Were Castro Plots Hatched at Glen Ora? – By William Kelly
In his Washingtonian article on RFK and the plots to kill Castro, Evan Thomas wrote “…. ‘Please don't expect that any one of these things is going to be a catalyst'," recalled Ted Shackley, the Miami station chief, quoting the CIA’s Cuban covert operations chief Desmond Fitzgerald, “But FitzGerald felt under pressure to make these things work, and the pressure came from Robert Kennedy. He'd say, ‘I saw Bobby,' or ‘I ran into Bobby. I saw him in Middleburg. Here's what we got to crank up for next month.' We would say, tactfully. We can make it work. But the question is, will these events bring Castro down?’” (1)
“I saw him in Middleburg. Here’s what we got to crank up for next month,” is what Fitzgerald is quoted as saying about where the plans were drawn up for the CIA’s covert operations against Cuba. Middleburg.
Middleburg, Virginia, is an old and historic town a few hours drive west of Washington, in upper crust Virginia horse country, where you need two hundred acres to build a house, and the location of Glen Ora, a large horse farm, leased by the President elect Kennedy as a weekend retreat. But is it where the plots against Castro were hatched before they backfired at Dealey Plaza?
Des Fitz is quoted as telling Halpern that it was RFK who was ratcheting up the anti-Castro plots, that “I ran into Bobby. I saw him at Middleburg. Here’s what we got to crank up for next month….”
Looking at the official Presidential schedule, Glen Ora was a frequent destination for President Kennedy, both by helicopter, approximately 25 minutes from the White House lawn, or by car, a two hour drive. (2)
Middleburg and Glen Ora were JFK’s concession to his wife Jackie, a horse women who fit nicely into the stiff, reserved, blue blood upper crust Middleburg hunt club society. (3)
The Kennedys spent weekends in the fall and winter at Glen Ora, even during the Cuban Missile Crisis when Kennedy tried to maintain his normal agenda, and he continued to the run nation’s business from Glen Ora up until his death, and if these reports are correct, he may have planned the operations there that ultimately led to his murder. (4)
Glen Ora was owned by Mrs. Gladys Raymond Tartiere, who it is said, was persuaded to lease her estate to Kennedy by William Walton, a mutual friend, and former Time-Life war correspondent. (5)
The Kennedys seemed to like Glen Ora and Middleburg, and wanted to own a home there, rather than lease one, but as Clark Clifford mentions in his memoirs, Mrs. Tartiere “did not wish to sell.” (6)
So they purchased some land nearby and lived at Glen Ora during the construction of their own home, which they called Wexford, named after the town of Kennedy’s Irish roots. While at Glen Ora, they tried to enjoy life outside of the Washington limelight. As Sally B. Smith wrote “…For Jack’s forty-fourth birthday on May 29, Jackie conspired with Paul Fout to create a three-hold golf course at Glen Ora – ‘rather long & difficult ones – so it will be a challenge to play and not just so easy that one gets tired of it.’ To further amuse Jack, she asked that the holes have Confederate flags that would ‘not be visible from the road.’ The Bradlees visited Glen Ora on May 20 for a birthday celebration, and Ben and JFK inaugurated the course, which had grown to four holes ‘9,000 square yards of pasture, filled with small hills, big rocks, and even a swamp,’ Bradlee recalled. JFK ‘shot the course record, a thirty-seven for four holes.’” (7)
Glen Ora had an interesting history, especially the background of its owners. As Tom Scully notes, “Gladys Rosenthal Byfield Tartiere. Aka Mrs. Raymond Tartiere, had been the JFK family's ‘landlady’ since late 1960, when she leased her 400 acres, Middleburg, VA estate, ‘Glen Ora’, to JFK and Jackie.” Her son Byfield, Jr. “was a US Army Captain in WWII, a member of OSS S1, according to the memoirs of David KE Bruce. In 1943, Byfield was the best man in the wedding of William H.G. Fitzgerald, Lt. Cmdr, USN, and later a philanthropist and US Ambassador to Ireland.” (8)
William Henry Gerald Fitzgerald is husband of Mary Ellen and the father of Desmond Fitzgerald, who is still living in Connecticut, and not the CIA officer.
