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Lamar Waldron: Ultimate Sacrifice

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1. While I had not heard of it, I am not surprised that there was something called a secret anti-Castro activity called AMWORLD, either for a CIA operation or a broader government wide operation [such as Mongoose] during 1963. When I was researching by book, the Castro Obsession, I was a bit puzzled by the fact that the various covert activities that year - with the exception of AMLASH/Cubela; and AMTRUNK - did not have a code name; they included Oliva's consolidation of all Cubans into a single unit in the US Army; Artime's activities in Central America Hinckle and Turner say it was called Second Naval Guerrilla but both Rafael Quintero and Sam Halpern told me they never heard of any such thing]; Commandos Mambises, and the hit and run sabotage operation run by JMWAVE out of Miami, etc., all of which I describe in detail in my book. But reading some of the Ultimate Sacrifice excerpts etc., it is clear to me that they are talking about some of the same things.

2. It’s no secret that Cyrus Vance was leading a good bit of the effort although the entire anti-Castro operation according to documents was overseen the State Department’s Coordinator of Cuban Affairs, beginning in early January 1963. That job initially was held by Sterling Cottrell who was succeeded by John Crimmins.

3. Alexander Haig, in his book, INNER CIRCLES [page 109] identifies "Cyrus Vance as the executive agent for the entire federal government in dealing with Cuba and the threat the Castro's regime posed to the Western Hemisphere. This included responsibility for coordinating a secret war against Cuba that encompassed sabotage, commando raises, and propaganda and other clandestine activities." That could have been AMWORLD.

4. I do not believe, however, there was a Dec. 1, 1963 date scheduled for an invasion of Cuba nor do I believe - as indicated by what I have read of Waldron's account - that the Mafia was involved in this effort.

5. The authors say the pledge against an invasion never went into effect because Castro refused on-site inspections of the missile withdrawals. Whether the no-invasion pledge was valid or not is still an open question. It came up again in the early 1970s during the Nixon administration when the Soviets were sending nuclear powered submarines to Cienfuegos for refueling and, to the best of my recollection, the no invasion pledge was still in dispute. Minutes of a Nov. 12, 1962, Excom meeting, notes that: “The President commented that an assurance covering invasion does not ban covert actions or an economic blockade or tie our hands completely. We can’t give the impression that Castro is home free.” I don’t think there is any documentation that shows Kennedy considered the pledge null and void. Subsequent documents make it clear that U2 inspection overflights were ongoing to verify missile withdrawal, with Washington concerned a U2 might be downed by a SAM missile. As outlined by the authors, the no-invasion pledge would not have applied in any event, if there was a coup in Cuba and the coup leaders asked for international help.

6. It sounds like a cop-out to me where the authors say they know, but won’t identify, the so-called “coup leader.” The excuse about violating national security laws at this late date is pretty lame. I doubt that anyone would prosecute them.

7. Another graph says they have discovered a Dec. 10, 1963, cable sent to the CIA director, and attributed to a “western diplomat”, reporting “Che Guevara was alleged to be under house arrest for plotting to overthrow Castro.” Having worked at the Miami Herald’s Latin staff for many years, I can’t tell you how many similar unfounded rumors - from such sources - kept popping up, ranging from Castro’s assassination to Guevara’s disappearance. If Guevara had been under house arrest for plotting to overthrow Castro, he never would have been allowed to leave Cuba.

8. They say Cy Vance was the “only man” who knew everything about this plot besides Robert Kennedy, and that Vance “was one of the few military leaders who knew the full scope of C-Day while the plan was active.” The reason that Vance drafted the plan - if he did - is because under a new June 19, 1963, multi-agency covert action program against Cuba, Vance, as Secretary of the Army, was designated by President Kennedy as “the executive agent for the entire federal government in dealing with Cuba [Al Haig, Inner Circles, page 109].

9. Among others were generals, Max Taylor, Joe Carroll, etc. along with John McCone, Richard Helms, Des Fitzgerald and key field operatives such as David Morales and Dave Phillips. They say there is no evidence that J. Edgar Hoover knew about it. Why should Hoover know? He didn’t know anything about any of the other covert operations against Cuba either, Bay of Pigs, Mongoose, etc. Others likely to have known about such a plan were Joe Califano [Vance’s aide] and Alexander Haig, then an Army colonel, both actively involved in the anti-Castro efforts. Both are still alive, both have written memoirs. I interviewed Haig at his home in West Palm Beach for my own book and we discussed Cuba extensively. He gave no indication such a plan existed. Califano refused several interview requests, but he does deal with Cuba in a chapter in his 2004 book and reiterates again that both he and LBJ think Castro had a hand in the assassination.

