The Murder of John Fitzgerald Kennedy: There Never was a Camelot

Mobbed Up

“You told me…before Kennedy was appointed Attorney General, but I never thought it would be this rough. You told me when they put his brother in there we were gonna see some fireworks, but I never knew it would be like this. This is murder.”
Sam Giancana, head of the Chicago Syndicate, on FBI wiretap.  

Sam Giancana (AP/Wide World)

It now seems certain, looking back in history from this point in time, that the CIA conspired with prominent figures in the Mafia to have Fidel Castro killed. Two of the major players in this clandestine game were the boss of the Chicago Syndicate, Sam “Momo’ Giancana, and one of his associates Johnny Roselli. These men acted with the approval and consent of the CIA Deputy Director of Planning, Richard M. Bissel, along with the Deputy Director of Operations, Lieutenant General Charles Cabell -- later relieved of his duty by President Kennedy, who he would describe as a “traitor.” Cabell’s brother, Earle, was the Mayor of Dallas in 1963 and oversaw all activities relating to the motorcade and its chosen route through the city and down Elm Street.

About a year after Castro assumed control of Cuba on January 1, 1959, the USA decided on drastic action. By September 1960, the CIA had agreed on a plan to assassinate Castro. It involved Giancana, Roselli and also Santo Trafficante Jr, the Mafia boss of Tampa and West Florida. Both Allan Dulles, Director of the CIA and Cabell were fully briefed. One theory holds that Robert Maheu, a top aide of reclusive billionaire Howard Hughes whose casino connections in Las Vegas had brought him into contact with the Chicago Syndicate, who was heavily involved in the gambling city, introduced the CIA's Jim O'Connell to Johnny Roselli. Roselli, in turn, introduced O’Connell to both Giancana and Trafficante.   Although both the Kennedy brothers were strongly behind the efforts to remove Castro from power, they never learned of the Mafia involvement until at least a year after taking office.

The CIA’s involvement with the Mob compromised the Kennedy Administration’s war on organized crime, driven by Attorney General Robert Kennedy. The first CIA operation was the disastrous Bay of Pigs invasion in 1961, which ended in abject failure and humiliation for the US government. In conjunction with this abortive attempt, the CIA had also linked in with a Cuban-based associate of Trafficante to organize the murder of Castro in an operation known by code name “Operation Mongoose,” using poison pills, and a variety of other wild and wonderful devices, including cigars impregnated with poison, exploding conch shells, and a wet suit impregnated with a special fungus that would cause a disabling rare skin disorder, which was to be presented to the Cuban leader, well-known for his love of diving. These inventions were also a miserable failure.

On May 7th, 1962, Robert Kennedy discovered that the CIA was liasing with the Mob in their assassination attempts against Castro, and he ordered that it stop. However in 1975 the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, known generally as the Church Commission, discovered that CIA operative William Harvey, the head of the assassination operation, continued to work with Roselli to arrange Castro’s murder.

Robert Kennedy’s chief priority when he assumed his new job at the White House was a war on organized crime. It was a fight in which he passionately believed. The Kennedy brothers were startlingly successful in their quest. From 1961 to 1963, there was a 500% increase in defendants indicted and a 400% increase in convictions.

He had even written a book about the Mob called “The Enemy Within.” In the book he said, “If we do not attack organized crime with weapons and techniques as effective as their own, they will destroy us.”

Robert and John Kennedy had both been part of the McClelland Committee hearings into organized crime in March 1959 and they never forgot Carlos Marcello’s contemptuous defiance in the face of their questions on his activities and connection to the Mafia. Once the brothers were in power, they launched a determined assault against organized crime in America. It was in fact almost a crusade to eliminate the Mafia, with most of their initial thrust aimed at Carlos Marcello, Santo Trafficante Jr. and Sam Giancana. In addition, they would also target a man who was a close advisor and, through his position as president of the powerful and wealthy Teamsters Union, a major financier of their needs. This man was Jimmy Hoffa.

In addition to his confrontation with Marcello during the McClelland hearings, Robert Kennedy had also personally attacked and humiliated Sam Giancana, referring to him as a “little girl” after Giancana had taken the Fifth Amendment repeatedly rather than answer questions that had been put to him. It was the kind of thing a man like the boss of the Chicago Mob would never forget. There was something else he would never forget.

The Biggest mistake Robert Kennedy ever made was to underestimate organized crime in America and to illegally deport Carlos Marcello, leader of the Louisana Mafia. Robert deported Carlos to Guatemala claiming he was a citizen of Guatamala, not the U.S. Robert knew this not to be the case, he knew the Birth Certificates were false, but proceded as if he didn't. KingFish Carlos, the man who ordered the biggest hit of all time.  Read more about him by clicking here!

