‘Ride The Tiger’ blames the Mafia

The resilience of the “Mafia done it” school of JFK conspiracy theories will go on stage this week when a new JFK-themed play, ‘Ride The Tiger,’ opens at New Haven’s Long Wharf theater on Wednesday, April 3.

Playwright William Mastrosimone based his drama on interviews he did with Frank Sinatra in the early 1990s, according to the Hartford Courant. Sinatra believed that Kennedy’s assassination was the work of Mafia kingpin Sam Giancana, and so does Mastrosimone.

Blaming organized crimes figures for Kennedy’s death is not as implausible as the imaginative “Bush did it” fantasy.

There is solid evidence verging on proof that John Martino, a man who did security consulting for mob-controlled casinos in Havana and also collaborated with the CIA’s secret war against Fidel Castro, had advance knowledge of a plan to kill Kennedy in Dallas. (See Larry Hancock’s definitive post, “If there was a conspiracy, wouldn’t somebody have talked?“)

Jack Ruby’s associations with organized crime figures is well documented. His friend “Gail Raven” said he “had no choice” but to silence accused assassin Lee Oswald.

The most recent indictment of organized crime was made by historian David Kaiser in his 2007 book, “The Road to Dallas,” as summarized in this video.

But making the case that Sam Giancana was responsible strikes me as conjectural. It also cannot explain the extraordinary secrecy that surrounds CIA operations in 1963 and the JFK story.








  1. Nathaniel Heidenheimer says:

    Gee, I wonder if a CIA done it play might have funding trouble.

    This article is full of all the usual stuff that somehow ALWAYS manages to make it into the media, no matter how disputed the allegations are.

    For example, not the Joe Kennedy as bootlegger allegations. Two recent history books, one the Joe K bio by Nasaw, the other the well selling new book on Prohibition by Dan Okrent, strongly dispute that truism. Moreover Okrent dates the allegations to the 1970s, a time when media histories of the Kennedys were getting a lot of added ingredients in conjunction with fresh congressional investigations.

    I have done my homework in cold war media history. There is absolutely no question that it is much safer for journalists to type about JFK and Mafia than it is for them to type about JFK and CIA. Journalists need oversite just as much as citizens do.

  2. leslie sharp says:

    NH: I hope that you will elaborate.

    And I hope that the ongoing “lame” and “fantasy” meme is meant for a tabloid audience and not to discredit serious researchers.

    I too have researched Cold War media, including implications that current journalists are still impacted by hold-over peer pressure, corporate policy, or more directly related influences of indoctrination.

    Did Time magazine pick up the Martino/Mafia story?

    What I have read of Larry Hancock’s work, I respect. However, following is a sample list of gaps in the referenced evidence: (and Hancock may have addressed these particular questions.)

    Did Martino and/or the Mafia godfathers or lieutenants persuade the Locke Purnell law firm to devise a parade route ensuring it passe thru a spectacular kill zone? Few Dallas natives would have taken their orders from any outsider, let alone these lawyers who had direct relationships to Jack Crichton, Dorchester Gas, Military Intel and Empire Trust.

    Did Martino and/or the Mafia godfathers or lieutenants secure Oswald’s job at the TSBD? Ruth Paine was responsible for that through her neighbor’s brother, Frazier. Did the Mafia influence Ruth? Did the Mafia influence Oswald’s babysitter, deMohrenschildt?

    Did Martino and/or the Mafia godfathers or lieutenants assure that Dick Stolley would get the call from Dallas Time/Life stringer Patsy Swank – who was married to the architect for Sid Bass (a board member of Murchison’s Delhi-Taylor) – setting in motion the phenomenon of the Zapruder film which would be manipulated by CD Jackson, the master of propaganda, rabid anti-communist, president of Luce’s Committee for a Free Europe and a direct link to the post WWII semi-private organization ‘The Pond?’

    Did Martino and/or the Mafia godfathers or their lieutenants order Navy officers to confuse the autopsy at Bethesda and in later years, disseminate ‘originals’ to the archives?

