Transcript: Thom Hartmann talks to co-author Lamar Waldron about explosive new information about the JFK assassination. 17 November 2009
Thom Hartmann: Up next, what’s the new information that we’ve just uncovered in the last few months that ties together Dick Cheney, Watergate burglars, and the JFK assassination?
On Sunday, the Discovery Channel, November 22nd, is going to be airing a special called “Did the Mob Kill JFK?” at 8pm Eastern time. That Discovery Channel piece, whatever you call it, TV show hour, is going to feature Lamar Waldron, the primary author of this book, "Legacy of Secrecy: The Long Shadow of the JFK Assassination", which “Vanity Fair” referred to as 'awesome'. The subtitle, "Robert Kennedy, the Mob, the assassination of Martin Luther King", and its co-author will also be in that TV show, and that’s a guy you may know, Thom Hartman. And so Lamar Waldron, who we have for years and years and years been working on this thing, and Lamar has done just absolutely mind-boggling yeoman’s work on it, on the line with us right now from his home in Atlanta. Lamar, welcome to the programme.
Lamar Waldron: Great to be with you, Thom. You know, this time of year, and this is coming up on the forty-sixth anniversary. It seems like there’s always some explosive new information coming out, that again, you and I have been digging into this for almost twenty years, and this year is no exception. So important information is just coming out this week.
Thom Hartmann: And, you know, you and I learnt some years ago, actually, some pieces of this puzzle, the Bernard Barker piece of it, for example, but were unable to reveal that until just recently, in part because he just recently died. Share with me your thoughts on, or, you know, what we’ve learnt that is the real, what are the new revelations, what are the things that nobody knew before about the Kennedy assassination, and about, well, just this whole issue that I brought up?
Lamar Waldron: Sure. Because what I’m about to say, what we’ve uncovered, not only really helps to finally explain the JFK assassination and Watergate, but it also sheds new light on this continued withholding of information from Congress and the public, by agencies like the CIA, and the FBI, and politicians like Dick Cheney, even explains, as your listeners will hear, why US-Cuba relations have been frozen since the JFK assassination.
Thom Hartmann: Right. So let’s start with the Watergate burglar, Bernard Barker.
Lamar Waldron: Bernard Barker. For a lot of your younger listeners, you know, Watergate was this scandal that brought down Richard Nixon; these people were caught in the Watergate, part of a big dirty tricks operation. Repeated break-ins at Watergate, and even …
Thom Hartmann: Well, the Watergate was the home of the Democratic National Committee’s offices. That’s what, therefore the break-in was there.
Lamar Waldron: And that's, they were literally caught in the office red-handed, G. Gordon Liddy, Bernard Barker, and a lot of other Cuban exiles like Bernard Barker. Liddy was very different from a lot of these others. And just to get right to the punch, the biggest revelations are, that are just coming out this week, is that Bernard Barker, this convicted Watergate burglar, and Lee Harvey Oswald, back in November of ‘63, were working on the very same top secret operation for the CIA. But, it wasn’t Oswald, instead it was Bernard Barker that actually helped to assassinate JFK.
Thom Hartmann: Right.
Lamar Waldron: Literally on November 22nd. And Bernard Barker, though he was a CIA agent and he had been one for about, a few years at that point, his real boss, the people he worked for for years, were the Mafias, specifically Mafia godfather Santo Trafficante. And as you started to say, Thom, we first learnt this from a close associate of Robert Kennedy, back in 1992. And both because Barker was alive, and we needed evidence to back that up. I mean, you and I treat all sources skeptically. We looked for supporting information, and so then we basically spent the next seventeen years looking for information to document Barker’s involvement in JFK’s murder.
Thom Hartmann: And we found it.
Lamar Waldron: And we came up with a ton of it. There’s three new chapters in this updated trade paperback of “Legacy of Secrecy”. And, I mean, this even includes an eyewitness from law enforcement who saw Bernard Barker on the grassy knoll in Dealey Plaza, behind the picket fence, within seconds of the shooting, and even Barker’s own words about what he saw that day are just so amazing and incriminating but they’ve been overlooked for so many years.
