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John Simkin

Larry Hancock: Someone Would Have Talked

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I am currently reading Larry Hancock’s recently published book, Someone Would Have Talked. It is the best book I have read on the Kennedy assassination. As Larry is a member of the forum I thought it would be a good idea to use it as a means to discuss the contents of the book. I hope others will join in this discussion.

http://www.jfklancer.com/catalog/hancock/index.html

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Larry starts the book by looking at the confession that John Martino made about his role in the assassination of John F. Kennedy. At the end of the chapter he summarizes the reasons why he believes Martino’s confession:

John Martino had pre-knowledge of the plan to kill John Kennedy in Texas. John Martino "talked" in a very believable and credible fashion. At first, he talked only to his immediate family, nervously, hesitantly, and excitedly. Shortly before his death, he talked with two long time friends - part confession and part simply recollection. He made no grand claims, downplayed his own role and limited his statements to things he would have personally come in contact with in playing the role he described with the Cuban exiles whose cause he was demonstrably devoted to at the time. His story is certainly consistent and totally in context with his documented activities and personal associations in 1963. Martino's personal involvement also helps us to estimate the start date and time frame for the plot.

• Martino's method of relating his knowledge of the conspiracy is credible and consistent.

• Martino does not exaggerate his position nor claim knowledge beyond his described role.

• Martino's "switch" from his post-assassination public crusade to his private confession is significant and consistent with his overall remarks about his role.

• Martino was demonstrably connected to the "anti-Castro" people he implicates.

• Martino offers a unique insight into Oswald's role, associations and manipulation - one which can be investigated for corroboration.

• Martino provides insight into tactical details in Dallas which can be investigated for corroboration, including the elements of advance personnel on the ground, a motorcade route known in advance and figuring in the tactical plan, Oswald as a patsy tied to the route,

• Oswald framed as a Castro connected shooter and a planned meeting and extraction of Oswald from Dallas.

John Martino provides a unique insight into a conspiracy by anti-Castro elements to kill President Kennedy in revenge for his perceived betrayal of the exile cause and to tie the President's murder to Fidel Castro and Cuba in a manner which would institute an American invasion of the island.

In the past I have been highly suspicious of confessions by people claiming to have been involved in the assassination. In most cases these individuals are attempting to make money from their confessions. You rightly point out that Martino did not attempt to make money out of his story. However, is it possible that he was trying to get money for others? Did John Cumming, Florence Martino, Edward Martino or Fred Claasen attempt to make money from the story?

Did Cumming write an article or book about Martino’s confession? There is no reference to this in your book.

Did Anthony Summers break this story in 1994 (Vanity Fair) or did it appear somewhere else before this date?

In the updated edition of The Kennedy Conspiracy (2002) Summers does not make a great deal of the Martino confession (it appears for the first time on page 372). I get the impression he is not totally convinced by the confession. I suspect the reason is that Summers did not spend enough time exploring Martino’s activities in 1962 and 1963 (Operation Tilt, etc.)

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Hi John, thanks for the comments on the book and here are some responses to your questions:

Classen certainly did not try to profit from the story, indeed he tried to insulate himself from it. An HSCA memo from Lawson to Fenton and Klein relates that Classen first made 5 anonymous calls to the HSCA , was extremely nervous and did not wish to disclose his identity. At first he would only call from pay phones. At the time was contacting the HSCA, early Spring 1977, there was no commitment nor schedule for investigating his investigation and based on an apparent lack of interest he finally stopped calling. Classen did refer the Committee to Mrs. Martino and to her son Vincent, to Jorge Maldonato in Guatamala and to Alan Ross - Miami Inport/Export.

Eventually the HSCA did contact Flo Martino but she supplied them with no corroboration at the time - they approached her out of the blue as it were and I'm led to understand it was rather a shock for the family to have it come out of the blue so long after the fact. At no time is there any indication that Flo or her sons tried to profit from the story, indeed they have maintained an extremely low profile and have talked to only a very limited number of people.

