The early sixties to the late seventies was a time of turbulence and social unrest for the United States. Our beloved president John F. Kennedy was assassinated in the streets of Dallas Texas, there was a threat of imminent nuclear war with the Soviet Union, Martin Luther King was slain, followed by the killing of Robert Kennedy as he sought the Democratic nomination for President. Later there would be a botched burglary called “Watergate” that would further shake the American people’s belief in the integrity of their government and representatives. Behind these events were men and women carrying out secret orders from seats of power whose origins have been kept from the public.
One such man stayed in the shadows, with his secrets hidden among these tragedies and scandals of our era. His given name was Edwin Benjamin Kaiser Jr.
The story is in part from my first person perspective, as I am his son, Scott Richard Kaiser. I grew up amid members of my father’s organization, his paramilitary mercenaries. Interspersed with my remembrances in the book is solid information culled directly from FOIA documents. These show the disconcerting dualities of living within a trove of secrets. Backed by these documents, the book grants access to evidence that helps piece together a thrilling exposé. Together, we will examine the evidence that captures the complexities of the man behind the mission, the truth behind the secrecy, and finally, the cost of knowing too much.
CORROBORATION – EDWIN KAISER
In 1952 Ed Kaiser joined the Marines, but received a bad conduct dishonorable discharge before his basic training ended. Ed Kaiser became a heroin addict (Sonia Kaiser insisted that her husband was never an addict) and amassed a long criminal record, including aggravated assault, assault with a deadly weapon, burglary and larceny. In 1957 Ed Kaiser joined the French Foreign Legion and lost his American citizenship. On January 29,1959, his citizenship was revoked. He left the Foreign Legion on a medical discharge, and returned to the United States in 1959 as a landed immigrant. In 1961 Ed Kaiser moved to Alaska, where he was convicted of theft of Government property and assault. On May30, 1964, and on May 31, 1964, the CIA showed an interest in Ed Kaiser, and two outgoing cables about him were generated which were denied in their entirely. [Ltr.Harry E. Fitzwater, Chairman, CIA Information Review Committee 1.4.82]
CUBAN AND HAITIAN EXILE AFFAIRS
In 1969 Ed Kaiser moved to Miami where the FBI took note of him due to his affiliation with Cubanos Unidos, an anti-Castro group made up of former members of Alpha-66.The FBI reported: Cubanos Unidos (CU) is a Cuban exile anti- Fidel Castro organization in Miami, Florida. It purpose is to unite all exile groups into a unity organization and begin military operations against the present Government of Cuba. Wilfredo Navarro is the head of CU…
On June 26, 1970, MM T-2, a Cuban exile who had been involved in Cuban Revolutionary matters for the past five years advised that on the night previously, (deleted) with Wilfredo Navarro, at which time Navarro claimed that on July 29, 1970 the CIA reported Ed Kaiser was part of a CU sponsored operation against Cuba. Ed Kaiser claimed Cubanos Unidos was involved in the distribution of anti-Castro cartoons; in fact the goal of Cubanos Unidos was to form a Cuban government-in-exile in Haiti. Ed Kaiser was in contact with numerous Haitian exiles, and while Ed Kaiser was head of the military section of Cubana Unida, he was suspected of plotting the assassination of “Papa Doc” Duvalier. Sonia Kaiser reported that at one Cubanos Unidos meeting her husband was introduced to Sturgis by a Cuban exile named “William Navarro.” Hemming told this researcher: “She meant Wilfrado Navarro. Wilfrado and Antonio Navarro were Cuban right wing assholes that were with Sturgis in 1960.” When the FBI questioned the CIA about Ed Kaiser on JULY 22, 1969, ANGLETON prepared a memorandum titled “Ed Kaiser and (deleted as of 2010).” When the CIA released this document, it contained three pages of deletions. The only information in it was the words “On the basis of the limited data available, this Agency’s files contain no identifiable information on Ed Kaiser. For The Deputy Director Of Plans: JAMES ANGLETON, CSCI 316/02475-69,cc: Customs Commissioner.” The FBI reported: Ed Kaiser has been the Subject of a criminal type investigation by the FBI Miami since late 1971. Earlier in 1971 Kaiser allegedly wore the uniform of the U.S. Army and used fraudulent military identification to enter the premises of the U.S. Coast Guard Station, Opa Locka, Florida, where he fraudulently obtained office and medical supplies. Kaiser is reported to have entered the premises of other military bases at Homestead, Florida, and San Juan, Puerto Rico, where he allegedly represented himself as a military officer and used military facilities. Investigation of this matter is continuing and, as yet, no Federal criminal charges against Kaiser have been initiated. [FBI 139-4089-24697.9.73] Kaiser was convicted of stealing Coast Guard office and medical supplies while wearing a false uniform. Hemming told this researcher: “You make him sound like a junkie. He was stealing classified documents.” An FBI document stated: “(Deleted) One such person contacted is an unidentified Negro male who sells Kaiser stolen watches, rings and other jewelry which Kaiser resells to employees at Maule Industry and other factories in the area and the Opa Locka area.” [FBI 47-55225-2 p 18] In late 1971 Kaiser was suspected of plotting to hijack a Cuban or Russian freighter. Sonia Kaiser reported that around this time her husband had a closet full of ammunition and grenades, which were removed shortly before the FBI searched the apartment.
