The recent written confirmation from Anthony Veciana that his long time associate Maurice Bishop was indeed CIA officer David Phillips gives me the opportunity not only to write a bit about that revelation but also about how it fits into the much broader picture that we developed with “Shadow Warfare”. Actually there was no doubt in my mind about the identity of Bishop and I think the extensive information developed by Gaeton Fonzi and Tony Summers fully supports the expanded study which I did in my Phillips chapter in SWHT. Veciana also made it quite clear to Fonzi and others why he would not identify Phillips in his formal testimony without Phillips permission and its clear that he has now only done so following Fonzi’s death and out of respect for Gaeton and his wife Marie.
What a good deal of the discussion about Veciana’s recent statement is missing however, is that the relationship between the two men started in 1960 inside Cuba and continued for a full decade, with Phillips assisting Veciana to get a USAID position in Latin America in 1968 – even while Veciana was under official INS restriction to Miami’s Dade county and should have never have been allowed out of the U.S. This long term relationship becomes extremely important in two areas that we address in “Shadow Warfare”.
First, in the context of Kennedy Administration policies and CIA official positions, it is clear that Phillips worked with and was in contact inside Cuba with a very well organized revolutionary group which almost did assassinate Fidel Castro in a bazooka attack…only very bad luck on their part saved Castro. And it appears that Phillips continued to contact and work with Veciana in attempts to kill Castro over the next decade, including one extremely complex plot developed in Chile in 1971. Given that there appears to be no Presidential approval or CIA executive sanction for the ongoing attempts, a serious question is raised as to whether Phillips was pursuing his own private agenda and to what extent the plots were supported by CIA vs. private resources. There is also a major question about whether or not his superiors were aware of this, to what level within the Agency and to what extent the Agency officially covered up his activities to the Church Committee and HSCA investigations.
That becomes much more critical in terms of Phillip’s long term influence on events in Latin America, including his admitted contacts with Louis Posada, Posada’s terror attacks and the activities of other CIA related Cuban exiles across South America – something we discuss in great detail in “Shadow Warfare”, including Phillips (and David Morales) seminal activities in what became known as the Condor operation.
Another explosive issue raised by Veciana’s confirmation is the relationship between the CIA and Alpha 66, which according to Veciana was instigated, funded and directed by Bishop/Phillips. Exactly who inside the CIA knew that Phillips was helping create Alpha 66 and who knew that he was directing it towards attacks on Russian targets inside Cuba though 62/63 in direct opposition to Kennedy Administration policies and presidential directives? In “Shadow Warfare”, we discuss the issue of CIA rogue action and the real risk posed by decisions by officers who decide to obstruct and subvert administration policies.
In short, those interested in the Kennedy assassination sometimes come to view people like Phillips, Hecksher, Morales, Shackley, Sforza, Robertson and their Cuban exile associates only in terms of 1963, in “Shadow Warfare” we follow their careers and activities over some 30 years and readers will see there impact on a global scale. Its a much broader view and we think a much more revealing one.