The Lake Pontchartrain Training Facility and The McLaney Brothers

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In my neverending quest to find the missing camera original of the Nix film, I came across another film that came up missing during the HSCA…a film showing anti-Castro Cubans training at the Lacombe training camp on land owned by Mike McLaney.

So who was Mike McLaney?  From Daniel Hopsicker:

The FBI’s Lacombe raid assumed a prominent role in Jim Garrison’s investigation of the Kennedy assassination. He believed that the exiles training there—for an assassination attempt on Castro—had been ‘spun off’ into the successful attempt on Kennedy.

Mike was a casino owner in Havana, where one of his employees, Lewis McWillie, was  Jack Ruby’s best friend. When Fidel Castro took power, Mike McLaney was arrested for three months, then freed, and continued to operate under Fidel Castro in hopes of becoming gambling czar of Cuba, hopes nursed by having paid out $102,000 to Fidel Castro’s Ministry of Gambling, Watergate burglar Frank Sturgis.

When the Casino Nacional was nationalized in 1960 he lost $7 million. McLaney’s brother, Bill, owned the Carousel Club in Las Vegas. It is presumably “just a coincidence” that Jack Ruby’s club in Dallas is also called the Carousel Club.

Life Magazine once printed a story linking McLaney with Meyer Lansky, and he responds by filing a multimillion-dollar lawsuit. When the magazine produced newspaper clippings that confirmed that no casino operated in Havana without the consent of Meyer Lansky, his suit was thrown out.

Because of the Life brouhaha, the Miami Police began an investigation of McLaney. “In the course of the conversation Mr. McLaney named some of his close friends,” their report said. “Those named included  J. Edgar Hoover, John S. Knight, publisher of the Miami Herald and Rocky Pomerantz, Chief of the Miami Beach Police Department. He (McLaney) stated that he could use these people as references, along with the Chief of Police and Mayor of New Orleans.”

He also played golf with President John F. Kennedy.

So what was so important about the Lacombe training film that it had to be spirited away from the House Select Committee on Assassinations? Robert Tannenbaum, the future mayor of Beverly Hills stated:

 The former Deputy Chief Counsel of the House Select Committee on Assassinations, Robert Tannenbaum, recalled that the committee viewed the film and to Tannenbaum it was a shock to the system. ‘The movie was shocking to me because it demonstrated the notion that the CIA was training, in America, a separate army,’ he said. ‘It was shocking to me because I’m a true believer in the system and yet there are notorious characters in the system, who are funded by the system, who are absolutely un-American! And who knows what they would do, eventually. What if we send people to Washington who they can’t deal with? Out comes their secret army? So, I find that to be as contrary to the Constitution as you can get.’ What is even more shocking is what the film reveals. According to Tannenbaum, depicted in the film among the Cuban exiles were Guy Banister, David Atlee Philips and Lee Harvey Oswald. Inexplicably, the film would later disappear from the Committee’s files.” (Ibid.; p. 30.) The Banister “detective agency” was also involved with collecting intelligence on the American civil rights movement, and was deeply involved with white supremacist organizations.   From Let Justice Be Done by Bill Davy

So many secrets.  So much missing evidence.  All coincidence?  I think not!

 

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