10. I find it difficult to believe that if the coup plan as it is described by the authors existed, that we would not have heard of it previously. Several of the people listed above have written memoirs, i.e, Helms, Phillips, etc. and make no mention of it, even though they discuss other such covert operations. The authors also error in saying that the CIA planed to assassinate Castro began in 1959 under Vice President Nixon. I also dispute that the CIA – without telling the Kennedys – was continuing to work with the Mafia on plot against Castro in the fall of 1963. I don’t believe that. And there is certainly no indication of that in either the Church committee report or the CIA IG’S 1967 report on plots to assassinate Castro. In fact, the Church Committee says explicitly that: “the first action against the life of a Cuban leader sponsored by the CIA” occurred in July 1960.

11. It is also odd, that the authors don’t mention Sam Giancani, who was involved with the CIA in assassination plots against Castro. There were two CIA/Mafia plots to assassinate Castro, one originated with Richard Bissell [or Sheffield Edwards, depending on who you believe] in August 1960; Robert Kennedy, according to declassified documents, became aware of it in May 1962 when he was alerted by Hoover that he had evidence Giancani’s girlfriend was sleeping with the President. Bobby then got a briefing from Lawrence Houston, the CIA's general consul, and Sheffield Edwards, the CIA’S security chief on the first Mafia-CIA attempt against Castro. The only other recorded Mafia-CIA attempt to assassinate Castro was underway at the same time – unknown to Bobby Kennedy – this time under the direction of Bill Harvey, head of Task Force W, the CIA component of Operation Mongoose. It was essentially a resurrection of the failed earlier Mafia plot.

12. The authors also mention Operation Amtrunk as being a CIA operation which looked for disaffected Cuban military officers. It was a CIA operation, but one that was forced on the CIA. The operation originated – as shown in declassified documents in my possession - with two Miamians exiled from Cuba, George Volsky. Their codename for it was Operation Leonardo. Logistical support for it was essentially forced on the CIA by the Kennedy White House, through the influence of NYTimes correspondent Tad Szulc, a close friend of Volsky’s.

13. It appears the authors rely heavily on Enrique Ruiz-Williams. While he was very close to Bobby Kennedy, I think he was less important the he led the authors to believe and not nearly as important – or any closer to – Bobby Kennedy than Erneido Oliva [who is not even indexed in the book. Oliva was designated by President Kennedy [an article appeared in the NYTimes] as the representative of the Bay of Pigs Brigade. His liaison at the Pentagon was Al Haig.

14. My own conclusion is that AMWORLD – if that is the codename for the operation – was one among many potential plans to get rid of Castro and that it was “a just in case” plan, that may or may not have been tied in with AMLASH [Rolando Cubela] and perhaps Manuel Artime and Erneido Oliva, both captured at the Bay of Pigs, who became very close to Bobby Kennedy. As noted in my own book [see pages 187-188], and as related to me by Oliva, he and Artime [Ruiz-Williams was not present] met in mid-January 1963 with Bobby Kennedy – less than a month after they had been released from Cuban prisoners - they met Kennedy at his home in Hickory Hill, Virgina. There, according to Oliva, he outlined a new anti-Castro plan to them. Artime would set up guerrilla camps in Central America and Oliva would integrate all the Cubans in the US military into a single unit and the two projects would eventually mesh.

15. In their excerpts summary, the authors express amazement at one point that “a check of newspaper files from the summer and fall of 1963 uncovered a few articles confirming that there had been activity by Kennedy-backed Cuban exiles in Central America at the time.” No wonder, because by then, Artime’s deputy, Rafael Quintero had been traveling back and forth to Costa Rica and Nicaragua arranging to set up the Artime camps with about 300 recruits and it had already started to get attention in the Miami newspapers.

16. I have a series of lengthy declassified documents obtained at the LBJ Library in Austin, prepared in advance of a Dec. 19, 1963, briefing for LBJ Cuba, including a 22-page draft document dated Dec. 15, 1963 that reviews “Current Cuba Policy.” It starts out by noting that: “The bare minimum objective of our police is a Cuba which poses no threat to its neighbors and which is not a Soviet satellite. In moving towards this objective we have rejected the options of unprovoked U.S. military intervention in Cuba and of an effective, total blockade around Cuba – primarily because they would risk another US/USSR confrontation. Instead, we are engaged in a variety of unilateral, bilateral, and multilateral measures, both defensive and offensive, which stop short of these drastic measures.”

MY OWN COMMENT: It hardly seems likely that such a memorandum for the president would be written two weeks after an alleged invasion was scheduled without any mention of it.

17. Finally, I close with an email exchange with Oliva on March 28, 2000, as a followup to an interview I had with him earlier that month in Washington.

Q – Did anyone else attend the January 1963 meeting at Hickory Hill in addition to Bobby Kennedy, Artime and yourself?

