Tag Archive for Jack Ruby

Why the Warren Commission got scared with Castro

The Warren Commission didn’t get scared with Fidel Castro because of Lyndon B. Johnson’s chilling warning to Chief Justice Earl Warren about rumors that “if not quenched, could conceivably lead the country into a war which could cost 40 million lives.”

The day after the JFK assassination, FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover called Johnson around 10:00 a.m. — the recording was erased, but a transcript survived at LBJ Library — and said about Lee Harvey Oswald: “We, of course, charged him with the murder, [but] the case as it stands now isn’t strong enough to be able to get a conviction.”

The Strange Case Against Oswald

In the evening of that very Saturday, Castro delivered a kind of speech-commentary on Cuban radio and TV. For him, “the most unexpected thing, as unexpected as the assassination itself, was that immediately a suspect appeared who, by a coincidence, had been in Russia, and — what a coincidence — he is related to a Fair Play for Cuba Committee.”

Through content analysis of AP and UPI cables, Castro noted: “It was neither logical, nor reasonable” that an American citizen “taught to shoot and kill in the Marine Corps, [became] a Castro-Communist, [and] that this former marine should go to the Soviet Union and try to become a Soviet citizen, and that the Soviets should not accept him, that he should say at the American Embassy that he intended to disclose to the Soviet Union the secrets of everything he learned while he was in the U.S. service and that in spite of this statement, his passage is paid by the U.S. Government [and he] simply returned peacefully to the United States without being arrested, tried, [and] sent to jail.”

Just after Jack Ruby killed Oswald on Sunday, Hoover reported to LBJ aide Walter Jenkins: “There is nothing further on the Oswald case except that he is dead.”

Hoover remarked the need to have “something issued so we can convince the public that Oswald is the real assassin.”

Three days later, at the traditional memorial ceremony to honor eight Cuban medical students executed by Spanish colonial authorities on November 27, 1871, Castro addressed “a number of strange things which every day become more strange.”

The Castro Allegations

Castro found no rational explanation to close the case once the alleged assassin was eliminated,

“As if it were a matter not of the President of the United States, but of a dog killed in the street.”

The case was closed within 48 hours, when it was “more worthy of investigation from the judicial and criminal point of view.”

From this standpoint, Castro argued some motions to the court of the public opinion. They actually became sound research issues:

  • “It is implausible that a marksman equipped with a repeating carbine with a telescopic sight can hit the target three consecutive times in the lapse of five seconds, when he fires at a target that is moving at a distance of 80 meters [with a] rifle with telescopic sight, the target gets lost because of the shot, just because of the shot, and it is necessary to find it again quickly, moreover if the rifle has to be levered (…) In order to fire quickly, it’s much better with a rifle (…) with Lyman sight.”
  • “All this seems to indicate that the rifle may have appeared there as part of the plot (…) This rifle should have been placed there; it is precisely a gun neither for shooting at 80 meters nor for firing three shots (…) It is really strange that anyone willing to kill from a distance of 80 meters, from a window, would purchase a rifle with telescopic sight, since any other without telescopic sight would have been more appropriate.”
  • “It is supposed that an individual wants a rifle with telescopic sight in order to fire safety and accurately from a distance against a fixed target, not against a moving target (…) By using a telescopic sight, the individual would have been trying to get accuracy and safety. In this case of a moving target at 80 meters, the individual wasn’t seeking accuracy and the curious thing is that he wasn’t seeking safety either.”
  • “Here we have the curious case that the accused, or the alleged assassin, fires from his workplace. Nobody who intends to escape (…) is willing to kill from his very workplace, where he is going to be identified and fiercely pursued within five minutes. He would have sought a roof on another building, or rented an apartment along the route, for positioning himself with his rifle with telescopic sight rifle at a distance which would have allowed him to escape.”
  • “All these contradictory, illogical and inexplicable things lead to the alternative that either this individual is not guilty and was turned into guilty by the police, or this individual was actually the one who fired and then all his actions have no other logical explanation[:] An individual who kills and hopes to escape, but at the same time would be perfectly identified as the perpetrator.”
  • “The latter would make sense only if the individual was perfectly trained to perpetrate the crime, under promise of escape from prosecution, in order to put the blame on others (…) It’s quite clear the thread here. Why did Oswald go to the Cuban Consulate in Mexico City? What pretext did he use? Asking for an in-transit visa to go on to the Soviet Union, although it would have been quicker and easier to go via England or France. If this man is the real assassin, it’s clear the masterminds were carefully planning the alibi[:] The sitting President of the United States murdered by an individual just after he went to the Soviet Union via Cuba and returned. It was the ideal gambit for making up the mind of the American public with a suspect who was a Commie, a Cuban and Soviet agent.”
  • “Why did he have to come to Cuba, except for the only and exclusive purpose of leaving a trail, of spinning a web? Why did he get angry when he was told that it was impossible to get an in-transit Cuba visa if he didn’t have the Soviet visa? Why did he slam the door? Why did he leave? No friend of Cuba, no Communist does this while visiting our consulates. Nobody behaves in such a rude manner.”
  • “He did not confess. He denied everything. [But] the surprising, the incredible, what increases the suspicion that the entire world has, is that barely 36 or 48 hours later, in the basement of a jail surrounded by police agents, he was murdered. This shows that the ones responsible for Kennedy’s death needed — they were compelled at all costs — to eliminate the accused.”
  • “How can one believe anyone had tried to take justice into his own hand? This only happens when there is no justice, when the guilty party in a crime that arouses indignation is not punished. In this case they murdered a man for whom the electric chair was waiting. In effect they murdered a dead man. How could he make anyone believe that he did it for emotional reasons?”

