested the possibility of having “missed the story of the century”
in his “eagerness to get to the washroom.”

Edmunds’s description of the Cubana flight makes no reference to
having observed an incoming private plane or the boarding of a
passenger who went directly to the cockpit, although it is conceivable
that these events took place prior to the journalists being escorted
to the plane. In addition, Edmunds’s recollection of the scheduled and
actual time of departure is not consistent with the Senate Committee’s
report, nor with the HSCA’s, but there is no indication that Cuban
Airlines had more than one flight to Cuba that day. (In fact, Edmunds
stated that Cubana Airlines had only one flight per week from Mexico
City to Cuba.)

So we are left with a suspicious, but inconclusive, possibility,
that one or more pro-Castro Cubans might have been involved in the
assassination of JFK, with or without Lee Harvey Oswald’s knowledge
and participation. Even though the CIA had informed the FBI about the
observation of a Cuban scientist at the Havana Airport described
earlier, on a routing sheet that accompanied the document, someone at
the CIA had scrawled the following comment: “I’d let this die its
natural death, as the FBI is doing.” The CIA’s source in Cuba had, in
fact, died by then. (7)

As for Saez, no attempt had apparently been made to determine
why he had traveled to the U.S., why he happened to be in Dallas on
November 22, 1963, why he had abruptly returned to Cuba with apparent
assistance that day, why he suddenly came into more money than ever
before, and whatever happened to him. Presumably the HSCA was aware of
the CIA documents cited by Henry Hurt, but no specific reference was
made to Saez in its report. It is also apparent that the Warren
Commission was never informed by the CIA about the Cuban connection.
http://karws.gso.uri.edu/jfk/the_critics/Whitmey/Cubana.html

Notes:

1. Bernard Fensterwald with Michael Ewing, Coincidence or
Conspiracy? (New York: Zebra Books, 1977), pp. 494–495. It should be
noted that the authors describe the man as being a twenty-three-year-
old “Cuban-American,” with connections to Tampa, Florida, Fair Play
For Cuba Committee, who might have been involved in the assassination,
according to a CIA source. However, this description clearly applies
to Gilberto Policarpo Lopez, whose suspicious movements are described
in detail in The Final Assassinations Report (Bantam Books: N.Y.), pp.
136–141.

2. The Final Assassinations Report (Bantam Books, N.Y.), 1979, p.
136. Note: the Cubana Airline flight is incorrectly stated as having
taken place on Nov. 23, 1963, but the report referred to in the
footnotes on p. 695 gives the correct date of Nov. 22, 1963.

3. Henry Hurt, Reasonable Doubt (Henry Holt and Co. N.Y., 1985),
pp. 421–23.

4. I had contacted Edmunds in the course of trying to locate
another former Maclean’s writer named Jon Ruddy related to my Richard
Giesbrecht research, and through Edmunds was successful (Ruddy died in
1995 in Mexico, as a result of an accident.)

5. “The Great Cuban Spy Caper” (part one) by William Milne as
told to Barbara Moon, Maclean’s, February 22, 1964, pp. 7–8, March 7,
1964, pp. 24–25, 39–45. Also, New York Times, Nov. 24, 1963, p. 25 and
New York Times, Dec. 11, 1963, p. 11.

6. Alan Edmunds, “Airlines to Avoid: Cubana,” sent to me on Jan.
22, 1990; it was to be published in a Canadian travel magazine,
although I don’t know if it ever was.