A – No one else was present during that particular meeting with Bobby Kennedy. However, the information I provided to you can be easily corroborated. Artime spent more than six million dollars in Central America with its paramilitary operations and I was, until the end of the program, in charge of the military side as Alexander Haig states in his Inner Circle book.

Q – What exactly did Bobby Kennedy tell you other than they were going to fund the Artime program with $6 million and create the Cuban unit in the U.S. military?

A – That was the main topic of our conversation?

Q – Did he at anytime indicate that it would eventually lead to Castro’s overthrow? And, if so, by invasion or a joint operation between the Cuban unit and Artime’s group?

A – At that time it was not discussed any invasion of Cuba. Only that the two programs would eventually join forces to facilitate the liberation of Cuba. How? I never asked that, but the commitment on my program was open to the public to see. I have in my possession many clippings of interviews I granted while training at Fort Benning and Fort Sill. In those interviews my expectations and understanding of the training provided by the US Army, Navy and Air Force.

Q – You said you finished your plan – requested in September (1963) – for the Cuban unit in December whey they told you it was no longer needed. Can you tell me if the plan contemplated an invasion?

A – As stated before, no.

Q – What exactly was Artime’s group supposed to accomplish?

A – By attacking targets of opportunity [in Cuba], infiltrating personnel to reorganize the underground in Cuba, he would have created the favorable conditions for a larger military action against Castro.

All this, of course, after the famous – or infamous – K-K [Kennedy-Khrushchev/NO INVASION] pact.

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Lamar, are you aware of this document (you don't quote it in Ultimate Sacrifice):

Anthony Summers and Fabian Escalante, Cuban Officials and JFK Historians Conference (7th December, 1995)

Anthony Summers: There is quite a lot of work being done in the last year or two that whatever the Kennedy administration was doing in conversations through Attwood and Colonel Lechuga, at the same time Robert Kennedy - and presumably the President too - was personally behind a major effort that envisioned the overthrow of Castro in the fall of 1963. Which would involve an internal coup with the death of Castro. After that, massive American backing for which Kennedy's perceived as being (Cuban) democrats as opposed to being right-wing extremists.

I asked Dean Rusk about this, shortly before his death a year or so before. And he told me, yes he learned about the plans for such a coup. They were indeed backed by JFK and understood by his brother and were in charge of it. That he learned of this in 1964 during meetings of the National Security Council. And what can one make of this? One is talking about not a double track, but a double cross? If the Kennedy's were talking peace on the one hand and a full 1963 coup on the other? He said, yes but they did this all the time. And he found that not surprising. He said the Kennedy's work that way. And he said rather cynically, do governments everywhere. In your research in Cuba, have Mr. Escalante and Lechuga gotten a similar picture of double-track, double-cross?

Fabian Escalante: Look, I'm going to answer very briefly. In 1963 McGeorge Bundy designed this new approach towards Cuba. It involved a double track or multiple track. This appeared in documents in the Church Committee. One of the tracks was to strengthen the blockade against Cuba, political pressure, the isolation of Cuba from the continent and also from Western Europe. To destroy through sabotage and external operations all the energy and industrial infrastructure in the country. In 1963 there were two major plans of sabotage proved against Cuba. Two paths, with one objective. To force Cuba to sit down at the negotiating table, but under very disadvantaged circumstances. That's why we never really heard what the possible American agenda would be. We never heard anything... That's why the Cuban government took its time to deeply study the proposal put forth by Attwood.

What could they possible been trying to do by trying to start a dialogue. So they took their time. Here's what happened according to our judgement. The hawks never supported, they didn't understand this strategy, didn't agree. Anything that didn't agree with a new invasion of Cuba, they didn't agree with. We think the hawks felt themselves betrayed. According to our judgement there were two strategies to be followed by the US: (1) from the administration; (2) and one from the CIA, the Cuban exiles, and the Mafia - and even they had their own independent objectives. Around that on the part of this latter group, there developed this need to assassinate Kennedy. It seemed to them that Kennedy was not in agreement to the new invasion. That's our hypothesis.

Anthony Summers: Perhaps I didn't make myself clear. The information that's been coming out, new scholarship that Robert Kennedy personally in those weeks heading up to November 22, in the weeks leading up, was behind a detailed plan for the killing, overthrow of Castro, the killing of Raul, key leaders of the revolution. To be followed by massive American support for take over in Cuba by the so-called Cuban democrats. This was a real plan in the works. This is different from, maybe connected with but very specific and different from conversation.

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It has occurred to me that if the Ultimate Sacrifice analysis of the Chicago and Tampa assassination plots is correct, neither of the Kennedy brothers would have allowed Jackie to be riding in an open limo through Dallas only days later. This is especially true considering that Jackie hadn't motorcaded with the President since the Inauguration Day Parade down Pennsylvania Avenue. Of course, if these were staged attempts, developing the Operation Northwoods pretext for an invasion of Cuba, then consideration for Tosh Plumlee's assertion of an abort mission (to abort the fake attempt) comes into play.


