Who killed John Kennedy? Lyndon Johnson, the mafia, weapons sellers or the CIA? by Tony Garcia
Answer by Tony Garcia:
Your question presumes theories regarding the assassination of President John F. Kennedy—some plausible, some so far-fetched that they beggar belief.
People looking for quick, easy answers to President Kennedy’s murder overlook the perspicacity researchers and essayists have brought to the fore, particularly the earliest critics like Mark Lane, Sylvia Meagher, Penn Jones Jr. and the essayists whose scathing critiques of the Warren Commission’s report put a little-known, conservative Catholic publication, Ramparts, on the map.
Regardless of whether one accepts the Warren Commission’s conclusion that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone in assassinating President Kennedy, or one believes the House Select Committee on Assassinations who proffered that there was a conspiracy to murder the 35th president, I only suggest that one read the voluminous material written on the subject, particularly the earlier works.
To answer this specific question, however, I will rely on my own analysis in the form of answers to a few of the many questions posed to me on the subject. My response here is lengthy, to be sure; but to ask a serious question on a subject that has flummoxed the public for over half a century, one should at least be prepared to devote some time to the effort.
A) How could Oswald be identified so quickly as a suspect after the Kennedy assassination?
My response: I have answered a question similar to this, If Oswald wasn't Kennedy's assassin, why did he leave the Texas School Book Depository shortly after the assassination without letting anyone know? I shall post that answer below as I feel it applies some perspective to your question as well as refuting some of the answers posted here.
“You are under the mistaken impression that no one other than Lee Harvey Oswald left the Texas School Book Depository at the time of President Kennedy’s assassination. According to the Warren Commission’s own report, the following persons who worked at TSBD also left the building without notifying building supervisor Roy Truly:
- Danny Arce, 18, left at 1:00 pm, accompanied by the police, to go to City Hall.
- Carolyn Arnold, 20, left at 12:25 pm and did not return.
- Virgie Rachley, 18, left at 11:45 am and returned at 12:40 pm but was denied entry.
- Jack Carson, 56, president of TSBD, left at 12:10 pm and did not return.
- Betty Drago, 27, left at 12:20 pm but found the door locked when she returned. She stayed outside TSBD until 2:30 pm before going home.
- Buell Wesley Frazier, 19, famously gave Oswald a lift to work that day. He left TSBD between 1:00 and 2:00 pm, about the same time Truly claims he made his roll call.
- Charles Givens, 38, returned to TSBD after the shooting but was refused entry by a Dallas policeman. An APB was put out for him, and he was later interviewed at City Hall by Captain Will Fritz. Truly was aware of Given’s absence, having seen him prior to the assassination. Truly also saw Oswald prior to his encounter with him in the second-floor lunchroom. Using that logic, Oswald should have been exonerated as well.
- Gloria Holt, 18, left at 12:10 pm and did not return.
- Stella Jacob, 20, left at noon and did not return.
- Judy Johnson, 20, was standing outside TSBD when the shooting began. She remained in the area until 2:00 pm then went home.
- Dolores Kounas, 32, left at 12:15 pm and stayed outside until 3:00 pm.
- Sharon Nelson, 19, left at 12:20 pm and never returned. She lived at 409 East 9th Street, near the site where Officer J.D. Tippit was gunned down.
- Roberta Parker, 55, left at a time unknown, and said she wasn’t allowed back in until 3:30 pm.
- Bonnie Richey, 20, left the building at 12:20 pm and never returned.
- Lloyd Viles, 41, left at 12:15 pm and returned at 2:55 pm.
- Vida Whatley, 45, left at 12:15 pm to go shopping. She tried to re-enter TSBD at 1:00 pm but was denied entry by the police. She went home.
- Bonnie Ray Williams, 20, accompanied Arce to the police station at 1:00 pm.”
B) Is the JFK assassination all lies?
My response: I have answered several questions of this ilk. I shall provide two of those questions and my responses to them below.
- Who assassinated President Kennedy and why?
My answer: Ignore the dogma presented here on Quora. Anytime anyone tells you they have the definitive answer on a subject that has engendered controversy for over half a century, a red flag should go up in your mind.
I answered a similar question, Was the Kennedy assassination a conspiracy? I shall post that answer here and hope it suffices.
