By J. R. de Szigethy
From the years 1963 to 1981, America was convulsed by a new “Age of Assassins,” the repercussions of which affect our Society to this very day. Public officials, many of them in law enforcement, became the targets of would-be murderers, whose motivations included racial, political, idealogical, and religious intolerance. Most of the assassins were young men, although some were women.
This wave of American violence began on April 10, 1963, when Lee Harvey Oswald, an avowed Communist who had recently relocated to Dallas, Texas, after having spent the 3 years previous living in the Soviet Union, fired a bullet from his rifle through the window of the home of U. S. Army General Edwin Walker. Seated at his desk, Walker was an easy target, but the bullet glanced the edge of the wooden frame of the window into which Oswald was viewing, thus the General only received minor wounds. Walker, an Army hero of World War II, had first gained national prominence a decade earlier, when the General had commanded the troops sent into Little Rock, Arkansas by President Dwight Eisenhower to De-Segregate that city’s school system.
However, in 1962, just a year prior to his attempted assassination, Walker had Demonstrated at the University of Mississippi in protest of the efforts of Medgar Evers, a civil rights activist, to De-Segregate the school. Walker’s actions instigated a riot in which 2 people were murdered, one being French investigative reporter Paul Guihard. On the day of his murder, Guihard had reported: “The Civil War has never ended!” (1)
U. S. Attorney General Robert Kennedy ordered General Walker incarcerated for causing the riot. The backlash from Kennedy’s action only furthered the publicity and sympathy Walker received as one of America’s most influential leaders of the anti-Communist movement. This national cause had gained it’s momentum in 1962 during the “Cuban Missile Crisis,” when the standoff between the U. S. and the Soviet Union and Fidel Castro’s Cuba had brought the world to the very brink of nuclear war. One year later, FBI Agent James Hosty, of the Dallas office who had been monitoring General Walker on orders from Robert Kennedy’s Justice Department, was assigned the task of identifying the likely suspect or suspects in the attempt on the General’s life. The General was associated with a Conservative, anti-Communist organization, the John Birch Society, and had traveled that year around the country with an Evangelical Protestant Preacher, the Reverend Billy James Hargis. The General’s travels also brought him into contact with anti-Castro Cuban exiles, angry at President Kennedy over his perceived failure to support their efforts during the failed invasion at the Bay of Pigs in Cuba. Agent Hosty concluded that the attempt on General Walker’s life was likely an internal struggle against him by his right-wing associates. (2) Walker and Hargis, along with FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, lawyer Roy Cohn, and the late Senator Joseph McCarthy, had ridden to public acclaim by revealing their claims that America was under threat of various conspiracies by Communists, domestic and foreign.
Two months after the attempt on Walker’s life, on June 12th, 1963, Medgar Evers was murdered outside his house by a bullet fired from the rifle of a local resident, Byron De La Beckwith. The killer spent much of his adult life as a member of the racist crime syndicate the Ku Klux Klan. Medgar Evers, as a hero of World War II, was buried at Arlington National Cemetery.
One month later, 4 members of the KKK planted a bomb inside the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama. The bomb detonated, killing 4 young girls attending Sunday School. Alabama Governor George Wallace was blamed by some, including the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., given Wallace’s inflammatory rhetoric regarding De-Segregation. Years later, the State Attorney General Bill Baxley obtained the files from the FBI’s investigation of the case, which revealed that the FBI knew early on in the investigation the identities of the 4 men who bombed the Church, but withheld this information from Prosecutors on orders of J. Edgar Hoover. (3)
Two months after the tragedy in Birmingham, President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, and within an hour, a Dallas Police Officer, J. D. Tippit, was also gunned down, as his path crossed that of a man who fit the description sent out on police radio of the suspect in the murder of the President. Most Americans were deeply shocked and saddened, with grown men, hardened by the experience of recent wars, reduced to tears. FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, however, and his companion Clyde Tolson, at taxpayer expense, traveled the next day to bet on the horse races at a Maryland racetrack. (4)
Two days after his arrest for the murders of Officer Tippit and President Kennedy, Oswald was gunned down inside the Dallas Police headquarters by Jack Ruby, a nightclub owner with ties to the American Mafia. The murder was broadcast live on television. FBI Agent James Hosty had been assigned to investigate both General Walker and Oswald; hours after Oswald’s murder, on the alleged orders of a superior, Hosty destroyed a letter written by Oswald to Hosty weeks earlier. That letter was evidence in the murders of two people, as it revealed in Oswald’s own handwriting the thought processes of a man who would soon commit violence. The FBI covered-up the existence of, and destruction of, this letter for 12 years, the eventual disclosure of which further eroded the trust of the American people in regards to the crimes committed in Dallas, and other crimes of violence that were to follow. (5)
On June 21, 1964, corrupt members of a Sheriff’s and Police Department in rural Mississippi, along with members of the Ku Klux Klan, kidnaped and executed three members of CORE, the Congress of Racial Equality, who were engaged in a voter registration drive in the black community. James Chaney was a young black man from the area, and Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner were Caucasians from New York City. Mississippi Governor Paul Johnson dismissed the missing men as Communists, and suggested that they had fled to Castro’s Cuba. (6)
Under enormous public pressure, President Johnson demanded that FBI Director Hoover take action. Hoover was a life-long, unapologetic racist, whose power was such that he was able to deny Robert Kennedy’s repeated request that the FBI hire African-American men as Agents. Instead, Hoover had, since the formation of the FBI, utilized the resources of that Bureau to investigate and prosecute black men of achievement, which included American icons Joe Lewis and Jesse Owens. (7)
However, the case of the missing civil rights workers had achieved such attention that Hoover had to acquiesce. Thus, Hoover resorted to a secret weapon at his disposal; an employee of the FBI who was also a contract assassin for the American Mafia; Greg Scarpa, Sr. For many years, Hoover had claimed that organized crime in America did not exist. What is now known is that Hoover did investigate the Mafia whenever it suited his needs. In the early 1960s, Hoover had signed up Scarpa as an FBI Informant. Thus, Hoover ordered Agents of the New York office to escort Scarpa to Mississippi. There, Scarpa and an FBI Agent kidnaped a local member of the Ku Klux Klan, with Scarpa beating a confession from the man that led to the location of the missing bodies. (8) Only years later would information become public which suggested Hoover used Scarpa to supply him with information relating to New Orleans during the time it was ruled by local Godfather Carlos Marcello, who had common business interests with Scarpa’s New York Family, today known as the Colombo Family. (9)
On the one-year anniversary of the assassination of President Kennedy, an “anonymous” letter was mailed from Florida to the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The letter contained tapes of secret conversations recorded in hotel rooms around the country of Dr. King and female activists in the civil rights movement. The letter stated that unless Dr. King killed himself, even more damaging tapes than the ones enclosed would be made public. Dr. King and his wife, Coretta Scott King, who opened the letter, knew immediately where the letter had originated. It came from the office of J. Edgar Hoover, as one of Hoover’s top aides would later confess. The tapes had been made by the FBI - illegally - and had been sent to Dr. King, with Hoover knowing through the reports sent to him by FBI Agents assigned to spy on Dr. King, that it was his wife who always opened his mail. (10) Hoover’s number 3 in command, Agent William Sullivan, would admit in his later years that Hoover was “The greatest blackmailer of all time!” (11) Arriving when it did, Dr. King understood the implicit threat of the letter, that what happened to his friend the President one year earlier, could just as easily happen to him. And it eventually would.
However, before Dr. King would die, assassins targeted the Black Activist Malcolm X. Born into poverty as Malcolm Little, Malcolm X during the 1950s became a leader in the Black Muslim movement, just as Dr. King was the acknowledged leader in the Black Christian community. In 1960, Malcolm X had a meeting with the new leader of Cuba, Fidel Castro, during his visit to speak before the United Nations. In his early years, Malcolm X was a Segregationist, but as the years passed his rhetoric became more tolerant. In March, 1964, Malcolm X met with Dr. King, a meeting which symbolized their reaching common ground in the march for civil rights. (12)
On February 21, 1965, Malcolm X was delivering a speech at the Audubon Ballroom in Manhattan when 3 men rushed the stage and pumped 21 bullets into his body. The three assassins were each convicted, and were Paroled in 1985, 1987, and 2010. Eventually, it would be revealed that Talmadge Hayer, one of the convicted assassins, met with John Ali, the National Secretary of the Nation of Islam, on the night before Hayer committed this murder. Ali was later revealed to have been working during that time as an FBI Informant. (13)
This would not be the only intersection between an FBI Informant and the family of Malcolm X. Malcolm's daughter, Qubilah Shabazz, was just 4 years old when she witnessed her father murdered in front of her. Years later, as a grown woman, Qubilah entered into a relationship with a man she knew from the United Nations High School of Manhattan back in the 1970s; Michael Fitzpatrick. During that time, Fitzpatrick was a member of the Jewish Defense League, led by the Rabbi Meir Kahane, later exposed as an FBI Informant. Kahane received weapons from his friend, Godfather Joe Colombo, which Kahane used against Communist targets in New York, including members of the Black Panther Party. Fitzpatrick was among those who bombed a Communist book store in Manhattan but escaped prosecution because of his secret work as an FBI Informant. (14)
In November, 1993, Fitzpatrick was arrested on cocaine charges that carried a potential 5-year prison term, but once again escaped such charges by setting-up Qubilah on a Federal charge of trying to hire him to murder the man she was told had murdered her father; Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan. Ms. Shabazz was arrested on such charges in January, 1995, but the set-up resulted in an uproar among the civil-rights community. Publicly rushing to the defense of Qubilah were civil rights leaders including Coretta Scott King, her daughter, Bernice King, Andrea Young, the daughter of former U. S. Ambassador to the United Nations Andrew Young, and the intended victim of the alleged murder hit himself, Louis Farrakhan. (15) (16) (17) The murder-for-hire charges against Ms. Shabazz were quietly dismissed. A year earlier, similar murder-for-hire charges instigated by an FBI Informant were also dismissed in Manhattan Federal Court against a local political leader, Thomas R. Stevens, who would later be a candidate for President running on a Third-Party ticket.
The defense of Qubilah Shabazz by Bernice King was not surprising due to their common bonds; Qubilah and Bernice had each lost their fathers to assassins, as their mothers had lost their husbands. Mrs. King lost her husband on April 4, 1968. It came as no surprise when the man who was arrested in London, England, for the murder of Dr. King was revealed to have a background as a racist. While living in Los Angeles in 1967, James Earl Ray worked as a volunteer for the Presidential campaign of George Wallace, who would run in 1968 on a third-party line. Ray pleaded guilty to the murder of Dr. King, in the reported belief that George Wallace would be elected President and commute his sentence. (18)
A month after Dr. King’s assassination, Senator Robert Kennedy was murdered by an assassin named Sirhan Bishara Sirhan. Kennedy, whose murder was broadcast on national television, had just won the crucial California primary in the race to win the nomination of the Democratic Party for President. A Palestinian, Sirhan was angered by Senator Kennedy’s strong support for Israel. Like his brother the President, Robert Kennedy Sr. was buried at Arlington National Cemetery.