As far as Cummings is concerned, as far as I know Summers is the one who found him with some good investigative leg work. Anyone taking the time to really make a list of Martino's contacts and associates after his return from Cuba would have come up with Cummings, Summers did. Summers had never surfaced the story nor written about it and simply confirmed that Martino had made the same sort of remarks to him as to Classen in the same few months before Martino's death. Given the elapsed time it seems unlikely Cummings had any plan to make money off the story and he certainly has not sense Summer's published his remarks, not even with a single article.

To my knowledge Summer's first surfaced his research in the Vanity Fair article and later incorporated it into his book update - in terms about his remarks in the book, as far as I know Summers did not begin any major new investigation beyond what he put into the Vanity Fair article and then simply used that material and other items to update the book for another edition. I would love to see him start fresh in a new investigation based on that direction but as far as I know it seems unlikely.

-- Larry

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To add my two cents worth which some will say is about all it's worth, Larry's book is without doubt the best assassination publication available. Martino is vital in understanding what went down in Dallas. His connection to David Morales, the relevance of the Bayo-Pawley mission and his insight to the anti-Castro exile community is just priceless.

Larry also takes a long look at Felipe Vidal Santiago and Roy Hargraves which up until now, men who have received very little press.

The book also has a revealing interview with Roy Hargraves and is packed with documents and such.

Herminio Diaz Garcia is another individual Larry examines. IMO, Diaz Garcia being a shooter on the 6th floor.

James

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As far as Cummings is concerned, as far as I know Summers is the one who found him with some good investigative leg work.  Anyone taking the time to really make a list of Martino's contacts and associates after his return from Cuba would have come up with Cummings,  Summers did.   Summers had never surfaced the story nor written about it and simply confirmed that Martino had made the same sort of remarks to him as to Classen in the same few months before Martino's death. Given the elapsed time it seems unlikely Cummings had any plan to make money off the story and he certainly has not sense Summer's published his remarks,  not even with a single article. 

To my knowledge Summer's first surfaced his research in the Vanity Fair article and later incorporated it into his book update - in terms about his remarks in the book, as far as I know Summers did not begin any major new investigation beyond what he put into the Vanity Fair article and then simply used that material and other items to update the book for another edition.  I would love to see him start fresh in a new investigation based on that direction but as far as I know it seems unlikely.

Anthony Summers does not refer to the Vanity Fair article in his updated version of The Kennedy Assassination. In your book you state it was co-written by Robbyn Summers. Maybe it was Robbyn who actually interviewed John Cummings. Is Cummings still alive? Nathaniel Weyl (the ghost writer of John Martino’s book) is still alive. Maybe it is worth interviewing him about the case. Although he might be reluctant to talk.

Has Anthony Summers seen a copy of your book? Maybe it will encourage him to return to the case. Anyway, I doubt if he could find out anything more than you have.

Like you I am fully convinced by the John Martino confession. I also believe that Tosh Plumlee is a credible witness. In fact, his evidence, helps to support your views about Johnny Roselli (more about this later).

http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/JFKweyl.htm

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John, I think that Robbyn may well have interviewed Cummings; I do know that she was heavily involved in doing investigative field work and telephone interviews during that period. I have tried through second parties to get in touch with Summers and more especially to get access to his original interview notes with Flo Martino but have had no luck in reaching him myself.

As to Cummings, I do know that the La Fontaines talked with him and that he was at least moderately accessable in the late 90's, they relate a dialog with him in their book but he would not really do anything further than confirm the basic information in Summer's works. They tried to get anything knew that they could out of of him and he did remark that Martino had been very concerned at the time of the Watergate arrests and that one of the men involved in that had been close to Martino. I pursued that aspect with some research of my own and have pretty well satisfied myself as to the identity of that person - you will see him with Martino in one of the Bayo mission photos in my book. Certainly if any real Water gate investigation had tied in the Bayo mission connection it would have been real cause for concern.

-- Larry

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Hello Fellows and Gals of researchland.

Larry, I will get your book pronto. Obviously, there's some good stuff in it. I will take it to the meeting in the Keys and pass it around Winslows group. Some of them already have a copy. Would love a signed copy, if you can.

