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Tipping Point

Part 5: The Conspiracy

by Larry Hancock, December 2020

The Conspiracy


All of which brings us back to a conspiracy of CIA officers turning assets assembled to kill Fidel Castro against President Kennedy. From what we can now see of that conspiracy, it appears to have been constructed around standard CIA practices - CIA officers plan covert actions, provide support, but surrogates always carry out the operation and make the actual attack - combined with William Harvey's criteria for executive action. According to Harvey's own notes those practices meant that nothing would ever be put on paper, the word assassination would never be used in conversation, all related documents would be forged and backdated, the action itself should be coordinated by officers who were working counter espionage/counter intelligence (not case officers), and there should always be provisions for blaming the action on the communists. [ 284 ]

If we credit private remarks from our sources, including the remarks by John Roselli, certain of the same personnel used in earlier Castro assassination efforts were secured for Dallas, recruited from the highly trained Cuban volunteers who had been among the earliest to join the Cuba Project. Volunteers trained under Carl Jenkins first in Panama, then were sent to the camps in Guatemala. From there they were moved first to specialty training at Belle Chase in Louisiana, and finally into safe houses in Florida - where they waited to be assigned to maritime infiltration missions into Cuba.

We now know a good deal about several of those individuals, some of whom show up even in their CIA records as superior marksmen. We can also identify at least some of the individuals who were actually assigned to Castro assassination missions. David Boylan and I have covered their training and activities in our "Wheaton Lead Exploration" research paper. [ 285 ] What we cannot know for certain is exactly who volunteered to go to Dallas. There are suggestions and rumors, but they are simply that – no more, no less.

Given a mission to kill the president of the United States, absolute trust was the first criteria in recruiting the shooters. In that regard, only an individual such as Rip Robertson would have both the trust and paramilitary skills to have been involved in both recruiting and organizing tactical elements of the attack. As for the shooters, they would have to be experienced, proficient, highly trusted, and totally committed. Another assumption which seems reasonable is that they were personally known and trusted by the recruiting officer, individuals who had served under his command or even on his missions.

Given his 1963 activities, it is highly probable that Robertson provided operational support for the 1962/63 Castro assassination efforts organized by Harvey, Roselli and Morales. Given his history in anti-Castro operations, it would be difficult to find someone more trusted, and more likely to be recruited into a project to stop any possible move which would have left Castro in power in Cuba. Robertson would have been in an ideal position to recruit, prepare and equip the shooters – just as he had for the Castro missions. As detailed previously, Robertson's teams trusted him and asked no questions about his orders. Given Robertson's known history with missions, there would be no surprise even if they found him in Dallas with them. They would have expected no less.

John Roselli's role would have been quite similar to that which he had played in the Castro assassination programs – that of locating local contacts in Dallas, making introductions and providing access to a local asset capable of supporting the operation. That was especially easy as far as Dallas was concerned. Jack Ruby had already been involved in Cuban affairs, and had served effectively as a courier (and not bragged about it) into Cuba. Ruby would have been easily persuaded by figures whom he admired and wished to emulate, men like Louis McWillie, Norman Rothman and of course Roselli himself.

Testimony of Mr. Jack Ruby, June 7, 1964
Testimony of Mr. Jack Ruby,
June 7, 1964, Dallas Texas

As discussed previously, Ruby's role (as that of any local asset) was to be limited, highly compartmentalized, and well within his known personal limitations. As a field asset, Ruby could easily provide information on the motorcade planning and security preparations simply by chatting up his friends and patrons on the force. If requested, he was also in a position to identify individuals who could be used for minor tasks, ranging from planting evidence against Oswald to performing peripheral roles involving "shielding" security and overwatch on the day of the president's visit. All of which could have been done without disclosing the actual intent to kill JFK.

Twyman Interview of Roy Hargraves
Twyman Interview of Roy Hargraves

Beyond recruiting shooters and making arrangements for local support, there was also a need for a very limited number of other individuals, surrogates who could not be linked to JMWAVE or to the CIA – some would support of actual attack on the president, others would perform logistics and communications duties. Ideally they would be American, have at least some minimal cover to explain their presence in Dallas, and have demonstrated a high level of commitment to actions against Castro, regardless of risk.

Unfortunately, while we have insights from our sources on the motive and origins of the conspiracy, we have virtually no detail on its tactical execution other than that two anti-Castro shooters rather than Lee Oswald shot and killed the president. Beyond David Morales and John Roselli, those who either admitted to or were specifically named as being involved were in minor roles: John Martino as a courier, carrying messages and money between Miami, New Orleans and Dallas. Felipe Vidal also as a courier, and both Vidal and Roy Hargraves as support personnel, performing field communications and overwatch - and with Hargraves having built an explosive device that was not actually needed in the attack. [ 286 ] Another name, Bernardo de Torres has surfaced as someone having information about the attack, but not necessarily participating himself. His name certainly does enter into the conspiracy record, but only after the fact, in a role to obfuscate and block inquiries about Cuban exile involvement as well as in exposing the Garrison investigation. [ 287 ]

Larry Hancock, Someone Would Have Talked 2010, also The Dallas Action
Larry Hancock, Someone Would Have
2010, 128 also The Dallas Action,
"The Garrison Investigation and Bernardo
De Torres", September 21, 2015

In terms of the conspiracy, Lee Oswald's role remains the most nebulous of all – submerged due to his murder by Jack Ruby, and in the extensive effort made after the assassination to conceal evidence of conspiracy and manipulate evidence to position Oswald as the only person involved. [ 288 ] Matters are further clouded by the official necessity of ensuring that Oswald was portrayed in the media and the record as a "lone nut". That step was required partly to suppress any investigation of a broader conspiracy, but also to obscure the fact that Oswald had no motive for shooting President Kennedy, and publicly denied any involvement at all with the president's murder. [ 289 ]

Oswald himself demonstrated no signs of guilt immediately following the shooting, not only did he not claim responsibility as a political act (after supposedly having left his own rifle to implicate himself), but his own actions show no evidence of any plan for fleeing the crime scene - escape by local transit bus or even by taxi seems an unlikely part of a premeditated plan to murder a president.

What is obvious is that a live Oswald posed a huge risk to the conspiracy, one sufficient to require a total change in Jack Ruby's role. Such a change was in itself a huge exposure given Ruby's own lack of motive. Later remarks by Ruby's first lawyer noted that the original alibi given – that Ruby wanted to ensure Jackie Kennedy would not have to suffer through Oswald's trial – was his own creation since Ruby had no other obvious motive. Whatever the plan had been, having Oswald go to public trial certainly could not have been part of it, especially given how little had been done to firmly establish Oswald as a shooter – or even on the sixth floor at the time of the shooting.

Frazier polygraph on paper sack
Frazier polygraph on paper sack

At most a rifle was hidden underneath boxes on the sixth floor, and three hulls which matched the rifle caliber were placed by a window. [ 290 ] One unexpended round was found in the rifle itself. Research has revealed no crime scene evidence or witnesses to positively demonstrate that Oswald had taken a gun to the TSBD, the only item offered to that point was a very large paper sack which was not photographed at the scene nor definitively connected to Oswald.

Pat Speer, Chapter 4C, Shining the Light on Day
Pat Speer, Chapter 4C,
"Shining the Light on Day"

The evidentiary issues in regard to that sack were actually far worse than was initially apparent, a fact that was only exposed decades later, when a document was recovered describing the fact that the one witness to Oswald taking a paper sack to work was shown the actual sack in evidence during a polygraph examination the evening of the assassination. At that point he (Buell Frazier) flatly declared (confirmed as a true polygraph statement) that the bag in evidence was not the one he had seen Oswald carry to work that very morning. [ 291 ]

The lack of forensics evidence is also striking in that there were no fingerprints on the rifle barrel, trigger guard, ammunition clip or the stock. The only print entered into evidence was one produced by the FBI, from underneath the gun stock. [ 292 ]

Tom Alyea,
Tom Alyea, "Facts and Photos", From
Secrets from the Sixth Floor Window
, pp.
39-46, also personal interview by the
author with Tom Alyea

In a larger sense, Oswald's behavior of record, both before noon and beyond the time of the shooting at twelve thirty, provides little evidence of his personal involvement or even his consciousness that he was directly implicated as the assassin. For context on that point, readers are encouraged to consider the full suite of Oswald's remarks as compiled by Mae Brussell. [ 293 ] While elements of the police interrogations remain in question – since no tape recordings nor real time transcriptions were made – several of Oswald's personal comments to press and other individuals are a matter of record.

Tactics and Tools

One of the conspiracy sources previously noted, John Roselli, privately admitted his involvement in the Kennedy conspiracy. Years before that admission, as DA Garrison's investigation began to gain momentum but had not yet gained public attention, Roselli had taken the extremely risky move of communicating knowledge of an assassination conspiracy to very senior government officials in Washington D.C. In doing so he disclosed a key piece of information - the actual shooters in Dallas had been individuals previously used in the attempted assassination of Fidel Castro. His story served to test Washington's interest in reexamining the Kennedy assassination, as well as attempting once again to point a conspiracy towards Cuba and Fidel Castro.

Roselli's description of the conspiracy revolved around the involvement of a CIA-organized Castro assassination team. That is particularly interesting because we have come to learn a great deal about the people who were sent into Cuba to carry out shooting attacks on Castro, how they were trained, inserted and even who organized their efforts. [ 294 ] One of the lessons learned from that research (even though we have only limited details) is that the Castro attack efforts were indeed carefully developed and planned, with the collection of considerable information on the points of attack obtained from both local intelligence and information on the target's movement and security practices.

While those efforts were structured with the classic infantry elements – shooters, and local support personnel for intelligence collection on the target – the number of personnel involved was quite limited. In practice the attacks were planned more as guerrilla actions rather than infantry classic assaults. They were to employ only one or two shooters, and an overall team of perhaps four to six individuals. The individuals involved were extremely well trained in basic infantry skills, advanced covert operations skills, especially in infiltration and exfiltration.

They constituted a very special cadre within the Cuba Project trainees and practiced the highest operational security. Their skill level can be seen in individuals such as Felix Rodriquez, Carlos Hernandez, Nestor Izquierdo, and Segundo Borgas, all of whom managed to make multiple missions in and out of Cuba, even successfully getting off island following the Bay of Pigs landings, when the entire island was under the tightest security possible.

In addition, they were able to rely on the local population for intelligence, to melt back into it as necessary and to benefit from reconnaissance performed by individuals not at all associated with the attack itself. Those local connections allowed them to move unnoticed, even in areas that were personally unfamiliar to them. Given that they were using well-established guerrilla tactics, they may well have arranged for their weapons to have been stashed for pick up by individuals completely separated from the attack itself. [ 295 ]

Given this insight into elements of the paramilitary efforts against Fidel Castro, it is reasonable to posit that any team involved in the Dallas attack would have been small – Martino's remark about only two shooters is quite consistent – and would have involved perhaps only five to six individuals total, performing the actual shooting, providing security functions to shield the shooters, and monitoring of the target into the designated kill zone.

Martino remarked that the individuals involved arrived on the ground in Dallas some days in advance – while he offered no details and was only repeating second hand information (there is no indication he knew details of the attack itself), it is most likely they were there confirming the route of the motorcade, finalizing the positioning of personnel, and scouting infiltration routes and exfiltration routes. Such activities would be quite consistent with what we know of actual practices. Such tasks would be familiar to the well-trained paramilitary operators involved in actions inside Cuba.

CIA officers at JMWAVE had access to the right personnel for an assault on the president, with the skills to infiltrate and operate covertly. They had knowledge of Lee Oswald, a figure who could be used to point the assassination towards Castro and Cuba. But one final element was critical to carrying out an operation in Dallas.

Successful covert action is often impossible without having local intelligence, and if at all possible, local resources. The CIA paramilitary operatives who had been able to work effectively inside Cuba were the ones who had friends, family, social networks and access to key information about the location of Castro security and police forces - including their routines and how to best move and function without being detected. Those who had reliable local assets infiltrated, were able to circulate and ultimately to move back off-island. Those who did not failed, generally being captured and executed. Success required skill – and connections.

Certainly some of the individuals previously discussed had anti-Castro social connections and group affiliations which would have provided covers in regard to travel to Dallas, as well as in circulating within the Dallas anti-Castro community.

John Martino was able to travel to both New Orleans and Dallas in promotional activities for his new book, I Was Castro's Prisoner. His travel and the subject of his book allowed him to visit and communicate with Cuban exiles and anti-Castro activists in both cities. It was an ideal cover for someone who ultimately admitted to acting as a courier for the conspiracy; it was only compromised by the fact that his last and most extended visit to Dallas – in late October, only weeks before the assassination - was unrelated to any book promotion activities.

Martino's close friend Felipe Vidal also traveled to Dallas repeatedly in the fall. Vidal admitted being active in spreading the word in Miami about JFK betraying the anti-Castro effort; what he might actually have done in Dallas is simply not known – and his trips to Dallas would have passed through New Orleans. Even though Vidal was under INS restriction not to leave the Miami area, that had as little effect on his travel as it did on his efforts to conduct boat missions into Cuba.

Vidal was monitored by the FBI in his travels, which he later explained as efforts to raise funds from right wing Dallas figures. While such fundraising was not uncommon for anti-Castro activists, it was normally done by figures such as Gerry Patrick Hemming. There is no confirmation that Vidal's visits to Dallas actually involved fundraising. There had been lots of talk about support coming out of Dallas, but very little of that effort translated to actual money. Still, it did provide a type of cover for Vidal when questioned as to why he had spent so much energy and time in Dallas.

As we have seen, there was other travel from Miami to Dallas as well. DRE leaders and members were in motion, traveling to Chicago and Dallas – being monitored by the FBI in both locations. While we know the names of some of those individuals such as Manuel Salvat and Juan Blanco; there were others who are unnamed and who were new faces in Dallas. Making speeches and trying to raise money, and speaking heatedly about JFK, so much so that on at least one occasion one of them had to make threats to recover a tape of his remarks.

If we had the names of those "subversives" FBI Agent Hosty described as meeting with Lee Oswald, it might clear up the picture. At this point in time, all we can know for sure is that some unknown Cuban exiles did appear in Dallas, and they were able to freely circulate within the anti-Castro community there. The same thing had occurred earlier in New Orleans; Carlos Bringuier himself observed that Oswald – who was under some sort of watch by DRE members there after his becoming known as a Castro supporter – had been seen meeting with unknown Cubans, strangers to the New Orleans community who certainly stayed no longer than Oswald himself.

