The Strange Case of Roderick A. MacKenzie, III – Joan d’Arc – July 14, 2012
In volume one of Paranoia: The Conspiracy Reader, I discussed the JFK assassination with Roderick A. MacKenzie III, who claims to have been associated with the Chicago mafia and Defense Intelligence Security Command (DISC) in Dallas in the year 1963. In that exclusive interview, MacKenzie claimed he was closely associated with Lyndon Johnson’s personal “hitman,” Malcolm (“Mac”) Wallace.
He further claimed that Wallace told him, while in a drunken stupor the day after the hit, the names of the persons on four hit teams situated in Dealey Plaza on November 22, 1963. But first, a recap. Who is MacKenzie?
Roderick A. MacKenzie, III is the author of a book called The Men That Don’t Fit In: The Factual History of a Rogue’s Life, From 1934 to 1967 (self-published, 2009). Now 75 years old, MacKenzie grew up at his uncle John T. Benson’s circus, Benson’s Wild Animal Farm, in Hudson, New Hampshire. Later, he got himself into a little trouble in high school, and his parents suggested he join the Army.
After serving in Korea, MacKenzie ended up in Cuba, where he was sent by a man named “Abe” to train at the Defense Intelligence Agency’s “Flaps and Seals” school, at Fort Detrick, Maryland, in the art of making false IDs. MacKenzie had invented a suitcase system, which he describes as a “complete ID factory,” and was already quite talented at this vocation prior to the DIA’s training.
MacKenzie claims he attended meetings in Louisiana, Alabama, and Texas in 1961, on how to hit Castro and his generals. “These meetings were not secret, though they did have to debug the rooms,” he writes. In attendance at these meetings, he claims, were: Frank Sturgis, Felix Rodriguez, Guy Banister, David Ferrie, Clay Bertram (Shaw), Charles Rogers, Eugene Hale Braden (Brading), Mac Wallace, and others.
On the other hand, MacKenzie also reports that Chicago Mobster Johnny Roselli believed the plots against Castro were “all bullshit, that the Mob wanted Castro to stay alive; while they were in bed with the alphabet agencies, they had a stay-out-of-jail card.”
According to The Men That Don’t Fit In, MacKenzie first arrived in Dallas in April of 1963, after a long ride from Houston in a car driven by David Ferrie. In the passenger seat was a “fag Cuban guy,” and in the backseat with MacKenzie was hitman “Charles Rogers” (aka Richard Montoya), who was “playing Cuban.”
Although Rogers didn’t speak much, MacKenzie had noticed on previous trips with this “accomplished pilot” that there was “a sick and very bad aura around this little man.” MacKenzie had the sense that Ferrie and the Cuban were high on speed, which was widely used at that time, as they were talking a mile a minute. MacKenzie notes, “Being stuck in the backseat of this gunboat Cadillac for hours was not a fun thing.”
MacKenzie had been first introduced to Ferrie in New Orleans in 1961 – along with “Clay Bertram” (Clay Shaw) and Guy Banister – at the Katzenjammer Bar, where these three men were very “buddy buddy.” He says Carlos Marcello used Ferrie to transfer orders between mafia and government personnel.
On his arrival in Dallas in April of 1963, MacKenzie was given a room at the Cabana Motel, with instructions that he was to meet a man in the Egyptian Lounge who, with the help of a Hawaiian shirt with a banana leaf pattern, “would know me, but I would not know him.” This man, who apparently was wearing a similar shirt, turned out to be Mac Wallace.
Wallace offered MacKenzie a shot from his personal flask of Wild Turkey. They began drinking and talking about Cuba, and their fear of the “Reds” taking over the U.S. The “Communist” Kennedys may also have been mentioned, says MacKenzie. “We were all pissed at that administration, and the fact that we had been soldiers in the Cuban mess, from the start, made easy alliances between people that never would have mixed otherwise.”
After the terrible ride from Houston, MacKenzie was relieved to talk to “a radical but pretty smart and levelheaded guy,” though he notes he had the “eye of a killer.” Wallace spoke proudly of his affiliation with Lyndon Johnson. He gave MacKenzie a Texas Rangers state police identification card as his first job.
Later that day, MacKenzie also met his “handler,” Jake Miranda. “He was Defense Intelligence Agency, and said so,” claims MacKenzie. “I also got the feeling (and I was right) that he was a ‘connected’ mob guy, as was Ruby, who broadcasted his Chicago connections all over the place.”
Later in his book, MacKenzie claims he learned through Miranda that they all worked for DISC. He also claims he learned that Mac Wallace worked for the Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI). As he also saw later, at the shooting range, Wallace was “a hell of a shot.”
On the same day in April of 1963, Miranda took MacKenzie to Jack Ruby’s Carousel Club, a favorite hangout of the Dallas Police Department, where he met Officer J.D. Tippit, who was to show him a safehouse he was to run on Holland Avenue (south of Oaklawn Avenue).
He also met Ruby on the same occasion, and Ruby gave him the name of Dr. Robert Sparkman, whom he could call about a job as a surgical nurse at Baylor Hospital. (MacKenzie had attended Faulkner School of Nursing in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts after service on the G.I. Bill.)
In the future, MacKenzie would learn to stay away from Ruby’s Carousel Club as much as possible, and to steer clear of Ruby. He had been warned even before he met Ruby to keep a distance. In Chicago, mob lord Sam Giancana had stated words to the effect that, “that asshole is down there for a reason, and it’s not for a vacation.”
Chicago mobster Johnny Roselli told MacKenzie that Ruby was the Chicago mob’s man in Dallas, a “trusted employee, but dangerous.” MacKenzie says he had also been warned by J.D. Tippit that Ruby was “a switch-hitter, who liked guys as much as girls.”