My library/files on Cuba and JFK and covert ops has grown, and I've been so let down by promises of New and Improved theories, as we all have. The physical space research requires can be overwhelming. 1963 events in Dallas runs deep twists, turns and takes up space!

Has anyone read Martino's "I Was Castro' Prisoner?" ghostwritten by Weyl. Weyl also wrote Red Star Over Cuba. He was a player, he was there and he's alive and living in California. I see him in the same light as Andrew St George, very much a part of events re: Cuba.

I've been in touch with Weyl and he's willing to talk about his experiences I think. I can contact him but have few questions to ask. Not too familiar with all that surrounds him and his association with Martino. If anyone wants to post questions to ask him, I'd give it a shot and pass them on.

I've found that most people do want to talk but hate accusations and threats of their complicity in something as big and awful as the assassination of JFK. If one approaches as a true researcher they listen, take notes and hold the comments.

Just my two cents. Sorry long-winded here, Too much coffee. "Hey" out to you, too, James.

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Larry, forgot to mention that along with Bayo Pawley raid the other event I find significant (may be in your book)is the summer 1959 round up of counterrevolutionaries/Americans by Castro. John Martino, Trafficante, Paul Hughes, Effren Picardo, Joe Bardor, John Carlos Wilson Hudson, Wm Morgan, these guys and more were placed under arrest and put in Trescornia Detention, minimum security. Morgan went to the wall others were released eventually.

Prior to this was an intervu by Clete Roberts US television, of William Morgan. I have it on good authority that Ruby and others incl. mob folks, were there at that intervu tho' not on camera. This may have been the time of Ruby's visit to Trafficante, or before--requires more research of the timeline. But Ruby wanted Morgan to take an offer of surplus mil stuff (Jeeps Planes, etc) to Castro. By that time, I think, Morgan had lost (if he ever had it) the confidence of Castro and was blustering his greatness to the US media, covering post revolution Cuba.

Then all were arrested and you have Ruby visiting Trescornia. The man who gives this testimony (from London, during HSCA-John C W Hudson) had been involved with my father and Picardo, John Spiritto, others in espionage and counterrevolutionary ops. Martino writes his book, lectures and even gives what is known as the full account of Morgan's death.

Forgot where I was going with this, but I'll read your book and get back to it.

Best, C

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Hi Chris, good to hear from you. On a couple of your points, Ruby's trip to Cuba is a fascinating one - perhaps the most "humorous" is his explanation that he went down there strictly on vacation. Which would mean he picked the point in time to go on vacation just as Castro was locking up all the gamblers - great timing on his part. And of course none of the investigators raised that as an issue at all. But then they didn't tie in his contacts with McKewon which fully explain his dual role in wanting to make sales into Cuba as well as serving - at a minimum - as a courier in the efforts to get a deal for Trafficante. They also managed to ignore their witness that stated he and McWillie were trading coded messages at the time of his trip.

The WC commission really had to work at it to avoid Ruby's connections and the implication of a common thread about things Cuban.

Say hi to the South Florida gang for me. Larry

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In Someone Would Have Talked Larry argues that Johnny Roselli was a key figure in the case. At the end of chapter nine he lists the reasons why:

(1) Roselli not only worked on the Castro assassination project but was a close personal friend of William Harvey.

(2) Roselli was established within the JM WAVE operational structure which supported the Castro assassination project.

(3) Roselli was reportedly closely acquainted with David Morales.

(4) Roselli had worked in Havana, was well acquainted with Santo Trafficante and may have personally known some of the individuals on our exile suspect list included Diaz Garcia.

(5) Roselli was very supportive of the exile crusade against Castro and may have been a key influence in connecting the "Nevada Group" and obtaining financing from the "Jewish Mafia" to support the independent Sierra initiative in 1963.

(6) Roselli reportedly met with Jack Ruby in the fall of 1963 and as we will see in a later chapter, he very likely initiated the process that brought Melvin Belli in to defend Jack Ruby (in what was to become one of the very few significant failures in Belli's career - a defense still puzzling to experienced trial lawyers).