There were newcomers circulating in both New Orleans and Dallas, but there were also a variety of anti-Castro Cubans associated with groups, particularly the DRE, traveling out of Miami. Fundraising, recruiting and weapons buying provided a type of cover, and if any of the visitors were also engaged in becoming familiar with the city, the routes of the anticipated presidential motorcade and potential venues for the president's appearances (JFK's travel to Dallas had become public knowledge as early as September 13), it would have drawn little special notice.

Still, becoming familiar with the target geography does not imply "support" and local support is especially critical in regard to being successful in small-group, clandestine operations – especially key in actions against "secured" targets. Given the amount of public hostility towards JFK in Dallas, it was a given that both the Secret Service and the Dallas Police would be alert to the possibility of protests, and disturbances during the president's visit. The level of precautions to be anticipated were evident in the president's fall travel – an appearance in Chicago had been cancelled at the last moment, and extreme security was deployed on his Florida trips, in both Miami and Tampa. Having local intelligence on police practices and plans would have been invaluable. The possibility of compromising that local security would even have been more attractive.

Jack Ruby

All of which leads to Jack Ruby, an individual who was almost certainly brought into the Dallas conspiracy in a support role – as he himself stated, "I have been used for a purpose." Ruby's interest and history in Cuban affairs, his early contacts with Robert McKeown and the facts pointing to his serving as a courier and cut-out in a deal to free Santo Trafficante from prison in Cuba suggest that he would have responded to an outreach from the people who had been involved in revolutionary era Cuba. Such individuals would certainly include his longtime friend Lewis McWillie, as well as any other figures who had been involved with brokering or funding the Trafficante release.

Lewis McWillie (aka Joe Martin) and Ruby had been associated for years, as friends and in a variety of shady business deals; both show up in Dallas CID (Criminal Investigation Division) records as of 1957. [ 296 ] Elaine Mynier, a friend of both men, spoke of their many joint business trips during 1952-1958. Mynier worked at a car rental agency and was in a position to note their comings and goings; she told investigators that in 1959 she herself traveled to Havana, carrying McWillie a short note from Jack Ruby. Mynier was found quite credible by the HSCA, which concluded that Ruby had indeed been "serving as a courier to the gambling interests" in Havana. [ 297 ]

In Havana, McWillie first worked at the Tropicana resort, later at the Sans Souci – both were controlled by Meyer Lansky. John Roselli (mentored by Lansky) later served as a troubleshooter and cleanup manager for both casinos. [ 298 ] McWillie also worked at the Deuville along with Norman Rothman (another old time Dallas acquaintance of Jack Ruby). The Deuville was managed by Mike McLaney - and John Martino worked there, supplying his electronics gaming expertise.

Both McWillie and Rothman stayed in the gambling industry after returning to the United States although McWillie appears to have had the more successful career, moving on first to the Cal-Neva Lodge in Lake Tahoe and to Las Vegas – in later years he would end up working in Caribbean casinos for Mike McLaney. Jack Ruby maintained contact with his friend McWillie, even making a series of telephone calls to him in May and June, 1963. Interestingly Ruby's own movements in June proved something of a puzzle to investigators. He was supposedly in New Orleans, but there were three days when no one saw or heard from him – much as during his second trip to New Orleans in mid-October. [ 299 ]

As for Rothman, he fared less well after leaving Cuba and moving back to Florida, incarcerated in Federal penitentiaries for a variety of charges including weapons trafficking, for which he was arrested in 1960. Interestingly enough, one of the individuals named in that activity was Frank Sturgis – the weapons violations in question had actually dated back to 1958. It appears that Ruby at least followed some of Rothman's movements (Rothman spent time in various institutions between 1961 to 1963); Ruby apparently knew where to start looking for him and on October 3, 1963 began making a series of calls to Rothman's wife in Shreveport Louisiana, trying to get in touch with him.

HSCA Report, 431-433
HSCA Report, 431-433

On November 12/13, Ralph Gruber, an old acquaintance from Ruby's Chicago days, then living in Los Angeles, visited Jack Ruby in Dallas. That was the first recorded contact between the two men in at least ten years, and Gruber would offer no explanation for the visit other than saying he had business in Arkansas and decided just to drop in on Jack. In addition to that personal visit, on the afternoon of President Kennedy's assassination Ruby visited his club and ordered it closed, made only one telephone call and went to visit his sister – his single telephone call was to Alex Gruber in Los Angeles. Gruber himself offered no reason for his sudden visit to Dallas or for the spurt of contacts with Ruby. The Warren Commission's investigation of Gruber and the Ruby contacts was – in the House Select Committee on Assassination's own characterization – "at best cursory and without any focus". [ 300 ]

Three days later (November 18/19), Jack Ruby was observed by two separate sources in Las Vegas. One source made a report to the Las Vegas sheriff's office, the other to the FBI. At the time one of the sources verified that it was Ruby by checking hotel room and telephone records. [ 301 ] Ruby was reported specifically as having been at the Tropicana, where his friend McWillie had worked. The FBI was unable to determine McWillie's exact location at the time; he would state only that he had been spending some time at the Tahoe Cal Neva Lodge.

The Tropicana was also a favorite venue for Johnny Roselli during his visits to Las Vegas. Roselli had not only been a member of the group which founded the Tropicana, he ran concessions, owned the parking franchise, owned the gift shop and was in charge of booking entertainment – which earned him ten percent of the fees paid to the headline acts, the stage shows and the band, an annual revenue estimated to be in the neighborhood of a million dollars a year. [ 302 ]

Ruby was also reported as having been seen at the Stardust, cashing a check and using McWillie's name as a reference. While the sources were quite clear on Ruby's identification and presence in Las Vegas, the Warren Commission refused to add his appearance there to Ruby's officially recorded activities. Interestingly, it was on November 19, that Ruby informed his lawyer that he had the money to settle his long-standing tax problems with the IRS.

There is little doubt that there was access to Ruby, through his old Dallas friends who had made it in the high class gambling circuit in Havana, Miami, and Las Vegas. Ruby admired them and was eager to help them; it is hard to challenge his role as a courier and liaison in helping McWillie put together a deal to release Santo Trafficante from a Cuban jail. And it had been Trafficante himself who put together the 1960/61 casino contacts to help Roselli move poison into Havana for a Castro assassination effort.

Certainly Ruby's activities both before and following JFK's murder are more than a little suspicious, however the common mantra has been that Ruby would never have been brought into any actual conspiracy to murder the president. Reasons cited for that view are that he had too many friends and contacts on the police force (which would actually have made him a potential asset to a conspiracy rather than liability), he was rightfully rumored to be a snitch to the police (especially on the practices of his club's competitors), and he had even been a source for the FBI on criminal activities.

J. Edgar Hoover was forced to admit to the Warren Commission that Ruby had been used as a source, offering no details but simply stating that Ruby had offered information on criminal activities but had proved to be of little value. Hoover provided no records or substantiation – any actual criminal activities of Jack Ruby were studiously avoided by both the FBI and the Warren Commission. The commission's own investigators in Dallas [ 303 ] faced a variety of obstacles, including charges by the Dallas Police that they were being disruptive. They appear to have received little encouragement in their inquiries and essentially dropped out of the investigation. Although they had done the most background work on Jack Ruby, when the Warren Commission made its sole trip to Dallas, to conduct their sole interview with Ruby, they did not take along these investigators.

We only know that Ruby did have FBI source interviews some nine times in 1959, the same year he was most definitely involved in travel to Cuba and other associated activities as well as in contacts with Castro weapons dealer Robert McKeown. Officially the response was simply that Ruby ended up offering no viable criminal information and was dropped as a source – the agent of record, Charles Flynn, who met with Ruby responded only that he recalled nothing of substance about his dealings during the nine meetings over the course of a year.

One of the arguments most often encountered against any "use" of Jack Ruby is that he knew police by the dozens, from patrol officers and motorcycle patrolmen to detectives. Beyond that Ruby also knew sheriff's officers and was well acquainted with the Dallas Assistant District Attorney. Of course all of that was simply part of Jack's club business in Dallas, he wanted to be a friend to the police. He wanted them in his club, and he wanted to be able to be on everyone's good side if there was a dispute at his club or a problem with one of his performers, or any consequences of Jack personally taking care of a troublesome customer – either by escorting them out or pitching them onto the street.

Ruby may not have been a success like some of his friends, but he was a hustler by trade and inclination, a tireless promoter of his club and its talent – all of which operated under union rules including all his dancers (who were under AGVA performers' union contracts, a constant annoyance to Jack since it meant he had to meet his competitors' wage scales). The Carousel had a full time band; its trumpeter had been with Stan Kenton's orchestra and performers included ventriloquists, magicians, and vocalists as well as the dancers that came out on the runways later in the evening. Magician Harry Blackstone Jr. performed at the Carousel on occasion and went on to become one of the premier stage magicians in the country.

The club itself was also routinely open in the afternoon as sort of a gathering place for reporters and other downtown workers; the Carousel itself was located directly across the street from the prestigious Adolphus hotel. Even without Jack's police contacts, the Carousel was a place to pick up Dallas political gossip and news about the upcoming appearance of the president and Jackie Kennedy.

A great deal has been written about Ruby and his clubs, however the years of work by English research Ian Griggs give us the most in depth and objective view not only of Ruby's personality, but the true nature of the Carousel Club and its place in Dallas - including both the nature of its customers and Ruby's relationship with Dallas law enforcement. Individuals such as the manager of the Adolphus Hotel, Dallas District Attorney Harry Wade, and a variety of other media and business persons all held Carousel Club permanent guest passes. [ 304 ] Griggs, who did a massive amount of research on the Dallas Police, estimates that while great pains were taken to minimize Ruby's contacts with local law enforcement, somewhere between 200 and 400 of the entire force of approximately 1,000 personnel were known to and familiar with Jack Ruby. [ 305 ]

Testimony of Harry N. Olsen, Warren Commission Hearing
Testimony of Harry N. Olsen,
Warren Commission Hearing, August 6,
1964, Los Angeles, California

While it might be a stretch to call DPD officers "friends" of Ruby, a number of them had ongoing contacts with his club, with his dancers and with Ruby himself. DPD Patrolman Harry Olson provides a practical example of such relationships. [ 306 ] Olson himself described dropping in at the Carousel Club over some three years, making routine checks at least once or twice a week. He described his involvement in calming Ruby down on occasions when Ruby got into disputes with his help or his customers.

Olson had considerable insight into such things as he had begun dating one of Ruby's entertainers, Kathy Kay, and would, in December of 1963, marry her. Apparently Ruby thought enough of Olson to ask advice on handling his girls, especially when they wanted to quit. In turn he gave Kathy Kay time off on occasions when Olson asked. Olson also confirmed for the Warren Commission that Ruby was friendly with a good many Dallas police officers. Enough so that on occasion Ruby would socialize with some of them. Olson stated that he had injured his leg and was on medical leave at the time of the assassination – his injury occurred when ice skating. However in his testimony Olson failed to mention that he had been ice skating along with Jack Ruby at the time the injury occurred. [ 307 ] Other officers including Detective Joe Cody also described ice skating outings with Ruby.

In addition to his contacts with regular Dallas police officers, Ruby also had ongoing contacts with the District Attorney's office. Some dealt with legal actions pertaining to his club, others are still a bit mysterious. As an example, Ruby was in Assistant District Attorney Alexander's office on November 21, the same day he visited a bail bondsman and made a telephone call to the lawyer acting for John Thomas Masen, a name now to familiar to us from the convoluted DRE weapons buying efforts in Dallas, the sting run against Masen by Army Intelligence and the FBI, and a weapons theft from the Terrell, Texas National Guard Armory (a theft in which Ruby himself may have acted as a cut-out). [ 308 ]

There is little doubt that Jack Ruby would have been an ideal source of exactly the type of "ground level" information a tactical team would need to know to operate in Dallas; he knew the city like the back of his hand, especially downtown Dallas. He knew the routines of its law enforcement officers, the police patrols, where they went and where they didn't (the relative lack of information on details of his own minor, but still illegal activities illustrate that point). Ruby could talk to anyone without arousing suspicions. He would continually do so at police headquarters in the aftermath of the assassination, to an amazing extent. Everybody knew Jack, he did various favors for them; they tolerated him. He could answer questions about security and police assignments and he could find out who was scheduled to work where on November 22 (including details of the motorcade). Success in covert infiltration and exfiltration is based on field intelligence and "connections", and Ruby had them.

Beyond that, Ruby was in a position to bring in actual DPD officers who could be used for minor tasks such as providing notice of any unanticipated last minute changes in the motorcade, conduct surveillance (referred to as "overwatch") to provide real time warning of potential security threats to the tactical team, or even facilitate the planting of material pointing towards Lee Oswald as a shooter. The advantages of co-opting local security personnel are basic to successful covert operations. It can be done through bribes, though blackmail, and in such a manner to largely distance the assets themselves from any potential consequences. To that point, it should be noted that Jack Ruby himself appears not to have been at all aware that the minor tasks he was performing were of any real risk or consequence.

What Ruby might have been told will never be fully known. It may have been simply that people like McWillie or even Roselli needed a couple of favors – some information about police activities, perhaps the names of cops who could be trusted for a bit of work on the side. Ruby appears not to have been hesitant to talk about coming into money, about his plans for travel and a new apartment or even to take any actions to conceal his communications with Gruber – or his likely appearance in Las Vegas immediately before the assassination.

He was comfortable enough to invite a friend (unknown to him an IRS informant) downtown to watch JFK and Jackie and see the "fireworks". Did he expect a demonstration, some sort of protest – we have no idea but a detailed examination of his subsequent behavior (including his actually becoming physically ill) after learning of the president's murder reveals a great deal.

Of course after the assassination, Ruby's proclivities were also cited as the reason as to why nobody could have possibly considered involving him in murdering the president. Nobody would have trusted Jack with a secret - "he talked too much". A plausible argument, but one that does not apply to simply using him as a source for information, under any type of cover story. It is also a point disproven by Ruby's own history.

Ruby never talked about his business dealings over a number of years in which he was traveling with Lewis McWillie, and he didn't brag about his true activities during his trips to Havana in 1959. He didn't talk or brag about his various activities in relatively minor illegal activities over the years, whether it was trafficking in slot machines out of New Mexico or as a cut out in weapons deals. Even after shooting Lee Oswald, he didn't talk about any of that, even though while in jail he bitterly complained to a friend that it would all come out – "Cuba, the Guns, New Orleans, Everything!". [ 309 ] Clearly Jack could indeed keep his mouth shut when it was necessary.

Many of the objections in regard to any involvement of Ruby in the Kennedy assassination have to do with Ruby's somewhat volatile temperament and with the fact that his police contacts in Dallas meant that he was viewed by some as a "snitch". In reality it appears that most of Ruby's "snitching" had to do with his competitors in the club business, and certainly not with local crime figures. One of the leading local syndicate figures (Joe Campesi) visited him in jail, after his shooting of Lee Oswald. The visit was a personal show of support, but also a reminder of that Ruby was expected to offer no information about vice or other criminal activities in the city.