“There are many books that have been written on the subject, both pro and con regarding the single assassin theory. Review the findings of the Warren Commission and the House Select Committee on Assassinations; search through scholarly websites, such as the Mary Ferrell Foundation; and especially, search for the earliest works on the assassination—those written from 1965 to 1968—and decide for yourself.”
- Who were the three tramps that were arrested right after JFK's assassination?
My answer: As an answer to your question, what follows, in part, is the story of Roderick A. MacKenzie. I ask that you tread very carefully here. Read it with a healthy dose of skepticism but also with a mind cognizant of the literature published on the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Then decide for yourself.
Roderick A. MacKenzie III, 77, is a former mobster and forger of police and government identification cards; he is also the author of a self-published book, The Men That Don’t Fit In: The Factual History of a Rogues Life from 1934 to 1967 (2010,), in which he claims he was employed by Chicago Mafia chieftain Sam Giancana to run a Dallas, Texas safehouse on Holland Avenue when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated on November 22, 1963.
MacKenzie claims he didn’t know The Big Event was going to happen [my words, as the JFK assassination was referred to by CIA contract agent and mercenary Gerry Patrick Hemming] ; yet soon after it did, he realized the “precarious position” he was in. So he disappeared.
MacKenzie also claims that his “handler” was a member of the Defense Intelligence Security Command (DISC), Jake Miranda, who sent him to CIA’s “Flaps and Seals” school at Fort Detrick, Maryland. () The school specialized in making phony documents—a skill MacKenzie was already well acquainted.
MacKenzie’s criminal past and connections to organized crime are well documented. He claims to have been employed by Permindex, a Swiss-based company about which the Italian newspaper Paese Sera wrote a story alleging that individuals connected to the company worked for CIA and had been involved with the OAS (Secret Army Organisation) in plots to assassinate French President Charles DeGaulle. [CIA’s only comment on this was to verify that Clay Shaw had volunteered information to the Agency’s Domestic Contacts Division. In the late 1960’s, Shaw had been accused by New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison of having been involved in the assassination of JFK.] (and )
MacKenzie claims to have been in the company of Lee Harvey Oswald and David Ferrie, whom he describes as “queers,” and Jack Ruby, whom he was told by Chicago Mobster Johnny Roselli and Dallas police officer J.D. Tippit, was a “switch hitter,” i.e., bisexual.
According to MacKenzie, his role at the safehouse was essentially that of a janitor; he cleaned up the place. By mid-November MacKenzie claims he was told by Roselli to move out of the safehouse to the Cabana Motel for a few weeks, though to come by the safehouse daily to keep it clean.
What MacKenzie claims he later saw at the safehouse was “a war room for an Army.” The place was littered with maps of Cuba, Houston, Dallas, Fort Worth, the southwestern United States and Gulf of Mexico area. He assumed a hit on Fidel Castro was forthcoming. He says he never gave a thought to it being a hit on the President, and, in fact, he claims that no one at that time and on his level even knew Kennedy was coming to Dallas. [Odd, since news of President Kennedy’s trip to Dallas had already been widely publicized in the newspapers and on radio and telelvision.]
Around the time of the Pepsi Convention in Dallas on November 21, MacKenzie says he was informed by Roselli that “cleaners” would hit the safe house on the 22nd, and he was told to stay away. The cleaners, MacKenzie explains, “are sent into a situation when it has to be wiped clean of any past, and as often as not those involved in the past of the operation are terminated as well.” After the cleaners accomplished their task at the safehouse, MacKenzie was told by Roselli that he could move back in on November 25th.
“The night of November 21st was a very busy night at the Cabana Motel,” according to MacKenzie.” It was noisy, with many Spanish-speaking people hanging around in the parking lot.” MacKenzie claims he saw Frank Sturgis, aka Frank Fiorini, hitman and future Watergate burglar; Richard Nixon; Sam Giancana; and hitwoman Ruth Ann Martinez emerge from vehicles in parking lot.
MacKenzie describes the JFK hit as “a classic, well thought-out hit by a very large cast of characters.” He explains, “They brought just about everyone who was anyone in the business of nastiness and criminality together to witness or unwittingly be part of it. I was one such person. We were all disposable, as well, and did not know that either.” Following the assassination, MacKenzie spent a day drinking with Malcolm “Mac” Wallace, the man whom he claims “had directed the killing teams for Lyndon B. Johnson and his Texas Mafia with the help of the other Mafia.” MacKenzie describes Wallace as “quite talkative, in a conspirator way.”
