Customer Reviews: Legacy of Secrecy: The Long Shadow of the JFK Assassination
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on June 8, 2009
I hate to sound this naive, especially at my age (56), but as clearly evidenced by "Legacy of Secrecy" (and before that "Ultimate Sacrifice")there is an awful lot we do not know about the Assassinations of JFK, MLK, and RFK. I have spent my entire career working for the FBI (as a clerk) and 20 years as a Secret Service Agent, and I have read over 50 books on the JFK assassination. I am sure that I am only one of millions of people who are equally interested in learning the truth about who committed one of the biggest crimes in the history of this country.

Lamar Waldron and Thom Hartmann have come along at the right time (46 years after the JFK assassination) and put many years of meticulous research and interview into producing the "State of the Art" book(s) on the subject. Now we know why all these FBI, CIA, Secret Service, Army and Naval Intelligence files had to remain classified all these years. The truth about the assassination of JFK would have destroyed the CIA, the Mafia, the FBI, as well as the people who were in charge of those organizations. Some agencys, of course, had legitimate reasons for hiding the truth (as these books clearly show), and some were shamelessly protecting their own self interests.

The Mafia and the CIA have unalterably changed and distorted the course of US history with their collaborative efforts in Central and South America (not to mention Cuba). They continued to work together for many years thereafter. The CIA lied to Bobby and John Kennedy about their continuing efforts to kill Castro with the Mafia. After being explicitly ordered not to include the Mafia in their "JFK/Almeida" Castro overthrow plan. In so doing the Mafia was allowed to go undetected in their efforts to kill JFK, to masterfully set Lee Harvey Oswald up as the Patsy for a crime he could never have pulled off on his own, then to order Ruby to kill him while Oswald was in Dallas PD custody, and then spend the next 46 years using it to blackmail the CIA and the White House into protecting them from exposure. CIA people like Richard Helms, E. Howard Hunt, William Harvey, David Atlee Phillips, and David Morales (may they all burn in hell) have destroyed a large part of what makes this country beautiful, and given the world good reason to hate the USA in the process. The CIA and the FBI then waged war on the media in an effort to prevent articles and books, which were critical of the Warren Commission findings, to keep the truth from ever getting out. And why? Because it was not correct in its' findings, and why was that? Because the CIA (Richard Helms) and the FBI (J.Edgar Hoover) lied to the Warren Commission and refused to help them do their job. In an effort to protect their own agencys and their own careers they lied to the American public and the world.

The Mafia did what the Mafia does, they serve their own sordid ends. They dont care about anyone but themselves... why should they? They were allowed to prosper and thrive all these years, because of the FBI's failings, J.Edgar Hoover's homosexuality, and the CIA's affinity for working with organized mobsters. All of our worst fears about the FBI, and the CIA, in the wake of the Vietnam War, and Watergate have been realized. They were doing what the peace activists had been alleging all along. It is a sad day when we are forced to realize that what Waldron and Hartmann told us here is the truth. But at the same time God Bless them for their dedication to the truth, their many years of hard work, and for the many declassified documents which finally enabled them to reveal the truth about these terrible murders.
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on January 29, 2009
There is much valuable new datails in this book as there were in Ultimate Sacrifice.

However, this book suffers from the same problem as the last one. It assumes too much power for the Mafia and too little for the CIA. There is too little attention given to JFK's back channel to Castro, and once again the evidence does not support the authors strong conclusions about JFK's commitment to the coup, given the backchannel and given the authors seemingly predetermined view that the Mafia was more to blame than the CIA.