(7) Roselli used his influential Washington D.C. connections and his media contacts to help plant the infamous disinformation line that Castro orchestrated the killing of President Kennedy in self defense from Kennedy/CIA assassination attempts.

There is evidence that puts Roselli in Dallas on 22nd November. According to Tosh Plumlee, a pilot working for the CIA, he picked up Roselli from Tampa, Florida, early on the 22nd November. Plumlee then took Roselli to New Orleans. After picking up three more men (of Cuban appearance), Plumlee took Roselli and his friends to Redbird Airport in Dallas. In an interview in April, 1992, Plumlee claimed that he was told that the objective was "to abort the assassination" of John F. Kennedy.

http://www.jfkmurdersolved.com/TOSHTRANS1.htm

I found Plumlee’s evidence fairly convincing. I am usually wary of confessions. However, I found the style of his confessions persuasive. Like Martino he only knows part of the story (as surely would have been the case). Nor does it read like it is someone inserted into an already developed theory of the case. For example, Plumlee describes Roselli as someone who likes Kennedy. Plumlee also goes along with the idea that Roselli was trying to abort the assassination. That does not make a lot of sense but it adds to the feeling that this is not a contrived story based on an existing theory.

Plumlee could be a very intelligent conman. What do we know of the man? What are the background reasons behind the confession?

Roselli also confessed to his role in the assassination. In 1966 Roselli discovered that the FBI had been collecting information on his activities. Attempts were made to deport him as an illegal alien. Roselli moved to Los Angeles where he went into early retirement. It was at this time he told attorney, Edward Morgan: "The last of the sniper teams dispatched by Robert Kennedy in 1963 to assassinate Fidel Castro were captured in Havana. Under torture they broke and confessed to being sponsored by the CIA and the US government. At that point, Castro remarked that, 'If that was the way President Kennedy wanted it, Cuba could engage in the same tactics'. The result was that Castro infiltrated teams of snipers into the US to kill Kennedy".

Morgan took the story to Jack Anderson. The story was then passed on to Earl Warren. He did not want anything to do with it and so the information was then passed to the FBI. When they failed to investigate the story Anderson wrote an article entitled "President Johnson is sitting on a political H-bomb" about Roselli's story.

I have never believed that Castro was behind the assassination of JFK. Therefore, the confession appears to be an attempt by Roselli to please the FBI/CIA in order that he is not prosecuted/deported. It has been suggested (by Charles Rappleye & Ed Becker, All American Mafioso: The Johnny Roselli Story) that Roselli started this story at the request of his friends in the Central Intelligence Agency in order to divert attention from the investigation being carried out by Jim Garrison.

However, this confession did not please all those in authority as Roselli eventually ends up in court charged with being involved in illegal gambling in Las Vegas. In an attempt to obtain a lenient sentence, Roselli provided information in court about his role in helping the CIA with Operation Mongoose and ZR/RIFLE. The judge was not impressed and he was sent to McNeal Island prison.

This event must have worried the people involved in the conspiracy to kill Kennedy. They must have become even more alarmed when he gave evidence in 1975 to Frank Church and his Select Committee on Intelligence Activities. Roselli confessed that he had taken part in talks with the CIA about the possibility of murdering Fidel Castro. Roselli also claimed that a CIA hit team that had been dispatched to Cuba had been "turned" and used to kill Kennedy. By 1975 Roselli is no longer willing to protect the CIA. However, he is still not willing to tell the full story.

The following year the Select Committee on Intelligence Activities decided to recall Roselli. Soon afterwards Fred Black called him and warned him that Santos Trafficante had taken out a contract on his life and that the "Cubans were after him".

In July 1976, Roselli left home in Florida to play golf. He never arrived at the golf course and ten days later his body was found floating in an oil drum in Miami's Dumfoundling Bay. He had been garroted. Roselli's legs had been sawed off and squashed into the drum with the rest of his body.

