HEMMING TO BURNHAM: The Bay of Pigs Was Meant to Fail

Gerry Patrick Hemming

Gerry Patrick Hemming

The following is a telephonic conversation with Gerry Patrick Hemming and myself sometime in late 2001.

Subsequent to the Bay of Pigs President Kennedy arranged a briefing for former President Eisenhower by General Maxwell Taylor who was heading up the Cuban Study Group to find answers as to the cause of the failure. During that interview, Eisenhower unequivocally denied having ever set such an amphibious assault plan in motion. The notes from that meeting end at item six (6) and the last sentence reads:  6. “As the visitors left he [Eisenhower] reiterated his appreciation to President Kennedy for the briefing.”

That is where the typed interview notes ended.

However, there is a footnote:

1 “General Taylor added a final handwritten paragraph [number 7 below] to the typed text that reads:

7.  General Eisenhower expressed the feeling that the US would have to get rid of Castro preferably using as a reason for intervention some Castro mistake.  As the visitors left he [Eisenhower] reiterated his appreciation to President Kennedy for the briefing.

An additional footnote from the State Department reads:

2 The final sentence had been typed as the closing sentence to paragraph 6 before Taylor crossed it out and revised the text [by adding the handwritten comments about having to get rid of Castro].

The audio conversation picks up just after I had read the notes from that meeting between Eisenhower and Maxwell Taylor to Gerry. It quickly evolved into his reportage of his personal accounts and memory of the history of the events in which he participated during the period of February to November in 1960.

If the Bay of Pigs was “meant to fail” as Hemming suggests here, the natural question that follows is “who” wanted the mission to fail and “why?”

Fidel Castro, Raul Castro, Che Guevara and James Angleton are all mentioned by Hemming in this interview. [Warning: contains colorful language]

Please feel free to participate in a conversation about this important topic by leaving a comment below.   Every serious comment of inquiry and observation I will answer.  Your involvement in this site is important and valued.






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  1. Interesting interview. The legend of Gerry Hemming seems well-deserved.

    JFK let down by key members of “his team” just months after taking office. Allen Dulles, Charles Cabell, Richard Bissell, Dean Rusk and McGeorge Bundy all asleep at the wheel. Or…purposely jacking around the new prez? For what purpose?

    Later we get Angleton, Phillips, Harvey, Lansdale and Helms with their finger prints all over the fall of ’63. Rogue? Good soldiers don’t go rogue. They deliver on what their told.

    And, Fidel just like the ever-ready rabbit, still ticking just the same few miles from the Florida coast as he ever was. Che, just like handsome Jack: tracked down and assassinated.

    After the assassination the national interest seemed to turn from intensely Cuba to intensely Vietnam. Did the sponsors of the JFK hit change their mind, or were they perhaps just misunderstood by overzealous facilitators? Why was Cuba attached solely to President Kennedy? After his death it seems to have outlived its usefulness to the power brokers.

    I can’t help but think that the Bay of Pigs was a tension-creating device used in the opening act of the Kennedy presidency. The game was immediately afoot and a tone set for the remainder of JFK’s days in office.

    President Kennedy was an outsider in his own office from day one. He struggled to know whom he could trust. I don’t think he had any idea he was allowed to ascend to his position for the purpose of being slaughtered. Just as he was.

    The older I get and carry this case with me, the more rotten it becomes. Fifty years later, and it’s darkness at high noon.

    • Stan, Gerry’s knowledge was as broad as it was deep. His ability to recall was of encyclopedic scope. He was often mis-labeled a “Soldier of Fortune” by those who would prefer to place him and what he had to say into a comfortable cubbyhole of contrived security. Yet the details of his service to this country reveal that he wasn’t in it for the money nor for the fame–nor for the infamy, as the case may be. Although as undeserved as the latter label is, it served to keep him alive. Hemming was a patriot. Right or wrong, he considered the struggles throughout Latin America to be an extension of the American Revolution. That was his motivation.

