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Cryptonym: AMTRUNK

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Operation for military overthrow of Castro's government in 1963, promoted within White House circles but distrusted by CIA. Also known as Plan Leonardo.
AMICE-14 (Miguel Diaz) and AMICE-27 (Dr. Nestor Moreno) were considered the "principals" of the AMTRUNK operation. On 3/6/63, at the outset of this operation, AMICE-14 was polygraphed at the request of "Irving Peggins", the pseudonym for JMWAVE military operations officer Rip Robertson. https://www.maryferrell.org/showDoc.html?docId=68114&relPageId=3


The objective of AMTRUNK "was to overthrow the Cuban government by means of a conspiracy among high-level military and civilian leaders of the government culminating in a coup d'etat which would oust both Castro and the Communists from power...in retrospect, the activity appears to have been insecure and doomed to failure from its inception primarily for lack of compartmentalization, and loose talk on the part of its principals."

104-10102-10235: OPERATION LEONARDO

2/3/63 memo: "OBJECTIVE: To establish contacts with elements within the Government, Rebel Army and militia...a first step...for producing an internal upheaval...(a JFK quote ending with)...'so that Cuban people can once more govern themselves.' This phrase is the leit-motif of 'Leonardo.'" Page 4: "Through Comandante Guin/AMTRUNK-10, who works in INRA and travels around the country, and through anti-Castro army and civilian contacts already active in Cardonas and Marti, the following army officers would be contacted initially: Comandante Guerra, Comandante Parra, Comandante Jose Pinares, Capitan Manuel Avila, Capitan Lawton. From there on the contacts would b enlarged."


2/9/63: One of the first AMTRUNK meetings included Robert Hurwitch at State, Tad Szulc, NY Times reporter, Jorge Volsky of USIA, Dr. Nestor Moreno, Cuban exile AMICE-27, Dave Morales of JMWAVE and Al Rodriguez of HQ, and Col. A. Davies, military contract to CIA...good list of documents follows.


AMICE-14 (Miguel Diaz) and AMICE-27 (Dr. Nestor Moreno) were considered the "principals" of the AMTRUNK operation. On 3/6/63, at the outset of this operation, AMICE-14 was polygraphed at the request of Irving Peggins.

Peter Dale Scott, Deep Politics II p.47

"On March 14 (1963), Robert (Kennedy) had sent his brother a memo urging a combined program to stop Cuban subversion abroad and to appeal within Cuba to elements of the Cuban military...the CIA, along with other agencies, became part of a new strategy aimed at promoting revolt from within Cuba, particularly among the Cuban military. This inter-agency plan was called AMTRUNK inside the CIA, and "Operation Leonardo" by its original authors, George Volsky of USIA, the Cuban exile Nestor Moreno, and Tad Szulc of the New York Times...the CIA's own documents make it abundantly clear how distasteful this White House-backed plan was to them. Old disagreements from the Bay of Pigs operation were revived: the White House preference was to use participants in the original Castro revolution, notably men close to Manolo Ray and Huber Matos; and such men were anathema to the more right-wing Cubans who had defected earlier and been championed by the CIA."


4/5/63 dispatch between JMWAVE chief Ted Shackley and SAS chief Des FitzGerald: "The AMTRUNKERS admit to being anti-KUBARK (CIA) and to be working with KUBARK now only because there was no other alternative if they were to accomplish their mission...there is no KUBARK control over AMTRUNK-1 (George Volsky) or AMCAPE-1 (Tad Szulc)...it is the recommendation of JMWAVE station that this operation be terminated at the earliest possible moment. Since this operation originated at the Headquarters level, it is requested that Headquarters advise JMWAVE as to its decision." Another version of this document is 104-10102-10237 - stating at p. 3: "The Project AMTRUNK mission objective is to overthrow the existing Cuban government by means of a conspiracy among high level military and civilian leaders of the government culminating in a coup d'etat which will oust both Castro and the Communists from power. A secondary and subordinate mission is to determine the climate prevailing among the populace in Havana for organizing resistance elements capable of either passive or active sabotage..."

Peter Dale Scott, "The Three Oswald Deceptions" (1994) http://www.assassinationweb.com/scottd.htm

AMTRUNK was an effort to use the allies of jailed Cuban General Hubert Matos to overthrow Castro. The chief of these allies were the JURE leaders Manuel Ray, Ramon Barquin, and Napoleon Becquer (10 AH 137; cf New York Times, April 19, 1962). "right-wing sources, often explicitly hostile to the CIA, kept alive the phase-one specter of a link between Oswald and either Soviet or Cuban intelligence. From as early as December 1963, the CIA itself was blamed by such sources, either implicitly or explicitly, for its part in the President's murder. John Martino, an active plotter against Castro with a mob background, surfaced one such story in December 1963. blaming the President's death on Castro's response to a plot between Kennedy and the Soviets to have Castro replaced in Cuba by Huber Matos, a former Castro ally now detained in a Cuban jail. This alleged plot was a veiled allusion to the AMTRUNK plan mounted by the CIA and Robert Kennedy in 1963 to use old allies of Matos to overthrow Castro. But Martino the source is perhaps more interesting than his story. In 1963 he had been receiving support for his own anti-Castro operations from Julien Sourwine, Chief Counsel for the Senate Internal Security Subcommittee. It was this Committee, the reader may recall, whose phase-one interests were Johnson's reason (or pretext) for setting up the Warren Commission."


2/28/64 (at p. 4) states "A Caracas asset reported information concerning an operation called "Plan Judas" at that time being constructed inside Cuba. The plan reportedly involved an internal uprising with the support of certain Cuban military figures conspiring against Fidel Castro." Key figures included Juan Almeida and Efigenio Almeijeiras. About the same time a JURE member told American officials that JURE was sponsoring a plan to kill Fidel and other leaders to spark an internal uprising. The station reported this plan because they thought it might be connected to Plan Judas. (at page 2): Chris Hopkins, CIA officer reviewing these documents a decade later, thought that as "Almeida and Ameijiras are and have been solidly behind Castro, it seems doubtful that they were seriously involved in overthrowing him; they could have been penetrations."

Thomas Powers, The Man Who Kept the Secrets, pp. 181, 199;

Powers writes that the assassination program was quietly phased out in the first months of the Johnson administration, and that on 7 April 1964 Johnson had ordered a halt to all sabotage operations.


AMTRUNK-13 is planning to attempt recruitment of a Cuban pilot. "Lawrence F. Barker (Robert Shaw) of the MEXI station and Irving Peggins (Rip Robertson) have paved the way for AMTRUNK-13's handling and safehousing in Mexico City...For the time being then, AMTRUNK recruiting for MHAPRON will be restricted to the attempt against REDACTED...The AMTRUNK case officer, Reuben A. Hannula, is currently investigating several leads for a subsequent two-man infiltration team to expand MHAPRON recruiting efforts under the AMTRUNK project."

MFF • Bill Simpich

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