More importantly, what those objections miss is that Ruby's actual behavior indicates no sustentative role in the assassination, and most likely no knowledge that JFK was going to be actually attacked, much less killed. That premise is supported by a careful, hour by hour study of the dramatic change in Ruby's behavior on November 23-24 (as well as by his personal contacts and communications). That detail is best documented in Seth Kantor's excellent work on Jack Ruby (The Ruby Cover-Up, November, 1980). The following summarizes material from Kantor and details presented in Someone Would Have Talked 2010 (Chapter 18, pages 278-282):

As of Friday morning, November 22, Ruby appears to have been largely pleased by having come into some unexpected (and unexplained) cash. He had gone so far as to invite a friend (unknown to him an IRS informant) to watch the motorcade downtown. At that point his friend described Ruby as "happy, jovial and joking". After seeing JFK and Jackie's car pass on Main Street, Ruby had hurried off to the Dallas Morning News Office – he appears to have been there earlier to place his routine weekly club advertisement, just going down the street to meet his friend for the parade.

But by 12:40, back at the news office he had gone pale upon hearing of the shooting. He quickly became subdued, leaving the newspaper office at around 1:10. Based on Kantor and other witnesses, Ruby appears to have gone directly to Parkland Hospital to try and find out about the president's condition – and possibly what rumors might already be in play. Kantor observed him to be "miserable, grim and pale". There is every sign that what had happened was a total shock to Ruby (just as when Oswald had heard about the attack on the president and his death).

He was next reported at the Carousel Club, calmer but closing the club for the evening. Then came the call to Al Gruber in Los Angeles, claimed by both men to simply be about sending Gruber a pet dog. After that conversation Ruby's mood dramatically shifted once again – after arriving at his sisters he said nothing, went into the bathroom and threw up.

Ruby's world had clearly changed over the course of a few hours. One of his employees at the Carousel Club (Larry Crafard) related that a series of calls that had come into the club for Ruby, but what other calls Ruby may have made or received from public phones is totally a matter of speculation. Crafard himself began hitchhiking out of Dallas the following morning.

Ruby's next moves suggest what had been a very limited and safe "use" up to the time of the assassination had become something else entirely following Lee Oswald's arrest. For the next two days Ruby became a man with a mission, first to monitor the police handling of Oswald, then to get close to him, and ultimately to kill him. By 7 PM Friday evening Ruby was back at the police station – something he would later deny since it suggested that by Friday evening he had already become focused on Lee Oswald and monitoring his movements (certainly evidence of pre-meditation). The Warren Commission refused to accept numerous reports of Ruby at the police station and essentially stalking Oswald over the next two days, it was all far too suggestive of something other than an impulsive, emotional act of murder.

Beginning early Saturday and all that day Ruby circulated among the media, among the police, among the crowds, constantly shaking hands and asking questions. To all appearances he was being his usual self, promoting his club even during a tragedy. However his movements took him around his police contacts and even to the door of the room where Oswald was being held for interrogation. And his remarks to a television crew revealed that he was keeping current on the police handling of Oswald, with very timely news from sources within the DPD – aware first that Oswald was to be moved, and then that the move had been cancelled.

By that evening Ruby was still there, circulating among officers he knew, mixing in as if he were assisting foreign press persons, with a notebook and glasses posing as a reporter, and in the late night press showing of Oswald, standing out by correcting District Attorney Harry Wade when he named Oswald as belonging to the "Free Cuba Committee" (an anti-Castro group). It may have been that Carousel Club owner Jack Ruby was the only one in the audience that knew that Oswald's affiliation was actually with the pro-Castro "Fair Play for Cuba Committee".

The following morning Jack would be with the press again during Oswald's transfer, lunging forward through the basement crowd to kill Lee Oswald.

Beyond that, it's unlikely that Ruby knew all that much, or for that matter had initially been asked to do all that much. If someone had contacted him using McWillie's name, or even more significantly, Roselli's, nothing more would have been needed. Even a reference to the "Boys in Vegas" would have been enough if he had just been asked to pass on certain information about what the police were doing for Kennedy's visit, who was assigned where, anything that would have enhanced his reputation about knowing what was going on in Dallas. Perhaps even the name of a police officer who might be available for some minor task on November 22. [ 310 ] He had worked as a cut out for those people before - surely he would be eager to do that again. And for that matter, even afterwards he never really said more than implying something big had been in play and that he himself had simply been "used".

Jack Ruby stated that he had been "used" in regard to the assassination of the president. With his history in Cuban affairs and his former role as a cut out and courier, it is easy enough to see how he could once again have been brought into a minor role, even to the point of tracing when and who might have done so. As to what he was "used" to do, a review of some of his contacts on the police force and of the anomalous and mysterious actions of certain officers on November 22, 1963 may well provide us with some idea of what Ruby might have first been used for, beyond providing the basic field intelligence so critical to any covert paramilitary action.

Harry Olson?

Harry Olson, Ruby's patrol officer acquaintance and skating partner, was off active police duty on November 22, working as a security guard at an estate in Oak Cliff. Later Olson was unable or unwilling to provide the name of the "estates" owner, the individual who paid for his services or the name of the individual who referred him to the job. Still, Olson's rather vague description of the estate's location, as related to Eighth Street, describes the particular area of Oak Cliff containing Oswald's residence, Ruby's residence, Officer Tippit's shooting, and the Texas Theatre – all quite relevant to the assassination.

Later, in 1977, Olson described the place as a dilapidated little house on an estate of someone deceased (yet he had told the Warren Commission he heard about the assassination in a telephone call from someone calling the owner of the "estate"). [ 311 ] Olson was consistent in saying that the place was also being guarded by a DPD motorcycle officer, who relieved him at the end of Olson's shift. One candidate for the motorcade officer has been identified by researchers as Bobby Joe Dale (he rode at the rear of the JFK motorcade on November 22) and Olson was sharing Dale's apartment in the fall of 1963. Dale normally had a patrol route in Oak Cliff but had been pulled from his regular schedule for the motorcade. Dale was also reported as being a frequent visitor to Ruby's Carousel night club.

Olson was not asked any questions about whether the "security" at the "estate" was ongoing or simply for that one day. There is certainly reason to question whether or not something special was going on at the location in order for it to be guarded day and night - whether it was high stakes gambling or something more temporary is open to question. Olson could not provide the name of his employer or the location of the estate. He also did not explain why, with a broken knee cap and his leg in a cast, he would walk over four blocks from there to his girlfriend's home that afternoon rather than her picking him up. There was also no explanation of how he had gotten to the location earlier in the day.

Certainly Harry Olson's activities on November 22 are interesting, particularly when considering that the location of his "security" job was within a four block walk to his girlfriend Kathy's apartment (a walk which he said he had done, on crutches with a broken kneecap, that afternoon). Kathy Kay lived a half block off East Eighth Street, on Ewing – a location on proximity to a great many points of interest and in the vicinity of Oswald's apartment house. As Penn Jones pointed out decades ago, Olson's likely location and the local geography suggests that from Olson's position, Lee Oswald would even have been visible crossing Eighth Street – on his way to the Texas Theatre. As for Olson and Kathy Kay, the couple described encountering Ruby at a downtown car park very late on the night of the assassination, chatting for some time (in reality the time they spent together appears to have been at least a full hour and perhaps longer).

Little is known about what the two did on Saturday, but on Sunday - the day Ruby shot Lee Oswald - they later stated they had driven from Dallas to Wichita Falls, Texas, only returning late that evening (neither mentioned the trip in their official testimony). But within two days Kathy Kay had left the Carousel Club and shortly afterwards left Dallas for good. The AGVA union manager in Dallas told the Warren Commission Kay had been frightened and wanted to get out of town as soon as possible. In later testimony, Olson told the FBI that Kathy Kay was indeed quite scared – by something Ruby had told her. Olson and Kathy Kay were married shortly after the assassination and moved to California within two months. [ 312 ]

Harry Olson's own activities on November 22 appear more than a little mysterious, and leave a number of open questions. Kathy Kay's fear over something Jack Ruby told her is equally interesting and perhaps more significant. In that same vein, the activities of another Dallas Police officer also leave us with open questions – and may reveal the reach of a conspiracy which reached into the Dallas Police Department.

J.D. Tippit?

On the afternoon of the assassination, Oswald's purported deviation from a direct path to the Texas Theatre may – or may not – have led directly to officer J.D. Tippit. In the official story of the Kennedy assassination, that encounter led to Oswald fatally shooting Tippit. Later research has raised numerous questions about that encounter and Tippit's murder.

Yet apart from that encounter, Tippit's own activities earlier on that day pose a number of questions which suggest his possible involvement in the conspiracy, at least in a minor role. One of the best detailed summaries of the anomalies in Tippit's behavior on November 22 can be found in the writing of English researcher Chris Scalley. [ 313 ] As Scalley details, there are conflicts and "holes" in Officer Tippit's activities that day which begin even prior to his reported dispatch to Oak Cliff following the assassination.

As early as 12:17, when Tippit notified the police dispatcher that he would be out of his patrol car for a moment, the conflicts begin. Around that time Tippit is variously described as having stopped due to a complaint about a reported house break-in (that complaint is not noted in the dispatcher's log, the police dispatch recordings or Tippit's own log book), or of a shoplifting suspect at Hodges Supermarket - or for some other reason. If it was to respond to a shoplifting complaint, no record of the complaint or Tippit's response entered into the record. What is known for certain is that he exited his patrol car for approximately three minutes and the most obvious reason (in the opinion of one of the police dispatchers) was that he had stopped to make a short, personal land line telephone call, as he would again later that afternoon.

After the shooting in Dealey Plaza, at 12:46 Tippit was ordered to move north from his location in Cedar Crest and into Oak Cliff. [ 314 ] His response indicates that he had remained in the same Bonnie View area as noted in his "out of car" transmission. Although he had cleared back in action, he appears not to actually have moved away from Bonnie View Road in the interim.

At 12:54 the dispatcher asked him for a location check and he replied that he was at Lancaster and Eight Street. The problem with that is that at that approximate time five independent witnesses (all of whom knew Tippit personally) reported seeing Officer Tippit, parked at the GLOCOL gas station on Zang's Boulevard, watching traffic come across the Houston Street Viaduct Bridge from downtown Dallas into Oak Cliff. The witnesses, three of whom worked at the station, reported waving to Tippit at approximately 12:45 and watching as he remained parked there for some ten minutes. At that point he left the station at speed and proceeded down Lancaster Street. While the details and timing of the gas station incident remain less than totally clear, it does indeed seem that Tippit was in Oak Cliff and performing some type of watch on traffic coming out of Dallas following the assassination.

A police dispatcher call to Tippit for a location check at 1:03 drew no response – at the approximate time another witness (James A. Andrews) driving west on Tenth Street reported being overtaken and forced to stop by a patrol car cutting in front of him. The officer in the car ran back to Andrews, said nothing to him, surveyed the back seat area of the car and immediately ran back to the patrol car and moved off at high speed. Andrews did get a clear look at the officer's uniform name plate and it read "Tippit".

Shortly after the reported time of that car stop, a clerk at the Top Ten Records Shop (located around a minute away from the Andrews traffic stop and a short way west of the Texas Theatre) observed Tippit park his car on Bishop Street and come into the shop, asking to use the telephone. Tippit was in an obvious hurry, asking people in an aisle to step aside. The clerk (Louis Cortinas) said that Tippit dialed a number, said nothing while holding the phone, and waited for a period of time equivalent to seven or eight minutes before hurrying out the door, apparently upset. In driving away he actually ran a stop sign as he turned onto Sunset Street. The owner of the Top Ten Record Shop (Dub Stark) fully confirmed the incident as described by Cortinas; both men were well acquainted with Tippit and noted that he spoke to neither of them as he rushed out of the store. Stark noted that Tippit had been a customer of the store while on duty and in uniform and had used the store phone on previous occasions.

The route reported by Cortinas and Stark would have taken Tippit to East Tenth, where he would shortly be killed, after exiting his patrol car. According to Cortinas he actually heard a radio broadcast of an officer shooting not long after Tippit had left the shop - KLIF carried that broadcast at 1:33 in the afternoon. While the exact timing for the Record Shop stop remains in doubt, the sequence of events (as an alternative to the official record of Tippit's movements) appears to be clear. Upon moving into Oak Cliff, he had taken up a station to watch traffic coming from downtown Dallas into Oak Cliff, he had then stopped and visually searched a car for someone hiding in the back seat, and had gone on to the Record Shop to make a call, not talking but only listening. From there he appears to have proceeded to East Tenth Street and changed from his formerly hurried movements to simply cruising the street slowly until the encounter which led to his death.

While that encounter has been discussed and analyzed in immense detail, noteworthy points are that the first officer on the scene after Tippit's death found that Tippit's patrol car's driver side door was open and the car engine was still running. Photos show that the passenger side window was also rolled down, suggesting Tippit had first approached someone and talked to them through the window rather than stopping the car and exiting to confront a potentially dangerous suspect. The dispatcher tapes also show no sign that Tippit attempted to call the dispatcher to report such a stop, which would have been standard patrol practice. Beyond that, both the nature of a shot into the side of Tippit's head and eyewitness testimony suggest that he was shot after falling to the ground on his side, very intentionally and certainly fatally.

The anomalies in Tippit's behavior include his apparent monitoring of traffic over the bridge from downtown Dallas, making an unexplained land line call from the Record Shop, and stopping cars, searching for someone hiding in them. His stops, high speed movements, telephone call, and his appearance of concern at the Record Shop suggest that Tippit might have had a special assignment that day. Perhaps an assignment that involved nothing more than watching and reporting on Lee Oswald's return to Oak Cliff. It that return had not gone according to plan, or if Tippit had not been fully aware of all that was to occur, his increasingly erratic behavior would certainly make more sense than the official story of his simply being ordered to move from his normal patrol zone and await further instructions. Along with that speculation, it also has to be noted that there are indications that Tippit may have had his own connections into the Cuban community in Dallas, possibly even with individuals connected to the house on Harlandale Street. [ 315 ]

Yet there was at least one DPD officer whose behavior is even more mysterious, and far more suggestive than either Officers Olson or Tippit. Perhaps the most dramatic example of truly conspiratorial behavior is that related to an unnamed, uniformed officer in Dealey Plaza. That officer was in a position behind the fence on the grassy knoll by Elm Street.

As DPD officers W.W. Mabra and Orville Smith moved behind the fence line off Elm Street after the shooting (where multiple witnesses had felt shots had originated) Mabra and Smith encountered that uniformed officer – the man who immediately turned them away and told them that no search in that area was necessary.