In response to this new age of public murders of public figures, many Americans felt a sense of guilt, and wondered if they themselves were responsible for this bloodshed as members of a “Sick Society,” a catch phrase that quickly entered into the public dictionary, most notably due to an Editorial in the Los Angeles Times. As the 1960s came to an end, many Americans hoped that the violence that was the hallmark of that decade would end with it. But the killings would not end; the Age of Assassins would continue.
The next target of a public assassination would also be a leader in the burgeoning “civil-rights” movement, but this one would be of a very different kind. The founder of the “Italian-American Civil Rights League” held it’s first public event at Columbus Circle, adjacent to Central Park, in New York City on June 29, 1970. 50,000 people would attend that event, including several members of Congress. Frank Sinatra would later that year headline a star-studded fund- raiser for the League at Madison Square Garden. (19) At the event the following year, the crowd was smaller, and much more deadly. Among the inner circle of the founder of the Civil Rights League were FBI Informants Greg Scarpa and the Rabbi Meir Kahane.
A staunch anti-Communist regarding the Soviet Union’s discrimination against Soviet Jews, the Rabbi had first worked as an FBI Informant using a Gentile alias deep inside the John Birch Society. His work for the FBI started in 1963, the year when prominent “Bircher” General Walker was the target of assassination. Kahane’s spying on the John Birch Society ended in 1965. Kahane’s next assignment would be helping the FBI in it’s various adventures and misadventures targeting the Black Panther Party, part of the mostly-illegal acts under the code name COINTELPRO. (20) Rabbi Kahane would himself be assassinated by an Islamic terrorist at the Manhattan Marriott East Side Hotel on November 15, 1990. His son and daughter-in-law would later also be assassinated by Palestinian terrorists in Israel.
The Italian-American Unity Day rally held on June 29, 1971, was supposedly one of the most secure public events that could be possibly assembled. Scores of NYPD cops patrolled the area at 57th Street and Central Park West, to protect those in attendance, most notably the Founder of the Italian-American Civil Rights League, Joseph Colombo. Colombo must have felt safe, given that among his inner circle were over a dozen Mafia hitmen. But the Godfather had many enemies. One was “Crazy Joe” Gallo, an ambitious thug who had recently been released from prison. Colombo was also a top target of the FBI, given the Demonstrations Colombo staged outside the FBI office in Manhattan, in which the Bureau was accused of bias against Italian-Americans.
Walking easily among the crowd that day was Godfather Colombo’s intended assassin and his female companion, both African-American. At the crucial moment, the young, tall, thin and attractive female called out to the Godfather by name, to capture his attention. Moments earlier, the male accomplice, Jerome A. Johnson, was holding a photographer’s camera; now, he was holding a gun. He quickly fired off three shots into the body of Colombo, who fell to the ground. A mob of men then jumped upon the assassin, and they all fell to the ground. Bullets were fired into the body of the Johnson, who died instantly. Despite the presence of numerous witnesses, no one could identify the person who killed Johnson. Nor could anyone positively identify his female accomplice, who, incredibly, darted away and escaped. (19)
At the nearby hospital where the wounded Joe Colombo was taken, a Catholic Priest, the Reverend Louis Gigante, whose own brother Vincent would run the local Genovese Mafia Family for many years, complained to the Media his conviction that the FBI was responsible for the shooting of Joe Colombo. Gigante was seconded in his statement by one of Colombo’s sons. (21) Few, if any, at the time, took such statements seriously.
Those who suspected FBI involvement did not know at the time that Godfather Colombo had been compromised by two FBI operatives, Meir Kahane and Greg Scarpa. Thus, with the Godfather’s assassins being Black, Scarpa was not considered a suspect given his virulent hatred of Blacks. Scarpa’s crew did traffick drugs in the Black community, but were admonished by Scarpa not to use such drugs themselves. Scarpa would later die as a result of his hatred of Blacks; while hospitalized with a bleeding ulcer, Scarpa refused transfusions from the hospital’s blood supply, fearing that African-American blood from the local blood pool would harm him. Instead, Scarpa had members of his own drug trafficking crew donate their blood. One such donor, an abuser of anabolic steroids, unbeknownst to him at the time, carried the AIDS virus, which would eventually kill him and Scarpa also. (8)
“Crazy Joe” Gallo, on the other hand, may have been crazy, but he was not a racist. While in prison, Gallo made friends with many Black convicts, and once they were back on the streets, Gallo joined forces with such in his attempt to take over the crime family. In essence, Gallo was attempting to De-Segregate an American Mafia Family run by a man who had gained national fame by claiming his particular ethnic group was being discriminated against. The “Old Guard” could not tolerate this, and sent a message as such by the public execution of Joe Gallo on his 43rd birthday at Umberto’s Clam House in Manhattan’s Little Italy section. But as folk singer Bob Dylan was proclaiming during the time, the Time’s were a-changing; Black-on-Mafia crime had just begun. The NYPD picked up on this, discovering a credible allegation that Jerome Johnson was involved with members of a Communist organization, the Black Liberation Army. (22)
This Marxist group had been founded by former members of the Black Panther Party, who had found that organization less radical to their liking. The BLA’s method of operation was to raise funds through armed robbery, including illegal narcotics and gambling clubs run by the American Mafia, the funds of which would be used to purchase deadly weapons, including machine guns, bombs, and hand grenades, which would be used to assassinate authority figures in public. It was such extreme measures that the BLA believed were necessary to bring about the social chaos they hoped would lead to Revolution. (23)
The NYPD learned that Joe Colombo was selling weapons to Rabbi Kahane, which his organization, the Jewish Defense League, would use in a series of violent attacks against the Black Panthers in Harlem. The JDL also attacked Communist targets in New York City, among them a Russian book store in Manhattan that was firebombed. (20) Godfather Colombo was also supplying weapons to the BLA, and their rivals in the Black Panther Party. Both groups were displeased to learn each group was being fed weapons which could be used against the other by Godfather Colombo, this revelation coming one month before Colombo was gunned down. (22) The NYPD was unaware of Kahane’s work for the FBI, nor Scarpa’s.
With Jerome Johnson dead, the revelation regarding the BLA turned the hunt by the NYPD for his female accomplice in a new direction. “What sort of young female,” they asked themselves,” “with her whole life ahead of her, commits acts of violence in public places against authority figures?” Women of this sort during that time had to belong to a Sorority that was indeed quite small. One such woman quickly rose to prominence. Her name at the time was JoAnne Chesimard, who would later adopt the Marxist moniker of Assata Shakur. Chesimard first appeared on the NYPD radar screen 2 months before the assassination attempt against Godfather Colombo. On April 6, 1971, Chesimard knocked upon a room of the Statler Hilton Hotel in Manhattan, and pulled a gun on the man who opened the door. Her intended robbery victim fought back, and in the struggle ensuing Chesimard received a minor bullet wound to her abdomen. (22)
On April 17, 1971, members of the BLA murdered a rival member of the Blank Panthers, Sam Napier, shooting him several times on a street in Queens, New York, and then set his body on fire. On the evening of May 19, 1971, members of the BLA opened fire with a machine gun on two police officers guarding the home of the Manhattan District Attorney, Frank Hogan. Both officers, Thomas Curry and Nicholas Binetti, were wounded for the rest of their lives. On May 21, 1971, the gang executed Police Officers Waverly Jones and Joseph Piagentini outside a public housing building in Harlem. On June 4, 1971, the gang had the audacity to rob a Mafia-run social club, the Triple-O Club. (23) 2 weeks later, Jerome Johnson and his Black female accomplice carried out the assassination hit on Godfather Colombo.
On August 29, 1971, 3 members of the BLA burst into a police station in San Francisco and gunned down Sgt. John Victor Young as he sat at his desk. On November 3rd, 1971, 3 associates of the BLA executed Atlanta Police Officer James R. Greene as he serviced his patrol vehicle at a gas station. (24) On December 20th of that year, the gang attempted to murder 2 NYPD cops by throwing a hand grenade under their patrol car. The car was demolished, but the cops survived. (25) On January 27, 1972, the gang executed 2 NYPD cops, Rocco Laurie and Gregory Foster by shooting them in the back with a machine gun. The two cops were targeted because one was Black and the other White. Laurie and Foster had previously served together as soldiers in Vietnam, and the NYPD had intentionally paired them as partners during the De-Segregation of the New York City Police Department during that time. (26)
A few weeks later, on February 16, 1972, members of the BLA had relocated temporarily to St. Louis, Missouri, given that the authorities in New York were working overtime to find the killers of Officers Laurie and Foster. The gang got into a confrontation with the local police, and a shoot-out resulted, killing one BLA member, Ronald Carter, a suspect in the murders of Officers Laurie and Foster. Joanne Chesimard had rented one of the vehicles used in the re-location of the BLA members to St. Louis. (27)
On April 14th, 1972, a New York City Police Officer, Philip Cardillo, was murdered in a Mosque in Harlem. Cardillo had responded to a phony 10-13 call, which means that a Police Officer needs assistance, at the Nation of Islam Mosque on 116th Street. It was a set-up to an execution. Once inside the Mosque, Cardillo was surrounded by a group of men. Cardillo was gunned down and another cop was severely beaten. No one was ever convicted for this slaying. In 2009, members of the NYPD called upon the FBI to release it’s files on the Mosque un-redacted, in the hopes that such intelligence could result in prosecutions for this murder. The files, the product of FBI Informants working inside the Mosque, have yet to be turned over by the FBI. (28)
The murderer of New Jersey State Trooper Werner Foerster has also escaped Justice. On May 2, 1973, New Jersey State Trooper James Harper pulled a car over for a traffic violation, and was joined by Trooper Foerster in another patrol car. A gunfight ensued, and when it was over, Trooper Foerster and a BLA member were dead; Assata Shakur and Trooper Harper were wounded. Assata Shakur was eventually convicted for the murder of Trooper Foerster, but escaped from prison in 1979. (29)
While the public execution of police officers nationwide escalated, the violence against politicians also did not end with the 60s. On May 15th, 1972, a young, White assassin, taking Oswald and Sirhan as his role model, gunned down Alabama Governor George Wallace, on the eve of his victories in the Maryland and Michigan Primaries of the Democratic Party’s Presidential race. Wallace survived, but was paralyzed for life.
