Title: “The Beachcomber, the JFK Cold Case Files”

Author: Michael Gering

It was an interesting book, though a challenge. I had a tough time getting through the author’s mixing a beachcomber short story with screenplay characters and regular text throughout the book.

He offers a good history of Cuba in the pre-Castro years. Those were times of prostitution and gambling plus rampant drug use, most of which was being processed in Vietnam. The U.S. mafia was in control and making billions, and Americans ran to this wild playground to spend millions of bucks. When Fidel Castro took over in 1959 he did away with much of this, which did not sit kindly with the mafia.

The Bay of Pigs fiasco planned by the Eisenhower-Nixon administration to rid the country of Castro failed, and, after removing the Russian missiles from Cuba, President John Kennedy made a deal that the U.S. would not invade Cuba. This also did not please the mafia, or the CIA, or the FBI, who all wanted Castro to go. The political and big corporation clandestine meetings and total confusion within the government makes recent politics seem rather calm in perspective. We forget how things were.

The author cites and quotes many other books and opinions as to numerous conspiracies and covert plans. He tells how the big corporations owned and controlled previous presidencies with their big pockets and had their undercover people do any dirty work necessary to further their agendas. JFK didn’t need their money. He had his own, so didn’t cow-tow to them. He worried big business and military industry by planning to back away from Vietnam.

Gering comes to the conclusion that JFK was killed by his own government. There are theories of scheming by the CIA, J. Edgar Hoover and the FBI, Richard Nixon and dozens of officials listed in the assassination plot that were later given posh assignments under the Nixon administration.

He concludes that Lee Harvey Oswald could not have plotted alone, planned diabolical schemes and evaded immediate capture. Oswald was the patsy, and Jack Ruby, working with Meyer Lansky and the mafia, was to get rid of him so he couldn’t talk. It does seem strange that so much evidence has disappeared, and the author cites many who died mysterious deaths in the aftermath of the assassination. There are discrepancies on all levels of investigation, and too many coincidences to think that Oswald acted alone. It may be speculation, but nevertheless, interesting.

The ’60s were a tumultuous decade, with multiple political assassinations, riots and protests. In October of 1963, President Kennedy had initiated withdrawal of 1,000 of the 5,000 troops in Vietnam. After his assassination, Lyndon Johnson built up to 550,000 troops there, while the Texas oil and gas industry had most of the military contracts connected with the conflict.

The book didn’t answer questions. It brought up so many more. The statute of limitations never runs out for murder. It is now 54 years later. Will this cold case ever be solved?

Geno Sloan was raised in Mott, traveled the United States, South America and Mexico during her husband’s career in heavy construction. Love of the prairies won over beaches and tropical breezes for retirement.