W.W. Mabra later stated that the officer had told them "I was stationed in the rail yards and had this whole area in view. Nobody came this way." [ 316 ] He reinforced that by telling them "Fellas, I've been here for an hour and there hasn't been a thing here, not even a stray dog".

At that point Mabra and Smith gave up their search of the area behind the fence and moved on – if they had continued behind the fence line they might well have discovered the evidence (later documented) that someone had indeed been behind the fence for a considerable time, smoking in a small area between a parked car and the fence, and leaving muddy foot prints there and on the car bumper (which suggested they were standing up to watch over the fence). Apparently the individual had been watching and waiting in that relatively concealed area for some time, in advance of the motorcade's arrival.

Later research in the Dallas Police reports on security preparations for President Kennedy's visit revealed that no DPD officers were assigned to that rail yard or behind the fence in the parking area – or anywhere along the Elm Street extension in front of the Texas School Book Depository. When questioned about the incident by researchers, one of the two officers initially stated he had recognized the man behind the fence but would not give his name. He refused to talk further about the incident when referred to records of officer assignments which clearly showed no DPD personnel were indeed stationed in that area.

While speculative, it is also possible that DPD officers could actually have been brought far enough into the conspiracy to actually plant evidence pointing towards Lee Oswald. What is certain is that many of the key items of crime scene evidence have extremely poor chains of possession, and would likely have never survived admission into any objective jury trial. The majority of those issues relate to evidence at the scene of the shooting – including the paper bag ostensibly used by Oswald to carry a rifle to the Texas School Depository, and the three hulls associated with the MannlicherCarcano recovered in the building.

The Frazier polygraph
The Frazier polygraph

The whole question of planted evidence is further obscured by the almost incredibly poor record keeping related to areas of the crime scene and the DPD forensics investigations, including items which are now known to have disappeared from the official record. The missing materials (all documented as existing at some point in time) include a list of vehicle tags made as the cars in the TSBD parking lot were released, a list of the witnesses in the Texas Theatre, a polygraph of the man (Frazier) who drove Oswald to work on the day of the assassination (in which he stated the bag taken into evidence by the Dallas Police did not appear to him to be similar to the sack he had seen Oswald carry to work that morning) [ 317 ], and a record of a crime scene unit investigation of a bullet strike on the south side of Elm Street. We have independent evidence that all those things occurred, yet none of them made it into the official DPD records.

Perhaps the most outstanding mystery in terms of police evidence handling is the "three wallet" problem. One wallet was recovered from the Paine residence, where Lee Oswald had left it with his wife Marina. A second wallet was reported over Dallas Police radio as being recovered from Oswald's pocket while he was being transported by police car following his arrest. Yet police records actually show three wallets associated with Oswald being taken into evidence. And statements from officers at the Tippit shooting scene, as well as video evidence, confirm that a wallet (not Tippit's) was recovered at the scene of Officer Tippit's murder. [ 318 ]

The issue of the wallet from the Tippit murder scene is particularly important as it relates to which wallet contained the identification card linking Lee Oswald to the Hidell alias – which in turn connected him to the Fair Play for Cuba Committee which was so important to his pro-Cuba, pro-Castro image. And the wallet clearly recovered at the Tippit crime scene is mentioned nowhere in Dallas police reports or officer statements. Which means that even with the most lenient interpretation - that the official story of the wallet with the Hidell ID was taken from Oswald inside the police patrol car after his arrest is true - there remains the fact that a wallet from the Tippit crime scene went undocumented and remains a total mystery! Given the scope of such evidentiary issues, it becomes challenging to separate the possibility of Dallas Police involvement in evidence manipulation from simply sloppy professional practices.

Oswald in Dallas

Photocopy of Personal Recognition Signal
Photocopy of Personal Recognition
Signal / used for contact with AMBIDDY-1
[Artime], NARA Record Number: 104-
10240-10338, Mary Ferrell Foundation

An additional mystery related to DPD evidence handling raises the possibility that Lee Oswald might have been in contact with individuals associated with the new Artime AMWORLD project. While the idea of covert contact with Oswald has been mentioned previously, it appears again in the widely debated report that when Oswald was ultimately taken into custody on November 22, he was found to have half of a torn dollar bill in his billfold. Not only could that be taken as a sign of actual "tradecraft" being used by people in touch with Oswald, we know that exactly that same contact mechanism was being used inside the AMWORLD project, specifically as a personal recognition signal. [ 319 ]

The problem with this being an actual indication of covert contact, is that the record of the torn bill remains an open issue. Researcher John Armstrong found DPD material (which he copied and has made available) that documentation of the two bill halves existed within the Dallas Police at one point in time – only to disappear from the record by the time the relevant document reached the National Archives.

Oswald torn bill
Oswald torn bill

Of course by this point in time, given decades of research as well as the work of the ARRB, the possibility of missing or even altered records (especially if they might connect Oswald to the intelligence community) has been well established. [ 320 ] If the torn bill were indeed recovered by police and documented as Armstrong describes, it would not only suggest that Oswald was being covertly contacted, but also indicate an effort to alter a very suggestive piece of evidence.

Beyond the question of covert contacts with Oswald, it remains unclear when he was selected as a patsy specifically for the Dallas attack. It is virtually impossible to resolve specific sponsors for his activities while in New Orleans, including his letters to the Communist Party USA and Socialist Workers Party. The question remains whether that letter-writing might have been suggested to Oswald by the FBI, or possibly carried out as part of a propaganda project for the CIA.

Regardless of any such influence on Oswald, one thing is clear. After the events of the summer of 1963 in New Orleans, any anti-Castro Cuban exiles Oswald might have later approached would almost certainly have known or quickly learned of his highly public Castro support. That suggests that at some point, individuals contacting Oswald in order to gain his interest and further manipulate him as "pointer" towards Cuba and Castro, might have represented themselves as actual Castro agents. That would have been consistent with the very first test of Oswald in New Orleans, when a DRE associate, earlier rumored to have been a Castro supporter, assumed that role in his contacts with Oswald.

It is also possible that an association between Oswald and suspected Cuban agents in Dallas might have occurred as part of an ongoing FBI subversive investigation being conducted there. Special Agent Walter Heitman had been carrying out an active investigation of one and possibly more Cubans in Dallas reported to be Castro double agents – one of the individuals was directly associated with the group frequenting the previously mentioned house on Harlandale – reportedly visited by Lee Oswald.

One of Heitman's subversive targets in 1963 had been Osvaldo Aurelio Pino Pino. Pino had been reported in Miami as being a Cuban intelligence informant, and Heitman followed the inquiry when Pino moved to Dallas. The Harlandale house was rented by a friend of Pino's, Jose Salazar. Heitman also investigated Pino as possibly being involved with incidents related to Sylvia Odio. [ 321 ] Pino himself admitted to Heitman that he had joined a variety of exile groups in Dallas - this was confirmed by a series of FBI informants. Heitman ostensibly was forced to suspend the Pino Pino inquiry for several months due to being assigned to the FBI's JFK assassination investigation; he only completed his report on Pino Pino in the fall of 1964. [ 322 ] Unfortunately we have no other subversive files related to Heitman's work in Dallas.

The Attack

The attack involved the deployment and support of a small tactical team, two shooters with two to three others to monitor news and progress of the motorcade as well as provide low profile shielding for the infiltration and exfiltration of the shooters. It very likely included diversions to focus attention away from the team as its members entered and exited the plaza. We certainly find indications of distractions and diversions in Dealey Plaza – a pickup stalled under the overpass on Elm Street, drawing police attention in the hour before the motorcade arrived, and an ambulance blocking the intersection at Elm and Houston also drawing crowd and police attention (the ambulance can be seen departing just as the motorcade turns onto Houston). [ 323 ]

Then there was a puff of the smoke behind the knoll fence at the time of the shooting. The smoke was quite visible to a number of the observers watching the motorcade from the railroad overpass. From their view it was lit by the sun and quite visible. Along with the noise of the shooting it led them to believe shots had been fired from behind the fence line – and to rush to that location. One witness, Sam Holland, reported it as an obvious puff of smoke, coming over the fence and through the trees about six to eight feet off the ground – "like someone had thrown a firecracker", an impression based on the smoke and the sound that accompanied it. [ 324 ] That smoke certainly drew the attention of onlookers and helped insure that several of the first police to approach the scene were directed to the fence line - only to be turned away by an unidentified, uniformed police officer. At least one other unknown individual approached behind the fence displayed what he represented as federal identification to fend off being questioned.

All the standard elements of a successful guerrilla ambush appear to have been in play; the only thing missing was someone to pick up the weapons as the shooters exfiltrated. However, given that the police did virtually no searching other than inside the Texas School Book Depository, concealment at points around the plaza could have been quickly done. The weapons used could have been picked up hours or even days after the attack.

What remains uncertain, especially given the fact that Oswald himself appears to have behaved in an "uncontrolled" manner - before, during, and after the shooting - is to what level he was actively involved? Or was he simply framed? Martino tells us Oswald was supposed to meet a contact at the Texas Theatre that day, but offered nothing more, including when the meeting was to occur. It certainly appears that Martino himself did not know all the operational details (as a whole the information he did relate was quite limited). And a number of Oswald's remarks and activities suggest, he was not aware that President Kennedy would be actually attacked, much less killed. In that respect his behavior is quite similar to Jack Ruby's; tracing his changes in behavior that afternoon suggests Oswald was simply reacting to events, following no well-orchestrated course of action. [ 325 ]

From a tactical standpoint, what little insight was offered by our sources on the attack itself leaves us with a straightforward scenario, something very similar to the plans that had been in play in putting Castro assassination missions into Cuba. The difference being that in Dallas, unlike Cuba, the advantage was all with the attackers. After numerous incidents involving a variety of attempted attacks on Castro, including medium range attacks with weapons including a bazooka, his security had become extensive - prepared for all types of attacks, from any distance and from virtually any location.

Castro did make public appearances, but with a type of wide area security entirely unlike the protective service arrangements which were standard for American leaders – security which focused largely on close-in threats to the president. That approach was based on the history of presidential attacks; the Secret Service emphasized body protection, implemented to protect the president when in contact with crowds and as a defense against pistol attacks and expanded security at the sites of extended public appearances, such as speeches (extended area security had been in place for the president's speech in Fort Worth that morning, and was also in place for the president's scheduled luncheon that day).

It must also be noted that the Secret Service had developed a practice of relating threats to specific geographies. In the fall of 1963 a credible threat of rifle attack from a tall building had come out of Miami, but since the threat referenced Washington DC, it was investigated in that context and filed with the Washington office. Concerns about demonstrations or even violence during President Kennedy's fall trip to Florida resulted in elaborate security precautions, focused on the Cuban communities in Miami and Tampa. In Miami the Secret Service even solicited CIA assistance from the JMWAVE station. However when planning was being done for the Texas trip, the protective service threat file checks focused specifically on the cities being visited in that state.

There were anticipated threats (primarily seen as related to demonstrations) in Dallas; warnings were expressed by local business leaders and politicians. Dallas was developing a reputation for violent protests. Earlier Vice President Johnson and his wife had literally been chased through downtown Dallas by an ultra-right mob led by women protesters. That fall the American UN Ambassador had been actually pummeled by sign-wielding protestors during his visit to the city. The primary security concern for President Kennedy's visit was political protests, demonstrations going out of control and becoming violent. Texas Congressmen and prominent local citizens actually called and wrote to Washington, warning that Dallas might not be safe for the president.

Exceptional precautions were taken for the anticipated political violence during the president's public appearance at the Trade Mart. They included creating photo books of local protestors and briefing security to block or otherwise detain them if they appeared at the Trade Center where JFK was to speak. Some demonstrators at the Trade Center were challenged while the motorcade was still proceeding through Dallas. The major Dallas police physical security effort was focused on the Trade Center, the DPD officers in charge of security preparations were there waiting for the president's arrival. Beyond that the Dallas Council had passed a special new law against violent political protests, the Chief of Police went on television and there was a general appeal to citizens to actually intervene to prevent any demonstrations or violent protests during the president's appearance.

In contrast, the president's motorcade was treated more as a traffic control challenge, with special precautions to ensure the route did not become blocked – allowing a street protest to develop around the president or vice president. DPD Traffic Control sent a scout car in advance to look for such problems, officers were stationed at major intersections on the route, and that morning's DPD briefing was all about making the "parade" go smoothly.

Secret Service personnel had done their best at the airport to keep JFK back from the crowds - that was always difficult. They had come on and off the president's limo and the security car at different points as the car slowed several times on the long route through the city. But there was simply no wide area protective security in play on the long route down Main Street, onto Houston and out to the freeway via Elm Street. That was the traditional route for political parades in Dallas, one that had been first described and later illustrated in the paper earlier that week. [ 326 ] With the information available and the DPD focused on traffic control, paramilitary operatives trained to go after Fidel Castro in heavily defended venues inside Cuba faced little in the way of protective challenge in their assault on the American president.

And it is at that point which the scenario for the actual attack on the president encounters the limitations of the information from our sources – a rifle attack by well trained, skilled, experienced, CIA-trained Cuban exiles. Men who were veterans of the training in the Cuba Project, of operations for the Miami CIA station. Individuals motivated by revenge and their own national patriotism, dedicated to the fight against communism in Cuba and to ousting the Castro regime. A conspiracy not just to kill JFK but to frame Lee Oswald for the shooting and to leverage his known Fair Play for Cuba media visibility to link the assassination to Cuba, to Fidel Castro.

An attack which killed President Kennedy (and ended any possibly of any new American relationship with a neutral, non-aligned Cuba), but failed to point the blame towards Castro – that effort was defeated by the "lone nut" damage control out of Washington D.C. which immediately swung into play during the first 48 hours following the president's murder.

A Visible Conspiracy

There is simply no indication that any effort was made to restrict or structure the attack on President Kennedy to create the perception of a lone shooter – that was strictly an artifact of the "lone nut" messaging that emerged during the 48 hours following President Kennedy's murder. Certainly the first day reports out of Dallas provided ample suggestion of an organized attack by multiple participants and of a well-planned conspiracy at work. Smoke from the fence line on Elm Street, mysterious individuals behind the fence line (one a uniformed Dallas patrolman), suspicious out of state cars circulating through a restricted/fenced parking area behind the fence line, the blocking of the motorcade intersection at Elm and Houston by an ambulance at the scheduled time of arrival of the motorcade, a stalled car blocking one line under the railroad underpass which was towed away only at the last moment, more bullet impacts and actual recovered bullets than match the supposed three shots fired by Oswald, the list goes on and on.