Jack Anderson, of the Washington Post, now comes back into the story. He claims that Anderson interviewed Roselli just before he was murdered. On 7th September, 1976, the newspaper reported Roselli as saying : "When Oswald was picked up, the underworld conspirators feared he would crack and disclose information that might lead to them. This almost certainly would have brought a massive US crackdown on the Mafia. So Jack Ruby was ordered to eliminate Oswald."

Anderson’s role in the investigation of the Kennedy assassination is an interesting one. It has to be remembered that at the time of Kennedy’s death, Anderson was seen as a courageous investigative reporter. In the 1950s Anderson did more than any other reporter to destroy the reputation of Joe McCarthy.

Anderson was therefore the ideal person for the CIA/FBI to use to provide disinformation about the assassination. He was someone who would have been believed.

Anderson crops up in another part of this story. In 1963 Senator John Williams of Delaware began investigating the activities of Bobby Baker. As a result of his work, Baker resigned as the secretary to Lyndon B. Johnson on 9th October, 1963. During his investigations Williams met Don B. Reynolds, a businessman from Maryland, and persuaded him to appear before a secret session of the Senate Rules Committee.

Reynolds told B. Everett Jordan and his committee on 22nd November, 1963, that Johnson had demanded that he provided kickbacks in return for him agreeing to this life insurance policy. This included a $585 Magnavox stereo. Reynolds also had to pay for $1,200 worth of advertising on KTBC, Johnson's television station in Austin. Reynolds had paperwork for this transaction including a delivery note that indicated the stereo had been sent to the home of Johnson.

Reynolds also told of seeing a suitcase full of money which Bobby Baker described as a "$100,000 payoff to Johnson for his role in securing the Fort Worth TFX contract". His testimony came to an end when news arrived that President John F. Kennedy had been assassinated.

As soon as Johnson became president he contacted B. Everett Jordan to see if there was any chance of stopping this information being published. Jordan replied that he would do what he could but warned Johnson that some members of the committee wanted Reynold's testimony to be released to the public. On 6th December, 1963, Jordan spoke to Johnson on the telephone and said he was doing what he could to suppress the story because " it might spread (to) a place where we don't want it spread."

Abe Fortas, a lawyer who represented both Lyndon B. Johnson and Bobby Baker, worked behind the scenes in an effort to keep this information from the public. Johnson also arranged for a smear campaign to be organized against Reynolds. To help him do this J. Edgar Hoover passed to Johnson the FBI file on Reynolds.

On 17th January, 1964, the Senate Rules Committee voted to release to the public Reynolds' secret testimony. Johnson responded by leaking information from Reynolds' FBI file to Jack Anderson. On 5th February, 1964, the Washington Post reported that Reynolds had lied about his academic success at West Point. The article also claimed that Reynolds had been a supporter of Joe McCarthy and had accused business rivals of being secret members of the American Communist Party. It was also revealed that Reynolds had made anti-Semitic remarks while in Berlin in 1953.

This smear campaign worked and Reynold’s comments were no longer believed (this included a claim that Bobby Baker told him that Kennedy "would never live out his term and that he would die a violent death." Baker had also said that "the FBI knew that Johnson was behind the assassination".

Was it a coincidence that Johnson also used Anderson to break this story. Tapes on Johnson’s telephone calls at the time suggest that he was very confident that Anderson would publish the story. Yet Anderson must have known about Johnson’s corrupt activities and that he story was an obvious attempt to smear someone who was trying to expose the president.

Anderson is still alive (he is 81 and suffers from Parkinsons). Has anyone interviewed him about what he really knows (rather than what he has published) about the Kennedy assassination?

http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/JFKroselli.htm

http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/JFKplumlee.htm

http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/JFKreynoldsD.htm

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Hi John, a few remarks on the points you raised and the role of Anderson in spreading the "turned assassination team" story.

First, in regard to Tosh Plumlee I would point out that Tosh has taken great exception to the use of the word "confession" in regard to his remarks about going to Dallas, he feels that gives a totally wrong impression of his role there and recently was very adamant about that on the Lancer forum. I would also suggest that anyone who is really interested in Tosh's information start by ordering the NARA files that are available on him and reading though them in detail to establish some context. Tosh frequently shared information with both police agencies and the FBI as well as legislators and government committees - and was the subject of a good deal of FBI inquiry over gun running to Cuba. All these documents are available and essential to evaluating his overall story.