A far supperior book is JFK and the Unspeakable by james W. Douglass. This book finds the CIA behind the hit and ties it dircetly to the core of US Cold War policy. It is not just a how book about the assassination but a why book about the continution of the Cold War trajectory that has bought us where we are today: a bankrupt garrison state. This book has been received rave reviews by Daniel Ellsberg and Kennedy Insider Marcus Raskin among many others. Ellsberg claims that it completely changed his view of the assassination.
This guy knows a thing about the CIA, an organization whith significantly more sophisticated media contacts than even Mr. Waldron's Mafia.JFK and the Unspeakable: Why He Died and Why It Matters
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on November 20, 2013
This book is a sequel to the Waldron- Hartmann book "Ultimate Sacrifice" which concentrated on the events leading up to the JFK assassination. The book is a very, very detailed report on why investigations subsequent to JFK's assassination have been weak and unsuccessful. It also explores why RFK was hesitant to push for a more thorough investigation than that provided by the Warren Commission. The interesting research break-through presented in the book is the evidence that indicates that the Kennedy Administration was planning to launch a coup against Castro in Cuba by December 1, 1963. A contact in Castro's hierarchy was the mole who would cooperate with this action. The plans faltered after JFK was murdered. Apparently, RFK and the American intelligence establishment were fearful that a thorough investigation of the JFK assassination would reveal this plan to the public and endanger the contact within the Castro regime who is identified as Col. Juan Alameida. The authors also explore the participation of the American Cosa Nostra in the JFK murder a premise that has been presented before (by David Scheim, Blakey, etc.). However, it is the level of detail presented in this book that is interesting with identified documentary evidence. The book goes further and explores the murders of RFK and Martin Luther King. A very interesting presentation on the JFK assassination and its aftermath. A few cuts above previous treatments of the JFK assassination.
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on March 19, 2011
[Robert Morrow - researcher into the 1963 Coup d'Etat. I have 200+ books related to the JFK assassination. Google my essay "LBJ-CIA Assassination of JFK"]

The good news first. Legacy of Secrecy is better than Ultimate Sacrifice. It is more smoothly written and it has more useful information. Now for the bad news: both books are baloney "Only mob killed JFK" books, which is bogus. In baloney terms, Ultimate Sacrifice would be like a shriveled piece of baloney lying outside in the sun for 3 weeks. Legacy of Secrecy would be a 2/3 eaten balonga sandwich lying on the garbage can with flies on it for 2 days. Legacy of Secrecy is fresher, it tastes better, but you will still get sick from it and more importantly, be misinformed.
Here is where this book misleads: like almost everyone admits, the official authorities were covering up the JFK assassination. Good so far. But then Legacy of Secrecy, like Ultimate Sacrifice tells us they were covering up to protect the mafia and prevent embarrassment to the government over the supposed Kennedy plans to invade Cuba on 12/1/63. *** FIRE ALARM BELLS GOING OFF** The REAL reason the authorities (not covered in this book) were covering up was to protect the murderers in government who had killed JFK: Lyndon Johnson, CIA, Hoover and the shadow government.

This is a really bad book. The book's flawed thesis is "ONLY the MOB killed JFK. Then the govt., LBJ, CIA, FBI and Robert Kennedy all COVERED it up because they were embarrassed the Kennedys were going to invade Cuba on 12/1/63." It is about a "mob hit" not a "coup d'etat." It is baloney. Lyndon Johnson, the CIA and the shadow government of Texas oil men and Rockefellers murdered John Kennedy. But you would never know that by reading this book.

The JFK assassination was a full blown coup d'etat and there are many fine books that will teach you about that. If you want to get quickly "up to speed" on the JFK assassination, here is what to read. 1) LBJ: Mastermind of JFK's Assassination by Phillip Nelson 2) JFK and the Unspeakable:Why He Died and Why it Matters by James Douglass 3) Brothers: the Hidden History of the Kennedy Years by David Talbot 4) The Dark Side of Camelot by Seymour Hersh 5) Family of Secrets: The Bush Dynasty by Russ Baker. Google my essay "LBJ-CIA Assassination of JFK." Google "National Security State by Andrew Gavin Marshall." Google "Chip Tatum Pegasus." Google "Vincent Salandria False Mystery Speech."

Go to YouTube and watch the videos The Men Who Killed Kennedy, episodes 7, 8, and 9 which focus on the role of Lyndon Johnson. On YouTube watch Jesse Ventura's show on the JFK assassination. Watch the movie JFK director's cut by Oliver Stone. Also, on You Tube watch "Evidence of Revision."
Finally, here is Jim DiEugenio on the fallacy of the "Mob only did it" theory:

"The big problem with these Mob did it scenarios is that:

1. They either ignore or twist who Oswald was, which is really inexcusable today in light of so much good work by writers like Newman and Armstrong.

