Two Books on James Files

2005 year may have been a momentous one for James Files. Based upon various web sites he had not one but two books coming out supposedly describing his involvement in the Kennedy assassination. The first, due in that summer, was Trafford Publishing's Files on JFK authored by Wim Dankbaar. Dankbaar claims that the book contains "a detailed interview with the hitman who fired the fatal bullet killing President John F. Kennedy."

Dankbaar's book is probably based upon Files' supposedly unvarnished narration of his activities in the 1996 MPI for-profit videotape entitled Confession of an Assassin. Some who have the tape, including me, have produced page upon page disputing Files' account because of historical inaccuracies contained in his version of events. Files' defenders have countered by providing proof, in some cases, using questionable sources and forged, selective, or self interpreted documentation.

Released in October wass JFK and Sam - The Connection Between the Giancana and Kennedy Assassinations. We were told this book is "Written by an insider with access to key figures, it names the assassins and traces the assassination team's movements on November 22, 1963, the team leader's life, his taped confession, and his face-to-face meeting with Antoinette [Sam "Mooney" Giancana's 68 year old daughter] in the Joliet state prison where he is serving a life sentence for killing a policeman."

Confirmation that the Giancana book was also spreading Files' tale, rests on the reality that Files is the only prisoner in Joliet claiming involvement in the assassination. Noteworthy is the fact that the publisher was already in error with the assertion that Files "is serving a life sentence for killing a policeman." As documented in a Chicago Sun-Times article dated August 17, 1994 Files is "serving a 50-year sentence for the 1991 attempted murders of two police officers from Round Lake Beach (Illinois)." (Emphasis mine)

I can only wonder why the need for two books covering one individual's description of the same subject being distributed within a few months of each other. I suspect the authors, with Dankbaar in the forefront, will snipe at each other over any real or imagined differences in Files' story. As mentioned above, Files is already on the record, via his videotaped "confession," about his participation. In my opinion, any deviation or embellishment contained in the books will show the story for what it is - a fabrication.

I became so focused upon Files' activities just before, during, and after the assassination that I only superficially studied the videotape to see what he said about his early life. Why and when did he change his name? What about his supposed military career and his alleged association with the "Chicago mob?" Could he actually have trained Bay of Pigs revolutionaries at No Name Key?

Since many of his statements about the assassination are rife with inaccuracies, I decided to test the claims he made in Confession of an Assassin against the historical record.

Files was interviewed by producer Bob Vernon at Statesville Prison in Joliet, Illinois on March 22, 1994.

Why did Sutton change his name to Files?

Vernon: "Please tell me your name."

Files: "My name is James Files and I changed my name basically at the end of 1963 for purposes of - ah - let me rephrase that - I took the name Files in 1963 my real name is James Sutton."

Vernon: "Say that again."

Files: "My real name is James Sutton I changed my name in late 1963 due to the fact at that time I wished to get married and raise a family." (Emphasis mine)

Vernon: "And what is your name now?"

Files: "Today I'm incarcerated - I'm under the name James E. Files - I have raised a family under that name, James Files."

Vernon: "Did you change your name for any particular reason?"

Files: "I changed my name for particular reason because I had been working with a radical Cuban group and - excuse me - what we wanted to do at that time was to protect my identity so they wouldn't know who I really was when I got married because of my family life. I didn't want anyone to retaliate on the things that we were doing so I took on a different identity that was authorized to me through a government agency." (Emphasis mine)

Recap: In late 1963 James Sutton was "authorized by a government agency" to change his name to James E. Files to protect his identity because of his work "with a radical Cuban group."

Problems with the story:

The United States Department of Justice Identification Division offense sheet (53472) shows James Earl Files was arrested on July 3, 1959 for "contributing to the delinquency of a minor" and again on January 21, 1962 for "tampering with an automobile." Since he claims a "government agency" didn't sanction the use of the name James E. Files until "late 1963" why does the record show he was arrested not once but twice under the name James Earl Files? The first arrest under the Files name occurred at least 4 years before he claimed he was authorized to use the name.

