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Mixed Agendas, Militants, and the Mafia

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Mixed Agendas, Militants, and the Mafia

Post by Guest on Tue 16 Sep 2014, 8:02 am

      The Mafia's involvement regarding John F. Kennedy's death some declare improbable. A much larger plot is often favored with many officials involved. Yet consider that most high officials were feasibly constrained by fear or wisdom not to risk their entire fate, fortune, and legacy on a plot that easily could go awry. Corporations that comprised the Military Industrial Complex would benefit from Vietnam in my view regardless of whoever was President. President Kennedy was reducing the amount of troops in Vietnam, yet a total withdrawal of all forces would have feasibly taken years. The corporations would still profit from Vietnam beyond the first Kennedy term.

In my view these corporations do not have a desperate need to act, nor is illegal action without the assurance of success their usual modus operandi. However, a few officials had access to criminals with military training, who possessed fanatic loyalty or avarice, and no aversion to murder. Several officials had some advance knowledge of Oswald's many unbelievable actions. Yet only a few possessed a greater view of the entire field strewn with various competing influences and operations.

While many in the American government focused on the shadows of Communism, the actual shadow of crime expanded. Since 1948, former United States Air Force member Jack Ruby "very carefully cultivated friendships with (Dallas) police officers and other public officials. At the same time, he was, peripherally, if not directly connected with members of the underworld." Commission investigators state a prior narcotics episode in Ruby's past was "representative". "When it suited Ruby's purposes, he did not hesitate to call on underworld characters for assistance." Based upon official files Jack Ruby had several active connections to the Mafia.i

Despite claims that Communism is the preeminent threat, the Senate Select (McClellan) Committee on Improper Activities targets the Mafia's feasible Teamster interests in 1957. A member of the investigating Committee was Senator Robert F. Kennedy. These interactions begin a series of increasing public battles between the Kennedys and the Mafia. Unknown to some officials were the Mafia's functioning operations in multiple Cuban businesses in 1959.

The Tropicana was a partial interest of Santo Trafficante the criminal boss of Tampa. Jack Ruby visited Cuba at the invitation of his friend Lewis McWillie. McWillie is an ambitious but unimportant member of the underworld in Cuba. An owner of the Tropicana takes Ruby to visit the mixture of nightclub and gambling venue.ii Ruby allegedly visits the Tropicana every night for weeks in Cuba. Former United States marine and Cuban Army Captain Frank (Fiorini) Sturgis was stationed at the Tropicana as the "inspector of gambling" in 1959.iii iv Sturgis and other subsequently rabid anti-Castro voices formerly served the regime when it pursued similar goals.

Ruby associate Lewis McWillie became pit boss of the Rivera Casino. McWillie cultivated associations with Mafia notables such as Jake Lansky brother of Meyer Lansky and Santos Trafficante the criminal boss of Tampa, Florida. Fidel Castro's government nationalized the Mafia's businesses and holdings in Cuba using force. This reportedly cost Meyer Lansky alone fourteen million dollars.v Castro disrupted formerly lucrative smuggling operations of illegal contraband. Countless hundreds of millions in future profits were lost.

Castro turned against the United States and began to hunt internal dissidents. Many former loyalists abandoned his cause and fled with enormous amounts of Cuban exiles to America. The Mafia is subject to increased legal proceedings and investigations in the United States. The Kennedy Justice Department became a serious threat to the Mafia. Yet the interests of some officials and the Mafia became similar. Communism and Castro were a common threat.

The Mafia soon possessed expanded access to military methods and additional fanatic elements provided by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Castro assassination plots. Agency officer Richard Bissell discussed the use of criminals for a project that required "gangster-type action" with Sheffield Edwards in 1960. vi CIA operative Robert Maheu had prior informal associations with Mafia fixer Johnny Roselli in Las Vegas. The Kennedy White House is aware of ongoing plots to eliminate Castro, yet not the lengths the Agency would pursue to succeed.

Allen Dulles authorizes the Castro plots using the Mafia, only a small number within the Agency were aware.vii High officials in government continued to support assassination to remove adversarial world leaders. Related officials did not immediately consider their plots could be turned against them. Phase 1 is the codename of the early Agency and Mafia collaborations.

During 1960, repeated meetings occur with Agency operative Robert Maheu, Johnny Roselli, Santo Trafficante, and Sam Giancana the criminal boss of Chicago. Each underworld leader possessed connections the Agency did not within Cuba. Giancana associate Richard Cain prior served in the military and the Chicago Police. Cain expanded his connections among Cuban exile groups, and later fails to sneak into Cuba in December.

Cain associates with the intelligence wing of the "DRF" (Cuban Democratic Revolutionary Front aka the FRD or Frente Revolucionario Democratico) in Miami led by Sergio Arcacha Smith. Cain informs the FBI of Soviet equipment locations from intelligence gathered by the FRD. viii ix Cain makes an unannounced appearance at the CIA Mexico City Station in 1962 to the chagrin of Agency employees. x Cain has offered multiple reports to the FBI and CIA, he associates with Cuban exile groups, and serves the Mafia.  