In 1975, President Gerald Ford would be the target of not one but two separate assassination attempts. Both occurred in San Francisco. The first attempt was by a woman, Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme, a member of the Charles Manson gang, who pointed a gun at the President during a public event. The gun did not go off. The second attempt came 2 weeks later. Sara Jane Moore lunged toward President Ford with her handgun pointed towards him, firing one shot, and then another that was deflected by the quick action of a bystander, Oliver Sipple, a Marine Corps Veteran. Ms. Moore, it was quickly revealed, was on the payroll of the U. S. taxpayer as an FBI Informant, having informed on local radical groups. (30)
Across the country, in Boston, yet another infamous FBI Informant embarked on a campaign of violence, although it would be many years before the full story became known. In September, 1974, a firebomb exploded at Kingsbury Elementary School in Wellesley Hills, Massachusetts. Fortunately, no one was killed. As a U. S. District Judge had recently ordered the De-Segregation of the Boston school system, authorities concluded the crime was likely the work of White racists. A year later, in September, 1975, the home in which President Kennedy was born was firebombed. Because the President’s birthplace was a National Historic Site administered by the U. S. Parks Service, evidence of the bombing was turned over to the FBI. Only years later would it be revealed that the bombings were the work of a local thug, Whitey Bugler, and an unknown accomplice. Bulger was a racist who was angered over the De-Segregation of the Boston schools, and was particularly angered over the support for such action by Senator Ted Kennedy, the slain President’s brother. (31)
Bulger would be protected by the FBI from Prosecution for the next 2 decades, given that he secretly worked as an FBI Informant. It would be Agents of the Drug Enforcement Administration who would eventually obtain an Indictment against Bulger, the Godfather of the “Winter Hill Gang” that terrorized Boston. Bulger would be charged with drug trafficking, bribery, and the brutal murders of 19 people, two of whom were innocent young women, whom he was accused of strangling to death with his bare hands. However, just as Bulger was about to be arrested in 1994, he was tipped off by an FBI Agent, upon which Bulger fled to California, where he lived quietly until his capture 16 years later. (32)
With the coming of the 1980s, the Age of Assassins was not yet over. On March 31, 1981, the new President Ronald Reagan was shot by a nutcase named John Hinkley, Jr. A police officer, a Secret Service agent, and Reagan’s press secretary, James Brady, were also injured, with Brady suffering for life with permanent brain damage. While Reagan nearly died, his swift recovery endeared him to a nation weary of political violence.
On October 20, 1981, 6 members of the BLA, along with 4 members of the May 19th Communist Organization, murdered 2 police officers, Edward O’Grady and Waverly Brown, and a Brinks armored truck guard, Peter Paige, while stealing a Brinks truck with over $1 million inside in Nanuet, New York. The May 19th Communist Organization was an offshoot of the Weathermen Underground, a 1960s radical group devoted to the overthrow of the U. S. government. One of it’s most infamous members was Kathy Boudin, born into a family of notorious Communists, including her father, a lawyer who had once represented Fidel Castro. In 1970, Boudin was among several members of the Weathermen who were assembling a bomb at a townhouse in Greenwich Village which they planned to detonate later that evening at a social event for U. S. soldiers at Fort Dix, New Jersey. The bomb exploded during assembly, leveling the townhouse and killing 3 of the terrorists. Boudin was among 2 who survived. For her role in the Brinks killings, Boudin accepted a plea bargain and pled guilty to one count of felony murder and armed robbery and was sentenced to 20 years to Life in prison. (33)
The Brinks robbery marked what would be the last gasp of Revolutionaries and assassins that were the hallmark of the 1960s and 1970s. With the dissolution of the Soviet Union and it’s puppet satellite regimes in the early 1990s, Communist activism fell out of fashion. The Age of Assassins was indeed finally over.
The single event from that period which is one of the most significant in American history is the assassination of President Kennedy. With the passing of the 50th anniversary of his murder, public interest in this case has been renewed. Those who are interested in reviewing this national tragedy have over a thousand books, movies, and documentaries to choose from, as well as countless articles in newspapers and magazines. Some of these are the work product of serious investigators, who only seek to uncover the truth as to what happened in Dallas, Texas on that horrific day. Sadly, some are the efforts of opportunists, motivated by profit, and some are the work of the mentally deranged.
Fortunately, emerging from this chaos and uncertainty comes the cumulative effort of two men, both of whom are acknowledged as sober, intelligent, and accomplished investigators; both men are Prosecutors, Vincent Bugliosi and G. Robert Blakey. Bugliosi is perhaps best known for prosecuting the Charles Mason gang for their murder spree that shocked America during the 1960s. Blakey, now a college professor, was among the Prosecutors in Attorney General Robert Kennedy’s highly successful assault against the American Mafia back in the 1960s. Blakey also authored the RICO statutes, federal legislation which has been the most effective tool in dismantling the traditional American Mafia crime syndicates during the past several decades. Blakey also chaired a Congressional Committee back in the 1970s that investigated the murders of President Kennedy and Dr. King.
Both men have published acclaimed books that are the result of their respective investigations, many years in the making. In 1981, Blakey, along with investigative reporter Richard Billings, published “The Plot to Murder the President: Organized Crime Assassinated JFK.” In 2007, Bugliosi published “Reclaiming History: The Assassination of President John F. Kennedy.”
Interestingly, both men are in virtual agreement on most of the issues regarding this case that have been the subject of considerable debate. The key difference is the conclusion of Bugliosi that Lee Harvey Oswald murdered the President, and that he acted alone. Blakey concludes that Oswald was one of 2 assassins involved in the murder of the President, the other being a contract killer for the American Mafia, who has yet to be identified.
Both men cannot be correct.
The purpose of this narrative is to examine the alleged participation by the American Mafia in the assassination of President Kennedy. It will be left to the reader to decide who killed President Kennedy.
PART ONE: PRELUDE TO ASSASSINATION
By the time of his assassination, President Kennedy had earned the wrath of two very powerful groups; Communists and members of the American Mafia. When President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated in 1865, neither such group existed. Within a few years of that murder, however, both groups were born, each fueled by the emerging Labor Union Movement, and these forces came together in what was then, and now, one of the most corrupt cities in America; Chicago.
In 1881 followers of Karl Marx, who, in 1848 had published “The Communist Manifesto,” established the Federation of Organized Trades and Labor Unions of the United States and Canada. This group would later change it’s name to the American Federation of Labor, (AFL), which survives today as the AFL-CIO. The new Union decreed that May 1, 1886, the first “May Day,” would be the target date for establishing the 8-hour work day for working people. The events of May Day, however, were not “radical” enough for the radicals, so on May 4th, thousands of Union activists instigated a riot at the Haymarket Square retail center in Chicago. One Communist hurled a bomb into the crowd, which exploded. By the time the riot was over, 8 police officers and 4 civilians had been killed. 4 Union leaders were convicted and executed for the murder of Police Officer Matthias U. Degan. One other activist committed suicide by exploding a small bomb inside his mouth, rather than face execution. (1)
Police Officer Degan was memorialized by a statue of himself erected at the site of his murder. The statue would later be bombed into pieces by the Weathermen Underground terrorist organization in October, 1969. A year later, when the reconstructed statue was unveiled, it was destroyed again by the Weathermen with a bomb. The statue was reconstructed once more and is now safe inside the Chicago Police Department headquarters.
The Haymarket Riot and it’s aftermath resulted in a backlash amongst the American people against the Labor Union movement. Thus, almost two decades would pass before the next significant Union event, the founding in 1903 of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters in Chicago. The founder was a career criminal, Cornelius Shea, the scion of Irish immigrants who would become a leader in what would later be termed the Irish Mob.
The year 1919 saw the Chicago Race Riots, in which 23 Blacks and 13 Whites, including one Police Officer, were killed. One accused rioter was 17-year-old Richard J. Daley, who would later rule Chicago as Mayor for 2 decades. (2) Overseas, followers of Karl Marx had taken over Russia, creating the “Soviet Union.” People worldwide were shocked when the Soviet Communists executed Tsar Nicholas, his wife Alexandra, and their son and 4 daughters. This brutal crime was a precursor of what was to come in countries where the Communists either ruled or sought rule; by the time the Soviet Union finally collapsed in the early 1990s, millions of innocents had been murdered worldwide in the name of their cause; in Russia, China, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Korea, El Salvador, Cuba, Venezuela, Guatemala, Nicaragua, the Philippines, and elsewhere.
In the United States, one of the first government employees to recognize the growing threat of Communism was J. Edgar Hoover. In 1919 Hoover got his first taste of power, targeting Communist activists. Not yet 25 years old at that time, Hoover was put in charge of the Justice Department’s Bureau of Investigation. Hoover and his Agents soon compiled a list of over 150,000 Americans deemed to be “undesirable.” Most of these Americans were harmless, but with the atrocities being committed by the Soviets, social conditions were ripe for a “Witch-Hunt, the sort of which had become a shameful periodic event in the history of the United States. Within a few months, over 10,000 American citizens were arrested. Some were tortured and deported. The mass arrests were labeled by the Media as the “Palmer Raids,” after Attorney General Alexander Mitchell Palmer. At first, Americans regarded Palmer as a national hero, and took seriously his claims that Communists would attempt to take over the United States on May Day, 1920. However, May Day came and went with no such violence. Secretary of Labor Louis F. Post then denounced the mass arrests as illegal, corroborated later by the U. S. Supreme Court. Palmer’s Presidential ambitions were thus extinguished, but Hoover emerged unscathed from his role in this national Witch Hunt. It would not be his last. (3)
Hoover himself emerged as a national hero when his new agency utilized emerging science and technology to capture a new breed of criminals. This corresponded with the sudden rise of organized crime syndicates, which were the unintended result of the “Great Experiment” brought about by Congressional legislation that forbid the manufacture and distribution of alcoholic products; “Prohibition.” Criminal gangs sprang up throughout America to provide this illegal commodity to a thirsty nation. The American Mafia, comprised mostly of Italian, Irish, and Jewish immigrants, was born.
Communism - and it’s cousin - Socialism, made a dramatic comeback with the onslaught of the Great Depression. One consequence was the election of an openly Socialist President, Franklin Roosevelt, in 1932. Roosevelt’s agenda included Repealing Prohibition, which removed from the burgeoning organized crime syndicates their most lucrative form of illegal revenue. However, Roosevelt also pushed through Congress the National Labor Relations Act, which facilitated the forming of Labor Unions throughout America. Millions nationwide formed and joined such Unions, creating multi-million dollar Pension and Health Care funds. Deprived of revenue from illegal alcohol rackets, the American Mafia moved in on it’s new “Piggy-Bank,” the new Union’s vast reservoirs of funds generated by the payment of Union Dues by millions of the rank and file.
