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Cryptonym: AMNORM-1

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Higino Diaz, aka Nino Diaz.
The operation at the Algiers ammunition dump run by Nino Diaz was known as JMMOVE. See that cryptonym for more information.


1/5/61 WAVE memo about meeting among AMNORM-1, AMDIP-1 and AMBRONC-1. "AMDIP has not answered AMNORM request admittance AMPORT (FRD Exec Committee) as rep dissident AMYUM group...AMNORM claims about 75 officers and men will follow him to training (with AMIRON/FRD)"


Marginalia identifies AMNORM as Nino Diaz. CIA officer Enzel (Fravel Brown) said "Alberto Fernandez (AMDENIM-1)and AMNORM given charter for Oriente ops by AMHAWK (Tony Varona): AMNORM to concentrate among small holders east and south, Fernandez among large colonos and cattle ranchers of north and central (west tip Oriente including Sierra Maestra conceded to Castro). Same document seen at 104-10262-10034.

Warren Hinckle and William Turner, Deadly Secrets, pp. 84-85.

"A week before the invasion a peeling banana boat named the Santa Ana flying a Costa Rican flag slipped her moorings at the Algiers naval base on the Mississippi River below New Orleans (note: Larry Hancock's research shows that the departure was from the Belle Chasse naval facility outside New Orleans)...on board were Nino Diaz...a CIA adviser - an American Marine of Portugese descent named Curly Sanchez - and 168 exile troops. In her hold was a "cargo" of arms and ammunition. Destination: Baracoa, a town on the Oriente Coast near the Guantanamo naval base...Diaz and his MRR expeditionary force had been trained in a wilderness camp north of Lake Pontchartrain. Their mission...was to launch a diversionary strike in the Baracoa vicinity to lure Cuban military units away from the Bay of Pigs...Diaz's men were outfitted with the distinctive uniforms of Castro's rebel army, indicating that their real purpose was a deception of some nature and information has surfaced that the CIA did in fact intend to mount a fake attack on Guantanamo that would make Castro look like the aggressor and justify direct American intervention. U.S. Marines were off Cuba ready to land if the ploy worked." At 178-10002-10372, page 54, Frank Sturgis mentions a CIA agent named Alvaro Govea who was on the Bay of Pigs mission with Diaz, and may or may not be the same as "Curly Sanchez".

180-10141-10365: No Title

78, HSCA staff notes: "Nino Diaz was a former major in Fidel Castro's army who became disgruntled with Castro's leftist leanings, fled to Miami and helped form the MRR. He was named the Military Secretary by his peers and in the Bay of Pigs planning stages was named training leader at the Old Algiers Ammunition Dump Training Center in New Orleans...Diaz was active in the American army as late as 1963 and later participated in raids on Cuba on his boat Venus."

Warren Hinckle and William Turner, Deadly Secrets, pp. 93-94.

"As night fell over Oriente, Nino Diaz again eased the SANTA ANA toward shore. The previous night a second attempt at landing had been begun amd...'aborted primarily because of bad leadership'. This timel the scouting party returned to the ship with reports of jeeps on the roadways...Diaz radioed Base Tide that it would be suicidal to land. He was ordered to proceed. He refused. The orders were changed for the SANTA ANA to head for the Bay of Pigs and wait offshore for landing instructions. The CIA had lost its planned excuse to send in the Marines, who were aboard ship nearby."

HSCA Interview of James B Wilcott, 22 March 1978

There was "a contrived plot to secure a minimum basis to claim support after it was realized that truly valid minimum popular support could not be had. The original invasion plans were then changed to include the creation of an incident that would call for an all out attack by the US military. Summer 1961: Kennedy was not to know of this change...one such plan was to somehow get Castro to attack Guantanamo by making him believe that rebels were attacking from there. Another was to interpose a ship in a rebel attack and get it blown up. This was said to have been discarded when ONI got wind of it and became very angry, and perhaps was the source of some of the snitching on the Cuba foul ups to Kennedy. Just prior to the Bay of Pigs, and some said even earlier, the military intelligence community had become antagonistic to CIA since they were not let in on the invasion as they thought they should have been."

Warren Hinckle and William Turner, Deadly Secrets, pp. 114-115.

"After the American Embassy was closed in January 1961, the sprawling Guantanamo naval base became doubly important as an intelligence post and clandestine staging area. The CIA collaborated closely with its naval hosts, but on this assassination plot ONI appears to have been in the driver's seat. The officer in charge was a Navy lieutenant commander (note: Hal Feeney), and one of the assassins had long been under ONI control. His name was Luis Balbuena, a thick set man called El Gordo ("the Fat One"). Also note that Balbuena was involved in an attempt to assassinate Fidel Castro and had to take sanctuary in Guantanamo when Operation Patty was busted by Cuban intelligence. Balbuena was also with the MRR and closely connected with Nino Diaz. http://www.maryferrell.org/showDoc.html?docId=56271&relPageId=26 Also see 180-10073-10072: Turner also said that Balbuena "sat on the council of anti-Castro Cubans at Guantanamo (along with Alberto 'Eddy' Bayo, among others) and that the naval contingent there must have been somewhat knowledgeable of the CIA activities that were then taking place. He specifically mentioned Jack Moddesette (actual spelling is Modesett), the coordination officer of ONI at Guantanamo as the person most likely to be helpful. Moddesette is believed to be still alive in Texas. Turner said Bernard Fensterwald is the person who connected Modesett with ONI. Turner also believes ONI was involved or knowledgeable about the CIA training camp at the Old Algiers ammo dump near New Orleans...(Team 3 members at CIA reviewed documents on this)...Bernard Barker would probably be helpful in substantiating ONI involvement..."

1993.20.08.10:28:14:250064: Adventurer works hard to establish anti Castro base near Covington

Bill Stuckey, 7/21/62: "Cubans were trained here, at the old Algiers ammo dump, for the Bay of Pigs invasion. Their Cuban leader, an ex-Castro officer named Nino Diaz, returned to Miami when the New Orleans force was unable to land. Latest reports now are that Diaz and a group of from 80 to 100 men returned to Cuba within recent weeks, and are fighting now in the Sierra Maestra mountains of Oriente province."

124-10290-10037 [ RESTRICTED ]

6/20/63 CIA memo: George DeMille of ONI emphasized the relationship with "Louis Balbuena Calzedilla" was considered "very sensitive and has had only very limited distribution...Higinio Diaz/AMNORM-1 purchased $1195 in postal orders and gave them to Alicia Cruanes, working with a group involved in uprisings against Castro. These postal orders were traced back to Balbuena. This "source of information - Cuba"/Luis Balbuena/El Gordo appears to have been used on 9/16/63 in an attempt to get Raul Roa, Jr./AMRIPE-3 to defect.


Memorias de un Combatiente Por el Comandante Nino Diaz (Memoirs of a Fighter By the Commander Nino Diaz (2008): Page 244 (Spanish to English translation): ..."Contact and relations with an American who did not belong to the CIA: The coordinator of the East, MononĂ­n Bilbao, managed to establish contact with a commander of the US Navy, whose name we did not reveal because he gave us his legitimate last name, and also for reasons of chivalry and delicacy, because we could verify the significance of this commander and his knowledge. Informed by our leader of our fight in anti-Castro projects, he gave his best offices and accompanied MononĂ­n twice to the Washington city (D.C.) for important efforts. After these steps the CIA men paid some attention to the fight against Castro's communist regime, at least as far as the province of Oriente is concerned..."

John Newman • Bill Simpich

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