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Bill Kelly has posted an article on the Forum about the possibility of obtaining a grand jury in order to investigate the assassination of JFK.


I have started a thread where I have asked researchers to put forward evidence that would justify the case being reopened.

As a result of your own research, what evidence is currently available that suggests that Lee Harvey Oswald was not the only one responsible for killing JFK?


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Big book. Just cracked the pages and there's a ton of stuff here, some repeated and some fresh stuff but worth the space next to Hinckle Turner tomes as a reference guide to topic. I have many questions.

Question for authors:

How much contact with Menoyo did you have during the 17 yrs research and has he commented on the finished piece?

Did you interview Masferrer family members and do they concur with the research? How about Olga Morgan who is on a mission to restore Morgan's lost citizenship? Was there cooperation from her as well? Any cooperation from sources in Cuba? Were guys like Wayne Smith or other USemb/State people helpful to you?

Just started reading and jumping around the book so maybe these q's are answered within.

Thank you for illustrating there was an ongoing program to get to Castro and also that he didn't triumph on his own-important to keep in mind.

I'm curious why you don't name key individual C-day, is it because they are still alive? If the docs are avail and declassified I wonder why not refer researchers to the source or the documents that name source in some manner so the researchers can sleuth it out?

Verona seems to come out of book an opportunist not well respected and I've heard this in Miami during interviews myself. I wonder why you don't mention the Feria/Masferrer 27 man invasion prior to BOP but I may have missed it in bk. Side story of this event, I was told, is that Verona gave Castro the heads up on 27 man invasion team out of fear he would be superceded by Masferrer in a new Cuba. Castro's men were waiting and men were captured and executed on heels of JFK election which should have been an indicator that this mini Bay of Pigs was a forshadowing of failure to come six months later, mho.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Self-destructing bombshell

Did the mob kill JFK? Holes riddle book's claim



The Dallas Morning News

"The year 2000 will see men still arguing about the president's death." -- journalist Harrison Salisbury in 1964

Having uttered those words more than 40 years ago, Salisbury, who died in 1993, had no way of knowing how stunningly right he would be. Who killed President John F. Kennedy and why has become so much more than "arguing." It's a raging inferno of international debate and always has been.

Dallas' darkest moment, the assassination on Elm Street, has fueled thousands of inquiries. They range from the daringly noble to the comically idiotic, and every point in between. A lull of sorts occurred after Gerald Posner's riveting 1993 account, "Case Closed," the best book by far supporting the Warren Commission's conclusion that a sad, deranged loner named Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone in killing the president.

The lull recently screeched to a halt with the release of "Ultimate Sacrifice: John and Robert Kennedy, the Plan for a Coup in Cuba, and the Murder of JFK" (Carroll & Graf, $33).

Authors Lamar Waldron and Thom Hartmann contend that the Mafia killed Kennedy, while insisting -- though falling far short of proving -- that there is so much more to the story.

"Ultimate Sacrifice" weighs in at 904 pages and 2,700 footnotes and is, say the authors, the carefully tended product of 17 years of research and interviews. The book could not have been written, they say, without access to thousands of documents freed up by the 1992 JFK Assassination Records Collection Act, which was passed into law after the public outcry surrounding Oliver Stone's 1991 pro-conspiracy manifesto, "JFK."

"Ultimate Sacrifice" is not without virtues; much of it is compelling, often breathless reading. The book's thesis that three Mafia chieftains -- Santo Trafficante of Tampa, Fla.; Carlos Marcello of New Orleans (and, by extension, Dallas); and Johnny Rosselli of Chicago -- engineered the president's slaying as retribution for the dogged pursuit of their activities by the president's brother, Attorney General Robert Kennedy, is nothing new.

What is new is the book's bombshell, that the Mafia believed it could get away with the president's assassination because it had inside knowledge of the Kennedys' dark secret -- that, on Dec. 1, 1963 (nine days after JFK came to Dallas), they would overthrow Cuban dictator Fidel Castro in a violent coup and replace him with a pro-U.S. puppet regime.

The authors' logic: The assassination would render U.S. officials powerless in conducting an investigation for fear of jeopardizing national security and risking a scarier second act of the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, which had taken the U.S. and Cuba's Marxist benefactor, the Soviet Union, to the brink of nuclear war. How did the mob know about the Cuban plot? They had been told by the CIA, the authors say.

Do the writers prove their case? Not by a long shot. Further eroding their credibility is the fact that they call the Cuban coup plot "C-Day" -- "a name entirely of our own invention."

