2 – Mob Murder
The idea that the assassination of Kennedy was a Mafia hit gained momentum in the 1970s when evidence emerged that the CIA used mobsters for its attempts to kill Fidel Castro. The mob had close links with Jack Ruby, the man who shot Oswald, so some conspiracy theorists suggest that Ruby killed Oswald to ‘silence’ him and ensure the mafia’s involvement remained a secret.
There is certainly a reason why the mafia would want JFK dead. His brother Robert had launched a crusade against organized crime so it is hardly inconceivable that the mob would take retribution in one of the worst ways imaginable. Also, the mafia had casinos in Cuba that were doomed because of Castro’s regime. They wanted him gone so they could go back to making money and were furious that Kennedy was taking little or no action.
A former mobster named James Files took responsibility for the assassination in a ‘confession’ in 1994. According to Files, he met Oswald in Louisiana in 1962 and the following year, Chicago Mafia leader Charlie Nicoletti supposedly ordered Files to murder the President.
On the morning of the assassination, Files met Jack Ruby and two other men in Fort Worth before arriving at Dealey Plaza at 10 am with Nicoletti. The gangster shot the President from behind the grassy knoll while Nicoletti shot from the Dal-Tex Building. Files claim it was his bullet that hit Kennedy in the head. While this fanciful account would mean there were more than three shots fired, there is a little problem with Files’ story; research shows he was in Chicago on the day of the shooting.
A slightly less absurd story involving the mob revolves around the role of Jack Ruby, the nightclub owner who shot Oswald on November 24, 1963. The Warren Commission assumed that Ruby was just another lone gunman without performing any detailed research into his background. In their 1981 book ‘The Plot to Kill the President‘, Robert Blakey and Richard Billings suggested that Ruby’s murder of Oswald was typical of a hit by an organized crime syndicate. They needed to silence the assassin, so Ruby was sent to carry out the hit.
Ruby had strong links not only to organized crime but also to the political establishment and even the local police. He was a narcotics informant for the cops which might explain how he was allowed access to the police basement where he shot Oswald. The House Select Committee on Assassinations found that while Ruby was not a ‘member’ of a criminal gang, he did have associations with underworld figures. Moreover, his murder of Oswald was a premeditated act. Ruby died of cancer in 1967, so we’ll never know the real story.
Holes in the Theory
First of all, if Ruby killed Oswald to silence him, it means Oswald was part of the mob conspiracy, and there is no evidence of this whatsoever. The apparent impersonation of Oswald in Mexico City was one of the most important events to occur in the weeks leading up to the assassination, but there is nothing that suggests the mob was involved in it. I don’t even need to address the claims made by James Files because they are obviously nonsense.