MacKenzie saw Lee Oswald in Dallas frequently during this time, and in the company of Jack Ruby at least twice. He also learned, through later “pillow talk” with exotic dancers like Jada Conforto, a stripper at the Sho-Bar, that Oswald was “queer” and was Ruby’s lover, and that he was some sort of agent, “probably ONI.”
According to Michael Benson in Who’s Who in the JFK Assassination, several witnesses had seen Oswald and Ruby drinking together at the Carousel Club a week before the assassination.
Later the same evening in April of 1963, Officer Tippit returned MacKenzie to the Egyptian Lounge, where he told him he’d pick him up in the morning. A police cruiser pulled up in the morning to shuttle MacKenzie and his belongings to his new home on Holland Avenue, a house with a converted garage that contained a small personal apartment.
Tippit also gave him the keys to the 1950 Ford Coupe parked in the driveway. The Alabama registration was already in MacKenzie’s name, although he later found out it was a “good fake.”
Officer J.D. Tippit was known by his fellow officers to resemble President Kennedy – so much in fact that his nickname reportedly was “JFK.” In 2009, I asked MacKenzie whether, in his opinion, Officer Tippit resembled John F. Kennedy. Following is his response:
No, I didn’t see much resemblance between JFK and Tippit. Tippit had a square face, a shorter neck, and sort of a Neanderthal look – a heavy brow and set jaw. He did not look as tall as Kennedy. His legs were shorter, and his body trunk seemed sort of stretched, to a very muscular set of shoulders and chest. He had no hips, so to speak. He liked to laugh, when in his own environment, and he liked dirty jokes. I have no idea as to what happened over by the theater, but I have no doubt that something other than what took place was planned, and went very wrong. Probably, Oswald was to be killed, but I don’t think it was by Tippit.
John Roselli, born Filippo Sacco in Italy (July 4, 1905), worked for Al Capone in the 1920s. He was a mob boss in Las Vegas, and was associated with both Meyer Lansky and Santos Trafficante. By his own admission, he was involved in the CIA plan to assassinate Fidel Castro in Cuba.
Although the public knew nothing about it, according to Peter Dale Scott’s report entitled, “The Inspector General’s Report: An Introduction,” the “CIA-underworld collaboration was an established and continuing mode of operation going back to the suppression of Sicilian and French communism after World War II.”
In 1975, Roselli testified to the Church Committee, chaired by Senator Frank Church (officially the “U.S. Select Committee to Study Government Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities”), that the mob and the CIA together had attempted to kill Castro during the early 1960s. Roselli claimed the CIA hit team had been turned against Kennedy.
In 1976, the Committee recalled Roselli to testify again, but he never made it. He left his home in Florida to play golf, and never arrived at the golf course. His busted body was found floating in a drum, and the hit was blamed on Santos Trafficante.
In a September 1976 interview with Jack Anderson just before his murder, Roselli stated: “When Oswald was picked up, the underworld conspirators feared he would crack and disclose information that might lead to them. This almost certainly would have brought a massive U.S. crackdown on the mafia. So, Jack Ruby was ordered to eliminate Oswald.”
According to MacKenzie, his contacts for the safehouse were: the mob, DISC, FBI Division Five (through Reverend Bowen), Chauncey Holt (later known as one of the “Three Tramps”) and Officer J.D. Tippit (on a few occasions). MacKenzie was told by Jake Miranda (DISC agent) that there were a couple of other safehouses in Dallas, but he never figured out where they were.
In addition, says MacKenzie, some people used their homes as safehouses for the mob and intelligence agencies, and some safehouses were run by the Dallas Police Department. Tammi True, a stripper at Ruby’s Carousel, reportedly took in covert cohorts regularly. It is not known where her house was located. At least one safehouse was located in the Oak Cliff area where Officer J.D. Tippit was killed.
MacKenzie’s first clients at the safehouse were three men brought in by “a very sleazy preacher known as Albert Osborne,” who later called himself Reverend Bowen. John Howard Bowen was a Nazi who posed as a preacher for the American Council of Christian Churches’ (ACCC) “mission” in Mexico. MacKenzie claims he had first met Osborne in New Orleans at Guy Banister’s 544 Camp Street address.
The three men Bowen brought in were either French or Corsican, and stayed at the safehouse for four days. They never left the place, as far as he knew. He later found out they had just made a hit in Michigan, and were cooling off before returning to a place run by the ACCC. MacKenzie states, this group “ran hit squads all over the world, from somewhere south of Mexico City.”
According to Nomenclature of an Assassination Cabal by William Torbitt (aka “The Torbitt Document”), Albert Osborne (Bowen) was a Nazi sympathizer who opposed U.S. war with Germany and had a following of young fascists in rural Tennessee. He began operating a Nazi “black shirt group” known as the “Campfire Council” in 1942.
As Torbitt explains, the Campfire Council was sponsored by an “espionage cover group, the American Council of Christian Churches.” In 1943, Bowen began supervising a “nest of professional assassins” for the ACCC.
According to Torbitt, Albert Osborne’s ACCC and Division Five of the FBI “obtained the world’s best Mexican riflemen through the offices of Double-Chek Corporation, an American based subsidiary of Permindex.” These assassination squads were made up of anti-communist Cubans who had sought political asylum in Mexico after Castro’s communist coup.
Permindex was described by Torbitt as an FBI and CIA-funded Swiss corporation, also funded by Centro Mondiale Comerciale (World Trade Center Corporation), which moved from Rome to Johannesburg, South Africa, in 1962. MacKenzie claims he and everyone he knew was paid by “Permindex bucks.”
According to Torbitt, among those on the JFK assassination hit team were professional assassins from Mexico, who “blended in well with some of the anti-Castro Cubans under the direction of the Free Cuba Committee, with members in Mexico City, Dallas, New Orleans, Montreal, Miami, Chicago, Kansas City, and Los Angeles.”
The expert shooters from Mexico were selected from 25 to 30 of the most proficient marksmen in the world. The group had been “used by espionage agencies of the U.S. and various countries all over the world for political killings over the past 25 years.”