2. They do not relay how the cover up actually went into effect almost immediately in Dallas, Washington and New Orleans. Which is something we can prove today.

3. They do not explain what are two keystones of the plot and the cover-up: Mexico City and Bethesda.

4. They do not explain why the cover up has lasted 47 years--which it has.

5. They do not explain the reversals of policy that took place in Cuba and Vietnam, almost immediately afterwards.

In fact, the Waldron/Hartmann books are absolutely woeful in all five of these categories. Which is astonishing since the releases of the ARRB have done so much to elucidate all five of them. So it is exceedingly rich to hear Waldron ask for more document releases at Lancer--except only those dealing with his discredited theory. When in fact the ones already declassified have done so much to clear up what actually happened.

In my view, which I tried to explain in my Bugliosi series, Parts 5 and 10, the Mafia was consulted after Oswald survived the Texas Theater. They were then brought in after Oswald made a big mistake and tried to call John Hurt on Saturday night. The news of that ripped through the intel community fast. They had no choice now but to kill him. The CIA uses a go-between to call Trafficante:maybe Maheu, maybe Roselli. Trafficante calls McWillie.

Exit Oswald, enter Ruby.

The Waldron and Hartmann idea is sheer vapor in this regard. There is no elucidation of any of the above, which is why their hypothesis is so unconvincing. But beyond that, as many have noted, it does not even make sense on its own terms. Why would the Mob kill Kennedy on the eve of C-Day if they wanted their casinos back in Cuba? Their goofy excuse for this--that the Kennedys deliberately cut the Mob out of a new Cuba--is so ridiculous that it shows just how jerry rigged the book is. Since such a thing would be just about impossible, and second, there was no actual invasion on the horizon, they were contingency plans."
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on February 11, 2014
Why should you read this book? First there are many reasons casual reader may be dissuaded from picking up this heft volume which can be utilized as a doorstop! The book is 848 pages (including notes and photos); contains a cast of characters almost as vast as the customers listed in a midsized city's phone directory and is written in a plain style resembling a government report or academic exercise. The book is not for the easily intimidated but is valuable for the wealth of research it contains on the assassinations of JFK, RFK and Dr. Martin Luther King. The distinguished authors are Lamar Waldron and Thom Hartmann who have been featured on several television documentaries and written a small shelf of books on prominent American assassinations in the twentieth centuries. As one who has read most of their books it is evident that often the material in one book is rehashed in the next book they have authored. This is often because of new information the authors have garnered from the release of previously classified government documents and from fresh interviews they have conducted with participants in the events discussed. In this book we learn:
a. Godfather Carlos Marcello of Louisiana joined forces with Santos Trafficante of Tampa mob rule and Johnny Rossellli a Chicago mob don to plan the murders of JFK and were also involved in the murders of RFK and Martin Luther King Jr.
b. 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.
c. The single bullet theory is wrong. Kennedy was killed by hired killers who were connected to the Marcello crime family. They may have come from as far afield as France
d. 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.
e. The authors assert that 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.
f. Arch segregationist Joseph Milteer and wealthy far right fringe men paid the Marcello to hire James Earl Ray to hit RFK.
g. 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.
h. Jimmy Hoffa was involved in the effort to destroy the Kennedys. Hoffa bribed Richard Nixon.
I. Many of the persons involved in the POTUS Kennedy assassination were also involved in Watergate. They did not want word of the covert governmental actions against Castro to leak out to the public.
Anyone claiming to be knowledgeable about the Kennedy assassination must view the work of Lamar Waldron as an essential read. This book is tough going at times but is vital. Highly recommended to patient readers who want to learn about some of the major assassinations of our time which still impact the present.
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on November 24, 2008
Legacy of Secrecy, a follow up volume to their earlier work Ultimate Sacrifice, is a brilliant piece of research regarding the assassination of JFK. Based upon new evidence from the national archives it tells the story of how the Mafia-specifically Carlos Marcello the boss of New Orleans as well as Dallas along with Johnny Rosselli and Santo Trafficante the boss of Tampa and the rest of Florida- conspired to assassinate JFK and reveals for the first time that the FBI had taped their confessions. It details their connection to various plots organized by the CIA to assassinate Castro and install a new government in Cuba as well as their infiltration to an ongoing plot run out of the White House and directed by RFK; a plot that continued even after JFK had publicly announced all attempts to overthrow Castro were discontinued in the wake of the Bay of Pigs fiasco. It details the massive cover-up as well as the connection to the assassinations of RFK and MLK. This is an absolute must read for anyone who wants to know the real story behind these heinous acts. I want to thank the authors, Lamar Waldron with Thom Hartmann, for helping us know the truth of how, why and who killed JFK. It has haunted me ever since I saw the horrific images of the Zapruder film of the event itself and I hope people still care enough to know the answers.
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on December 30, 2008
LEGACY OF SECRECY is, in many ways, superior to it's predecessor, ULTIMATE SACRIFICE. While it paints a more complete picture of the era, I found this work much less repetitive in it's text than ULTIMATE. As much as I enjoyed ULTIMATE for it's detail, the amount of detail/backstory that was repeated throughout the work was distracting. While some of the detail contained in LEGACY can make you feel like you've been condemned to a twilight zone of names and initials, it is the attention to detail that is so very convincing of the case put forth by the authors, and also revealing of the failure of 'research' in pro-Warren Commission books by the likes of Posner and Bugliosi.

