Saturday, December 21, 2019

The Mafia and Irishmen at Dealey Plaza Part 2


Skinny D'Amato advising JFK during the 1960 campaign


Martin Scorsese’s new and popular movie “The Irishman,” and Charles Brandt's book it is based on, “I Heard You Paint Houses,” have numerous references to the Kennedys and the assassination of President Kennedy, and falsely implies that the mob or mafia were responsible for the murder.

They say lines like, “They killed a President, they can kill a Union President.”

While they were certainly involved in the conspiracy, especially in the silencing of the accused assassin, and the protection of the real assassins, the mob or the Mafia certainly were not responsible for the Dealey Plaza Operation that resulted in the death of the president.

Now this is something I know quite a lot about.

The idea that the Mafia or mobsters were behind the assassination is not a new one, but has been propagated by G. Robert Blakey, his assistant Gary Cornwall, Dan Moldea, David Kaiser, Thom Waldron and others, but like those who try to pin the tail on any such acronym organization or person, be it the CIA, KGB, LBJ or the Maf-i-a, assembling all the evidence that supports your theory and ignoring the rest is not the way to solve this crime or any crime.

As for the Mob and the Mafia, I have been down every alley that leads in their direction and for the most part, struck out, though the Mafia were certainly in the game and major players, especially in the CIA/Mafia plots to kill Castro that are essential in understanding what occurred at Dealey Plaza.

First off you have to understand that the Mob and the Mafia are not the same entities, as the Mob could be any group of gangsters engaged in usually illegal enterprises, - the rackets, while the Mafia is a very specific Italian ethic group that became highly organized and influential from the 1930s until relatively recently.

They frequently say with some authority that Old Man Joe Kennedy, JFK's dad, was a bootlegger during prohibition, but as I said in the TV documentary "History of Booze in America," Joe Kennedy wasn't a bootlegger who smuggled booze into the USA and sold it illegally, he owned the liquor companies - especially the Canadian whiskeys and Caribbean rums, and sold it legally to the bootleggers, who smuggled it and sold it illegally. But they knew each other and were in a sense business partners. 

JFK Statute at Kennedy Plaza on the Atlantic City Boardwalk 

I wrote an extensive article on the April 1929 convention of Mafia mobsters in Atlantic City that resulted in the formation of the “Commission,” the board of directors of organized crime that set the rules and arbitrated disputes.
In the mid-fifties through the early sixties the Commission consisted of the leaders of the Mafia families in the major cities – the five New York families (Gambino, Genovese, Bonanno, et al….), Angelo Bruno of Philadelphia, Carlos Marcello of New Orleans, Santo Traficante of Tampa and Havana, Russell Bufalino of Northeast Pennsylvania and Sam Giancana of Chicago, who also controlled everything west of Chicago including L.A., Vegas and Dallas, Texas.

Russell Bufalino was the only mafia boss who did not control a major city – but his influence was large, as he is featured in “The Irishman” (and portrayed by Joe Pesci.)

Bufalano didn’t take no shit from nobody. As Sheeran put it, “Russell himself had no great use for Frank Sinatra. Russell wouldn’t put up with Sinatra’s loudmouth wise guy routine. Frank Sinatra behaved himself around Russell Bufalino. One night at the 500 Club in Atlantic City I heard Russell tell Sinatra: ‘Sit down or I’ll rip your tongue out and stick it up your ass.’ If he had a drink in him Sinatra was an asshole….”

Okay, that brings it all onto my turf. Being from South Jersey I knew a lot of the places that are mentioned in the book and the movie – especially the Latin Casino, where they had the testimonial to Sheeran, which was about two miles from my house and a half mile from my high school, and the 500 Club. 

Now the Five – Skinny D’Amato’s 500 Club in Atlantic City, was where Jerry Lewis met Dean Martin, and Sinatra helped make famous. When Sam Giancana and Sinatra bought interest in the Cal-Neva Lodge casino in Northern Nevada, taking part of Old Man Joe Kennedy’s former interest, they brought in Skinny D’Amato to run the casino, a patently honest broker.