The same year Agency officer William Harvey heads the Phase 2 and ZR/RIFLE operations; these are code-names for the new round of assassination plots. Harvey unlike most has no compunctions about the means to complete operational goals. CIA officer John Scelso recounts Harvey is a thug who hired "assassins" for criminal purposes under the instruction of Deputy Director of Projects Richard Helms. "The very thought of Helms entrusting Harvey to hire a criminal to have the capacity to kill somebody violates every operational precept, every bit of operational experience, every ethical consideration. And the fact that he chose Harvey -- Harvey could keep a secret, you see. Harvey could keep a secret. This was one way to make sure that nobody found out about it." xi

William Harvey begins a long and illegal association with Johnny Roselli for years. Harvey collaborates with Roselli and Cuban exile groups to assassinate Fidel Castro. In 1963, Richard Cain states he attended a meeting of the Fair Play for Cuba Committee (FPCC) in Chicago. One asserted topic discussed was President Kennedy's assassination.xii 

In New Orleans Lee Harvey Oswald claims to be the Secretary of the Fair Play for Cuba Committee, a group he was never a member of. Oswald commits repeated actions to incite others against the group asserted by Cain to be complicit. Oswald has a public altercation with Carlos Bringuier who represents the Cuban Student Directorate (DRE). The directorate is funded by the Central Intelligence Agency and allied with FRD. xiii

Yet the President's (Warren) Commission finds no "plausible", nor substantial "evidence" indicating the FPCC or any far left group had motive, means, and opportunity.xiv However, subsequent investigating officials found two related Mafia leaders did,xv xvi and the investigation of Cuban militant groups was deficient. Yet the Mafia still possessed extensive influence within and without Cuba.

Jack Ruby expanded his business in Dallas to include multiple nightclubs and useful associates. Jack Ruby's associate Barney Barker was a "Chicago hoodlum who was reputedly a muscle man for Jimmy Hoffa and had been released from prison in June 1963".xvii Ruby enlisted Barker in his cause against a troublesome workers union. Joe Campisi alleged racketeer and later personal associate of Carlos Marcello was another of Ruby's prior associates.xviii xix In New Orleans, Carlos Marcello is found innocent of all charges the Kennedy administration levied to deport him. The same day in Dallas President Kennedy is assassinated. Joe Campisi's brother Sam pays Jack Ruby a friendly visit in jail days following his murder of Oswald.

As the President's Commission investigation proceeds, Allen Dulles fails to mention repeated collaboration with the Mafia that was ongoing. This in my view does not mean the entire CIA was complicit, but that some officers wished to hide assassin operations with feasible illegal connections to the Kennedy assassination. That one or more of government officials were complicit in the Kennedy assassination is the enduring reasonable suspicion. Some officials clearly had contrary agendas.

Feasibly at least one powerful official, a handful in the Agency, leaders of the Mafia, and multiple anti-Castro groups had similar ideas. A few undertook similar operations and repeatedly associated in some cases. Contriving the death of a world leader was their operational goal for years. So is it possible a handful would seek to eliminate a different perceived threat?

Yet not all these men and groups could be involved in the Kennedy assassination in my view. A small group with the motive, means, and opportunity to kill a President of the United States is more feasible. A highly limited conspiracy might accomplish what a lone man could not and remain concealed without expansive planning or membership. Various peripheral officials eager to conceal their own misdeeds might possibly have wiped away the traces of a separate plot. Influential criminals and at least one powerful official may have used this confusion to deadly advantage. Perhaps the final affront to reason is that some of these rabid groups still exist in various forms. xx    


C. Savastano  



i. House Select Committee on Assassinations. Segregated CIA files, Jack L. Ruby, ADA Jack Leon Ruby, Jack Rubenstein or Jacob Rubenstein, Box 51, File Number 281, February 27, 1964, p. 5 

ii. Report of the House Select Committee on Assassinations, Volume IX, Part 5, Cuba, pp. 160-163

iii. HSCA, Segregated CIA files, Frank Anthony Sturgis, Box 2, File No. 268, June 19, 1972

iv. HSCA Report, , Vol. IX , pp. 160-163

v. Christopher Lehmann-Haupt, (October 17, 1991), Books of The Times, A Life of Meyer Lanksy says he died Hard Up, New York Times Archives, 

vi. HSCA, Segregated Central Intelligence Agency Files, Roselli, Johnny; Summary of Activities in Cuba, December 9, 1970, Box 1, File 947, p. 1

vii. HSCA, Segregated CIA Files, Roselli, John, Box 1, File 942, February 5, 1969, p. 2, 3

viii. HSCA, Segregated CIA Files, Richard Cain S43131, Box 46, File 426, December 12, 1960, p. 1

ix. HSCA Report, Appendix Volume X, Part IV. Cuban Revolutionary Council: A Concise History, p. 57

x. HSCA, Segregated CIA Files, MEMO RE RICHARD S. CAIN 272 141, Box 8, File 319, October 9, 1967, p. 2

xi. HSCA, Security Classified Testimony of John Scelso, May 16, 1978, p. 146 

xii. HSCA, Segregated CIA Files, Memo Re Richard S. Cain 272 141, Box 8, File Number 319, p. 1 

