In an effort to f further spur new research in this area, I wanted to consolidate some of what we do know and point out some key issues with the original investigation as well as a few very interesting open questions.
We officially know about the house only because of reports given to Dallas Deputy Sheriff Buddy Walthers by his mother who lived a few houses a way and had been observing some strange comings and goings at the place for short period before the assassination. I should note that virtually all her remarks were either corroborated or seem very credible. The house itself (in the Oakdale area) had been recently rented – some two months previous – by a leading figure in the local anti-Castro, Cuban exile community. One of the key occupants was Manual Rodriquez Orcarberrio, an Alpha 66 leader and major figure in efforts to buy serious weaponry for the exile groups. He was the target of both an FBI sting and of an independent ATF investigation by Frank Ellsworth. Full details of those efforts are in SWHT and we have a number of on both the FBI and ATF activities. Yet what we do not have are any FBI surveillance or actual investigation records on Orcaberrio’s movements or his associates at the house on Harlandale. One of the FBI’s primary subversive tasks in 1963 was cracking down on exile guy buys and we should have a large set of documents on that activity in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. What we do have from the FBI in regard to Walthers report is nothing more than a confirmation that the Cubans had been in the house and left almost immediately either before or after the assassination. Of course that would be what went into the JFK investigation file; the total local office effort on gun running would be something separate.
It should also be noted that if Oswald was being used as a “dangle” by the FBI, one of the ideal ways for the Bureau to gain more information on these groups and on gun running would be to have Oswald engage with the group having very late night meetings at the Harlandale house (and for those of you who thought that was Mason, regardless of my friend Dick Russell’s remarks, we now have Masens photo and he looks very little like Oswald). It is also interesting to note that JURE was also actively looking for weapons in Dallas, and the person playing the lead in that role was none other than Sylvia Odio.
Also, as I detail in SWHT, there is reason to believe that the FBI source on the house – and the person who told the FBI Oswald had never been there – was Orcabarrio himself. Orcarberrio had come from Miami to Dallas and there are reports suggesting he was violently opposed to JFK. The Harlandale house was used by both Alpha 66 and DRE members, many of the younger exiles belonged to both groups. It should also be noted that Antonio Veciana, a major Alpha 66 figure, was in Dallas in the fall of 63 to meet David Phillips. There has been much talk of his seeing Oswald with Phillips in Dallas, but that overshadows what else Veciana might have been doing in Dallas, as well as any contact he may have had with the local exiles. Recently there has been some information emerging that he too may have been at the house on Harlandale and that we don’t yet have the full story from him on his activities in Dallas. Interestingly enough, we have witness reports of someone looking very much like Oswald at the Harlandale house and across the border in Oklahoma, with Orcarberrio and several other Cuban exiles.
While none of this may have had any direct connection to the attack on JFK, its pretty obvious that if there were Cuban exiles from Florida involved in that, their arrival in Dallas might well have involved at least spending some time on Harlandale or their presence might have been known to some of those there. Given the degree to which gossip flourished in that community, it would certainly be understandable why the house itself was largely abandoned either right before or immediately after Nov. 22, 1963.