The Chicago Syndicate: JFK
Showing posts with label JFK. Show all posts
Showing posts with label JFK. Show all posts

Tuesday, July 07, 2015

FBI Agent James Hosty's "Assignment: Oswald" provides fascinating, shocking details that shed definitive light on the JFK Assassination

Special Agent James Hosty began investigating Lee Harvey Oswald in October 1963, a full month before the JFK assassination. From November 22 on, Hosty watched as everyone from the Dallas Police, the FBI, the CIA, Naval Intelligence, and the State Department up through the Warren Commission to J. Edgar Hoover, Robert Kennedy, and Lyndon Johnson reacted to and manipulated the facts of the president’s assassination—until Hosty himself became their scapegoat. After seeing his name appear in three inconclusive federal investigations and countless fact-twisting conspiracy theories (including Oliver Stone’s motion picture), Hosty decided to tell his own story.

Assignment: Oswald is the authoritative insider’s account of one of our country’s most traumatic events. Combining his own unique, intimate knowledge of the case with previously unavailable government documents—including top secret CIA files recently released from the National Archives—Hosty tells the true story behind the assassination and the government’s response to it, including the suppression of a documented Oswald-Soviet-Castro connection. Hosty offers an exclusive insider’s knowledge of the mechanisms, the power structures, and the rivalries in and among the various intelligence and law enforcement agencies and why they have determined who knows what about the assassination. Here, at last, is an unmistakably expert and responsible account of the murder of President Kennedy.

Thursday, July 02, 2015

US Attorney General and the Director of the FBI Battle over the Mob

In Washington, turf warfare can be blood sport. Colin Powell versus Dick Cheney in the W years. Nancy Reagan versus Don Regan in the 1980s. Henry Kissinger versus everyone in the Nixon and Ford days. But eclipsing these power feuds is the titanic clash between Robert Kennedy and J. Edgar Hoover. This grudge match entailed much more than personality or policy. It was, in a way, a fight over the meaning of justice in America.

In “Bobby and J. Edgar: The Historic Face-Off Between the Kennedys and J. Edgar Hoover That Transformed America,” Burton Hersh, a journalist and historian, chronicles a struggle that began years before Bobby Kennedy became attorney general in his brother’s administration and — in nominal terms — Hoover’s superior. The story is familiar. While Jack Kennedy thrived in the 1950s as a sex-crazed, drug-dependent, ailment-ridden party-boy politician, Bobby, the family’s complicated sourpuss, hooked up with the redbaiting Joe McCarthy, then spun off as a crusading and corners-cutting scourge of labor corruption. He pursued mobsters and was obsessed with Jimmy Hoffa. But there was a problem. Bobby’s father had built a fortune the old-fashioned way — by hook and by crook. As a banker and bootlegger, Joseph Kennedy had nuzzled with the not-so-good fellas Bobby wanted to hammer.

There was another problem as well. Hoover, the entrenched F.B.I. chieftain and pal of McCarthy, was not so keen on catching mobsters. He even denied the existence of organized crime and kept his agents far from its tracks, partly because, Hersh contends, Hoover knew too well that the mob had infiltrated the worlds of politics and business. Hunting the thugs could have placed Hoover and the F.B.I. on a collision course with the powerful. Communists were easier prey. So when Jack became president and appointed his ferocious brother attorney general, combat was unavoidable.

As Hersh describes it, this duel of leaks, blackmail and power plays occurred against the backdrop of Kennedy excess and pathos. The stakes were higher than the individual fortunes of Hoover and Bobby Kennedy. America was racked with crisis: the civil rights movement was challenging the nation’s conscience, a war was growing in Vietnam and an arms race was threatening nuclear war. Bobby may have had presidential prerogative on his side, but Hoover could wield files full of allegations about Jack and others. How this pas de deux played out helped define the nation at this transformational moment.

It was quite a story, with a supporting cast that was A-list — Martin Luther King Jr., Frank Sinatra, Marilyn Monroe, Sam Giancana, Gloria Swanson, Lyndon Johnson, Roy Cohn — history as a Don DeLillo novel. But sad to say, Hersh, who years ago wrote a much-regarded book on the origins of the C.I.A., fails his material.

Bobby and J. Edgar: The Historic Face-Off Between the Kennedys and J. Edgar Hoover That Transformed America” is little more than a recycling of previously published books. Hersh lists 54 people he interviewed, but about a quarter of them are authors and journalists who have tilled the overworked Kennedy field. The rest offer little that is new. Worse, Hersh appears to regard all sources as equal. If an assertion, particularly a sleazy one, has ever appeared in a book, that’s apparently good enough for him. Some eye-popping tales of Kennedy sex and corruption have indeed been confirmed by reputable authors. (Yes, Jack shared a mistress with Sinatra and the mob man Giancana. Yes, Bobby bent to Hoover’s request to wiretap King.) But mounds of Kennedy garbage have also been peddled over the years, and Hersh does not distinguish between the proven and the alleged (or the discredited). Did Bobby really tag along on drug busts in the 1950s and engage in sex with apprehended hookers? Well, one book said he did. Covering the death of Marilyn Monroe, Hersh maintains that she and Bobby were lovers and that the Mafia had Monroe killed hours after Bobby was in her company in order to frame him. For this, Hersh relies on two unreliable books, one written by Giancana’s brother and nephew, the other by a deceased Los Angeles private investigator. Monroe’s death remains an official suicide, and as Evan Thomas notes in his biography of Bobby, “all that is certain” regarding his interactions with Monroe is that he “saw her on four occasions, probably never alone.” But it’s when the book reaches Nov. 22, 1963, that it truly jumps the rails. The assassination of John Kennedy is the black hole of contemporary American history, and Hersh doesn’t escape its pull. He repeats the well-worn claims of the it-wasn’t-just-Oswald partisans and brings nothing fresh to the autopsy table. Citing one book of uncertain credibility, he claims former President Gerald Ford publicly confessed he had covered up F.B.I. and C.I.A. evidence indicating that Kennedy “had been caught in a crossfire in Dallas” and that two Mafia notables “had orchestrated the assassination plot.” An Internet search I conducted turned up no confirmation of such a momentous confession.

