Oswald and Ruby Phone Records – RFK, Jr. Got It Right
By William E. Kelly, Jr.
Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. set off a firestorm of media and critical reaction after being interviewed in a public program at the Winspear Opera House in
that neither he nor his father believed that a “lone-gunman” killed President
Interviewed by Charlie Rose, Kennedy was also quoted as saying, “…When they examined Jack Ruby and Lee Harvey Oswald’s phone records,…they saw…an inventory of the Mafia leaders that they had been investigating…”
A former aid to Robert F. Kennedy, Paul Schrade, who was wounded in the same barrage of bullets that killed RFK, asked if the tape will be aired or a transcript of it released and they said they are waiting for permission from Kennedy and Charlie Rose.
In the meantime, we are left with the quotes attributed to those who were there in the audience. Rodger Jones, an editorial writer for the Dallas News, in an apparent attempt to put the complete interview in context, wrote:
“RFK Jr.’s assassination narrative began with an anecdote about his dad seeing New Orleans DA Jim Garrison’s photo on a newsstand and asking an aide if there was anything to Garrison’s theories about the
in his brother’s killing. RFK Jr. said his dad was told that Garrison was on to
something, but ‘the specifics of Garrison’s investigation went on the wrong
track, but he thought there was a link …’ Kennedy said his dad put
investigators on it. When they examined Jack Ruby and Lee Harvey Oswald’s phone
records,… they saw what was essentially ‘an inventory of the Mafia leaders that
they had been investigating for the past two years at the Justice Department.” Cuba
In response Jean Davison, and others, including Gary Mack and John McAdams, have questioned Kennedy’s facts, evidence and reasoning. While Mack said he believes that Betsy Lewis’ version of the Opera House event is better (See: Dallas Observer, Jan. 12; “Not Even Charlie Rose Could Rein in RFK, Jr. in Dallas Last Night”) and McAdams calls Kennedy a “crackpot” for his silly beliefs other subjects, Davison gives a more reasoned response. As the author of the book “Oswald’s Game,” which attempts to portray Oswald as the lone assassin, she is known as a meticulous researcher and accurate writer, but one who comes to an unpopular and wrong conclusion concerning Oswald’s singular guilt.
Davison correctly notes: “This stood out to me: ‘...phone records of Oswald ... 'were like an inventory' of mafia leaders...’ Of course,…Oswald had no phone records since he never had a phone. Anyone can believe in a conspiracy, but where is the evidence? If Robert Kennedy ‘had investigators do research into the assassination,’ are Ruby's phone records (or Oswald's nonexistent ones) really the best they could come up with?...belief isn't evidence, is it?”
Belief isn’t evidence, but telephone records are evidence, hard evidence that can be introduced in a court of law, and the fact there are no telephone records of the alleged assassin of the President certainly supports the contention that the Warren Commission investigation was, in Kennedy’s words, “a shoddy piece of craftsmanship.”
While the phone records aren’t the best evidence of conspiracy and Oswald may not have had his own telephone, he certainly did make telephone calls, including suspicious calls worthy of further examination, and there is substantial documentation to support this.
And we do have Jack Ruby’s extensive telephone records that clearly show in the weeks leading up to the assassination he made phone calls to a number of mobsters, some of whom were being actively investigated by Robert F. Kennedy’s Justice Department.
As for Oswald, in late April 1963, Ruth Paine drove him to the
bus terminal where he
caught a bus to his hometown, Dallas .
Once there, Oswald called his uncle Charles “Dutz” Murret, who lent him money
and offered to assist him in relocating his family. New Orleans
According to the House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA), “Oswald's uncle, Charles Murret (commonly known as "Dutz") had for some time been involved in the
gambling circles. The committee established
that he was associated with organized crime figures there, having worked for
years in an underworld gambling syndicate affiliated with the Carlos Marcello
crime family….the committee first received information relating to Charles
Murret's underworld involvement from a former prosecution witness against
Teamster leader James R. Hoffa,…” New
At the time both Carlos Marcello and Jimmy Hoffa were subjects of RFK’s Justice Department investigations and both were prosecuted in Federal courts.
When Oswald was arrested in
after getting into a street scuffle with
anti-Castro Cuban members of the Student Revolutionary Directorate ( New
he called his uncle Dutz and he was bailed out by Emile Bruneau, an associate
of Nofilo Pecora, who also had telephone conversations with Jack Ruby.
