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Who Killed JFK? The Mob Did It

John and Robert Kennedy brought to their respective positions as President and Attorney General an unprecedented familiarity with the threat of organized crime -- and a commitment to prosecute its leaders -- based on their service as member and chief counsel respectively of the McClellan Committee during its extensive investigation of labor racketeering in the late 1950's. An assassination of a President by organized crime could not be allowed to appear to be what it was.

Organized crime probably was active in attempts to assassinate Castro, independent of any activity it engaged in with the CIA. From the time he was a young man, Sam Giancana rose within the Chicago organized crime syndicate until he became syndicate leader in 1957. After an eight-year stint in Mexico, Giancana was deported back to Chicago where he was murdered in 1975, shortly before he was scheduled to testify before the Church Committee. Giancana is of historical interest with respect to the Kennedy assassination for a number of reasons: (1) Giancana was involved in the CIA plots to assassinate Fidel Castro; (2) Giancana expressed hostility t o w a rd the Kennedys because of the Kennedys' war against organized crime; (3) Giancana had associates in common with President Kennedy (namely, Frank Sinatra and Judith Campbell Exner); (4) Giancana allegedly contributed to Kennedy's 1960 presidential campaign; and (5) Giancana was allegedly linked to Joseph P. Kennedy through the illicit liquor trade.

Hoffa and at least one of his Teamster lieutenants, Edward Partin, apparently did, in fact, discuss the planning of an assassination conspiracy against President Kennedy's brother, Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, in July or August of 1962. Hoffa discussed the possible use of a lone gunman equipped with a rifle with a telescopic sight, the advisability of having the assassination committed somewhere in the South, as well as the potential desirability of having Robert Kennedy shot while riding in a convertible.

Santos Trafficante, the La Cosa Nostra leader in Florida, like Marcello, had the motive, means, and opportunity to assassinate President Kennedy. Trafficante's role as the mob's chief liaison to criminal figures within the Cuban exile community, provided him with the capability of formulating an assassination conspiracy against President Kennedy. Trafficante was alleged to have told prominent Cuban exile Jose Aleman that Teamsters Union President James Hoffa was principally involved in planning the Presidential murder.

Carlos Marcello (06 February 1910 - 03 March 1993) had the motive, means and opportunity to have President John F. Kennedy assassinated. As the long-time La Cosa Nostra leader in an area that is based in New Orleans but extends throughout Louisiana and Texas, Marcello was one of the prime targets of Justice Department efforts during the Kennedy administration.

The Kennedy Justice Department vigorously pursued Marcello, even subjecting him to a brief, nightmarish deportation through deportation proceedings personally expedited by Attorney General Kennedy. In March 1961, the Attorney General took steps to have Marcello deported to Guatemala (the country Marcello had falsely listed as his birthplace). On 4th April, Marcello was arrested by the authorities and taken forcibly removed to Guatemala. It did not take Marcello long to get back into the United States. Once he returned, Marcello hated the Kennedy brothers with a deep and vengeful passion. In 1963, only weeks after JFK was killed, the FBI questioned 14 Marcello mob associates. Yet Marcello's name doesn't even appear in the Warren Commission Report. In its investigation of Marcello, the 1979 Select Committee on Assassinations identified the presence of one critical evidentiary element that was lacking with the other organized crime figures examined by the Select Committee on Assassinations of the US House of Representatives : credible associations relating both Lee Harvey Oswald and Jack Ruby to figures having a relationship, albeit tenuous, with Marcello's crime family or organization.

Ruby was a personal acquaintance of Joseph Civello, the Marcello associate, who allegedly headed organized crime activities in Dallas; he also knew other individuals who have been linked with organized crime, including a New Orleans nightclub figure, Harold Tannenbaum, with whom Ruby was considering going into partnership in the fall of 1963.