Ever so slowly, the American Mafia converted it’s substantial illegal alcohol distribution system, which was supported by bribes to law enforcement and public officials, to the distribution of substances still illegal after the end of Prohibition; drugs, most notably heroin. An early edict within the American Mafia had prohibited the distribution of drugs. As time passed and the profit potential grew, this was amended to allow drug trafficking to the Blacks living in large American cities. The tool by which Genocide would be committed against African-Americans would not be a gun, but rather a needle, self-inserted into one’s arm. J. Edgar Hoover would ignore the growing crime gangs, claiming they did not exist, and instead utilized the resources of the FBI to target African-American icons such as Muhammad Ali, and early entrepreneur Marcus Garvey. (4)
As Hoover’s power continued to grow, year after year, so did his notorious efforts to hang on to such power. Hoover created and perfected a form of not-so-subtle blackmail, which would become his routine operation for the rest of his life. What Hoover would do was to send out his Agents to spy on the scions of the rich and famous, often illegally. Hoover’s Agents would then collect damaging evidence against such a young person, which could be the use of drugs or alcohol, gambling habits, or the indulgence in illicit sex. Hoover or his Agents would then approach the unhappy father of such a young person, and twist the situation around; it would be presented that, in the course of investigating an unsavory person, the FBI had uncovered evidence that a young person was involved with that targeted individual, innocently unaware of the dangers to their reputations - and their family’s - should such a scandal arise from the arrest of the “bad” person.
The “unhappy father,” often a prominent person, would thus be thankful and grateful to the FBI for tipping them off as to the dangers their wandering offspring had unwittingly exposed themselves to. The FBI was in fact the perpetrator in this situation, disguised as a discreet protector of a family secret, and those secrets would remain so as long as the Bureau was under the watchful and benevolent stewardship of J. Edgar Hoover. (5)
One such scam was launched by Hoover during World War II. Hoover had assigned his Agents to spy on the children of a successful businessman, Joseph Kennedy of Boston, Massachusetts. Kennedy suffered from the stigma of the racism Irish immigrants to the United States were still subjected to. Kennedy was a self-made man, creating wealth for his family through the banking and motion picture industries, as well as illegal alcohol distribution during Prohibition. Joseph Kennedy’s ambition was for his son, Joseph, Jr., to become the first Irish-Catholic President of the United States. To achieve this, Kennedy sought to elevate his family’s social status, literally purchasing - as so many before and after him would - an appointment as U. S. Ambassador to a foreign country, in his case, Great Britain.
With the outbreak of the war, Kennedy’s son Joseph, like most Patriotic Americans, had enlisted in the Armed Services. Young Joseph’s mission, according to his father’s directive, was to return to America as a war hero, a platform upon which he could launch his political career. The Ambassador’s younger son, John Fitzgerald, was not a part of his father’s ambition. Young John suffered from numerous physical ailments, most notably a bad back, which would become progressively worse over the years, and Addison’s disease, a defect in the adrenal glands which included complications such as the inability to fight off infection.
No one, including John F. Kennedy himself, expected that such a man would live to the age of 30. Accordingly, JFK lived each day of his life seeking pleasure, as if that day might be his last. What the young man discovered was that his pain could be relieved, naturally, albeit temporarily, through sexual activity. Such a lifestyle was indeed practiced by his father, whom he took as his role model. Younger brother Robert, however, had been consigned, through neglect, to the care of his mother. If the Senior Kennedy was a Sinner, his wife Rose was a Saint, determined to instill her staunch Catholic, indeed, Puritan Ethic, in young Robert. Thus, the seeds were sowed in Robert Kennedy that would compel him, through his own, innate, righteous indignation, to take a stand against Evil. Young Robert saw such Evil in the deeds of the men of a growing threat to America, the American Mafia.
Thus, Robert Kennedy was set upon a collision course with Hoover, who, by the time of World War II, was either ignoring, or, in some cases, involved with associates of organized crime. Eventually, Kennedy would be pursuing the Mafia as Attorney General, making him the effective “Boss” of Hoover, given the FBI’s supposedly sub-servient role under the Justice Department.
As is sometimes the case, this scenario was brought about by Hoover’s own doing. The young FJK had flunked more than one military physical examination, but his father was able to pull a few strings and get his sickly young son into the U. S. Navy, where he filled a desk job in the Office of Naval Intelligence. Stationed as such in Washington, the young Ensign began dating a young journalist, Inga Arvad, a native of Denmark who had obtained a Degree in Journalism from Colombia University in New York. According to Hoover’s way of thinking, because Ms. Arvad had once interviewed Adolf Hitler during the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin, Arvad had to be a “Nazi spy.” No evidence whatsoever would ever surface to support this notion, nor did young Kennedy have access to any information through his job that could in any way help the Nazis. Still, Hoover knew that Ambassador Kennedy had made remarks in the final days of his position in London which were perceived as positive in regards to Germany’s growing military power, which had resulted in his falling out with the Roosevelt Administration and the public opinion as well. Hoover seized the opportunity, fulfilling his patriotic duty to have his Agents install microphones in the beds in which the 2 young lovers were engaged in their most intimate and private moments. (6)
However, in a textbook case for the existence of “Karma,” Hoover’s blackmail attempt would backfire, with unforseen consequences. Hoover leaked the story about the Kennedy-Arvad affair to his close friend, the gossip columnist Walter Winchell, thus Ambassador Kennedy interceded, facilitating his son’s transfer to a base in South Carolina. JFK was outraged that his Patriotism had come into question and demanded and received a re-assignment to a Navy school which would train him to command a PT boat. Putting his crippled body where his mouth would later be, when he would challenge America thus: “Ask NOT what your country can do for YOU, but what YOU can do for your COUNTRY!”, the young JFK eventually found himself thousands of miles away from the comforts of women and good food, in the epicenter of Harm’s Way, the South Pacific. (7)
There, Ensign Kennedy found himself the Commanding Officer of a Navy Torpedo Boat, a small vessel that carried a crew of a dozen men, which carried out highly-dangerous sabotage missions against much larger Japanese ships. At 2 a.m. in the morning of a Moonless night in August, 1943, a Japanese Destroyer rammed into Kennedy’s boat, PT-109, splitting it into two pieces. Despite receiving further back injuries that would plague him for the rest of his life, Ensign Kennedy was able to lead his men on a swim of several miles. Kennedy repeatedly risked his life to bring about the rescue of his crew, brought about by the one physical act his crippled body allowed him; the ability to swim. When the young man returned to the United States, he was a war hero, and his 6-foot tall body weighed just 125 pounds. (8)
Had Hoover just ignored Kennedy’s affair with Inga Arvad, the young Ensign would have probably seen the end of the war as he had started; behind a desk in ONI. Joseph Kennedy, Jr., however, had perished when his war plane exploded over the Atlantic Ocean. JFK’s beloved sister, Kathleen, would also soon die in a plane crash. These twin tragedies only furthered John’s resolve to live every day to the fullest. The problem, however, in the young man’s quest for pleasure was that now he had inherited the ambitions his father had set for his older brother. Kennedy quietly accepted this mandate, and embarked on the journey that would lead him into History.
With the war over, members of Congress devoted their attention to the growing threat of organized crime. Senator Estes Kefauver began hearings on the Mob, which were disseminated to millions of Americans through the marvel of the new technology that was television. J. Edgar Hoover had sought, behind the scenes, to stop the hearings, but there was a limit to even his considerable power. By that time, Hoover had already been compromised by the Mob and made it clear to his Agents that they should not spend their time investigating organized crime. Hoover would spend the rest of his life seeking to further his influence over members of Congress through any and all means necessary, including his favorite tool, blackmail.
The Kefauver hearings in fact embarrassed Hoover privately through association, revealing the ties to the Mafia of Hoover’s associate Walter Winchell, Winchell’s pal, Godfather Frank Costello, Sherman Billingsley, the owner of New York’s Stork Club, liquor magnate Lewis Rosenstiel, and Myer Schine, the owner of a hotel chain. Hoover’s response to this was to have his agents investigate the sex life of Senator Kefauver. (9)
During this time, Carlos Marcello was rising in power in Louisiana through the trafficking of marijuana, which his drug dealers sold in Black communities of the South. Godfather Marcello expanded his operations by forging a partnership with his New York counter-part Frank Costello, setting up a nationwide gambling racket that operated everything from the sale and maintenance of pinball machines to the placing of bets on horse races. It is now known that Hoover was addicted to gambling, specifically the placing of bets - both legal and otherwise - on horse races, one of his and Clyde Tolson’s favorite pastimes. In the Winter, Hoover and Tolson would vacation - at taxpayer’s expense - in Florida, taking in the races in Hialeah. During the Summer, the two would travel to California, to gamble at the racetrack in Del Mar. The two would sometimes stay at the Del Charro Hotel, located in the seaside resort of La Jolla. (10) The hotel was owned by Clint Murchison, a wealthy Texas oilman who had business dealings with Carlos Marcello and also Vito Genovese, according to an investigation by the U. S. Senate in 1955.
The attention of the American people to the growing problem of organized crime would be diverted in yet another national witch-hunt, which was similar to the “Red Scare” led decades earlier by Hoover and Attorney General Palmer. The “new” war on Communism would be led by 5 men who shared a common bond of extreme hatred for African-Americans, and whom, it would be revealed years later, also lived a secret gay lifestyle. The five were FBI Director Hoover, former Federal Prosecutor Roy Cohn, U. S. Senator Joseph McCarthy, the Reverend Billy James Hargis, and Army General Edwin Walker. Roy Cohn had achieved national prominence through his Prosecution of Julius Rosenberg and his wife Ethel, convicted and sentenced to death in the electric chair for smuggling information to the Soviet Union regarding the construction of America’s nuclear weapons. Although Roy Cohn was Jewish, he established during his lifetime strong relationships with Christian leaders who shared his politics and passions, most notably Francis Cardinal Spellman of New York. Reverend Hargis was an enormously successful radio and television Evangelist, whose empire, Tulsa-based "Christian Crusade" raked in substantial amounts of income from across America. Hargis gained a following of Americans through his theatrical orations, and also on occasion provided his services as a speech-writer for Senator McCarthy. Hargis’ organization published an enormous volume of anti-Communist publications, many of which were distributed by General Walker to the Army soldiers under his command. The common theme of such literature, which Senator McCarthy adopted as his Mantra, was that Communists had infiltrated various State, Local, and Federal institutions.