The WC Reluctance

The WC got scared with Castro not because of the intimidation by LBJ, but because of the body of evidence pointing to Castro’s allegations. In 1964 Castro insisted on them both directly though WC staffer William Coleman, who secretly interviewed him, and indirectly through FBI informant Jack Childs, who visited Cuba in May 1964 and talked with Castro about the issue.

Childs reported back to Hoover, who downplayed the key Castro’s allegation against the lone gunman who shot a magic bullet in a letter dated on June 17, 1964, to WD General Counsel J. Lee Rankin (Commission Exhibit 1359):

“The source [Childs] commented that on the basis of Castro’s remarks, it was clear that his beliefs were based on theory and result of Cuban experiments and not on any firsthand information in Castro’s possession. In this connection, it should be noted that the FBI Laboratory firearms experts made tests and determined that three shots could be fired with the kind of rifle and sight used by Oswald in the five to six seconds which were available. The Laboratory noted, however, that the timing did not begin until after the firing of the first shot.”

A Crucial Experiment

Castro’s credentials as expert are beyond any reasonable doubt. The young Castro used to hunt with firearms before going to college in 1945. He intensively practiced shooting before attacking the Moncada barracks in 1953. Just after going to exile in Mexico, he restarted the practice at the training camp of his expeditionary force against General Batista’s government. He personally prepared half a hundred rifles with telescopic sights before landing in Cuba on December 2, 1956. He perfectly knew all the characteristics of that type of rifle, because he had assorted sights with different powers. He also spent two years in guerrilla warfare using a rifle with telescopic sight in Sierra Maestra and even personally training his troops in shooting.

By definition, an experiment with firearms must be accurately reproduced. Thus, the best U.S. sniper could be used for firing an identical rifle as the one in evidence against an identical moving target at Dealey Plaza, instead of the well-known and flawed live shooting recreations from Michael Yardley et al.

In his November 27, 1963, speech, Castro had foretold: “Only at an extraordinary loss of prestige for the U.S. can those guilty of the assassination be concealed, nor can the true reasons, the true purposes, and the guilty intellectual and organizing actors of the crime remain in secret and in mystery.”

The WC did enough for fulfilling this prophecy.

The hit man and the mobster: Jack Ruby and Santos Trafficante

Why did Jack Ruby kill Lee Oswald?

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Investigative theater in Chicago on August 9

“The thing about the assassination I’d most like to dispel is people simply accepting the idea that this is a mystery that can never be known. I believe a great deal of it can in fact be known — that it is not unfathomable,” he said.

via Arts Center of Oak Park show investigates killing of JFK | Oak Leaves.