David Ferrie worked as an investigator on the case involving deportation proceedings against Carlos Marcello. Oswald and Ferrie apparently first came into contact with each other during Oswald's participation as a teenager in a Civil Air Patrol unit for which Ferrie served as an instructor. Ferrie also worked with Guy Banister, whose firm occupied an office in 1963 in the Newman Building at 531 Lafayette Street. Another entrance to the building was at 544 Camp Street, the address Oswald had stamped on his Fair Play for Cuba Committee handouts. During the summer of 1963, Ferrie frequented 544 Camp Street regularly as a result of his working relationship with Banister. The only other Cuba-related activities that have ever been established at 544 Camp Street were virulently anti-Castro in nature. Another occupant of the Newman Building was the anti-Castro Cuban Revolutionary Council.

Lee Harvey Oswald's uncle & surrogate father Charles Murret, aka Dutz, was a bookmaker in Marcello's gambling operation in New Orleans. Charles "Dutz" Murret, a minor underworld gambling figure, served as a surrogate father of sorts throughout much of Oswald's life in New Orleans. Murret was in the 1940's and 1950's and possibly until his death in 1964: an associate of significant organized crime figures affiliated with the Marcello organization. Oswald's mother, Marguerite Oswald, was acquainted with several men associated with lieutenants in the Marcello organization. One such acquaintance, who was also an associate of Dutz Murret, reportedly served as a personal aide or driver to Marcello at one time.

An individual connected to Dutz Murret, the person who arranged bail for Oswald following his arrest in August 1963 for a street disturbance, was an associate of two of Marcello's syndicate deputies. (One of the two, Nofio Pecora, as noted, also received a telephone call from Ruby on October 30, 1963, according to the committee's computer analysis of Ruby's phone records.)

Any evaluation of Marcello's possible role in the assassination must take into consideration his unique stature within La Cosa Nostra. The FBI determined in the 1960's that because of Marcello's position as head of the New Orleans Mafia family (the oldest in the United States, having first entered the country in the 1880's), the Louisiana organized crime leader had been endowed with special powers and privileges not accorded to any other La Cosa Nostra members. As the leader of "the first family" of the Mafia in America, according to FBI information, Marcello had been the recipient of the extraordinary privilege of conducting syndicate operations without having to seek the approval of the national commission.

By 1972, Carlos was sixty-two years old, richer and more powerful, possibly the most powerful Mafia boss in the nation. His only contender to this title may have been Carlo Gambino, the ageing don who ran what was perhaps the biggest [Mafia] family in the country, based in Brooklyn. The House Select Committee on Crime declared in 1972, "We believe Carlos Marcello has become a formidable menace to the institution of government and the people of the United States."

In 1973, the first book was published on the assassination of President Kennedy, pointing a finger at Marcello; although in 1969, famous crime writer Ed Reid in his book The Grim Reapers had hinted at a possible connection. In 1976, an Italian documentary film called The Two Kennedys specifically nailed the Mafia as the force behind the murders of the brothers, again naming Marcello as the principal suspect.

In 1979, the US government finally succeeded in prosecuting Marcello, who spent most of the 1980s in prison. On June 17, 1980, Carlos Marcello, along with three other men, was indicted by a federal grand jury of twelve counts of racketeering in the BRILAB case. Carlos went off to prison in April 1983. The FBI groomed an informant who became Carlos Marcello's cellmate. A 07 March 1986 FBI transcript quotes Marcello confessing [or bragging], "Yeah, I had the son of a bitch killed. I'm glad I did. I'm sorry I couldn't have done it myself!" The memo was cited in the 2008 book "Legacy of Secrecy" by Lamar Waldron.

Bobby Kennedy's friend and biographer Jack Newfield wrote that a very close relative of Carlos Marcello told a government informant "we took care of 'em (the Kennedys), didn't we?" Bobby blamed the Mafia and New Orleans godfather Carlos Marcello in particular, for the death of his brother.

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Page last modified: 22-11-2013 00:03:30 ZULU