It would be interesting if it could be determined if the two Desmond FitzGeralds are related, and if Desmond FitzGerald of the CIA was indeed a cousin of JFK, related through the FitzGerald side (See: The Kennedys & the Fitzgeralds).
Desmond FitzGerald of the CIA is the son of Harold and Eleanor FitzGearld. He was the CIA officer assigned to run the Cuban operations, and was close to RFK.
The son of JFK’s landlady, Gladys Rosenthal Byfield Tartiere, Ernest Byfield, Jr. was an OSS hand under David Bruce and the best man at the wedding of William H. G. Fitzgerald. (9)
Byfield, Jr. was also associated with Henry Crown and the General Dynamics contract for the F-111, and may have had something to do with Bobby and Billy Hale’s breaking into the apartment of Judith Campbell Exner’s Los Angeles apartment. Exner, who had married golf pro Dan Exner, had previously been the cut-out between JFK and Chicago mob boss Sam Giancana before the election, and it was Giancana who was involved with John Rosselli and Carlos Marcello in the early CIA plots to kill Castro. Bobby and Billy Hale’s father, I. B. Hale, was a former pro football player and FBI agent who was head of security at General Dynamics.
The Hale twins reportedly broke into Exner’s apartment and placed a wiretapping bug while it was under surveillance by the FBI, but when the FBI ran a trace on the Hale’s car, and discovered their father was I.B. Hale, friend of J. Edgar Hover, they never acted on it, though there’s records of this incident in the official files.
[For more on the Hale Twins, see:
Joseph Califano, the assistant to the Secretary of the Army who worked with the Army support for the CIA’s covert operations against Cuba, said that the military had bugged the White House and overheard all of JFK’s private conversations about Cuba, which makes one wonder if they also bugged Glen Ora and knew what plans were made there as well.
Then, in a final irony, former Defense Secretary Robert S. McNamara, who awarded the contract to General Dynamics, married Diana Masieri Byfield in 2004, when he was 92 and she was 74. (10)
There’s also the current owner of Glen Ora, Gladys Tartiere’s daughter Elaine Broadhead, who has used the estate in order to promote some of her radical enterprises, including the founding of the Green Party in the USA. (11).
But most significant, I think, is the allegations by Evan Thomas, that Desmond Fitzgerald, when he was head of the Cuban operations at the CIA, met with RFK at Glen Ora and planned attacks against Castro and Cuba while there. (12)
Thomas writes, “…The last of the CIA's plots to kill Castro is a truly weird tale. Following the Bay of Pigs fiasco, President Kennedy deputized his brother (also his attorney general) Robert Kennedy to personally oversee the CIA's campaign against Castro. Typical of the Kennedy administration's highly informal style, Bobby Kennedy bypassed CIA Director John McCone and demanded regular progress reports from Desmond FitzGerald, a dashing CIA officer who became head of the CIA Special Affairs Staff (SAS) at the beginning of 1963, charged with doing whatever he could to eliminate the Cuban leader. The bizarre events that were to unfold have fueled generations of Kennedy assassination conspiracy theorists.”
“The winter FitzGerald took over the Cuban operation, he made clear to his troops that he wanted results. FitzGerald's executive officer, Sam Halpern, tried to show him an organizational chart of the Special Affairs Staff, but FitzGerald said he didn't want to see it; he didn't want to be bothered with bureaucratic detail. ‘But Des. . .,’ Halpern protested. ‘You do it,’ said FitzGerald. He refused to sign the chart or even look at it.”
“During the summer and early fall, five commando raids were launched against Castro's economic infrastructure, in the hopes of "destabilizing" the regime. The raids were costly: Twenty-five CIA agents, Cuban exiles recruited as commandos, were killed or captured. Though it was doubtful that the commandos would bring down Castro by knocking down some telephone poles or by petty acts of sabotage (the negligible Cuban underground was instructed to leave faucets running and light bulbs burning to waste energy), FitzGerald was determined to keep trying.”