Hersh fares better when it comes to the bigger picture. Hoover and Kennedy, he notes, possessed profoundly contrasting views of midcentury America. For Hoover, Hersh writes, “America amounted to a kind of Christian-pageant fantasy of the System” that was threatened by “Commies and beatniks and race-mixers ... hell-bent to eradicate this utopia.” Kennedy saw “gangsters” undermining unions, corporate America and, yes, even politics. Here was the nub of their quarrel: subversion versus corruption. Though Hersh goes soft on Hoover toward the end, his book renders a clear judgment: Bobby Kennedy was closer to the mark than his rival. That he did not live long enough to better Hoover and, more important, prove the point compounds the tragedy of his sad death.

Thanks to David Corn

Havana Nocturne: How the Mob Owned Cuba ... And Then Lost It to the Revolution

Cuban writer Jose Lezama Lima's description of Havana - "an unnameable feast" - fits the city's last great era like the flawless suits from Pepe Sastre fit the best-dressed mobsters of the glittering casino years.

Here was a posh gambling scene not glimpsed outside James Bond flicks, with hot dance music, seductive showgirls, fast cars, naughty pleasures and, if you cared to look, serious culture, all set in a beautiful city some called "the Paris of the Caribbean." But, as we know, all was not well. Even as revelers rumbaed in the nightclubs an escalating syndrome of rebellion and repression bloodied the streets, triggered by an illegitimate government's corrupt relationship with ruthless gangsters from "el norte." A firebrand politico put on fatigues, set himself and his guerrilla fighters in the mountains at the opposite end of Havana, and that unnameable feast headed for a hangover that would last at least half a century.

T. J. English's engaging book "Havana Nocturne: How the Mob Owned Cuba and Then Lost It to the Revolution" about the era covers the same ground as such novels as Mayra Montero's masterful "Dancing to Almendra" and Ace Atkins' intriguing "White Shadow," as well as films by Francis Ford Coppola, Sidney Pollack and Andy Garcia. A scene that bad was just too good to pass up. But English's brand of narrative is history, and he aims to set the record straight, even pointing out artistic liberties taken in "Godfather II."

Meyer Lansky, for example, was not the venerable old man of the underworld portrayed in the movie but frisky enough to carry a serious and atypical romance with a Cuban woman (an important aspect of Montero's novel). Still, Coppola was on point: gangsters from the United States set up business in Havana in cahoots with Cuban strongman Fulgencio Batista.

These mobsters were protected from U.S. law enforcement in Havana, but, even so, a cautious Lansky never appeared on the casinos' books as anything other than a minor administrator. And it was in Havana that U.S. organized crime got organized, English explains, becoming a de facto government in what was meant to be the first stage of a serious international empire. But in its nationalistic zeal, the Cuban revolution wrecked the mob's plans, as casinos, associated with government corruption, were first ransacked and finally closed down. The gangsters never recovered.

What English calls "the Havana mob" was composed, at different stages, of such gangsters as Santo Trafficante, the dapper Tampa kingpin whose experience with Spanish and Cuban culture in his native city gave him an insight his colleagues lacked. The mob also involved key figures in Batista's government, including the putative president himself.

A parade of characters moves through "Havana Nocturne": George Raft, who came down as a casino "greeter," acting out in real life the mobster roles he made famous on film; Frank Sinatra, already a mob favorite; Marlon Brando, a party animal loose in the greatest party city; John F. Kennedy, indulging his taste for orgiastic sex courtesy of his unsavory friends; Nat King Cole, Eartha Kitt and other top black entertainers. Also striking is the story of the lesser-known but fondly remembered showgirl who, in a strike of promotional genius, publicized her upcoming performance by parading through Havana in a transparent raincoat and little else.

English makes clever use of period pop-culture highlights, such as "La Enganadora" (The Deceiver), a hit song about a curvaceous woman who drove the street guys wild until people learned her form was nothing but cleverly placed padding. "I am not La Enganadora," the raincoat beauty told the authorities when they stopped her, claiming truth in advertising trumped indecent exposure.

"Havana Nocturne: How the Mob Owned Cuba and Then Lost It to the Revolution" is thoroughly researched. English's list of sources is impressive, and each chapter is as heavily footnoted as a doctoral thesis. Fortunately, the book doesn't read like one. English, the author of "Paddy Whacked" and "The Westies" and a college professor of organized crime (!), keeps the motor running on his narrative, in one case acknowledging an early nickname for the mixed-blood Batista, "el mulato lindo" (the pretty mulatto), and then using it instead of his name at different points to flavor the story.

Describing Raft's role in the Havana mob, English uses the phrase "gangster chic." Although there is plenty of ugly violence in the book, those words characterize the era's continuing appeal. Bad things ended with the downfall of the mob. But tropical architecture, the glamour of the Caribbean's most sophisticated city and bespoke tailoring would never be the same.

Thanks to Enrique Fernandez

"The Go-Between: A Novel of the Kennedy Years" by Frederick Turner

It is important that the reader recognize this is presented as a work of fiction, although there will always be a tremendous and probably natural temptation to treat all the details it presents as historical fact, for they certainly ring true.

The author's method is an exceedingly verbose and sometimes even tedious monolog. In sympathetic fashion he tells the story of the young woman who became notorious as the mistress of not only handsome young President John F. Kennedy and singer Frank Sinatra but also, significantly, of Chicago mob boss Sam Giancanna. Sinatra and other entertainers owed considerable loyalty to Giancanna, who was also was carrying on an affair with popular singer Phyllis McGuire.

Judith Campbell Exner also is remembered as the woman who, innocently or otherwise, served as the courier between the newly elected Kennedy in Washington and the mobster in Chicago. JFK and his brother, Robert - his attorney general - thought Giancanna could help dispose of the threat to national security posed by the revolutionary Fidel Castro in Cuba.

By the time Exner - who was a household name in the early '60s - died of breast cancer in 1999, she had long vanished from the nation's headlines. She's remembered as a woman who knowingly and willingly had a sexual relationship with a married president - a glamorous president at that. Hers was a shadowy presence at Camelot, although when that era is remembered the dominant female figure is always Jackie Kennedy, barely present in this novel.

If this fictional account is to be believed, Exner's liaison with JFK and her courier role preceded and contributed to his election. There has long been speculation that the vote results in Illinois and West Virginia, results that helped Kennedy win the Democratic primaries in those states and ultimately propelled him into the Oval Office in 1960, may have been "arranged" by the Chicago mob.