Waldron and Hartmann got it right. And frankly, that's something I never thought I'd say ( or see ) in my lifetime.

This is a true gem, the crown jewel of the assassination ouevre.
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on November 27, 2011
After 48 years of searching, all we know for sure about the JFK murder is that it was not carried out by either a "lone nut" or by an unsophisticated group of bungling and vengeful idiots. All of the available evidence accumulated since 1963, including that released and used in this book, suggests that it was an exquisitely well-planned and almost flawlessly executed multi-layered high level intelligence operation with "cut-outs" and other intelligence tradecraft used at every level. Thus by definition, this rules out both Lee Harvey Oswald, as a lone nut, and the mob as possible bungling vengeful killers.

So, given this immutable set of operational premises, what are we to make of this 922-page monstrosity of a narrative that tells us in the most convoluted of terms that: (1) the mob murdered JFK, and (2) RFK's own guilty involvement, forced him to manage the cover-up in order to prevent what others perceived to be the start of WW-III?

All due respect to the authors, this hastily put together cock-and-bull story, more than anything else, smells like a deep Machiavellian gambit cooked up in the pots in the clock tower at Langley. The only question that this lengthy illogical almost cockamamie scenario begs is: who might the wizard in the clock tower be? And no matter how many "government doctored" documents are released, the inescapable conclusion is that all roads lead directly and inexorably back to none other than Richard Helms.

By trying so desperately in the foreground to redirect attention to RFK's plot to get Castro, and the fabricated mob plot to get JFK, and thus away from Helms and his nest of vipers in the CIA, the authors, with their selective interpretation of the newly released JFK data, only do exactly the opposite. In relief they further expose that Helms is the only human being in the known universe with the omnipresence, panoramic overview of the whole assassination landscape, and meta-manipulative and operational skills and capabilities, to have been able to actually carry out all the various nested phases of the plots that were needed to end up with a perfectly orchestrated murder at high noon in Dallas on November 22, 1963.

By leaving so many pregnant unanswered questions dangling in the air and in the subtext (of how the mob might have been able to carry out all the necessary phases of the assassination, including the government's cover-up for instance, or the botched autopsy, or even the murder of John Roselli and Sam Giancana themselves) the authors jerry-rigged scenario, simply points the finger even more unerringly at only one possibility: that someone in the clock tower at Langley had to have murdered JFK. The JFK assassination was not just an intelligence operation it was an intelligence operation par excellence, one of a very, very high order, perhaps the best ever. This manuscript thus begs the only question that needs an answer: Who else, if not Richard Helms, could that Langley intelligence wizard possibly have been?

