Home/ Resources / Projects / CIA Pseudonyms / pseudonym: RALSTON_JOHN

Pseudonym: Ralston, John

Definition:
John Ralston was an alias used by organized crime figure John Roselli. The CIA worked with Roselli, along with Chicago godfather, Sam Giancana, and Robert Maheu, in an assassination plot in the early 1960's against the Cuban leader, Fidel Castro.
Category:
alias
Status:
Documented
Discussion:
During Roselli's involvement in the CIA assassination plot against Fidel Castro, he became a close associate of CIA officer, William K. Harvey, and remained so up to and including the late 1960's. In early 1967, at the beginning of the investigation of New Orleans District Attorney, James Garrison, into the assassination of President Kennedy, Roselli and Harvey are believed to have briefed journalist, Jack Anderson, that JFK was murdered because an assassination team was captured by Cuban premier Fidel Castro, during an attempt to assassinate him, and were subsequently tortured and then directed to assassinate President Kennedy instead. Furthermore, a memorandum in December of 1967 from Howard Osborn, CIA Director of Security, noted that "despite his protestations to the contrary, I cannot help but feel that there is something in his relationship with Johnny that he is concealing..." In addition, on August 9, 1976, John Roselli's remains were found in an oil drum floating in Dumfounding Bay. His murder was widely believed to have been ordered by the Tampa godfather, Santos Trafficante. Roselli's gruesome murder came little more than a year after the murder of Sam Giancana, in Chicago on June 19, 1975. This occurred just prior to the scheduled start of Giancana's testimony to the Church Committee on the CIA-Mafia assassination plot against Fidel Castro. Roselli had already appeared before the Church Committee several times before his murder in Florida.
Sources:

124-10225-10038:

03/15/62: FBI memo from C. A. Evans to Belmont: Subject: Judith E. Campbell aka Judy Campbell, Information Concerning: "Campbell is a paramour of John Roselli, West Coast hoodlum. In the investigation of Roselli, we determined that on November 7 and 15, 1961, Campbell made telephone calls from her residence in Los Angeles to Mrs. Evelyn Lincoln, secretary to the President, at the White House. The information indicating Campbell called the White House was forwarded to Mr. Kenneth O’Donnell of the White House and to the Attorney General in letters dated February 27, 1962. SAC Simon of the Los Angeles Office telephonically furnished the following information today regarding Judy Campbell. SA William Nolan of the Los Angeles Office, while in the U. S. Court House, was approached by Fred Otash, who is a private investigator on the West Coast whose reputation is questionable. Otash remarked to the Agent that he had been in Jerry Lewis’s place last week (Jerry Lewis is the well-known comedian). While there, Otash stated he observed Judy Campbell with John Roselli. Otash further remarked that he wondered what Roselli was doing with Campbell. He then made the statement that Campbell is the girl who was 'shacking up with John Kennedy in the East'...The Agent, of course, made no comment. With reference to Otash, he is an enterprising private investigator whose ethics are open to serious question. We know that he has been approached in the past by Bernard Spindell, notorious wiretapper associated with Jimmy Hoffa, to work for Hoffa collecting information on the identity of prostitutes who might have had association with members of the Kennedy family. Spindell reportedly told Otash at the time of this contact that Hoffa was out to 'bury the Kennedys'...SAC Simon stated this was being furnished to the Bureau as a matter of information. We currently have John Roselli under intensive investigation under our Criminal Intelligence program..."

104-10185-10425: RECEIPTS FOR ACCOUNTING: ZRRIFLE

CIA document: "ZRRIFLE: Receipts for accounting submitted by W. K. Harvey - WE/MOR 358-63-covering period 13 - 21 April 1963. Receipt for operational phone calls, 15 May 1963, FI/MOR 454-63. - - - Page 9: "Handwritten: John (initial) Ralston, 51510 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, Calif."

104-10213-10101: REPORT ON PLOTS TO ASSASSINATE FIDEL CASTRO (1967 INSPECTOR GENERAL'S REPORT)

According to the 1967 Inspector General's Report: "June 1963: Roselli came to Washington to meet with Harvey sometime about the middle of June. Harvey met him at Dulles airport. Harvey remembers having suggested to Roselli that he bring only carry-on luggage so there would be no delay at the airport awaiting baggage. Harvey had by then closed his own home in preparation for leaving the country and was living in the house of a neighbor who was out of town. Roselli stayed with Harvey as a houseguest in the neighbor’s home. That evening Roselli, Harvey, and Mrs. Harvey went out for dinner. While dining, Harvey received a phone call from Sam Papich who wanted to know if Harvey knew the identity of his dinner guest. Harvey said that he did. It subsequently developed that the FBI had Roselli under intensive surveillance at the time, and Harvey speculates that he was picked up as he left the airport parking lot and was identified through his auto license number. Harvey met Papich for breakfast the next morning and explained that he was terminating an operational association with Roselli. Papich reminded Harvey of the FBI rule requiring FBI personnel to report any known contacts between former FBI employees and criminal elements. Papich said that he would have to report to J. Edgar Hoover that Harvey had been seen with Roselli. Harvey said he understood Papich’s situation and did not object to such a report being made. Harvey said that he asked Papich to inform him in advance if it appeared that Hoover might call Mr. McCone - Harvey’s point being that he felt that McCone should be briefed before receiving a call from Hoover. Papich agreed to do so. Harvey said that he then told Mr. Helms of the incident and that Helms agreed that there was no need to brief McCone unless a call from Hoover was to be expected. This was Harvey’s last face-to-face meeting with Roselli, although he has heard from him since then..."

