Friday is the 50th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy’s assassination. It was the end of Camelot; the death of the last great US President.
Only it wasn’t like that.
It was nothing like Camelot and Jack had more enemies than any President of the 20th century.
A recent poll shows that 61% of Americans do not think that Oswald acted alone. Nor should they.
There had already been two assassination attempts that November, one in Chicago on the second, (Kennedy cancelled his trip), and one on November 18 in Tampa. That one the Mob called off.
If you were a novelist, writing this scenario – and remember, novelists must rely on logic if they don’t want to infuriate the reader – then there is only one plausible explanation for the events of November 22.
It wasn’t about killing Jack. It was about stopping Bobby.
He was the most aggressive Attorney General the United States has ever had.
He was waging a relentless war against the Mafia. He was about to deport one of the big bosses – Carlos Marcello. He also had a Get Hoffa squad targeting union boss Jimmy Hoffa. Hoffa’s Teamster Union fund was the Mafia’s private bank.
If they were to survive, they had to act.
But you kill Bobby, you have the President of the United States come after you. You kill the President – and Bobby is the brother of a dead President.
Not really. Not even hardly.
Jack also owed Sam the Presidency – in the narrow election win over Nixon, ‘Momo’ got Kennedy over the line by delivering key votes in Chicago.
And what thanks did Sam get? Kennedy let Bobby off the leash.
They had plenty of influence, thanks to Jack and Bobby. The Kennedys wanted Castro dead and they had asked the CIA to do it. Mission impossible.
So the spooks asked the Mob for help, as they had done many times in the past.
After all, who had all the anti-Castro contacts in Cuba?
The Mob. They practically ran Cuba before Castro took over.
So by 1963 the Agency and Team Soprano were very cosy with each other indeed and they both had common cause; they both hated Jack for the Bay of Pigs.
But would the Mob kill a President? Well of course they would. Hollywood said it best:
‘If anything in this life is certain, if history has taught us anything, it is that you can kill anyone.’ Michael Corleone, Godfather II.
Look it up.
And someone got to Bobby in the end, too. Another lunatic, of course, another gunman acting alone. Bobby had just won the California primaries and looked to be heading to the White House.
You can imagine what they thought of that scenario in certain Italian restaurants.
Sirhan’s attorney happened to be Grant Cooper; one of his clients was … oh, John Roselli.
What a co-incidence.
Sirhan has since claimed he remembers nothing of what happened that night.
Eerily, his claims bear an astounding similarity to the plot of a movie called The Manchurian Candidate.
The star of the movie? Frank Sinatra.
Sinatra was Kennedy’s go-to guy when the Kennedy’s wanted that little favor just before the 1960 election.
Because he was a very close friend of someone they needed.
Really, if you were a novelist you couldn’t make it up. And why would you? Someone thought it all out for you fifty years ago.
It’s all fiction, of course. Nothing like that could ever really happen. Not in the Free World. Not in the United States.
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