The above document was sent to me by Roderick A. MacKenzie, torn up in pieces and wrapped in wax paper. I taped it together. The original has been sent to Baylor University Archives in Waco, Texas for safekeeping and research, along with the writings and documents of Roderick A. MacKenzie.
The Pepsi-Cola Convention
According to Roderick MacKenzie, the Holland Avenue safehouse grew a lot busier in August and September of 1963. He did not know who the clients were at the time. The month of October was quiet, but there was “not one night without a client from November 5 through November 23.”
On November 16, 1963 MacKenzie was asked to move out of his apartment and into a room at the Cabana Motel. He went by the safehouse daily to clean, and it “looked like a war room for an Army.” The place was littered with maps of Cuba, Houston, Dallas and Fort Worth, and the southwestern United States and Gulf of Mexico area. He assumed there was a Castro hit coming down. He never gave a thought to it being a hit on the President, and, in fact, he claims, no one at that time and on his level even knew Kennedy was coming to Dallas.
Around the time of the Pepsi Convention on November 21, MacKenzie says his telephone conversations with Johnny Roselli increased, and he had several personal meetings with Roselli and Jake Miranda at Miranda’s bar.
At this time, he was informed by Roselli that the “cleaners” would hit the safehouse on the 22nd, and he was told to stay away. The cleaners, MacKenzie explains, “are sent into a situation when it has to be wiped clean of any past, and as often as not, those involved in the past of the operation are terminated as well.” He began to get nervous.
On the night of November 21, the Cabana Motel was full, and MacKenzie recalls seeing a lot of old faces. It was “old-time week as far as the revolting revolutionaries, mob-connected guys, and politicos went,” he writes. “It seems that someone, somewhere had called a convention other than the Pepsi one, and invited every gypsy, tramp, mobster, and politician available to come.”
Adding to the stress of hearing that the “cleaners” would be coming to the safehouse, Roselli and Miranda called a meeting at Baylor Hospital Cafeteria on Gaston Avenue for 11:00 a.m. the next morning, November 22.
The night of the 21st was a very busy night at both the Cabana Motel and the Egyptian Lounge. It was a noisy night too, says MacKenzie, with many Spanish-speaking people hanging around in the parking lot. That night, MacKenzie couldn’t sleep, and wrote several letters to his frequent penpals, among them, Sam Giancana, Del Graham, and Mitch Werbelle.
He turned off his lamp several times to peer out the window. He saw Frank Sturgis go out and come back with a case of Pearl beer, a popular local beer at the time.
The next time he looked, MacKenzie saw Richard Nixon climbing out of a stretch limo. He figured it was a meeting of Nixon’s group, Operation 40 – a CIA-sponsored operation created by Eisenhower, which included Frank Sturgis, Felix Rodriguez, Eladio del Valle, Raphael “Chi Chi” Quintero, and other anti-Castro revolutionaries associated with the JFK assassination.
Nixon was “the father of that bunch,” MacKenzie writes. According to MacKenzie, Nixon entered the room next-door to his at the Cabana, and stayed about a half-hour. He then heard someone outside mention the Adolphus Hotel as the limo took off.
Operation 40 was a CIA undercover operation created by President Dwight D. Eisenhower in March 1960, and was presided over by Vice-President Richard Nixon. The group included Frank Sturgis (who would later become one of the Watergate burglars); Felix Rodriguez (a CIA officer who later was involved in the capture and summary execution of Che Guevara); Luis Posada Carriles (held in the U.S. in 2010 on charges of illegal immigration); Orlando Bosch (founder of the counterrevolutionary Coordination of United Revolutionary Organizations, which organized the 1976 murder of Chilean former minister Orlando Letelier); Rafael Quintero; Virgilio Paz Romero; Pedro Luis Diaz Lanz; Bernard Barker; Porter Goss; and Barry Seal.
MacKenzie was told that there was a big deal being worked out as to “how Pepsi could get their sugar costs down now that Fidel was El Politico boss in Cuba,” and there would be a bunch of people in the safehouse and at the Cabana for the Pepsi convention.
Staying in the Cabana Motel, in the very next room at the same time as MacKenzie, was the noted hit-woman, Ruth Ann Martinez. “Later, she moved into the same room with Frank Sturgis and his girlfriend,” MacKenzie writes. Although she was “cordial and sexy,” Martinez was not overly friendly, as her business was “refined killings.”
Frank Sturgis’s girlfriend was Marita Lorenz, who had been Fidel Castro’s mistress while still a teenager. During a visit to Havana with her parents, the young woman had been recruited by Castro to be his “secretary,” but she was a kept woman, never allowed out of Castro’s private suite at the Havana Hilton. In fact, Castro had reportedly sent his men to fetch the teen from her New York apartment, and he raped her on her first night in Havana.
Lorenz was recruited into the CIA, in 1959, by agent Frank Fiorini (Sturgis), who had aided Lorenz’s escape by posing as a Cuban guard. She returned to Miami, but was later convinced by Sturgis to go back to Cuba on two secret CIA missions: first, to steal papers and maps from Castro’s Hilton room, which she accomplished unbeknownst to Castro; and, second, to kill Castro with poison capsules, which (infamously) disintegrated in a jar of cold cream.
According to Lorenz, in her deposition for attorney Mark Lane’s defense of the “Liberty Lobby” in January 1985, she stayed in a “Dallas motel” on November 21, 1963 with an assassination squad, with whom she had driven from Miami a few days before. The members were part of Operation 40, she told The New York Daily News on November 3, 1977, “a secret guerilla group originally formed by the CIA in 1960 for the Bay of Pigs invasion.”
The group included about thirty anti-Castro Cubans and their American advisors. Lorenz claimed she had first met Oswald at an Operation 40 guerrilla training camp in a South American country circa 1961-1962, and that she knew him as “Ozzie.”