FBI Director Hoover was upset that the Dallas Police were talking to the press far too much about indications of anyone other than Oswald being involved. A prime example was Dallas Police Chief Curry's televised statements that the police had witnesses who had seen Oswald picked up after the shooting by a Negro driving a station wagon (a point later confirmed by at least three independent witnesses). [ 327 ]

Some of the leads suggesting multiple participants and indications of conspiracy were investigated, but very quietly and with a number of the related reports simply disappearing over time - much like the polygraph of Buell Frazier rejecting the "sack" as Oswald's, the list of license plates for cars parked behind the fence line, the possibility of an unaccounted for bullet impacting on the south side of Elm Street, or the list of witnesses at the Texas School Book depository. Leads and evidence which did not fit the "lone nut" story line literally faded away during the early days of the official inquiry.

Other leads towards conspiracy were more actively suppressed, beginning as early as the evening of the assassination. A number of such incidents are anecdotal, but supported in remarks by various individuals in law enforcement. The suppression included calls from the White House to Dallas police and other Texas law enforcement officials, in Dallas and elsewhere, which included direct orders not to bring charges of conspiracy against Lee Oswald or otherwise make any mention of others being involved in the attack. [ 328 ]

Interviews conducted by the ARRB revealed that, over the weekend following the assassination, the original photographic study of the Zapruder film (taken in the Plaza at the time of the shooting) may well have suggested multiple shooters. A set of photographic storyboards from the film was prepared Saturday evening at the National Photographic Interpretation Center (NPIC). Those storyboards were used to brief CIA Director McCone and possibly other senior national security personnel on Sunday. Following that briefing, a second set of storyboards were prepared (without the knowledge of the individuals involved in the construction of the first set; one of whom told the ARRB that he had clearly seen evidence of shots from multiple locations). The second set of storyboards came to represent the official illustration of the shooting. The original set were apparently left stored at NPIC, only to be quickly destroyed when it was discovered some years later. [ 329 ]

Other first day suggestions of conspiracy have been obscured and are now only evident in a variety of issues with the Bethesda autopsy materials – illustrated by the loss or destruction of autopsy notes from all three doctors, the destruction and revision of multiple versions of the official autopsy report (the ARRB was unable to specifically determine how many versions had existed), missing autopsy photographs described both by the Bethesda photographers and the autopsy doctors, the fact that - in violation of all normal protocols - the professional medical illustrator was not allowed to view the autopsy photos or X-rays in developing the official sketches documenting shots and wounds, and the fact that the doctors apparently did not mark or annotate the autopsy photographs according to required evidentiary protocols.

Problems with the Bethesda autopsy evidence only add to the numerous issues of chains of evidence within both the Dallas Police and the FBI. Beyond that, certain of the evidence collected by the Secret Service exhibits similar issues. Those problems are well illustrated by the Secret Service handling of the key piece of evidence (Commission Exhibit 399) connecting the wounds of both President Kennedy and Governor John Connolly to the rifle found in the Texas School Book Depository – CE399 being the bullet which purportedly struck both men (essential to the three shot shooting sequence offered in the Warren Commission Report and to linking Oswald's rifle to the shooting).

Surprisingly, the bullet officially in evidence as CE399 could not be positively identified by the Secret Service agent who had taken it into evidence at Parkland Hospital in Dallas. The recipient of the bullet in Washington, Secret Service Chief James Rowley, also stated that he could not verify the bullet given to him by that agent as being CE399. Yet a third Secret Service Agent did verify CE399 as the bullet that had given to him by Chief Rowley. Based on those statements CE 399 came from Chief Rowley, but could not be linked by to Dallas or the wounding of Kennedy and Connally. Yet it would have been only one of many evidentiary problems if Lee Harvey Oswald had actually come to trial. [ 330 ]

Beyond questions of evidence manipulation, the suppression of initial concerns over the possibility of conspiracy is now well documented. As noted in the introduction to this work, we now have records and sources which confirm that even while the Oswald "lone nut" story was being created with the media and in the initial FBI report, the Directors of both the FBI and CIA were still very much concerned that a conspiracy had been in play and that even if Lee Oswald had done all the shooting, he had not acted on his own. In the introduction to this work it was noted that a similar view was also very privately held by some of JFK's closest friends, by individuals in his administration – and by both his brother and his wife. Years later, one of Jackie Kennedy's close personal friends, William Walton, related that Mrs. Kennedy had actually used him in a backchannel communication to the Soviet leadership. Knowing that he was scheduled to go to Moscow, she asked that he ask his friend Georgi Bolshakov, an associate of Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev, to pass on the message that President Kennedy had been killed by a conspiracy, not simply by a lone gunman. [ 331 ]

Yet regardless of those suspicions – as well as much highly suggestive leads and pieces of evidence - the public position of a "lone nut" assassin was essentially forced into place within the first 72 hours. But that effort was so disconnected and uncoordinated, that dozens if not hundreds of issues and loose ends have emerged over the years. Those loose ends were called out in the early work done by citizen researchers, inquiries during the Garrison investigation, by the House Select Committee on Assassinations, and ultimately by the work of the Assassinations Records Review Board and its staff.

The evidentiary problems, the missing materials, even the original issues, objections and dissension among members of the Warren Commission – all argue against any well-planned or coordinated "cover up" after the fact. Instead we find a series of knee jerk responses by the Johnson Administration to establish and sustain the image of Oswald as the sole assassin. In addition, as noted in the Senate Intelligence Committee (Church Commission report), there is the definite "possibility that senior officials of both FBI and CIA may have made conscious decisions not to disclose potentially important information" relating to the assassination [ 332 ] - decisions most likely based in their own prior knowledge and activities related to Lee Harvey Oswald.

Oswald torn bill
David Binder "Kennedy and Castro /
Possible Cuban Links to the 1963
Killing Seen as Basis for Study",
New York Times, June 25, 1976

While there is ample evidence of post-assassination information suppression coming into play at the highest levels of the national government - as well as within both the FBI and the CIA - there is no proof that a specific protocol was invoked by Johnson to suppress the investigation of a conspiracy. But we do know that the experience of the Cuban Missile Crisis had sensitized both John and Robert Kennedy to how quickly a national security crisis could spiral out of control and that there was concern over possible Cuban retaliation against the United States.

That concern was voiced early in 1963, following the Cuban Missile Crisis, and it led to the creation of an inter-departmental committee charged with monitoring potential Cuban actions about American diplomats or political leaders. [ 333 ] The individual initially tasked with that planning was none other than William Harvey, most recently head of the CIA's Task Force W – which had been conducting its own assassination efforts against Fidel Castro.

And as of the fall of 1963, there was a new concern - the possibility that Cuban retaliation against the United States might be provoked by unilateral action by anti-Castro activists. That concern is supported by information found in AMWORLD project documents. That project's military leader, Rafael Quintero, was proposing the kidnapping of Cuban United Nations diplomats, and AMWORLD plans also included ongoing efforts by the group to assassinate Castro and other senior regime figures.

Based on the possibility of some action by Cuba, contingency planning had been initiated to establish protocols which would control any immediate government response to incidents involving American officials, including accidents and deaths. By fall the effort had moved on to actual planning for protocols to control and contain any government response should an attack occur on American diplomats or government officials occur, or even be suspected.

The Cuban Coordinating Committee had picked up the issue of possible retaliation against American politicians or diplomats and a planning session for such protocols had actually occurred on November 12, 1963. [ 334 ] The protocols addressed keeping details from the press and controlling investigations in such a matter as to avert a crisis over something which had simply been either an accident or a random criminal act.

Our information on this contingency planning is extremely limited, and there is no evidence Johnson as vice president was aware of them. However, it is possible that certain Kennedy administration staff actions immediately following the assassination might have been based in the discussions and concerns raised during the contingency planning.

The Castro linkage?

The sources cited in this work almost unanimously suggest that the attack on President Kennedy was supposed to point to sponsorship by Cuba and Fidel Castro. Certainly the early headlines did take full measure of Lee Oswald as a pro-Castro figure, an activist supporting the Fair Play for Cuba Committee. His activities in New Orleans had generated sufficient grist for that. But several factors also helped ensure that aspect of Oswald's past quickly made it into the national media coverage.

Are there records of Lee Oswald speaking
"Are there records of Lee Oswald
speaking", Quora also Oswald Radio
, Mary Ferrell Foundation

Information from Oswald's time in Soviet Russia, his support of Castro, and his involvement in the FPCC was quickly offered to the press by the DRE, based on files in its Miami office. Beyond that, DRE associates in New Orleans had materials including leaflets used by Oswald, and even a tape of Oswald's radio appearance with Carlos Bringuier and Ed Butler of the Information Council of the Americas (INCA). Oswald had been identified as an official representative of the FPCC in that debate (even though that was not true). The Information Council of the Americas (INCA) distributed the interview as part of a record album "Self Portrait in Red". Other "vanity" special interest record albums utilizing segments of Oswald's interviews were being published by a variety of anti-Communist groups. [ 335 ]

As the national media began its coverage of Lee Oswald being the man that killed the president, reporters began to be referred to Hal Hendrix of the Scripts-Howard News Service. We now know that Hendrix was a long time media contact for the CIA, for its Miami Station and for David Phillips. In fact Hendrix's Pulitzer award-winning reporting on the Cuban Missile Crisis was based on confidential information provided by the CIA.

Hendrix's insider relationship with the CIA continued for years, with his reporting of a coup in the Dominican Republic a day before it actually occurred (Phillips had been the CIA lead in the Dominican affair), and into the early 1970's during the CIA's anti-Allende project in Chile (led by David Phillips). Hendrix was identified as having provided International Telephone and Telegraph with highly confidential information on the Allende government. When questioned on the matter by a Congressional committee, Hendrix was later shown to have lied in order to cover his CIA source. [ 336 ]

On November 22, reporters seeing information from the Scripps Howard service on Cuban affairs and on Lee Oswald were referred to Hal Hendrix in Miami. Hendrix was apparently well prepared with details on Oswald, from his time in the Soviet Union to the past summer's activities in New Orleans – even though New Orleans was not part of his regular news beat.

Seth Kantor, a reporter calling from Dallas the day of the president's assassination, found Hendrix to have a wealth of information on Oswald and the Soviet Union, on his connection to the Fair Play for Cuba Committee, and his support of the Castro regime. As it turned out, Hendrix himself had quickly taken the initiative to contact Scripts Howard and offer his services as a source on Oswald's background.

It certainly appears that Hendrix had been given extensive details on Oswald. Perhaps that had been in preparation for Phillip's new anti-FPCC propaganda effort. In support of AMWORLD, Phillips was assigned to target the FPCC across the U.S. and into Central America. In any event, details supplied by Hendrix allowed Oswald to be quickly tagged as a suspect communist, and most definitely a Castro supporter - if not an outright Castro operative.

Yet Hendrix actually had nothing new to offer, it was the same material that had come into play months earlier in New Orleans, aired in multiple radio broadcasts. There was nothing new connecting Oswald to Castro or Cuban agents. There were no names, no leads, and no details on suspicious meetings – nothing to establish Oswald as being directly instigated, encouraged, or even paid to attack President Kennedy.

In other words, nothing from Hendrix, nothing leaked from the investigations, and none of the leads pointing towards Cuba and Castro we would expect from a professionally organized plan – a plan not just to kill JFK, but to absolutely tie his death to Castro. If the plotters were following the guidelines in Harvey's executive action notes, something had happened to the "pointers" which should have been produced to associate the assassination with the communists.

Instead, what we find is a patchwork collection of anecdotal stories, all contrived to bring Cuba into the assassination, but with no credible material to support them beyond the simplest examination. One of the first, and ostensibly the most authoritative, came out of Mexico City, with the promotion of a story from a purported first hand witness to Oswald receiving money and direction (while in a public area of the Cuban embassy) to kill President Kennedy.

That bizarre story and the witness, Gilberto Alvarado, was endorsed by David Phillips, Mexico City CIA station chief Winston Scott and Ambassador Thomas Mann. [ 337 ] The endorsements described the "wealth of detail" from Alvarado, and identified him as a "well known Nicaraguan communist underground member". Even when elements of his story, such as the date of the incident, came under scrutiny, the Mexico City team continued to support his story – "Alvarado is telling the truth in general outline but mixed up on the dates." [ 338 ]

Given Phillips's vaunted reputation for disinformation, if he were personally involved with creating the Alvarado story it was an extremely poor effort. [ 339 ] Certainly nothing about the Alvarado story suggests that it had been well crafted or supported with the sort of material found in professional propaganda operations. However, given that Phillips was himself deeply committed to ousting Fidel Castro, it may simply have represented a spontaneous effort to tie Castro to the assassination and prompt action against Cuba. The only element which appeared to corroborate the lead was that the government of Nicaragua verified that Alvarado was an active agent/informant for the Nicaraguan security sources, giving him some initial level of credibility.

The obvious questions of why a Nicaraguan security agent on a penetration mission against the Cubans would not have reported such an incident to Nicaraguan intelligence or why that would not have been immediately passed to the CIA were not raised. In the end, as soon as the Alvarado story came under detailed scrutiny, the lead quickly collapsed – along with the thought that Cuba agents would have ordered and agreed to for the assassination of an American president in a public area of their own diplomatic facility.

A second and even more patently false effort to link Oswald to Castro came in a letter which was sent to Lee Oswald's post office box in Dallas (two related letters were sent, to Lyndon Johnson and Robert Kennedy respectively). All the letters identified someone named as Pedro Charles, and all described a contact between Charles and Oswald in Miami, positioning Charles as a Castro agent and implicating Oswald as working for Castro in the assassination. However, all the letters had been typed on the same typewriter, mailed as a batch, and postmarked in Havana – and all arrived several days after the assassination, even the one congratulating Oswald on what he was ostensibly "about" to do. In short, the Pedro Charles letters were easily exposed as an after-the-fact effort to implicate Castro via Oswald.

John Martino, Details of Investigation
John Martino, Details of Investigation,
United States Secret Service, Treasury
Department, Protective Research,
December 10/11, 1963

One attempt to float actual sources to connect Oswald to Castro came to the FBI from John Martino. And at first Hoover was very interested in Martino's information. [ 340 ] Martino was claiming to offer details and sources who could purportedly verify that Oswald had visited Cuba before the assassination and had acted as an agent for Castro in the murder. [ 341 ] Martino kept promising the actual sources and evidence, pleading that his sources were inside Cuba and out of communication for a time, or even on the way back to the United States. [ 342 ] The FBI also referred Martino to the Secret Service, who filed a report on his assertions - but by that time Martino was no longer citing his personal contacts as sources for his claims. [ 343 ] In the end his lack of any actual concrete confirmation exceeded the FBI's patience and their interest simply faded away. [ 344 ]

Federal Bureau of Investigation, Miami Florida, June 1, 1964
Federal Bureau of Investigation,
Miami Florida, June 1, 1964

Other versions of Martino's basic story were also taken to the news media and anyone else who would listen. [ 345 ] The stories came from Carlos Bringuier in New Orleans, Frank Sturgis and his friends the anti-Castro activist Buchanan brothers in Miami, and from Nathanial Weyl. [ 346 ] Weyl was Martino's ghost writer and was also working on a book with William Pawley.