7. Hurt, Reasonable Doubt, p. 423.

http://karws.gso.uri.edu/jfk/the_critics/Whitmey/Cubana.html
Canuck
2012-01-09 01:05:06 UTC
Permalink
Post by Raymond
The Cubana Airlines Flight of November 22, 1963
Peter R. Whitmey
The Fourth Decade, January 1995
      In June of 1976 the Senate Select Committee described in Book V
of its report the mysterious delay of a Cubana Airlines flight, not
long after the assassination of President Kennedy, originating in
Mexico City and destined for Cuba. The reason given for the five-hour
delay (from 6:00 to 11:00 p.m. EST), according to information received
by the CIA on Dec. 1, 1963, was for the purpose of transporting an
“unidentified passenger (who) had arrived at the Mexico city airport
in a twin-engine aircraft at 10:30 p.m.” (1) The man had apparently
boarded the Cubana flight without going through customs, and traveled
to Cuba in the cockpit.
      During the HSCA’s investigation, the Cubana Airlines flight
incident was reviewed. The committee ascertained that the Cubana
flight had been delayed, but by four hours and ten minutes, not five
hours as previously reported. It was also learned that the Cubana
flight left Mexico City at 8:30 p.m., an hour before the twin-engine
private aircraft arrived, so a transfer of a passenger was not
possible. Had such a transfer occurred, the committee felt that it was
highly unlikely that it would have gone unnoticed, given the extensive
records maintained at the airport. However, for some reason, the
committee failed to divulge the name of the mystery passenger who had
landed in Mexico City in their report. (2)
      The likely identity of the individual first referred to by the
Senate Select Committee as an “unidentified passenger” was revealed in
two CIA reports dated Jan. 25 and Jan. 27, 1964, released under the
Freedom of Information Act in November 1983. A detailed summary was
provided by Henry Hurt in his 1985 book Reasonable Doubt. (3)
According to CIA sources, the man’s name was Miguel Casas Saez. He was
born in Cuba, and at the time of the assassination was either twenty-
one or twenty-seven, 5’5” in height, and weighing 155 lbs. Saez was an
ardent admirer of Raul Castro, Fidel Castro’s brother, and was
possibly a member of the Cuban intelligence service; he even spoke
Russian.
      Much of the information about Saez was provided to the CIA
before the assassination, on November 5 and 15, 1963. He had entered
the U.S. in Miami in early November using the name “Angel Dominiguez
Martinez” on a “sabotage and espionage mission”, according to one CIA
source, and had been in Dallas on November 22 with two friends
(confirmed by CIA sources inside Cuba), returning to Dallas later that
day. Saez apparently had experience with weapons while in the militia,
and was described as being “capable of doing anything” by the same
source. Further investigation by two men working under the Cuban
source determined that Saez had gone from being poorly dressed to well
dressed with lots of money, after having disappeared for several
weeks.
      Another CIA source, considered reliable, provided further
details from Saez’s aunt, who knew him as “Miguelito.” She also
confirmed that he had been in Dallas on November 22, had left the U.S.
at Laredo for Mexico City and then onto Cuba. The aunt described her
nephew as one of “Raul’s men” and “very brave, very brave.”
      Hurt also points out that in late 1964, the CIA informed the FBI
that an “untested” source had provided information from a Cuban
scientist who had been at the Havana airport late on Nov. 22, 1963. He
had noticed a plane with Mexican markings land at the far end of the
air field, with two men, whom he recognized as Cuban “gangsters,”
emerging from the back door of the administration building. The
scientist learned that the flight had originated in Dallas. Were they
possibly friends of Saez and co-conspirators in the assassination?
      An intriguing footnote to the Cubana Airlines incident came to
my attention in the fall of 1988 during a telephone conversation with
Alan Edmunds, a former Maclean’s journalist. (4) He mentioned to me
that a small contingent of Canadian and British journalists, including
himself, had been granted visas by the Cuban government to cover the
trial of two Canadian pilots who had been caught smuggling explosives
into Cuba, hidden in cans of papaya juice. (5) The trial was to begin
on November 23, 1963, and the reporters arranged to meet “at noon in
the bar of Mexico City Airport on November 22.” Their flight to Cuba
on Cubana Airlines was scheduled to leave at 2:00 p.m. CST, but they
had been warned that “the plane would be held until the last of the
refugee passengers had been cleared by U.S. Immigration.” (6)
      While at the bar, Edmunds and his eight colleagues learned that
President Kennedy had been shot in Dallas, and immediately ran for the
phones, with seats available on an Eastern Airlines flight to Dallas.
However, Edmunds was told to continue on to Cuba, despite the feeling
that Castro was behind the assassination, which could likely have
resulted in a nuclear attack on Cuba.
      Edmunds recalled that their flight was not called until 9:00 pm—
a delay of seven hours—and that they were the only passengers allowed
on board. It was pitch black as they were escorted by “a small man
with a nervous smile and impeccable New York English…across several
hundred yards of tarmac.” They were led up the front steps and seated
in what had been “the first class compartment in pre-egalitarian
days.”
      After the seat-belt sign went out, Edmunds got up and began
walking to the rear of the plane in search of the washroom, which he
assumed was in the economy section, separated by a curtain. As he
opened the curtain, the Cuban escort, who doubled as the steward,