Which is not to say the book isn't entertaining. They contend that Trafficante had tried to assassinate President Kennedy in Tampa four days before his visit to Dallas. They even name a "patsy" who they say would have taken the fall: a Cuban named Gilberto Policarpo Lopez.

They also quote former Kennedy aide Kenneth O'Donnell, who was in the motorcade and who told Tip O'Neill, former speaker of the House, in 1968 that "he had heard two shots" from the grassy knoll. They also quote former Kennedy aide Dave Powers, who was in the motorcade and who spoke to the authors before his death in 1998, that he felt they were "riding into an ambush" because of shots from the grassy knoll and that he was pressured to change his story by the Warren Commission.

But this is just one of the problems with this book. Powers never testified before the Warren Commission. So when was he pressured?

"Ultimate Sacrifice" pins much of its thesis on interviews with former Secretary of State Dean Rusk and Enrique "Harry" Ruiz-Williams, a veteran of the ill-fated 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion. Ruiz-Williams was believed to be Robert Kennedy's closest friend and ally in the Cuban exile community. (Both men have since died.)

Rusk had long been considered a fierce loyalist of President Lyndon B. Johnson, who succeeded President Kennedy. Rusk was apparently no fan of either Kennedy, Bobby in particular.

As for Ruiz-Williams, he may have wanted, with all his heart, for such a coup to take place. But neither he nor the authors do an adequate job of convincing the reader that such a bold (crazy?) political and military stroke was really going to happen.

Kennedy's defense secretary, Robert McNamara, has given recent interviews claiming not to know of any such plot and rejecting any notion that such a plan was in the works. If it was, why would the president never bother to tell McNamara, one of his closest aides? He hasn't exactly lacked for candor in recent years, as anyone who saw the documentary "The Fog of War" can tell you.

But "Ultimate Sacrifice" has deeper problems. There exists an overriding flaw that bedevils all pro-conspiracy tales, one the authors never come close to answering: Why would any band of conspirators, hoping to gun down the president of the United States, put so much faith and trust in the likes of Lee Harvey Oswald and Jack Ruby -- Ruby in particular?

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The last statement seems odd indeed.

First, "Ultimate Sacrifice" never argues that the Mafia used LHO as a part of the plot. He was the "patsy" as he himself proclaimed.

Second, why would the mafia entrust someone the likes of Ruby to kill LHO? Well, he succeeded, did he not, so the trust was well-placed. Moreover, the latter quote makes one wonder whether the reviewer even read the entire book, which details Ruby's gun-running in the 1950s and his involvement in a 1959 plot to kill Castro. The book also details Ruby's involvement in the drug trade.

Ruby was apparently far more than the somewhat dumb strip club operator portrayed in the media.

The review's strange reference to the Mafia's reliance on Ruby--and its statement that the book does not come close to answering why the Mafia would involve Ruby-- really makes me wonder whether the reviewer read the book in its entirety.

Edited by Tim Gratz
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  • 3 weeks later...
The review's strange reference to the Mafia's reliance on Ruby--and its statement that the book does not come close to answering why the Mafia would involve Ruby-- really makes me wonder whether the reviewer read the book in its entirety.

The mainstream idea of a Mafia hitman is a suave, silent killer, not some puffy nightvclub owner.

In truth, Ruby was a perfect man for the job.

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Paul Comstock interviewed Lamar Waldron in the California Literary Review (February 13, 2006)


So much has been written about JFK's assassination - what in your book is new?

A tremendous amount. With the help of almost two dozen people who worked with John and Robert Kennedy--backed up by thousands of documents in the National Archives--we discovered that JFK and his brother had a never-before-revealed plan to stage a coup against Castro on December 1, 1963. The CIA's code-name for their part of the plan--AMWORLD--has never appeared in print before, and was withheld from the Warren Commission and later Congressional investigating committees. As part of the coup plan, in the days and weeks before Dallas, Robert Kennedy even had a top secret committee making plans for dealing with the possible "assassination of American officials," in case Castro found out about the coup plan and tried to retaliate.

However, the Kennedy's coup plan was infiltrated by three powerful Mafia bosses being targeted by Attorney General Robert Kennedy: Johnny Rosselli of the Chicago Mafia, Tampa godfather Santo Trafficante, and Carlos Marcello (godfather of Louisiana and east Texas). The Mafia dons used parts of the secret coup plan to try and assassinate JFK first in Chicago (on 11-2-63), then in Tampa (on 11-18-63, an attempt never revealed before), and finally in Dallas. By planting evidence implicating Castro, the mob bosses prevented Robert Kennedy and other key officials from conducting a thorough investigation, in order to protect the coup plan and prevent nuclear confrontation with the Russians.

While it's been known since the early 1990s that Robert Kennedy eventually told close associates the Mafia was behind his brother's death, the book finally explains how the Mafia did it, presenting a huge amount of new information.