Paul Bethel, David Phillip's close friend - who had worked for a time in 1961 at JMWAVE – also brought similar stories to the media. Like Martino he offered sources, and actually named one, attributing his information to the purported confession of Pascual Enrique Gongora, the self-admitted member of a Castro sponsored hit team sent into the United States. A brief investigation turned up the information that Gongora had actually been in a mental institution for some time before the assassination – and nothing that would substantiate his story.

The versions of the "Oswald/Castro" story coming from Martino, Sturgis and Bringuier all referenced unnamed sources, inside Cuba or on covert missions involving Cuba. In some instances Ruby was added to the mix as a Castro agent. [ 347 ] Yet the FBI did have access to one source who had actually been in contact with Oswald, at the time representing himself as a pro-Castro activist. In fact that individual – Carlos Quiroga - may well have provided Oswald with the first FPCC leaflets used in New Orleans. Quiroga had admitted contact with Oswald, presenting himself as another Castro supporter.

Quiroga himself had actually been suspected of being a Castro agent at one point in time, but after the assassination he had actively promoted an Oswald/Cuba linkage to the media. Surprisingly, even after being quoted and named in a national news on that story, the FBI failed to even interview Quiroga - the one individual who was known to have approached Oswald as a Castro sympathizer. [ 348 ]

Still, there are some signs that the conspiracy might have at least made some effort to come up with something concrete to tie Oswald to Castro and Cuba. The most obvious effort may have been to connect him to someone very visibly tied to Castro himself, a friend Castro had taken the trouble to actual visit after the Cuban revolution, a friend who lived in Texas.

President Kennedy's fall trip to Texas was publicly announced on September 13 and in late September John Martino traveled to both New Orleans and Dallas. [ 349 ] At approximately that same time Robert McKeown was approached at his home near Houston. The approach was by two men, one Anglo and one Latino. Only the Anglo offered his name – Lee Oswald - and did the talking, introducing his companion only as Hernandez. [ 350 ]

Oswald initially expressing a desire to buy machine guns and bazookas, military class weapons. As previously discussed, McKeown had been charged and convicted of weapons sales to Cuba and was still reporting to a parole officer at the time of the visit. He had also received a good bit of unwarranted media visibility when he had been personally visited and thanked by Fidel Castro, following the successful ouster of Batista. In media terms he was well associated with both Cuba and personally with Castro himself, who had offered him a place in his regime. Equally importantly, as early as 1959 McKeown had been approached repeatedly by Jack Ruby for business introductions inside Cuba and to the Castro regime.

Testimony of Robert McKeown, Gun Runner
Executive Session Testimony of Robert
McKeown, Gun Runner, House Select
Committee on Assassinations,
Real History Archives

But in the fall of 1963 McKeown was in no mood to get involved in another round of weapons deals, especially with strangers. Expressing no desire to broker a deal on military weapons, he sent the two men on their way. Yet within some ten minutes they returned, expressing a desire to buy four Savage hunting rifles, with telescopic sights – they were willing to pay $1,000 apiece for the guns.

McKeown rejected that deal as well, at which time Oswald pressed to buy only a single rifle. It would still have been an outrageous price and the offer made McKeown even more suspicious. The whole thing felt wrong, and McKeown later testified that he actually told Oswald that he could go to any gun ship or to Sears and get the same rifle for around $300. Oswald responded that they wanted to buy the rifle from him. [ 351 ] The following is excerpted from McKeown's testimony on the incident:

McKeown. Coat and tie. Very nicely dressed. He was driving the car.

Mr. Dodd. Mr. Hernandez was driving the car?

Mr. McKeown. Right.

Mr. Dodd. What time of day was it?

Mr. McKeown. About 10:00 o'clock in the morning. 9:30, 10:00, something like that.

Mr. Dodd. Let us suspend for just one second.

(Pause) Mr. McKeown, at that meeting that you had with Mr. Oswald and Mr. Hernandez, to the best of your recollection, was that a situation where both Mr. Hernandez and Mr. Oswald were transpiring business, or was Mr. Hernandez merely someone who was driving in the car along with him and it was Mr. Oswald principally who was doing the business?

Mr. McKeown. It was Mr. Oswald who was doing all the talking.

Certainly if McKeown had supplied weapons, or even a single rifle which could have been tied to an attack on President Kennedy, a definite link to Fidel Castro would have been established. For that matter it could easily have linked both Lee Oswald and Jack Ruby to Cuba and Castro. While that did not happen due to McKeown's suspicions, it is certainly suggestive – even more so because, as McKeown would later state, he thought he recognized Mr. Hernandez as one of the men he had worked with in smuggling weapons into Cuba.

While the identity of Hernandez remains unknown, research has revealed that one of the Cubans originally charged along with McKeown and others was operationally connected on Cuba Project maritime missions with Carlos Hernandez. [ 352 ] That individual was Jorge Sotus. As with many others from the revolution against Batista, Sotus turned against the new Castro regime and left Cuba. By early 1961 he was among the special group of Cuba Project trainees who had been selected for advanced training and then assigned to covert maritime missions into Cuba. More specifically he served on a handpicked infiltration team with Carlos Hernandez.

The McKeown incident certainly could have served to link Oswald with Cuba and Castro if McKeown had chosen to supply rifles, even a single rifle – but he did not.

Based strictly on what we can see after the fact, it appears that while the ambush in Dealey Plaza was well designed and sadly effective, the associated efforts to frame Oswald and connect him to Castro were minimal in comparison.

None of the stories about Oswald (and Ruby) that surfaced after the assassination named any actual Cuban intelligence assets (known or suspected), names which would easily have been found in FBI or CIA counter intelligence files. Credible names of Cuban agents would have added major traction to the claims Oswald had been influenced or enabled by foreign actors. There were no specifics about meetings at actual locations in Miami, no travel records which would show Oswald having been in Cuba, and no credible records of suspicious mail or voice communications prior to the assassination. In short nothing of any substance that would have substantiated Cuban intelligence contacts with Oswald – and nothing of the nature of "evidence" which we would expect if experienced CIA psychological operations specialists were driving the framing of Lee Oswald as an agent for Cuba and Castro.

Final Words

There you have it, after some 30 years of research that's what I have to offer. Names have been named – other than those of the two actual shooters. Potential candidates for that role have been discussed in this work and in the Wheaton Lead research. Roles have been defined in regard to the attack in Dallas.

As to the precise origin of the conspiracy, that remains a guess at best. Did Richard Helms, or possibly retired Director Allen Dulles express serious concerns about Kennedy's policies being a risk to national security? JFK's move towards negotiations with Fidel Castro could well have been viewed as the next step beyond his efforts towards neutrality in Laos. Moving Cuba out of the Soviet bloc could have led to negotiations and non-alignment in Vietnam - something virtually all of the CIA's Cold War senior cadre would have strongly and adamantly opposed.

Did James Angleton and William Harvey engage in dialogues about the risks being taken by the Kennedy brothers, dialogues which trickled down to Miami Station? We know that virtually all the senior CIA Officers in the Operations Directorate were heatedly opposed to negotiations with Castro, as was Western Hemisphere chief J.C. King. King had been the first to propose assassinating Castro, over three years earlier. Did remarks from one or more of those individuals get passed on to people that had worked on the earlier Castro assassination efforts? The sources cited here provide no answer to those questions, only on the Dallas conspiracy and attack.

Everyone is left to make their own call on those who incited the conspiracy, those who enabled it and those who directly participated, but I suspect that a number of well-placed individuals had well justified suspicions. Suspicions and leads expressed only in private remarks:

Robert Kennedy – "One of your guys did it" [ 353 ]

David Morales – "Well we took care of that Son of a Bitch!"

William Kent – "Its better you don't know!"

David Phillips – "My private opinion is that JFK was done in by a conspiracy, likely including American intelligence officers." [ 354 ]

See all chapters


[ 284 ] Bayard Stockton, Flawed Patriot, 114-115 also 160-161

[ 285 ] Larry Hancock and David Boylan, "The Wheaton Lead: An Exploration", Mary Ferrell Foundation, April 2020


[ 286 ] Noel Twyman, Bloody Treason, The Assassination of John F. Kennedy, 1997, "Personal Interviews with Roy Hargraves", the following synopsis is reconstructed from a partial transcript made available by Noel Twyman; the entire interview session was taped but a transcript was prepared for only a portion of the many hours of dialogue involved in the session. Appendix A, Tape 2, Side A, 2001 Interview


Noel Twyman conducted extended interviews of Gerry Hemming; Hemming was a highly visible figure in independent anti-Castro activism and the organizer of several abortive missions against Castro. For a time he also cooperated with Frank Sturgis in coordinating a group of independent anti-Castro American paramilitary activists; the group was promoted to the media under the name Intercontinental Penetration Force/INTERPEN. Hemming told Twyman that at one point that he had been knowledgeable of the early stages of a conspiracy targeting JFK, but dropped out before it developed beyond the talking stage. When Twyman asked for other sources, Hemming named Roy Hargraves and offered to make an introduction for additional interviews. Hemming was demonstrably close to Hargraves as well as to Felipe Vidal. Hemming had named one of his own sons was named after Vidal.

After considerable dialogue, and with Hemming's encouragement, Hargraves did agree to an interview by Twyman. Tyman allowed the use of a portion of that interview in the first edition of Someone Would Have Talked. The following narrative of Hargraves' remarks and involvement is based on that interview transcript, as well as extended personal conversation between Hancock and Twyman. The interview itself was confirmed in personal conversation with Hemming's brother Robert, a lawyer who sat in with Hargraves in the interviews.

Hargraves related to Hemming that he and Vidal had gone to Dallas but that he had no prior knowledge of a conspiracy, asserting that he had no idea of what was going to happen in Dallas and was simply taken there to perform a specific job (building a bomb). Hargraves also repeatedly stressed that neither he nor Vidal were involved in the actual murder. He remained vague on Vidal's role however, in the first phase of the interviews, he stated that he and Vidal were on Elm Street and Vidal acted as a signal man; in the second round of interviews he became much more circumspect about Vidal and their being on Elm Street at the time of the shooting.

Photographs do show two men (described respectively in JFK assassination literature as the Umbrella Man and the Dark Complected Man) who appear quite similar to Roy Hargraves and Felipe Vidal standing beside each other on Elm Street, then sitting quite close together before they walk away in different directions. One of them wearing a beret similar in appearance to berets seen in other photographs of Vidal and to many appears to have some sort of radio in his back pocket. It may be that Hargraves was not aware of those photographs in the first phase of the interview.

Hargraves was more specific about his own role. Being experienced with explosives (it can be confirmed that Hargraves was an explosives specialist; in later years after he and Hemming had moved to Los Angeles he built bombs which were used against the Black Panthers) he was to build an improvised explosive device (a car bomb). The bomb was placed in a car on the access ramp from Main Street to the Stemmons freeway (the route to JFK's scheduled speech at the Trade Mart), but was not used given the success of the rifle attack on Elm Street. Photographs do show a number of vehicles parked in the area described by Hargraves.

Two other names brought up by Roy Hargraves were John Martino and Bernardo de Torres. He expressed the opinion that Martino was directly connected to the individuals organizing the attack. In retrospect it appears that Martino most likely involved both Hargraves and Vidal, through his close personal connection to Vidal. As for Bernardo De Torres, Hargraves went into some length as to how De Torres had inserted himself into the Garrison investigation, "burning money and doing damage control". As detailed in a separate end note, that assessment seems quite accurate and a bit ironic considering that Hemming and Hargraves had also inserted themselves into the Garrison investigation; Garrison himself later commented that the two appeared to have been primarily interested in what information he was collecting, not in providing anything themselves.

Unfortunately it can be shown that Hargraves was also passing along a great deal of misinformation - and intentional disinformation - in his conversations with Twyman – something not unexpected. Even Gerry Hemming's brother was open about the fact that Hemming, and presumably Hargraves, intentionally convoluted their stories so extensively that anyone dealing with them as potential suspects would simply give up and walk away confused. There is absolutely no doubt that Hargrave's information needs to be approached with great caution, considering only that which has some level of corroboration.

[ 287 ] Bernardo de Torres was a Cuba Project volunteer who landed with Brigade 2506 at the Bay of Pigs, and was captured. Upon his release in December, 1962 he returned to Miami and joined his brother Carlos, who had a well-established detective agency in Miami. When a Brigade 2506 organization was voluntarily reformed in Miami during 1963, he became its chief of intelligence. Photographs depict him as being personally involved with several former INTERPEN activists such as Roy Hargraves and William Seymour. Boat mission photographs also show him engaged with Felipe Vidal and Roy Hargraves in 1963, preparing a boat to be used on a mission into Cuba.

In December, 1966 when New Orleans District Attorney began his confidential investigation into Lee Oswald and the Kennedy assassination (his initial suspicions were that the CIA had been involved in a conspiracy to kill the president) one of his first interests was a series of reports which placed Lee Oswald in the company of not only intelligence agencies, but also with unknown Cubans in New Orleans, not locals but possibly individuals from Miami. In pursuit of that lead Garrison sent his investigators to Miami. After certain initial police contacts, the investigators were referred to de Torres. Given his connection to his brother's detective agency, and his familiarity with the Miami exile community, it appeared he was an ideal choice to pursue the lead. Garrison's interest did reach de Torres, who then volunteered his services directly to Garrison, becoming a paid investigator for him in January, 1967.

It may well have been coincidence that de Torres' awareness of the Garrison inquiry coincides almost perfectly with the timing of John Roselli's outreach to principals in Washington DC (Earl Warren, the FBI, the Secret Service, and ultimately President Johnson and columnist Jack Anderson), in which Roselli affirmed a conspiracy to kill JFK. Roselli offered details on the conspiracy and raised concerns among key individuals in Washington, including President Johnson, at the same time de Torres elevated media attention to the Garrison's investigation. Larry Hancock, Someone Would Have Talked, 126-133

Garrison had been making every effort to keep his inquiry out of the press, however the combination of a payment receipt to De Torres and De Torres' own eagerness to speak to the press literally torpedoed Garrison's efforts. Without consulting with Garrison, De Torres talked openly about the investigation, giving his opinions that there definitely had been a conspiracy and that Fidel Castro was behind Lee Oswald and the murder. His press interviews and comments almost immediately led to full exposure of the Garrison inquiry, and to a very public media appearance by Jim Garrison. Garrison was left to face the reality that De Torres' involvement had fully compromised the confidentiality of his inquiry.