Senator McCarthy first stirred up this mass hysteria during a speech in 1950 before a Republican Women’s Club in Appalachia, in which he breathlessly informed those in attendance that he had a long list of the names of avowed Communists employed by the U. S. State Department. His allegations created a sensation, and as a United States Senator, McCarthy utilized his ability to conduct public hearings on suspected Communists within the government as a platform to instigate a national frenzy, much of which was televised nationwide. While assembling the members of his Committee, Robert Kennedy sought the position of Chief Counsel. Hoover, however, recommended Roy Cohn and thus he got the coveted position. Although he would deny it, Hoover leaked secret FBI information to the McCarthy Committee, most notably allegations against the CIA which turned out to be false. (9)
McCarthy then turned his attention to the Voice of America, a government program administered by the State Department that provided radio broadcasts of uncensored news and information to the millions of people living behind the ‘Iron Curtain’ imposed by the Soviets after World War II. McCarthy claimed - without proof - that Communists had infiltrated the Voice of America to sabotage the program. McCarthy’s staff lawyer Roy Cohn then embarked on a ‘tour’ of Europe, the purpose of which was to expose what the McCarthy gang claimed was the presence of thousands of Communist books in foreign libraries funded by the United States government. The Reverend Billy James Hargis also toured Europe that Summer, gaining international press for releasing thousands of helium-inflated balloons containing Bible verses that were floated inside the borders of countries behind the "Iron Curtain." While Reverend Hargis’ campaign was well-received by the Media, Cohn’s ‘tour’ was derided by journalists from various nations. Accompanying Cohn on his tour was a young man he had fallen in love with, G. David Schine.
Gradually, the American people began to realize that they were being taken for a ride by McCarthy and his associates, that the threat to America by domestic Communists was being overstated and exploited. Bobby Kennedy saw the writing on the wall and quietly resigned from the Committee. Hoover also began to distance himself from McCarthy, recognizing that what had happened earlier to Attorney General Palmer was beginning to happen to McCarthy. It was the Senator’s fight with the U. S. Army that would lead to his downfall. In taking on the Army, McCarthy was also taking on the Army’s most powerful Advocate, that of retired Army General Dwight Eisenhower, who happened to be at that time the President of the United States. McCarthy’s fight with the Army would be a direct result of the private indiscretions of his right-hand-man, Roy Cohn.
Cohn became furious when the Army drafted Schine at the height of his public celebrity. McCarthy and Cohn responded to the situation by harassing top Army leaders to re-assign Private Schine so that he could continue his ‘work’ with McCarthy’s Committee. The Army refused to make special accommodations for Schine, and quietly floated to key members of the Media the perceived relationship between Cohn and Schine. The newspaper the Las Vegas Sun went even further, running a story alleging that Senator McCarthy was a secret homosexual, the suggestion being that the Senator’s witch-hunt was at least in part designed to deflect attention from himself. McCarthy did not sue the newspaper, and instead married his Secretary and then adopted a baby with the help of Roy Cohn’s friend, Francis Cardinal Spellman. (11)
McCarthy’s downfall came on June 9th, 1954, during the testimony of a U. S. Army attorney, Joseph Welch. Senator McCarthy went on the attack against a young man in Welch’s law firm whom the Senator claimed was a Communist, given his brief association years earlier with a left-wing organization. Joseph Welch took in a deep breath, and then issued a response that was one of the most riveting moments in American history, an event broadcast live on television. Welch admonished the Senator thus: "Senator - you’ve done enough. Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last? Have you left no sense of decency?"
Those in attendance in the packed conference room gave Welch a roaring ovation of approval and thus, Senator McCarthy's reign of terror came to an end. However, Hoover and Roy Cohn were already involved in yet another witch hunt as part of Hoover’s efforts to control the U. S. Congress as much as it could be possible. Hoover’s target was a U. S. Senator, Lester Hunt of Wyoming. As was Hoover’s trademark, this story begins with the art and science of blackmail. Hoover had discovered that in October of 1953, Senator Hunt’s 20-year-old son had been arrested for soliciting sex from a man in a park near the White House, that man being a plain-clothes D. C. policeman. As Hoover had done before and would do again in later years, the FBI Director had managed to keep this arrest secret for his own blackmail purposes. Months later, Senator Hunt was particularly vulnerable, given the politics of the Senate during that time. Hunt was among 48 Democrats in the U. S. Senate, whereas the Republicans held 47 seats. An additional seat was held by a registered Independent from Oregon, Wayne Morse, who usually voted with the Republicans, thus creating a tie, which, under the rules of government, then as now, sent the tie-breaking vote to the President of the Senate, by Statute the Vice-President, who happened to be Richard Nixon, a Republican. (At that time, Hawaii and Alaska had not yet become States, thus there were 96 U. S. Senators.) However, Senator Morse had publicly indicated that he intended to switch to the Democratic Party after the elections of the Fall of 1954, and thus the Democrats would have 49 votes to the Republicans 47, thus reverting the control of the Majority of the Senate to the Democrats and also negating the ability of Vice-President Nixon to cast a tie-breaking vote, should such circumstances require. Among the consequences of such a scenario, Republican Senator Joseph McCarthy would no longer be Chairman of the Senate Committee on Government Operations.
Hoover then leaked the information about the arrest of Senator Hunt’s son to Roy Cohn. Cohn then convinced his close associate Styles Bridges, a Republican Senator from New Hampshire, to blackmail Senator Hunt into withdrawing his candidacy for re-election, otherwise Hoover would utilize his many contacts in the Media to reveal the arrest of the Senator’s son. It was also demanded that Hunt resign immediately, so that the Governor of Wyoming, a Republican, could appoint an Interim replacement who could thus run as an Incumbent in the election of the Fall. On June 8th, 1954, Senator Hunt stunned his supporters when, without explanation, he announced he would not seek re-election to the Senate. 11 days later, Senator Hunt secreted a hunting rifle into his Senate office on Capital Hill and shot himself to death. As Fate would have it, Senator Hunt’s successor for the Democratic Nomination from the State of Wyoming was elected in his place, and the Democrats picked up a net gain of 1 in the elections of 1954, and thus, the machinations and blackmail of J. Edgar Hoover and his associates to maintain control over the U. S. Senate failed. The story of Senator Hunt’s blackmail and suicide was turned by writer Allen Drury into his 1959 Pulitzer-Prize winning novel, ADVISE AND CONSENT.
The blackmail by Hoover, Cohn, and their associates in regards to Senator Hunt’s son’s sex scandal is even more outrageous given revelations in recent years. Roy Cohn denied all of his life that he was gay, but the 1988 biography by Nicholas von Hoffman, “Citizen Cohn,” conclusively establishes this fact. Cohn died of AIDS in 1986. In 1993, Anthony Summers published his definitive book on Hoover, “Official & Confidential: The Secret Life of J. Edgar Hoover.” Summers’ book was condemned by some, who insisted that Hoover was celibate. However, Summers’ book named names, places, and dates, establishing from several sources Hoover’s secret lifestyle. One of Summers’ more interesting findings was that as a young man Hoover had himself been arrested in New Orleans for soliciting sex from a man, and that this arrest was covered-up by local law enforcement officials. Such information could become invaluable to the man who would later take control of organized crime in New Orleans, Godfather Carlos Marcello. Time Magazine would later reveal that Reverend Hargis engaged in sex with male students of his Bible college. (12) General Walker was arrested not once but twice for soliciting sex from male undercover officers in Dallas, Texas. (13)
There is one more point to be made in regards to the blackmail of Senator Hunt that led to his suicide. When, years later, Americans were stunned to learn of Hoover’s blackmail letter to Dr. King, urging him to commit suicide, otherwise allegations regarding his private life would be made public, many were astounded that Hoover and his accomplices in the letter campaign would even consider that Dr. King, a Christian Minister, would contemplate such as action. It was not the intent of Hoover and his accomplices in the blackmail of Senator Hunt that he kill himself, but that is what was the result. Also, Hoover had his Agents investigate the men he targeted all the way back into their childhoods. Such an inquiry would reveal that when Dr. King was 12 years old, he attempted suicide, distraught over the death of his grandmother which he believed was brought on by his own misconduct. (14) While still highly unlikely that Dr. King would follow the suggestion of suicide in the blackmail letter, given Senator Hunt’s response to blackmail, and Dr. King’s youthful attempt, Hoover thought it was worth a try.
A few months after Senator Hunt’s tragic death, the U. S. Senate almost lost another Democratic Senator, John F. Kennedy. At that time, Kennedy was not the handsome figure that Americans remember him as on the day he died. Still, with his father’s fortune and his war-hero status, Kennedy easily won election as a Congressman in 1946, where he served until his election to the Senate in 1952. But by the Fall of 1954 his frail health was failing him. It is now known that the steroids he had to take for his various ailments had a side effect of osteoporosis, which had been eating away at the crippled vertebrae in his back. Another side effect of the steroids was an increase in libido, which helps to explain his much-maligned private life. In October, surgery was performed on Senator Kennedy’s spine in a New York Hospital. Infections brought Kennedy to the point where a Catholic Priest was summoned to administer the Last Rites. It was the third time in his life in which Kennedy was at the very brink of death. But JFK would cheat death one more time. (15)
While Kennedy was recovering, the elections in November resulted, despite Hoover’s ploy in the Hunt affair, with the Democrats gaining control of the U. S. Senate. Bobby Kennedy had managed to escape the taint of his work on Joseph McCarthy’s Committee investigating Communism, and now saw a new opportunity. Bobby Kennedy would then lobby Senator John McClellan to become Chief Counsel on a new Committee that would investigate organized crime in America. His brother John would also serve on the Committee; thus, a template was created between the two brothers that would be repeated later when JFK was President and Bobby would pursue the Mob as Attorney General.
The McClellan Committee would soon become another national obsession, during televised hearings in which Bobby Kennedy grilled leading Mafia figures of the day, most of whom repeatedly invoked their Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination. Bobby Kennedy taunted his adversaries relentlessly; during one such grilling of Chicago Mob Boss Sam Giancana, the wiseguy erupted into a nervous giggle, prompting Bobby Kennedy to taunt: "I thought only little girls giggled, Mr. Giancana!" Bobby Kennedy also aggressively pursued Dave Beck, Jimmy Hoffa, and Tony Provenzano of the Teamsters' Union as well as Mob bosses Joe Gallo, Carlos Marcello and Santo Trafficante. Like most of those who appeared, Marcello repeatedly invoked his 5th Amendment rights against self-incrimination in response to the questions by the Committee. Robert Kennedy summarized his work on the McClellan Committee in his 1960 book THE ENEMY WITHIN. While making enemies of organized crime bosses, as well as the man who refused to acknowledge their existence, FBI Director Hoover, John and Robert Kennedy simultaneously had earned the admiration and respect of millions of Americans. Thus, the Kennedys were ready to make their move onto the national political arena in the elections of 1960.