What about his supposed military career?

Vernon: "Were you ever in the armed services?"

Files: "I was in the 82nd Airborne. I went in 59 - 1959 was date of entry January and in July 10th of 1959 I believe it was July 10th we shipped out to Laos. I was 82nd Airborne."

Vernon:" What were some of your duties?"

Files: "My duties at that time were working a special operations group to work with the Latotian (phonetic) Army in Laos at that time and I was there strictly as an advisor on training for small armament, small automatic weapons, setting detonators, explosives, mechanical ambushes. And there just was a handful of Americans working with the Latotian (phonetic) militia at that time."

In the videotape Files constantly mispronounces the word Laotian as Latotian.

Vernon: "How long did you serve there?"

Files: "I was there through approximately 14 months I was in Laos before I came home."

Recap: Files was assigned to the 82nd Airborne in January 1959 and was sent to Laos as an advisor on July 10 of 1959. He was in Laos for fourteen months or until about September of 1960.

Problems with the story:

1] At the very time Files claims he, using his given name James Sutton, was about to ship out to Laos with the 82nd Airborne he was in police custody in Illinois. On July 3, 1959 he was arrested by the Melrose Park, Ill. police department under the name James Earl Files. He was charged with "contributing to the delinquency of a minor." On July 16, 1959 he appeared in court and paid a $100 fine plus court costs. His court appearance was six days after he claimed he was sent to Laos.

2] Court records show that Files was born on January 24, 1942. No soldier goes directly into the 82nd Airborne. Recruits have to complete basic training before regular assignment. Entry into the 82nd Airborne requires additional schooling and training. Files claims he was in the 82nd as of January 1959. That means he entered the military using the name James Sutton, completed basic training, and was accepted into the 82nd Airborne before he reached his 18th birthday.

3] In November of 1957 a government made up of a Laotian coalition was developed and supported by the United States. When the United States withdrew support the government fell in July of 1958. In May of 1959 a civil war erupted. If Files is to be believed the 82nd Airborne sent him to Laos in the midst of a civil war.

4] In 1960, not 1959 as Files would have us believe, the U.S. government financed an "irregular army" trained by the CIA. And the CIA never trained any Laotian Army or Militia. They did train Lao Soung and Hmong irregulars, selected due to their aggressiveness, along with Thai mercenaries in camps located in northern Laos where the Hmong lived. In 1960 General Vang Pao led this group known as Special Guerrilla Units (SGU) in the fight against the communists.

5] If Files is trying to persuade us that he was involved in Arthur D. "Bull" Simons clandestine operation "Hotfoot", which was part of Operation Whitestar, such attempt would fail. Files claimed he was sent to Laos in January of 1959 but Simons' group was not inserted until July of 1959.

6] In 1962 the United States government's clandestine Requirements Office provided "retired military" civilians to train the Royal Lao Air Force. U.S. military units were not involved in training combatants. And as stated in the Air War College's Barrel Roll, "Throughout the years of U.S. involvement, the war in Laos comes to be known by many names. The 'secret war' or the 'CIA war' defined the participants: Department of Defense, State Department, and CIA."

See Laos: The Country and Laos: The Conflict pages 9 - 13 for complete details.

Vernon: "You mentioned to me one time you were in jeopardy of being court martialed. Could you elaborate on that a little bit?"

Files: "I really don't wish to elaborate on that part of the court martial. It had to do in the field but not of cowardice, it was something that I did to hold face with the Latotian Army."

Vernon: "No problem."

Recap: Vernon hints that Files was involved in a court martial. Files doesn't want to discuss it but indicates it revolved around something he did while serving as an advisor to "hold face" with the "Latotian Army."