A few days after Sturgis was arrested at Watergate, Ed Kaiser went to Haiti where, according to Hemming, he visited Mike McLaney. Hemming told this researcher: “He was delivering an ultimatum to McLaney. A hit was going to go down. Out of professional courtesy, Kaiser asked him to take sides.”
THE PLANNED CONVENTION RIOT
WILFREDO NAVARRO (RED PANTS) AND ED KAISER
In May 1973 Ed Kaiser contacted a Miami FBI agent and advised that he was a long time friend of Frank Sturgis, also known as Frank Fiorini, one of the convicted Watergate defendants and prior to the 1972 Republican Convention in August 1972 Sturgis invited Kaiser to participate in a planned convention riot at the convention. Sturgis later told him the riot was off, and something bigger was being planned. At this time Sturgis mentioned to Kaiser the name of a nationally known figure, a businessman and not a politician, who was in charge of planning the financing and direction of this new operation. According to Kaiser, this individual was at the time unknown in the Watergate investigation. Kaiser at the time of the above contact stated he would furnish this information in exchange by the Government of:1. The safety of his family.2. For employment security at his present employment, a service attendant at the (deleted) service station, Florida.3. For an opportunity to apply for State and Federal pardons. Numerous attempts were made to interview Kaiser to further develop this information both at his residence and his place of employment.
During the period Kaiser was also hospitalized for leg surgery. In response to these efforts, Kaiser contacted the Miami office and agreed to an interview on June 26, 1973. At that date Kaiser appeared at the Miami Office accompanied by Attorney Edward N. Claughton, and advised that he had changed his mind about furnishing information to the FBI. He stated that he had already furnished the above information to a member of the Watergate Committee, and was awaiting action from that source. The individual mentioned by Kaiser above was subsequently identified by Kaiser as Jack Anderson, newspaper columnist. In view of Kaiser’s reputation, and pending criminal investigation, no commitments were made in any way to Kaiser during the above contacts, and the information furnished by him was accepted without comment. Sonia Kaiser remembered waiting outside while he discussed this with Sturgis. Ed Kaiser asked the FBI for protection for himself and his family in return for this information. [FBI 139-3089-2469,2413] In August 1973 Ed Kaiser gave the CIA similar information. This CIA report was withheld as of 2010. [CIA Memo 8.20.73] An index card was generated by the CIA’s Office of the Inspector General: Gray, Patrick August 20, 1973.
Flannery, J.E. Scott
Ed Casey (Scott alias)
Casio (Scott alias) Kaiser
(Scott alias) IG FILE (Illegible) Irving R. Poyle Tab #1 Eduardo T. Scott Info to FBI Sturgis, Frank (Illegible) Gorgon
(Illegible) Howard Letter to CIA/FBI from (illegible)
Ed Scott alias Casey, Casio and Kaiser
James E. Flannery was a CIA agent stationed in Bolivia from 1961 to 1964, Mexico from 1964 to 1965, and the Dominican Republic from 1965 to 1969. Kaiser also gave the Senate Select Committee on Campaign Activities this information. Sturgis refuted Ed Kaiser in Executive Session testimony: “Sturgis stated he was never approached by anyone concerning demonstrations against the VVAW at the Republican Convention. He recalls no such conversation with Ed Kaiser. He admitted knowing Kaiser for a number of years, and said he considered Kaiser to be a good source of information for Cuban-related activities but had reason, nonetheless, to suspect Kaiser’s credibility.”[Sturgis Exec. Sess. Test. 7.27-28.73 as cited in SSCIA Minority Staff Report]
On August 20, 1973, the Miami Field Office of the FBI sent the Director a highly deleted teletype. The only words released were “CHANGED” and “CONSPIRACY – RINGCASE, OO: Miami.” [FBI 26-425217-36 2 pages] In August 1975 Ed Kaiser arranged for an illegal arms shipment to a Nicaraguan anti-Castro training base, and frequently talked of uniting the White Russian refugees for military operations against Cuba.
