How the CIA overthrew the United States of America

Excerpt from Jim Marrs, Crossfire: The Plot that Killed Kennedy


At the start of the 1920s, marijuana use in America was concentrated in New Orleans and its intoxicating vapors were mainly inhaled by migrant workers from Mexico, by blacks, and by a growing number of "low-class" whites. Sailors and immigrants from the Caribbean brought this "new" (Its known uses go back to 7,000 B.C.) drug into major southern U.S. ports – above all into the Crescent City.

Along with jazz, pot traveled north to Chicago, and then east to Harlem – where it soon became an indispensable part of the music scene, even entering the language of the black hits of the day (Louis Armstrong's "Muggles," Cab Calloway's "That Funny Reefer Man" and Fats Waller's "Viper's Drag").

A squat, muscular fireplug of a man, rising New Orleans mobster Carlos Marcello was perfectly placed to make boatloads of money from illegal marijuana shipped into his territory. In 1938, though, Marcello sold 23 pounds of pot to an undercover agent.

Convicted and sentenced to one year in the Atlanta Federal Penitentiary, Marcello was also fined more than $75,000. Using his political influence, that particular "Reefer Man" was able to get the fine reduced to just $400 - and he was out of prison in nine months. With Louisiana Mafia boss Sam Carolla pulling the strings, Gov. O.K. Allen – a former stooge of assassinated Sen. Huey Long – provided the leniency.

Marcello's first dealings with Vice President Dick Nixon involved Jimmy Hoffa, the mobbed-up Teamsters Union leader. Because Jimmy shared a common enemy with Nixon, Hoffa and his two million-member union backed Nixon against Sen. John Kennedy in the 1960 presidential election. A Louisiana Teamster official who later became a government informant has revealed that Hoffa met with Marcello to secretly fund the Nixon campaign with stacks of cold Mob cash. Edward Partin told Mob expert Dan Moldea, “I was right there, listening to the conversation. Marcello had a suitcase filled with $500,000 cash which was going to Nixon ... (Another $500,000 contribution) was coming from Mob boys in New Jersey and Florida.'” Hoffa himself served as Nixon's bagman. Within a few weeks of that payoff, Vice President Nixon managed to stop a Florida land fraud indictment against Hoffa.

The Hoffa-Marcello meeting took place in New Orleans on September 26, 1960, and has been verified by William Sullivan, a former top FBI official.

Sen. John Kennedy edged out Vice President Nixon in the 1960 presidential election, and Hoffa – thanks to Atty. Gen. Robert Kennedy – was soon sitting in a prison cell for jury tampering and looting his own union's pension funds of nearly $2 million. Yet the Nixon-Hoffa link remained solid, at least until December 23, 1971, when, as president, Nixon gave Jimmy an executive grant of clemency and opened the prison's gates for him. Hoffa served only five years of a 13-year sentence.

In 1961, Marcello was "deported" to Guatemala by Atty. Gen. Bobby Kennedy but the Louisiana godfather quietly returned in a small plane piloted by an associate named David Ferrie – later considered a prime JFK assassination suspect by New Orleans District Attorney, Jim Garrison.

In 1967, just as Garrison prepared to indict him, Ferrie was found dead in his apartment. He was lying on a sofa with a sheet pulled over his head. Two typed "suicide" notes were found. Ferrie's name was typed, not signed, on each note.

New Orleans was a hotbed of illegal, covert paramilitary operations where corruption, disguise and deception had produced an intelligence cottage industry. In the 1960s, it was the city where the Mafia, anti-Castro exiles and self-styled intelligence spooks joined hands to celebrate what they called their patriotic bonds and to condemn their common enemies - Castro, Communists, Liberals.

It is now known that Ruby was not only a police-protected pot dealer – but also a government informant. In 1947, he was a secret Syndicate source for a young congressman from California named Richard Nixon. In 1950, he covertly cooperated with a Senate committee probing organized crime. In 1956 – according to newly released memos – the FBI fingered him as a liaison between the Dallas police department and local drug dealers.

Identified by the Warren Commission as the lone killer of President Kennedy, Lee Harvey Oswald had his own ties to Carlos Marcello. In New Orleans, where Oswald spent significant portions of his life, Oswald's uncle and substitute father was Charles "Dutz" Murret, an important bookie in Marcello's gambling operations. Oswald's mom, Marguerite, dated some of Marcello's employees.

Jack Ruby stalked Oswald after his arrest – finally killing him with a pistol shot to the stomach two days after Kennedy's murder, as the alleged presidential assassin was being transferred from one Dallas jail to another.

Shortly after entering the White House in 1969, Richard Nixon moved to solidify his close favor-trading friendship with Carlos Marcello – known in the underworld as "the Big Daddy in the Big Easy." Their main go-between was old Nixon loyalist and Mob lawyer Murray Chotiner. The pinky-ring wearing Chotiner and his brother were responsible for defending 221 organized crime figures in California.

Chotiner had a White House office and an official government job from which to trade on his powerful behind-the-scenes influence. He had served Nixon since the Navy vet's very first campaign for Congress in 1946. In fact, Chotiner had introduced Nixon to L.A.'s top hoodlum, Mickey Cohen – and pressured Cohen to contribute to the Nixon campaign. Chotiner was associated with scores of other leading gangsters, including Meyer Lansky and Ben "Bugsy" Seigel.

Chotiner, on behalf of President Nixon, sought to aid Marcello. The gangster was facing a two-year prison term for his 1968 conviction of assaulting a federal official.

Throughout Nixon's first two years in office, Marcello and his lawyers used all the clout they could muster with the administration to get Marcello's sentence cut. Nixon's crooked attorney general, John Mitchell, finally put the squeeze on a federal judge to slice Marcello's prison term to six months and arranged for him to spend that time at the medical center for federal prisoners in Springfield, MO.

(Mitchell was the first person since the FBI was established in 1908 to hold the office of attorney general without undergoing an FBI investigation, thanks to a special request made by Nixon to his ever-loyal crony J. Edgar Hoover. In 1975, Mitchell himself was found guilty of conspiracy, obstruction of justice, and perjury and sentenced to two and a half to eight years in prison for his role in the Watergate break-in and cover-up.) Marcello emerged from his stay at Springfield in March 1971 – just in time to aid Chotiner's efforts to spring Jimmy Hoffa from prison.

At about the same time, President Nixon – perhaps, in part, to aid Marcello's illegal drug trafficking business – ignored a call by a blue-ribbon presidential commission to decriminalize marijuana. That decision has had startling repercussions- by criminalizing an estimated 15 million Americans arrested on pot charges.

Nixon, himself, knew what his Mafia and CIA friends were up to. Speaking with Haldeman on one of the newly released White House tapes, the 37th president dismissed the Warren Commission's lone-killer finding as "the greatest hoax that has ever been perpetuated."

J. Edgar Hoover was in the hip pocket of America’s godfathers, reputedly because they had pictorial proof of his homosexuality.

Gangster Meyer Lansky had obtained compromising photos of Hoover and Tolson. In Official and Confidential, Summers quotes former Lansky associate, Seymour Pollock, as saying in 1990, Hoover’s homosexuality was "common knowledge" and he had seen evidence of it for himself.

“What I saw was a picture of J. Edgar Hoover giving Clyde Tolson a blow job. There was more than one shot, but the startling one was a close shot of Hoover's head. He was totally recognizable.”

In September 1972, according to Hoover biographer, Mark North, in Act of Treason, America’s top cop had already learned through electronic surveillance that Marcello “had put out a contract on the life of President Kennedy … Hoover did not inform his superiors within the Justice Department or warn the Secret Service.” ....

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