Article: National Security State killing John Kennedy

December 12, 2009

Originally published at

By Pete Johnson

On the 46th anniversary of the assassination of John F Kennedy, it would appear that the National Security State finds it necessary to kill the facts surrounding his death. The Discovery Channel aired three misleading shows in November, “Did the Mob Kill JFK”, “JFK: The Ruby Connection” and “Inside the Target Car.”

I will focus on “Did the Mob Kill JFK” which is based on Lamar Waldron’s book titled “Legacy of Secrecy” which is co-written, or at least co-promoted, by well respected Thom Hartmann. “Did the Mob Kill JFK” concludes that the Mafia assassinated Kennedy.

Thom Hartmann tells us that the Mafia orchestrated the assassination in a way that “the National Security State would cover for them for years, maybe decades, maybe centuries”. Clearly, the National Security State is still distorting the facts of the assassination, giving me the title of this article.

“Did the Mob Kill JFK” starts with emphasis on mobster Carlos Marcello’s alleged prison confession to FBI informant Jack Van Lingham, a character not prominent in the book. It features talking heads G. Robert Blakey, Chief Counsel and Staff Director to the U.S. House Select Committee on Assassinations from 1977 to 1979, who has been blaming the assassination on the mob for years. Blakely has acknowledged that the CIA lied to him, but that was not revealed on this show.

The show follows Waldron’s book, but the narrative is interspersed with commentary by Gerald Posner, author of “Case Closed” who claims Oswald alone killed President Kennedy, despite the evidence. This has the effect of creating confusion and presenting two possible scenarios….Oswald as the lone nut, or the Mafia, did it. The possibility that the National Security State itself eliminated Kennedy is not presented, but that is no surprise.

The guts of the show correctly point out that the Mob was working with the CIA in an attempt to assassinate Cuba’s Fidel Castro, and that the mob had lost their casino business in Havana and so wanted Castro eliminated. Also accurate is that John and Robert Kennedy were pressing the Mafia hard, including deportation of Carlos Marcello, and that the mafia would have considered the Kennedys as major threat. The show agrees that the Warren Commission was tasked with convicting Oswald rather than finding the truth, with the well worn reason of preventing another World War. The conclusion that the Mafia did it has long been problematic, since it does not explain the subsequent cover up. This is what Waldron’s book seeks to do…explain the cover up as a result of a web of deceit and secrecy surrounding another plot to kill Castro.

The show accurately depicted the failed Bay of Pigs invasion and the Cuban Missile Crisis, without mentioning that Kennedy’s actions here could have been a motive in his murder. In fact, James Douglass’ book “JFK and the Unthinkable” describes in excellent detail Kennedy’s firing of CIA leadership following the Bay of Pigs, his refusal to engage in nuclear war during the Cuban Missile Crisis, and his refusal to fight the Vietnam War. Douglass documents off channel communications between Kennedy and Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev and Castro. Kennedy threatened the military industrial complex in his quest to end the cold war.

According to “Did the Mob Kill JFK” this intrigue spiraled into another Kennedy led coup plot against Castro called AMWORLD, which was outside of the CIA/Mafia plotting but was learned of by the mafia. The allegation that AMWORLD was outside CIA/Mafia control is false, but it is stated in the show. At this point, the mafia decided that they could kill Kennedy and that the National Security State (again, Thom Hartmann’s words) would cover the event, because if the world learned that the Kennedy brothers were working to kill Castro, then World War III would erupt. The tenuous conclusion that a failed Castro assassination plot would somehow lead to war is simply not explained.

The reasoning so far is somewhat plausible, but now we must believe that the mafia, who with the CIA had tried and failed to kill Castro 17 times, would give up their goal of regaining their business in Havana via support of the newest coup initiative AMWORLD, and instead would assassinate Kennedy because he was a direct threat. The mafia would have needed to wait only one week for the AMWORLD plot to unfold. Although the mafia wanted Kennedy dead we are supposed to believe that their knowledge of the Castro plot was enough to grant the mafia a get-out-of-jail card for killing a President. A get-out-of-jail card which is still being used, 46 years later.

The show accurately linked Marcello to Jack Ruby, noting that Marcello used him to silence Oswald. This is believable and well documented, but this conclusion is challenged in the subsequent Discovery Channel show, “JFK: The Ruby Connection” leaving any viewer of both shows confused, which is the point of this type of presentation. It went on to describe a very tenuous link between Marcello and Oswald, without any mention of Oswald’s connections to the CIA, the FBI, or his defection to Russia, among other details.