Edwin Kaiser in Israel
On January 9, 1976, Ed Kaiser successfully entered Israel bearing a passport issued in the name of Jerome Schneider. On March 2, 1976, Ed Kaiser was arrested for use of a false passport while trying to re-enter Israel. A CIA report on Kaiser was generated on June 25, 1976. This was withheld in its entirety as of 2010. Kaiser was released in July 1976, and when he returned to the United States, he was indicted on identical charges. Ed Kaiser told the FBI that he entered Israel by pretending to be a Jew who wished to volunteer his services to the Israeli military. Ed Kaiser claimed he was acting on behalf of the United States Government. The passport he used to enter Israel was a crude forgery. Ed Kaiser had obtained the passport of Jerome Schneider, removed his photograph, and put his picture in its place. This did not indicate sophisticated trade craft. The CIA was interested in Ed Kaiser around this time and a Memorandum dated June 25, 1976, about him, was withheld in its entirety as of 2010. Sonia Kaiser: He was in Israel and he was arrested for tapping wires. Don’t ask me whose wires, because I don’t know. It’s in some arrest report that I have. He was not arrested entering Israel with a false passport. He had a false passport, that’s true. He was in Israel for quite a while. I got letters from him. He sent letters to me and he sent letters to my children, his children. He was there on a kibbutz for a while. He was already living there. I had a lot of papers, I had them. They were stolen. All the papers are gone.
Hemming claimed Ed Kaiser was doing a hit for a colonel in the Israeli Defense Force in Nablus: “I flew the guy he went with around the Bahamas in 1981, until he turned himself into the U.S. Marshals. We use their people, they use ours. Ed Kaiser was arrested as he was leaving.” Hemming was asked why he was arrested if the Israelis had used him? In 1976 Sturgis convinced Ed Kaiser that Gaeton Fonzi could find a way to get him out of his legal troulbes. Ed Kaiser spoke with Gaeton Fonzi several times. Ed Kaiser did not know it, but his legal problems had ended: the U.S. Attorney in Miami could not prosecute him since it was unknown whether Ed Kaiser had departed the United States from the Southern District of Florida or from elsewhere. Sonia Kaiser disagreed: “He took a plane from Miami to Israel on El Al. They certainly could prove it. They are hiding something there. They know something that they’re not saying.” [FBI 21-2005-214.19.76]
The Death of my father – Edwin Kaiser
On February 7, 1977, Ed Kaiser ―fell off some wooden planking while working aboard a ship, and died due to multiple injuries and blunt trauma; he was 42 years old. Sonia Kaiser stated: He carried a lot of papers in an attaché case. It was missing right after he died. I saw him with it before he was killed. I know he had it. But the day he died I never saw it again after that, never. In 1978 Hemming was asked about the death of Ed Kaiser: He fell on the job. The FBI don’t know. Sturgis don’t know. I saw Sturgis at the funeral that night. Nobody else was there. Hey, he could have just ‘up and died?’ He had to get out from under this shit. All he needed was a phony death certificate. He was under investigation for a phony pass port thing in Israel, he may have contracted to do a Middle East hit and gotten into trouble. He may be in Shangrila! Sonia Kaiser had no doubt that her husband was murdered: Somebody pushed him into the manhole. I wasn’t there, of course. He told all his men that were working for him on that shift, not to walk across them an hole, because the boards were not safe for weight. The next thing they do is they call me at work and tell me he’s dead. Then they tell me that he walked across there and the boards broke and he fell in. And I said’ Why would he be so stupid if he’s telling everybody not to walk across there, why would he be so stupid to do that?’ They didn’t know of course. Then I got a lot of strange visits from a lot of strange people and a lot of strange phone calls, like yours for instance, asking me questions.
Hemming told this researcher: It ain’t a matter of pushing him into the manhole. I went to check on all that kind of bullshit. I went to the medical examiner’s office. Dwyer was there. He ain’t supposed to be dicking around in that territory, it ain’t his case. Dwyer wants to know from me, ‘Did he fucking die? Was that him?’ What he stepped on collapsed. He wasn’t supposed to step on it. It happened to one of my other guys about the same time, only he flew through the roof of the shithouse. Later on he O.D.ed on dope. People don’t listen. Sturgis wasn’t worried about being snitched out. Somebody else would know Kaiser was taken out of school. A criminal investigation was going on. They didn’t want him testifying before a Federal Grand jury. They took care of the situation. The guy had ‘Oswald’ stamped on his forehead. Sonia Kaiser was asked about her husband’s relationship with Sturgis: Before Watergate Frank Sturgis was at our house constantly. But, I never knew what they talked about, because they never talked in front of me. We used to go to Frank’s house too.