Garrison himself was already becoming suspicious of de Torres. As early as January 7, 1967 he had directed his own investigators to share no information with him and soon afterwards began annotating memos from de Torres with notes stating that his reliability had not been established.

One of the sources referenced in this work, Rolondo Otero, told HSCA investigator Gaeton Fonzi that de Torres had intentionally penetrated Garrison's inquiry with the intention of directing him towards a conspiracy involving Fidel Castro and Cuba, rather than in any further interest in the activities of anti-Castro Cuban exiles.

Larry Hancock, Someone Would Have Talked 2010, 128 also The Dallas Action, "The Garrison Investigation and Bernardo De Torres", September 21, 2015


[ 288 ] The lack of proper chains of possession for much of the material recovered by the Dallas Police, and the possibility that certain materials may have been planted, frustrates the effort to determine any actual participation by Lee Oswald in the conspiracy which killed President Kennedy. Worse yet, there is considerable anecdotal evidence to support the idea that certain pieces of evidence which would have exposed the fact of multiple shooters were recovered and later suppressed. As an example, the recovery of a bullet on the south side of Elm street is particularly well documented by both witnesses and photographs.

One of the less known and possibly significant indications that certain officers within the DPD were aware of more information than they ever acknowledged in public is revealed in a lead discovered by an HSCA staff member. During an interview with Starvis Ellis (a close friend of Dallas Police Captain Will Fritz, chief of the Homicide and Robbery Division) the unidentified staff person made notes about Ellis' comments in regard to his having observed a bullet (unaccounted for in the official shooting scenario) hit the street behind the president's limousine. In itself, Ellis's observation of the bullet strike would suggest multiple shooters, but more intriguingly the official interview summary sheet contains a totally unexplained handwritten note on the official interview summary sheet – "Martino (Marino) hired the shooter, ask Captain Fritz."

RIF 180-10109-10154 located and supplied by researcher Larry Haapanen, who brought the annotation to the author's attention.

There is no sign that any DPD knowledge relating to John Martino was ever pursued by the HSCA - although it did independently obtain information from two of Martino's close friends that he had indeed been involved in the conspiracy.

[ 289 ] Controversy and debate over Oswald's employment at the Texas School Depository, and its implication for the conspiracy have been continual and will remain ongoing. Points that do have to be considered are the fact that Marina Oswald was living with Ruth Paine, next door neighbor to the Frazier family, whose son Buell worked at the TSBD. In addition, reports out of Dallas following the assassination relate an individual either using the name Oswald or having a close physical match for Lee Oswald inquiring about employment at various places along Main Street (the obvious route for a political motorcade) prior to Oswald's actual employment at the TSBD.

Oswald himself had made it clear that he was not pleased with his work at the TSBD and was looking for another job. Marina Oswald and others commented on his interest in finding other work. More specifically, based on documents and information now available, we know that the FBI itself was aware (from a local inquiry by Dallas newspersons) that Oswald had applied for work at the Devilbliss Company. While Oswald appears to have been first referred to that company in October (and according to the FBI interviewed then), an independent inquiry at the company by a local news outlet found that Oswald himself had followed up on the initial application in person some two weeks prior to the assassination, while employed at the TSBD. The Devilbliss Company was not located in downtown Dallas, but rather in the vicinity of the Trade Mart. Larry Hancock, Someone Would Have Talked, 64-65 also FBI summary report, December 13, 1965, Hood College Archives.


The personal information on the Devilbliss application confirms the individual in question to be Lee Oswald and has other points of interest including the statement that Oswald did not own an automobile but did rent one.

What also has to be said is that any tactical plan is fluid, intended to be altered as field connections change. Since we simply do not know the details of the tactical plan for Dallas, we are left with speculation in regard to Oswald's employment, certainly he could have been "framed" if he had been employed at a location other than the TSBD. While the plaza was a desirable location for a shooting attack, other locations could have been employed. Martino tells us that the team itself arrived in Dallas days before the attack, and it is likely the exact infiltration routes, shooting positions and exfiltration plans were not finalized until then. Reverse engineering the plan from what actually happened is tempting, but has to be approached with considerable caution.

[ 290 ] There is considerable debate in regard to the rifle belonging to Lee Oswald or even having been ordered by him. Among other things the debate is fueled by the fact that the rifle was ordered in the name of Hidell while being shipped to Oswald's Dallas post office box. The problem with that is there is no record of Oswald having designated Hidell to use the post office box or of the rifle being received by Oswald himself – records that would have shown both are missing and officially listed as destroyed. However, Oswald's post office box in New Orleans did have paperwork designating it to be used by A Hidell and there are indications that Oswald had begun a minimal level of FPCC activities while still in Dallas. Given that a rifle found in the Texas School Book Depository would have had no value to a conspiracy with the intent of implicating Castro via Oswald, the simplest explanation would seem to be that Oswald did use the Hidell alias in Dallas and that it was either recorded on the post office paperwork or no questions were raised when Oswald presented a card placed in his box telling him he had a package. Ensuring that a rifle tied to Oswald was entered into evidence did not directly link the assassination to Castro, it certainly did support speculation as to a Cuban linkage given the reputation Oswald had established that summer in New Orleans. Reference and issues with the rifle can be found Warren Commission documents in the National Archives and in an extensive and early research paper by Martha Moyer available at JFK Lancer.


[ 291 ] A memorandum from FBI agent James Anderton was placed in the Dallas office FBI files but never added to the central FBI file on the assassination. It was only revealed in a lawsuit filed by Harold Weisberg and is now housed in the Weisburg Archives at Hood College. The report states that Frazier "recalls that on the morning of November 22, when Oswald rode to work in his car, he had something in a brown paper sack, the kind you would obtain in a dime store, specifically that the paper in the sack was of a flimsy, thin consistency. Frazier stated that he could not observe the sack very well since Oswald threw it in the back seat of his car, and upon arriving ... at work Oswald carried the package in a vertical position under his right arm, appearing to be holding the end of whatever was in the sack, which he recalled was about two feet in length. Mr. Frazier was questioned as to the ends of the sack and if two sacks had been placed together, but he could recall only seeing one sack described above."

Most importantly it goes on to state something which never appears elsewhere in the evidence files pertaining to the crime scene materials: "Mr. Frazier stated that between 11:00 PM and midnight, November 22, 1963, he was in the polygraph room of the Dallas Police Department and before taking the polygraph examination a police officer, name unknown to him, brought in a large paper sack, approximately three to four feet in length and the type a grocery store receives their five-pound bags of sugar in, specifically that the paper in the sack was very thick and stiff. He stated that this sack shown to him appeared to actually have been made by someone cutting down a larger sack. He said he told the police officer that this sack had never been seen by him before. He also said that this sack was definitely not the one he had observed in possession of Oswald the morning of November 22, 1963." Pat Speer, Chapter 2, "An Investigation through the eyes of the all-seeing FBI":


[ 292 ] The paper bag represented to be the device which Lee Oswald used to surreptitiously transport his rifle to the TSBD is actually the most important piece of evidence presented to connect Oswald to the shooting of the president. However the bag itself, unlike the rifle and hulls connected to it, was not photographed at the crime scene and its location there is represented by nothing more than a dotted line box added to a photograph which purports to show the "approximate location" of the bag – and even that item was prepared not by the Dallas Police but at the request of the FBI. Beyond that, the crime scene unit notes and the police markings on the bag itself give no exact location nor the identity of the officer who first located or recovered it into evidence.

One individual, Detective Robert Studebaker (the crime scene photographer), testified to actually seeing the bag in place; he is the one who later added the dotted line representation to the photograph of the crime scene. Which means that the man responsible for filming all evidence in situ is the one who observed the sack in place, and then allegedly neglected to photograph it. Studebaker had been previously assigned to the auto theft bureau of the DPD and on November 22 was not only new to the crime scene section (two months into that assignment) but virtually a trainee. As an aside, an eyewitness to the police work that day (Tom Alyea, a Dallas reporter) has long claimed that Studebaker was so new in his job and so apparently inexperienced that he actually moved materials at the crime scene in taking photographs and those materials had to be repositioned to actually obtain the photographs that were later officially entered into evidence. Alyea also described the three bullet hulls which were so critical to the crime scene being picked up by a police captain so that he could film them and then thrown back down on the floor – only then being filmed for the official evidence record.

Beyond that the Warren Commission report itself notes that the area where the hulls were found was searched by police officer Luke Mooney (it being a relatively small area by a window in the NE corner of the TSBD) but contains no record of Mooney observing a bag during his search of the area in which it was later represented to have been found. Statements from a number of officers on record as having searched the same area only adds to the confusion, some saw nothing resembling the sack, some saw other paper bags (lunch bags), two detectives described having seen a sack and actually recovering it into evidence (photographs show one carrying it from the building, fully extended to a four foot length and supported by something rigid inside it. Those detectives were not questioned in detail about their handling of the bag and its removal as evidence.

The issues with the paper sack, so critical in the evidence, go on and on. Researcher Ian Griggs records them in great detail in Chapter 18 ("The Paper Bag That Never Was) of his book No Case to Answer and other researchers also present detailed studies of the issues with the bag as evidence connecting Lee Oswald to the shooting of the president.

Yet beyond all that work, one final fact appears to totally remove the paper sack itself from being of any value in that regard. We now know (only through an FBI agent's report) that on the night of the assassination, Buell Wesley Frasier, the man who had driven Oswald to work was shown the actual sack recovered from the TSBD during a police polygraph interview. At that point in time, as the FBI memo describes, Frasier stated (with the truth of his statement confirmed by the polygraph) that the bag in evidence was not the one which Lee Oswald had taken to work that morning.

Pat Speer, Chapter 4C, "Shining the Light on Day"


Gil Jesus, "The Bag Job"


Tom Alyea, "Facts and Photos", From Connie Kritzberg, Secrets from the Sixth Floor Window, pp. 39-46, also personal interview by the author with Tom Alyea.


[ 293 ] David Wallechinsky and Irving Wallace, The Peoples Almanac #2, Bantam Books, 1978, "The Last Words of Lee Oswald", 47-52; compilation by Mae Brussell

[ 294 ] Larry Hancock and David Boylan, "The Wheaton Lead: An Exploration", April, 2020

[ 295 ] Patrick D. Marques, "Guerrilla Tactics in Urban Environments", U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, Leavenworth, Kansas, 2003


[ 296 ] Larry Hancock, Someone Would Have Talked 2010, 155-156

[ 297 ] Ibid, 157

[ 298 ] Ibid, 119

[ 299 ] An unnamed FBI source for reporter Scott Malone related that, during the investigation of John Roselli's murder, he had viewed Miami office FBI surveillance reports on John Roselli – reports which recorded Roselli meeting with Jack Ruby in Miami in 1963. The FBI source was recorded during his telephone call to Malone, however, he said that while he had seen written records of the surveillance, he did not have copies. Hundreds of pages of Roselli's FBI surveillance records do exist and have been reviewed, however the files covering his trips to Florida are not among them – it is known that the FBI was very much aware of his Roselli's contacts with the CIA and his travels to Florida. Roselli himself certainly was aware of Ruby, telling reporter Jack Anderson that Ruby was "their boy" in Dallas. Ibid, 191

[ 300 ] HSCA Report, 431-433


[ 301 ] Hancock, Someone Would Have Talked, 2010, 201-202

[ 302 ] John William Touhy, Johnny Roselli Gangster, The Writers Site, 2016


[ 303 ] Jim Magus, Unspeakable Acts, Magus Enterprises, 2011, 111

[ 304 ] Ian Griggs, No Case to Answer, JFK Lancer Productions and Publications, 2005, Chapter 19, "Jack Ruby's Carousel Club", 215-235

[ 305 ] Ibid, 222

[ 306 ] Testimony of Warren N. Olson, Warren Commission Hearing, August 6, 1964, Los Angeles, California


[ 307 ] The skating party included Ruby, Olson, Kathy Kay and Shari Angel, personal communication with Ian Griggs, based on Griggs Interview with Shari Angel, Ian Griggs, No Case to Answer, Chapter 20, "Search for a Stripper; the Kathy Kay Story", 235-255

[ 308 ] Ibid, 171-175

[ 309 ] Peter Dale Scott, Deep Politics and the Death of JFK, University of California Press, Ltd, 1993, 179.

[ 310 ] For reference, Eighth Street runs east and west from downtown Dallas - but it's considerably more distant from Stemmons Freeway than the two blocks Olsen described. More significantly, Eighth Street runs though Oak Cliff a distance of only a few a few blocks from the location of Lee Oswald's rooming house. Radio logs indicate that officer J.D. Tippit traveled down Eight Street the afternoon of the assassination. Given that Olsen described walking four or five blocks to his girlfriend's house (Kathy Kay), that places his actual location at the time of the assassination in the vicinity of a number of events involving both Oswald and Tippit. As Penn Jones pointed out decades ago, given the elevations in the area, Olson's self-described location could actually have allowed him to observe Lee Oswald as Oswald crossed Eight, prior to his encounter with Officer Tippit. (Penn Jones, Forgive My Grief, Volume 1, 84). Strangely, the Warren Commission staff totally failed to map out Olson's "estate" as being in proximity to any of the assassination related locations in Oak Cliff, or pursue any interest in his proximity. Testimony of Warren N. Olson, Warren Commission Hearing, August 6, 1964, Los Angeles, California.

It also should be noted that Harry Olson and Kathy Kay encountered and talked with Jack Ruby in a parking lot in downtown Dallas for some period of time around 1:30 AM early on November 23, the day after the assassination. (Commission Exhibit 2318; FBI interview with Harry Olson). Olson had worked with the DPD for over five years and had been dating Kay for some time in December. Olson was separated from the Dallas Police, married Kay, and the two left Dallas and moved to California within a month or two following the assassination.

[ 311 ] While a number of early researchers, including Penn Jones, tried to track down the actual location which Olsen described, none were successful – nor has anyone else been so in later years.