Giancanna and his goons were enlisted (if this novel is to be believed, the transaction was carried out in a Chicago courtroom) on the candidate's behalf by his father, former ambassador Joseph Kennedy, a notorious wheeler-dealer with heavy political ambitions for Jack. His first hope had been that an older son, Joseph, would become president; Joe, however, died in a World War II airplane crash in England.

The author's approach is deceptively simple and effective (despite his verbosity and his excessive use of the first person singular): He imagines he is a down-on-his luck newspaper hack who accidentally gains access to Exner's diaries. As he pores over them, he tells his readers, as if he's talking across a dinner table, what he thinks her sometimes cryptic entries in those diaries must have meant. The result is a narrative that will appeal to readers who have an interest in national politics and in particular the Kennedy administration.

Thanks to Al Hutchison

The Crazy Story Of Frank Sinatra Playing A Club For A Week Straight Because Sam Giancana Was Mad At JFK

The Mafia detested the administration of John F. Kennedy as Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy raised the number of mob convictions from 35 in 1960 to 288 in 1963. But there may be a much deeper connection between the Kennedys and the mob, and legendary entertainer Frank Sinatra reportedly served as a key intermediary and whipping boy in one case.

According to "The Dark Side of Camelot" by Seymour Hersh, Joseph P. Kennedy, Sr. (JFK's father) set up a meeting with Chicago mob boss Sam Giancana to obtain Giancana's support for Jack Kennedy's run for the White House — thereby combining the sway of Chicago crime syndicate with that of Mayor Richard J. Daley's Democratic machine.

Hersh also reported, along with others, that Giancana also helped funnel cash to buy votes and endorsements for the West Virginia Democratic primary election in May 1960.

The book "The Kennedy Half-Century: The Presidency, Assassination, and Lasting Legacy of John F. Kennedy" by University of Virginia professor Larry Sabato highlights the connection by citing the story that Joseph Kennedy asked for Giancana's help over a dispute with another mobster, Frank Costello, and offered "the president's ear" in return.

Sabato also writes that "when JFK began having an affair with a black-haired beauty named Judith Campbell while he was still a U.S. senator, Giancana slept with her as well, reportedly so that he would eventually have a direct link to the White House."

It turns out, according to Sabato, that Sinatra introduced Senator Kennedy to Judy Campbell and also "served as the go-between for the West Virginia primary shenanigans."

After JFK reached the White House, however, the mob boss was not welcome near the president's ear. And Sinatra was the one that ultimately paid for it.

From "The Kennedy Half-Century":

When the Kennedys turned on Giancana once they were in the White House, Sinatra had to work hard to deflect the mobster's wrath at Sinatra on account of the Kennedys' unfaithfulness. In atonement, the singer played at Giancana's club, the Villa Venice, with his "Rat Pack" of fellow entertainers, for eight nights in a row.

Sabato notes that "Sinatra worked his way back into Giancana's good graces, but the Kennedys never did."

Thanks to Michael Kelly.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

"C-1 and the Chicago Mob" Provides an Insider’s Look at the War on Organized Crime

In 1957, J. Edgar Hoover instituted the Top Hoodlum Program in response to the raid on the New York State Police in Apalachin, NY in 1957. This was a time for unchartered territory in the FBI in the war against organized crime.

Retired FBI Special Agent Vincent L. Inserra was at the forefront of this war, heading Chicago’s organized crime unit known as the C-1 Squad from 1957-1976. As tribute to these agents, “C-1 and the Chicago Mob” shares the resourcefulness, ingenuity and determination these agents displayed during a time when the FBI did not have the necessary tools or legislation to combat organized crime.

“These agents were pioneers,” Inserra said. “They were required to wage war against one of the most powerfully entrenched organized crime organizations in the country since the days of Al Capone.”

“C-1 and the Chicago Mob” shares the unique challenges confronting these dedicated agents and the incomparable results achieved which resulted in severely disrupting and curtailing the activities of the Chicago mob. It was at a time when the FBI did not have all the tools or legislation necessary to combat organized crime but they accomplished their goals aggressively with whatever means were available.

In addition to Inserra’s insights on the Chicago Mob during this period in history, readers are exposed to one of America’s great-unsolved mysteries from 1966 and to Warren Commission’s findings that determined the killing of President Kennedy was not a conspiracy.

“Many of the C-1 agents have passed away, but their unbelievable accomplishments against the corruptive and destructive forces of the Chicago crime syndicate should never be forgotten, Inserra said. “This book is a tribute to them.” “C-1 and the Chicago Mob” by Vincent L. Inserra

Vincent L. Inserra, a first generation Italian, was born and raised in the Boston area. He served as a Navy Fighter pilot during World War II and achieved the rank of Lieutenant. He graduated from Boston College with a degree in Business Administration. In 1951, he joined the FBI as a Special Agent and served for 25 years. In 1957, he was assigned to Organized Crime matters for 19 years combatting the Chicago Crime Syndicate. He was in charge of the C-1 Organized Crime Squad for a period of 13 years where they compiled an impressive record of convictions against the Chicago mob. He received more than 100 personal letters of commendation from the Director of the FBI for outstanding investigative achievements. Following retirement from the FBI, he became Corporate Security Director for Kemper Insurance in Long Grove, Illinois for 27 years. He has had two profoundly successful careers.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Sam Giancana Memorabilia Subject of Courtroom Fight in Las Vegas

A defunct Mafia museum claims an auction house sold dozens of articles once owned by Sam Giancana, though the museum owns them - having bought them from the late Chicago boss's daughter.

The Mafia Collection LLC sued Munari Auctions and William Woolery on Monday, in Clark County Court. The Mafia Collection claims that it warned Munari that it owned the Giancana collection, but Munari auctioned them off on Nov. 22 anyway. It's a rather tangled tale.

The Mafia Collection claims in the lawsuit that it paid $23,300 to buy the artifacts from Giancana's daughter, Antoinette McDonnell, in 2009, and that has the bill of sale. It bought the articles for the now-closed Las Vegas Mob Experience, which featured artifacts from many prominent gangsters. The artifacts include photographs, court documents, furnishings and personal effects once owned by Giancana and passed on to his daughter.