MacKenzie went on to identify several individuals purportedly associated with President Kennedy’s assassination as having visited or stayed at the safehoues: Jack Rubenstein (Ruby); Mac Wallace; Corsican assassin Jean Souetre, aka Michel Roux, aka Michel Mertz; Jake Miranda; J.D. Tippit; Percy Chauncey Holt; Charles Harrelson, Charles Rogers and several other French or Corsican hitmen.
MacKenzie claims that the three so-called tramps were Charles Harrelson, Percy Chauncy Holt and Mafia hitman Charles Frederick Rogers. They were an additional hit team positioned under the bridge and above the railroad area in case the president was not shot. He also details the entire command structure and layout of the hit team in Dealy Plaza. This can be found in his book and from a search online.
2) You may get dogmatic responses with the latest simulcra attesting to the single assassin theory, despite the fact that you posited a subjunctive situtation. I hope you will go to the answers that befit your question and do as you like with the others.
Beyond the narrowcasting of those with an agenda, I ask that you look at the findings of the House Select Committee on Assassinations, the second major government investigation of the JFK assassination, after the Warren Commission. Its second Chief Counsel, G. Robert Blakey, and its lead investigator, Gaeton Fonzi, have both reasserted the Committee’s conclusion that “President Kennedy was probably killed as a result of a conspiracy.” ((HSCA, JFK Assassination)
A confluence of organized crime, anti-Castro Cuban exiles and rogue elements of the intelligence community were, according to the HSCA, involved in the plotting, execution and cover-up of President John F. Kennedy’s murder. The release of formerly classified documents by the Assassination Records Review Board reveals that CIA withheld key evidence sought by the Committee ().
Blakey asserts that CIA obstructed their investigation and withheld crucial information on Lee Harvey Oswald, his activities in New Orleans and in the months before he went to Dallas, and, in particular, Oswald’s attempts to infiltrate an anti-Castro group, the Directorio Revolucionario Estudiantil or DRE.
Blakey believes a CIA-Mafia plot to kill Cuban leader Fidel Castro was then turned on President Kennedy. The anti-Castroites held tremendous antipathy toward President Kennedy for failing to provide air cover during the failed Bay of Pigs affair (despite warnings from several CIA analysts that the operation was doomed from the start and that there would be no uprising by the Cuban people against Castro).
The Mafia thought they had a deal: their help to get Kennedy elected in exchange for a complaisant Justice Department. The month after the election, though, John Kennedy announced that he was making his brother Robert Attorney General. Speaking from the steps of the Department of Justice, Robert made it clear that he intended to use the office to wage war on organized crime.
By early 1962, using new laws and specialized intelligence, the Attorney General had top gangsters on the run. Three hundred and fifty mobsters were indicted in that year alone, topping the total number from the Appalachia meeting in 1957 through 1961. The Attorney General pressed for the deportation of any mafiosi who could be shown to be illegal aliens; New Orleans Mafia boss Carlos Marcello had been flown out of the country to Guatemala—though he subsequently returned. There were new efforts to expel Mafia underbosses Frank Costello and Johnny Rosselli ().
Rosselli and Chicago Mafia don Sam Giancana had hoped for special treatment because both had been involved in CIA plots to assassinate Fidel Castro and—as Giancana put it—considered they had been “working for the government.” FBI wiretaps make clear Giancana simmered with rage. After the deal-making of the election—when his efforts had helped deliver Illinois for Kennedy—he felt he had been double crossed.
“The Mob typically doesn’t hit prosecutors or politicians,” said Robert Blakey. “You are all right…just as long as you do not `sleep with them’; that is, you do not take favors, either money or sex. Once the public official crosses the line, he invites violent retribution.” (see:)
There was a comment Trafficante had made in 1975, while being taped during an FBI surveillance operation. “Now only two people are alive,” the FBI microphone had picked up Trafficante saying—in conversation with Marcello—“who know who killed Kennedy.”
In 1994, Frank Ragano, an attorney who long represented Trafficante, Marcello, and Teamsters union leader Jimmy Hoffa made remarkable claims in a new memoir, “Santo, Carlos, and Jimmy.” He wrote that the three had often spoken of their wish to see both Kennedy brothers dead. In July 1963, Ragano claimed, Hoffa had sent him to New Orleans to ask Trafficante and Marcello to kill the President. When he passed on this message, Ragano wrote, the mobsters’ response led him to think the idea “had already seriously crossed their minds.” ().