Second, it is very hard for me to belive that Roselli "liked" JFK circa 1963 - perhaps he didn't dislike him as much as RFK but anyone who has read excerpts of the phone taps on Giancana and some of the FBI and Chicago PD files which deal with the Justice Department pressure on Giancana (one of Roselli's main patrons within the syndicate) will find ample evidence that both Giancana and Roselli felt that the Kennedy's had turned on them after Giancana had given support to the Kennedy election. There are some pretty nasty remarks by Roselli telling Giancana that it's time to hit back in terms the Kennedy's will understand - and that is followed by the clearly documented effort by Roselli and Giancana to use Exner as a blackmail device against Kennedy. Roselli even lets her use his apartment during the period she was seeing Kennedy and calling the White House -when Roselli knows his phone is tapped by the FBI.

In regard to Anderson, it would be very interesting to see if he would accept that some of his sources had been using him; that does not seem to be the case from from what I've read in his biography but apparently he may have finally come to wonder about it as he is quoted in an interview years afterwards as remarking that in regard to the story being floated by Roselli and Morgan -

" I may have been a card in the hand he was playing."

It's also interesting to see that Meheu - who recruited Rosellin into the CIA/Castro project - stated that he was skeptical of the whole incident and thought that Morgon or someone else might have been "putting words in Johnny's mouth."

-- Larry

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Most researchers have assumed Santos Trafficante had John Roselli murdered. There are several reasons for this:

1. It is not unusual for Mafia bosses to kill fellow gangsters. The nature of his death also bore the hallmarks of a Mafia killing. His body was found floating in an oil drum in Miami's Dumfoundling Bay. He had been garroted. Roselli's legs had been sawed off and squashed into the drum with the rest of his body.

2. Shortly before Roselli’s death Fred Black called him and warned him that Santos Trafficante had taken out a contract on his life and that the "Cubans were after him".

3. The House Select Committee on Assassinations managed to obtain the records of an FBI wire tap on Santos Trafficante. On the tape Trafficante was heard to say "now only two people know who killed Kennedy and they aren't talking."

4. Jack Anderson, of the Washington Post, interviewed Roselli just before he was murdered. On 7th September, 1976, the newspaper reported Roselli as saying : "When Oswald was picked up, the underworld conspirators feared he would crack and disclose information that might lead to them. This almost certainly would have brought a massive US crackdown on the Mafia. So Jack Ruby was ordered to eliminate Oswald. "

However, did Trafficante have a motive for having Roselli killed? The assumption was that Trafficante feared what Roselli might say before the House Select Committee on Assassinations. But is this true?

In February, 1962, Robert Kennedy, US Attorney General, found out that the CIA was working with organized crime against Castro. The following month William Harvey (probably following the orders of Kennedy) told Roselli that Santos Trafficante and Sam Giancana had to cease involvement in the project to kill Castro.

Roselli had already given evidence in 1975 to Frank Church and his Select Committee on Intelligence Activities about how the CIA had worked with organized crime in attempts to kill Castro. This was not a problem as it portrayed Mafia bosses as loyal patriots.

The assumption is that Roselli was about to tell the House Select Committee that Trafficante was involved in the assassination of JFK. However, I think this is highly unlikely. If it was true (which I very much doubt) why would Roselli do this?

One has to consider Roselli’s state of mind in 1976. Was he angry with Trafficante? Did he seek some sort of revenge against him? I cannot find any evidence of this.

Who was Roselli angry with in 1976? Well, he was not very happy with those people who had allowed him to be sent to McNeal Island prison. He must have thought that by working with the CIA he had protected himself from this type of experience. Maybe Roselli was seeking revenge on the CIA or other members of the establishment who had allowed him to go to prison. Maybe Roselli planned to give evidence against others involved in the conspiracy.