McDonnell initially was a paid consultant for the Las Vegas Mob Experience, which was owned and operated by Murder Inc., according to a Las Vegas Review article on a previous lawsuit 2011.

The Las Vegas Mob Experience was an interactive exhibit housed in the Tropicana Las Vegas hotel and casino from 2011 to 2013. It featured artifacts from Giancana, Bugsy Siegel, Anthony Spilotro and others.

Before that exhibit opened, McDonnell sued Murder Inc. and the Mafia Collection in Clark County Court. McDonnell claimed the Mafia Collection never paid her for Giancana's items and that the selling price was too low.

In the present lawsuit, the Mafia Collection calls that lawsuit "frivolous," and says that a judge ruled against McDonnell in July this year and ordered her not to get rid of the artifacts in question. But McDonnell turned over the stuff to Munari Auctions, according to the lawsuit, and Munari sold some or all of them in November.

The Sam Giancana Estate Auction featured 152 "lots," including photos, documents, furniture and police and coroner reports about the mobster's 1975 murder in his Chicago home, according to the auction catalog.

The Mafia Collection claims that Munari's auction was "reckless and done in circumvention of the law, court order and the directive of the artifacts' owner" and done "for the gain and profit of both McDonnell and itself."

Some or all of the artifacts are housed and controlled by McDonnell's "appointed agent in fact," William R. Woolery, according to the lawsuit.

Mafia Collection seeks declaratory judgment that it owns the articles, possession of it, and damages for conversion.

Giancana was boss of the Chicago mob from 1957 to 1966. His alleged ties to President John F. Kennedy and the CIA are the stuff of legend. The CIA allegedly sought his help to assassinate Fidel Castro. Giancana was shot in the head in his Chicago home in 1975. He was 67.

Thanks to Mike Heuer.

Friday, November 21, 2014

5 things you might not know about JFK's assassination

This year will mark 51 years since President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas on November 22, 1963. Whether you were alive at the time or not, you probably know that Lee Harvey Oswald killed the President, only to be fatally gunned down by Jack Ruby two days later.

You probably also know there are hundreds of conspiracy theories about who was behind the assassination, and whether Oswald was the lone gunman or if there was another shooter on the infamous grassy knoll.

Here are five things you may not know about the assassination of the 35th president of the United States:

1. Oswald wasn't arrested for JFK killing

Lee Harvey Oswald was actually arrested for fatally shooting a police officer, Dallas patrolman J.D. Tippitt, 45 minutes after killing Kennedy. He denied killing either one and, as he was being transferred to county jail two days later, he was shot and killed by Dallas nightclub operator Jack Ruby.

2. Assassinating the president wasn't a federal crime in 1963

Despite the assassinations of three U.S. presidents -- Abraham Lincoln, James Garfield and William McKinley -- killing or attempting to harm a president wasn't a federal offense until 1965, two years after Kennedy's death.

3. TV networks suspended shows for four days

On November 22, 1963, at 12:40 p.m. CST -- just 10 minutes after President Kennedy was shot -- CBS broadcast the first nationwide TV news bulletin on the shooting. After that, all three television networks -- CBS, NBC, and ABC -- interrupted their regular programming to cover the assassination for four straight days. The JFK assassination was the longest uninterrupted news event on television until the coverage of the September 11 attacks in 2001.

4. It led to the first and only time a woman swore in a U.S. president

Hours after the assassination, Vice President Lyndon Johnson was sworn in as president aboard Air Force One, with Jacqueline Kennedy at his side, an event captured in an iconic photograph. Federal Judge Sarah Hughes administered the oath, the only woman ever to do so.

5. Oswald had tried to assassinate Kennedy foe

Eight months before Oswald assassinated JFK, he tried to kill an outspoken anti-communist, former U.S. Army Gen. Edwin Walker. After his resignation from the U.S. Army in 1961, Walker became an outspoken critic of the Kennedy administration and actively opposed the move to racially integrate schools in the South. The Warren Commission, charged with investigating Kennedy's 1963 assassination, found that Oswald had tried to shoot and kill Walker while the retired general was inside his home. Walker suffered minor injuries from bullet fragments.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Mel Ayton, Author of "Beyond a Reasonable Doubt" Guests Tonight on Crime Beat Radio

Mel Ayton discusses his latest book, "Beyond a Reasonable Doubt: The Warren Report and Lee harvey Oswald's Guilt and Motive 50 Years On", tonight on Crime Beat Radio.

Beyond a Reasonable Doubt examines how conspiracy theories developed after publication of the Warren Commission's 1964 report into the circumstances surrounding the JFK assassination. Using the evidence compiled by the commissioners, the authors demonstrate how and why the report was rejected by the American public over the past five decades. The book also provides new and compelling evidence which reveals not only Oswald s guilt, by this clear motive which was never satisfactorily addressed by the Warren investigation. The book also looks at the way in which conspiracy writers have succeeded in persuading a majority of the American public that Lee Harvey Oswald was either an innocent Patsy or acted in conjunction with others to assassinate the president. In an examination of the modus operandi of conspiracy writers, Ayton and Von Pien reveal how the public was manipulated into accepting conspiracy allegations and of how their theories were built around nothing more than misinterpretations and misrepresentation of the evidence and crude speculation.

Crime Beat is a weekly hour-long radio program that airs every Thursday at 8 p.m. EST. Crime Beat presents fascinating topics that bring listeners closer to the dynamic underbelly of the world of crime. Guests have included ex-mobsters, undercover law enforcement agents, sports officials, informants, prisoners, drug dealers and investigative journalists, who have provided insights and fresh information about the world’s most fascinating subject: crime.

Sunday, August 03, 2014

Mafia Involvement in JFK's Killing Investigated in Assassination Theater

After decades of controversy, investigating the Kennedy assassination has earned a reputation as bad news for many reporters, a radioactive topic no one wants to approach.

“It’s one of the black holes of journalism,” said investigative reporter/playwright Hillel Levin. “It’s the sort of story reporters get sucked into and are never heard from again.”

That, however, hasn’t stopped him from spending seven years working on “Assassination Theater,” a theatrical investigation making a case for an organized crime conspiracy to kill JFK. The play debuts with a one-night-only staged reading Aug. 9 in the Arts Center of Oak Park.