Problems with the story:

As mentioned above, Files was arrested by the Melrose Park, IL police at the very time he claims he was in Laos. Additionally, Files claims he was in Laos advising the "Latotian Army" when no such army existed. The country was embroiled in a civil war. The U.S. government asked and received assistance from the CIA in 1960 - a year AFTER Files or should I say Sutton supposedly left for duty as an advisor.

What about his alleged association with the "Chicago mob?"

Vernon: "Could you tell me how you first became involved in organized crime activities?"

Files: "Well, I first became - it''s a strange way to start out - but I was racing stock cars and driving at a local track and Mr. Nicoletti had taken a shine to my driving and he'd watched me on several occasions and he had asked me once if I would drive him one evening. I took him out and test drove his car that we'd just picked up - a brand new Ford - and he was pretty well pleased with my driving and from then on I became more like an assigned driver to him and I did several drivings for him on different jobs that he did."

Vernon: "Who was Charles Nicoletti?"

Files: "Charles Nicoletti, at that time, he was an up and coming figure with organized crime and he was known as one of the local hitman. As far as I'm concerned, he was the best that ever lived, as far as I'm concerned."

Vernon: "What Mafia family did he work for?"

Files: "He was out of the Chicago family."

Vernon: "Who would have been the boss of the Chicago family?"

Files: "At that time, Tony Accardo."

Vernon: "That's before Giancana or after Giancana?"

Files: "Tony Accardo handed it up - headed it up - then Giancana came after that. Giancana at that time was one of the underlings, I guess you might say he was of the top lieutenants at that point. Things were handed out in different branches in organized crime such as someone might handle the liquor license, someone would handle the loan sharking and booking, someone would handle the contracts for murder for hire and anything like that." (Emphasis mine)

Recap: After his alleged return from military service in Laos, sometime after September of 1960, he was driving stock cars at a race track in the Chicago area. He is spotted by Charles Nicoletti who worked for the "Chicago family" as an assassin. At that time, the mob was headed up by Tony Accardo. Accardo would later "hand" his position as head of the mob to Sam Giancana.

Problems with the story:

Who better to discuss the history of the Chicago mob than mob boss Sam "Mooney" Giancana's godson, Sam, and brother, Chuck? In their 1992 book Double Cross, on page 225 one will find the following:

"By mid-1955, Tony Accardo and Paul Ricca were being scrutinized by the IRS. Accardo, in particular, was nervous and anxious to drop out of sight. Just as the Browne-Bioff scandal had been a godsend to Mooney more than a decade earlier - resulting in the imprisonment of his superiors and freeing his way to power - now the heat on Accardo and Ricca gave him the last nudge he needed to assume absolute control. Accardo stepped aside and, at a private Outfit gathering held at the Tam O'Shanter Country Club in north Chicago, Mooney was formally made boss of Chicago's Outfit."

  The record shows Sam "Mooney" Giancana gained control of the "Chicago family" when James (Sutton) Files was 13 years old!

Was Files involved in training "several of the operatives that were involved at the Bay of Pigs?"

Vernon: "Were you at the Bay of Pigs, Jimmy?"

Files: "No, I was not at the Bay of Pigs but I had helped train several of the operatives that were involved at the Bay of Pigs."

Vernon: "When you say 'helped train them' what do you mean?"

Files: "I helped train them on what they call - we called it 'Gator Ridge' back then, some people refer to it as 'No Name Key' some people call it 'Assassin Ridge' it was in the Everglades down there in Florida. We worked solely with the Cubans at that time - we had supplied them with weapons - the weapons had come basically from the government - from the CIA...they had been heavily involved in that. And at that time, David Atlee Phillips was my controller. So I had never liked Kennedy since he had backed out on us and we didn't get enough firepower and I felt that we had been betrayed. But, I, at that point, I had never even considered killing anybody at all over the situation, but when Charles Nicoletti told me that we were going to do my friend, I thought that they were referring to a local party in town and I said why what the hell did he do. He laughed, he says no not him, we're going to do John F. Kennedy, the president. I was a little bit shocked at first but I said hey fine, great, don't matter to me. I was game for anything he wanted to do. And then we discussed it and then he asked me what I thought about Johnny Rosselli working with us and I told him hey fine I like Johnny - got no problems there."