Marcello, who by the way, forgot to ever become a United States citizen was kidnapped by RFK and deported to South America based on the evidence of a phoney birth certificate he himself had made up. Of course Marcello didn't let this stop him and he re-entered the country virtually at will immediately after the deportation. But, Carlos would never forget, and neither would Giancana, of how Robert humilated him and reneged on old man Kennedy's and Brother John's deal of hands off once in John got into office as president.

Marcello was most influential in arranging the details along with Giancana because he controlled, along with Trafficante, all of the South. Trafficante operated out of Tampa and Marcello New Orleans.

Joe Civello, Dallas Mob Kingpin

Marcello by the way, had enormously strong ties with Dallas organized crime. Carlos was lifelong close friends with Louisian Bred and born, Joseph Civello, the leader of Dallas organized Crime. Infamous Texas operative via Chicago was Jack Ruby. Ruby was ordered south from Chicago by Giancana. Jack Ruby's father was a collection man and strong arm under Carlos's umbrella and Jack Ruby was tight with the Dallas Police Dept., knowing almost every officer on a first name basis.

John Kennedy, along with aide from his connected father and illegal bootlegger, Joseph Kennedy, the powerful and ambitious patriarch of the Kennedy clan, had made a deal through Giancana with the large mob families to guarantee that the presidential election would be rigged in the major U.S. cities as well as Illinois, a critical state for campaigning candidates. Joseph wanted to ensure that his son John would become president and was not shy about asking his connections for help.

Gianacana had also helped raise money for JFK’s crucial West Virginia primary campaign, or had arranged to pay off appropriate political figures. Judith Exner, one time girl friend of Giancana, admitted to Larry King on television in 1992 that she repeatedly acted as a courier, shipping satchels of money between the Chicago boss and John Kennedy. This money was used to help Kennedy the underdog defeat Hubert Humphrey, who was the favourite.

One thing that no one has ever been able to explain satisfactorily. The Kennedys were worth at this time somewhere between $400/600 million. With that kind of money, why would they need someone like Giancana to help them buy a state as sparsely populated as West Virginia? The answer was that the Kennedy's needed the mobs organizational ability. They needed this election, needed to do dirty work to assure it, yet needed to keep their hands clean. What better way to do this than to have old friends help, one hand washes the other.

The Mob had agreed to help, but obviously expected something in return. They did not count on the new president and his brother returning the favour by going after them with a vengeance.

Giancana later cursed JFK, complaining, “We broke our balls for him and gave him the election and he gets his brother to hound us to death.”

The relationship between Giancana and the Kennedys became even more complicated when it was revealed that Giancana’s girlfriend, Judith Exner, was also having an affair with John Kennedy when he was in office. She had even telephoned him at least seventy times since he had been inaugurated at the White House, a fact that had been discovered by FBI chief, J. Edgar Hoover. On March 27, 1962, Hoover apparently persuaded the President to discontinue the relationship. Or at least make sure the telephone connection was broken off.

Jimmy Hoffa (AP/Wide World)

If Carlos Marcello hated the Kennedys and Sam Giancana despised them, Jimmy Hoffa, president of the Teamsters Union was also a likely candidate in the hate Kennedy stakes. Hoffa had been a major target of the organized crime crusade and had been involved in many verbal confrontations with Bobby Kennedy. By 1962, Bobby had established an entire division within the Justice Department charged with the sole task of bringing Hoffa down.

According to information that came from a Louisiana Teamster official called Edward Partin, Hoffa was seriously considering having Bobby Kennedy and maybe even his brother murdered to stop the harassment he was facing.

Partin went to visit Hoffa in his office in Washington, in June 1962. The Teamster boss discussed two probable murder plans, one involving blowing up Bobby’s house on his Virginia estate, and the other having him shot dead by a sniper using a high-powered rifle fitted with a telescopic sight. This plot apparently escalated to also include Bobby’s brother. In 1979, the House Assassination Committee examined this in more detail and concluded:

“There is solid evidence…that Hoffa, Marcello and Trafficante -- three of the most important targets for criminal prosecution by the Kennedy Administration -- had discussions with their subordinates about murdering President Kennedy.”

There is certainly no doubt that the Mob was beneficiary of the death of Kennedy. House Assassination Committee Counsel Robert Blakey also speculated, “the most plausible explanation for the murder of Oswald by Jack Ruby was that Ruby had stalked him on behalf of organized crime. The fingerprints of organized crime are all over Jack Ruby.” Blakey concluded at the time of the Committee’s report: “The Mob did it. It’s a historical fact.”

