We’re coming up on the anniversary and Dallas is calling, so its about time for my last couple of posts to finish out this series.  I imagine some of you who have followed it all the way through are wondering about people that I haven’t mentioned to this point. So in a bit of recap, to date I’ve covered the fact that official reports and a variety of sources – several of which appear to have been sanitized or just flat disappeared in the days after the assassination – demonstrate that JFK was considered to have been at risk in the fall of 1963 and the primary threat was with a set of Cuban exiles traveling from Miami through New Orleans and up into both Chicago and out to Dallas, looking for weapons.  These were individuals who were definitely not part of the new RFK initiative that began that summer, instead they were exactly the figures that both the CIA and FBI were trying to crack down on to prevent further raids against Cuba from U.S. territory.  We also have good indications that members of this network became aware of Oswald and his value while traveling to New Orleans and that people in Miami were very much aware of his movements from then on, including to Mexico City and to Dallas.

In addition, we know something else that happened in the summer of 63 and that was the cancellation and disbanding of the highly compartmentalized Castro assassination team that had been run by William Harvey, John Rosselli and David Morales up to that point.  Indeed there was a meeting in late spring in Florida to wrap out that project, which had actually been funded through the rest of the year.  At least ostensibly that was the explanation for the expense reports Harvey filed.  We don’t know the exact composition of his special team, we do know it was a sniper group and included some very hard core exile fighters – my guess is that they would have been screened by Morales, Robertson and Roselli, possibly some were old time Havana security types that Roselli had used in the initial stages of the Castro assassination when poison was the tool of choice, Hermonio Diaz Garcia comes to mind for a number of reasons.

Now if members of a team like this were pulled together for an attack on JFK, it would be a very experienced and well trained group – trained for a much tougher task than going after JFK in Dallas. Interestingly enough some of these same folks would go after Castro repeatedly in Latin America in later years, in one exercise in Chile, according to Anthony Veciana, they used basically the same tactics that had been fielded in Dallas….it didn’t work there but then Castro’s security folks were well sensitized to sophisticated assassination attempts.

Now am I making this story and scenario up just to be creative, actually not.  What I’m doing is repeating an explosive message that John Roselli himself took to Earl Warren, the Secret Service, the FBI and ultimately President Johnson beginning in December, 1966.  Now why would Roselli do that, while at the time leading the high life in LA and Vegas with a different starlet on call in either location. Especially when he should have been maintaining a very low profile being under FBI surveillance for his various business dealings with organized crime figures.  Well its a long story, if you have a copy of SWHT  you can follow it beginning on page 124.

It appears that the real motivation was that someone had provided Roselli with the word that an investigation of the Kennedy murder was underway – Bernardo de Torres being the prime candidate there – and that New Orleans DA Garrison was focused on Cuban exiles who had been in contact with Oswald in New Orleans.  That would indeed have been something to worry about and Roselli’s outreach served two purposes.  First he offered up what was supposedly first hand information that a  CIA prepared Castro assassination team, sent into Cuba in a sniper attack to kill Castro, had been the ones to kill Kennedy in Dallas.  Given that it was absolutely true that Roselli had worked with such teams, with Harvey and the operations people at JMWAVE, that would be about as credible an inside source as you could get.  Of course Earl Warren totally refused to pursue it, as did basically everyone else other than Johnson.  It worried Johnson a lot especially since he forced the CIA to personally confirm the assassination project to him.

Of course this preemptive move on Roselli’s part alerted Washington about Garrison, allowing everyone to move to fully blown CYA quickly, and triggering a variety of moves against Garrison’s  inquiries. Bernardo de Torres helped a lot too, going to the press and setting Garrison up for a media barrage way too early.  Secondly, Roselli spun his story a bit, stating that it was a CIA team that was in Dallas but that it had been “turned” in Cuba and was working for Castro.  Now how that would happen is a bit hard too follow but it did pull the old Cuban angle in again and between that and blowing the Castro assassination plot into national news….it made the story of a CIA sniper team something everybody wanted to be very far away from, not only then but pretty much forever.  Indeed when the HSCA later got around to interviewing Roselli they focused on the early poison plots and seemingly forgot to pursue the sniper team thing  – although they may have recalled that when they decided to have him back for another round…before which time he ended up in pieces floating in an oil drum.

So, there seems to be a very interesting series of dots that join into the story at this point…which would connect in Roselli, William Harvey, the ZRRIFLE sniper team and of course a variety of “assets” that Roselli would have access to out of his bases in LA and Vegas, people who might contact and visit Jack Ruby in Dallas for a bit of onsite assistance and local intelligence.  And of course with his Mexico City connections, Morales would have plenty of resource to track Oswald and perhaps do a bit more than track…but that’s another story.

The ultimate point here being that there is no earthly reason for Roselli to do what he did in the winter of 66/67 unless there was a very strong motivation for him to insert himself into the Kennedy assassination story….and it was certainly not to his profit in any way to do so.  What he needed most at the time was for his name not to be bandied about in any Federal agency.  Now I have to ask, how many places have  you folks read the Roselli/Jack Anderson/Johnson story?  Have you seen it come up in any of the recent series of JFK specials?   Wouldn’t it be more entertaining if not explosive than most everything else you’ve seen?

Next time we will tackle another source that offers us come credible first hand information, and look at the reception he received by the ARRB.  That probably gives it away but if it didn’t we’ll get there in the next day or so..