The next time she saw Ozzie, Lorenz stated, was at the home of the Cuban terrorist, Orlando Bosch. In his book, The Last Investigation, Gaeton Fonzi described Lorenz’s story in detail. She claimed that about a month prior to November 22, 1963, she met with this anti-Castro group at Bosch’s home in Miami.
She claimed the others at the meeting were Sturgis, Ozzie, and other Cubans. She said the group studied Dallas street maps. Lorenz claims she was under the impression we were to “take another armory.”
According to Lorenz, at this meeting, Sturgis spoke the word “Kennedy” aloud to Bosch, and she replied, “What about him?” That was when “Ozzie started a dispute with Frank and Bosch about my presence,” Lorenz claimed, to which she retorted, “Who needs this hostile, slimy bastard?” When Lorenz attempted to leave, she claimed, Sturgis spoke to them on her behalf.
The group Lorenz claimed she traveled with, from Miami to Dallas (for the JFK hit), included Frank Sturgis, Gerry Patrick Hemming, Orlando Bosch, Pedro Diaz Lanz, Guillermo Novo, Ignacio Novo, and Lee Oswald. It has been argued, however, that this could not have been the “real Oswald,” since he was employed at the TSBD at this time.
In addition, a fellow employee claims to have driven Lee Oswald to work on Friday, November 21, 1963, picking him up at Ruth Paine’s house in Irving, Texas, after he stayed the night with Marina. However, it’s possible that this was one of the infamous Oswald doubles.
According to Lorenz, on the first night at the motel, Sturgis waited for a “member” named Ruby, and spoke to him in the parking lot. Ruby seemed surprised at Lorenz’s presence. She claims she later asked Sturgis, “Where’d you get that mafia punk?” Sturgis replied, “You make me nervous. I have made a mistake; this is too big. I want you to go back to Miami.”
After a visit by E. Howard Hunt (known as “Eduardo”), who delivered a package containing cash, Sturgis and Bosch drove her to the airport.
Lorenz later claimed, “I had a feeling that Frank’s group was in Texas to kill somebody, because of the secrecy of the whole thing. Never in a million years did I put two and two together, as to what they were up to.”
Reportedly, Sturgis said to her a few days later, “You should have stayed. It was safe. Everything was covered in advance. No arrests, no real newspaper investigation. It was all covered – very professional.”
This interesting story might explain Rod MacKenzie’s claim that Ruth Ann Martinez later moved from her motel room into the same room with Frank Sturgis “and his girlfriend.” One wonders whether, perhaps, Martinez moved in with Sturgis after Lorenz left, taking her place in the crowded motel room, where Lorenz claimed they had slept four to a room.
In her book, entitled Marita, Lorenz claimed she didn’t like the secrecy of the mission and became “disgusted” with what was going on. A Vanity Fair story later proclaimed she had been unwittingly involved in the JFK assassination.
It is important to note that JFK researchers and investigators have refuted much of Lorenz’s testimony. Among their arguments is that Lee Oswald was in the Soviet Union from September 1959 until June 1962, and couldn’t have been at the guerilla meetings as she claimed.
Gaeton Fonzi of the House Select Committee considered her testimony a “diversion,” and worse, Fonzi’s associate, Ed Lopez, stated Lorenz “gave us so much crap; we tried to verify it, but let me tell you, she is full of shit.”
On the other hand, it has been noted that “Oswald” was seen in many places at the same time, which has led researchers to presume there was more than one “Oswald.” If so, which one did Lorenz meet, and did this obvious fact go over the heads of the House Select Committee?
Many researchers believe Marita Lorenz’s admissions in the newspaper story of 1977 served as a “limited hangout,” which is spy jargon for a phony cover story that plants disinformation while withholding the most damaging facts. Notwithstanding this accusation, it is true that Lorenz feared for her life in the aftermath of this news exposé, and had taken to answering the door of her Miami home with a shotgun in hand.
In addition, her 13-year old daughter was apprehended with a .22 revolver in the bushes in front of the house. The reader might take a wild guess at who it was they were afraid of – indeed, Frank Sturgis was arrested in her home after going there to “talk.”
The Alibi: Baylor Cafeteria
On the morning of November 22, 1963, Rod MacKenzie went to the safehouse, even though he had been advised not to go there, and saw two cars in the driveway (one with D.C. diplomatic plates), so he did not go in. MacKenzie claims he was a bit “put off” that he had to attend the meeting at the Baylor Hospital cafeteria rather than going to the presidential parade.
When he got to the cafeteria, Roselli and Miranda seemed to be in a serious mood. There was small talk for about an hour over sandwiches, about Castro, sugar prices, etc. Then came the business. After the cleaners did their thing at the house, MacKenzie was told, he could move back in on November 25. “The phone would be changed and all signs of its past use would no longer exist.” That was the good news. He was also informed he was to be “used” for something, but they were vague.
According to MacKenzie, at about 11:45 a.m., John Roselli went to make a phone call on the pay phone near the cafeteria. He returned to ask MacKenzie if he had “been sure to deliver the ID and pilots’ papers to Chauncey Holt that morning.” He assured Roselli he had done so the day before. (Problematically, MacKenzie claims he made the false IDs and delivered them to Holt, while Holt claims he made them.)
Also, Holt claims he did not arrive in Dallas until the morning of Nov. 22nd, not the 21st. Roselli went back to the phone and returned at about 12:40 “visibly shaken.” The JFK hit occurred at about 12:30, and JFK’s limo arrived at Parkland Hospital at 12:38. MacKenzie claims he still knew nothing about the hit, and nothing was mentioned. He was told to report to Miranda the next day for orders.
Thus, when the JFK hit went down, MacKenzie claims, he was in the Baylor cafeteria with John Roselli and Jake Miranda. A perfect alibi for Roselli. Only Roselli didn’t and perhaps couldn’t use that alibi. Rather, Roselli testified to the Church Committee that he was in his apartment in Las Vegas that morning. In a preposterous claim, Roselli said he had fired a shot from a storm drain located on Elm Street.
