59 percent of Americans believe the assassination of there 35th President John F. Kennedy was the work of a conspiracy. That means that the majority of Americans do not accept the official findings of the investigating Warren Commission who concluded and reported that JFK was killed by a lone gunman (Lee Harvey Oswald) acting singularly and without assistance.
The assassination of JFK was a defining moment for the 20th century, not just for the United States of America, but for the World. Possibly only the death of Princess Dianna had an equally profound effect on the citizenry of world. So, it is not a great surprise that a huge amount of conspiracy theories would blossom and endure for decades concerning the violent death of a young President who embodied the hopes, wishes and desires of a generation .
One of those conspiracy theories involves organised crime, the Mob. Like most conspiracy theories there are several variations on the subject, but all contain the same accusation and share many of the same details. This one goes like this:
Dark allegations have arisen about dealings between JFK and organized crime figures. Some even have charged that the President’s killing actually was a mob hit.
An illicit working relationship existed between JFK and the mafia primarly focused on a Mob boss by the name of Sam Giancana, the former head of the Chicago crime syndicate, who had a number of apparent Venn-diagram intersections with the President.
Giancana had longtime ties to the Kennedy clan, going back to JFK’s father, Joseph P. Kennedy, who was involved with Giancana in the bootlegging business during Prohibition. Additionally, Gianciana was an associate of singer Frank Sinatra, a close Kennedy friend, and allegedly was a donor to JFK’s 1960 Presidential campaign, at a time when politicians weren’t required to disclose their deep-pockets contributors.
There also have been allegations that Giancana secretly helped JFK win the 1960 West Virginia primary, in which he bested fellow U.S. Sen. Hubert Humphrey, D-Minn. In 2009, Tina Sinatra, daughter of Kennedy friend Frank Sinatra, told the TV program “60 Minutes” that the legendary singer—at the behest of JFK’s father, Joseph P. Kennedy—approached Giancana.
Sinatra allegedly asked Giancana to use mob muscle to pressure local union members to vote for JFK. The request was made through an intermediate, Sinatra, because “it would be in Jack Kennedy’s best interest if his father did not make the contact directly,” Tina Sinatra explained.
In his 1997 book, The Dark Side of Camelot, investigative reporter Seymour Hersh alleged that the elder Kennedy eventually did meet with Giancana in Chicago, to solicit his support for JFK in the general election.
During the Kennedy Administration, the Chicago mobster, along with other crime figures, is thought to have been enlisted by the CIA to plot the killing of Cuban leader Fidel Castro.
Giancana and Kennedy also shared a mistress, Judith Campbell Exner, with whom they were involved with at different times (Kennedy first, then the mob boss).
In a 1988 People magazine article, Exner claimed that she arranged a meeting between then-Presidential candidate Kennedy and Giancana at the Fontainbleau Hotel in Miami in April 1960 at JFK’s request. “I think I may need his help in the campaign,” she claimed that Kennedy told her. Subsequently, Exner claimed, she arranged nine other meetings in 1960 and 1961, and personally witnessed at least one of the sit-downs. In addition, Exner later claimed that she carried mysterious envelopes between Kennedy and Giancana.
Giancana was murdered in 1975 just before he was scheduled to testify to a U.S. Senate committee investigating the CIA, with whom he had participated in a Castro assassination plot.
The suspicions about links between JFK and mobsters also fuel conspiracy theories that the mob was involved with JFK’s assassination.
Several mob leaders were upset that Kennedy had failed to overthrow the Cuban leader Fidel Castro, with the Bay of Pigs incident. Castro had closed down the Mobs lucrative casinos and extortion rackets in Havana not long after he took power in 1959. It was said that the US crime families had a deal with JFK and the Kennedy family in general. But after JFK won the presidency he and his family reneged on that deal and the President’s brother, Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, went after the Mafia families and corrupt union officials, such as Jimmy Hoffa, putting many out of business and in jail. For these reasons, it is said that the most powerful Mob families decided to work together to remove the treacherous Kennedy family from power, permanently.
In 1979, the House Select Committee on Assassinations re-examined acoustic recordings of the gun shots in Dealey Plaza that day, eye-witness accounts, as well as Oswald’s possible ties to the Mob, and reported that Kennedy’s murder probably was the product of a conspiracy, but found no evidence that organized crime syndicates as a group had played a role. The committee also didn’t rule out the possibility that individual mobsters with a beef against JFK could have played a role.