While Sam Giancana has been credited with delivering Illinois to JFK in the 1960 election, even more significant was JFK's primary election victory in West Virginia, where Skinny D'Amato assisted by delivering cash to the local sheriffs who ran the election, as he knew them from their annual convention in Atlantic City. 

Skinny’s band leader – Pete Miller had a son, Peter Miller, who became a big time New York literary agent, and included Vincent Bugliosi as one of his clients

JFKcountercoup: JFK and Atlantic City

Sinatra was tight with JFK and was made head of his inaugural ball committee to arrange for the entertainment, and with the pull of Atlantic City political boss H. “Hap” Farley, the Democratic National Committee selected Atlantic City to host the 1964 Democratic National Convention, which would ostensibly renominate JFK for the presidency. That didn’t work out.

Now, as mentioned in “The Irishman,” Frank Sinatra and Sam Giancana had a girlfriend – Judyth Campbell (Extner), who they introduced to JFK, and they became an item, not only for sexual encounters but in passing notes and packages back and forth between JFK and Giancana.

Now for the JFK assassination connection that has never been run down – the FBI set up a stake out at Judyth Campbell’s apartment, and observed two young men break into it when she wasn’t home. Their automobile license plate traced them to I. B. Hale, a former high level FBI agent and security director at General Dynamics. The two young men were his twin sons – both of whom attended Arlington, Texas high school with the accused assassin, shortly before he enlisted in the Marines.

Believe it or not, one of the sons went on to shoot and  kill the daughter of Texas Governor John Connally.

And it is their mother – I.B. Hale’s wife – Virginia, who worked at the Texas Employment Commission and obtained jobs for the accused assassin – at Leslie Welding and Jaggers/Chiles/Stoval graphics arts firm. Oswald was not fired from Leslie Welding, but quit voluntarily and took the job at J/C/S, where in October 1962, during the Cuban Missile Crisis, he added arrows and captions to U-2 photos of Soviet missiles in Cuba.

Of course the FBI did not do anything about the breaking and entering – black bag job of the President’s mistress that the Hale twins pulled on Judyth Campbell’s apartment – when she was having simultaniously amorous affairs with Giancana the Chicago mob boss and the President of the United States.

Then there’s Jim Braden and John Martino, both of whom operated in my territory for awhile.


When Eugene Hale Brading officially changed his name to Jim Braden, shortly before visiting Texas with some other pals on oil business, he didn’t expect to be taken into custody as a suspicious person at the scene of the murder of the president, or for TV editor Peter Noyes to uncover that fact and write the book “Legacy of Doubt.”

When I picked up a copy of that blue pulp paperback from a drugstore rack, I took particular notice that Brading had been arrested in Camden, New Jersey in 1948, but according to Noyes the Camden police refuse to respond to his requests, and they were under the control of the mob.

Since my father was a Camden policeman, then a Lieutenant, I showed him the book and reference and shortly thereafter he handed me Jim Braden’s original arrest report, saying that it was located in a dark, damp corner of the city hall basement and the secretaries didn’t want to get dirty getting it for Noyes.

JFKcountercoup: Case Study No. 3 - Jim Braden

JFKcountercoup: New Jim Braden Documents Released

Jim Braden 1948 Camden, NJ Mug Shot | JFKCountercoup

Braden’s Camden Arrest Report | JFKCountercoup

Eugene Hale Brading (Jim Braden)

When Philadelphia attorney Richard Sprague was appointed chief counsel of the House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA), a newspaper article mentioned that he had his staff read Peter Noyes’ book, so I took a photo-copy of Braden’s Camden arrest report and dropped it off at Sprague’s Philadelphia office.