Thom Hartmann: And here’s one other little factoid that will make many peoples' brains explode. Most people are familiar with the name E. Howard Hunt. Bernard Barker was his...
Lamar Waldron: Assistant. And E. Howard Hunt was the mastermind of the Watergate break-ins, plural, there were three. And, but it’s interesting that when they came to work together, the CIA actually assigned Barker to work for Hunt, in the CIA’s plot with the Mafia, to assassinate Fidel Castro, began under Vice President Richard Nixon.
Thom Hartmann: Right. And it was going to be part of Nixon’s October Surprise, to try and blow up Kennedy’s attempt to become President, and Bernard Barker was also working for Santo Trafficante, the Mafia godfather who was also arguably the lead character in the plan to assassinate Jack Kennedy.
Lamar Waldron: Exactly right. In other words, so what you have if you go back to the summer of 1960, and the fall of 1960, the elections coming up, between Vice President Nixon and JFK, and President Eisenhower has delegated to Nixon authority for these covert Cuban operations. And it’s actually Nixon who has long-time Mafia ties going back to the beginning of his political career. He’s the one who, we can now document, pressures the CIA to ramp up and go really whole hog with the Mafia, specifically Santo Trafficante, to try and assassinate Fidel, and it’s exactly then, that month, in September 1960, that Bernard Barker is assigned to work as E. Howard Hunt’s assistant.
Thom Hartmann: On the first October Surprise.
Lamar Waldron: Exactly. This would be the original October Surprise, because the Mafia gave a little support to JFK, the Mafia gave overwhelming support to their old buddy Richard Nixon. And so, and they assigned Barker to work with Hunt because, as we now know, and was withheld from the Watergate investigation, and all Congressional investigations. The FBI knew that Barker was Mafia since the late 1940’s. But so of course, to the CIA, it made perfect sense to assign one of Santo Trafficante’s men, make him a CIA agent, and assign him to work with E. Howard Hunt. Of course, Fidel was not assassinated, but the CIA continued to work with the Mafia to kill Fidel, and Hunt and Barker continued to work together through the Bay of Pigs.
Thom Hartmann: So let me summarize this for our listeners.
Lamar Waldron: Sure.
Thom Hartmann: Because there’s been a lot of information here, and what we have found, in summary, is that first of all, Richard Nixon was planning an October Surprise before the election of 1960. Because Jack Kennedy was beating him up about the fact that Fidel Castro had gone Communist on the Eisenhower / Nixon administration’s watch. And Nixon was the Vice President, he was running for President against Jack Kennedy. He hired the Mob, who were his good buddies, and brought Bernard Barker into this operation to assassinate Castro. And that was going to be his October Surprise. Didn’t quite work out that way. Barker stayed in the programme, became, was E. Howard Hunt’s assistant, the number three guy as I recall in the CIA at the time, and Bernard Barker was also working for Santo Trafficante. He leaked to Trafficante a year later Bobby Kennedy’s secret plan to assassinate Castro and have a coup in Cuba. And thus sold out the Kennedy family and facilitated the assassination, and in fact we can even put Barker at the scene of the crime in Dallas, and all of this is brand new information that’s in the new paperback edition of “Legacy of Secrecy” that is just now out. Have I summarized that well, Lamar?
Lamar Waldron: Pretty well. The only thing, E. Howard Hunt wasn’t that high in the CIA. He was a high CIA official, but he…
Thom Hartmann: He wasn’t the number three guy.
Lamar Waldron: Right. By ‘63, the number three guy was a man by the name of Richard Helms and Hunt was his protégé. And so by ‘63, you got the Mafia still working with the CIA, only people like Hunt and Barker and Richard Helms know. The CIA’s own director, JFK’s man by that time, he doesn’t know, JFK doesn’t know, Bobby doesn’t know, and so when JFK comes up with this incredible plan to kill, I hate to use these terms, but essentially to overthrow Fidel Castro on December 1st, 1963, ten days after Dallas, E. Howard Hunt, and Barker, are assigned to work on JFK’s top secret plan and we'll tell you the rest after the break.