The show briefly regains some level of credibility by allowing forensic pathologist and Warren Commission critic Cyril Wecht to forcefully demonstrate the fact of two shots, two shooters, and a fatal head shot from the front. The frontal shot is evident for all to see on the Zapruder film, which was kept from the public for 7 years. Posner then points out that he believes all shots came from behind, but that Oswald still could have been part of a conspiracy. If you are not confused yet, it is not because they did not try. But that did not prevent the show from concluding with Posner noting that people want to believe in a Kennedy conspiracy, not because the evidence is overwhelming, but instead because it is hard for people to balance the importance of Kennedy’s unfinished Presidency with a “sociopathic loser with a $12 rifle.” A more meaningless utterance is difficult to imagine.

I suspect that Waldron and Hartmann were not pleased by the constant disruption of the flow of their misleading narrative and conclusion with Posner’s lone-nut ramblings, or by the heavy reliance on an FBI informant who was not prominent in their book. The show could have been misleading and dishonest without being confusing at the same time.

If the reader is interested in learning more about the Kennedy assassination, read “JFK and the Unspeakable” by James Douglass, or view his comments at His presentation at least makes sense. Douglass concludes that Kennedy was killed because he pushed back against the military and the cold warriors. His American University speech in June of 1963 represented a change in US foreign policy and an attempt to end the cold war. For this, the military-industrial-Congressional complex (President Eisenhower’s words) or the National Security State (Hartmann’s words) executed the American President in broad daylight at high noon, forever limiting the power of the President to resist war and violence.

Pharmacist. Member, Coalition on Political Assassinations Citizens Alliance for Secure Elections, Common Cause, Amnesty International, ACLU

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2 Responses to Article: National Security State killing John Kennedy

  1. December 15, 2009 at 9:07 pm

    I was very impressed with Pete Johnson’s insightful deconstruction of the Discovery Channel’s three misleading November programs on the assassination of President Kennedy. Forty-six years after the tragedy in Dallas, scholars and researchers are still attempting to discern the motive behind the events in Dallas and, in my opinion, they are still falling short.

    I believe the major shortcoming of four decades of conjecture is an overall failure of the analytical process employed. Years ago, Gaeton Fonzi, former investigator for the House Select Committee on Assassinations opined: “What is needed is a meta-analysis of the clandestine social, political, military, and global forces at work at mid-century as they converged upon Dealey Plaza. If you can understand the state of the world, America, and the South as it truly was on November 21, 1963, then the events of November 22 flow inevitably from there, falling into place as neatly as the pieces of a puzzle.”

    Why hasn’t anyone ever done this before now?

    I have been researching the assassination for forty-six years (my father used to work for Bobby Kennedy) and the one thing every single conspiracy hypothesis has in common is a failure to explore Gaeton Fonzi’s supposition. With all due respect to James Douglas and his book, he still appears to present a resolution that requires a suspension of some degree of logic. “The military-industrial-Congressional complex…or the National Security State…executed the American President…forever limiting the power of the President to resist war and violence.” Please excuse me, but those last twelve words defy logic, belief, and credibility.

    I believe the motive behind the assassination is an incredibly complex confluence of events involving a myriad of factors never explored before. The threads of the JFK assassination undoubtedly began to take form in the 1920’s with the rise to power of Joseph P. Kennedy. By November, 1940, Ambassador Kennedy was the highest-ranking Nazi sympathizer in the United States government. He was a noted supporter of Neville Chamberlain and his policy of appeasement to Hitler. Fifteen years after the end of World War II, Kennedy’s son, John F. Kennedy, was elected president in a close and highly-disputed election. That single event would have engendered tremendous distrust in the Pentagon and the miltary.

    The United States was still reeling from the impact of the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. During the entire Cold War, the military was especially vigilant about insuring such an attack would never happen again, especially in the nuclear age. They were especially unhappy that a manufactured war hero (PT 109) was now the Commander in Chief. Confirming their suspicions were the actions JFK took upon assuming office. Kennedy destroyed the invasion plans for Cuba and that resulted in the fiasco of the Bay of Pigs. The young and inexperienced president then went to the Vienna Summit where Khrushchev bullied him unmercifully. When Khrushchev discovered JFK was too weak to stand up to him, it led directly to the Berlin Wall Crisis and then, ultimately, to the Cuban Missile Crisis.