Levin, an Oak Park resident and former editor of Chicago magazine, has made a specialty of true-crime books since co-authoring 2004’s “When Corruption Was King: How I Helped the Mob Rule Chicago, Then Brought the Outfit Down” about the ’90s Gambat trials exposing the Chicago mob’s rigging of the city’s legal system.

After that book and a 2007 Playboy article about the burglarizing of Chicago mafia boss Tony Accardo’s home (a movie version starring Robert De Niro will be shot this fall in Chicago), Zachariah Shelton, an FBI agent featured in that story, asked Levin why he didn’t write the real Chicago mob story. Namely, their active involvement in the Kennedy assassination.

“I admit that I cringed a bit when he said that,” Levin said. “But having leaned about the mob here, about their power and influence, I couldn’t easily dismiss it. And I could understand why they might have been motivated to do it, since they were very involved in building Las Vegas in 1963 with funds from the Teamsters Central States pension — and the Kennedys, especially Bobby Kennedy as attorney general, were threatening that by going after Jimmy Hoffa.”

Levin said he was never a believer in the official story that Lee Harvey Oswald had acted as a lone assassin, but he had never thought of the mafia as a likely suspect until Shelton showed him FBI evidence he had discovered by accident, along with corroborating evidence the agent uncovered in a private investigation. And even then, he wasn’t convinced until he’d spent years going over the official evidence, including medical reports and statements from witnesses unsealed in the ’90s.

His findings are dramatized by four actors in “Assassination Theater,” one playing himself, one playing Shelton and two playing various characters including Oswald, LBJ, Jack Ruby, autopsy morticians, mob figures and more. A large screen shows photos supporting their statements, including one purporting to show an assassin walking away from the grassy knoll immediately after the shooting.

“I’m not a zealot and I’m not saying everyone has to believe me,” Levin said. “But I think anyone who looks at the evidence with any attention will realize Oswald couldn’t have done it alone. My central thesis is that it was theater in a lot of ways and part of the show was putting the blame on only one actor, when in fact he was part of a much bigger production.”

Hence, in large part, Levin’s decision to present his findings on stage instead of writing a book. That, plus his belief that theater provides an immersive experience that will help people process the information and come to an understanding of it.

“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.

“That’s the way I hope everyone will feel when they leave the theater.”

Thanks to Bruce Ingram.

Monday, November 25, 2013

FBI Whistleblower and Author of "To Kill a President", M. Wesley Swearingen, Skewers Former Warren Commission Member on #JFK Assassination

FBI Whistleblower and Author of TO KILL A PRESIDENT, M. Wesley Swearingen, finds considerable fault with the Warren Commission's investigation into the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

Richard M. Mosk, a former member of the staff of the Warren Commission, is now a justice on the California Court of Appeal. Chief Justice Earl Warren hired Richard Mosk, the son of the late Stanley Mosk, who was then Attorney General of California, to work for the commission when Richard was about 25 years of age.

In a Los Angeles Times article dated October 27, 2013, entitled "NOV. 22, 1963: 50 years later, and still no conspiracy," Richard Mosk writes that, "with a top-secret clearance I had full access to the work of the staff, and I never saw anything untoward." Richard writes of the Warren Commission investigation, "it may still stand as the most extensive and thorough criminal investigation in history."

It is retired FBI agent Swearingen's opinion that the only thing thorough about the Warren Commission investigation was the cover-up. Swearingen, well trained in firearms and at the top of his New Agent's Training Class with the Springfield rifle, claims the single-bullet theory is preposterous.

Swearingen has personal knowledge of Kennedy's assassination that no other insider had during his years in Chicago when he was in charge of Cuban Counterintelligence during Fidel Castro's overthrow of Cuba in 1959.

One of Swearingen's Cuban sources, whom he cannot identify by law, told him in 1962 that the CIA was plotting to kill President Kennedy with the assistance of certain Chicago Mob figures and that an unidentified patsy would be blamed for killing Kennedy.

When President Kennedy was killed, FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover prohibited any agent from speaking out about a conspiracy. Assistant Director In Charge (ADIC) of the Training and Inspection Division W. Mark Felt, aka "Deep Throat," personally told Swearingen, the day Kennedy was killed, not to mention a CIA conspiracy. Swearingen was in Washington, D.C. at the time JFK was murdered and had volunteered to go to Dallas, but Felt instructed Swearingen to return to his office of assignment.

Swearingen also disagrees with Bill O'Reilly's version in O'Reilly's book Killing Kennedy as stated on his website at www.fbisecrets.com. Bill O'Reilly claims "the spin stops here," but in Swearingen's opinion O'Reilly has done nothing but shift the spin into high gear when he tells the world in a book and in a movie that Lee Harvey Oswald was the lone assassin killing Kennedy with a single bullet as proclaimed by the Warren Commission.

Kirkus Reviews writes of Swearingen's first book that, "All in all, he turns in a ringing and entirely convincing indictment," against FBI wrongdoing.

Kirkus Reviews writes of Swearingen's second book TO KILL A PRESIDENT, "The author unleashes his experience-fueled intuition to detail the motive of other players in the conspiracy, including the Chicago Mob.
Names are named, associations are made, reasonable conjectures are served and Swearingen comes across as the real deal."

Following publication of Swearingen's book on JFK, another FBI agent, who worked in Dallas, has come forward claiming Oswald did not kill JFK. See website www.oswalddidnotkilljfk.com.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Not in Your Lifetime: The Defining Book on the #JFK Assassination

Updated with the latest evidence, the essential, acclaimed account of President Kennedy’s assassination by Pulitzer Prize finalist Anthony Summers.

“He was holding out his hand . . . He looked puzzled . . . Then he slumped in my lap . . . I kept bending over him saying, ‘Jack, Jack, can you hear me? I love you, Jack . . .’ The seat was full of blood and red roses . . . .” —Jacqueline Kennedy, recalling the fatal moment in Dallas.

Fifty years on, most Americans still feel they have not been told the truth about President Kennedy’s death. Chief Justice Warren, who chaired the first inquiry, said “some things” that “involve security” might not be released in our lifetime. Millions of pages of assassination records were finally made public in the late 1990s. Yet the CIA is withholding more than a thousand documents under “national security”—until 2017.