Thom Hartmann: There you go, yeah, and in fact, also we’re going to tell you how Dick Cheney plays into all of this. And when we come back from the break we have a short trailer from the Discovery Channel we'll be playing from the special. You can hear it if you're listening on the radio or if you're watching our video stream you can watch it as well. Stick around, we'll be right back. Thom Hartmann here with you with Lamar Waldron.
Thom Hartmann: Ok, what is the new information that we have just uncovered in the last few months that ties together Dick Cheney, Watergate burglars, and the JFK assassination? On Sunday, the Discovery Channel, November 22nd, Sunday November 22nd at 8pm ET, is going to be playing a special featuring Lamar and me, Lamar Waldron, Lamar and I the authors of “Legacy of Secrecy”, as you can see in the book here, “The Long Shadow of the Kennedy Assassination”. Here is a trailer from that Discovery Channel piece:
“Next Sunday, it’s America’s most debated unsolved mystery. Now, forty-six years after his death, shocking new revelations. "The Mob killed our President, and they got away with it". Two conflicting theories, who really pulled the trigger, and why. "Lee Harvey Oswald was arrested for killing a police officer, not President Kennedy". Back to back investigative look at the death of a President. "Did the Mob kill JFK?" and "JFK: the Ruby connection". It all starts next Sunday at 8. Sundays are awesome on Discovery.”
There you go. Sunday at 8 on Discovery Channel. Lamar Waldron with us. Lamar, welcome back to the show.
Lamar Waldron: Great to be here, Thom.
Thom Hartmann: Let’s just recap very quickly the bombshells that are being dropped in this Discovery Channel, and in the new updated paperback edition of “Legacy of Secrecy”, having to do with Bernard Barker, Richard Nixon, the plot to kill Jack Kennedy. Your turn.
Lamar Waldron: Well, convicted Watergate burglar Bernard Barker was working on one of America’s most secret programmes in November 1963, the plot to overthrow Fidel Castro on December 1st 1963, ten days after Dallas. Totally authorized by JFK, Bobby Kennedy, and using the number three man in Cuba, Commander Juan Almeida. Bernard Barker was working on that as the assistant to CIA officer E. Howard Hunt. Bernard Barker was a low-level CIA agent. He was really working for the Mafia. He’d been working for, for years, the Mafia godfather Santo Trafficante. What Bernard Barker did, was to sell out this top secret coup plan, whose exposure could have meant World War Three. He sold it out to his boss, Trafficante. And that Trafficante and his Mob associates, Carlos Marcello of Louisiana and Texas, Johnny Rosselli, the Chicago Mob’s man in Las Vegas and Hollywood, let them use parts of that plan to try to kill JFK first in Chicago, then Tampa, and then finally succeed in Dallas. But do it in a way that forced poor Bobby Kennedy to work with his hated enemies, like LBJ, J. Edgar Hover, to cover up a lot of information.
Thom Hartmann: Right.
Lamar Waldron: Not to protect the killers, but to protect the number three man in Cuba, really working for us, and to prevent World War Three. Now, flash ahead to the Watergate investigation. All of this material was withheld from the Senate Watergate Committee, including Bernard Barker’s Mafia ties, and then just a few years after that, Gerald Ford is President, one of the Warren Commissioners, his Chief of Staff is Dick Cheney.
Thom Hartmann: And now, Dick Cheney comes into the picture here, of the JFK assassination.
Lamar Waldron: Just like this stuff has been withheld from Congress, on Cheney’s orders, by the CIA, in recent years. Back in the mid ‘70’s, Senator Frank Church has a big committee exposing the CIA / Mafia plots to kill Fidel, he even has a sub-committee headed by Senator Gary Hart looking at the JFK assassination, but all of this material is again withheld by the CIA while Cheney is Ford’s Chief of Staff, and then Cheney becomes Ford’s campaign manager while George H. W. Bush becomes CIA Director, and yet again I want to stress, Ford, Cheney, Bush 1 had nothing to do with JFK’s murder, but a lot of…
Thom Hartmann: But everything to do with keeping us from ever learning how it happened, or why.