    To all of these questions – which represent only a fraction of the questions any thinking defense attorney for the accused would ask – I respond: “I think not.”

    • jeffmorley says:

      All your questions are based on the assumption that Martino and the people who believe his story believe that he had advance knowledge of a Mafia plot. Martino never said that. Larry Hancock never said that. I never said that.

      • leslie sharp says:

        JM: It may be that I’m confused, but I was responding to the intro to this thread:

        “There is solid evidence verging on proof that John Martino, a man who did security consulting for mob-controlled casinos in Havana and also collaborated with the CIA’s secret war against Fidel Castro, had advance knowledge of a plan to kill Kennedy in Dallas. (See Larry Hancock’s definitive post, “If there was a conspiracy, wouldn’t somebody have talked?“)”

        • jeffmorley says:

          Right. My post says nothing and assumes nothing about a conspiracy organized by the Mafia. It only states what we know as fact: that Martino associated with organized crime figures, CIA operatives, and anti-Castro exiles and that he knew an attempt was going to be made on JFK’s life in Dallas. It does not say anything about who organized the attempt.

          • leslie sharp says:

            Are you leaving the door open to the possibility that Martino or those whose information he was privy to were working with the CIA, perhaps Joannides?

            Apologies, I thought the lead stated that Martino had advance knowledge and jumping to conclusions, I assumed it meant that he knew who was organizing the hit, and you are saying that his knowledge was highly limited. But If it was limited, how is this story line so significant, and how/why did it make it to the stage, albeit a small one.

            We can assume that others, including possibly Joseph Milteer – not a member of the Mafia that I have ever read – “had knowledge.” If Milteer, at state’s rights racist, can credibly be included, then a) it was a vast conspiracy, and b) it was not limited to the Mafia or the CIA.

          • John Martino and Human Events magazine dialed in with some heavy and self-serving disinformation within 2 months of the JFK assassination.

            This is during the same time period that Lyndon Johnson is telling his mistress Madeleine Brown that Dallas, TX, oil executives and US intelligence murdered JFK.

            “Cuba and the Kennedy Assassination”

            By John Martino in Human Events, January, 1964:


            Place this article by Martino side-by-side with what we found out decades later about his foreknowledge of the JFK assassination.

  3. jeff pascal says:

    Though I don’t believe the mafia was the driving force behind the Assassination, one cannot deny not only Martino.s confession and corroboration by family members, but Roselli’s confession to his Atty. in Legacy Of Secrecy, Marcello’s suppressed confession,& some interesting circumstantial info on Gianacana and Trafficante amd Ruby’s massive underworld contacts, including the first person to visit him in jail was Joe Campisi who he had dinner with the night before the murder.

  4. leslie sharp says:

    JM: http://www.thehindu.com/news/international/world/british-peer-reveals-mi6-role-in-lumumba-killing/article4567513.ece

    If you see fit, would a general discussion regarding other assassinations of the period contribute? I would NOT propose that the finer details be argued, but that they be viewed through a wide lens.

    If you choose to read the Lumumba story and follow with the briefest inquiry, you’ll see that Baroness Park worked with William Colby, Lucein Conein, and John Singlaub among others during Operation Jedburgh in a US/British operation during WWII designed to support the Resistance – which for the purpose of this thread, is in direct relation to Henry Luce and CD Jackson. The Mafia did not kill Lumumba, agreed?

    The Lumumba assassination involved Congolese natural resources, including vast deposits of tin. This story and the tin industry relate directly to tin mining in Bolivia where Che Guevara was active and later assassinated. (and no, I’m not suggesting that George Bush killed Kennedy over tin.)

  5. Jonathan says:

    I don’t perceive any basic disagreement between Jeff and Leslie as to the Mafia, FWIW.

    My take: Assuming at least some CIA participation in the plotting, set-up, and assassination, it’s only logical to assume Mafia participation in the same. OTOH, the cover-up was mediated primarily by the FBI and SS, with an assist from high-ranking military officers.