Why? Why hold these records back if—as we were told half a century ago—Lee Harvey Oswald was a lone assassin? Anthony Summers set out to write a reliable account of the murder mystery that haunts America. Not in Your Lifetime, in this fresh edition, is one of the finest books written on the assassination.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Dallas 1963 - Climate of Hatred Leading to Assassination of #JFK

In the months and weeks before the fateful November 22nd, 1963, Dallas was brewing with political passions, a city crammed with larger-than-life characters dead-set against the Kennedy presidency. These included rabid warriors like defrocked military general Edwin A. Walker; the world's richest oil baron, H. L. Hunt; the leader of the largest Baptist congregation in the world, W.A. Criswell; and the media mogul Ted Dealey, who raucously confronted JFK and whose family name adorns the plaza where the president was murdered. On the same stage was a compelling cast of marauding gangsters, swashbuckling politicos, unsung civil rights heroes, and a stylish millionaire anxious to save his doomed city.

Bill Minutaglio and Steven L. Davis ingeniously explore the swirling forces that led many people to warn President Kennedy to avoid Dallas on his fateful trip to Texas. Breathtakingly paced, DALLAS 1963 presents a clear, cinematic, and revelatory look at the shocking tragedy that transformed America. Countless authors have attempted to explain the assassination, but no one has ever bothered to explain Dallas-until now.

With spellbinding storytelling, Minutaglio and Davis lead us through intimate glimpses of the Kennedy family and the machinations of the Kennedy White House, to the obsessed men in Dallas who concocted the climate of hatred that led many to blame the city for the president's death. Here at long last is an accurate understanding of what happened in the weeks and months leading to John F. Kennedy's assassination. DALLAS 1963 is not only a fresh look at a momentous national tragedy but a sobering reminder of how radical, polarizing ideologies can poison a city-and a nation.

The Chicago Public Library @chipublib Observed the 50th Anniversary of Kennedy's Assassination Today

Mayor Rahm Emanuel joined Chicago Public Library Commissioner Brian Bannon, schoolchildren, and special guests today at the Harold Washington Library Center to observe the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. The event celebrated the life and legacy of President Kennedy, as well as his and the Kennedy family’s long standing connection to Chicago.

“President Kennedy challenged all Americans to answer the call of public service, inspiring generations of Americans to serve others and work for the greater good of their fellow humans," said Mayor Rahm Emanuel. "Today, as we observe the fiftieth anniversary of his tragic death, we remember his life and legacy and the profound impact he had on our nation and our city."

As part of the program, author Ilene Cooper spoke about the Kennedys’ decades-long ties to Chicago, beginning in 1945 when the Kennedy patriarch and President’s father Joseph Sr. purchased the Merchandise Mart, which soon became a trade show mecca known across the country. From that time on, the Kennedy family has played a prominent role in Chicago. Several Kennedy family members have made the Chicago area their home and still play a major role in the operation of the Merchandise Mart.

Jazz musician Irvin Mayfield and the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra, and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band paid homage to President Kennedy’s love for cultural arts and jazz music. In 1962, the President and First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy hosted the first White House jazz concert, starting a tradition that still exists today. The concert featured music selected from that first jazz concert in 1962, along with selections from subsequent White House concerts.

The Chicago Public Library encourages lifelong learning by welcoming all people and offering equal access to information, entertainment and knowledge through materials, programs and cutting-edge technology. Through its 80 locations, the Library provides free access to a rich collection of materials, both physical and digital, and presents the highest quality author discussions, exhibits and programs for children, teens and adults.  For more information, visit chicagopubliclibrary.org or call the Chicago Public Library at (312) 747-4050.

Monday, November 18, 2013

The Top Five #Conspiracy Theories on JFK Assassination

As the 50th anniversary of the JFK assassination draws nearer, the debate over who actually pulled the trigger rages on. Did Lee Harvey Oswald, as the Warren Commission concluded, use an Italian bolt-action Mannlicher-Carcano rifle to fire three shots from the Texas School Book Depository building, hitting President John F. Kennedy once in the neck and once in the back of the head? Or were there larger forces at work?

The belief that there was conspiracy to assassinate the president has only become more widespread with the passage of time.  As ABC News reports, the House Select Committee on Assassinations concluded in 1978 that Kennedy was “probably assassinated as a result of a conspiracy.” A 2003 ABC News poll showed that 70 percent of Americans believed the JFK assassination was “not the act of a lone killer,” with 7 percent believing that Oswald was not involved at all.

So what is the truth? What really happened on Nov. 22, 1963, at Dealey Plaza in Dallas? We’ll probably never know, but we can continue to speculate. Below is a list of the top five JFK assassination conspiracy theories that have been bandied about over the years.

1.) The CIA Killed JFK

The Central Intelligence Agency has always been shadowy, mysterious organization, which lends itself perfectly to a conspiracy theory involving the JFK assassination. According to the Mary Ferrell Foundation, Kennedy made an enemy out of the CIA after the disastrous Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba in April 1961. As a result of that failed operation, CIA Director Allen Dulles (who would later serve on the Warren Commission) was forced to resign and many allegedly began to see JFK as a threat to CIA interests.

As the New York Post reports, author Patrick Nolan surmises that the CIA wanted “power, self-preservation and to stop the Kennedys’ plan to make peace with Cuba and the Soviets.” Nolan theorizes that a group of rogue CIA agents, including Richard Helms (who became CIA director a few years later), James Angleton, David Phillips and E. Howard Hunt (of Watergate infamy), used three shooters placed at different locations in Dealey Plaza -- the Book Depository building, the Grassy Knoll and the Dal-Tex building -- to pull off the assassination. In his book, “CIA Rogues and the Killing of the Kennedys,” Nolan uses physical, medical and film evidence, as well as eyewitness accounts, to reach his conclusion.

2.) The Mafia Killed JFK

The relationship between organized crime and the Kennedy family stretched back decades prior to the assassination, as President Kennedy’s father, Joseph P. Kennedy, allegedly engaged in bootlegging during the Prohibition era of the 1920s. As the Los Angeles Times points out, it’s also believed that Joseph Kennedy used his Mafia connections to help his son win the crucial state of Illinois during the 1960 presidential election against Richard Nixon. However, the mutually beneficial relationship between the Mafia and the Kennedy family would soon come to an end.

