Happy New Year everyone!   Given that this is the 50th Anniversary year of the JFK assassination, I’m going to revisit the JFK plot with a couple of posts before I go back to wrap up my covert warfare manuscript.  If you have not visited the new web site http://www.jfkfacts.org, you should – its a good place to keep current on discussions which will be going on this  year.. They had requested a post from me and the following has just gone up on the web site….I’m going to post it here as well and then return in a few days with a post or two on my view of when the actual conspiracy came together and how it evolved into the attack in Dallas. But for now, here’s is a revisit of John Martino for those who may not be familiar with research in that area….

Somebody did talk. His name was John Martino. He was a credible source,
and his story has been corroborated in significant ways. What he said is one
of the clearest indicators that opponents of JFK’s Cuba policy had
foreknowledge that Kennedy might be assassinated in Dallas.

Castro Political Prisoner

Martino, a native of New Jersey, was a petty racketeer as a young man.
Arrested for gambling and loan sharking charges, he developed an
Expertise in electronic equipment related to gambling. In the 1950s, he gravitated
to south Florida and then to Havana where his skills won him a  security job
at the casino in the new Deauville Hotel in Havana.

When Fidel Castro’s revolutionary movement took power in 1959, the
Deauville was closed and Martino was arrested for criticizing Castro. He
spent three years in jail, a bitter experience that he detailed in his
book “I Was Castro’s Prisoner.” Upon his release, he threw himself into the
clandestine war against Castro. A publicity tour for the book took him to New
Orleans and Dallas in the fall of 1963 where he associated with other anti-Castro

In the days affter JFK was killed, Martino devoted considerable effort to
linking Lee Harvey Oswald to the Cuban government, claiming that Oswald
had gone to Cuba (a claim that has never been verified). Without supporting
evidence, Martino gained attention from investigators but convinced no
one of his claims.

In 1975 Martino was dying and he knew it.  He started telling a quite different
story about the events of 1963, confessing to two acquaintances that he
had participated in a conspiracy to assassinate President Kennedy.

The first was John Cummings, an investigative reporter at New York’s *
Newsday*, who had covered Martino’s return from Cuba in 1962 and stayed
in contact with him over the years.

“He told me he’d been part of the assassination of Kennedy,” Cummings
recounted later. “He wasn’t in Dallas pulling trigger, but he was
involved. He implied that his role was delivering money, facilitating things. He
asked me not to write it while he was alive.” It is worth noting that
Cummings was an award winning reporter who did not make his reputation by
believing tall tales.

The second person to whom Martino confided was a former business partner
named Fred Claassen. He  said Martino told him. “The anti-Castro people put
Oswald together. Oswald didn’t know who he was working for–he was just ignorant
of who was really putting him together. Oswald was to meet his contact at the Texas
Theater [the movie house where Oswald was arrested]. They were to meet Oswald in
the theater and get him out of the country, and then eliminate him. Oswald made
a mistake….there was no way we could get to him. They had Ruby kill him.”

Martino’s widow Florence declined to talk to congressional investigators
in the 1970s, but later acknowledged her husband’s story to British author
Anthony Summers. She said that her husband had advance knowledge of
JFK’s assassination. “Flo, they’re going to kill him,” she recalls him saying
in November 1963. “They’re going to kill him when he gets to Texas.”

Martino’s son, Edward, then a senior in high school, recalls that on Friday
Nov. 22, 1963 his father told him to stay home from school and listen to
the radio. When the news came from Dallas, “my father went white as a
sheet. But it wasn’t like ‘Gee whiz’.’ It was more like confirmation.”

Martino, now a business consultant and custom software developer has not
profited in any way from his story. Nor did his mother, now deceased.

Summers reported the Martino story in Vanity Fair magazine in 1994 and
His  1998 book “Not in Your Lifetime. The most complete version of Martino’s
involvement in the anti-Castro movement and his subsequent confession is
found my his 2010 book “Somebody Would Have Talked.”

There were other people who showed foreknowledge that JFK would be killed
in Dallas but none whose story is so well-documented as John Martino. He
was somebody who talked.




About Larry Hancock

Larry Hancock is a leading historian-researcher in the JFK assassination. Co-author with Connie Kritzberg of November Patriots and author of the 2003 research analysis publication titled also Someone Would Have Talked. In addition, Hancock has published several document collections addressing the 112th Army Intelligence Group, John Martino, and Richard Case Nagell. In 2000, Hancock received the prestigious Mary Ferrell New Frontier Award for the contribution of new evidence in the Kennedy assassination case. In 2001, he was also awarded the Mary Ferrell Legacy Award for his contributions of documents released under the JFK Act.

2 responses »

  1. Robert Glenn says:

    I’ve always believed that Oswald went to the Texas Theater…where he did in fact purchase a ticket…in order to meet with a handler. This should explain why as according to many witnesses in the theater that day why he continued to move about sitting next to strangers, an act reasonable enough to explain his looking for someone. When he was not acknowledged by any of the three or four with whom he sat, he then moved to an empty aisle awaiting whomever. Think of it…why would anyone who ostensibly killed a president and a cop end up going to the movies?

    • Well I can say that I’ve talked to at least two of the very early day researchers who privately discussed it with the ticket taker – who was terrified on the subject – and she admitted that he had indeed bought a ticket but she was too frightened to say so. That seems to have been pretty common, a number of witnesses quickly realized that if they had seen something contrary to the emerging official story they had best shut up about it – right or wrong that was their gut impression. Sam Holland has to be one of my personal favorites in that regard…old Sam just said he saw what he saw, smoke on the knoll etc and if anybody wanted to talk about it the sheriff knew where to find him.

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