EXCLUSIVE TO LIZ SMITH FROM LAMAR WALDRON, one of the best investigative journalists in the United States. A shot over the bow of anti-conspiracy theorists everywhere, with Lamar saying the following:
"Sunday is the 40th anniversary of the Watergate arrests ... I have tried to emphasize Watergate without getting into the JFK assassination, to keep the story focused, help differentiate it from my early books. ... Anyone who reads "Watergate: The Hidden History" will know exactly who killed JFK. (The Mafia's Carlos Marcello, Santo Trafficante, Johnny Roselli -- with the help of future Watergate burglar Bernard Barker)."
So writes my longtime friend Lamar Waldron, a dedicated conspiracy theorist solver and a man who says -- to put a fine point on it -- that Nixon-type conservatives, determined to kill Cuba's Fidel Castro, eventually used the CIA and Mafia roadmap to follow their anti-Castro plan and then used it to assassinate JFK instead.
Mr. Waldron's massive new book is really two books. Here, if you plow ahead, you will discover that the burglary of the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee at the Watergate was because Richard Nixon and his men were determined to retrieve the papers that would prove their guilt. He says there were four burglary bungles at the Watergate before the "third-rate" attempt that trapped them all and forced the president to resign.
The CIA plot to use the Mafia to kill Fidel began in 1960 when Vice President Nixon was in a tight race with JFK for the presidency. Waldron insists that Nixon had longtime Mafia ties, from 1946 on. For instance, he was constantly bribed to help stall an indictment of Jimmy Hoffa. Waldron also indicts Bebe Rebozo, Nixon's longtime friend, as a money launderer and crook.
If you don't think you can stand to pore through such a big book, you could simply go to page 408 and look at Lamar's section of photos. Under each one he underlines a point being made in the book. It is the most imaginative and informative use of photo captions in history.
There are incredible revelations in this book that have taken Waldron years to write and he has new, revealing and formerly restricted evidence to go on. His subtitle to this one is "Nixon, the Mafia, and the CIA." This book is backed by 2,000 endnotes. His last book, "Legacy of Secrecy" is now being made into a film starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert De Niro.
I confess I didn't really "read" Lamar's book. I went through its nearly 800 pages one by one, however, and underlined in red. Even if you just read my underlined parts, you would get an amazing picture and be stunned at how misled we have all been -- by, for instance, the Warren Commission, Bobby Kennedy's reluctance to make matters worse by confronting the truth, the fact that Lee Harvey Oswald had been hired by the CIA, and that most of the gangsters who sealed JFK's fate died themselves in violent ways. All this may well be revealed in the Boston Globe this very weekend.
Let me just give you a few of my gleanings. I asked Lamar for the crux of this amazing book, and he says simply: "What were the Watergate burglars after? Why was Richard Nixon willing to risk his presidency to get it?"
New files from the National Archives show that our "old friend" Hollywood Mafia don, Johnny Roselli, helped spark the entire scandal. (His body was found crammed in an oil drum in 1976 -- the Mafia trying to clean up after itself. This was never connected in the press to Watergate, since the files were still secret at the time. Now they aren't.)
Roselli, a don whose 1948 mug shot was shown before the House Select Committee on Assassinations, was so dapper and dangerous that his death caused the JFK mistress, Judith Exner, to sleep with a gun under her pillow ever after. She was that afraid of the Mafia, the FBI and the CIA, or so she claimed shortly before her death when she met me secretly in L.A. to tell me all about her romance with President Kennedy.
If you are a Nixon celebrator perhaps you won't be moved by Lamar's summing up: "The facts ultimately show that Nixon was a tragic figure, a politically brilliant man who could have done much for the country. But like a figure in Greek tragedy, he was deeply flawed, consumed by a drive for power, status, and money that he apparently believed he could obtain only through decades of Mafia and corporate corruption, along with access to covert intelligence, legal or otherwise. That insecurity led to his continuing those illegal aspects of his political life even when, as his 1972 landslide victory shows, he may no longer have needed them."
I have no doubt about recommending this book, from the publishers Counterpoint/Berkeley. It is great current reversionary history. Maybe you won't want to revisit all this! But, remember, the past is prologue. And those who forget the past are condemned sometimes to re-live it.
Why did Lamar Waldron choose me, a lowly society show biz gossip columnist to visit his new book? Because he says, "Like Jack Anderson in his heyday, you're one of the only journalists willing to write about important things like assassinations, the Mafia and the CIA."
Hmmm, and now back to the shreds of what's left of society and show business.
(E-mail Liz Smith at MES3838@aol.com.)