According to ABC News, one version of this theory posits that Mafia was angered with JFK after the botched Bay of Pigs invasion, as they had hoped to re-exert their presence in Cuba, which had been erased after Fidel Castro rose to power. Additionally, JFK’s brother, Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, had become a crusader against the Mafia in his position as the nation’s top cop.

As the Post reports, Lamar Waldron, author of the book “The Hidden History of the JFK Assassination,” theorizes that the assassination was masterminded by New Orleans mob boss Carlos Marcello, with help from Santo Trafficante of Florida and Johnny Roselli of Chicago. According to the Waldron, Marcello used Italian hit men, smuggling them into the country from Canada, to commit the crime. Marcello reportedly bragged about pulling off the assassination to an inmate at a prison where he was serving time in 1985. “Yeah, I had the son of a bitch killed,” he allegedly said. “I’m glad I did. I’m sorry I couldn’t have done it myself.”

3.) Lyndon B. Johnson Killed JFK

If one wants a definitive answer as to who killed JFK, look no further than the man who benefited the most from his assassination. At least, that’s what author Roger Stone says in his new book, “The Man Who Killed Kennedy: The Case Against LBJ.” In an interview with Voices of Russia, Stone says that LBJ -- who was sworn in as president on a plane in Dallas just hours after the JFK assassination -- used longtime associate and hit man Malcolm Wallace to do the deed. As the Post points out, Stone alleges that Wallace’s fingerprints were found on the sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository Building, where the Warren Commission says Oswald fired his fatal shots.

According to Stone, Johnson insisted on both the trip to Dallas and the route through Dealey Plaza, where none of the buildings in the area were sealed off. Stone thinks LBJ both reduced the number of police officers on motorcycles on either side of the president’s car and ordered off the Secret Service agents that would have been riding on the rear bumper of the car.  In the interview with Voices of Russia, Stone believes that LBJ can be tied to as many as eight murders in Texas prior to the JFK assassination, in order to cover up his corruption, voter fraud and more.

4.) The Russians Killed JFK

To examine the theory that the Soviet Union killed President John F. Kennedy, one must look at the geopolitical situation in 1963. This was the height of the Cold War and the peak of anti-Communist sentiment in the United States. According to ABC News, conspiracy theorists frequently cite the notion that Soviet Premier Nikita Krushchev was incensed at having to back down to JFK during the Cuban Missile Crisis the year before, and had the president killed by the KGB in retaliation.

Another interesting connection is Oswald’s time spent in the Soviet Union. In October 1959, Oswald -- a former Marine -- defected to the Soviet Union, where he met his future wife, Marina. Marina’s uncle was a colonel in the MVD, which is the Russian Interior Ministry service.

According to Stratfor, there are numerous anomalies about Oswald’s time in Russia, including how the two were able to get permission to marry (a requirement for any Soviet citizen marrying a foreigner), as well as why Marina, an upper-middle class woman with an uncle in the government, would agree to marry an American defector with little prospects whom she had just met one month before.

In early 1962, Oswald, Marina and their daughter left the Soviet Union for the United States. As Stratfor points out, Marina Oswald was granted permission to leave the the country with an American defector within weeks of her request, an extremely rare, if not completely unheard of, turnaround. Why? Conspiracy theorists point to questions like these as evidence of Soviet involvement in the assassination of JFK.

5.) The Cubans Killed JFK

There are two separate sub-theories surrounding Cuba and the JFK assassination. The first, as ABC News points out, is that Castro had JFK assassinated in retaliation for the numerous attempts on his life during the Kennedy administration, courtesy of both the CIA and the Mafia. In 1968, Johnson told ABC News that “Kennedy was trying to get to Castro, but Castro got to him first.”

During an interview with Bill Moyers in 1977, Castro said the theory was “absolute insanity.”

The second, perhaps more plausible, theory involves a mixture of militant anti-Castro Cuban exiles in Miami, the Mafia and the CIA. As the Mary Ferrell Foundation points out, the anti-Castro Cubans were enraged by Kennedy’s failure to provide crucial air support during the Bay of Pigs invasion. This could have been seen as emblematic of Kennedy’s “soft” approach to communism, a charge that had already been leveled at him after he chose not to invade Cuba during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Did anti-Castro Cubans, working in conjunction with the CIA and the Mafia, assassinate JFK?



Thanks to Andrew Berry.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The CIA Conspiracy to Murder John F. Kennedy is Explored on #CrimeBeatRadio

On November 14th, a command appearance by Peter Janney, author of Mary’s Mosaic: The CIA Conspiracy to Murder John F. Kennedy, on Crime Beat Radio.

Crime Beat is a weekly hour-long radio program that airs every Thursday at 8 p.m. EST. Crime Beat presents fascinating topics that bring listeners closer to the dynamic underbelly of the world of crime. Guests have included ex-mobsters, undercover law enforcement agents, sports officials, informants, prisoners, drug dealers and investigative journalists, who have provided insights and fresh information about the world’s most fascinating subject: crime.

Thursday, November 07, 2013

The Man Who Killed Kennedy: The Case Against LBJ, Tonight on #CrimeBeatRadio

On November 7th, Roger Stone and Mike Colapietro, co-authors of "The Man Who Killed Kennedy: The Case Against LBJ" appear on Crime Beat Radio.

Crime Beat is a weekly hour-long radio program that airs every Thursday at 8 p.m. EST. Crime Beat presents fascinating topics that bring listeners closer to the dynamic underbelly of the world of crime. Guests have included ex-mobsters, undercover law enforcement agents, sports officials, informants, prisoners, drug dealers and investigative journalists, who have provided insights and fresh information about the world’s most fascinating subject: crime.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

"The JFK Collection" On DVD - 8 Films Covering His Life, His Death and His Legacy

HISTORY presents The JFK Collection, an impressive 3-disc DVD set exploring one of America’s most legendary families available on October 22 from Lionsgate Home Entertainment. Chronicling the life and legacy of our nation’s 35th President John F. Kennedy, the 8-film collection arrives just in time for the 50th anniversary of one of the most talked about moments in American history.

Featuring hours of content celebrating his iconic life, The JFK Collection 3-disc DVD set will be available for the suggested retail price of $19.98.