    JFK’s personal life was also a concern in a puritanical America. His serial adultery would have proven to be truly upsetting to those in power. When you examine J. Edgar Hoover’s voluminous writings, you discover numerous pronoucements that supported his theory that an immoral man could never be a leader of moral men. Hoover loudly proclaimed that a man who could not control his sexual urges was the worst kind of degenerate. “Any man who lacks sexual discipline displays to all a basic sign of weakness in character…A leader of men must especially be a moral man. Without a foundation in morality, that leader cannot lead…A man whose mind is clouded with sexual thoughts cannot be expected to think clearly or rationally in times of crisis.”

    When Mary Pinchot Meyer bragged of enticing JFK to try marijuana and LSD while in the White House, the men in power must have been enraged. Such reckless personal behavior might have left the United States temporaily defenseless against a surprise Soviet attack. That helplessness would certainly never have been tolerated by General LeMay, General Lemnitzer, or any other senior Pentagon officer.

    Was the military unhappy with the president’s demise? Study the actions of the military brass at the autopsy and draw your own conclusions. There are reports that General LeMay watched the entire proceedings while enjoying a cigar.

    The social context cannot be ignored, either. The South was in the midst of a radical upheaval over the push for civil rights for the Negroes by the Kennedys, who were viewed as “damned Yankees” (or worse). Powerful businessmen in Texas were angry beyond belief at what the Kennedy adminstration was doing. Those same businessmen also understood that any missiles launched from Cuba could easily reach Dallas, Houston, and Austin. Kennedy’s next foreign policy blunder could result in millions of Americans (and Texans) being killed, and a comfortable way of life destroyed for all. Those men had worked too hard to allow that to happen if they could help it. Since they controlled almost every aspect of Texas law and politics, they possessed the means to remove this threat.

    Vice President Lyndon Johnson’s numerous legal problems were also manifesting themselves. JFK had already indicated he was planning to drop LBJ from the ticket in 1964 because of his connections to both Billie Sol Estes and Bobby Baker. (The second telephone call President Johnson made from Air Force One at 2 p.m. on November 22 was to Don Reynolds to inquire about whether Bobby Baker’s court testimony earlier that day had explicitly tied LBJ to Baker’s illegal indiscretions.) Johnson knew his only chance to stay out of prison was to become president, and his close aides and friends in Texas knew it too. There’s clearly a reason Secret Service agent Richard Roth declared: “If Johnson weren’t president, he’d be in an insane asylum.”

    The CIA had developed numerous ties to the Mafia during their attempt to overthrow Castro, and the firings of Allen Dulles, Richard Bissell, Charles Cabell, and the upper management at the Agency would have led other employees of the Agency to provide assets to the conspirators. There would have been no incentive for the CIA to stop the murder of Kennedy. The mob would have been happy to see JFK and RFK out of the way.

    Study the state of the world, America, and the South as Gaeton Fonzi advised, and you’ll slowly see the true motive finally emerge. It’s a motive that finally makes sense of the known facts and the cover-up.

    In my opinion, every single academic and researcher has approached the mystery of the assassination from a flawed perspective. Everyone has tried to explain why a great man like John F. Kennedy was murdered. I believe you have to take a controversial contrarian approach: “What if JFK wasn’t a great man?”

    Gore Vidal, Jackie Kennedy’s stepbrother, stated: “John Fitzgerald Kennedy was considered to be a lightweight in D.C. – the sheltered son of a wealthy right-wing bigot.”

    I propose we finally examine the events of the assassination from an entirely different viewpoint. Take Gaeton Fonzi’s advice and ask this question instead:

    “What happens when an inexperienced young president’s numerous policy blunders and reckless personal behavior collide with the reality of the Cold War and the paranoid fear of a nuclear Pearl Harbor?”

    If you take all of the known facts and the inconsistencies surrounding the assassination and cover-up, and then view them in the context of this new theory, you see that Gaeton Fonzi might have been right after all. The pieces all fall neatly into place.

    If the reader is interested in learning more about the Kennedy assassination and this new theory, they are invited to visit my website: for further information, as well as the bibliography of the extensive research conducted to support this new motive. My new book, KENNEDY MUST BE KILLED will be released within the next thirty days.