There was only one man who stood in the way of John F. Kennedy winning the nomination of the Democratic Party for President in 1960, and that man was Senator Lyndon Johnson from the State of Texas. J. Edgar Hoover was very closely tied to Johnson, among such ties a man named Walter Jenkins, who had worked as Johnson’s right-hand man for most of his adult life. Jenkins had even named one of his 6 children "Lyndon," and Hoover had hired Jenkins’ brother as an FBI Agent. In the months leading up to the run for the Nomination, Senator Johnson’s candidacy almost came crashing down when Walter Jenkins was arrested for engaging in sex acts with another man in the men’s room of a YMCA just a few blocks from the White House. Pulling all of his considerable strings, Hoover managed to keep the story from becoming public. Jenkins would be arrested - again - in the same YMCA in 1964, during Johnson’s Presidential campaign, and Hoover would engage in extra-ordinary efforts at damage control, but the Media would find out, and Jenkins had to resign as the President’s top advisor. Hoover’s earlier attempt to cover-up Jenkins’ arrest saved Johnson from scandal, and thus allowed him to be chosen as JFK’s running mate.
In one of the closest races in American history, the ticket of Kennedy-Johnson was narrowly elected to lead America during a very troubled time. The biggest threat to America was not Communists within but Communists abroad, and historians today now realize that the World came perilously close to nuclear war during the Cuban missile crisis of 1962. The crisis began when U. S. reconnaissance missions revealed the construction of Russian missile sites throughout the island of Cuba. The Soviet leadership consistently maintained that the missiles were defensive, intended to stave off another invasion such as the ill-fated Bay of Pigs military operation of a year earlier. In heated arguments with the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Generals made the case to the President that the missiles had to be taken out by air strikes, followed up by an invasion of the Communist country. Air Force General Curtis LeMay was the most vehement in this position.
Kennedy, however, decided to respond incrementally by first announcing to the world a Naval blockade of the island. However, without President Kennedy’s knowledge, General LeMay’s colleague General Tommy Power issued the order to bring the country’s military readiness state to DEFCON - 2, just one step below that of war. Power also decreed that the order not be sent out encrypted, meaning that the Soviets would quickly discover that the United States was preparing for the possibility of war over the Cuban missiles. President Kennedy, however, prevailed over both the Soviets and the Hawks within his own military during this crisis, and secretly agreed with the Soviets to remove American nuclear missiles in Turkey aimed at the Soviet Union in exchange for the dismantling of the missiles in Cuba. (16) Only after the demise of the Soviet Union was it discovered that the Soviets already had nuclear missiles in place on Cuban soil, as well as those housed in submarines off the coast, and thus, if General LeMay and his co-horts had prevailed in precipitating a military strike, World War III would almost certainly have been the result. (17) An unrepentant General LeMay would go on to become Segregationist George Wallace’s running mate in the 1968 Presidential race.
As the tensions from the Cuban missile crisis began to subside, President Kennedy and his brother, the Attorney General, sought to reign in the right-wing elements of the military that had been a dangerous side show during the crisis. Walker’s demise was brought about because of his indoctrination of the troops under his command with propaganda materials published by the John Birch Society. President Kennedy’s Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara then relieved General Walker of his Command, prompting the General to resign from the Army later that year. General Walker, however, later escaped prosecution for inciting the riot at the University of Mississippi when the Grand Jury refused in Indict him.
Robert Kennedy would also fail in his Prosecution of Carlos Marcello. The Godfather was born in 1910 to Sicilian parents in Tunisia, and given the name Calogero Minacore. Changing his name to Carlos Marcello, the future Godfather listed on immigration papers his birthplace as being the Central American country of Guatemala, hoping to shield his ties to the Sicilian Mafia. Circumventing Hoover’s FBI, Bobby Kennedy used the office of the Immigration and Naturalization Service to arrange the Deportation of Marcello to the country he had claimed was his birthplace; Guatemala. Bobby Kennedy had Marcello seized on April 4th, 1963 by Immigration officials and flown out of the United States. Marcello literally found himself dumped in the jungles of a country that was foreign to him. It only took a few weeks for the rich and powerful Marcello to make his way back to New Orleans. There, his lawyers began to prepare his defense against Federal charges of falsification of Marcello’s Guatemalan Birth Certificate and illegal entry into the United States. Marcello’s principle lawyer was C. Wray Gill. Hired as his private investigator was the jack-of-all-trades, David Ferrie, who had teamed with Gill to get his job back after Eastern Airlines fired him for having gay sex with a teenager. (18)
As the date for Marcello’s trial approached in the Spring of 1963, Lee Oswald moved back to his home town of New Orleans. Oswald had decided to leave Dallas until the “heat” died down from those in law enforcement pursuing the person who had tried to assassinate General Walker. Oswald turned to his Uncle Charles Murret to take him in, which he reluctantly agreed to. Years earlier, Oswald’s Uncle had run a gambling ring as part of Carlos Marcello’s crime family. As a teenager, Oswald had served as a volunteer in a local Civil Air Patrol headed by pilot David Ferrie. Now an adult, Oswald founded a local branch of the “Fair Play for Cuba” pro-Castro organization. Handing out pro-Castro leaflets with one other person, never identified but described as Latino, Oswald got into a fight with anti-Castro Cubans and was arrested. At the local jail house, Oswald asked to speak to an Agent from the local FBI office.
By the time the trial of Carlos Marcello got underway in New Orleans, Lee Oswald had returned to Dallas. He had gotten a job at the Texas School Book Depository, which supplied approved text books for the Texas school systems. He still had the rifle he had used a few months earlier in his unsuccessful attempt to murder General Walker. One day in mid-November, Oswald learned that President Kennedy was making a campaign trip to Dallas, and would participate in a motorcade that would pass right beneath the Texas School Book Depository. (19)
Dallas, Texas in those days was troubled. On October 24, 1963 the visit to Dallas by Ambassador to the United Nations, Adlai Stevenson, was marred by right-wing, anti-Communist protesters, who hurled insults, both verbal and physical, at the stunned diplomat. The demonstration had been organized by none other than General Edwin Walker, who, the night previous, had denounced the United Nations as part of an international Communist conspiracy. Rumors abounded among the right-wing community of Dallas that there would be similar trouble when the President came to town. In fact, associates of General Walker would take out a full-page ad in the Dallas Morning News, to be published on the day of the President’s visit, which accused the President and his Administration of essentially being “soft” on Communism. “Wanted” posters would also be distributed, with the President’s photo on them, saying he was wanted for Treason! Having already been thrown into a mental hospital on orders of Bobby Kennedy, General Walker feared that if there was any trouble in Dallas, that he would be suspected of having instigated such trouble, so to establish an alibi, Walker decided he would be conveniently out of town during the President’s visit. General Walker chose the city of New Orleans as his alibi. (19)
On that day, November 22, 1963, Godfather Marcello awaited the Verdict on his immigration charges in Federal Court in New Orleans. Waiting with him in the Courtroom was David Ferrie. Despite the fact which was obvious - that this Sicilian was not a Guatemalan - the jury’s Verdict was "Not Guilty." The Godfather walked out of Court a free man, into a world which that very afternoon had changed forever.
PART TWO: CONSPIRACY, INCORPORATED.
John F. Kennedy’s body had not even made it back to Washington aboard Air Force One before what would be the first of many human vultures descended upon his political carcass, determined to turn this national, indeed, world-wide Tragedy, into a venue by which they could make a buck off the slain President. Less than 2 hours after the nation learned of the assassination, a woman would drop a dime - in those days, it might have been a nickel - to her local newspaper, the Fort Worth Star - Telegram, in an attempt to turn this crime into cold cash. The woman who spoke to reporter Bob Schieffer was none other than Marguerite Oswald, the mother of the man the radio was reporting had been taken into custody for questioning. Mrs. Oswald convinced Schieffer to pick her up and drive her into Dallas. On the ride into town, Mrs. Oswald expressed her concern that she might not get the Media attention - and dirty dollars from selling her story - that she believed she was entitled to. That theme was further explored later that night with 2 reporters from Life Magazine, who told the not-so-grieving mother that while they would not pay her for her story, they would instead put her up in a nice hotel room and cover her expenses.
From this modest beginning, a new multi-million dollar industry was born, Conspiracy, Incorporated, a cottage industry which would produce over 1,000 books and movies in the decades to come, in which both the sane and the not sane would create a new commodity, their stated aim of which was to “solve” the “Crime of the Century.”
Marguerite Oswald’s attempt to sell out her son for her own financial gain helps explain the genesis of the monster her son would become having been raised and nurtured by such a person. Indeed, Conspiracy, Incorporated would be populated by numerous individuals who felt compelled to tell to the world, through their books, the story of how a beloved member of their own family was involved in the murder of the President. Not one but two relatives of Chicago Godfather Sam Giancana would publish separate books in which they would make explosive allegations. Sam Giancana is implicated in the murder of the President, along with the CIA, in a book written by Giancana’s brother.
However, in 1990, a man named Ricky White claimed in a news conference that his father, Dallas Police Officer Roscoe White, along with some other CIA operatives, murdered the President. Director Oliver Stone would meet with White while preparing his conspiracy theory movie “JFK.” Charles Harrelson, the father of Hollywood actor Woody Harrelson, confessed to murdering the President when he was arrested for the contract killing of a Federal Judge in San Antonio. His false confession was later proved to be a ploy to receive a reduced sentence by “naming” the other people he claimed were involved with him in the President’s murder.
If family members cannot be counted upon to keep such “family secrets” as the murder of the President, then it should come as no surprise that Lawyers for Mafia associates cannot be expected to do the same. In 1994, Frank Ragano, the Mob lawyer for Florida Godfather Santo Trafficante, Teamster’s Boss Jimmy Hoffa, and New Orleans Godfather Carlos Marcello, published his book, “Mob Lawyer.” in which he alleged that Trafficante and Marcello were involved in a plot to murder President Kennedy. Ragano reported this as “hear-say” evidence, which he was no longer, as a responsible, law-abiding member of the legal profession, adhering to the high moral standards of his profession in regards to attorney-client privilege, obliged to maintain, now that his clients were, conveniently, dead.
The Reverend Billy James Hargis wrote about the Kennedy assassination in his 1964 book “The Far Left.” Hargis’ connection to the case was the fact that his close friend, General Walker, was the first target for assassination by Lee Oswald. Hargis - predictably - argued that the murder of the President was the result of a Communist conspiracy, and that the KGB and the American Communist Part were involved in a dis-information campaign to blame the crime on the right-wing community, of which Hargis was a leading member. No credible evidence of Soviet or Cuban involvement in the assassination was uncovered by the various official investigations, but evidence of KGB disinformation campaigns such as those described by Hargis were uncovered.
A few years after Reverend Hargis’ book, New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison also got on the bandwagon, although this time around, Garrison claimed that operatives of the CIA, not the Communists, were responsible for the murder of the President. Even though Garrison’s allegations changed almost on a weekly basis, his unsubstantiated claims made him an instant international celebrity, which would only serve to motivate a ‘rogues gallery’ of others to follow in his example. In the decades that have since passed, a body of evidence has accumulated that portrays a very different picture of what the Media viewed at the time as a courageous District Attorney taking on "the Crime of the Century." Simply put, Jim Garrison was a con artist and criminal from a State that has provided and nurtured a long list of such corrupt public officials.