xiii. HSCA, Segregated CIA Files, Additional Information on Carlos Bringuier, Box 1, File No. 15, 1967, p. 1

xiv. Report of the President's Commission, Chapter V, Detention and Death of Oswald, p. 289

 xv. Report of the House Select Comm. on Assassinations, Appendix Vol. IX, Carlos Marcello, p. 61

xvi. Ibid

xvii. HSCA, Segregated CIA files, Jack L. Ruby, ADA Jack Leon Ruby, Jack Rubenstein or Jacob Rubenstein, p. 6

xviii. HSCA, FBI Subject Files, C-D section, Subject File: Joe Campisi, No Title, File 72, May 22, 1959, p. 3, 5 

xix. HSCA FBI Subject Files, C-D, Subject File: Joe Campisi, No Title, File 28, April 11, 1968

xx. Tristram Korten and Kirk Nielsen, (January 14, 2008), The coddled "terrorists" of South Florida, Salon,

Last edited by Carmine Savastano on Wed 05 Nov 2014, 3:29 pm; edited 4 times in total (Reason for editing : spacing)


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Re: Mixed Agendas, Militants, and the Mafia

Post by Guest on Wed 17 Sep 2014, 2:48 pm

Wow, great post Carmine. My thoughts in order of yours -

a. IMO a lot of people had to say 'yes'
b. Johnny Roselli goes back to Guatemala in '54, he was a fixer back then too and he was palling around with both the UF folks and the CIA.
c. LHO's supposed status as a "regional boss" of FPCC might ("might") give him cred in the places where no one really knows him.... like.... Chicago. Didn't his name appear in a hotel register in Indiana or something?
d. How exactly is the CRC 'allied with the FRD', as you say? What is the precise nature of that relationship?
e. With the list of principals you mention, the question would be very much "who's zoomin' who", because each one of those people and/or organizations would need to believe they're in charge. Whoever did this was very clever that way. First of all they got the military to authorize Johnny Roselli's flight to Dallas, which if you believe Tosh Plumlee was on a military transport plane funded by the CIA.
f. The idea that Johnny Roselli had a military cover (as Colonel Rawlston) would lead me to believe he was pal-ing around with some military folks as well. We don't exactly know who those people are, but as a Colonel (supposedly) they might have been some higher-ups from time to time. By all accounts the CIA didn't control him very well, he seemed to be using the government transportation for his own purposes.

- and finally -

g. Of all the things you mentioned, the Sergio Arcacha Smith connection with Richard Cain is the most interesting. Was Cain a shooter? Wasn't he some kind of electronics expert or something? Wiretapping and such?


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Re: Mixed Agendas, Militants, and the Mafia

Post by Guest on Wed 17 Sep 2014, 3:46 pm


        Thanks, I'm glad you enjoyed the read. Indeed some of those I mentioned had many conflicting loyalties. Roselli and Cain definitely traveled in many unacknowledged circles. I would not state Oswald was a regional boss, however he did seem to be attempting to label himself an expert and member of all things controversial. I have not heard of the Indiana reference but it is possible, some officials were definitely attempting to link Oswald with the FPCC, just as Oswald was. Quite similar goals often denote similar motivations in my view.  

The CRC was the predecessor group to the FRD, it was composed of some of the same people with the same purposes, Castro's overthrow. i. However I should have stated the DRE, Directorio Revolutinario Estudantil. Another of the many anti Castro groups funded by the CIA. I have corrected it. So many acronyms for mostly the same people. 

Roselli associated with at least the CIA, Mafia, the  and I would not doubt he made some military connections. In fact some military CIA figures were involved 
in the Castro plots, Col. Sheffield Edwards and Richard Bissell the creator of the plans. As you stated "who is 
zooming who" the question in my view is appropriate. Feasibly someone who had planned their "long game" well could use agents hidden among other groups. 
Not only would this incriminate the wrong group, but could also be feasibly supported if the incriminated group is in the business of murder and deception. 
I have heard it suggested that Cain a shooter. However he did wear glasses and have a reportedly a degenerative eye condition. Cain could have been a shooter, we would have to prove he was in Dallas. Yet we can at least demonstrate he was heavily involved in some important linked events. He like most associated had military training, and thus at least basic military tactics. If he was not a shooter the Mafia had a pool of militants to draw from. 

After the Castro plots the Mafia had at least a functional outline for assassination, others criminals with military experience could fill in any deficiencies in my view. Cain is a is key nexus. Cain was providing the FBI and CIA informant reports, he was former military, and he attended pro and anti Castro group gatherings. He was Chief Investigator for the Cook County Sheriff's office, and of course was Sam Giancana's driver. As for the wiretapping I will have to read more about Cain, but he was a private detective so if he could not undertake such operations he knew others who could.    
i. HSCA, Appendix Volume X, Cuban Revolutionary Council - A History, p. 57

Last edited by Carmine Savastano on Thu 18 Sep 2014, 5:06 pm; edited 3 times in total (Reason for editing : spacing)


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