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Did the Mafia really manage JFK's assassination?


Douglas Caddy
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Did the Mafia really manage JFK's assassination?


May 30, 1999|By George Anastasia | By George Anastasia,Special to the Balimore Sun


"Bound by Honor, A Mafioso's Story," by Bill Bonanno. St. Martin's. 279 pages. $24.95.


Mafia buffs and Kennedy conspiracy theorists should be lining up for the latest "inside" story on the American mob, Bill Bonanno's intriguing, entertaining and factually titillating memoir "Bound by Honor."




This is not a mob tell-all, but rather a treatise on the demise of the American Mafia told from the perspective of someone, a mobster and the son of a major Mafia don, who witnessed and experienced it firsthand.


Focusing primarily on the 1960s and the mob war that ripped his father's crime family apart, Bonanno used the assassination of President John F. Kennedy as the linchpin for his story. Kennedy's murder in Dallas was a mob hit, he says. And by the end of the book, Bonanno claims to have discussed the assassination with the primary hitman, Chicago mobster Johnny Roselli.


It is Bonanno's premise that had the Mafia Commission that once controlled the underworld and settled disputes between mob families still been functioning, the assassination of the president would not have occurred. Old-line men of honor like his father, Joe Bonanno, would never have sanctioned the rubout.


By way of historic reference, Bonanno claims that when mob leaders Albert Anastasia and Dutch Schultz wanted to gun down mob-busting New York prosecutor Thomas Dewey in 1938, they were talked out of their plan by Joe Bonanno, who emerged as a highly regarded leader of one of the five New York crime families.


"My father talked Albert out of the plan, made him see the danger in it to all Families," Bonanno writes.


Instead, Bonanno said, an "accommodation" was reached with Dewey, whose campaign for governor of New York was financed in part with a $250,000 contribution from the wiseguys.


A similar accommodation, Bonanno contends, could have and should have been reached with the Kennedy brothers, John and Robert. But mob leaders in Miami and New Orleans and their anti-Castro allies turned to violence instead of mediation. By then the Mafia Commission, racked by an internecine and largely philosophical power struggle, was no longer operating.


Bonanno contends the assassination had long-term negative repercussions for organized crime -- not to mentioned Roselli, who turned up dead and stuffed into an oil drum found floating in the Biscayne Bay. The political assassination, he argues, undermined the alliance between politicians and Mafia leaders who for several decades had quietly worked hand-in-hand to further each other's interests. After Kennedy was killed, neither side could trust the other.


"Everything we were about was based on cooperation, not confrontation," Bonanno noted. "Our power was based on handshakes and payoffs, not guns and clandestine plots."


It was the loss of values -- the loss of honor and loyalty and a to-die-for belief in an ancient code of conduct -- that brought an end to what Bonanno repeatedly refers to in his book as "our world."


Bonanno writes about a parallel, Mafia-centric universe in which, he admits, his loyalty to his mob boss father and his crime family was paramount; more important than any other relationship, including his marriage to Rosalie Profaci, the niece of New York mob leader Joe Profaci.



He does not apologize for what he was or what he did. Indeed, he writes longingly of a better time when honor and loyalty, not guns and money, were the cornerstones of the Mafia. It is a fascinating description. But like so much else in "Bound by Honor," it is virtually unverifiable.


George Anastasia is a reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer and the author of three books on the Philadelphia mob. He is currently writing a book about the Thomas Capano-Anne Marie Fahey murder case in Delaware. He is not related to the Anastasia mafia family.


Pub Date: 05/30/99


http://articles.baltimoresun.com/1999-05-30/entertainment/9905300296_1_bill-bonanno-joe-bonanno-mafia-commission#.UwSNDCirLGo.facebook




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Doug, I do believe that the Mafia was hired-used as shooters. The open warfare that Robert Kennedy was waging against organized crime would have made them eager to participate in a high level plot to get rid of the brothers. My guess is that they were promised to e left alone after the deed was done.

People on the various forums, and myself, have long looked at the anti-Castro Cubans as the killers because of the President's backdoor communications with Castro for the purpose of normalizing relations between the two countries. The problem with this theory, I believe, is that these people would not have been privy to such negotiations. Robert Kennedy was actively working with them to remove Castro, so why would they have even been thinking they were being misled.

To me, this leaves the Mafia as the hitmen.

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Terry,

Perhaps I have watched too many Bogart and Cagney movies, and read too many true crime stories, but the modus operandi of mob hitmen has seldom been to pick off a victim like a sniper. There doesn't seem to be much evidence that any of the proposed mob shooters had military training or even hunting experience with rifles, carbines, etc.

The Ruby rubout of LHO on the other hand seems like a "classic" close range mob shooting with a pistol.

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Bonanno claims that the relationship between the mob and politicians deteriorated following the assassination. In other words, Bonanno's argument consumes itself, much

like the dog that actually caught its own tail and then swallowed the rest of itself whole. According to Bonanno:

"...the assassination had long-term negative repercussions for organized crime -- not to mentioned Roselli, who turned up dead and stuffed into an oil

drum found floating in the Biscayne Bay. The political assassination, he argues, undermined the alliance between politicians and Mafia leaders who for

several decades had quietly worked hand-in-hand to further each other's interests. After Kennedy was killed, neither side could trust the other." [emphasis added]

Well, if we are to believe that the mob and the politicians, including officials who controlled the investigation, could not "trust each other" due to the assassination, then it is

counterintuitive to imagine these "officials" protecting the mob by allowing Lee Oswald to be framed. Bonanno's argument cancels itself out.