124-10282-10269:

07/15/63: FBI report by Harold F. Dodge from Los Angeles Office: Titled: John Roselli: Page 10: ..."LA T-80 said that a check of the passenger list of Flight 60 of TWA did not reveal Rosselli's name as one of the passengers, but with the help of the flight captain, it was concluded that Rosselli was a passenger on this flight, using the name J. Ralston. In this connection it is noted that several months ago, as previously reported, Rosselli was observed leaving a plane in Los Angeles which had just arrived from Florida and that his name was not on the passenger list of this plane but that there was a J. Ralston listed as a passenger. It has been also recorded previously that Rosselli is a friend of a Los Angeles attorney named Jerry Ralston. On July 10, 1963, Terry Bonnie, Reservations Supervisor, TWA, Los Angeles, California, advised that their records show that the J. Ralston who was a passenger on their Flight No. 60 on June 20, 1963, to Washington, D.C., made his reservation at 10:50 AM, furnishing the telephone No. CR 4-1463; that he made a reservation for a one-way ticket to Washington, D.C., and was given a 30 minute airport time limit to pick up the ticket. On July 10, 1963, Len Lovgren, Reservations Supervisor, United Airlines, Los Angeles, California, advised that the records of their office in Washington, D.C., reflect that a J. Ralston was a tourist-class passenger on United Airlines Flight No. 815, a non-stop flight to Los Angeles, California, which left Washington, D.C., at approximately 5:45 PM. June 21, 1963. Lovgren stated that at the time Ralston made his reservation from Washington, he listed a telephone number where he could be reached as OL 2-1829..."

http://jfk.hood.edu/Collection/White%20Materials/White%20Assassination%20Clippings%20Folders/Kennedy%20Family%20Folders/Kennedy%20Robert%20F/RFK%200063.pdf

03/03/67: Article in the San Francisco Chronicle: Headlined: Merry-Go-Around: A Rumor Persists About Assassination: Today’s Column is by Jack Anderson: "President Johnson is sitting on a political H-bomb-an unconfirmed report that Senator Robert Kennedy (Dem.-N.Y.) may have approved an assassination plot which then possibly backfired against his late brother. Top officials, queried by this column, agreed that a plot to assassinate Cuban dictator Fidel Castro was 'considered' at the highest levels of the Central Intelligence Agency at the time Bobby was riding herd on the agency. The officials disagreed, however, over whether the plan was approved and implemented. One version claims that underworld figures actually were recruited to carry out the plot. Another rumor has it that three hired assassins were caught in Havana where a lone survivor is still supposed to be languishing in prison. These stories have been investigated and discounted by the FBI. Yet the rumor persists, whispered by people in a position to know, that Castro did become aware of an American plot upon his life and decided to retaliate against President Kennedy. This report may have started New Orleans’ flamboyant District Attorney Jim Garrison on his investigation of the Kennedy assassination, but insiders believe he is following the wrong trails. 1. President Kennedy was so disillusioned with the CIA after the Bay of Pigs fiasco that he swore to friends he would like 'to splinter the CIA in a thousand pieces and scatter it to the winds.' The President’s watchdog was his brother Bobby, who ended up calling the shots at the CIA. 2. During this period, the CIA hatched a plot to knock off Castro. It would have been impossible for this to reach the high levels it did, say insiders, without being taken up with the younger Kennedy. Indeed, one source insists that Bobby, eager to avenge the Bay of Pigs fiasco, played a key role in the planning..."

1993.07.20.14:27:51:590280: HARVEY, WILLIAM KING - OS/SAG FILES FOR HSCA STAFF

12/11/67: Memorandum for the record from Howard J. Osborn, Director of Security: Subject: Meetings Between William K. Harvey and Johnny Roselli: "1. Harvey requested luncheon meetings with Mr. Sam Papich, FBI Liaison Representative, on Friday, the 8th of December and with me on the 9th of December. The purpose of these meetings was to brief us on the results of his contacts with Johnny Roselli on the 26th, 27th and 28th of November...3. Harvey was first in contact with Johnny on Sunday, the 26th of November when Johnny called to let him know he had arrived in Washington and was staying at the Madison Hotel. He claims he met Johnny at the Madison on Monday, 27 November, and had a three hour session with him. (NOTE: At one point in their Monday meeting, they 'bumped into' Jim Angleton and Harvey introduced Johnny as 'Mr. Ralston'...10. Toward the end of our discussion, I asked Harvey if he was sure that his involvement with Johnny wasn't more than just to protect the Agency's interest. He became highly indignant at this and said that Johnny has no hold on him in the past or in the future. He further volunteered that he had only the highest regard for the Agency and the way we had handled this problem. He said that he would cooperate fully with us and the Bureau. He added, however, that he would never do anything to hurt Johnny. 11. It is difficult to assess Harvey's role in this affair. Despite his protestations to the contrary, I cannot help but feel that there is something in his relationship with Johnny that he is concealing, and that his insistence on learning more about how good a case Justice has against Johnny is not entirely in the Agency's interests. Subject to the views of the Inspector General and the Director, I am of the opinion that we 'sit tight'; inform Harvey that we have no information as to the evidence behind the indictment; and that we do not consider it appropriate or desirable to approach Justice on this at this time."