Substantial evidence exists that shows Garrison and his team, in their efforts to indict Clay Shaw for conspiring to murder the President, solicited Perjury, through threats and bribery, and also solicited the illegal break-in of Shaw’s home, the aim of which was to plant “evidence” implicating Shaw in this alleged conspiracy. Only by subjecting ‘witness’ Perry Russo to drugs and hypnosis was Garrison able to solicit Russo’s ‘memory’ that he had attended a party during which Oswald, his long-time associate David Ferrie, and Clay Shaw allegedly discussed their plans to murder the President. Gradually, members of the Media began to expose Garrison’s con job, NBC among the first.
In January, 1969, Jim Garrison opened his Prosecution against Clay Shaw for his alleged participation in a conspiracy to murder the President. Garrison’s two main ‘witnesses’ were Perry Russo and New York accountant Charles Spiesel, who also claimed to have been at a party in which Oswald, Shaw, and Ferrie casually admitted before strangers such as himself their intention to murder the President, a crime that would subject each of them to being just one ‘dropping of a dime’ away to immediate arrest by Agents of the Secret Service. Under cross-examination, Spiesel admitted to fingerprinting his daughter to be certain she was not an imposter sent into his home by the NYPD, in league with persons unknown whom he alleged had kidnaped him and hypnotized him against his will on 50 to 60 occasions. Spiesel had documented such allegations in a lawsuit he filed in 1964 against his psychiatrist and the City of New York.
The jury of American citizens who heard such testimony returned after deliberations of less than an hour to render a verdict of "Not Guilty." Within days, Garrison obtained another indictment against Clay Shaw, alleging that Shaw committed Perjury when he claimed he did not know David Ferrie nor Lee Harvey Oswald, the serious credibility issues of ‘witnesses’ Perry Russo and Charles Spiesel notwithstanding. That case never went to trial, when a Federal Court ruled that Garrison’s prosecution of Shaw was the result of gross prosecutorial misconduct on the part of Garrison. Undeterred, Garrison would write his own book on this case, “On the Trail of the Assassins.” This book was later made into a movie by Oliver Stone, “JFK,” which was successful by Hollywood standards, despite having been denounced by numerous historians, prosecutors, and criminologists.
The impact of books and films such as these have caused the circulation in the general public of information about the murder of the President that simply is not true, yet is mistakenly perceived to be proven facts. Fortunately, two men, G. Robert Blakey and Vincent Bugliosi have made it their life’s mission to separate fantasy from fact in regards to the assassination of JFK. These two men agree on virtually every key element of this crime, except for one notable exception. (1)
PART THREE: THE INVESTIGATIONS
A. The Warren Report
Within days of the murder of the President, calls came from various camps for some sort of a national, government “Commission” to investigate the assassination and make an official published report to the American people. The most over-riding reason for this commission was a matter of national security; within hours of the President’s murder, it was established that the likely perpetrator, Lee Oswald, was a Communist, who had left America for life in the Soviet Union, had then returned, and was an avowed supporter of Fidel Castro. Just one year after the world narrowly escaped nuclear war during the Cuban Missile Crisis, many people, within and without the government, feared that if evidence implicated the Soviet Union and/or Fidel Castro in Oswald’s murder of the President, public outrage would demand actions against either government, and the specter of World War III would once again become a distinct possibility.
Just as J. Edgar Hoover had years before opposed the investigations of the Mafia led by Senator Kefauver, so Hoover attempted to prevent this official investigative body from becoming a reality. Hoover failed in this regard, and the men chosen to serve on this Commission were Earl Warren, Chief Justice of the U. S. Supreme Court, Democratic Senator Richard Russell of Georgia, Republican Senator John Sherman Cooper of Kentucky, Democratic Congressman Hale Boggs, of New Orleans, Republican Congressman Gerald Ford of Michigan, Allen Dulles, former DCI, and John McCloy, former President of the World Bank. Hoover was concerned that information damaging to the reputation of the FBI would be uncovered by the Warren Commission, and was relieved when Gerald Ford agreed to act as an FBI Informant and report regularly back to Hoover what the Commission was investigating. (1)
One area of concern for Hoover regarded Jack Ruby, the assassin of Oswald. Ruby had served as an FBI Informant, although in a minor capacity. The Commission pursued the possibility that, given Ruby’s mob connections, he might have some connection to Carlos Marcello, the member of the Mafia who had the strongest motivation to have Kennedy killed. While it was common knowledge that Hoover had refused to pursue the Mafia, and for some time even implausibly denied it even existed, it is now known that Hoover employed Mafia hitmen such as Greg Scarpa to provide the type of information he wanted, and, on occasion, commit crimes on behalf of the FBI. Fortunately for Hoover, it was his own Bureau that provided much - but not all - of the information supplied to the Commission.
The official and final report of the Warren Commission was presented to President Johnson in September, 1964. The Commission determined that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone in his murder of President Kennedy, that he fired 3 bullets from his rifle from the Texas School Book Depository, that one bullet wounded both the President and Texas Governor John Connally, and that the third bullet entered the President’s head in the back of his skull and exploded outwards in the front of his head. The Commission also determined that Oswald also executed Dallas, Texas Police Officer Tippit, and that Jack Ruby acted alone when he murdered Oswald.
B. The CBS News Investigation
In the Fall of 1967, CBS News broadcast a 4-part series, entitled: “A CBS News Inquiry: The Warren Report.” The program reached the same conclusions that the Warren Report had made regarding Oswald acting alone, and his 3 bullets causing all the wounds to the President and the Governor. Dan Rather dis-assembled a model of Oswald’s rifle, and wrapped it in paper, offering a visual re-enactment of how Oswald managed to fool his co-worker into believing the package he carried into the Texas School Book Depository contained curtain rods to be used in his apartment.
The main reason CBS produced this program was the growing concern among many Americans who questioned the validity of the Warren Report. Mark Lane’s book “Rush to Judgment,” published in 1966, was instrumental in creating the conspiracy theory industry that continues to this very day. The CBS program took the time to examine and attempt to discredit Lane’s book, but the opposite effect was achieved.
C. The Rockefeller Commission
The Watergate scandal shook the confidence of the American people in regards to public institutions. With the resignation of President Nixon, Gerald Ford got on the bandwagon by creating a Commission to further investigate alleged wrongdoing within the government. Although Hoover was now dead, the FBI-friendly President decided to go after the FBI’s perceived rival, the CIA. Thus, in 1975 began the “United States Commission on CIA Activities within the United States.” Ford chose his own self-chosen Vice-President, former New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller, to head the investigative body which is popularly referred to as the “Rockefeller Commission.” Among the members of the Commission were Ronald Reagan, who like Ford, had worked as an FBI Informant. Reagan’s work as an FBI Informant was less venal; years earlier, as President of the Screen Actor’s Guild in Hollywood, Reagan informed to the FBI on members of his Union suspected of being Communists. (2)
In regards to the Kennedy Assassination, the Commission investigated two allegations popular with conspiracy theorists; (1) that E. Howard Hunt and Frank Sturgis (of the Watergate break-in) were employees of the CIA, and were among the homeless men rounded up near the picket fence from which a second assassin was believed to have fired one or more shots at the President; (2) that what appears in the home film of the assassination taken by bystander Abraham Zapruder indicates that the final bullet which killed the President entered from the front of his skull and not the back, therefore the shot did not come from the Texas School Book Depository, and thus there was a conspiracy of more than one person other than Oswald to kill the President.
The Commission concluded that both Hunt and Sturgis were not in Dallas on that day, and that Hunt had worked for the CIA but Sturgis did not. The Commission concluded also that the fatal bullet came from the Texas School Book Depository.
D. The Church Committee
Also in 1975, the U. S. Congress established the Church Committee, after the Chairman, Senator Frank Church of Idaho. The other members were Philip Hart, Walter Mondale, Walter Huddleston, Robert Morgan, Gary Hart, John Tower, Howard Baker, Barry Goldwater, Charles Mathias, and Richard Schweiker. The mandate of the Committee was to investigate allegations of misconduct within the CIA, the National Security Agency, and the FBI.
The Church Committee is best known for investigating allegations that a few members of the CIA were in contact with members of the American Mafia believed to already have been plotting to murder Fidel Castro. This plan apparently had it’s genesis in the findings of CIA Analysts, who concluded even before John F. Kennedy became President, that Castro was a Marxist, who, if taken under the umbrella protection of the Soviet Union’s nuclear weapons arsenal, could trigger a chain of events that could lead to nuclear war. Those Analysts would later be proven correct.
During it’s investigative work, the Church Committee came under attack from some in the law enforcement community, who argued that sensational yet unproven allegations were being leaked to the Media, for the political gain of members of the Committee, the end result being that America’s national security was being compromised. The backlash against the Committee came 2 days before Christmas in 1975, when Marxists members of the “Revolutionary Organization 17 November” assassinated Richard Welch, the CIA Station Chief in Athens, Greece. Welch was buried in Arlington National Cemetery.
Like the BLA, this Marxist gang supported itself through a series of armed robberies, mostly of banks. The Harvard-educated Welch was first targeted in 1968 by Dr. Julius Mader of East Germany, in his book “Who’s Who in the CIA.” Mader was himself a behind-the-Iron-Curtain conspiracy theorist, and many of his claims simply were not true. Ironically, among the two members of Congress whom Mader claimed were CIA operatives was Senator Frank Church, the very Senator who a few years later would lead what some would call a “witch-hunt” against the Agency.
Critics of the Church Committee would also note that most of the members had Presidential ambitions, and thus their motives in the work of this Committee smacked of politics. Those members who aspired to reside in the White House were Walter Mondale, Gary Hart, John Tower, Howard Baker, Barry Goldwater, Charles Mathias, Richard Schweiker, and Senator Church himself.
To be fair, is should be noted that the Church Committee also investigated misconduct on the part of the FBI, notably the Bureau’s extensive campaign of opening the mail of thousands of American citizens. Also, the Senator would have been more aggressive towards the FBI had he known then what would be revealed years later in regards to the suicide of his cousin, Admiral William Church. Back in the 1960s, a New Yorker named Ed Murphy led a gang of criminals that set-up and blackmailed prominent people who led secret gay lifestyles. When Murphy finally got arrested, he escaped prison time by signing up as an FBI Informant. Murphy gave up to the FBI the names of the men he blackmailed, among them Admiral Church, who headed the Brooklyn Naval Yards. Once the Admiral was subpoenaed to testify before a Grand Jury regarding this, he instead drove to a motel in Maryland, where he fired a bullet into his head. Ed Murphy was protected by the FBI until his death due to AIDS in 1989. (3)
E. The House Select Committee on Assassinations
In response to the growing number of Americans who believed the murder of President Kennedy was the result of a conspiracy, in 1976 Congress established the House Select Committee on Assassinations. (HSCA) The task of the Committee was to examine whatever evidence it could accumulate regarding the murders of the President and Dr. King. Serving as Chief Counsel was G. Robert Blakey, a former Prosecutor in Robert Kennedy’s Justice Department.