Can you tell us more about these two attempts on JFK’s life just prior to Dallas and their connection to November 22nd?

As we were told by Chicago Secret Service Agent Abraham Bolden, they had uncovered a plot by four men to kill JFK during his Chicago motorcade planned for November 2, 1963. An ex-Marine (with several recent parallels to Oswald) was arrested, but the four men remained at large. So, JFK had to cancel his motorcade at the last minute, even as people were lining the motorcade route. Pierre Salinger told us about the two different excuses he gave for the cancellation. In addition, Salinger--who began his work for the Kennedys as a Mafia investigator--revealed that Jack Ruby had been in Chicago a week prior to the motorcade, where he had received $7,000 from someone who worked for an associate of Trafficante and Marcello. Salinger's revelation was confirmed by two eye-witnesses and FBI reports in the National Archives.

The Tampa attempt had more than a dozen parallels to JFK's assassination in Dallas, including a male suspect in his early twenties linked to the Fair Play for Cuba Committee. The Police and Secret Service warned JFK about the threat, but JFK bravely went ahead with the motorcade anyway, because of an important speech about Cuba he had to give in Miami that night, a speech that was part of the coup plan.

No news reports about the Tampa threat appeared while JFK was alive--just a tiny article the day after this death; by the following day the Tampa Chief of Police and Secret Service weren't talking to the press about it. On the very day Secret Service Agent Abraham Bolden went to Washington to tell Warren Commission staff about the Tampa and Chicago attempts, and other Secret Service laxity, he was framed by the Chicago Mafia and arrested. He was sent to prison for six years, even though his main accuser later admitted committing perjury against Bolden. The book finally explains exactly who framed Bolden, and why.

Why did the three Mafia godfathers want to assassinate JFK?

Because Robert Kennedy was waging the biggest war against organized crime that America has ever seen, and the Mafia families of Chicago, Tampa, and Louisiana were under incredible pressure. Rosselli's boss was under "lockstep surveillance" by the FBI, and even Trafficante's family members were being prosecuted. Marcello himself was put on trial by Robert Kennedy's prosecutors the day before the Chicago attempt. Marcello bribed a key juror to ensure his acquittal, which Marcello timed for 11-22-63, when JFK was shot in Dallas. Marcello had a big celebration that afternoon and the only other known celebration after JFK's death was in Tampa, were Trafficante publicly toasted JFK's murder at the very restaurant where JFK had given a speech, just four days earlier.

The Kennedys had worked hard to keep the Mafia from having a role in their coup plan, and JFK's plans for a democratic government in Cuba after the coup would have kept the Mafia from returning to reopen their casinos there. So, the Mafia dons had to kill JFK before December 1, 1963, because only the secrecy surrounding the coup plan could prevent a thorough, public investigation that could have exposed their involvement.

Walk us through exactly what transpired in Dealy Plaza. Where did the shots come from and who were the shooters?

Very briefly: There is much evidence that Oswald was in the lunchroom of the Texas School Book Depository at the time of the shooting. Two men were seen behind the fence on the "grassy knoll." Other witnesses saw two men on the sixth floor of the Depository.

Riding in the limo directly behind JFK's were his two closest Presidential Aides, Dave Powers and Kenneth O'Donnell. As Powers told my co-author Thom Hartmann, both men heard--and Powers saw--shots from the grassy knoll. That explains why JFK's limo slowed at the sound of the first shot from the front, because they thought they were riding into an ambush. Powers and O'Donnell confirmed the shots from the knoll to former House Speaker Tip O'Neill, who wrote about it in his autobiography, Man of the House. Our book also explains why Powers and O'Donnell were pressured to alter their Warren Commission testimony "for the good of the country," and which current US Senator was involved with that.

The book deals with evidence indicating that Mafioso present in Dealy Plaza that day could have included Johnny Rosselli, Chicago Mafia hitman Charles Nicoletti, French assassin Michel Victor Mertz, and a CIA operative working on the Kennedys' coup plan who was (unknown to the Kennedys) also working for the Mafia.

As you state in your book, there are many credible witnesses who believe shots were fired from the grassy knoll and it certainly looks on the Zapruder film that Kennedy has been shot from the front, but isn’t the autopsy of President Kennedy proof that the bullet entered the rear of his skull? The entry wound on the back of his head was small, but the exit wound on the right side of his head was nearly six inches.

Many distinguished experts disagree with what you've just stated, including Dr. Cyril Wecht, one of the country's leading forensic pathologists. Remember that what is visible in the remaining photographs doesn't sometimes match what is in the surviving x-rays--and there is considerable testimony that photos and x-rays were taken that are not part of the evidence today. Plus, crucial evidence, like JFK's brain, disappeared once it was in the custody of Robert Kennedy.