CIA "Family Jewels," June 25, 2007 Release Current Section: Nov 19, 1970 - Johnny Roselli

11/19/70: Memorandum from Howard J. Osborn, Director of Security to Director: Subject: Roselli, Johnny: ..."2. In August 1960, Mr. Richard M. Bissell approached Colonel Sheffield Edwards to determine if the Office of Security had assets that may assist in a sensitive mission requiring gangster-type action. The mission target was Fidel Castro. 3. Because of the extreme sensitivity, only a small group was made privy to the project...4. Robert A. Maheu was contacted, briefed generally on the project, and requested to ascertain if he could develop an entree into the gangster elements as the first step toward accomplishing the desired goal. 5. Mr. Maheu advised that he had met one Johnny Roselli on several occasions while visiting Las Vegas. He only knew him causally through clients, but was given to understand that he was a high-ranking member of the 'syndicate' and controlled all of the ice-making machines on the Strip. Maheu reasoned that, if Roselli was in fact a a member of the clan, he undoubtedly had connections leading into the Cuban gambling interests. 6. Maheu was asked to approach Roselli...7. The pitch was made to Roselli on 14 September 1960 at the Hilton Plaza Hotel, New York City. His initial reaction was to avoid getting involved but, through Maheu's persuasion, he agreed to introduce him to a friend, Sam Gold (Sam Giancana), who knew the 'Cuban crowd.' Roselli made it clear he did not want any money for his part and believed Sam would feel the same way. Neither of these individuals was ever paid out of Agency funds..."

1993.06.29.17:59:43:400390: MEMORANDUM ON ROBERT A. MAHEU/JOHNNY ROSELLI MATTER

06/24/75: Memorandum from John S. Hunt, Security Analysis Group to Chief, Security Analysis Group: ..."2. Reference is made to previous memoranda, same subject, which have been provided to the Inspector General regarding information contained in Office of Security files concerning Johnny Roselli and Robert A. Maheu. Specific reference is made to certain questions which have been raised concerning the existence of a separate file entitled 'Project Johnny', which was alleged to have been kept in the safe of the Director of Security. 3. All attempts to locate a file maintained separately by the Director of Security entitled 'Project Johnny', or any other separate unofficial file concerning the Maheu/Roselli matter within the Office of Security, have met with negative results. However, in conducting the research into this matter, a search of the Office of Security's Top Secret Registry disclosed a Top Secret document control card concerning a 14 May 1962 memorandum from the Director of Security to the U.S. Attorney General. The Top Secret control card indicated that a copy of this memorandum was being retained in the Director of Security's personal safe 'under Project Johnny.' 4. The Office of Security file relating to Johnny Roselli has a file number of 667 270...According to the Chief, Security Records Divsiion, the above official file on Johnny Roselli, using the 667 270 file number, was not established until November 1974...5. In view of the above, it would appear that a separate file did exist prior to November 1974, the contents of which would appear to have now been consolidated within the above noted official Office of Security file on Roselli. Further, presuming that the heretofore missing 'Project Roselli' file is now an official file, the conclusion may be drawn that all Office of Security files relating to the Maheu/Roselli matter have been reviewed..."

178-10003-10453:

06/26/75: SSCIA document: Page 15: "II. All CIA files, including without limitation any 201, Office of Personnel, Office of Security or Executive Registry files, on the following individuals...9. John Roselli (or 'John Ralston')..."

157-10004-10136: EXCERPT OF WILLIAM HARVEY INTERVIEW

00/00/76: SSCI document: "At this point Harvey reviewed the rest of the file memos I had brought. With regard to the accounting against QJWIN/ZRRIFLE for some of the activities he engaged in with Roselli, he suggested that he always thought of ZRRIFLE as the overarching crypt within which were the QJWIN operation and the ZRRIFLE exploration of executive action. He said that he used QJWIN/ZRRIFLE sometimes in connection with the Roselli activities, but only after there had been some initial mixup by the finance section which resulted in his general ZRRIFLE activities and QJWIN operation being slugged the same combined crypt of QJWIN/ZRRIFLE. With regard to a note that referred to Henry Manfreddi, Harvey did not know why his name was on notes in the QJWIN file, except that he was a highly talented narcotics expert who worked both in the Justice Department and the CIA and who might have been involved in the evaluating of or checking on potential assets whom QJWIN had spotted in Italy. (The file does reveal that QJWIN spotted assets in Italy). With regard to the small note in the file that simply says 'John Ralston – John Roselli - - William Walker.'"

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