Go inside the life of John F. Kennedy, a reckless rich kid who lived on the edge and became a WWII hero and a president who challenged the nation as it had never been before. This comprehensive family portrait also includes hour-long biographies of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Joseph P. Kennedy, Robert F. Kennedy, John F. Kennedy, Jr. and Ted Kennedy.

Monday, October 14, 2013

The Interloper: Lee Harvey Oswald Inside the Soviet Union

Lee Harvey Oswald’s assassination of President Kennedy in 1963 remains one of the most horrifying and hotly debated crimes in American history. Just as perplexing as the assassination is the assassin himself; the 24-year-old Oswald’s hazy background and motivations—and his subsequent murder at the hands of Jack Ruby—make him an intriguing yet frustratingly enigmatic figure. Because Oswald briefly defected to the Soviet Union, some historians allege he was a Soviet agent. But as Peter Savodnik shows in The Interloper, Oswald’s time in the U.S.S.R. reveals a stranger, more chilling story.

Oswald ventured to Russia at the age of 19, after a failed stint in the U.S. Marine Corps and a childhood spent shuffling from address to address with his unstable, needy mother. Like many of his generation, Oswald struggled for a sense of belonging in postwar American society, which could be materialistic, atomized, and alienating. The Soviet Union, with its promise of collectivism and camaraderie, seemed to offer an alternative. While traveling in Europe, Oswald slipped across the Soviet border, soon settling in Minsk where he worked at a radio and television factory. But Oswald quickly became just as disillusioned with his adopted country as he had been with the United States. He spoke very little Russian, had difficulty adapting to the culture of his new home, and found few trustworthy friends; indeed most, it became clear, were informing on him to the KGB. After nearly three years, Oswald returned to America feeling utterly defeated and more alone than ever—and as Savodnik shows, he began to look for an outlet for his frustration and rage.

Drawing on groundbreaking research, including interviews with Oswald’s friends and acquaintances in Russia and the United States, The Interloper brilliantly evokes the shattered psyche not just of Oswald himself, but also of the era he so tragically defined.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Don't Miss it When @TheMobMuseum Hosts "JFK: An Inside Look at the Assassination of a President, 50 Years Later"

On Thursday, November 7, at 7 p.m., The Mob Museum, The National Museum of Organized Crime and Law Enforcement, will host “JFK: An Inside Look into the Assassination of a President 50 Years Later” in its historic courtroom. Part of the Museum’s ongoing programming series, the evening will provide a look back at this historic event through the differing perspectives of three panelists.

Authors Patrick Nolan (“CIA Rogues and the Killing of the Kennedys,” due to be released on November 6), Gerald Posner (“Case Closed: Lee Harvey Oswald and the Assassination of JFK”) and G. Robert Blakey (“The Plot to Kill the President” and “Fatal Hour: The Assassination of President Kennedy by Organized Crime”) will address questions such as: Was Lee Harvey Oswald a lone shooter? What role, if any, did organized crime play in the assassination? Was government involved? Moderating the panel will be Tom Stone, senior lecturer in English at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, who has taught classes for the last 20 years on JFK’s assassination.




Patrick Nolan is a forensic historian who has dedicated his life to uncovering truths surrounding the JFK, MLK, and RFK assassinations of the 1960s. He’s been a journalist, a television news producer, and a professor at Hofstra University and St. John’s University. His groundbreaking book, “CIA Rogues and the Killing of the Kennedys:  How and Why US Agents Conspired to Assassinate JFK and RFK,” is based on world-famous forensic scientist Dr. Henry C. Lee’s conclusion that both Kennedy murders involved more than one gunman. Were the conspirators who assassinated the President the same perpetrators that killed his brother the Senator? In “CIA Rogues,” Nolan offers a fresh new look at the evidence and pieces together one of the most disturbing puzzles in American History. He claims an alliance involving a high-level CIA rogue element, led by Richard Helms and James Angleton, with mob support, had the motive, means and opportunity to carry out both assassinations and cover them up for nearly a half century.

At 23, Posner was one of the youngest attorneys ever hired by Cravath, Swaine & Moore. A Political Science major, Posner was a Phi Beta Kappa and Summa Cum Laude graduate of the University of California at Berkeley (1975), where he was also a national debating champion, winner of the Meiklejohn Award. At Hastings Law School (1978), he was an Honors Graduate and served as the Associate Executive Editor for the Law Review. Posner has worked as a freelance writer on investigative issues for several news magazines, and a regular contributor to NBC, the History Channel, CNN, FOX News, CBS, and MSNBC. He is the author of 11 books covering everything from Nazi war criminals to heroin trafficking to political assassinations to 9/11 and terrorism.  His 1993 book, “Case Closed,” was a New York Times bestseller and a finalist for the Pulitzer in History.  It received widespread critical acclaim. Typical was historian Robert Dallek in The Boston Globe, “Superb…The most convincing explanation of the assassination” and Jeffrey Toobin in the Chicago Tribune, “Utterly convincing…Fascinating and important…Case closed, indeed.”  In Case Closed, Posner concludes that Oswald alone killed JFK.

Blakey is a recognized expert on organized crime and an authority on the JFK assassination. In the late 1960s he campaigned for and helped write much of the anti-racketeering legislation (RICO Act) that had a major impact on fighting organized crime. As chief counsel to the 1977 House Select Committee on Assassinations, Blakey led the investigation into President Kennedy's assassination, reexamining the evidence with a new forensics panel. Blakey also worked as a Special Attorney at the Department of Justice in the Organized Crime & Racketeering Section from 1960 to 1964. Blakey is the co-author with Richard Billings of “The Plot to Kill the President” (1981). The book was reissued in paperback in 1993 as “Fatal Hour: The Assassination of President Kennedy by Organized Crime.”

Doors will open at 5:30 p.m. with a reception featuring light fare and a cash bar. The program will begin promptly at 7 p.m. in The Mob Museum’s historic courtroom. Following the moderator-led panel discussion, audience members will have a chance to ask questions and have their books signed by the authors. The evening will mark the first public signing of Nolan’s book. The program will conclude by 9 p.m.

Tickets for the November 7 event are $30 for non-members; Museum members will receive a 10 percent discount. To make reservations, please call (702) 229-2734 or visit http://themobmuseum.org/archives/category/events/.

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