    Chuck Helppie

  2. December 19, 2009 at 6:58 pm

    Pete, Here’s my take of of the show and books so far. I live in Portland and hear a lot of Hartmann. I’ll try and wrap that in with the follow-up.
    Bruce G. Fraser

    “Did The Mob Kill JFK?” A combined review of a TV show and some vastly overrated books. — Part 1
    The 46th anniversary of the assassination of President Kennedy has come and gone without much fanfare from the broadcast media,
    except for a feeble offering from the Discovery Channel, “Did The Mob Kill JFK?” Posing as deep research the program quickly reached it’s predetermined conclusion that,” the mob did it.” The authors featured in interviews ignored the dedicated work of far more sincere researchers as it trudged pitifully on and begged viewers to dumb down along with them. That might well be
    a feeling shared by much of the shows viewer-ship as the re-airing scheduled for Dec. 3rd was cancelled and reset for Dec. 10th and
    not shown then either. Discovery Channel bumped it for the likes of; Cake Boss, What Not To Wear, Jon and Kate Plus Eight , etc. The one night wonder was sufficiently pathetic to deserve losing out to entertainments more openly targeted at the lowest common denominator. If that seems harsh it’s not. The so called research was lame to the point of being naive and the over
    stretched conclusions are indeed ludicrous. The authors involved are selling a form of thought control that insults the process
    of true historical investigation.

    Lamar Waldron and Thom Hartmann boast that they spent 17 years of intense research for their shared authorship of two voluminous tomes on the assassinations of the ’60’s. What they came up with was two, 800 page, pulp wasting, sleep inducers with lame, drama queen titles. The first is “Ultimate Sacrifice,” followed by the even more unjustified, “Legacy of Secrecy.” The latter was included in
    Waldron’s talking head segments on the TV show in the identifying subtitles, I guess to increase sales to his following. Waldron and Hartmann have wasted an immense amount of time in an effort quite obviously designed to whitewash the CIA and FBI and help the gullible sleep easier at night. I didn’t intend for this to be a book review, but since most of the broadcast was based on the theme of the books they have to be included. Tagging along for air time was the infamous, Warren Report apologist, Gerald Posner, chiming in his eager endorsement of any theory that has Oswald being the lone shooter. He comes off as a cloying and pushy rally boy.

    Waldron and Hartmann were granted access to some “previously unreleased CIA files” on the murder of JFK. They never challenge those files as possibly being planted forgeries to misdirect the American people. They apparently don’t think the CIA would ever do such a thing. That obvious and avoided question aside, they become the first journalists to see documents on the Kennedy brothers plan to wage a full force invasion of Cuba on 12/01/’63. The plan is a total secret to the JFK’s Cabinet. It is called “C-Day,” C representing Cuba. The plan is leaked (“they somehow got wind of it”) to Kennedy hating mafia godfathers who then organize the big kill in Dealey Plaza. The Godfathers and the CIA know that no government investigation, including the Warren Report, can reveal the C-Day plot without risking nuclear war.

    Then we’re to attach to that more proof from the files that high-ranking insiders in Castro’s government were part of the plot. The sacred CIA files must be believed. After all, the C-Day coup was supported by high ranking Cuban Communists who claimed full willingness to betray Castro. Castro henchman Manuel Artime was allegedly networking with the CIA. Artime was the leader of the Cuban ground forces at the Bay of Pigs invasion. What more credibility for the Kennedy brothers surprise “C-Day” act of all out warfare by the ruling empire of the western hemisphere could you want?

    If that isn’t sufficiently convincing, then we must ad a mid ’80’s prison yard confession of Louisiana Godfather, Carlos Marcello to his cell mate that he killed Kennedy and that Oswald was “his boy” who would do anything for him. The possibility that Marcello was a lonely, delusional, senile braggart and bullshitter is never broached. The cell mate became an FBI informant but the information is never used until now. Marcello apparently never mentioned “C-Day” to the This story, however worthless, sets in play a reinforcement of the glorified myth that Oswald was the lone shooter. I’ll get back to this timeless fallacy soon. For now lets go back to the historical chronology of the Discovery Channel’s attempt at setting the record straight.