Recap: The Bay of Pigs debacle took place on April 17, 1961. Files, who claims he returned from Laos in September 1960, was not involved in the actual assault but did help train Cuba revolutionaries at No Name Key in the Everglades.

Problems with the story:

For the Files' scenario to be true several things must occur:

1] Files would have to be training "several operatives" using the name James Sutton. Remember the government didn't "authorize" the use of the name Files until late 1963.

2] The history of where training for the Bay of Pigs invasion must be revised.

"MAY 19, 1960: A small group from Brigade 2506, housed by the CIA in the motel Marie Antonet [sic] in Fort Lauderdale, are met by Manuel ArtÝme and two CIA officials, 'Jimmy and Karl.' Jimmy is identified as the chief of the operation, and later as chief of the infiltration team. The team is subsequently transported to Ussepa Island off the Florida coast for training of the Brigade 2506. Other members of the brigade arrive later and are assigned numbers, including JosÚ Basulta (2522), and Rafael Quintero (2527). The training is originally scheduled to last 15 days but extends into a month and a half. In early July, the Brigadistas are transferred by plane to camps in Guatemala."

Brigadista Diary p. 10

"The counterrevolutionary forces, known as Brigade 2506, were assembled at Retalhuleu, on the west coast of Guatemala, where U.S. engineers refurbished the airport especially for the mission. On April 14 (1961) six ships sailed from Nicaragua's Puerto Cabezas, cheered on by Nicaraguan president and U.S.-friendly dictator Luis Somoza, who jokingly urged the soldiers to bring him some hairs from Castro's beard."(Emphasis mine)

For additional details see: and type Bay of Pigs into their search engine. Look for Bay of Pigs - 40 Years After.

Files claimed he returned from Laos in September 1960. Let's give Files the benefit of the doubt and say he returned in late August. Even under those circumstances the insurgents had already transfered to camps in Guatemala over a month before he arrived. And for those who might try to claim that the Jimmy that is identified as "chief of the operation" is Jimmy Files/Sutton - note the date of the diary entry (May 19, 1960) and remember that Files/Sutton didn't return until August/September of 1960.

3] The map of the Florida Keys must be modified.

No Name Key is not located in the Everglades but 25 miles ENE of Key West and about 50 air miles SSW across Florida Bay from the Everglades.

4] The history of the use of No Name Key must be revised as it WAS NEVER USED for training for the Bay of Pigs invasion.

No Name Key was the principal training site for the Intercontinental Penetration Force (IPF). IPF was established in March of 1961 by Gerry Patrick Hemming. It consisted of a group of freelance volunteer instructors training anti-Castro forces for raids on Cuba totally unrelated to the Bay of Pigs. It was funded by Rolando Masferrer, Carlos Prio, and Santos Trafficante.


If additional proof is needed , you may wish to review John Newman's documentation concerning Hemming's activities and the Intercontinental Penetration Force in his 1995 book Oswald And The CIA.

  • Hemming, Gerald Patrick, Jr., 97, 100-106, 184, 228-34, 250-61, 319
  • Intercontinental Penetration Force (Interpen), 104, 228, 230, 233-34, 253, 256, 257, 260, 319
Consider this - if James Files' story is accurate then Barr McClellan is wrong in trying to convince us Lyndon Johnson was behind the assassination, Ray and Mary LaFontaine were duped into thinking there was something of importance in John Elrod's statements, Dr. James Fetzer and many of his colleagues see things in the Zapruder film and on the "Grassy Knoll" that aren't there, and Jim Garrison, from 1967 - 1969, and with the assistance of Oliver Stone, in 1991, destroyed an innocent man.

Dave Perry

July 12, 2005