Sprague had previously attained notority as a no-non-sense district attorney who had successfully 
prosecuted a United Mine Workers (UMW) union rival (Jock Yablonski) for the murder of the Union President (Tony Boyle) in Pennsylvania, the subject of a book that I understand is currently being researched and written by former HSCA attorney Robert Tannenbaum.

Sprague thought he could conduct a real homicide investigation that was leaning towards some sensitive CIA personalities, but he was replaced by G. Robert Blakey, then the head of the Cornell Institute of Organized Crime who wrote the RICO – Racketeer Influence Corruption Act that put many a mobster behind bars. 

Blakey took over from Sprague and redirected the investigation towards organized crime, issued a final report saying there was evidence of conspiracy, locked the HSCA records away for 50 years and wrote a book blaming the Mafia for the murder of the president.

While Blakey was writing his book, one of his assistants – Michael Ewing called me on the phone at the Jersey Shore asking about Jim Braden’s 1948 Camden arrest report. I told him I gave it to Sprague, and Ewing said that Sprague took all of his files with him. I said I was glad he did since Blakey locked the rest of the HSCA records away for 50 years, and at least Sprague had it.

I then shared the report with Blakey, as I had done with Peter Noyes, Bill Turner, Phil Melanson and others I had been working with over the years.

I was pretty much astonished to learn that the HSCA had subpoened Jim Braden and he testified in Executive Session for two days, a transcript of which was sealed until the JFK Act was passed in 1992.
Braden, as his 1948 arrest report attests, was a small time swindler, con artist who dabbled in the oil business and was best known for targeting rich widows, being thrown out of Dallas by Sheriff Bill Decker and with a friend (Victor Pierra) as being “The Honeymooners,” for their antics. Among which was swindling Mrs. Little, the widow of a founder of Magnolia Oil Company. And it was at a party at the home of three Magnolia Oil employees where Ruth Paine met Marina Oswald and the accused assassin was encouraged to kill General Walker, as Hitler should have been killed.

As Braden was taken into custody by a Dallas Sheriff’s deputy after leaving the elevator of the Dal-Tex building shortly after the assassination, - the elevator operator believing he was suspicious, Braden explained how he innocently got there.

While his oil buddies from California visited the offices of H.L. Hunt, he had gone to the parole office, though the parole officer disagrees on the particulars. Walking to Dealey Plaza, and learning of the assassination, he tried to find a telephone, and was directed to the second floor of the Dal-Tex building where he called his mother to tell her about the shooting.

Braden and his oil buddies from California had stayed the previous night at the Cabana Hotel, where Jack Ruby visited his friend Larry Meyers at the same time.

When Braden returned to the hotel he found that his partners had suddenly left for Houston on a private plane, and he followed them there using a commercial flight. According to his HSCA testimony, that the wanted made public, Braden said he then went to New Orleans where he spent the summer of ’63, working out of the offices of oil geologist Vernon Main, Jr. in the Pierre Marquette office building.

It just so happens that Main's office was on the same floor, just down the hall from the law offices of Carlos Marcello’s attorney G. Ray Gill, who employed as an investigator David Ferrie, the Civil Air Patrol Captain of the accused assassin.

Despite being accused of being a shooter from the Dal-Tex building, Jim Braden has never exhibited any act of violence in any of his crimes, and was a white collar con artists who never shot anyone. He played golf.
I tried to track down Jim Braden to interview him further, as I believe him, but never got to meet him.

Then there’s John Martino.


John Martino is mentioned in early government files on Angelo Bruno, the “Docile Don” of the Philadelphia mafia family, whose base was in South Philly but whose influence extended west to Pittsburgh and east to Atlantic City. Frowning on drugs, Bruno specialized in gambling, and had interests in some Havana casinios. Martino is listed as one of the numerous bookmakers who took bets on sporting events in the Atlantic City area.