grabbed his arm and abruptly directed him to a washroom in the first
class section. However, Edmunds had been able to take note of four to
six people in that area of the plane, including two men to his left
and a woman to his right.
      Edmunds recalled that years later, possibly in 1978 (more likely
1975, unless he meant the HSCA) a “U.S. Senate Inquiry into the
Kennedy assassination had been presented with the theory that Lee
Harvey Oswald had been a patsy, and it was a Cuban hit squad that had
got Kennedy from the grassy knoll near the book warehouse. They’d
driven Hell for Leather to Dallas airport and boarded a scheduled
flight to Mexico City. The inquiry had been told that the Cubana
Airlines flight to Havana that day had been deliberately delayed so it
could fly them back to Cuba before anyone caught on.” Edmunds
indicated that someone had suggested the possibility that one of the
Canadian journalists aboard that flight might have seen the hit squad,
and therefore should be questioned. Although Edmunds states in his
manuscript that neither he nor his colleagues were contacted, he did
recall during our conversation having been phoned [by someone from the
committee], with the expectation of a follow-up interview, which never
materialized.
      In his manuscript, Edmunds suggested that, had he taken the
theory at all seriously, he “should, in all conscience, have at least
phoned Washington.” But then he would have been forced to publicly
admit that further investigation on his part might have been expected.
In retrospect, Edmunds wondered whether the other passengers were
merely rejected refugees being sent back to Cuba, or maybe cabin crew
from the previous flight returning home. If not, he facetiously
suggested the possibility of having “missed the story of the century”
in his “eagerness to get to the washroom.”
      Edmunds’s description of the Cubana flight makes no reference to
having observed an incoming private plane or the boarding of a
passenger who went directly to the cockpit, although it is conceivable
that these events took place prior to the journalists being escorted
to the plane. In addition, Edmunds’s recollection of the scheduled and
actual time of departure is not consistent with the Senate Committee’s
report, nor with the HSCA’s, but there is no indication that Cuban
Airlines had more than one flight to Cuba that day. (In fact, Edmunds
stated that Cubana Airlines had only one flight per week from Mexico
City to Cuba.)
      So we are left with a suspicious, but inconclusive, possibility,
that one or more pro-Castro Cubans might have been involved in the
assassination of JFK, with or without Lee Harvey Oswald’s knowledge
and participation. Even though the CIA had informed the FBI about the
observation of a Cuban scientist at the Havana Airport described
earlier, on a routing sheet that accompanied the document, someone at
the CIA had scrawled the following comment: “I’d let this die its
natural death, as the FBI is doing.” The CIA’s source in Cuba had, in
fact, died by then. (7)
      As for Saez, no attempt had apparently been made to determine
why he had traveled to the U.S., why he happened to be in Dallas on
November 22, 1963, why he had abruptly returned to Cuba with apparent
assistance that day, why he suddenly came into more money than ever
before, and whatever happened to him. Presumably the HSCA was aware of
the CIA documents cited by Henry Hurt, but no specific reference was
made to Saez in its report. It is also apparent that the Warren
Commission was never informed by the CIA about the Cuban connection.http://karws.gso.uri.edu/jfk/the_critics/Whitmey/Cubana.html
1.      Bernard Fensterwald with Michael Ewing, Coincidence or
Conspiracy? (New York: Zebra Books, 1977), pp. 494–495. It should be
noted that the authors describe the man as being a twenty-three-year-
old “Cuban-American,” with connections to Tampa, Florida, Fair Play
For Cuba Committee, who might have been involved in the assassination,
according to a CIA source. However, this description clearly applies
to Gilberto Policarpo Lopez, whose suspicious movements are described
in detail in The Final Assassinations Report (Bantam Books: N.Y.), pp.
136–141.
2.      The Final Assassinations Report (Bantam Books, N.Y.), 1979, p.
136. Note: the Cubana Airline flight is incorrectly stated as having
taken place on Nov. 23, 1963, but the report referred to in the
footnotes on p. 695 gives the correct date of Nov. 22, 1963.
3.      Henry Hurt, Reasonable Doubt (Henry Holt and Co. N.Y., 1985),
pp. 421–23.
4.      I had contacted Edmunds in the course of trying to locate
another former Maclean’s writer named Jon Ruddy related to my Richard
Giesbrecht research, and through Edmunds was successful (Ruddy died in
1995 in Mexico, as a result of an accident.)
5.      “The Great Cuban Spy Caper” (part one) by William Milne as
told to Barbara Moon, Maclean’s, February 22, 1964, pp. 7–8, March 7,
1964, pp. 24–25, 39–45. Also, New York Times, Nov. 24, 1963, p. 25 and
New York Times, Dec. 11, 1963, p. 11.
6.      Alan Edmunds, “Airlines to Avoid: Cubana,” sent to me on Jan.
22, 1990; it was to be published in a Canadian travel magazine,
although I don’t know if it ever was.
7.      Hurt, Reasonable Doubt, p. 423.
 http://karws.gso.uri.edu/jfk/the_critics/Whitmey/Cubana.html
Thanks for bringing my Cubana Airlines article to the attention of the
newsgroup. I recently had another article at Ken Rahn's site added to
my collection at John McAdams' website entitled "Deception and
Deceit: Media Coverage of JFK's Assassination (http://
mcadams.posc.mu.edu/Deception_and_Deceit.htm). It's included in the
"featured articles" section, which also includes many other articles
worth reading, by both "lone nut" advocates and conspiracy theorists.
- Peter R. Whitmey

Loading...