James Files, the self-proclaimed “grassy knoll shooter,” claims Roselli was in the Dal-Tex Building with Chuck Nicoletti. CIA pilot Tosh Plumlee says Roselli was with him in an attempt to “abort” the JFK assassination. And strangely, now, after all these years, MacKenzie claims he was with Roselli in the cafeteria of Baylor Hospital.
Of course, Roselli couldn’t admit that he had been with a DISC agent and a Dallas safehouse-keeper, since it would have disclosed a top-level government conspiracy.
When MacKenzie returned to Holland Avenue as instructed on the 25th, there was no trace of the old safehouse or his old apartment. The wall structure and plumbing were entirely new. “From the moment I was enlightened that there had been shots fired at the president, I knew we were somehow involved. I also felt the paranoia that comes from such fears. My days were possibly numbered. Hell, a lot of people were ‘cleaned’ because they had slight knowledge outside of their boxes. It was a scary time.”
MacKenzie wonders how he missed all the cues: the anti-Kennedy leaflets dropped by plane all over Dallas and Fort Worth by the Hunt family, stating that Kennedy was a traitor; the Operation 40 revolutionaries who met at the hotel the night before; the “political and filthy rich crowd that had their own mob; nothing went on in Texas without them giving the nod for it to succeed.”
On November 23, MacKenzie was told by Jake Miranda to put in his notice at Baylor Hospital and apply for a job at Parkland operating room as a scrub nurse. He was told it was all set up. He was to stay at Baylor for one week and transfer to Parkland. “I was to start making reports of any talk I could hear on the killing of the president, and so on, to Jake, nightly, as soon as I started at Parkland. I was pretty shaken. However, Jake assured me that we were the good guys and had nothing to do with the hit. I was very suspicious.”
When he arrived at Baylor to give notice, the head nurse in the O.R. already knew he was leaving, and everything was all set for his transfer to Parkland. He believes that if Kennedy had been brought to Baylor when he was a surgical nurse on the second shift rather than to Parkland Hospital, he would have had “different duties to my masters that day or evening, which is not a comforting speculation even today. Such knowledge stagnating within me over the years does have an effect.”
On November 23, MacKenzie showed up at Jake Miranda’s bar as instructed. At the bar was a very bombed Mac Wallace. Miranda suggested that MacKenzie take him out somewhere, and MacKenzie followed orders, taking him to a Fort Worth motel bar where Wallace proceeded to talk about the assassination. He claims, “Mac drained his silver flask and got more talkative on that ‘bastard Kennedy.’ Mac was talking of the hit like I was in on the damn thing. I had no inkling of what had gone down until that time.”
Although the MacKenzie/Wallace “hit list” does have many close matches as far as persons now known to be involved in the hit, there are many discrepancies with other accounts as to the particular locations.
Let’s look at the list of hit teams and see how it fits in with what researchers know, or suspect they know, about the JFK assassination after nearly fifty years of study. While it’s outside of the scope of this article to discuss each of the persons alleged by Mac Wallace or Rod MacKenzie to have been involved in the hit teams, quite a few of the people on this list are known or suspected to be associated.
(I was unable to document anything on Cliff Carter, George Reese, Clyde Foust, John Ernst, Jack Grimm, and Joseph P. Dugan, but will leave these names for another time or another researcher.)
Roger Craig was a Deputy Sheriff in Dallas, and one of the police officers who rushed to the scene of the JFK assassination and investigated the Grassy Knoll and TSBD. He was a member of a group from County Sheriff James Eric “Bill” Decker’s office that was directed to stand in front of the Sheriff’s office on Main Street (at the corner of Houston) and “take no part whatsoever in the security of that motorcade.”
He witnessed Oswald get into a green Rambler after the shooting. He was interviewed by Attorney Mark Lane and made several claims at odds with the Warren Commission. There were several attempts on his life, the final successful one occurred on May 15, 1975 from a gunshot wound, which was ruled a suicide.
According to Lane: “Since Craig had been telling conspiratorial stories from the very day of the assassination, it’s not clear what additional sinister knowledge he had that conspirators feared. Roger Craig was an unfortunate man in many ways, and he contributed to his own misfortune by telling a variety of ‘interesting’ stories about what he had seen in the wake of the assassination – stories that undermined his credibility as a law enforcement officer.”
Craig claims that he found six spent bullets and a brown paper lunch sack in the TSBD containing leftover chicken. He discusses the Rambler station wagon, the rifle (7.65 Mauser) found in the TSBD, and three bullets that didn’t match the Mauser. Mark Lane stated, “Craig’s testimony destroys the case against Oswald.”
Various testimony of Roger Craig can be found in a search of the Internet. I have no way of verifying Mac Wallace’s claim that Roger Craig was involved in the shooting himself. It is important to be clear that MacKenzie is repeating the hit teams as given to him by Mac Wallace. Obviously Mac Wallace could have been deliberately providing disinformation or was provided disinformation himself, or was simply incredibly drunk.
Included on MacKenzie’s list of the hit teams was Mac Wallace himself, who admitted to being posted on the sixth floor of the TSBD. Recent research affirms this claim. A fingerprint from a carton in the “sniper’s nest” (6th floor window), labeled “unknown” in the National Archives, was definitively identified in 1998 as belonging to Mac Wallace.
On March 9, 1998, A. Nathan Darby, A.L.C.E., a Certified Latent Fingerprint Examiner, and a member of the International Association for Identification, signed a sworn affidavit stating that he found a positive match between the “Unknown print from Carton A and the 1951 print of Mac Wallace.” Many skeptics have tried to refute this information, but it seems to be fairly solid evidence to many JFK researchers.