Let us take the four pieces of evidence in turn.

1. It is not unusual for Mafia bosses to kill fellow gangsters. True but this does not mean anything in itself. The people who really did kill Roselli knew that automatically people would have thought that he had been killed by fellow gangsters.

2. Shortly before Roselli’s death Fred Black called him and warned him that Santos Trafficante had taken out a contract on his life and that the "Cubans were after him".

Was Black telling the truth? Black, as someone involved with both organized crime and the CIA, would have known Trafficante’s communications were being recorded. Was Black setting Trafficante up as a “patsy”? It is worth remembering that Black had been a close friend of LBJ and had been involved in covering up the Billie Sol Estes and Bobby Baker scandals.

3. The House Select Committee on Assassinations managed to obtain the records of an FBI wire tap on Santos Trafficante. On the tape Trafficante was heard to say "now only two people know who killed Kennedy and they aren't talking."

This information definitely suggests that Trafficante was involved in both the assassination and the cover-up. But is this information reliable? Can the FBI be trusted?

4. Jack Anderson, of the Washington Post, interviewed Roselli just before he was murdered. On 7th September, 1976, the newspaper reported Roselli as saying : "When Oswald was picked up, the underworld conspirators feared he would crack and disclose information that might lead to them. This almost certainly would have brought a massive US crackdown on the Mafia. So Jack Ruby was ordered to eliminate Oswald."

In the Washington Post Anderson provides information on what Roselli would have said if he had testified. However, can Anderson be trusted. It was Anderson who wrote stories after the assassination claiming that Oswald had been a Soviet/Cuban agent.

It was also Anderson who willingly agreed to publish smear stories about Dan Reynolds when he was threatening to provide information about LBJ and Bobby Baker to the Senate Rules Committee in January, 1964.

Is it possible that Lee Harvey Oswald was not the only “patsy” in this case. Is it possible the real conspirators have been able to provide enough information that linked others to the assassination of JFK?

If we leave organized crime out of the equation, who are we left with? Who was powerful enough to carry out the assassination and then arrange for the evidence to implicate others?

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John, you pose some great questions; I don’t know if we will ever be able to resolve some of them but here are some thoughts:

As to Trafficante’s remarks indicating he ordered Roselli killed, I don’t see that would be the necessary implication. Trafficante was extremely well connected into all things Cuban via his network and may well have been playing both sides of the street based on a deal with Castro or with senior Castro aides. Any such deal could have involved trading information relating to the people being infiltrated for assassination attempts against Castro for access to Cuban for drug running and other money making activities as they could be conducted in south Florida and the East Coast in general. Certainly there are documents to show that there was some law enforcement suspicion of a deal between Trafficante and Castro. Aside from that, we do know that Trafficante allowed individuals and elements of his network to be used for courier and other purposes in support of Roselli’s activities. And we have a report that Roselli had mentioned some of these names to the lawyers representing him in his committee appearances and may actually have mentioned names in committee. The agents investigating his death tried hard to get those names but were stonewalled across the board – one name that does seem to have been known though was Verona who had been associated with Trafficante and his network.

Bottom line, Roselli was getting older, Roselli had talked at least some (including his remark about Ruby to Anderson) rather than “taking the fifth” as standard practice and Roselli was going back to the committee again – the folks associated with him at any levels and especially some of the lower level Cubans he had worked with may have decided he was a risk with or without Trafficante being involved in the call.

Black’s warning to Roselli is another story and I’ve wondered if indeed it was more of an effort just to get Roselli to stop talking – after all, Black was in a unique position, extremely well networked, extremely wll to do, a survivor of the Baker scandal and other military influence scandals as well yet one of perhaps only one or two people to whom Roselli confessed the conspiracy and his involvement in it. Yet Black had no day to day Cuban connections. However he may have had some long term syndicate connections from which he could have heard that there was enough nervousness about Roselli for someone to have a contract out, even if it had nothing to do with the conspiracy? I’ve recently received some new Roselli death investigation files and it is clear that the investigators at one point thought that a trip by Roselli to L.A. and some meetings there ay have made certain people think that Roselli was not totally in retirement and that his contacts there might have been resented.