[ 312 ] Ian Griggs, No Case to Answer, 243-244

[ 313 ] Chris Scalley, "Dumb Cop or Man on a Mission", The Dealey Plaza Echo, Winter 2014, Volume 7 Issue 3

[ 314 ] Even Tippit's dispatch to Oak Cliff remains a matter of some mystery. The first copy of the DPD dispatcher recordings of that day did not contain any call to Tippit to move to Oak Cliff. When that was questioned, another copy surfaced which did contain a call to Tippit and another officer to move to Oak Cliff – yet the second officer never appeared in Oak Cliff, but instead has been determined to have actually moved downtown to the Plaza. Another point which makes the purported dispatch even more questionable is that there was already a DPD officer assigned to Oak Cliff – Officer William Mentzel. Yet Mentzel was never interviewed, no reports are on file from him, and his name is not even mentioned in the Warren Report. Joseph McBride, Into the Nightmare, My Search for the Killers of Officer John F. Kennedy and Officer J.D. Tippit, Hightower Press, 2013, 482

[ 315 ] In addition to security work at a BBQ restaurant, Tippit had worked off-duty security at the Stevens Park Theater, owned by Manuel Avila.  The theater reportedly ran Spanish language show, attracting Latinos and Cuban exiles as well.  Dallas rumors held that in addition to the movies downstairs, a prostitution business went on using facilities associated with the theater. Even more interesting is the rumor that Tippit himself had some problems involving one of the girls working that side of the business. It may also be significant that Manual Avila himself was very much connected to Cuban exile activities in Dallas. as well as to individuals associated with the house on Harlandale Street.

Avila's activities had included serving as a translator for Cuban exiles in Dallas, apparently including individuals newly arrived in the country. Amelia Diaz, worked for Avila and was an active DRE supporter. Diaz had emigrated from Cuba in 1959, worked for Avila, and actually lived at the Harlandale address during the relatively brief period in which the house was being visited frequently by both members of DRE and Alpha 66.

The individual who actually rented the Harlandale house was Jose Salazar, affiliated with Alpha 66, but perhaps equally importantly, a close friend of Oswaldo Aurelio Pino Pino. As of fall 1963 Pino Pino was under FBI investigation as a potential Castro agent. That investigation had begun in Miami and transferred to Dallas when Pino Pino moved there. If Pino Pino was one of the visitors to the house that would have been yet one more reason why the location would have been of interest to the FBI.


[ 316 ] Larry Hancock, Someone Would Have Talked 2010, 305

[ 317 ] The Frazier polygraph examination was never actually entered into evidence, and for some years various Dallas officers questioned if such a thing had even occurred. An FBI interview of the polygraph operator describes the fact that Frazier felt the nature of the paper and size of the sack he was shown that evening did not match the bag in Oswald's possession. There is no indication that the FBI re-interviewed Frazier on questions regarding his failure to confirm the sack as being the one carried by Oswald that morning. Special Agent Vincent Drain, FBI memorandum, December 1, 1963


[ 318 ] Bill Simpich, JFK Facts, April 21, 2014


[ 319 ] "Photocopy of Personal Recognition Signal / used for contact with AMBIDDY-1 [Artime], NARA Record Number: 104-10240-10338, Mary Ferrell Foundation


[ 320 ] During the 1990's, John Armstrong obtained a copy of a DPD document showing an evidence receipt which contained numbered references to "two half dollar bills" which had been recovered from Lee Oswald's billfold. Armstrong has made an image available of that document. However the electronic version of that same document does not contain the annotation concerning the torn bill. Personal conversation with Jim Hargrave, May, 14, 2020. The image of the original document recording the bills, as located by John, is presented on his web site.


[ 321 ] Oswaldo Pino's friend Jose Salazar had rented the house on Harlandale, and served as vice president of the Dallas Alpha 66 chapter. The FBI was particularly interested in Pino as he had been an important figure in Cuba (Chief of the Fuels and Lubrication Department at the Institute of Agrarian reform) following the revolution. He was suspected of involvement with Cuban G-2 inside Cuba and being an informant on anti-Castroites and anti-Communists.  After arriving in the US, he was investigated as being a subversive, a possible Cuban intelligence agent. That investigation began in June 1963 and was only completed in March 1964 – the investigation was delayed because Heitman was pulled for JFK assassination investigation work.  Heitman concluded that Pino was not a Castro agent, largely based on his very public anti-Castro activism. Virtually none of Heitman's pre- assassination reports on his investigation of suspected subversives is available; yet he played the main role in FBI subversive investigations focused on Cubans in Dallas.  This remains one of the most important and least pursued areas of JFK research.

[ 322 ] Heitman was involved in both the investigations of Marina Oswald and in the extensive FBI inquiry into the reported visit to Sylvia Odio by three men including Lee Oswald – as well as the possibility of other contacts between Oswald and Odio in Dallas.

[ 323 ] There is no doubt that a number of activities which occurred both before and during the attack in Dealey Plaza could be considered as security diversions. Simply watching a film of the shooting shows that the driver of the presidential limousine had his attention drawn to a man on the sidewalk pumping an umbrella, at the time of the shooting. The attention of both witnesses and police was drawn to the area of the fence line by the grassy knoll, both by a loud noise at that location and a smoke flowing out over the fence at that point. With the crowd drawn to that location, other areas of the plaza received no attention at all.

Two lesser discussed incidents occurred prior to the arrival of the motorcade. Whether innocent and circumstantial, or something more, both diverted police attention away from scanning the crowds or watching movements in the area of Elm and Houston Street. For almost two hours police officers were involved with a green and white pickup which apparently became stalled on the street at exactly that point on the motorcade route (a point which would have choked the street to a single lane under the bridge). Rather than immediately having it towed away, one officer actually left with the driver of the pickup while another maintained a watch on the vehicle and occupant.

It was only shortly before the scheduled arrival of the motorcade that the driver and officer returned with another pickup which pushed the stalled vehicle away. The officer (patrolman Joe Murphy) was questioned by the FBI and stated that the pickup had belonged to a company doing construction work on a building in the area. No further inquiry was pursued. (Josiah Thompson, Six Seconds in Dallas, 1966).

Further up Houston Street, police officers and the crowd near the intersection of Houston and Elm Street had their attention diverted for some twenty minutes immediately prior to the arrival of the motorcade. An individual in that area dramatically collapsed on the sidewalk and an ambulance was called. Ambulance attendants found the man, dressed in camouflage clothing – not common at the time – and noted that he showed no evidence of a seizure or any other medical problem, he was fully conscious but refused to talk to them. As a precaution they transported him to Parkland Hospital. While in the Emergency Room at the hospital the man, despite the security following the President’s arrival in the same area, simply walked away unnoticed. He was later located and briefly questioned, but offered no other explanation of the collapse than he had not felt well.

The ambulance itself only moved away just as the motorcade moved onto Houston Street. If it had not been behind schedule the President’s limousine would have come upon the ambulance still in the intersection. Most interestingly, one of the ambulance personnel, Aubrey Rike, later shared the fact that FBI agents had called on the ambulance company following the assassination, apparently interested in records recording that on several occasions in the week before the assassination the company had received false calls to the corner of Elm and Houston. The calls were all made at mid-day and requested an ambulance for “right in front of the fountain” at the intersection.

Those FBI visits are not recorded, but Rike himself observed and heard them discussed. Personally, he wondered if someone was making pretext calls to establish the timing required to put an ambulance in that particular intersection. JFK: The Book of the Film / The Documented Screenplay, Oliver Stone, Zachary Sklar, Interview with Aubrey Rike, 8. Also author’s personal conversation with Mr. Rike.

All of these incidents tended to divert attention from different areas of the Plaza, some may have been perfectly innocent and circumstantial. Others are much more suspicious and at best the inquiries which followed were minimal, more record keeping in nature rather than true criminal investigation.

[ 324 ] Testimony of Sam Holland, Warren Commission, Volume V, 243-244)

The smoke and sound triggered Holland and others to run towards the back of the fence. People throughout the area focused their attention on the knoll and the fence line, much more so than on the Texas School Depository.

The puff of smoke has often been discussed in terms of a shooter behind the fence line, but in tactical terms it could as easily been produced by a "squib", a type of firecracker serving as a signaling device, and specifically intended to divert attention and security response away from the actual location of shooters. Certainly the amount and density of the smoke does not correlate with the quality, well-maintained weapons or the modern ammunition most likely have been used in an attack on President Kennedy.

[ 325 ] Larry Hancock, Someone Would Have Talked 2010, 65-67; 69-70. According to a number of observers, Oswald's demeanor changed substantially over the course of a few hours on that Friday. He showed no particular signs of tension on his ride to work, appears to have joked with one co-worker about what was happening in Dallas that day (feigning ignorance of anything special going on in town when asked about a "parade" - as an inveterate newspaper reader and TV news listener he certainly knew the president was visiting Dallas and a motorcade was coming through downtown).

He made no effort to disguise his presence working on the sixth floor, yelling to fellow employees to send the elevator back up so he could come down for lunch. Beyond that there certainly is a case to argue that Oswald was not on the sixth floor immediately prior or during the shooting - and that he had no idea a rifle linked to him was going to be found there and taken into evidence. What Oswald did not do is also important; certainly he made no appearance in a sixth floor window, nor did he do anything in real time to associate himself with the shooting (the official story portrays him as a total idiot, leaving iron clad evidence implicating himself while denying any connection to the rifle attack or the rifle itself – and whatever Oswald may have been, he certainly was not stupid). If he was being manipulated, there is no sign that he was a knowledgeable or involved patsy in the shooting itself.

After the shooting he showed no signs of panic or immediate flight, calmly circulating at the front of the TSBD and stopping to talk with people – when he did leave he walked several blocks to catch a local bus to his apartment. It was only on the bus, which came right back down the street towards the TSBD, when it became apparent something really serious had occurred on Elm Street that he began to show some sign of concern. But even then when he got off and went back to catch a cab (the first truly unusual behavior for the notoriously frugal Oswald) he showed no signs of being rushed, in flight or working against a schedule (he calmly offered the first cab available to an older lady at the cab stand).

It was only in the cab, hearing the president had been shot that he began to show real concern, ordering the driver to drop him off well away from his apartment and walking back, then picking up his revolver before moving off towards the nearest bus stop. At that point the only element of his following instructions appears to be his appearance at the Texas Theatre.

All of which leads us a grave caution - reverse engineering the full plan for what was supposed to happen in Dallas is purely speculative. We have details of what did happen after 12:30, but there is every reason to believe that at that point in time things began to go seriously off script.

[ 326 ] Ian Griggs, No Case to Answer, 287

[ 327 ] Marvin Robertson, CD 5:70; HSCA Volume 12:18 Roy Cooper of Euless, Texas

[ 328 ] Larry Hancock, Someone Would Have Talked, 225-228

[ 329 ] Larry Hancock, Someone Would Have Talked 2010, 236-237

[ 330 ] Ibid, CE 399, 224; other evidentiary problems, "Suppression", 230-238

[ 331 ] Jefferson Morley, JFK Facts, December 5, 2016 also Timothy Naftali and Alexsandr Furskenko's "One Hell of a Gamble." Naftali was later the director of the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum in Yorba Linda, California.


[ 332 ] David Binder "Kennedy and Castro / Possible Cuban Links to the 1963 Killing Seen as Basis for Study", New York Times, June 25, 1976


[ 333 ] Ibid, 124

[ 334 ] Ibid, 194

[ 335 ] "Are there records of Lee Oswald speaking". Quora also Oswald Radio Debate, Mary Ferrell Foundation



[ 336 ] Larry Hancock, Someone Would have Talked 2010, 144-145

[ 337 ] David Phillips endorsement of the Alvarado story remains especially questionable given Alvarado's details about a meeting in a public area of a Cuban diplomatic facility, and an open discussion of murder (including the public passing of money). The conversation was purportedly so visible that as simply a visitor to the embassy Alvarado was able to give detailed physical descriptions of all those involved. He was even able to quote their individual remarks – "I want to kill the man", "You're not man enough I can do it".

Alvarado even described the passport, and gave an address for the girl involved in the conversation - as well as the exact amount of cash given to Oswald. That such a conversation would have occurred in a public area is highly questionable; the level of detail provided to support it is virtually beyond belief. As a former case officer and propaganda specialist, Phillips should immediately have raised numerous questions, challenging Alvarado.

Instead, Phillips and the senior Mexico City officers continued to support the story until it was totally disproven by the Mexican government and the FBI – after only 48 hours of investigation. Yet even in the face of the embarrassing deconstruction of Alvarado, Phillips continued to support the story, even repeating it in his autobiography, The Night Watch. In fact he elaborated on the story, maintaining Oswald had come back to the United States with a large amount of cash.

[ 338 ] Larry Hancock, Someone Would have Talked 2010, 111-112

[ 339 ] In more recent years the speculation that the Oswald appearance at the Cuban consulate may have actually involved an impersonation both physically and in related telephone calls has received increasing support. If that were true, the CIA's initial support of the Alvarado story may have been at least partially driven by the urgency of covering up a pre-assassination counter intelligence/propaganda effort which had involved the Oswald "persona". Disclosing that level of involvement with Oswald prior to November 22 would have raised a whole series of questions which would have been extremely damaging. In later years David Phillips himself would draft a fictional work based on Oswald being used by the CIA but going "rogue" and turning on President Kennedy.

[ 340 ] FBI O'Connor Report re Oswald and Russia, December 3, 1964, Warren Commission document #59, 7


[ 341 ] FBI letterhead memo of February 26, 1964, Warren Commission document #657


[ 342 ] Federal Bureau of Investigation, Miami Florida, May 8, 1964


[ 343 ] John Martino, Details of Investigation, United States Secret Service, Treasury Department, Protective Research, December 10/11, 1963


[ 344 ] Federal Bureau of Investigation, Miami Florida, June 1, 1964


[ 345 ] Ibid, 4


[ 346 ] FBI O'Connor Report re Oswald and Russia, April 4, 1964, Warren Commission Document #812


[ 347 ] Ibid, 2

[ 348 ] Larry Hancock, Someone Would Have Talked 2010, 380-381

[ 349 ] There were anecdotal remarks from both Ruth Paine and Marina Oswald that Lee Oswald was expected to go from New Orleans to Houston to look for work (where he reportedly did make a job inquiry) and then on to Dallas. The McKeown visit would certainly be consistent with that.

[ 350 ] McKeown would later tell author Dick Russell that he had actually recognized Hernandez as someone he knew from shipping weapons into Cuba during the revolution against Batista.

[ 351 ] The Executive Committee, Testimony of Robert McKeown, Gun Runner, House Select Committee on Assassinations, Real History Archives.


[ 352 ] Larry Hancock and David Boylan, The Wheaton Lead: An Exploration, Mary Ferrell Foundation, April 20, 2020


[ 353 ] David Talbot, Brothers, 10, quoting Haynes Johnson in Wash. Post of 17 Apr 1981. RFK was on the telephone within hours of learning of his brother's murder. The remark was directed towards Cuban exile leader Harry Ruiz-Williams. Earlier that afternoon RFK had directly asked CIA Director John McCone if the CIA itself had been involved in the assassination.

[ 354 ] Personal conversation on July 1986 with Phillips by Kevin Walsh, a former staff member of the House Select Committee on Assassinations. The remark was made shortly before Phillips' death; up to that time he had totally rejected any talk of conspiracy. Anthony Summers, Conspiracy, 518

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