Separating the crime of murder from the crime of obstruction of justice (and conspiracy to obstruct) is a mistake. In order for the cover story to hold

up at all, let alone for 50+ years, it would have necessarily been formulated PRIOR to the event itself. Therefore, since the official story has it that Lee

Harvey Oswald was the lone assassin, if it was a mob hit, that would mean that the mob set up Oswald as the patsy. But what would cause the mob

to even notice Lee Oswald and determine that he was their fall guy? I contend that the cover up is far and away the trickiest part of this operation. In

this case, managing it would have been entirely beyond the scope of anything the mob was capable of pulling off.

Indeed, the more likely scenario is quite the opposite: The mob and some corrupt politicians still need each other and therefore still cooperate. If true,

then this type of misinformation is "part of the deal" where the mob is taking a hit for the team (no pun intended).

As Jim Garrison said, from the movie JFK:

"Could the Mob change the parade route, Bill, or eliminate the protection for the President? Could the Mob send Oswald to Russia and get him back?

Could the Mob get the FBI the CIA, and the Dallas Police to make a mess of the investigation? Could the Mob appoint the Warren Commission to cover

it up? could the Mob wreck the autopsy? Could the Mob influence the national media to go to sleep? And since when has the Mob used anything but

.38's for hits, up close. The Mob wouldn't have the guts or the power for something of this magnitude. Assassins need payrolls, orders, times, schedules.

This was a military-style ambush from start to finish... a coup d'etat with Lyndon Johnson waiting in the wings."

Did the mafia really manage the JFK assassination?

Nope.

Edited by Greg Burnham
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As Jim Garrison said, from the movie JFK:

"Could the Mob change the parade route, Bill, or eliminate the protection for the President? Could the Mob send Oswald to Russia and get him back?

Could the Mob get the FBI the CIA, and the Dallas Police to make a mess of the investigation? Could the Mob appoint the Warren Commission to cover

it up? could the Mob wreck the autopsy? Could the Mob influence the national media to go to sleep? And since when has the Mob used anything but

.38's for hits, up close. The Mob wouldn't have the guts or the power for something of this magnitude. Assassins need payrolls, orders, times, schedules.

This was a military-style ambush from start to finish... a coup d'etat with Lyndon Johnson waiting in the wings."

Did the mafia really manage the JFK assassination?

Nope.

Then why did Ruby kill Oswald? Who was he protecting by shooting Oswald? It wasn't in the initial plot for someone to kill Oswald? My guess is Ruby was working with the CIA. Oswald was supposed to be killed by that cop you see running towards the TSBD after it happened. But when the policeman got there a woman was with Oswald and he couldn't do it. They used Ruby, who was dope smuggling and gun running with the Cubans and the CIA already.

Kathy C

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Hi Kathy...

Given the onion layers we have here...

Isn't it just as likely that Ruby was made to kill Oswald for reasons having nothing to do with the assassination but with the fear of what else a "questioned and talking" courtroom Oswald may have exposed?

Ruby spoke of "LBJ the Nazi", and to show how tough Jews were, etc... while being up to his eyeballs in running supplies to both sides of the Cuban situation.

A third option remaines the Harvey and Lee phenomenon... and the desperate need to dispose of the patsy...

(Hoover sends men to Stripling to confiscate records of LHO from 1955 on saturday 11/23 at 7am... LHO never went to Stripling... and the cheshire cat grins)

Where do you get the idea that Baker was supposed to kill Oswald... or are you referring to someone else?

Depending on who Oswald really was and what he was actually doing... and the same with Ruby*... I think "reasons" for most anything will remain elusive....

Edited by David Josephs
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FWIW, I do not believe that the mafia managed the assassination. With that said, i would like to point out that, in my earlier post, I left out the word 'possibly" in reference to them being the shooters. Now, if the mafia had hit men in Dealey Plaza that day then one would have to say that, at least, they "managed' the actual killing of the president.

Edited by Terry Adams
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FWIW, I do not believe that the mafia managed the assassination. With that said, i would like to point out that, in my earlier post, I left out the word 'possibly" in reference to them being the shooters. Now, if the mafia had hit men in Dealey Plaza that day then one would have to say that, at least, they "managed' the actual killing of the president.

Not a chance. The powers that were able to effectively remove the protection from the president would not have depended on mob shooters when they had professional snipers available for the job.

Moreover, professional snipers are dispassionate, unaffected, cold as steel, with no dog in the fight. They have their adrenalin under absolute control. They take orders without a personal investment.

Why did the mob want JFK dead? Had he pissed them off? Most certainly. That is not the proper ingredient to insure a steady hand or trigger finger. When you think of a triangulated fire, military style,

disciplined ambush--don't think Sonny Corleone. Think Leroy Jethro Gibbs (NCIS).

post-6307-0-88006100-1393607703_thumb.jpg

Edited by Greg Burnham
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