To me it’s perhaps as much a question not of some giant, powerful conspiracy acting all those years later but again a matter of Roselli (and Giancana for that matter) having gone out on a limb in playing with the CIA and getting involved in things that kept bringing government and press attention to any number of violent people. It was one thing for Stugis to get cozy with a media name like Anderson but syndicate folks just aren’t supposed to get in print in the way Roselli had been.

-- Larry

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This topic is surely thought provoking.

And one thing is certainly clear from it, that there are many more things that are known than the majority of people think. The majority of folks that haven't bothered to do a little digging for themselves, that is.

I had reservations about somethings, but I know now I must get Mr. Larry Hancock's book. It is the whole issue of JM Wave and the like that I have no doubts any longer about. It ties directly to a segment of my own research and William Harvey and actions I would speculate about in the year or so before the assassination. More later, IF I can move it out of speculation and confirm with a witness to this person's actions of 62 and early 63.

But somethings are not speculative, the President did fall victim to violent death, and the plotters who ever they maybe benefitted from extreme efforts to hide their identity and connections.

It is no stretch to say that enough is known to come to valid conclusions about the nature of the conspiracy that culminated in the murder and it's attending cover-up.

Indeed some would have talked, they have done so almost from the very day of the Coup.

Jim Hackett II

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One of the most interesting passages in your book concerns a journalists called Dick Billings. When writing about Operation Tilt you say: “In addition to Bayo, Pawley, Martino and Robertson, the expedition was accompanied by Dick Billings, a LIFE staff writer obtained through the Pawley-Luce connection. Billings would later head the LIFE team in Dallas which purchased the Zapruder film of the Kennedy assassination, as well as Marina Oswald's story rights (neither of which saw public exposure under LIFE auspices). Much later. Billings was hired by Robert Blakey, the second head of the House Select Committee on Assassinations, as editorial director for the final report of the HSCA.”

Over the last couple of days I have been doing some research into Billings. Did you know he played an important role in the Jim Garrison investigation?

In November 1966 Jim Garrison told a journalist, David Chandler, that he had important information on the assassination of JFK. Chandler told Billings and in January 1967, the Life Magazine reporter arranged a meeting with Garrison. Billings told Garrison that the top management at Life had concluded that Kennedy's assassination had been a conspiracy and that "his investigation was moving in the right direction". Billings suggested that he worked closely with Garrison. According to Garrison "The magazine would be able to provide me with technical assistance, and we could develop a mutual exchange of information".

Garrison agreed to this deal and Billings was introduced to staff member, Tom Bethal. In his diary Bethal reported: "In general, I feel that Billings and I share a similar position about the Warren Report. He does not believe that there was a conspiracy on the part of the government, the Warren Commission or the FBI to conceal the truth, but that a probability exists that they simply did not uncover the whole truth." Billings managed to persuade Bethal that Clay Shaw was innocent. Later it was revealed by W. Penn Jones that "Bethal made the entire trial plan, a complete list of State's witnesses and their expected testimony and other materials available to the Shaw defense team."

In September, 1967, Billings told Jim Garrison that Life Magazine was no longer willing to work with him in the investigation. Billings claimed that this was because he had come to the conclusion that he had links to organized crime. Soon afterwards, Life began a smear campaign against Garrison. It was reported that Garrison had been given money by an unnamed "New Orleans mobster".

As you say Billings was recruited by G. Robert Blakey, chief counsel of the House Select Committee on Assassinations, as editorial director. Later Billings and Blakey were the co-authors of The Plot to Kill the President (1981). In the book Billings and Blakey argue that there was a conspiracy to kill John F. Kennedy. They came to the conclusion that the Mafia boss, Carlos Marcello, organized the assassination.

I think this adds further evidence to my belief that in the 1970s the CIA was involved in trying to link organized crime with the assassination of JFK.

I would be interested in hearing from anyone who has anymore information on Billings.

http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/JFKbillings.htm

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