Oswald also made other telephone calls that were of investigative interest. He reportedly called
radio talk show host Long John Nebel and a New York City
radio program, to talk about Cuban matters. Florida
1963, after leaving ,
ostensibly for New Orleans , Oswald
placed a phone call to Horace Twiford, a longshoreman and official of the Texas
Socialist Labor Party in Mexico City . Later
that week someone impersonating Oswald twice called the Russian Embassy in Houston , but tape recordings of that call, which later
disappeared, were heard by FBI agents familiar with Oswald’s voice and they
claimed it wasn’t him. Mexico
Oswald lived for a week at the home of Mary Bledsoe, whose telephone we know he
used because she complained that she didn’t like the fact “Oswald talked on the
phone in a foreign language.” Dallas
1963 Ruth Paine called Oswald’s rooming house in Oak Cliff and a
few days later Oswald called
at Mrs. Paine’s home from the rooming house, but you will not find any phone
records of Mrs. Bledsoe’s home or the Oak Cliff rooming house among the records
of the Warren Commission. Marina
After Oswald began working at the Texas School Book Depository (TSBD) a secretary there said that Oswald once received a long distance person to person phone call and that he often asked for change to make phone calls from the pay phone on the first floor. TSBD foreman William Shelley said he saw Oswald between and on November 22, standing next to that telephone, as if waiting for a call.
Once arrested, from the Dallas City Jail, Oswald made a number of telephone calls, at least two to Mrs. Paine’s home in Irving, one to
attorney John Abt, and a call that lasted a long
time to a yet unidentified party. He also tried to call a mysterious John Hurt
York , but did not
get through to him. North Carolina
The Warren Commission, despite conducting a shoddy investigation, did collect Jack Ruby’s telephone records as well as the phone records of some of his associates, which proved to be of investigative significance.
The HSCA reviewed Ruby’s phone records more closely and investigators noticed a pronounced spike in the increase in Ruby’s calls in the days and weeks leading up to the assassination. “A chronological consolidation of the telephone calls made by Ruby from the five separate business and home telephones he used uncovered a significant increase in the number of calls made in October and November 1963. The average number lept from around 25 to 35 in the months of May through September to approximately 75 in October and approximately 96 during the first 3 1/2 weeks of November.”
Many of these calls were to or received from known mobsters and union racketeers, some of whom were being investigated by RFK’s Justice Department, including Barney Barker, Dusty Miller, Lenny Patrick, Dave Yaras, Lewis McWillie, Irwin S. Weiner and Nofio Pecora.
Barney Barker was a boxer, ex-convict and “one of Hoffa’s best known associates during the McClellan Committee investigation,” when RFK was the chief counsel to that committee which “detailed Baker’s role as Hoffa’s personal liaison to various Mafia figures, as well as to a number of well-known syndicate executioners.” As counsel to the committee RFK noted that, “sometimes the mere threat of [Baker’s] presence in a room was enough to silence the men who would otherwise have opposed Hoffa’s reign.”
Dusty Miller was another Hoffa assistant and head of the Teamster’s southern conference, while Lenny Patrick was “one of the Chicago Mafia’s leading assassins and was responsible, according to Federal and State law enforcement files, for the murders of over a dozen victims of the mob.” Patrick was a capo under
Sam Giancana. Chicago
Dave Yaras, like Patrick, was a childhood friend of Ruby from his old Chicago neighborhood, and “was overheard in a 1962 electronic surveillance discussing various underworld murder contracts he had carried out and one he had only recently been assigned.”
Lewis McWillie moved from
Irwin Weiner was a
bail bondsman and close associate of Hoffa and Giancana and was described by
Jack Anderson as “the underworld’s major financial figure in the Chicago Midwest.”
Pecora was a Carlos Marcello associate whose friend Emile Bruneau bailed Oswald out of jail when he was arrested with the Cubans.
So Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. was correct in stating that both Oswald and Ruby, - especially Ruby, did make telephone calls of investigative significance to mobsters that Robert F. Kennedy, as Attorney General, would have recognized as suspects under investigation.
In reporting on RFK Jr.’s remarks about the assassination, ABC News quoted historian
Robert Dallek as saying the assassination has been “investigated, re-investigated, investigated again and again and no one’s ever come up with highly credible evidence” to contradict the theory that Oswald acted alone.
Well there certainly is highly credible evidence that Oswald did not act alone, whatever it is you believe he did, and the telephone records of both Oswald and Ruby do indicate that both men were connected, at least by telephone, to mobsters who were being investigated by RFK’s Justice Department, just as Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. said in
This is not to say that organized crime and these mobsters were responsible for murdering the president. As Kennedy is also quoted as saying, “I think my father was fairly convinced at the end of that that there had been involvement by somebody …”
When Rose interrupted him to ask, “Organized crime, Cubans …?” Kennedy responded, “Or rogue
What is significant is that despite the JFK Act of 1992 ordering the release of all the government records, the
has continued to withhold many assassination records for reasons of national
security, belying the contention that the murder of the president is ancient
history or no longer relevant.
It isn’t a matter of debating who killed the president, or blaming anyone, credible evidence indicates Oswald alone was not responsible, many outstanding questions have yet to be answered, records are still being held secret by the government, the case is not closed, and the judicial system should at least make the attempt to answer those questions and bring legal resolution to an unsolved homicide.
[William E. Kelly, Jr. is a freelance journalist from Browns Mills,
, who writes
JFKcountercoup.blogspot.com. He can be reached at Bkjfk3@yahoo.com ] New Jersey