Foreknowledge & JFK Assassination | JFKCountercoup

JFKcountercoup: JFK and Atlantic City

John Martinos Confessions

William Pawley, the Kennedy Assassination, and Watergate TILT and the “Phase Three” Story of Clare Boothe Luce | COPA

As he later explained Martino went on to become a casino security expert working for Lansky’s Florida casino and for Santo Traficante in Havana, where he worked with Jack Ruby’s pal Louis McWillie.

When Castro came to power Martino returned stateside and actively worked against Castro, primarily in the Bayo-Pawley affair, and shared an apartment for awhile with John Rosselli, a significant connection.

Inexplictly returning to Cuba Martino was arrested as an American spy and sentenced to the Isle of Pines prison where he met Sylvia Odio’s father, who was incarcerated for his role in a plot to kill Castro that also involved Antonio Veciana. As he mentions in his book, “I Was Castro’s Prisoner,” Martino knew the date of the Bay of Pigs invasion weeks before it occurred, so it wasn’t a state secret.

Released with the Bay of Pigs prisoners, Martino collaborated with Nate Wheil in writing about his experiences in Cuba, but they had a falling out after the publication when Martino decided to take a nationwide book tour affiliated with the John Birch Society (JBS).

At a stop in a Dallas auditorium, Martino shared the stage with Father Walter McChann, patron of the Cuban exiles in Dallas, and supported by the Catholic Welfare Society that was funded by the CIA’s Catherwood Foundation.

In Dallas Martino mentioned Amador Odio with his daughters in the audience, which might have also included JBS supporter General Edwin Walker.

After having amorous affairs with some of his parishoners, including Sylvia Odio, McChann left the priesthood and after the assassination relocated to New Orleans, attending a Catholic college there and associating with one of Carlos Bringuier’s friends, who attended the court hearing with Oswald and Bringuier.

On the day of the assassination John Martino, at home in Florida, expressed foreknoweldge of the assassination and some of it’s details, probably obtained from his friend John Rosselli.

When Anthony Summers was in Florida interviewing John Martino’s widow and son, I was in Atlantic City interviewing Martino’s elderly sister and brother, both of whom were open and accomdating. She gave me a record album of Martino reading excerpts of his book, and hooked me up with Nate Wheil, who I also interviewed over the phone.

The book “The Irishman” is based on has high praise for Dan Moldea, who along with G. Robert Blakey, David Kaiser, Thom Waldren and others, promote the idea that the mob and Mafia were behind the assassination.

Modea shared an American University stage with John Judge on the subject of Media and Politics, with a special emphasis on the impact of Oliver Stone’s movie “JFK.” Moldea made his routine pitch blaming the Mafia, but Judge Judge rebuttled with a strong counterpoint, making note of the facts that the mob/Mafia didn’t control the evidence, the Zapruder film or the autopsy, and were “Sleps,” or waterboys for the CIA.
For those who promote any particular person or group – LBJ, CIA, FBI, Mafia – it wasn’t any one of them but all of them, as if it was a full fledged coup d’etat then every agency of government had to be either invited, involved or compromised, much like the Murder on the Orient Express.

Certainly the Mafia was involved – they hated JFK like J. Edgar Hover, General LeMay and LBJ did, but what occurred at Dealey Plaza was not the work of any renegade outfit – it was a well planned and expertly executed covert intelligence operation that included various elements of government and society, but can be more clearly defined by identifying those who pulled it off, and got away with it.

And that’s what we are doing.

There was at least one real Irishman at Dealey Plaza – Will Greer the driver of Lincoln, a Protestant who hailed for Northern Ireland, who didn’t care much for Catholics or JFK, and counter to everything he was trained to so, put on the breaks after the first shot and didn’t let up until JFK’s head was blown open.

Bill Kelly

If you can, please support this work by donating what you can to:


chuck said...

incredible but true....thanks for your constant digging, just finished a new U.K book, called Union Jack, the very minute details of JFK’s times in England, incredible experiences he had, and revelations of his personality, worth a read.

ted rubinstein said...

what was in the packages sent between JFK and Giancana?