Home/ Resources / Projects / CIA Cryptonyms / cryptonym: AMCRACKLE-1

Cryptonym: AMCRACKLE-1

Definition:
James Joseph O'Mailia. His pseudonym was Gordon Biniaris. His alias was Joe Melton.
Status:
Probable
Sources:

John Newman, Countdown to Darkness (Volume 1), pp. 65-66.

"On 29 February (1960), (Jake) Esterline and a Havana Station office,r Wilmer Aretz, met with Oscar Echevarria Salvat (AMPALM-1), Angel Fernandez Varela (AMPALM-4) and AMCRACKLE, a station cutout for contact with the AMPALMS. AMCRACKLE'S pseudonym may have been Gordon Biniaris. The CIA station in Havana had begun recruiting members of the AMPALM group in November 1959...William Aretz was the CIA case officer for AMCRACKLE. In mid-January 1960, AMCRACKLE had reported that the AMPALM organization was 'strikingly similar' to a miniature CIA. Headed by a five-man directorate that met twice a week, the AMPALM group included five divisions. The propaganda and student action division was managed by Oscar Echevarria (AMPALM-1); the political action division was managed by Laureano Batista (AMPALM-2) and Jose Ignacio Augusto Rasco Bermudez (AMPALM-5) and their Christian Democratic Movement (MDC); the resistance, intelligence and communiction division was managed by Roberto Ortiz (AMPALM-3); the paramilitary division was managed by Angel Fernandez (AMPALM-4), a leader of the...MRR; and Melchor Gaston handled finance and support.

104-10271-10039: DISPATCH: OPERATIONAL/ ORGANIZATION

3/4/60 cable from Chief of Station, Havana to Director, Attn: Anthony Ponchay (aka Jake Esterline, see 104-10109-10162), subject Operational/KUCAGE, AMPALM organization: "Attached are two copies of a working chart prepared by the undersigned on the structure and operations of the AMPALM (MRP/MRR complex) organization. It is provided in response to Anthony R. Ponchay's (Jake Esterline's) request during his recent visit to the Station. Outlined below are a few of the major points which came up during (Esterline's) and the undersigned's meeting with AMPALM-1, AMPALM-4 and AMCRACKLE 29 Feb. 1960. Signed by Wilmer Aretz. Chart has Angel Ros Escala on top as "General", followed by Jorge Sotus (Chief of military per Artime), with a dotted line leading to Artime, and underneath Artime are Ricardo de la Lorie, underneath Lorie is Pedro Fraga, and a dotted line leading to Pedro Diaz Lanz. John Newman in Countdown to Darkness, p. 66, explains that "MRR Discipline and Control Coordinator was also in the AMPALM organization and was assigned the cryptonym AMPALM-10. Angel Ros' station case officer was Walter H. Gebaide, aka Edward D. Knapman. The true name for this case officer was Warren E. Frank, a staff agent who would be exfiltrated to the JMWAVE Station in Miami on the same boat with Tony Sforza after the Bay of Pigs disaster. There, they would be assigned to the Foreign Intelligence branch with Frank as the chief."

104-10193-10144: FOLLOWING REORGANIZED STRUCTURE MRR

4/28/60 cable from Havana to Director: "Station limiting all ops contact with MRR to Biniaris-A four channel except Gebaide contact related to exfiltration of AMPALM-10..."

104-10217-10390:CABLE: DEVELOPING CLANDESTINE ACTION ARM OF

8/1/60 cable from Havana to Director: Havana wants Biniaris' assistance given to AMCALL-1.

180-10147-10240: ANTI-CASTRO ACTIVITIES AND ORGANIZATIONS AND LHO IN NEW ORLEANS

1961: "Once Veciana agreed to work with Bishop on anti-Castro activity, he was put into a 'training program'. Veciana described this as a 'two to three week program' which consisted of nightly lectures. He was the only one in the program, which was conducted by a man he knew only as 'Mr. Melton'. The lectures were held in an office in a building which Veciana could recall were being held on El Vedado, a commercial throughfare. He also remembered the building housed the offices of a mining company 'with an American name', and, on the first floor, a branch of the Berlitz School of Languages..."

John Newman, Into the Storm, pp. 87-88

April 1961: "Drexel Gibson (note: who ran the Berlitz school in Havana) was among the hundreds of thousands of Cubans and Americans arrested on 19 April 1961 as Castro's forces were finishing off the exile invasion force at the Bay of Pigs. Also arrested that day was James Joseph O'Mailia, an American professor teaching English at the University of Villanueva. O'Mailia was released three months later and, along with 87 other Americans, was flown to the US on a US State Department plane. Upon disembarking, the reporters waiting for the plane honed in on O'Mailia for an interview. His comments about the arrests and releases in Cuba appeared in newspapers across America..."

104-10271-10023: CABLE: AMCALL-1 REPORTED CONFINED AND ALMOST CERTAIN TO FACE FIRING SQUAD

11/4/61 cable JMWAVE to Director: "AMCALL-1 reported to have been confined in refrigerator for 18 days and almost certain to face Castro's firing squad. Former head of UTC and internal coordinator of MRP gave loyal service (to) AMCRACKLE and (Cuban) station (Project AMCALL)..."

See Also:
Contributors:
John Newman • Jerry Sbinley • Bill Simpich

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