    Waldron broad-brushes the failure of the Bay of Pigs fiasco by saying that there had been too much loose talk about it stateside. The Cubans knew it was coming and were well prepared. It is purely an assumption by a lazy, gold digging book seller. The original bombing run took out all of Castro’s propeller driven cargo planes and left untouched the airstrip further inland used by the three fighter jets we gave him. By the time an attempt was made to notify JFK and request a total assault on Cuba it was already too late. The Cuban jets are even shown in file footage (which must be originally from the Cuban Army) as they strafe the beaches.

    The fact is that JFK was intentionally out of reach at Camp David and CIA director Allen Dulles was equally unreachable in Puerto Rico – both as planned. Actually, McGeorge Bundy officially called off any continuation of air strikes. Never the less when JFK didn’t call in the full might of the aircraft carrier Essex to cover the invasion forces he was blamed for the failure of the operation and became the enemy of the whining, CIA covert forces.

    Dilettante historians parse the oversimplified description of the Bay of Pigs into being entirely JFK’s failure. Genuine historians see the Bay of Pigs as a designed failure, made for JFK to fall prey to. What Waldron does by dismissing the 1961 invasion as merely a victim of loose lips (which he offers no verification for) is to pigeon-hole an important event into something not worthy of really working on. It’s a recurring theme in his writing. For example, doesn’t it seem odd that the captain of the Essex was the brother of the Mayor of Dallas. Mayor Earle Cabell, had the authority to alter the Presidential parade route. Perhaps stranger still is that that fact is never mentioned.

    Within the many words of Waldron and Hartmann’s they don’t include much about JFK’s plan to pull of Vietnam. The Vietnam war, notably the assassination of Diem, a week before JFK’s own demise receive very short shrift. CIA covert black operations personnel are all but skipped over. Counter-intelligence chief James Jesus Angleton rates only one small, meaningless paragraph. The authors were certainly obedient to the theme of the “evidence” handed to them.

    Whenever “Did the Mob Kill JFK?” deals with Lee Harvey Oswald it gets vague, gossipy and begs viewers for an expanded willing suspension of disbelief. Marcello says his boy Oswald was supposed to be killed by the Dallas Police in the 6th floor
    window of the Book Depository. Such simplicity exposes that Marcello knew very little of the actual operation. The part of the loop he was wired merely served to pump his boundless ego.

    Among the many aspects of the JFK assassination the show doesn’t deal with, it avoids ballistics completely. Posner inserts that it’s more important to look into the forces behind JFK’s death than details about forensics. Of course as a dutiful shill he replays the tape in his head calling Oswald a lone nut loser and acts out his patented mock sympathy for those so hurt by JFK’s death at the hands of a commie deadbeat they need conspiracy theories to fill the void. I paraphrase his riff better than he said it, but that’s invariably how he protects his life-long investment as a mind closing propagandist and profiteer. By the way, his recent plastic surgery should look fairly natural in five years or so.

    As for Waldron and Hartmann, I’ve read a lot of serious studies of the JFK assassination, as well as that of Dr. King and Robert Kennedy. I’ve also read several as transparently phony as “Ultimate Secrecy.” Posner’s “Case Closed” is right in there with the lowest of the purposely deceptive. In every case where authors posing as investigators childishly relegate all the damage of killing a President to Oswald alone, the publications are invariably designed to divert all attention away from the role of our intelligence agency’s and the insatiable military industrial complex. Most of the true researchers I alluded to earlier never got the distribution granted Waldron and Hartmann. Some of thenames of those who risked their reputations and actually sacrificed to bring forth the truth of JFK’s murder are; Sylvan Fox, Penn Jones Jr., Mark Lane, Harold Weisberg, Jim Garrison, Jim Marrs and Carl Ogelsby.

    Enough with raking an exploitive, over edited video over the bed of coals it made for itself. What really rankles me about Waldron and Hartmann’s money sucking books is that they continued their theme about “C-Day” into a second thick, door stop. “Legacy of Secrecy” dares to stretch their heretofore unheard of, “C-Day” theory into absolute solutions for the killing of Dr. Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy. They indulge the notion James Earl Ray was a low level heroin runner for Marcello and that Sirhan Sirhan had mafia connections and both were indisputably the shooters of their respective famous victims. The precious concealment of the “C-Day” plot is credited as the reason for not revealing the Mafia connections that supposedly facilitated the acts. The authors made an extreme number of mistakes in their first tome and managed to double down on the second.

    I’ll elaborate in part 2. Most definitely it will not be kind to the team of Waldron and Hartmann.

    B.G. Fraser – Critic at Large

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