The Committee determined that no government agency played any role in the murders of Dr. King or the President. The Soviet Union and Cuba were also found to not have been involved in the murder of the President. HSCA confirmed that Oswald fired 3 shots, one of which injured Kennedy and Connally and that the third shot fired by Oswald produced the fatal head wound to the President.
However, the Committee also concluded that a second shooter fired one shot from the area of the picket fence area in front and to the side of the President’s limo. The Committee determined that this shooter was either an American Mafia hitman or a member of an anti-Castro group. The shot fired by this person missed it's target and the bullet was never found. This conclusion was based on acoustical evidence analyzed from a recording accidentally made by a transmission from a police escort motorcycle whose radio transmitter button was stuck in the “send” position. This evidence would later be challenged by further scientific tests.
In 1981, Blakey, along with investigative reporter Richard Billings, published “The Plot to Kill the President: Organized Crime Assassinated JFK.” While critical of the Garrison debacle, the book detailed credible evidence linking Oswald to David Ferrie. The book suggested that somewhere in this close network of associates lay the second gunman that HSCA determined was involved. Blakey and Billings also devote attention to the 1971 assassination attempt against Godfather Colombo. That case - where the assassin was immediately - some say, conveniently - silenced forever by his own murder, struck the authors as a model upon which the JFK murder could be compared.
Blakey’s book also sheds light on the relationship between Judith Campbell (Exner) and President Kennedy. This young woman had been introduced to Kennedy by Frank Sinatra during the 1960 Presidential campaign. Once elected President, Campbell began to make phone calls to the White House, and visit the White House as well. The FBI picked up on these phone calls, and during it’s investigation learned that Campbell had friends in the American Mafia, notably Johnny Roselli and Sam Giancana.
Thus, 2 decades after Hoover blackmailed the Kennedys over JFK’s love interest Inga Arvad, Hoover would again do the same. Hoover then approached the President’s “unhappy brother,” Robert, the Attorney General. Hoover explained that, during the course of his relentless pursuit of the Mafia, he, (Hoover), had uncovered a relationship between the President and a Mobbed-up woman that could destroy his political career if it became public. Hoover would later meet with the President and the subject matter of their conversation would not be recorded into history. However, later that day, phone records revealed that the President called Ms. Campbell, and that would be the last time a call was logged to or from her.
Thus, Kennedy’s Presidency had been “saved” by Hoover’s diligence. It went without saying that the President could trust these embarrassing secrets to remain safely hidden in the confines of FBI Headquarters. That is, of course, as long as Hoover remained Director of the FBI.
F. The Investigation by Vincent Bugliosi
In 2007, famed Prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi released the most comprehensive, “Definitive” work on this subject: “Reclaiming History: The Assassination of President John F. Kennedy.” The book is 1612 pages, not including the end-note citations, which are compiled on a companion CD-Rom. Bugliosi's product is essentially three books in one; a minute-by-minute accounting of the events in Dallas on the day of the murders, with a compelling narrative that will leave many readers in tears; a dissection of the various conspiracy theories, the combination of dogged research, biting sarcasm, and plain, old-fashioned common sense, that exposes many of these proponents for being the frauds and con-artists that they are, a narrative that will give most readers fits of laughter; and, a day by day, hour by hour accounting of the activities of Lee Oswald, in the months leading up to the assassination.
It is this narrative that is essential reading for anyone who genuinely wants to know who killed President Kennedy. Bugliosi simply follows the evidence, and the evidence shows conclusively that Oswald was a Communist, with numerous Marxist books and publications found at his residence; that Oswald did not even decide to murder the President until shortly before the President’s visit to Dallas; that there is no indication by Oswald’s behavior that he had been blackmailed or compromised by anyone to take this action; that there is no indication of any sudden increase in Oswald’s disposable income; and that a widely-reported speech by President Kennedy just days before the murder in which JFK condemned Fidel Castro, was likely the final factor in Oswald’s deadly decision.
Oswald, essentially, as he was in New Orleans when handing out “Fair Play for Cuba” pamphlets, a “Cult of one.” Co-conspirators with substantial resources, whether Mafia or anti-Castro Cubans, would have at least provided transportation for Oswald into Dallas that morning, rather than subject Oswald to the uncertainty of hitching a ride with a co-worker, who, if he had questioned whether those were really “curtain rods” that Oswald was carrying, could thwart the plan right then and there. Oswald was no “patsy,” as he would claim, nor was Officer Tippit anything other than a courageous Police Officer, who died on the job, and whose family did not deserve the outrageous allegations that would be made against his character by some of the conspiracy theorists.
Bugliosi pays particular attention to Jim Garrison. As a former Prosecutor himself, Bugliosi knows what is proper conduct on the part of a Prosecutor and what is not. Garrison’s conduct in the prosecution of Clay Shaw involved the commission of numerous crimes on the part of Garrison and his co-horts. One of Garrison’s early investigators, William Gurvich, quit in disgust over Garrison’s prosectorial misconduct, which he reported to a grateful Bobby Kennedy. Another investigator, William Wood, who worked under the alias “Bill Boxley," was fired because Garrison feared that Wood was a “CIA plant,” given Wood’s former work for the Agency. Wood had been fired by the CIA in 1953 for committing the unforgivable sin of being an alcoholic.
Bugliosi also devotes considerable space in his book to expose the numerous parts of Oliver Stone’s movie “JFK” which are not historically correct.
G. The Dresch - Clemente Investigation.
In 1999, a Yale-educated Presidential Advisor, Dr. Stephen Dresch, with a colleague, Angela Clemente, began an investigation of official corruption that led to the Colombo Mafia Family. After years of research, Dresch and Clemente discovered that a New York City Police Department Detective, Joe Simone, had been framed for the crime of selling confidential law enforcement information to the Colombo Family. During Simone’s trial, attended by this author in 1994, information began to be revealed relating to Greg Scarpa, Sr. As the scandal grew with successive revelations, Ms. Clemente, now acting on her own after the death of Dr. Dresch, filed a Freedom of Information Act request for FBI files relating to Scarpa’s work for the Bureau. Among the documents released were heavily-redacted memos that reveal Scarpa was working on FBI projects in New Orleans, the seat of Godfather Marcello’s power. Hoover never prosecuted Marcello, and it’s not clear what sort of information Scarpa was revealing and what Hoover used that information for.
One thing was for certain; during the House investigation of the murder of President Kennedy, Chief Counsel Blakey had subpoenaed any and all documents the FBI had in regards to Marcello, his primary suspect in the pursuit of a Mafia connection to the assassination. Blakey was not pleased when the New York Times began compiling it’s story in 2008 which suggested Scarpa gave intelligence to the FBI on Godfather Marcello. Blakey complained thus: “I thought I had the Bureau file on Marcello - now it turns out I didn’t, did I?” ( 4)
The Times story sparked renewed interest in the assassination of President Kennedy, something Ms. Clemente had no intention of doing, nor could she have guessed where this story would lead when she filed her request for the files. The fact that many of the files are redacted - which means information has been blacked out by the government- only leads to speculation by those who view them as to what the government is hiding.
Even in FBI files that are redacted, researchers can still find clues about crimes and cover-up. One such example is document NO 92-365, which lists 8 “Top Echelon” Mafia Informants who supplied information to the New Orleans office. The memo lists the identification number by which the Informant is known in the New Orleans office, followed by their I.D number in their office of origin, and the names of their Control Agents. One example from the memo is the following: “NO T-11” is “NY -” and the number is then blacked out. The “NY” shows the Informant is a Mafia figure from New York. Not redacted, however, is the name of the Control Agent: Anthony Villano. Scarpa’s Control Agent back in the 1960s and into the 1970s was Agent Villano. Thus, this one memo, of which there are many, suggests, but does not prove, that Scarpa was providing the FBI with intelligence on organized crime figures in Louisiana. But even if Scarpa was providing information on Marcello to the FBI, that still does not mean that Marcello was involved in the President’s murder. What it means is that the failure to give these files, and others, to Blakey’s Committee was a cover-up of something that would have proven very embarrassing to the FBI back in the late 70s; that the FBI had a drug dealer and Contract assassin on it’s payroll.
Why Hoover would want information on Marcello, when he had no intention of prosecuting him, could be explained by Anthony Summers’ revelation in his 1993 book, in which he reported that Hoover had been arrested by the Vice Squad in New Orleans when he was a young man, and thus was the possible victim of blackmail. This story is certainly more plausible than the claim that Regis Kennedy, the Agent in charge of the FBI office in New Orleans, would tell investigators; that Carlos Marcello was just a tomato salesman. (5) Whatever , if any, information Hoover had a Mafia hitman providing to the FBI in regards to affairs in New Orleans, it undoubtedly had nothing to do with tomatoes.
Over 30 years now since the last official investigation by the U. S. Congress of the murder of President Kennedy, it is still not too late for another investigation, incorporating evidence not made available to the Committee led by Professor Blakey. Such an investigation could make good use of the two experts on this subject, Professor Blakey and Vincent Bugliosi.
Indeed, all of the public killings during the Age of Assassins from 1963 to 1981 should be re-examined. Some of the killers from that era are still alive, the interview of which could lead to some new understanding as to why some people choose to commit assassination. Cop killer Kathy Boudin, for example, is now a Professor at Columbia University in New York City, an appointment that outraged members of the law enforcement community nationwide.
Another cop killer still living is Assata Shakur. Earlier this year, the FBI added Ms. Shakur to it’s famous Most Wanted List. The apprehension of this convicted murderer could accomplish two things; first, it could bring comfort to the family of the State Trooper she gunned down back in 1973. Secondly, criminals who are incarcerated often “flip” and co-operate with law enforcement. Ms. Shakur could thus provide valuable information in regards to what law enforcement agencies such as the CIA and FBI have long known; that foreign governments, hostile towards the United States, have provided aid, financial and otherwise, to groups of avowed Marxists, such as the one Ms. Shakur belonged to.
Unfortunately, this possibility does not seem likely anytime soon. Since her escape from prison, Assata Shakur has been living in Cuba, protected by a man who himself escaped several plots against him during the Age of Assassins; Communist Dictator Fidel Castro.
Notes - Prologue
Notes - Part One
Notes - Part Two
Notes - Part Three
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