    • leslie sharp says:

      I don’t actually know if there is a disagreement because I’m confused:

      “All your questions are based on the assumption that Martino and the people who believe his story believe that he had advance knowledge of a Mafia plot. Martino never said that. Larry Hancock never said that. I never said that.”


      Blaming organized crimes figures for Kennedy’s death is not as implausible as the imaginative “Bush did it” fantasy.

      There is solid evidence verging on proof that John Martino, a man who did security consulting for mob-controlled casinos in Havana and also collaborated with the CIA’s secret war against Fidel Castro, had advance knowledge of a plan to kill Kennedy in Dallas. (See Larry Hancock’s definitive post, “If there was a conspiracy, wouldn’t somebody have talked?“)

      • Jonathan says:

        If your confusion relates to Martino’s supposed advanced knowledge, I’d say you’re justly confused.

        • leslie sharp says:

          see JM’s last response … I believe the issue has been cleared up (unless I’m conceding too much?) As I replied to him, I jumped to conclusions assuming that Martino knew who was orchestrating the assassination when in fact all he had was “advance knowledge.”

  6. leslie sharp says:

    RM: “The fact that the crime was committed in Dallas, a center of American conservative and nationalist movements, was probably not accidental.” John Martino, Jan. 1964

    Human Events, the publication:
    (caveat: this is a portion of a wiki post for expediency)

    Morrie Ryskind – Later, he would become friend to William F. Buckley, Jr. and future U.S. President Ronald Reagan.[11] In 1947, he appeared before the House Committee on Un-American Activities as a “Friendly Witness.” Ryskind never sold another script after that appearance, and he believed that his appearance before HUAC was responsible, although there is no direct evidence of an organized campaign against the “Friendly Witnesses.”[12]
    In the 1950s, he contributed articles to the early free market publication, The Freeman,[13] Later, he lent money to Buckley to help start The National Review,[14] which began publication in 1955, another journal to which he was an early contributor. Ryskind briefly joined the John Birch Society, but soon disassociated himself from the group when they began to claim that Roosevelt, Truman, and Eisenhower were part of the Soviet conspiracy.[15]
    Starting in 1960, Ryskind wrote a feature column in the Los Angeles Times, which promoted conservative ideas for the next eleven years. His son, Allan H. Ryskind, was the longtime editor of the conservative Washington, D.C., weekly Human Events.[16]

    (my note: LA Times owner, Norman Chandler, was on the board of Dresser Industries in the 1960’s)

    Is this the same Human Events publication that Martino had access to?

    Wall Street lawyer William Casey, rooted in OSS activities and later to be named director of the CIA, drew up the legal documents for the new magazine. (He also helped transfer Human Events from isolationist to interventionist hands.)

  7. Leslie, William Casey was never “later named director of the CIA.”

    And the subject of this thread, “Ride the Tiger,” is about a play – a theatrical production that includes Frank, Sam, Jack and Judy, who were literally and figuratively all in bed together. I never heard of anyone using a play to argue a conspiracy theory – they do so for the same reason Oliver Stone made “JFK,” – to tell an entertaining story based loosely on the facts. The author of the play had previously made a straight mainstream TV bio of Sinatra and he personally interviewed Sinatra. William Mastrosimone says Sinatra told him about the deal he made with Old Man Joe to get the Chicago mob behind Kennedy, and the liaison between Sinatra, Giancana, Judith Exner and JFK are well documented. I don’t believe the mob killed JFK, but they are certainly part of the story. The FBI had a stakeout on Exner’s Vegas apartment and who shows up to break in? The Hale brothers, whose father was an FBI agent before taking over security at Gen. Dynamics, and his mother got Oswald the job at Jaggers/Chiles/Stoval graphics firm. They were all in bed together – the FBI, the CIA and the Mob. But that doesn’t mean the Mob arranged for the Dealey Plaza operation – that wasn’t their MO to conduct black prop ops, deception and misdirection.

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