Just when one thought Hollywood could not get any worse on the JFK case, on November 19th a rather depressing announcement was made. Leonardo DiCaprio has purchased the rights to the lengthy book by Thom Hartmann and Lamar Waldron, Legacy of Secrecy. DiCaprio purchased the rights through his production entity, Appian Way, which has a production deal with Warner Brothers. In the story announcing this discouraging news, it was revealed that DiCaprio’s father George brought the book to his son’s attention. One wonders how much reading George has done in the field.
The story also announced that Warners is trying for a 2013 release of the film, which is also rumored to be the release date of the Tom Hanks/Gary Goetzman mini-series made from Vincent Bugliosi’s even longer tome, Reclaiming History. Pity the country that has to be whipsawed between two works of fiction like this at the 50th anniversary of President Kennedy’s death.
As most readers of the CTKA site know, and most serious people on this case realize, Hartmann and Waldron spent nearly two thousand pages discussing declassified documents that they either misread or misrepresented. Their two books are based upon contingency plans, which President Kennedy never took seriously, about an invasion of Cuba. And these plans are clearly marked as such. Further, in their first book, Ultimate Sacrifice, their alleged coup plotter, the man who would lead the revolt against Fidel Castro, was clearly implied as being Che Guevara. Which was ridiculous on its face. Eventually, they switched to Juan Almeida. But they were humiliated once again when Malcolm Blunt and Ed Sherry discovered NSA intercepts revealing that Almeida was on his way to Africa at the time of the coup! This literally took the heart out of their fantastic C-Day plot. As did the fact that it was later revealed that no one in any high position in the military or intelligence community knew of the coming invasion—which was to be by flotillas of Cuban exiles supplemented by both the CIA and the Pentagon. National Security Adviser McGeorge Bundy did not know. Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara did not know. And CIA Director of Plans Richard Helms did not know.
So here you had a US sponsored coup in Cuba which no one in the American military–intelligence community knew of, and apparently neither did the designated coup leader, who was flying across the Atlantic on his way to a different continent at the time.
Even though their first book on this subject, Ultimate Sacrifice, was roundly criticized from many quarters—David Talbot, Bill Kelly, and myself to name just three—the authors managed to get published a sort of sequel. This book, Legacy of Secrecy, again discussed this mythological coup in Cuba and the JFK assassination, but also extended the authors’ discussion of assassinations to RFK and Martin Luther King. In each case, Waldron and Hartmann proffered a Mob based scenario. In the JFK case, although the authors were not in the “Oswald did it alone” camp, they concluded the Mafia killed President Kennedy, but this time Bernard Barker was the assassin at the request of Carlos Marcello. As Bill Davy noted, there was next to no evidence for Barker being on the grassy knoll. In the latter two cases, they strongly implied that the official scapegoats—James Earl Ray and Sirhan Sirhan—were triggermen for the Mafia.
The evidence Waldron and Hartmann offered up for Marcello being the mastermind behind the assassination was mildewed stuff they tried to present as new. In fact, legendary archives researcher Peter Vea sent this author copies of the documents (codenamed CAMTEX) a full decade before Waldron and Hartmann “discovered” them and trumpeted them as new. Contained in those pages is what was termed in Legacy of Secrecy a “confession” to the JFK assassination by Marcello while the Mafioso was in prison in Texas. Let me quote from my review of the book:
“When Peter sent me the documents, he titled his background work on them as "The Crazy Last Days of Carlos Marcello." Peter had done some work on Marcello's health while being incarcerated. Between that, and the reports that came out at the time of his 1993 death, Peter and I concluded that at the time of the CAMTEX documents Marcello was suffering from the onset of Alzheimer's disease. Today, the accepted gestation period for the disease is about seven years. There is little doubt that by 1988-89 Marcello's Alzheimer's was in full and raging bloom. It was also at this time Marcello's general health was beginning to collapse through a series of strokes. Marcello's talks with the jailhouse informant who is one of the sources for the CAMTEX documents begins in 1985. Doing the arithmetic you will see that Marcello's Alzheimer's was very likely well along by then. Additionally, when told about the jailhouse informant's accusation that he had Kennedy killed, Marcello himself replied that this was ‘crazy talk.’ And in fact it is.
“The CAMTEX documents actually have Marcello meeting with Oswald in person and in public at Marcello’s brother's restaurant. But that's nothing. According to CAMTEX, Marcello set up Ruby's bar business and Ruby would come to Marcello's estate to report to him! And so after being seen in public with both the main participants, the chief mobster has the first one kill Kennedy and the second kill Oswald. Yet, the authors are so intent on getting the CAMTEX documents out there that they don't note that these contradict their own conclusion written elsewhere in the same book. Namely that Oswald didn't shoot Kennedy.”
So, in other words, it appears that DiCaprio did about as much background study of these two books and these two writers as Hanks and Goetzman did on Reclaiming History. And what amplifies that is that it appears that DiCaprio will play Jack Van Laningham, the prison inmate who allegedly talked to Marcello. I wonder if DiCaprio will acknowledge he was listening to a man who was in the advanced stages of a mentally debilitating disease, the same one that forced Nancy Reagan to hide her husband from the rest of the world for fear of embarrassment.
There is a lot of blame to go around is this sorry affair, which once again reveals just how shallow, vapid, and egocentric the Hollywood movie scene has become. And Discovery Channel is high on the list. For they featured Waldron and Van Laningham on its sorry show, Did the Mob Kill JFK? And the History Channel did a documentary on the previous book Ultimate Sacrifice. So whereas, Hartmann and Waldron have been severely discredited within the research community, the cable television crowd has sold them to the general public as credible historians, which they are anything but.
And now, Leonardo DiCaprio and his father have signed on to the imaginary coup, and the incapacitated “confession.”
We urge everyone to write or fax DiCaprio at his Appian Way office:
Appian Way Productions
9255 Sunset Blvd, Suite 615
West Hollywood CA 90069
Here are sources to educate Leo with:
Everyone get on this one, right away. After fifty years, the American people deserve better than a phony Mob did it scenario about JFK’s death. Especially with the release of 2 million pages of declassified documents that reveal what actually happened to him.