Sunday, July 22, 2012

Lamar Waldron: The Ultimate JFK Historian?

That was Lamar Waldron’s billing on a recent Coast to Coast AM show.  Host George Noory cited Liz Smith in Variety as the source for this claim and apparently Waldron didn’t mind being declared as such.  Nevertheless, Waldron’s entry into the major leagues of JFK research started with the publication of his book Ultimate Sacrifice, co-written with Thom Hartmann and their follow up, Legacy of Secrecy which stands as the books for the “Mob did it” crowd.  So much so, that actor Leonardo DiCaprio is currently producing and starring in a movie adaption of the latter book.

Waldron excels in coming up with out of left field information that nobody has heard before.  For example in the first book Waldron/Hartmann come up with “C-Day” an alleged second planned invasion of Cuba set for December 1st in 1963.  However, those close to the action never heard of such an operation.  David Talbot, author of Brothers, asked Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara if he was aware of such an event and he said he was not.  It seems through these books the only people that are familiar with it are unnamed sources.  (It is of note that in the interview, C-Day is not specifically mentioned by Waldron at all; he just stated it as the December 1st coup.)

One troublesome area of Waldron’s version of the Kennedy assassination is the notion that JFK and Bobby were deeply involved this Cuban plot; either turn Castro by peaceful means or send in people to knock him off.  So if they are in league with the Cubans and the Mob to accomplish this, then why would their allies, murder JFK a few days before the invasion?  Pretty far-out stuff and the proof for this and other scenarios is flimsy at best.  As James DiEugenio points out in his reviews of these books, both feature questionable scholarship, have paragraphs that are not footnoted and highlight an abundance of unnamed sources.  (See links below.)

Lamar Waldron Discusses JFK

Lamar Waldron goes solo for his latest offering, Watergate: The Hidden History: Nixon, The Mafia, and The CIA.  Yep, the pesky Mob returns to be embroiled deeply in the Watergate scandal, largely due to Richard Nixon’s alleged involvement with them down through years. The CIA is portrayed in the first two books as back-scene players easily double crossed by the ever clever Mobsters.  I haven’t read Waldron’s Watergate book yet and I’m leery of doing so because of his track record in his previous books, where he puts the blame largely on the Mob and gives the CIA a pass on any involvement and his current statements on Coast to Coast AM back up this pattern which parallels his JFK books.

I do like host George Noory as he’s a real gentleman, but he doesn’t make a good interviewer.  He does excel at letting guests have their say free from ridicule, in-depth questioning or for that matter simply being asked, “What is your proof for all this is?”  This gives Waldron free run to throw up all kinds of rubbish.  Of course no interview with him would be complete without a rehashing of Waldron’s version of the JFK assassination to once more blame the Mob for their role, largely through guilt by association.  Waldron says that Lee Oswald came to be involved with intelligence work since one of his brothers had been in military intelligence as well.  Huh? Both of his brothers had served in the military but I’ve never read anywhere of either of them being linked to intelligence work, let alone why this would be a family tradition of some sort.  He goes on to state that Oswald’s real mission to Russia was not what he did there but in returning back to the U.S. to see if he would be contacted by the KGB.  What?  Or that Nixon knew he was going to running against Kennedy in 1964 so he infiltrated Kennedy’s Cuba plotting.  How pray tell, would he have done this?  We are not told.  Classic Waldron–toss up anything to see if it sticks so he can be the go-to-guy bringing the public interesting tid-bits they won’t find anyplace else.  A new scoop but from a teller of tall tales.