In order to prevent this review from being as long as the book itself, I offer only one piece of contrary evidence that alone pierces a stake into the heart of this cute, lengthy, confusing, but colossally dumb scenario. Astute readers may recall that the information that led JFK to fire the evil trio (Allen Dulles, Charles Cabell, and Richard Bissell (Richard Helms' boss)) running the CIA at the time, was the twenty-two or so back channel messages sent between Chicago mob boss Sam Giancana and JFK via Judith Campbell Exner (as the courier and their shared girl friend). What those messages contained was clear evidence of treason being committed by that trio regarding their actions in the Bay of Pigs operation. Put simply, it was because two of the key mob players were engaged in a "double game" to inform JFK of the treason going on behind his back at Langley that the trio was fired and the head of the CIA snake was eventually cut off.

Thus, no matter what these authors say, when the head of the snake was severed, the die had been cast. It was Langley, not the mob, not Lee Harvey Oswald, that decided that JFK had to die. And to carry out that execution, it was also Langley that concocted an exquisitely complex, devious, and it must be said, elegant intelligence operation to kill both our President and our democracy. Two stars.
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on January 11, 2015
I am still reading Legacy of Secrecy. I like it very much. I have read many books on the JFK assassination and it seems each one has a little different twist to it. This author seems to go easy on LBJ with him not having anything to do with the actual assassination however with the cover up. I'm not sure I agree with that assertion. LBJ had a lot to lose with JFK being reelected as he would have been dumped from the ticket and would probably never have been President, and he loved power. He, LBJ, also seems to have had a pretty spotted history himself. All in all this is a great read and with each book I read I learn something new regarding this terrible tragedy. I also believe he is right on with tying everything together even into the present.
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on December 16, 2013
The author has taken an alleged [and exclusive to the author, it appears] secret mission of JFK and his brother, Bobby, to assassinate Fidel as the primary reason why LBJ and the Warren commission had to lie to the American people and the world that Lee Harvey Oswald was the lone assassin with his magic bullet. The conspiracy to tell the fairy tale of the lone assassin was created to 'protect' JFK's legacy by not telling the world of this 'secret' plot to murder Castro. LBJ may have spun that tale to Earl Warren to use his name of the cover-up. To believe this story, you need to forget all the evidence to the contrary that shows elements of the CIA, the FBI, the Secret Service , and organized crime figures from Chicago, Miami, and New Orleans conspired to murder JFK for a wide range of plausible reasons - revenge for the Bay of Pigs fiasco, to stop any peace deal with Castro, removing U.S. troops from Vietnam [the CIA], to stop the unrelenting investigation by Bobby Kennedy of organized crime figures,[the mafia], to end Kennedy's secret talks with Khrushchev after the Cuban missile crisis to put an end to the cold war [Pentagon], and Texas oilmen determined to stop the Kennedys from ending the oil depletion allowance to Texas oilmen [Hunt, LBJ]. Two previous attempts were made to murder JFK in 1963, the third attempt was successful. Protecting the CIA with the fired CIA boss [Allen Dulles] tapped to lead the Warren Commission, the whitewash was guaranteed. 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 murder of over 100 people to keep this massive conspiracy by the government a secret. As in Watergate, the rule of thumb we all know now "follow the money" which in this case was money taken from the U.S. Treasury to fight a criminal, made-up war in Vietnam [the false flag operation of the Gulf of Tonkin incident to kick it off] that made Brown and Root [of Texas] very wealthy from government contracts, to continue the 'cold war' until 1991 , to drop any inclination to stop the oil depletion allowance for the Texas oilmen, to stop pursuing organized crime in the U.S., and to allow LBJ to be president when even he knew he was off the ticket in 1964 because the Kennedys detested him. Besides the highly questionable premise for the conspiracy to whitewash the murder of JFK, the turgid prose of the book makes it a difficult read.
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