Conspiracies theories abound about November 22, 1963 and the shock this nation faced.
That is why a conversation I had with one of the leading Washington D.C. journalists of our time in 1992 was imprinted on my mind to this day.
Jack Anderson won a Pulitzer Prize for Journalism in 1972, has been considered one of the fathers of modern journalism, spent 9 years as a contributor to Good Morning America, was Washington Bureau Chief for Parade Magazine and had his own radio show on the Mutual Broadcasting System. He also covered every president from Franklin Roosevelt to George W. Bush. I was honored to become his friend.
He and I attended a Board Meeting of the National Association of Radio Talk Show Hosts where Jack and I had a private conversation in which he told me of his conclusion regarding the Kennedy assassination. I asked Jack how confident he was in that conclusion. He told me he would stake his reputation of 60 years as a prominent journalist on his findings. Here they are and you can judge for yourself.
The CIA made contact with an intermediary to present a request from the CIA to have La Cosa Nostra assassinate Fidel Castro. The CIA had serious concern shortly after Castro took power that the Soviet Union would be the controlling force over Castro and having a Communist dictatorship 90 miles from the United States with Soviet influence was unacceptable.
Organized crime agreed to do the hit on Castro. The Cuban leader got wind of this intent and asked to meet with Johnny Roselli a high-level member of La Cosa Nostra. Roselli met with Castro to learn what the Cuban dictator wanted with organized crime.
Roselli then met with leaders of La Cosa Nostra in Miami at the Fontainebleau Hotel for lunch to report on the meeting with Castro. Attendees were Sam Giancana, Santo Trafficante, Roselli and the Mafia hit man who shared this event from his death bed with Jack Anderson.
Anderson had been trying for years to get the information about the assassination from this hit man who refused to talk. Finally, Anderson gets a call from this source who is near death and now wants to tell jack Anderson what happened.
During the lunch meeting, Roselli tells the bosses that Castro knew of the assassination intended for him and that he would offer organized crime the fair market value of the casinos he nationalized when he took control of Cuba from Batista. That fair market value was $2 billion.
According to Anderson’s source who was at the meeting, Giancana commiserated about the fact that he had done a great deal to get John Kennedy elected president and he did so for no other purpose other than helping to elect the first Catholic president.
As we now know, there was corruption in Chicago during the Kennedy-Nixon election that created votes for Kennedy from dead people, people voting multiple times and other illegitimate votes that gave Kennedy the state of Illinois in a close election there, which put him over the top for electoral votes. Nixon was actually encouraged by his supporters to bring a fraudulent election case to federal court, but to his credit he refused as it would cause turmoil in the presidential election process. Giancana was largely responsible for that dubious success of Kennedy in Illinois.
With that backdrop, Giancana goes on to say that even though he wanted nothing from Kennedy for his support, Bobby Kennedy as Attorney-General was carrying out an intense campaign in which he was going after Jimmy Hoffa. Giancana therefore gave the OK to reverse the hit from Castro to Kennedy because of the trouble being caused to the organization by the Kennedy administration. Giancana left on requirement with Roselli. He need to get the approval of Carlos Marcello who ran New Orleans and also oversaw Dallas. Marcello gave his approval.
Subsequently, on September 5, 1963, Castro gives a speech in Havana Square in which he says that the American leadership was trying to remove the Cuban leadership, but the reverse would occur and the American leadership would be removed.
After the assassination, there were private photographic analysts who reviewed all the photographic material available at the site of the assassination. They reported back to Jack Anderson that the kill shot came from the front and not the back where Lee Harvey Oswald was located in the Texas School Book Depository Building.
After the assassination, Jack Anderson confirmed through an internal memo from the CIA that the former CIA Director, Allen Dulles, had communicated with President Johnson about the fact that the truth coming out about the assassination could lead to World War III. This was because Khrushchev had already been humiliated by The Cuban Missile Crisis when he turned his ship around rather than confront the blockade of Cuba ordered by President Kennedy. Dulles made the point that it was reasonable to expect that Khrushchev would not back down again, and if the truth came out the Castro was behind the assassination of John Kennedy, the American people would demand his elimination. If the Soviet Union did not back down, we could face nuclear war and tens of millions of people dying. Lyndon Johnson accepted this scenario as a possible outcome and knew we had to avoid that confrontation.
This led Johnson to ask Earl Warren, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and the most trusted public official in America to convene the Warren Commission to investigate the assassination and come to the conclusion that Lee Harvey Oswald was the lone perpetrator.
Warren refused on a number of occasions and finally agreed when the President implored him to take the job and avoid the possible confrontation with the Soviet Union. There were reports that on the day Earl Warren agreed to lead this Commission, he came out of the oval office with tears in his eyes, ostensibly because he had agreed to lie about the assassination to potentially avoid the deaths of millions of people.
As a separate matter, it is correct that there was a Senate Select Committee on the assassination of John Kennedy that investigated and wanted to interview as a person of interest, Carlos Marcello. There were members of that Committee who believed that the narrative described above had merit and that there was a mafia connection to the assassination. They also had concern about Carlos Marcello’s role in the assassination and his alleged approval of it as the boss overseeing Dallas. The problem was that, when the Committee tried to interview Carlos Marcello, he had become afflicted with dementia and could not be called as a witness.
The other point made by Jack Anderson was that both Jack Ruby and Lee Harvey Oswald had mafia connections. It was well-known in Dallas that Ruby was an organized crime hanger-on who wanted a bigger role in the organization. Using Oswald as the fall guy for the assassination and having Ruby take him out on November 24, 2 days after the assassination, left a clean path to the assertion that Oswald killed Kennedy.
Jack Ruby claimed he killed Oswald so Jacqueline Kennedy would not have to testify at the trial of her husband’s murderer. There has been a great deal of skepticism about that motive, especially since Ruby had organized crime connections. Ruby died in prison of what was described as a pulmonary embolism caused by bronchogenic carcinoma (lung cancer) on January 3, 1967.
Finally, in the documents recently released by order of the President about the assassination, there was a very telling statement in a memo from FBI Founder and Director, J. Edgar Hoover.
“The thing I am concerned about, and so is Mr. Katzenbach, is having something issued so
we can convince the public that Oswald is the real assassin.”