Many witness reports claimed to see several persons in the windows of the sixth floor of the TSBD. Witness Charles Bronson filmed the building about six minutes before the shooting. According to Robert Groden, this film catches the movements of figures in three of the sixth floor windows: the so-called sniper’s nest and two adjacent windows.
According to a CBS report, “The Warren Report, Part 1,” which aired on June 26, 1967, a witness in Dealey Plaza, Carolyn Walther, claimed to see two men in the window of the sixth floor. She saw “a man with a gun, and there was another man standing to his right.”
Additionally, TSBD employee, Harold Norman, who was watching the motorcade from the fifth floor of the TSBD, claimed he heard the shots coming from the floor above, as well as the empty cartridges hitting the floor. Observers not called by the Warren Commission reported seeing a “dark complected man” in the window, and another witness saw a man with black hair running out the back with a high-powered rifle. Which brings us to another person on the MacKenzie/Wallace hit teams.
Loy Factor is a Chickasaw Indian who confessed to the murder of JFK while in prison. According to the 1995 book and video, The Men on the Sixth Floor, by Mark Collum and Glen Sample, Factor admitted on his deathbed that he was one of three gunmen on the sixth floor of the TSBD. He claimed “a Hispanic woman named Ruth Ann” was the radio operator. According to Factor’s admission, the other two shooters were Mac Wallace and Lee Harvey Oswald.
Factor told the researchers about a “little house that served as the base of operation, the individuals at the house, including the appearance of Jack Ruby and Lee Oswald.” Factor stated that after the shots were fired, everyone but Oswald escaped out the back door of the building (the “north side”), where there was a wooden loading dock, “kind of like a porch.” The investigators wondered how this Indian could possibly otherwise have known that the TSBD had a loading dock on the north side that was later removed.
Loy Factor claimed they did not use the elevator, but went down the stairs and out the back. No one was in the back, since everyone was in front watching the motorcade. Loy and Ruth Ann got into a car and drove away.
In somewhat confusing testimony, Loy Factor claims he and Ruth Ann went one way, and Wallace went another. Ruth Ann took Factor to the bus depot, but later, presumably after Oswald was picked up, Ruth Ann and Wallace returned to the bus depot to drive Factor out of town. Lee Oswald also claimed he went to the bus depot and got on a bus, which got stuck in traffic, so he got off the bus and took a cab.
Witnesses who worked in the TSBD have stated that Oswald was in the lunchroom on the 2nd floor eating his lunch just prior to the shooting, and was in the same lunchroom just minutes after the shooting, when police entered and saw him drinking a Coke. In fact, it seems that Oswald was photographed in the doorway of the TSBD as the procession was going by.
(Could both Oswalds described by John Armstrong, “Harvey” and “Lee,” have been present at the TSBD?)
The person in the doorway not only resembles Oswald’s facial and hairline characteristics, but also is wearing the same denim-style shirt (over a white t-shirt) that he was arrested in a few hours later. He consequently “lost” the shirt during his lineup session, where he was allowed to wear only his t-shirt.
After complaining bitterly, he was finally given a black sweater. One wonders why this shirt was taken away.
District Attorney Jim Garrison believed it was likely Oswald standing in the doorway watching the parade. In an October 1967 Playboy interview, Garrison stated:
As the first shot rang out, Associated Press photographer James Altgens snapped a picture of the motorcade that shows a man with a remarkable resemblance to Lee Harvey Oswald, same hairline, same face shape, standing in the doorway of the Book Depository Building.
Somehow or other, the Warren Commission concluded that this man was actually Billy Nolan Lovelady, an employee of the Depository, who looked very little like Oswald… The Altgens photograph indicates the very real possibility that at the moment Oswald was supposed to have been crouching in the sixth-floor window of the Depository shooting Kennedy, he may actually have been standing outside the front door watching the Presidential motorcade.
Incidentally, Billy Lovelady was wearing a red and white vertical striped shirt that day. Oswald was also noted to be somewhere near the doorway by NBC news correspondent Robert MacNeil, who was riding in the motorcade when shots rang out. MacNeil jumped out of the limo and ran to the TSBD. One must realize that Dealey Plaza is a very small area, and it probably took seconds for him to run to the front entrance of the building.
There he encountered a man at the door, whom he asked where he could find a telephone, and the man pointed inside. MacNeil later identified the man as Oswald. In fact, Oswald also recalled the conversation; according to Dallas Police, a man asked Oswald for a telephone as he was leaving the building. However, no notes of Dallas Police interrogations of Lee Oswald exist or have surfaced.
Dugan and “Dimitri”
The Torbitt Document names a number of DISC agents working under Permindex, including David Ferrie, Clay Shaw, Guy Banister, Sergio Arcacha Smith, and others. It also names a “second layer of participants with supervisory and working assignments” including, among them, Albert Osborne of ACCC, “Dimitri Royster” of ACCC, and “a number of others with limited assignments, informed only enough to carry out the assignments with dispatch.”
MacKenzie claims this is the Dimitri who stayed at his safehouse on Holland Avenue. MacKenzie claims Joe Dugan was with the Irish Republican Army and DISC (based in Muscle Shoals, Alabama and Columbus, Ohio), as was Dave Ferrie, Guy Banister, and others. Dugan had practiced the hit at Sulphur, Louisiana, under Wallace, at Mitch Werbell’s training facility.
In October 2009, I asked Rod MacKenzie what he knew specifically about Chauncey Holt (MacKenzie knows him as “Percy”), a man now suspected to be one of the “Three Tramps.” Following is an excerpt from MacKenzie’s email response:
Percy was the son of circus people and a lot of his relatives were carnival people. He cut his teeth on the family circus, but as far as professionally working a flying trapeze act he never did it. His life was spectacular as it was; he was a damn great pilot on fixed wing aircraft, a contractor for both the FBI and CIA, but he was not a “made man” in the Outfit.
He had relatives that were in the mob, and who used him as everything from a bag-man to a set-up man for other intrigues. He was not a hitman, as far as I know, and knowing him well, I would have heard it from him if he had killed anyone.