Lamar Waldron: Because there’s no way Gerald Ford is ever getting re-elected if all this came out and it made him look like a fool for not realizing this when he was still in the Warren Commission.
Thom Hartmann: Well, because of Nixon’s implicit role in this thing.
Lamar Waldron: Well, again, Nixon was so worried during Watergate, the time of Watergate, that it was going to come out that he had the CIA hire the Mafia was to kill Fidel and that somehow those plots had boomeranged on JFK, resulting in his death. That could have cost Nixon the election. That’s why there were three break-ins at the Watergate, and at the Chilean Embassy and other places, and then we just keep flashing ahead to the current date, when a million CIA records alone are still secret, even though there’s a 1992 JFK Act requiring their release. If your listeners want to get all the rest of these files, they've just got to tell their Senators and Congress person.
Thom Hartmann: Right. So, we’re talking with Lamar Waldron. He and I have written a couple of books together, "Ultimate Sacrifice" and “Legacy of Secrecy”. The new edition of “Legacy of Secrecy” with new and updated information, and some pretty mind-boggling information that we were just, some of which we’ve just recently discovered, much of which we, and some of which we can only legally recently reveal. And much of this is going to be in the Discovery Channel piece this coming weekend, but it’s also in the book.
Lamar Waldron: And actually, we have so much information here, literally three new chapters in the updated trade paperback, and lots of hints we had had in the hardback where we couldn’t name Barker...
Thom Hartmann: Right.
Lamar Waldron: But we strongly hinted, so now we've got to replace those. I should add the explanation for why Barker helps to explain the freeze in US / Cuba relations since JFK's assassination, is that now we have CIA documents showing that Barker’s very close Mob associates spread a lot of phoney 'Castro killed JFK' stories to the press, and even within the CIA, these got to LBJ, and so this is the only reason why we treat, you know, Communist Cuba different than we treat, you know, Communist Vietnam, or
Thom Hartmann: Communist China, where our President is right now.
Lamar Waldron: For years, high-ranking US officials, and some will go on the record, like former Secretary of State Al Haig, and they will say, “Oh no, you know, Castro killed JFK”, but all of that evidence has been debunked, and almost all of it originates with associates of Bernard Barker and Santo Trafficante. So those phoney stories still haunt America today, keep you and I from going to spend time down in sunny Cuba...
Thom Hartmann: Right, and in the 20 seconds we have left here, Lamar, and it all leads back to Richard Nixon trying to have an October Surprise in 1960 to win the election against Jack Kennedy.
Lamar Waldron: And it boomeranged on Kennedy, resulting in his death. It boomeranged on Nixon, resulting in his resignation. So, again, and I do want to stress that….
Thom Hartmann: And Dick Cheney is still covering it up.
Lamar Waldron: Well, and the CIA too.
Thom Hartmann: Yeah, there you go.
Lamar Waldron: People should tell Congress.
Thom Hartmann: There you go, tell Congress and you can get a lot of information on the web over at legacyofsecrecy.com, the web site that we have for the book, and which we are aggressively updating with new information even as we speak.
Lamar Waldron: And it’s only the new trade paperback that has this new info.
Thom Hartmann: That’s right. Lamar Waldron, Thom Hartman the authors, “Legacy of Secrecy”, legacyofsecrecy.com , Sunday night, Discovery Channel, we'll be right back.
And Lamar Waldron is still on the line with us because we've just got a pile of calls about the JFK stuff and Lamar is one of the most thorough, detail-oriented, he’s kind of the rainman of JFK stuff, and I mean that in a very complementary way. Lamar, you still with us?
Lamar Waldron: Right here, Thom.
Thom Hartmann: Great. Generally, I don’t take JFK calls during the show unless you’re on with me, because as you’ve got so many of the facts at the tip of your fingers, and I tend to, over the years, muddy these things up. So let's pick up a few phone calls...
Transcribed by Gerard Aukstiejus.