Top 5 JFK Facts stories in June

The best-read JFK Facts stories in the month of June were: Read more

Top 5 JFK Facts stories

The very interesting story of U.S. Air Force officer Sven Christensen and his reaction to the events of November 1963 topped the best-read stories list this week. Thanks to helpful readers, I am now in touch with Jeff Christensen and hope to learn more. Read more

JFK Facts Top 5 for the month of May

Usually, we recap the Top 5 JFK stories of the week on Friday, but as the end of the month nears, it’s time to take a look at the bigger picture: What are the best-read JFK stories in May?
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Top 5 JFK stories of the week

Rifle discovered

This week brought a burst of interest in the tagged posts on George Hickey, the late Secret Service Man who was falsely accused of firing the fatal shot that killed President Kennedy. I was glad to see people are getting the true story.

The bogus “Secret Service Man Did It” conspiracy meme (it doesn’t deserve to be called a theory) has persisted since the publication of a foolish book called Mortal Error in the 1980s. The meme was revived for the 50th anniversary of JFK’s assassination by REELZ Channel and an Australian cop who should know better. And Malcolm Gladwell should definitely know better.

JFK Facts: setting the record straight since 2013. 

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JFK Facts Top 5: Comments and recommendations

While the site was under construction, readers flocked to Comment Editor Peter Voskamp’s directive to the commenting crowd, and perennially popular pages about Gail Raven’s memories of her friend Jack Ruby, about secret CIA files and about the best JFK websites.

These were the most-read stories from March 27 to April 3: Read more

JFK Facts Top 5: Stories about evidence find favor

U.S Attorney Ron Machen changes the government’s story.

The story of how the U.S. Attorney in Washington DC made a small but significant change to the government’s accounting of the whereabouts of undercover CIA officer George Joannides in 1963 was the most viewed JFK Facts story for the week of March 6-13.

That story, like popular stories about Douglas Horne’s take on the medical evidence and sound engineer Ed Primeau’s work on the Air Force One tapes, is based on granular examination of facts and their pattern.

It seems that readers want evidence, not theories.
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JFK Facts Top 5: Readers flock to unanswered NSA questions

Last week’s post about the possibility of NSA targeting JFK Web sites for “cognitive infiltration”–and the NSA’s refusal to respond to questioning–was the most popular story of the week, followed closely by Rick Bauer’s recollections of his friend David Ferrie.

Gail Raven’s ever-popular recollections about her friend Jack Ruby fell to third place.

And the winners are:

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Top 5 most popular JFK Facts stories in January

Gail Raven’s timeless story about her admiring friend Jack Ruby stays in it perennial spot at #1, followed by a discussion of former White House information czar Cass Sunstein and the state of the case.

1) Ex-flame says Jack Ruby ‘had no choice’ but to kill Oswald (March 21, 2013)

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Jan. 3, 1967: Jack Ruby, killer of JFK’s assassin, dies just weeks before second trial

The killer of JFK’s assassin died just weeks before he could speak out in a second trial (from Yahoo News UK.)

After killing Lee Harvey Oswald on national television, Ruby, the owner of a Dallas nightclub, usually denied that he was part of any conspiracy. On other occasions he intimated that he might have a different story. In June 1964, he asked Chief Justice Earl Warren to bring him to Washington to testify; Warren refused.

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Dec. 16, 1963: Behind closed doors, the Warren Commission is baffled

With the FBI’s report on Kennedy’s assassination, the Commission undertook to select staffers and figure out how to approach its work.

Chief Justice Warren complained about the leaks of the FBI report:  ”I have read that report two or three times and I have not seen anything in there that has not been in the press.”

The Commissioners then held a wide-ranging discussion of JFK’s assasination, including:

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Nov. 24, 1963: Jack Ruby kills Oswald. Why?

In an exclusive interview with JFK Facts earlier this year, one of Ruby’s friends–a dancer who worked in his nightclub in 1963 and knew the man well, offered this informed explanation.

A new play about Jack Ruby to open off-Broadway

Business card of a killer

Written by Ronnie Cohen and Jane Beale, “Witnessed by the World” opens on Thursday November 7 at the 59E59 Theaters in New York.

The producer’s describe it as a 90-minute thriller about a journalist writing a screenplay about Jack Ruby, the Dallas nightclub owner who murdered accused assassin Lee Oswald on national TV. Read more