Holt also went to the “Flaps and Seals” School at Ft. Detrick, Maryland, but at a later time than I. He was used in the L.A. area at a badge and silk-screening company – the CIA kept the whole upstairs there to do IDs. We worked together on a bunch of things through the years. He was good and very dependable. He was a regular at Del J. Graham’s winter quarters in both Canoga Park and Tarzana, California.
He also did stunt work in a lot of movies at the Spahn Ranch, and was friends with the Mansons and other crazies that squatted at the ranch. It was a very big spread, where western movies had been made from the very beginning.
Del Graham (of the Flying Viennas) had the exclusive on any movie, by anyone, in the U.S. that had a circus setting or any carnie or circus scenes in it. Del’s first was Freaks. Johnny Roselli was “top guy” at the AGVA (American Guild of Variety Artists). We all basked in his benevolence…
Percy was a very good “flat store agent” on carnivals, and many times, we worked the same game. Flats are where the mark is “flat robbed.” It’s the most skilled position on a midway, and the agent gets fifty percent after stock-and-patch split with the owner of the three-stall game (rigged); plus all you can steal off the top before turn-in time.
According to Chauncey Holt in Newsweek, December 23, 1991, “Dallas that day was flooded with all kinds of people who ended up there for some reason. It’s always been my theory that whoever was the architect of this thing – and no one will ever know who was behind it – flooded this area with so many nefarious characters that they’ll never straighten it out.”
MacKenzie claims Mac Wallace told him that Deputy Sheriff Harry Weatherford fired his weapon on November 22. This claim is backed by Jim Gatewood in his book, John F. Kennedy Assassination: A Mafia Conspiracy, who claims Weatherford, supposedly the best shot in the department, was assigned to the top of the County Records Building, to protect the president.
He explains, “When Oswald’s first shot struck Kennedy, Officer Weatherford saw the pigeons fly from the top of the Texas School Book Depository building, but he had no target. When Oswald fired his second shot, Weatherford saw the muzzle flash from the sixth floor window.” Gatewood claims that Weatherford’s shot caused “Oswald’s third shot” to hit the curb on the south side of Elm Street.
Richard Scalzetti (Scalzitti)
In my research on the Internet and in the book, Who’s Who in the JFK Assassination, I discovered that the birth name of Richard Cain was Richard Scalzetti. MacKenzie’s hit list has Richard Cain in the Dal-Tex Building and Richard Scalzetti in the County Records Building. Either Mac Wallace was wrong, or MacKenzie copied wrong. I questioned MacKenzie in June of 2010 on this point, and he responded as follows:
Yes, I realized that some time ago. However, in looking at the notebook I have here that’s the way I took it down that night from Wallace. I wanted to do it as he had told me…
I knew Cain and did know his real name, but that’s the way I copied it down on the scraps of paper that evening at that motel. We were drinking and I very well may have written it down wrong. Let’s face it, I was under stress as I did not want Mac to know what I was up to.
It’s the same with the Corsican. I took it from the scraps of paper the day after the night with Mac. Then I put the contents into the journal I retrieved five years ago, and had not seen that notebook for over thirty some years, until I went and got an old suitcase.
I can only say what I heard Mac say. Then there are the few days after that I waited to copy it in my journal, that’s one copy; then later I copied it to the book. However, on checking with my journal of December 1963, I find it the way I did copy from the bits of paper.
The documentary, The Men Who Killed Kennedy by Nigel Turner, features an interview with imprisoned French mobster, Christian David, who claims three French hitmen from the Corsican Mafia were hired to do the job.
According to David, the three Corsican hitmen were flown from Marseilles to Mexico City, and then were driven across the border to Brownsville, Texas, where they were picked up by representatives of the Chicago mafia. “They were driven to Dallas and put up in a safehouse. They spent several days photographing Dealey Plaza, carefully planning a crossfire.”
Two of these assassins, according to David, were in buildings to the rear of the president, “one high and one low (almost on the horizontal).” It is suggested he meant the Dal-Tex Building.
David was willing to name one of the men, now deceased, as Lucien Sarti. According to David, one hitman was situated on the 6th floor of the TSBD, and another on a lower floor of the Dal-Tex Building. (Rod MacKenzie claims the Dal-Tex team was supposed to be on the roof, but encountered some sort of problem.)
David says Lucien Sarti was positioned on “the little hill with the wooden fence.” Sarti was dressed in some sort of uniform and took only one shot with “an explosive bullet.” According to witnesses, there were at least four shots: three of them came from behind (one hit the curb), and one came from the front. Two shots were nearly simultaneous.
Another hitman MacKenzie mentions is a French Corsican mobster named Michel Victor Mertz (also known as “Jean Souetre” or “Michel Roux”). Mertz was a member of the French Secret Army Organization (OAS), and may have been involved in an assassination attempt on Charles de Gaulle.
According to the research of Mary Ferrell and Gary Shaw, Souetre (or someone using his ID) was arrested in Dallas on November 22, and was immediately deported. In another story, a man using the name Michel Roux entered the U.S. on November 19, 1963, was seen in Fort Worth on the 22nd, and left the country on December 9. According to William Torbitt, Tammi True’s safehouse was in Fort Worth.
MacKenzie claims this man was just one of the Corsicans who stayed in the safehouse on Holland Avenue. Mertz was especially difficult to please, requiring special wines and white shirts. MacKenzie made several IDs for him. MacKenzie claims Mac Wallace told him that Mertz was situated on the roof of the County Records Building.
According to Christian David, the three Corsican hitmen returned to a safehouse and remained for about ten days, and were flown to Montreal. The safehouse MacKenzie claims he ran on Holland Avenue was vacated and “cleaned” on the 22nd. It makes sense that these assassins would not have remained at the same safehouse, but rather were moved to another one, or were moved out of town to a different location. Or, indeed, conveniently deported.