      Your comments resonated with me. Perhaps Castro was no longer considered a threat following the events in Dallas. He was virtually held hostage following the assassination of JFK because of his pseudo relationship to Lee Harvey Oswald that was manufactured by the CIA. Once it was clear that blame for the deed could be easily placed on his doorstep through fabricated evidence, Castro’s “power” was greatly diminished. After all, who would blame the United States for retaliating against such an attack? The mere fact that we could launch a retaliatory strike–and get away with it–at any time after the assassination served to contain Castro’s Communism in the Western Hemisphere for good. The United States would always be in a position to “owe him one” — in a bad sense — after Dallas, and he knew it.

      Thanks for your very thought provoking comments.

  2. jameshackett3703@comcast.net' Jim Hackett II says:

    I hope the recording of your flaying McAdams on the air can shock a few people
    into seeing past McDingbat and Max Dutch’s BS.

    In 1999 I heard it and was positively impressed. By DL from Len’s site.
    It isn’t like McDingbat had not already offended me with his “Prouty the crackpot” page of BS,

    After that radio DL, I steer all away from the like sources, McDingbat and the like. Circa 2000.

    In this mail I am trying to express how important your site IS today….
    Like first time I read “Conspiracy of Silence” of Messrs. Shaw and Crenshaw,
    the cone of silence was at last being shattered forever.
    But shattered only to those that know of the real truth available.

    Cerebellum falling out of the back of the cranium destroys the WC crap forever.
    As Dr. Crenshaw said it was reality and he had no further career to protect,
    to him the time for reality and truth had arrived, bless his integrity and spirit.

    Sadly for every Garrison, Prouty, Weisberg, Penn and Meagher there a thousand liars
    O’Reilly, Buggy Vince, and on and on. Even Rachel Maddow turns to the evil side of lucre.

    All these points poorly made and stated, emphasize the importance of your site in outreach to today’s younger folks.
    The only weapon the people have is truth.
    Truth must be disseminated to stay alive.
    Or JFK will become another Lincoln-esque footnote to a sad time
    for those having no living memory of Jack Kennedy as a person and as President.

    Nuff Said, tho poorly done.

  3. kenneth.kapel@Yaho.com' Arlene Kapel says:

    Col. Prouty had hinted for many years that “The Bay of Pigs operation” was a CIA set of JFK and always meant to fail and put the President on notice that he was not in control.

    • Hi Arlene,

      Thanks for your comment. Here’s an excerpt from a response Colonel Prouty sent to me in reply to one of my letters:

      “You [Greg] have printed an interesting line: “there was a high motivation for the Agency to compromise JFK politically.” The story is more than that. In late Dec. 1959, when Castro and his rebels were marching into Havana, a group of us in the Special Ops business were ordered into an office. There we were told that if Castro did take over Havana we were going to be ordered to a rebel force. Recall this was under Eisenhower and Nixon.

      “Well no call came and after midnight when we had the office TV on and were watching the ‘New Years’ celebrations we were told we could go home. Castro was the new ruler of Cuba. Later in the spring of 1960, Castro came to New York City to speak at the United Nations. Following that speech, he went to Washington and had a meeting with Nixon. After that meeting, Nixon commented with reporters saying, more or less, that if Castro was not a Communist he was close to it. That set the tone for the Eisenhower people to order the CIA to prepare to over-throw his Government.

      “A little later a team from the CIA came to my office in the Pentagon (At that time I was the Special Operations officer there for the Air Force). They asked me if we had an airfield that could be used for a base to train aircrews and to get aircraft for them for a Cuban anti-Castro rebel group. This started it all.

      “During this period–summer of 1960–we were coming up on a presidential election time and JFK [was] nominated by the Democrats. The Republicans were certain that they would win; so they began to put all the new, and huge appropriations into the next year for “President” Nixon; but in a surprise he was not elected and I never saw such emotional feelings as then. I was then working in the office of the Secretary of Defense, in the Office of Special Operations. In the halls of the Pentagon you could hear the dislike of the new President; and the realization of the fact that JFK had inherited billions of dollars of procurement money for high cost items such and the $6 or $7 billion dollar TFX aircraft buy. In one tactical move the Republicans changed the Anti-Castro plans from small over-the-beach and air drop tactics to a major invasion. In no time they had built up a 3,000 man force that had to be trained and equipped, and dumped it all in JFK’s lap.” [end quote]

  4. electionreform@aol.com' Douglas Caddy says:

    Retired NYPD Detective James Rothstein, who as a young man was a sailor onboard the ship Essex in the Bay of Pigs, has sent me an email stating: “I listened to the tape, he was right. His story definitely sounds like a guy who knew what he was doing. His style of working the system was done in much the same way I worked.”