Santo Trafficante Jnr. (AP/Wide World)

In 1992, Frank Ragano, long time lawyer and personal friend of Santo Trafficante, disclosed conversations he had with Trafficante and Hoffa, both clients of his, and with Carlos Marcello. In essence they evolved around a conspiracy to murder John Kennedy. On July 23, 1963, Hoffa told Ragano that he had to impress on Trafficante the need for urgent action to remove Kennedy. Ragano passed on the message.

After the assassination, Hoffa spoke to Ragano, expressing his delight at the killing. “Did you hear the good news? They killed the son-of-a-bitch bastard.” This meant that Johnson would now get rid of Bobby. Early in December 1963, Hoffa told Ragano, “I told you they could do it. I’ll never forget what Carlos and Santo did for me.” Later, in New Orleans, Marcello who was awaiting approval of a huge Teamsters loan from their vast pension fund, told Ragano, "When you see Jimmy, tell him he owes me and big.” The loan was approved.

Just before he died in 1987, Trafficante told Ragano, “We shouldn’t have killed John. We should have killed Bobby.”

In 1966, Sam Giancana decided to move his base of operations from Chicago to Mexico City. He was leaving his nominated man “Teets” Battaglia to run the syndicate with the help of Tony Accardo and Frank Nitti, two other senior Mafia bosses. In a long, rambling conversation with his brother Chuck, he said he would be running deals, not only for the Mob, but also in conjunction with the CIA.

He also claimed   “We took care of Kennedy.” This is the gist of what he recalled:

Jack Ruby had been the Chicago Mob’s man in Dallas for years, running clubs, gambling rackets and narcotics. Giancana had used Johnny Roselli as his liaison with Marcello, Trafficante and the CIA. He had chosen Ruby to kill Oswald because of his tight relationship with the Dallas police and his ability to infiltrate into its inner workings. According to Giancana, Oswald, like Ruby, had ties not only to the Mob, but also into the CIA, he had in fact been a spy for the US government while he had lived in the Soviet Union.

Back in America, Oswald had linked up with Guy Bannister, who operated a private-detective agency in New Orleans, using it as a front for covert CIA domestic operations and also Cuban exile activities, in addition to the work he did for the Mob. Oswald’s strange White Russian contact George Mohrenschildt was also apparently a confidante and business associate of Sam Giancana.

Johnny Roselli (AP/Wide World)

He told his brother that the funding for the assassination operation on President Kennedy came from wealthy right-wing Texas oilmen. He also confirmed that Johnny Roselli had been closely involved liasing with Bannister to select Oswald as the fall guy in the plot to kill the President.

Working under Giancana, Roselli co-ordinated the assassination attempt through Bannister, Bob Maheu, the aide to Howard Hughes, former CIA director Charles Cabell and Frank (Sturgis) Fiorini of the CIA, a key figure in the anti-Castro movement. Giancana said that the conspiracy went right to the top of the intelligence agency and it also included Lyndon Johnson and one-day-to-be-President Richard Nixon, who just happened to be in Dallas the day Kennedy was shot.

The assassination had taken months to plan and prepare and dozens of people had been involved with the original plan calling for a possible hit in a number of cities, including Miami, Los Angeles and Chicago as well as the ultimate destination-Dallas.

The planning had involved top people in the Dallas Police Department and Mayor Earle Cabell, brother of former CIA director Charles Cabell. Professional hit men had been hired, top-notch marksmen, including Charles Harrelson (the father of actor Woody Harrelson) and Jack Lawrence, whose car was reportedly found parked behind the picket fence atop the grassy knoll. There were also two Cuban exiles involved, men who were closely linked into Santo Trafficante Jr. According to Sam Giancana, the man who fired the shots from the sixth floor of the Book Depository was not Oswald, but Richard Caine, a Chicago-based ex-police officer and close associate of the mob boss.

There were two other gunmen on the scene, according to Giancana. One was Dallas Police Officer J.D. Tippit, who has been identified by some researchers as the “Badgeman” the elusive, phantom figure in police uniform seen behind the picket fence just as the shooting commenced, and recorded on a photograph by Mary Moorman. After the assassination, Tippit’s job was to follow Oswald and kill him, so as to silence the so-called “master” suspect. For some reason, the police officer backed off on this assignment and was himself killed by another CIA assassin, also operating as a Dallas police officer called Roscoe Anthony White. Although Oswald was accused of carrying out the murder of Officer Tippit, it is also thought that at least two gunmen were involved, using two different handguns to murder the officer.

Sam Giancana finished his long, rambling story to his brother by saying, “On November 22, 1963, the US had a coup; it's that simple. The government of this country was overthrown by a handful of guys who did their jobs damned well.”

It is an amazing story and one that can never, of course, be verified. Then again, it can not be simply denied just because it is sensational. Giancana cannot be questioned about it, because on June 1975, he himself was executed, shot six times in the head, while frying sausages in the basement kitchen of his luxurious home in Chicago.  


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