Although the MacKenzie/Wallace “hit list” does have many close matches as far as persons now known to be involved in the hit, there are many discrepancies with other accounts as to where the hitters were situated.
According to MacKenzie, the following group of shooters was supposed to be stationed on top of the Dal-Tex Building, but they had problems getting to the top, and had to take position on a lower floor. Acoustic evidence presented to the House Special Committee on Assassinations (HSCA) in 1978 pinpointed the Dal-Tex Building as a probable source of gunfire.
Eugene Brading (aka Jim Braden) claimed he was in town on “oil business” and was registered at the Cabana Motel on the evening of November 21, 1963 – recalling MacKenzie’s statement, it was certainly “old time week as far as the revolting revolutionaries, mob-connected guys, and politicos went.”
In their book High Treason, Robert Groden and Harrison E. Livingstone write: “The night before the assassination, Jim Braden stayed at the Cabana Motel in Dallas, and Jack Ruby went there around midnight.”
Additionally, in Contract on America, David Scheim writes: “Ruby stopped in at a restaurant in the Teamster-financed Dallas Cabana Hotel. With Ruby was Larry Meyers, who had checked into the Cabana that day, as had mobster Eugene Brading.”
Braden was picked up for questioning in Dealey Plaza immediately following the assassination. In a sworn affidavit, Braden claimed he had been walking down Elm Street when he heard the president had been shot. He stepped into the Dal-Tex Building and asked to use a phone. A receptionist directed him to the third floor. He took an elevator there, only to find the pay phone was out of order.
On his return, the elevator operator called the police. He was taken to the Sheriff’s Office, questioned for three hours, and released. According to witnesses, however, Braden was inside the building at the time the shots were fired. It was later discovered that Braden had legally changed his name, two months prior to the assassination, from Eugene Brading, a parolee with 35 arrests under his belt.
In a 1991 interview with Chauncey Holt, one of the “three tramps” taken into custody in Dallas after the assassination, Holt claimed that while he was in custody of the police, they had caught someone in the Dal-Tex Building and were on the verge of making an arrest of someone, including Jim Braden. He claimed Jim Braden was there. “I didn’t recognize him at first, because he had a hat on with some kind of Texas-style hatband.”
Several witnesses reported gunfire coming from the Dal-Tex Building. The building was sealed off within minutes, and several suspicious persons were allegedly picked up, including a young man dressed in a black leather jacket wearing black gloves. The man was taken to the Sheriff’s Office, but he was not charged, and no record exists.
According to the Torbitt Document, at least seven professional assassins from Bowen’s “missionary” in Mexico were “in firing position” in Dealey Plaza, at least one of them firing from the Dal-Tex Building. Three of the assassins stayed at Tammi True’s house in Fort Worth at Ruby’s request, leaving on the evening of Saturday, November 23.
According to Jim Garrison, one of the three men who stayed with True and her husband was Emilio Santana, who confirmed his firing position from the Dal-Tex Building. Santana also informed Garrison of his close relationships with Jack Ruby, Clay Shaw, and Gordon Novel. He confirmed he had been employed by Clay Shaw, and that Ruby and Shaw had made several trips together, at least one of them to Cuba related to gambling casinos and arms smuggling.
According to Marita Lorenz, Frank Sturgis was one of the gunmen who fired on JFK. If MacKenzie is right, it was from a lower floor of the Dal-Tex Building. This means Sturgis may have been responsible for the first low shot that struck Kennedy’s back. This contradicts Christian David’s claim that the first low shot was fired by a Corsican hitman, though both agree the shot came from the Dal-Tex Building.
Of course, Chi Chi Quintero (of the MacKenzie/Wallace Dal-Tex hit team) was an anti-Castro Cuban, not a Corsican hit man. Either way, other researchers have argued that the low shot came from the second floor of the Dal-Tex Building. In fact, several virtually “horizontal” shots could have come from this building, and at least one of the shots is known to have hit the curb, causing a piece of cement to graze bystander James Tague on the cheek.
In 1976, members of the House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA) visited Cuba and requested help with investigating the assassinations of John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King. Head of Cuban State Security, Fabian Escalante, was tasked with studying the files of revolutionaries and terrorists who had emigrated from Cuba. The final report was sent to the HSCA, but never published. According to Escalante, two Cuban exiles, Eladio del Valle and Herminio Diaz Garcia, were involved in plotting the Kennedy assassination.
General Escalante, who “had eyes everywhere,” has also stated that Kennedy was assassinated by CIA agents from Operation 40, including “Orlando Bosch, Luis Posada Carriles, Antonio Veciana, and Felix Rodriguez Mendigutia.” Escalante also suspected Frank Sturgis and David Morales were part of the conspiracy.
In the documentary, 638 Ways to Kill Castro, Escalante counts up the assassination attempts on Castro. Surprisingly, a total of 638 secret attempts by the CIA on the life of the Cuban President spanned the presidencies of Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Carter, Reagan, Bush, and Clinton.
Shortly following the assassination, Roderick MacKenzie began work as a scrub nurse at the Parkland Hospital operating room, but the security chief soon suspected him of spying and he was asked to leave. By this time, there had already been several suspicious deaths – as MacKenzie puts it, “the cleaners were working overtime” – so it was time to clear out of Dallas. He spoke with Miranda about it, and he gave him the okay.
Using his trusty ID kit, he made himself a Canadian passport under the name “Rorick A. Seaforth” and took a bus to Canada, crossing the border in Idaho. He took another bus to Ottawa, then a plane to London, where he worked for the Bertram Milles Circus as a trapeze artist. He later worked for the Tower Circus in the north near Scotland, and the Boswell Wilkey Circus in South Africa.
Now, nearly fifty years later, there aren’t many JFK assassination witnesses left standing. Roderick A. MacKenzie, by all appearances, appears to be one of them.
Published with the permission of New Saucerian Publishing via Andrew Colvin