  5. If one looks at ‘motive’ in the JFK assassination, there are at least two armed and very dangerous groups who had blood grievances against the Kennedy brothers.

    1. The anti-Castro Cuban family members who had lost fathers, brothers, grandfathers, uncles at the Bay of Pigs. If BOP was set up to fail, it was also set up to kill and imprison the loved ones of many Cuban-American families. Imagine the rage these people felt.

    The CIA & DOD had trained some of the anti-Castro Cubans in the combat arts, including sniping. They had skills. Some had combat experience. They were disciplined. They made good soldiers. And some of them made good snipers.

    2. The mob, whom RFK was persecuting had a motive for blood revenge too. On April 4, 1961, RFK literally had Carlos Marcello abducted en route to a routine immigration interview. They shoved him into a car, drove him to the airport, put him on a plane and flew him into Central America.

    Can you imagine the rage he felt?

    Conclusion about the BOP?

    The intended failure of the BOP created a motive for the assassination within the Cuban American community. And a motive is something Oswald never had.

    • Thank you for your comment, Marc.

      “It is important to remember that the cover story, (as opposed to the cover-up, aka: obstruction of justice), was conceived, planned, and set in motion long before the commission of the deed (assassination) was itself accomplished. We know this due to the age and deep history of the legend created for–and sometimes unwittingly by–the designated patsy, Lee Harvey Oswald. We know the Secret Service was demonstrably remiss in its duties to protect President Kennedy as evidenced by his demise, but were not under the direction of the mob nor of the anti-Castro Cubans. We know the Dallas authorities were relieved of possession of the deceased president’s body by its being illegally removed from the jurisdiction of the Coroner of the County in which his murder occurred by Secret Service Agents who were not following the orders of Carlos Marcello or Manuel Artime, for example. We know that the autopsy findings were bogus (either intentionally or because the president’s body had been altered en route to Bethesda), notes were burned, doctors’ testimonies were obtained under duress created by senior military officials who attended the autopsy, but who also were not under the orders of the mob or the anti-Castro Cubans. We know that the Warren Commission was appointed–not by the mob nor by anti-Castro Cubans–for the purpose of, wittingly or not, framing a lone assassin. While this list is sufficient to demonstrate my point it is in no way exhaustive of the evidence leading away from both the mob and the anti-Castro Cubans as the PRIME MOVERS of the hit. Therefore if we accept the fact that neither the mob nor the anti-Castro Cubans had the power to generate this kind of “cover story” prior to the act, we must ask the question: “Who did?” The answer is obvious: Those whose normal job function is to generate cover stories. After all, whoever had the power to accomplish what I listed above–in terms of the cover story AND the cover-up, including, I might add, controlling what information was leaked to the media and how the media would handle receipt of such information–whoever had THAT kind of power did not answer to the mob nor to the anti-Castro Cubans. Period.

      Since cover stories are designed to draw attention from the true perpetrators of the crime and direct investigators and the opinion of the general public to the patsy, it would be counterintuitive to employ the services of those with a direct “dog in the fight” such as, the anti-Castro Cubans or the Mob. That is not to say that some of those in both those groups were not delighted at the development. I am sure that Marcello lost no sleep (other than from partying) at the news of the assassination of JFK. However, he did not have the power to pull off the most important–aside from the actual hit itself–part of the plan: getting away with it. The same applies to the anti-Castro Cubans. Finally, as for the actual mechanics (shooters and spotters) of the operation: They did not hate Kennedy. They did not care. They had no adrenalin coursing through their veins generated by a deep desire for revenge. Assuming the target is in the open and the sniper is properly concealed, adrenalin is arguably the sniper’s biggest enemy–possibly matched only by the presence of excessive speed or unpredictable lateral motion.

      Those in control of this operation, including its precursive cover-story and its ensuing cover-up, would not have risked using “hot headed anti-Castro Cuban snipers who had a dog in the fight” for an assignment of this magnitude when they had dispassionate professionals at their disposal.

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