“We were saying, ‘Please don't expect that any one of these things is going to be a catalyst’,’ recalled Ted Shackley, the Miami station chief. ‘But FitzGerald felt under pressure to make these things work, and the pressure came from Robert Kennedy. He'd say, ‘I saw Bobby,’ or ‘I ran into Bobby. I saw him in Middleburg. Here's what we got to crank up for next month.’ We would say, tactfully. We can make it work. But the question is, will these events bring Castro down?’”
“Halpern said he began to ‘dread coming in to work in the morning,’ especially Monday mornings after FitzGerald had all weekend to “run into” Kennedy and think up his own schemes—‘all these harebrained ideas,’ as Halpern described a series of plots that would seem like black comedy when they surfaced later during the Church Committee hearings. ‘[Bobby],’ said Halpern bluntly, ‘reinforced [FitzGerald's] worst instincts.’”
“By the time FitzGerald took over the Cuba operation, the CIA had pretty well given up on using the mob. The plots of Bill Harvey, FitzGerald's predecessor as head of the Cuba group, to enlist the Mafia had gone nowhere.”
Indeed, it was no longer William Harvey, Johnny Rosselli, the mob and the CIA, it was the Des Fits of the CIA and the Department of Defense, the United States Army, specifically Joe Califano and General Krulak who were coordinating covert operations against Cuba with the CIA.
And one of their “contingency plans for a coup in Cuba” was being based on a study of the Valkyrie plot to kill Hitler and take over the Third Reich that failed, a plan that included revising the continuity of government plans and blaming the assassination on Communists.
If this was one of the plans discussed at Glen Ora, it wasn’t Bobby Kennedy telling Des Fitz what the next operation was to be, it was Des Fitz telling RFK and JFK what they were going to do to get rid of Castro, the Valkyrie contingency that was ultimately flipped and resulted not in the death of Castro, but what happened at Dealey Plaza.
- William Kelly email@example.com
(1) Evan Thomas, Washington Monthly, Dec., 1995 Bobby Kennedy’s war on Castro – CIA plot to kill Fidel Castro.
(2) Timeline of Glen Ora History:
Jan 20, 1963 - Kennedy from going Saturday to Glen Ora, their leased near Middleburg. Va. The Kennedys had planned lo eave by helicopter early in the for Glen Ora but finally gave up the trip around 4 pm of the Cog. ' Malcolm Kilduff, an assistant White Rouse press secretary, said,…From Kennedys Call Off Trip to Glen Ora
3) Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis: A Life By Donald Spoto, p. 169
“…Walton went out to see his old friend Gladys Tartiere, who owned Glen Ora, a four-hundred-acre estate near Middleburg, Virginia, about an hour from the White House. Jackie, who saw photos while she was in the hospital, liked the French-style mansion, the gardens, lawns, woods and pastures and the expansive acres for riding. She judged the place even more appealing than Merrywood and convinced her husband to apply for the lease. But Mrs. Tartiere was not at all enchanted with the idea of the First Family as tenants: she foresaw the Secret Service, the press and vast numbers of visitors roaming all over, and hence all sorts of potential damage to her estate. Already, wherever the Kennedys went, the Secret Service was sure to go, sending messages back and forth….Eventually, after considerable coaxing from Walton and Clark Clifford, one of Kennedy’s attorneys and advisors, Mrs. Tartiere agreed – but only to a one-year lease. The Kennedys took it sight unseen and furnished. At Glen Ora, Jackie escaped the pressures of Washington; there, she trained Caroline to ride, too, and there she was, as nearby residents said, “Just one of the fox hunters.”
4) The former wife of Hoy's late employer, Gladys Rosenthal Byfield Tartiere (Mrs. Raymond F. Tartiere) supposedly leased, with great reluctance, her 400 acre Middleburg, VA estate, "Glen Ora", to serve as the JFK family's "week end White House", from late 1960 until March, 1963. JFK shut down the 1961 Bay of Pigs CIA "Op", from Glen Ora.
5) Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis: A Life - Page 169 by Donald Spoto - Biography & Autobiography - 2000 - 416 pages
"Eventually, after considerable coaxing from Walton and Clark Clifford, one of
Kennedy's attorneys and advisers, Mrs. Tartiere agreed — but only to a ..."; also see:
America's Queen: The Life of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis - Page 203
by Sarah Bradford - Biography & Autobiography - 2000 - 640 pages
"Bill Walton came up with Glen Ora, the property of his friend Gladys Tartiere,
... her photographs of the place; she liked it and rented it sight unseen. ..."
(6) Counsel to the President: A Memoir - Page 362 by Clark M. Clifford, Richard C. Holbrooke - Biography & Autobiography - 1991 - 709 pages “Walton soon located a beautiful four-hundred- acre estate called Glen Ora, ...There was only one problem: its owner, Gladys Tartiere, did not wish to sell ..."
(7) Grace and Power: The Private World of the Kennedy White House By Sally Bedell Smith. P. 201
(8) Tom Scully: Byfield Jr. http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=w...mp;aq=f&oq=
(9) Philanthropist William H.G. FitzGerald Monday, January 9, 2006
William H.G. FitzGerald, 96, a Washington-based private investor who was active in philanthropies and served as ambassador to Ireland from 1992 to 1993, died Jan. 5 at George Washington University Hospital. He had an aortic aneurysm.
Mr. FitzGerald, a District resident, was involved in housing projects in the Washington area starting around 1940 and later was chairman of North American Housing Corp., which made modular homes.
He also was a senior partner at the investment firm of Hornblower, Weeks, Hemphill & Noyes and vice chairman of Financial General Bankshares, a multistate bank holding company.
William Henry Gerald FitzGerald was a Boston native and a 1931 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, where he played baseball. After brief Navy service, he attended Harvard Law School before embarking on a business career.
He returned to the Navy during World War II. From 1958 to 1960, he was deputy director for management of the International Cooperation Administration, which became the U.S. Agency for International Development.
In 1987, he started high school scholarships for inner-city children in the Catholic archdiocese of Washington. At the Washington Tennis Foundation, he established a program to mentor inner-city children. The William H.G. FitzGerald Tennis Center is named in his honor.
He also was a benefactor of the Naval Academy, where he and his wife started a program to send midshipmen to Oxford University for postgraduate study.
He was a former vice chairman of the congressionally mandated African Development Foundation, trustee of the Corcoran Gallery of Art, chairman of the White House Preservation Fund and treasurer of the Atlantic Council of the United States, an international affairs group. He was the senior member of the Order of Malta, a lay religious order of the Catholic church.
He was a member of the University Club in Washington for 71 years.
In 1949, he founded the FitzGerald Cup, an annual squash tournament between Baltimore and Washington.
He was an active tennis player until age 93.
Survivors include his wife of 63 years, Annelise Petschek FitzGerald of Washington; two children, Desmond FitzGerald of Greenwich, Conn., and Anne F. Slichter of Champaign, Ill.; and five grandchildren.
(10) The Overlooked Irony of JFK Defense Secretary Robert S McNamara's 2004 marriage to Diana Masieri Byfield. 78232, Posted by T James Scully, Wed Dec-31-69 05:00 PM
It's been 4 years since the September/December marriage of former US Secretary of Defense, Robert S. McNamara, now 92, to Diana Masieri Byfield, 74.
The irony is the fact that McNamara himself may not even be aware of his recent bride's proximity to one of the controversies of the 1960's that McNamara is forever tainted by. McNamara claimed in 1963 to have been responsible, ultimately, for the decision to award the (at the time) $6 billion, TFX "joint fighter" defense contract to the financially distressed, at that time, General Dynamics.