Entire books have been written about the autopsy, so I won't try to cover everything here. Suffice it to say that the wound descriptions by the Dallas doctors didn't sometimes match those of the autopsy physicians at Bethesda, and vice versa. For example, in Dallas the small wound in JFK's throat was described as an entrance wound. Because they made a neat tracheotomy incision over the wound, the doctors at Bethesda didn't even realize it was a bullet wound. JFK's back wound was almost six inches below the base of his neck--making it impossible for a bullet coming down from the steep angle of the sixth floor of the Book Depository to have entered there and emerged many inches higher, from the front of JFK's throat. (where it would have been heading up, only to have to head down again to hit Gov. Connolly--that's just one reason the pristine bullet is called the "magic bullet").

In addition, new information declassified from the House Select Committee on Assassinations and the JFK Assassination Records Review Board casts further doubt on the Warren Commission theory of JFK's wounds.

We present new information in the book, based on interviews with two people at Bethesda during the autopsy, including David Powers, a JFK aide who was also one of the closest eye-witnesses to the assassination.

Much evidence we cite shows that Robert Kennedy essentially controlled JFK's autopsy. After the autopsy, control of JFK's body was turned over to two officials who had been working with Robert Kennedy on covert Cuban operations. Even JFK's personal physician, Admiral Burkley--the only doctor present in both Dallas and Bethesda--believed JFK was killed as a result of a conspiracy.

What were Oswald’s actions from the time of the assassination until he was arrested?

After reviewing all the evidence as part of seventeen years of research, we were stuck by how much of the conventional Warren Commission story is contradicted by other evidence, including earlier statements by many of their key witnesses. Thus, Oswald's movements from shortly after the assassination until he returned to his rooming house can't be pinned down with certainty.

While Oswald was in his rooming house, a police car pulled up, honked its horn, then pulled away. A short time later, Oswald walked out of the rooming house.

The Warren Commission says then that Oswald was walking (since he didn't drive or own a car) on a quiet street, when a patrolman drove up to him. According to the official story, the crazed ex-serviceman pulled out a pistol, shot the patrolman and fled. As our book points out for the first time, that exact scene (involving an ex-serviceman) is in a movie that Johnny Rosselli produced (uncredited, but confirmed by court documents) in 1948, called "He Walked by Night."

Oswald next shows up at the Texas Theater, where he was arrested, though again, much evidence contradicts the conventional version of events. We present evidence (including some from secret Warren Commission memos not included in their final report) that Oswald thought he was going to Mexico City, on a "mission" that involved getting into Cuba on a mission in support of upcoming US action against Cuba. The theater was where Oswald had been told he would meet his contact.

The book presents a huge amount of evidence that Oswald was a low-level asset for a US intelligence agency, and not a communist. For example, the Warren Commission claimed Oswald was a Marxist as teenager, but how many communist teenagers join the Civil Air Patrol? And not only join the US Marines, but try to join before he's even old enough? We uncovered new information showing that Oswald was under 'tight" surveillance by Naval Intelligence from the time he returned to the US from Russia. Oswald's role as an intelligence asset explains why US authorities weren't concerned when Oswald--a seeming former defector with a Russian wife--got a job in Dallas at a firm that prepared material for maps created from U-2 spy plane photos, at the height of the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Oswald had been looking for work in Dallas in October of ’63 and found the job at the School Book Depository through a friend of his wife’s. He started work there October 16th. It doesn’t sound like an active plot to kill the President is in place at that time (Kennedy’s motorcade route had not yet been planned) and it also wouldn’t give much time for anyone to set him up as a patsy – creating a bogus snipers nest, etc.

That's a common misconception. JFK's long-rumored Dallas visit had finally been announced on Sept. 26--right before Oswald tried to go to Cuba via Mexico City. It was well known by Jack Ruby and others in Dallas that any major motorcade would go through Dealy Plaza along Main Street. It's not generally known, but 11-22-63 wasn't the first time JFK had been through Dealy Plaza in a motorcade--JFK had been there in 1960, during the campaign. (Of course, Oswald was in Russia at that time, but Ruby and the Marcello associates he worked for were in Dallas then.)

The mob bosses who'd been carefully planning to kill JFK had plenty of time make sure Oswald got a job near the motorcade route. In fact, Oswald applied for several jobs near and along the motorcade route.

It's important to note that around the same time Oswald moved to a new city (Dallas, from New Orleans) and got a new job, so did the ex-Marine arrested at the time of the 11/2/63 Chicago attempt against JFK and the young man linked to the Fair Play for Cuba Committee who was investigated by authorities after the 11/18/63 Tampa attempt to assassinate JFK.

Where does Ruby fit in to all of this? Why would he kill Oswald knowing that he would spend the rest of his life in prison or be sentenced to death?

