“Legacy of Secrecy: The Long Shadow of the JFK Assassination” by Lamar Waldron with Thom Hartmann, a new, heavily researched book on John F. Kennedy's murder and its investigation, sees links with a bagful of sensational stories, from President Johnson's fear of a nuclear attack by the Soviets to the killing of Martin Luther King Jr.
The links all connect with the main contention in “Legacy of Secrecy” that the assassination was engineered by Carlos Marcello, longtime Mafia boss in New Orleans. That theory is far from new. There's evidence that Attorney General Robert Kennedy, the president's brother, believed it. Authors Lamar Waldron and Thom Hartmann broaden the theme.
Marcello had a special grudge against the Kennedys because Robert, who fought organized crime, once had him deported to an uncomfortable exile in Central America. Born in Tunisia, Marcello carried false papers that gave Guatemala as his country of origin. He soon found his way back to the United States.
Not long after President Kennedy's death, Johnson sought to make sure of a friendly voice on the investigating commission headed by Chief Justice Earl Warren. Johnson is quoted as warning a favorite senator that he'd better join it, to prevent Castro and Khrushchev “from kicking us into a war that can kill 40 million Americans in an hour.”
Sen. Richard Russell, D-Ga., was reluctant to serve. Johnson was apparently so vehement that Russell changed his mind and agreed to become a member.
White supremacist Joseph A. Milteer had aroused suspicion when police recorded him predicting, less than two weeks before the assassination, that Kennedy would be killed by a high powered rifle with a telescopic sight, fired from an upper-floor window. That's the official version of what actually happened in Dallas. The new book says a proper investigation of the prediction could have led to Marcello through Milteer's contacts with Mafia figures, and might have frustrated the assassination.
Four years later, the book says, Marcello brokered a deal in which Milteer paid James Earl Ray to kill Martin Luther King Jr. It also finds that Marcello's biographer, John H. Davis, and journalist David E. Scheim made "compelling cases" for Marcello's involvement in the killing of Robert Kennedy.
“Legacy of Secrecy” is the second of two volumes — more than 1,700 pages including 170 of photos, facsimiles and footnotes. Waldron worked for seven years in the criminal justice system in Georgia. Hartmann is a psychotherapist and radio show host. They have worked on the Kennedy assassination since 1988.
Their first volume, “Ultimate Sacrifice,” was published in 2005. As the climax to earlier secret U.S. actions against Castro, it presented an elaborate "State-Defense Contingency Plan for a Coup in Cuba," approved by the Kennedys. Execution of the coup was halted by Kennedy's assassination, 10 days before the coup was due to start on Dec. 1, 1963.