The contract award was questioned because Boeing had underbid the General Dynamics/Grumman bid by $1 billion, and a consequence was the forced resignation, of Navy Secretary, Fred Korth, on November 1, 1963. Just a year earlier, Korth had been the president of a Texas bank that was exposed to $200 million in outstanding loans to General Dynamics. General Dynamics had merged in 1959 with Chicago financier Henry Crown's Material Service Corp. After the merger, Crown (late father of an early and principal Obama presidential campaign supporter, Lester Crown, listed on Forbes 400 in 2008 with $4.8 billion net worth....) was the largest General Dynamic's stockholder, owning 20 percent of total shares, and by 1963, he was also chairman.
(11) George Archibald - Christmas in Middleburg - December 16, 2006
The prelude to Christmas in this historic small Virginia foxhunting and racehorse town near Washington, D.C. has been a panorama of exciting visual and musical events….
….Middleburg is the town where President John F. Kennedy and First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy rented Glen Ora Farm to get away from the Nation´s Capital an hour away by car so Mrs. Kennedy could ride and go hunting in the nation's premiere foxhunting community -- which People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) folks don´t mention in their trampling of people´s rights to hunt for sport.
It´s ironic that Elaine Broadhead, daughter of Mrs. Raymond Tartiere, who rented Glen Ora Farm to JFK and Jackie in 1961, has used the farm she inherited from her parents over the past several years to host a guerilla warfare training center for the Ruckus Society folks who show up at all the World Bank meetings everywhere to stage violent demonstrations and protests against free enterprise and economic capitalism.
The Ruckus folks are intolerant of free enterprise and business generally, even though their wine-sipping leftist sponsors and supporters (such as Elaine Broadhead) are rich and live in luxury because of free enterprise and capitalist business success…..
The last of the CIA's plots to kill Castro is a truly weird tale. Following the Bay of Pigs fiasco, President Kennedy deputized his brother (also his attorney general) Robert Kennedy to personally oversee the CIA's campaign against Castro. Typical of the Kennedy administration's highly informal style, Bobby Kennedy bypassed CIA Director John McCone and demanded regular progress reports from Desmond FitzGerald, a dashing CIA officer who became head of the CIA Special Affairs Staff (SAS) at the begining of 1963, charged with doing whatever he could to eliminate the Cuban leader. The bizarre events that were to unfold have fueled generations of Kennedy assassination conspiracy theorists.
The winter FitzGerald took over the Cuban operation, he made clear to his troops that he wanted results. FitzGerald's executive officer, Sam Halpern, tried to show him an organizational chart of the Special Affairs Staff, but FitzGerald said he didn't want to see it; he didn't want to be bothered with bureaucratic detail. "But Des. . .," Halpern protested. "You do it," said FitzGerald. He refused to sign the chart or even look at it.
During the summer and early fall, five commando raids were launched against Castro's economic infrastructure, in the hopes of "destabilizing" the regime. The raids were costly: Twenty-five CIA agents, Cuban exiles recruited as commandos, were killed or captured. Though it was doubtful that the commandos would bring down Castro by knocking down some telephone poles or by petty acts of sabotage (the negligible Cuban underground was instructed to leave faucets running and light bulbs burning to waste energy), FitzGerald was determined to keep trying.
"We were saying, `Please don't expect that any one of these things is going to be a catalyst'," recalled Ted Shackley, the Miami station chief. "But FitzGerald felt under pressure to make these things work, and the pressure came from Robert Kennedy. He'd say, `I saw Bobby,' or `I ran into Bobby. I saw him in Middleburg. Here's what we got to crank up for next month.' We would say, tactfully. We can make it work. But the question is, will these events bring Castro down?'"
Halpern said he began to "dread coming in to work in the morning," especially Monday mornings after FitzGerald had all weekend to "run into" Kennedy and think up his own schemes--"all these harebrained ideas," as Halpern described a series of plots that would seem like black comedy when they surfaced later during the Church Committee hearings. "[Bobby]," said Halpern bluntly, "reinforced [FitzGerald's] worst instincts."
By the time FitzGerald took over the Cuba operation, the CIA had pretty well given up on using the mob. The plots of Bill Harvey, FitzGerald's predecessor as head of the Cuba group, to enlist the Mafia had gone nowhere.