After the assassination, a gleeful Hoffa had supposedly exclaimed, “I told you they could do it. I’ll never forget what Carlos and Santo did for me.” Marcello supposedly said, “When you see Jimmy, you tell him he owes me and he owes me big.”
There is a theory extant that FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover was involved, particularly with regard to the cover-up. I dismiss this theory as I feel the FBI’s unwillingness to investigate the crime is due more to bureaucratic ennui and an effort to conceal former FBI agent Guy Bannister’s involvement—though Hoover’s close associations with known mobsters and right-wing extremists H.L. Hunt and Clint Murchison bear more than passing scrutiny.
The notion of the far right-wing’s imvolvement has been considered. Racists with ties to the militant right-wing groups the Minutemen and the John Birch Society, like Joseph Milteer, whose prediction of the precise scenario in which President Kennedy would be murdered was captured on a police intelligence surveillance tape (); General Edwin Walker, whom Robert Kennedy forced to resign from the Army ( ); and oil barons like H. L. Hunt and Clint Murchison, who stood to lose millions of dollars with Kennedy’s proposed removal of the oil depletion allowance, have also been implicated. (see: )
It is plausible that fascist individuals or groups may have had advance knowledge of the assassination, but there is no evidence directly linking them to the shooting.
As for whether Oswald was in that sniper’s nest on the sixth floor of the Texas Schoolbook Depository, I will offer just these five items from both the Warren Commission’s report or hearings, and that of the HSCA:
- The rifle contained no identifiable fingerprints, WCH, vol.4, p.258.
- Of the 19 book cartons by the window in the south–east corner of the sixth floor, only two contained Oswald’s fingerprints or palmprints, and only one of those prints had been deposited within three days of the assassination, WCR, pp.138–144 [emphasis mine].
- One palmprint remained unidentified, and presumably belonged to an employee or assassin who was not Oswald, WCH, vol.26, p.799. Note: This print was later compared to a 1951 print of Malcolm Wallace, a Lyndon Johnson associate. A 14-point match by latent print examiner Nathan Darby confirmed the print belonged to Wallace.
- Arnold Rowland saw two men on the sixth floor of the TSBD at about the same time as Carolyn Arnold saw Oswald elsewhere in the building, WCH, vol.2. p.171.
- And finally, Joseph Milteer’s prediction that Kennedy would be shot “from an office building with a high–powered rifle … they will pick up somebody within hours afterwards … just to throw the public off,” HSCA, appendix vol.3, p447.
C) Technically, are any shooters seen in the footage of John F. Kennedy’s assassination?
My response: The answer provided by Ms. Stockton is incorrect. There were several home movie films of the assassination and the immediate aftermath in Dealey Plaza. Here are the names of the people who shot those films:
- Abraham Zapruder
- Marie Muchmore
- Orville Nix
- Mark Bell
- Robert Hughes
- Charles Bronson
- Malcolm Couch
- Dave Wiegman, Jr.
- Jack Daniel (shot as the president’s limousine sped away from Dealey Plaza)
- Jack Martin
- Tom Alyea (shot as officers searched the sixth floor of TSBD)
Many of the films can be seen on the Mary Ferrell Foundation website(1). The others may be found on YouTube.
Several researches have parse these films and obtained images, reflections and stills that are of note. Watch them and decide for yourself.
D) What is the true story behind the death of President John F. Kennedy?
My response: I have answered many questions on this subject. At this time, I shall only make four points:
- Be wary of anyone who avers that they have the definitive answer on this conundrum. Two government investigations into the murder of President John F. Kennedy have reached far different conclusions.
- Over the past two generations, dozens of books and articles have been written on the subject. I suggest that you first search out the earliest works, 1965 through 1970, as they are without revisionism. In particular, read the articles written in Ramparts, a 1960’s literary quarterly written for “the mature American Catholic.”(1) The contributors to this small magazine were among the first to question the Warren Commission Report with a solemn and scholarly approach.
- As I have stated, I have attempted to answer various forms of this question on Quora. Read my answers as well as proponents and critics of both the Warren Commission and the House Select Committee on Assassinations.
- Come to your own conclusions.