Sunday, June 25, 2017

Bill Kelly on Veciana

Researcher Bill Kelly has posted a review of Antonio Veciana’s book Trained to Kill at his blog called JFKcountercoup: editor Jefferson Morley is impressed with Kelly’s review:

Morley on Kelly

Morley and Kelly are big fans of Veciana who reversed himself in 2014 by saying that the late David Atlee Phillips was his CIA “case officer” Maurice Bishop. Veciana had denied that Phillips was Bishop both in sworn testimony before the HSCA and in numerous interviews for more than 30 years. Morley and Kelly believe Veciana now and discount his previous denials apparently because the Phillips as Bishop scenario dovetails beautifully with their CIA-did-it theories regarding the JFK assassination.

Morley states that Kelly “nails the point that Veciana’s critics strive to avoid. Phillips did use the alias “Maurice Bishop” and his physical description of “Bishop” bore an uncanny resemblance to Phillips.”

From my reading, Kelly’s proof that Phillips was Bishop, other than Veciana’s pronouncements that he was, rests on two points. The first is the resemblance between a specific photo of Phillips and a sketch prepared from a description provided by Veciana. The second point is described by Kelly this way:

We knew Phillips was "Maurice Bishop" - as Veciana described him to Congressional investigator Gaeton Fonzi and journalist Dick Russell in the 1970s - by comparing that profile to Phillips' description of himself in his autobiography, Nightwatch - 25 Years of Peculiar Service, which provides more than a dozen matches to specific times, places and events that certify his true identity.

Regarding the sketch of Bishop, the idea that it looked like Phillips originated with Senator Richard Schweiker. And the photo (shown above with the sketch) does bear at least some resemblance to the sketch. But if you look carefully at other photos of Phillips, the resemblance is not as clear, at least to me:

And not everyone thought the sketch looked like Phillips. None of the CIA employees shown the sketch during the HSCA investigation identified it as Phillips. And another HSCA interviewee, James Cogswell, thought it looked like the President of Freeport Sulphur. Who a particular sketch look like is, of course, very much a subjective exercise. Colonel Sam Kail, thought it looked like Paul Bethel, the former head of the US Information Agency in Cuba and a friend of Phillips. Interestingly, someone else who thought the sketch looked like Bethel was Gaeton Fonzi himself. In fact, Fonzi first operated on the theory that Bethel was Bishop until Veciana told him he wasn’t. But as mentioned, Veciana also said Phillips was not Bishop for years until he reversed himself.

As for Kelly’s second proof that Bishop was Phillips, he outlines nether the “profile” provided by Veciana or the “dozen matches to specific times, places and events that certify his true identity.” Of course, Veciana’s profile of Bishop would necessarily need to have been provided prior to Phillips’ 1977 book. Otherwise, it would be worthless since Veciana or Fonzi could have obtained the information from that volume. And I am not aware of a detailed profile given by Veciana prior to 1977, only a general description that could match about a million other individuals as it did Bethel. Perhaps Kelly or Morley could enlighten me on this point and list the “more than a dozen” items which Veciana provided before 1977 that match Phillips.

However unlikely, it is certainly possible that Phillips used the alias of Maurice Bishop. Phillips admitted he used dozens or perhaps hundreds of aliases over the years. Perhaps the 2017 documents will reveal just such an alias. But the documents will also have to reveal that Phillips was Veciana’s CIA contact and more importantly that Phillips was also Oswald’s CIA contact or at least meeting with him. Absent these facts, Veciana’s largely undocumented claims have little relevance to the JFK case. To Kelly’s credit, he does at least allude to the fact that Veciana’s story does not always survive scrutiny as documented at this blog. He also correctly points out that the book’s lack of sources hurts its credibility.

Kelly and Morley part ways somewhat when it comes to the subject of Wynne Johnson who came forward in 2014 to “confirm” Veciana’s story of meeting Bishop and Oswald at the Southland Center in Dallas. Morley doesn’t buy Johnson’s story but Kelly apparently does as he mentions a “girl who directed them to the coffee shop” and this is the same girl mentioned by Johnson. Veciana also mentions the girl in his book, but predictably never remembered her in any other accounts of his story.

I'll have more to say on the subject of Phillips as Bishop in future articles.


  1. I will look among my effects for the more than a dozen times and places that DAP says he was at in his book "Nightwatch" and where Veciana says "Maurice Bishop" was at the same time and place. That was the clincer for me. Then I learned about how Veciana was entwined with the plot to kill Castro for which Sylvia Odio's father and mother were imprisoned for. How do you deal with that connection? In addition, as we read the recently released records, among which there ARE "Smoking Documents" if not "Smoking Guns," we learn that Veciana was being monitored and run by Army Intelligence, rather than the CIA, just as Frank Sturgis was an Air Force Intelligence agent, not CIA.

    1. Yes, I would be interested to see the 12 times you mention. I don't keep up with everyone's CT theory but it seems to me that most believe the CIA was behind it. You correctly point out Veciana's association with Army Intelligence rather than CIA which would seem to weaken that theory. Perhaps you have another idea I am not aware of?

  2. And WTP, please correct the spelling of my name in your Resources section. Thanks for listing me, but there's no second e in Kelly.


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