Sam Smith – With the release of long secret remaining documents on the JFK killing, the mass media is once again blindly lumping serious questions in with “conspiracy theories.” Here’s a thinkers’ guide to conspuiracy theories.
While I’ve seen nothing yet in the new documents to support any alternative theory to the killing, it is worth remembering that among those who raised questions about the official account were:
– Lyndon Baines Johnson
– Richard Milhous Nixon
– Don Hewitt of CBS
– U.S. House of Representatives Select Committee on the Assassination
– Stephen Rosenfeld, Washington Post [“That the assassination probably encompassed more than a lone gunman now seems beyond cavil.”]
– Chief Justice Earl Warren
– Senator Ted Kennedy
– Attorney General Bobby Kennedy
– Senator Richard B. Russell (member of Warren Commission)
– Rep. Hale Boggs (member of Warren Commission)
– Texas Governor John B. Connally and his wife, Nellie
– Presidential assistant Kenneth O’Donnell (at Dealey Plaza during the shooting)
– Presidential assistant David Powers (at Dealey Plaza during the shooting)
– Speaker of the House Tip O’Neill
– Senator Richard Schweiker
– Senator Gary Hart
– Senator Russell B. Long
– Senate Majority Leader Howard Baker
– President of France Charles de Gaulle
And the other day Chris Matthews mentioned Bobby Kennedy’s concern that his war on the Mafie might have provoked retaliation. This is perhaps the most logical alternative theory, as was laid out by Brass Check (which stopped publication in 2002) some time ago. Again, just a theory, but not a nutty one.
BRASS CHECK – In case you didn’t notice – and I didn’t until I picked up “I Heard You Paint Houses” – the mystery of the ‘disappearance’ of Jimmy Hoffa has been solved. He was done in by long time friend, Teamster official, and veteran hit man Frank Sheeran and his body was cremated in a mob-controlled funeral parlor.
But that’s not the most interesting part of Sheeran’s life story. Sheeren was a major mob figure. US Attorney, Rudy Giuliani listed him as a member of ‘The Commission’ along with people like Tony Salerno, Tony Provenzano, and Carmine Persico.
In addition to Sheeran’s other skills, he was a skilled hit man who, according to his own account, killed people with the same nonchalance people change socks. It wasn’t unusual for him to be sent to kill two different people in two different cities over a single weekend.
Sheeran’s biography “I Heard You Paint Houses” was written by Charles Brandt a former prosecutor and Chief Deputy Attorney General of Delaware, and a nationally recognized expert on cross-examination and interrogation techniques. Brandt was rigorous in his efforts to document Sheeran’s life story.
Some fascinating new information that appears in the account of Sheeran’s life…
– Chicago boss Sam Giancana was often accompanied at meetings with Jimmy Hoffa by none other than Jack Ruby. Dan Moldea got independent confirmation of this and it appears in his 1978 book ‘The Hoffa Wars.’
– David Ferrie was New Orleans boss Carlo Marcello’s personal pilot. Sheeran recalls an incident where he was instructed to deliver an empty truck to a airfield in Maryland. Another truck appeared filled with soldiers who loaded uniforms, weapons and ammunition aboard Sheeran’s empty rig. David Ferrie was present (he arrived by private plane) and provided Sheeran with paperwork to help him avoid being detained by police. He instructed Sheeran to deliver the truck and its contents to E. Howard Hunt and a group of anti-Castro Cubans in Jacksonville.
– The method of recruiting deranged individuals to use as assassins and then arranging for them to be killed on the spot is discussed knowingly by Sheeran. The mob used it occasionally when they wanted to kill someone at a large public gathering and/or were not able to get the person alone.
– Sheeran was ordered to deliver a package which he believed contained three rifles to Campbell’s Cement in Baltimore, MD. David Ferrie and a member of the Genovese crime family, who Sheeran knew but would not name for Brandt, picked up the delivery. A few days later John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas.
– When Kennedy was assassinated, Jimmy Hoffa complained bitterly when Harold Gibbons, a Teamster official, flew the flag at half staff at the union’s national headquarters. Hoffa was to carry a life long grudge about the incident. During Kennedy’s televised funeral, Hoffa said to a Nashville TV audience: “Bobby Kennedy is just another lawyer now.”
– Sheeran states that New Orleans DA Jim Garrison who charged Clay Shaw and others with the Kennedy assassination was actually in the employ of Carlos Marcello and had often done the mob favors for example prosecuting a critic of Jimmy Hoffa named Walter Sheridan on trumped up charges. Sheeran further states that ‘friendly’ DAs are often employed to help flush out potentially damaging witnesses for elimination. As Kennedy assassination students know, many witnesses died in the course of the Garrison prosecution including David Ferrie. . .
– The use of private pilots to take hit men to and from assassination scenes to create airtight ‘alibis’ is described several times during the book. This method was used in the murder of Jimmy Hoffa. Pilots in such cases were instructed not to look at their passengers. . .
Sheeran reports that the Kennedys, especially Bobby Kennedy, had earned the bitter resentment of the national syndicate for the following reasons:
– Joe Kennedy Sr. was a long time associate of Italian crime figures and had worked together with them during Prohibition
– Joe Kennedy Sr. received active cooperation from Sam Giancana in rigging the Chicago presidential vote, giving his son John victory in Illinois and thus the presidency.
– In exchange for this service, Joe Sr. had promised that Bobby Kennedy would stop his ‘mad dog’ prosecution of organized crime. Instead of stopping, Bobby who was appointed Attorney General by his brother, turned up the heat on them substantially. Bobby Kennedy’s prosecution of organized crime was unprecedented in American history and did enormous financial damage to the Mob the scope of which is still being felt today.
– Organized crime lost assets worth many billions of dollars when Cuba fell to Castro. (Interestingly, the Bush family lost quite a bit of money from the Castro takeover too.) Mafia figures were furious with Kennedy over his refusal to support the Bay of Pigs invasion with air cover as the anti-Castro Cubans and the CIA.
– Jimmy Hoffa was so incensed by the Kennedys he actually opened discussions with a hit man to have Bobby Kennedy murdered. The plot was exposed before it could be carried out. Later, it was decided by organized crime that rather than kill Bobby and face the retaliation of Jack Kennedy, it was better to ‘go to the top’ and kill John instead. Lyndon Johnson it was correctly assumed would likely replace Kennedy as Attorney General and would not have the same interest in pursuing organized crime.
Yes, just a theory, but one interesting enough to have attracted the concern and attention of Bobby Kennedy.
In any case, case not closed.