Richard Belzer, star of “Law and Order SVU,” discussed his best-selling JFK book, “Hit List” at the National Press Club here in Washington on Monday night. The book examines allegations of suspicious deaths of Kennedy assassination witnesses and, I gather, finds many of them credible.
While conspiracy skeptics often dismiss such claims, no one can dispute that at least one JFK witness died a violent and suspicious death:
In the Comments section, Marquette University professor John McAdams accuses me and a host of other JFK authors, including G. Robert Blakey, Norman Mailer, Gerald Posner, Anthony Summers and others, of signing a public letter about JFK assassination that was “speculative and poorly sourced.”
Richard Cain: law enforcement officer, friend of the CIA, and Mafia hit man
One question haunts JFK assassination debates. If Lee Oswald wasn’t the lone gunman, who shot the president?
In their 1993 best-seller, ”Double Cross,” Chuck and Sam Giancana alleged that a man named Richard Cain was a gunman in Dealey Plaza. “It was Cain, not Oswald, who’d actually fired from the infamous sixth-story window,” they wrote on p. 466.
Earlier this month Rachel Maddow told the little-known story of how Senator John F. Kennedy introduced legislation to ban the importation of weapons produced for foreign armies, only to be thwarted by pro-gun legislators. Then, on November 22, 1963, Maddow said, Lee Oswald used an Italian-made military rifle to shoot and kill President Kennedy. For the popular MSNBC anchor, this story illuminates the enduring and pernicious effects of the gun lobby from Dallas to Newtown.
As a contemporary polemic, this novel interpretation of JFK’s assassination — the Gun Lobby Did It — is strong. As history it is weak. It’s hard not to agree with Maddow’s broad point: the gun manufacturers and gun violence have had a pernicious effect on American life for a long time. She is correct that an Italian-made rifle, cheap and easily obtained under permissive U.S. gun laws, played a central role in the JFK assassination story.
But her implication that the gun lobby, as a power sector in American politics, was an important causal factor in enabling JFK’s assassination is not founded in historical fact. Read more
The lovely “Gail Raven,” an exotic dancer in the southwestern United States in the 1960s, became friends with Jack Ruby, the Dallas nightclub owner who killed accused assassin Lee Harvey Oswald.
Who says new JFK witnesses can’t be found?
After JFK Facts recounted Jack Ruby’s pursuit of an exotic dancer named Gail Raven in January 1963, I received a message from a woman who identified herself as Raven’s daughter. She told me that her mother was still alive, and she confirmed that her mother and Jack Ruby were close. I asked her if her mother would share her memories of the man who killed accused assassin Lee H. Oswald. She said yes.
In 1963 Gail Raven was the stage name of a precociously mature 20-year-old woman who danced on the national nightclub circuit that included Ruby’s Carousel Club in Dallas. Ruby (born Jack Rubenstein) was a Chicago tough guy who took a shine to her and they became friends.
Now close to 70 years old, Gail Raven is living in the southern United States. I have confirmed her real name but have agreed not to publish it here to protect her privacy. Read more
In trying to answer the question of Soviet leaders Nikita Khrushchev, “What really happened,” we drilled down on the life of Lee Harvey Oswald in 1963, especially the U.S. government’s surveillance of the accused assassin that was not disclosed to the Warren Commission or to the House Select Committee on Assassinations.
This is one of the biggest JFK revelations of the past 20 years, and one that we need talk up in social and news media the 50th anniversary of JFK’s assassination.
While the CIA assured Congress in the 1970s that its interest in Lee Harvey Oswald before JFK was killed was “routine,” the newest documents tell a very different story: Oswald was monitored closely and constantly by an supersecret office within the CIA’s Counterintelligence Staff from 1959 to 1963, known as the Special Investigations Group.
Historian David Kaiser makes the case in this C-SPAN video that organized crime bosses Carlos Marcello and Santos Trafficante were behind JFK’s assassination.
Personally I don’t agree with Kaiser’s interpretation but he is an excellent historian whose book The Road to Dallas: The Assassination of John F. Kennedy (published by Harvard University Press in 2009) contains much valuable original research. Of all the authors who have argued for the “Mafia did it” theory, he is the most capable.
Electronic security expert John Martino talked with friends and family about his foreknowledge of a JFK plot.
Somebody did talk. His name was John Martino. In 1963 he was an anti-Castro militant who mixed with organized crime figures and CIA officers. His story is one of the clearest indicators that opponents of JFK’s Cuba policy had foreknowledge that President Kennedy might be assassinated in Dallas.
To put it another way, those who doubt there was a conspiracy, need to address John Martino’s story. It is corroborated in multiple ways.
Martino, a native of New Jersey, was a petty racketeer as a young man with arrests for gambling and loan sharking. In the 1950s, he developed an expertise in electronic equipment related to gambling. He gravitated to south Florida and then to Havana where his skills won him a security job at the casino in the new Deauville Hotel in the Cuban capital. Havana was then dominated by organized crime syndicates who reaped big profits from gambling and related tourist attractions.
In this C-SPAN video, historian David Wrone, emeritus professor at University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, describes the theory that Oswald acted alone as ”the fairy tale of Dallas.” He argues that evidence from the crime scene points to a conspiracy by perpetrators who have yet to be identified.
The strength of his presentation is its focus on the rapidity with which Oswald emerged as a suspect and the modesty of his conclusions. Wrone does not theorize. He describes evidence, allowing viewers to draw their own conclusions.
In this YouTube video, historian Gerald McKnight of Hood College in Maryland recounts the final 48 hours in the life of accused assassin Lee Harvey Oswald as a way of challenging the theory that Oswald alone and unaided was responsible for JFK’s assassination.
Operation Northwoods was a Pentagon plan to provoke a U.S. invasion of Cuba in 1963 through the use of deception operations. First disclosed by the Assassination Records Review Board in 1997, the Northwoods plans are among the most significant new JFK documents to emerge since Oliver Stone’s “JFK” movie.
Operation Northwoods envisioned U.S. intelligence operatives staging violent attacks on U.S. targets and arranging for the blame for the mayhem to fall on Fidel Castro and his communist government. The idea, wrote one planner, was to creates a “justification for U.S. intervention in Cuba,” by orchestrating a crime that placed the U.S. government “in the apparent position of suffering defensible grievances from a rash and irresponsible government” in Cuba.
These plans included the use of violence on American soil against American citizens.
The site is dedicated to improving media coverage and public understanding of JFK's assassination, educating the young, and demanding the release of records still held in secret by U.S. government agencies.
Jefferson Morley, author and former Washington Post reporter, is the moderator of JFK Facts.
Morley has written about the JFK story for national publications including the Post, New York Times, New York Review of Books, Slate, Salon, TheAtlantic.com, and the Washington Monthly. He won the 2009 PEN/Oakland Censorship Award for his JFK reporting. He is author of "Our Man in Mexico; Winston Scott and the Hidden History of the CIA" (University Press of Kansas, 2008).
Rex Bradford is the webmaster of JFK Facts, He is creator of MaryFerrell.org, the most comprehensive Web site of government records on the assassinations of JFK, Robert F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King.