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The Big Answer


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Legacy of Secrecy: The Long Shadow of the JFK Assassination

a book by Lamar Waldron and Thom Hartmann

(our site's book review)

Thom Hartmann is a New York Times bestselling author and national radio host, formerly with Air America and now syndicated by Dial Global. Recently called the most important progressive talk show host in America by Talkers magazine, he is also the author of numerous books, including The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight, which helped inspire Leonardo DiCaprio's documentary The 11th Hour, which features Hartmann. His other books include We the People, Unequal Protection, What Would Jefferson Do?, and Screwed: The Undeclared War Against the Middle Class—And What We Can Do about It.

John F. Kennedy
John F. Kennedy

John F. Kennedy's assassination launched a frantic search to find his killers. It also launched a flurry of covert actions by Lyndon Johnson, Robert F. Kennedy, and other top officials to hide the fact that in November 1963 the United States was on the brink of invading Cuba, as part of a JFK-authorized coup. The coup plan's exposure could have led to a nuclear confrontation with Russia, but the cover-up prevented a full investigation into Kennedy's assassination, a legacy of secrecy that would impact American politics and foreign policy for the next 45 years. It also allowed two men who confessed their roles in JFK's murder to be involved in the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, in 1968. Exclusive interviews and newly declassified files from the National Archives document in chilling detail how three mob bosses were able to prevent the truth from coming to light – until now. Compelling evidence. However, it is a bit hard to swallow that the mafia had such a hold on the entire country that they could literally blackmail all branches of government to cover up the assassination. But who can say?

Oswald—the patsy—shot by Ruby
Oswald—the patsy—shot by Ruby

Once one admits that there is compelling evidence that Lee Harvey Oswald did not kill JFK, one is free to open ones eyes to the truth. The compelling evidence includes eyewitness accounts of him in the lunchroom shortly before and after the shooting, a rifle with a misaligned sight no self-respecting sniper would have used, poor marksmanship reviews from the Marines, and lots of evidence mob hitmen were responsible. Given the compelling evidence that Oswald was a patsy, we can easily consider alternate theories without feeling like a conspiracy theorist, especially in light of mob guy Marcelo's admission of guilt and complicity in the murders.

The conventional wisdom about JFK, RFK and MLK assassinations is so full of lies and misinformation, it's easy to choke on these twisted, false and misleading accounts
The conventional wisdom about JFK, RFK and MLK assassinations is so full of lies and misinformation, it's easy to choke on these twisted, false and misleading accounts

We have reason to dump the blind faith that once accompanied the Warren Report and reason to doubt the trustworthiness of our demonstrably corrupt government. It is also important to dispense with the 20th century certainty that anyone who questions the official story is a kook. This certainty has not carried over that well into the cynical 21st century, where lying is a prerequisite of politics, the presidency, and news reporting. See Lies, Incorporated: The World of Post-Truth Politics, The Medusa File: Secret Crimes and Coverups of the U.S. Government, and Tragedy and Hope 101: The Illusion of Justice, Freedom, and Democracy.

The Warren Commission was simply ahead of its time with its generous helping of prevarications, misinformation, and cover-ups. (Not allowing the Zapruder film to be seen by any investigator until 1975 should give us a hint of the massive plot to murder the president and the massive cover-up afterwards, including the murder of over 100 people to keep this massive conspiracy by the government a secret.) See American Conspiracies: Lies, Lies, and More Dirty Lies That the Government Tells Us and Freedom of the Press—an American Delusion. The 21st century is awash with lies and cover-ups, and so was the 20th century. The difference is that most people believed the lies last century, while in this century people are skeptical of the conventional wisdom about the events and assassinations and other tragedies in both centuries.

The Warren Commission was simply ahead of its time with its generous helping of prevarications, misinformation, and cover-ups—all of which are common fare for the 21st century world of post-truth politics
The Warren Commission was simply ahead of its time with its generous helping of prevarications, misinformation, and cover-ups—all of which are common fare for the 21st century world of post-truth politics

Waldron and Hartmann's researches led to the following conclusions:

  1. Godfather Carlos Marcello of Louisiana joined forces with Santos Trafficante of the Tampa mob and Johnny Rossellli, a Chicago mob don, to plan the murder of JFK and they were also involved in the murders of RFK and Martin Luther King Jr.
  2. A mob hit was planned on JFK in both Chicago and Tampa in November 1963 before the successful hit in Dallas on November 22, 1963.
  3. The single bullet theory is wrong (and a bit silly). Kennedy was killed by hired killers who were connected to the Marcello crime family. These killers may have come from as far away as France
  4. The CIA was affiliated with the mob in anti-Castro plots. Richard Helms, the CIA director, and Howard Hunt were involved in covert planning and the training of anti-Castro forces for the invasion of the Bay of Pigs.
  5. AMWORLD was the plan to invade Cuba on December 1, 1963 to overthrow Castro and place General Almeida in control of a U.S.-friendly democratic regime.
  6. Segregationist Joseph Milteer and wealthy far right fringe accomplices paid the Marcello to hire James Earl Ray to hit RFK.
  7. Sirhan was employed by the Marcello mob and was in debt up to his ears in racetrack losses. Others may have been involved in the RFK murder in Los Angeles.
  8. Jimmy Hoffa was involved in the effort to destroy the Kennedys. Hoffa bribed Richard Nixon.
  9. Many of the persons involved in the JFK assassination were also involved in Watergate. They did not want word of the covert governmental actions against Castro to leak out to the public.

The book is a very competent presentation of the JFK assassination and its aftermath—which goes even further and explores the murders of RFK and Martin Luther King. But then anything by Hartmann is a good read. See also The Shadow Government: CIA involvement in the Kennedy Assassination, Vietnam, Iran Contra, Afghanistan, and Beyond.