NEW YORK – Prominent JFK assassination researcher and author Lamar Waldron has posted on the White House website a petition calling for the release of all classified government files on the JFK assassination and a pardon for former Secret Service agent Abraham Bolden.
“It’s time to release ALL of the JFK assassination files. Congress passed the 1992 JFK Act to declassify them, but the Secret Service, CIA, FBI, and other agencies continue to withhold important files,” Waldron’s petition reads. “The National Archives won’t even say how many pages of files remain unreleased.”
Waldron’s petition needs just 150 signatures by Dec. 21 to become publicly searchable on WhiteHouse.gov, but it remains far short of the 100,000 signatures needed to prompt a response from the White House. (Note: A new petition is now online that expires Jan. 21, 2015.)
Waldron, nevertheless, is not discouraged in his determination to “stop needless government secrecy” over the JFK assassination, which occurred more than 51 years ago, Nov. 22, 1963.
“If we can’t get full disclosure about something that happened over five decades ago – even when the law requires it – how can we hope to get the full story on more recent events and controversies?” Waldron asks.
“Most people don’t realize that the Secret Service scandals of this and other recent years – involving lax security as well as agents’ heavy drinking and partying – are simply continuing problems that have plagued the Service for more than 50 years.”
Waldron has created a Facebook page to generate signatures for his White House petition.
“It’s clear from files released in recent years that the CIA – along with the Secret Service, FBI, and Naval Intelligence – withheld a massive amount of crucial information from that Committee, just as they had from the 1964 Warren Commission,” Waldron points out.
“Despite that withholding, the House Select Committee on Assassinations still concluded in 1979 that JFK was likely killed by a ‘conspiracy’ and named two Mafia godfathers – Carlos Marcello, who controlled organized crime in Louisiana and Texas, and Tampa’s Santo Trafficante as having ‘the motive, means, and opportunity to assassinate President Kennedy,'” he continued. “However, the Committee hadn’t been told something the CIA and FBI both knew – that Marcello, like Trafficante, had been a CIA asset in the early 1960s.”
In response to the release of Oliver Stone’s feature film “JFK,” Congress passed unanimously the JFK Records Collection Act of 1992 that requires the National Archives and Records Administration to establish a collection of JFK assassination records. The law requires that all JFK assassination records held by the government must be made public by Oct. 26, 2017, exactly 25 years after it was passed.
Despite this, Waldron has reason to be concerned the federal government may still try to withhold some critical documents from the American public under a claim of “national security” concerns.
Waldron notes that while 4.5 million pages of JFK assassination-related files were released in the 1990s, most of the crucial files withheld by the Warren Commission and not made available to the 1979 House Select Committee on Assassinations are still unavailable.
He further notes the federal government, while refusing to reveal how many pages of JFK records and audio tapes remain classified, has admitted in court filings that the CIA plans to reserve the right to withhold past 2017 some of the most sensitive files. They include the records concerning George Joannides, the chief of CIA covert operations in Miami in 1963, who is also believed to have had a residence in New Orleans.
Joannides handled for the CIA various anti-Castro groups of Cuban exiles whose members are believed to have held meetings with Lee Harvey Oswald in August 1963.
“Because of this continued government secrecy, important facts about JFK’s murder aren’t known by most in the public, press, and Congress today – which is why the same agencies keep making the same mistakes, year after year, and decade after decade,” Waldron said.
He said, for example, most people don’t realize that late their lives, Marcello and Trafficante made to trusted associates what many consider to be credible confessions to JFK’s murder.
“The same is true for their partner in the crime, Johnny Rosselli, a don for the Chicago Mafia. Rosselli, like Trafficante and Marcello, was also a CIA asset in the early 1960s. Rosselli’s close friend in 1963, CIA officer David Morales – operations chief at the huge Miami CIA station – also confessed in role in JFK’s murder, as did CIA asset and Trafficante mob associate John Martino.”
Waldron and co-author Thom Hartmann are credited with bringing to attention two previous attempts on Kennedy’s life, in Chicago and in Tampa, prior to the trip to Dallas. They are the authors of the 2005 book Ultimate Sacrifice” and the 2008 book “Legacy of Secrecy.”
Waldron wants to clear the record of former Secret Service agent Abraham Bolden, who played a key role in warning JFK about the attempt planned in Chicago.
“In the spring of 1964, Abraham Bolden worried the Warren Commission had been told nothing by the Secret Service about the Chicago or Tampa attempts,” Waldron explained. “Bolden also felt the Commission hadn’t been told about the ongoing problem of excessive drinking on the part of several members of the White House detail. The Commission had only heard a press report about one incident, the late night drinking by some of JFK’s Secret Service agents just hours before the president was killed in Dallas.”
Waldron said Bolden, a devout Christian, was the first black Secret Service agent on the presidential detail, having been selected by Kennedy himself. But he was forced to leave the detail, Waldron said, after his superiors failed to address the problems he encountered of racism, heavy drinking and laxity by some agents.
In 1964, Bolden was convicted of accepting a bribe in a counterfeiting case and was sentenced to six years in federal prison.
But Bolden’s accusers were two criminals he had sent to prison, Waldron argued.
“In Bolden’s first trial, an apparently biased judge told the jury that Bolden was guilty, even while they were still deliberating,” he said. “Though granted a new trial, the same problematic judge was assigned to oversee Bolden’s second trial, which resulted in his conviction.”
Waldron asserted the main witness against Bolden admitted committing perjury against him.
He further argued a key member of the prosecution even took the Fifth Amendment against self-incrimination when asked about the perjury of Bolden’s main accuser.
“Yet Bolden’s appeals were denied, and he had to serve hard time in prison, and today is considered a convicted felon,” Waldron said.
“Abraham Bolden paid a heavy price for trying to tell the truth about the Secret Service’s problems, problems that have been allowed to continue until today,” Waldron said.
He said Bolden, who will turn 80 in January, still lives in Chicago and has spent five decades trying to clear his name.
“How long can he keep waiting for justice?” Waldron asked.
Waldron believes the federal government is determined to continue a cover-up by withholding key files after the 2017 deadline, in clear defiance of the intent of Congress in the JFK Records Collection Act of 1992.
“How can we expect the Secret Service – or other agencies – to tell the truth about their recent problems if they can’t obey the law, release their files and tell the truth about matters more than 50 years old?” Waldron asks in the petition. “We can’t, and that’s why it’s up to you to help end decades of needless government secrecy by signing the petition to finally release all of the JFK assassination files.”