— Larry




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.

7 responses »

  1. Barb Miller says:

    Hello, my friend. A big anniversary coming up for you and your research. Been thinking about you. Dave Roberts posted a MacWorld picture from 1990 on Facebook, if you are interested. Say hi to Cathy!


    • Hi Barb, great to hear from you! It is a big anniversary and the Dallas conference will very likely be the largest ever – it should be a lively 4 days, especially since we have presentations starting at 8am and going on to 9pm. Perhaps not as lively as the MacWorld trade shows in San Francisco or Comdex in Las Vegas though. I recall flying out of Vegas late one night, making a connection though Salt Lake City and then on to Dallas for a very, very late arrival and being up bright and early for the JFK Lancer conference the next day. I think I could use a dose of that sort of stamina for this coming conference – thanks for the note, I’ll drop you an email shortly.

      — Larry

  2. Harton Firmin says:

    Mr. Hancock, I am new to all of this. Pardon my naivete’. You state above, ” what i am doing is repeating an explosive message that John Roselli himself took to Earl Warren …” Did you reveal the source of this information in an earlier post? Secondly: Is it your contention this astonishing report resulted in absolutely no action from its
    recipients, (other than LBJ) such was their cowardice or investment in the lone assassin scenario? How did LBJ follow up? How is it that the HSCA never asked about the assassination team? Again I am a complete novice; please bear with me.

    Harton Firmin

    • Hi Harton, to put it in a little perspective, that particular post was one of several in a series I called “connecting the dots.” Virtually all the “dots” are described in considerable detail, with sources and citations, in my book Someone Would Have Talked which is several hundred pages long. What I was attempting in the posts was to streamline some major points to connect them all together in a scenario that gets lost for some readers in the pure size of the book.

      So to your question, the source for the story was Roselli himself although he did claim that he could identify some of the operatives in the team turned against JFK. Roselli would be a very credible source for such a story given that he was a direct participant in an ongoing series of assassination attempts on Castro and connected to assassination efforts under William Harvey and using compartmentalized resources from the Miami JMWAVE station. LBJ actually went to the length of calling in the CIA Director who gave Johnson an extended briefing on the assassination efforts. The only issue in all this is how Roselli would have known a team was turned and came back from Castro to get JFK – of course if the team had not been turned but actually directed by Roselli and others, that would make some sense. However, it the whole disclosure was simply part “test” and part “disinformation” that may not have been a big concern at the time.

      As to a lack of response, Roselli’s lawyer essentially shopped the story to Earl Warren who deferred and sent him to the Secret Service and FBI – both apparently declined to even question Roselli on the matter. Eventually Roselli managed to interest Jack Anderson and the story made it to LBJ as well. I go into the whole sequence in detail in my book. Johnson responded in a variety of ways including warning his Attorney General that he might best look into the issue again but other than essentially a limited CYA effort in reviewing the autopsy records not much else was done. Since this was occurring just as Garrison’s inquiry was being prematurely exposed, attention dropped off Roselli and the agencies began to focus on what Garrison might be digging up. In the end LBJ did have Roselli interviewed to some extent, I imagine by the FBI but that’s off the top of my head, and we now know that following that the CIA put him into a safehouse for two full weeks for their own purposes. We have no documents on that interview, which would of course be a very important JFK record.

      As for the HSCA and Roselli, it appears that Roselli essentially beguiled them with enough stories of the early assassination attempts they never really got into this particular point – but might have been intending to do so when he was recalled for another round of testimony. He was murdered before that could occur.

      I hope that clears it up at least a bit and addresses your questions, Larry

      • Harton Firmin says:

        Thank you for the prompt response. I think get it now. They did not know what to make of Roselli’s story at the time and his effort put interested parties on alert. I love the phrase, “‘Roselli’s lawyer shopped the story…”

        Harton Firmin

      • Harton Firmin says:

        Mr. Hancock, At last I have found the preface to Bill Simpich’s “State Secret.” It clarifies the plot and provides coherency to the sordid tale. I have found refutations to the jet theory as first offered by Dr. Luis Alvarez to support the claim that the JFK kill shot came from behind. One is a rather technical paper by Tony Szamboti from April 2012. (Szamboti’s physics regards the collapse of the World Trade Center are the subject of controversy.) A second study was posted just today Alberto Miatello at the Academia.edu website. A quick perusal and I can see that it is way over my head. There is another, easier to understand study, but I seem to have lost it in my notes. The directional origin of the head shot is The Rosetta Stone for me. Given the Zapruder film it should be scientifically provable. Once firmly established then all investigations can move from there. I offer one last thought. If science proves that the fatal shot came from ahead of the motorcade it will be the lone nutters who decry the authenticity of the Zapruder film.

        On Sat, Nov 30, 2013 at 8:37 PM, Larry Hancock wrote:

        > Larry Hancock commented: “Hi Harton, to put it in a little > perspective, that particular post was one of several in a series I called > “connecting the dots.” Virtually all the “dots” are described in > considerable detail, with sources and citations, in my book Someone Would > Have Tal”

      • Harton, in studying the evidence for a frontal shot I would recommend you search and review the work of Sherry Feister, a crime scene professional and blood spatter expert.

        I would also recommend you read her book: Enemy of the Truth, Myths, Forensics, and the Kennedy Assassination

        — Larry

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