That is not to say here is not truth here.  We know that the CIA was playing around with the Mob for all kinds of nefarious and criminal activities, especially when it came to the various plots to bump off Fidel Castro.  However, there many researchers that have found substantial  links to the CIA in the Kennedy case.  I’m not taking about facts that are unsourced, I mean real documents where one can assemble a picture of what happened.  What happens with author’s like Waldron is a deep commitment to an idea, in this affair the guilt of organized crime and it so blinds any other path to the truth.  The writing becomes an influx of all kinds of off the wall stuff.  One can experience that in Ultimate Sacrifice where Waldron and Hartmann craft the bizarre tale that Jimmy Hoffa attempted to strangle Bobby Kennedy in a DOJ office; or mobster John Roselli personally met with RFK prior to the Cuban missile crisis; or poor Marilyn, who committed suicide so she wouldn’t have to blackmail Bobby for the Mob.  None of this is provable, some of it is ridiculous and I’m sorry, unnamed sources won’t do.  Not for real history.

(On this same track, in the interview Waldron falsely stated that E. Howard Hunt was covert operations chief for all of Western Europe.  I don’t know where he gets this from.  Hunt was at one point CIA station Chief in Mexico City (1950) and was involved in operations in Central America and Cuba.)

The Ultimate JFK Historian
Since my focus is on JFK I’ll leave the Watergate allegations for another time.  But to summarize Lamar Waldron’s points in his Coast interview regarding his take on Watergate, he postulates that the burglars were looking for files that described Nixon’s alleged dealings with the Mob.  Supposedly, Nixon took a $500,000 bribe from the Mob to scuttle legal charges against Jimmy Hoffa and in the process he got the desired Teamsters support for the 1960 election.  That’s a paragraph full right there!  Perhaps in his book he describes how Nixon as Vice President is going to end Hoffa’s legal predicament. (?) This also implies Nixon was behind the various Watergate burglary attempts, not something that is part of the standard history of the affair.  And these incriminating files are going to be stored in the Democrat Party office in a hotel in Washington, DC when the main headquarters is in Miami?  And what would these files consist of?  I don’t imagine check stubs!  And what is being written down, about what, and by whom?  These are just too many questions that Mr. Noory didn’t ask.

As you can see, enough holes to sink the Titanic all over again!

One thing interesting about Lamar Waldron’s books involving conspiracy in the JFK murder is they get good reviews from mainstream press sources.  Here is just a small list:  Vanity Fair, Publishers Weekly, New York Post, the Boston Globe, The New York Observer and The San Francisco Chronicle.  I didn’t think such a thing was possible anymore.  Maybe because of the Mob angle?  Virtually no other type of Kennedy conspiracy book ever gets reviewed in mainstream publications, let alone get a good review.  I’m reminded of William Colby’s frank confession to Congress that anybody who is a major player in the press is owned by the Company.

As far as being the “Ultimate JFK Historian” I would think with the wealth of experts in circulation we would have more than one and I could certainly name others more fit for the role.

Addendum #1
In a thought-provoking final morsel in James DiEugenio’s review of Legacy of Secrecy, he mentions two JFK researchers at a lecture by Waldron’s fellow co-author Thom Hartmann.  There, Hartmann admitted that he had earlier ties to the “CIA and corporate America.”  Interesting.  Perhaps this is why they let the CIA off the hook so much?

Addendum #2
Since posting this piece I have acquired Lamar Waldron’s book on Watergate.  As I stated above, Waldron asserts that Richard Nixon took a bribe from the mob for the amount of $500,000 to spring Jimmy Hoffa.  I expressed doubts that Nixon could do this as Vice President.  On page 118 of his book, Waldron tells this tale.  But as I suspected, gives no word on the actual mechanics of how Nixon could have contacted the Attorney General and told him to nix Hoffa’s impending indictment in the Sun Valley affair.  As if Nixon would have this much clout.


James DiEugenio’s reviews of Lamar Waldron’s books:
Ultimate Sacrifice:
Legacy of Secrets:

Interview MP3
Coast to Coast AM, hosted by George Noory.  Interview with Lamar Waldron, broadcast 7.17.12.  MP3 available at  NOTE: Requires subscription to download.

Ultimate Sacrifice and Legacy of Secrets are both available from major book retailers and available on Kindle.

Secret Agenda by John Hougan is the best book written on CIA involvement  in Watergate.  Out of print but easily found in Amazon’s used section.  Highly recommended.