William E. Kelly

William E. Kelly

William E. Kelly studied history at the University of Dayton, Ohio. After graduation he became a freelance journalist. Based at Somers Point, New Jersey, he is also a regional historian.

Kelly has written extensively on the assassination of John F. Kennedy. His research has included looking into the activities of the anti-Castro Cubans in America. He has also studied individuals such as John Martino, Jose Rivera, Jim Braden and Adele Edisen.

In 1990 he helped establish the Committee for an Open Archive. He also joined with others, including Peter Dale Scott, John Newman, Jim Lesar, and Dan Alcorn, to establish Coalition On Political Assassination (COPA).

Kelly has also written a history of golf in America, Birth of the Birdie and 300 Years at the Point - A History of Somers Point, N.J. He is currently working on a history of rock & roll at the Jersey Shore.

William Kelly is also the author of two important reviews of the books, Our Man in Mexico (March, 2008) and The Road to Dallas (April, 2008).

Primary Sources

(1) William E. Kelly, A New Oswald Witness Goes Public (1999)

"After we finished eating, he (Dr. Rivera) asked me to do a favor for him when I arrived home," recalls Edisen. Rivera wanted Edisen to contact Winston DeMonsabert, a Loyola faculty member who was leaving New Orleans. Edisen wrote a note to herself: "Winston DeMonsabert call Dr. Rivera when leaving N.O." Then Rivera said to also call Lee Harvey Oswald at 899-4244. "Write down this name: Lee Harvey Oswald. Tell him to kill the chief." Rivera then contradicted himself, saying, "No, no, don't write that down. You will remember it when you get to New Orleans. We're just playing a little joke on him."

Edisen said that she still assumed "the joke" would be on Oswald, whom she thought was a scientist and friend of Rivera's. She thought "the chief" was a reference to Elizabeth Hartman, "the chief" of the grants and awards section of the NIH, whom Rivera had earlier joked about as being like the chief of a reservation "with too many chiefs and not enough Indians."

Edisen remembers Rivera then being "agitated and excited. He began talking strangely about 'it' happening" and drew a diagram on a napkin, almost incoherent and very agitated. "It will be on the fifth floor, there'll be some men up there," he said. Edisen quoted Rivera as saying nonsensical things like, "Oswald was not what he seems. We're going to send him to the library to read about great assassinations in history. After it's over, he'll call Abt to defend him. After it happens, the President's best friend will commit suicide. He'll jump out of a window because of his grief... It will happened after the Shriners' Circus comes to New Orleans. After it's over, the men will be out of the country. Remember, the first time it happens won't be real."

Edisen recalls, "He did not respond to any of my questions about what was to happen, and I became even more concerned and suspicious about his odd behavior and statements. As I entered his car, he asked me to destroy the note I had made and to forget what had just happened. It did not dawn on me that he could have been referring to an assassination of the President - the Chief."

(2) William E. Kelly, Our Man in Mexico (26th March, 2008)

Jefferson Morley’s Our Man in Mexico sets the scene and the tone of the times for one of the puzzling and mysterious jaunts south of the border by any American.

The book is a biography of CIA officer Winston Scott, Mexico City is the scene and the American is Lee Harvey Oswald (LHO), the accused assassin of President Kennedy.

It was Oswald’s September 24 to October 2 1963 sojourn to Mexico City, six weeks before Kennedy was killed that cuts right to the heart of the question of whether the President was killed by a deranged lone nut or a covert pawn in a much more serious and complex scenario.

Morley really wants to address the issue of who was manipulating the accused assassin of the president as well as the group of anti-Castro Cuban students (Student Revolutionary Directorate DRE) Oswald associated with in New Orleans before going to Mexico.

Morley approaches this issue by way of the biography and career of Win Scott, Our CIA Man in Mexico at the time, and through the perspective of Win Scott’s son Michael, who wants to come to understand the secret side of his father’s life.

Michael Scott, whose name is listed on the credits of the popular TV series Unsolved Mysteries, has been seeking the historic truth about his father, much like the sons and daughters of other peripheral figures in the assassination – E. Howard Hunt’s son, Oswald’s daughters and Frank Olson’s son, who were children at the time and have now grown up wondering what really happened.

As much as they can, Morley and Scott have been piecing together their respective stories from what’s in the official files. Michael Scott has been privately seeking the CIA records of his father, especially an autobiographical novel "Foul Foe," while Morley has been seeking the CIA records of George Joannides, the CIA case officer responsible for the DRE students who associated with Oswald in New Orleans in the summer of 1963.

While both Michael Scott and Jeff Morley have been thwarted by CIA lawyers in their pursuit of these records, both have won small victories, Scott obtaining a much redacted version of his father’s autobio novel, and Morley in court, obtaining a judgment to which the CIA must respond (by late April).

(3) William E. Kelly, The Road to Dallas (29th April, 2008)

The road to Dallas, like the road to 9/11, is full of pot holes, pitfalls, dead ends and misdirected sign posts, yet David Kaiser manages to steer a clear course towards his preconceived goal, that President Kennedy was the victim of rogue mobsters and a few Cubans with no direct ties to the CIA.

A well crafted, easy read, David Kaiser's The Road To Dallas - The Assassination of John F. Kennedy (The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, Cambridge and London, 2008) places the assassination in its proper context - within the Cuba, mob and CIA matrix.

Because Kaiser is an eminent historian, and Belknap/Harvard is a highly respected press, his conclusion that the President was killed by a conspiracy of mobsters and renegade Cubans (without any help from the CIA) is still a radical departure for both mainstream history and reputable publishers.

Although this is not the first book on the touchy subject of the JFK assassination by an historian (See: Michael Kurtz, Prof. McKnight), it is certainly more controversial (See McAdams, Holland "Road to Nowhere" at Washingtondecoded.com), and is an important addition to the library of JFK assassination literature.

Rather than disuade other academically inclined historians from venturing into the JFK assassination realm, I applaud David Kaiser for making Dealey Plaza an historical destination, though I think he issued his attributive judgement a bit prematurely.

One of the problems with addressing the JFK assassination as history is the fact that the murder of the President is not yet history, but still an unsolved homicide.

In even treating it as history before all the cards are on the table only hedges the bets as to how this thing will eventually play out.

At first, when I learned Kaiser was affiliated with the Naval War College and Harvard Press, I thought that he might have used his connections to get access to Lee Harvey Oswald's ONI records, or his Harvard ties to ferrett out the role of the Harvard Russian Research Institute in monitoring Oswald in Russia. But alas, neither issue is even delt with by Kaiser, who devotes all of a few paragraphs to Oswald's time behind the iron curtain, and focuses more on Kennedy and the mob and Oswald and the Cubans.

In stepping backwards to embrace organized crime as the culpret, Kaiser may be reaching too far, though he puts many of the key players on the game board and accurately designates their roles. The most important aspects of what he has to say however, are not his conclusions, which can be shown to be false, but the tidbits he provides and questions he raises that support the need to have a full national security review of what really happend in Dallas.