The House assassination committee’s chief counsel and staff director, G. Robert Blakey, told the New York Times in 1979 that in his own mind, the link was much clearer. “I think the Mob did it,” he said.
Conspiracy theories are not static things and are in a constant and dynamic state of evolution. They change with time and absorb any new relevant facts that emerge on the subject. They also become interwoven with other conspiracy theories that are directly or even loosely related. This particular theory has relationships with others in this category and across many other categories and is a wonderful example of the complex web of connections these theories can generate. Following is another version of the Mob killed JFK conspiracy theory:
The Kennedy brothers had given Jimmy Hoffa (accused corrupt Teamsters Union Leader) and his heavyweight mob pals plenty of reasons to want to get rid them. At the time the shots were being fired in Dallas, Bobby Kennedy’s Justice Department was preparing for the jury-tampering trial of Jimmy Hoffa in Nashville, which had sprung from its unremitting probe of the Teamster leader.
According to an oral history that Walter Sheridan (a Justice Department aid and friend of Robert Kennedy) gave to the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library, Sheridan had informed Bobby that Hoffa had been at a restaurant when he learned JFK had been shot. The reaction of the pugnacious labor leader was unlike that of most other Americans. “He got up on the table,” Sheridan said, “and cheered.”
Meanwhile, another Mafia leader and Hoffa associate, Carlos Marcello, sat in that New Orleans courtroom, awaiting his verdict. The second deportation trial for Marcello, who ran the mob in New Orleans and Dallas, was the culmination of a relentless three-year campaign by Bobby’s team to get him out of the country.
While not on trial at the time, another mob leader close to Hoffa was also chafing under the intense scrutiny of the Justice Department. Santo Trafficante Jr. was the Florida mob boss and former big-time Havana casino owner who lost millions when Castro took over Cuba.
(Trafficante had been imprisoned in Cuba in 1959. His visitors during that stretch, according to Kaiser, included Dallas nightclub owner and mob foot soldier Jack Ruby, who gunned down Oswald in the basement of Dallas police headquarters two days after JFK’s murder.)
In addition to lots of underworld associations, Trafficante and Hoffa even shared a lawyer, Frank Ragano. In his book “Mob Lawyer,” Ragano detailed how Hoffa had instructed him in the summer of 1963 to tell Trafficante and Marcello that the time had come to kill the president. He thought Hoffa was just venting, and delivered the message jokingly, but said the two mobsters seemed to take it much more seriously.
Marcello ended up being acquitted in New Orleans the same day that the president was killed. While serving time later in life, he was caught on a federal wiretap confessing to an FBI informant that he’d had JFK killed, according to FBI files released under the JFK Records Act of 1992. Trafficante is also alleged to have made a deathbed confession of his involvement to his lawyer, expressing regret that maybe the gun should have been pointed at Bobby.
Another member of this rogue’s gallery of suspects was Chicago mob boss Sam Giancana. This is the same Giancana who, it would later be revealed, had shared a mistress with JFK. The Chicago boss had been put under such smothering government surveillance during 1963 that Kaiser, the “Road to Dallas” author, argues it had crossed over into harassment. In a recent interview, Kaiser said he believes Marcello, Trafficante, and probably Giancana — likely at the behest of Hoffa — were all involved in putting in motion the hit on JFK.
As for Giancana, he was expected to testify in 1975 before a Senate subcommittee co-chaired by Gary Hart of Colorado. Established to investigate the JFK assassination, the subcommittee was the first official body to openly question the lone-gunman narrative of the Warren Commission. But before Giancana could appear, his bullet-riddled body was found in his basement in suburban Chicago. The dismembered body of another mob witness, Boston-born Johnny Rosselli, was found in a drum floating off Florida, after he had testified in front of Hart’s panel.
Hart said in a recent interview that he remains flabbergasted by US law enforcement’s lack of interest in solving those two grisly murders. “You had a new set of suspects — those who had motives to be angry at John and Robert Kennedy. When you think about that for 10 seconds, the implications are pretty huge,” Hart said, adding, “If you can find out who killed Rosselli and Giancana, you may have an answer to the mystery of the century.”
The assassination of JFK was such a shock to the psyche of the American people that I doubt that any credible explanation would satisfy most people. I think that the Warren Commissions conclusion of a single gunman , unaided, plotted and carried out the assassination of JFK is the most plausible answer. However, the Mob theory runs a close second, at least in my mind when I consider the available evidence. The other theories, and there are many, don't really get close to a answer, not with regard to the evidence.
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