Ruby was a long-time Mafia associate who was in desperate financial straits at the time. In addition, the book documents for the first time that Ruby (who ran guns to Cuba) had been part of the 1959 CIA-Mafia plots to kill Castro. Ruby had also been an informant for the FBI at that time--and for other law enforcement agencies later--which would also insure the various agencies couldn't dig too deeply into Ruby's background or share key information with those investigating JFK's assassination. As if to drive the point home to authorities, even the pistol Ruby used to shoot Oswald came from Ruby's time in the first round of CIA-Mafia plots against Castro.

Ruby's job--in Chicago and probably Tampa, as well as Dallas--was to get a policeman to quickly kill the patsy, since Ruby had numerous friends in law enforcement. Failing to do that, Ruby had to do the job himself, though Congressional (and even Warren Commission) investigators felt he had the help of one or more policemen. One of them let Ruby know when Oswald was heading to the basement, the day he was shot.

Under Texas's "sudden passion" murder defense at the time, Ruby could have received as little as five years, and with good behavior, had to serve less than three years. Ruby's mob-linked lawyer chose not to use that defense, and instead used a bizarre "psycho-motor" defense that had never worked before.

But once Ruby’s in jail for life, and particularly after his diagnosis of cancer, what would prevent him from telling the truth about his role in the assassination?

One reason the Jewish Ruby had been able to work with the Mafia for so long was that he'd shown he could keep his mouth shut, even when it came to murder. Robert Kennedy wrote in his book "The Enemy Within" about a Mafia murder in 1939 that was important in forging a link between the Mafia and the Teamsters--and police records show that one of the mobsters who kept his mouth shut about that hit was Jack Ruby.

By 1963, Ruby was a long-trusted lower-level mob associate, part of a tight-knit Mafia heroin network that went through Dallas.

The night before the assassination, Ruby dined at the restaurant of a long-time Marcello associate. After Ruby's arrest, he was visited by the same Marcello associate. As we cite in the book from Warren Commission testimony, there are indications that the lives of Ruby's family (sister, brothers, their children) had been threatened, that Ruby had been told they could face death or torture if he didn't cooperate. One of the Chicago mobsters that framed Abraham Bolden was known for the same type of brutal torture murders that gave Ruby nightmares.

In addition, it's been said that for much of the time of Ruby's incarceration, Dealy Plaza was visible from Ruby's jail cell in Dallas. That's the ultimate reminder of what could happen to those who angered the Mafia, even a President. In the same way Ruby's close connections to hundreds of Dallas police made him valuable to the Mafia, Ruby knew that it would be just as easy for the Mafia to take action against Ruby, even in prison.

Ruby didn't have that much time to talk after his sudden diagnosis of cancer. Ruby had received a clean bill of health from a medical exam not long before. As I write in the book "Ruby had been diagnosed with cancer three days after winning a December 7, 1966 appeal for a new trail, to be held in Wichita Falls." Just over three weeks later, he was dead. By not talking after his cancer diagnosis, Ruby probably felt he had insured the safety of his family.

Will we ever find a definitive answer to this mystery? Is there anyone alive who was involved and could provide important information?

The answer to both questions is "yes" and "yes." NBC News and a government watchdog group, OMB Watch, both reported that well over a million documents remain secret, possibly until the year 2017. Everyone we have uncovered who was knowingly involved in JFK's death (less than a dozen) is either dead (most of those confessed to associates prior to their death), in prison, or has served time for a crime related to the assassination.

With so much still secret, and so much time having passed, further prosecutions for the assassination would be difficult if not impossible. That's why we recommend a South African-style truth commission about the assassination. They could review and release the vast majority of the million still-secret files, and take testimony from those who were involved.

We also feel strongly that Abraham Bolden--who had a sterling service record before his arrest and was America's first black Presidential Secret Service agent-- deserves to finally have his name cleared.

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  • 1 month later...

These questions have been taken from another thread on Ultimate Sacrifice:

The unnamed coup leader was Che Guevara.

In case anyone hasn't figured it out yet, to the CIA, the Kennedy's putting Che in charge of Cuba was tantamount to treason; it cemented the hard-liners belief that JFK was a communist. Add that to the fact that JFK was going to "dismantle and restructure" the CIA, and, well, I think you can figure out what happened next.

There were two wars against Cuba at this time, the one that RFK was running as he believed he had taken control of the agency with McCone, and the one Helms, Phillips, etc. were running as the old-school hardliner faction at the CIA. Two CIAs really; obviously NOT working in concert with each other, as evidenced by Phillip's insane move of bombing the Baku in Cuban waters after the missile crisis.

Ultimate Sacrifice is an interesting book, but fails in some key areas, namely trying to fit new information into the author's presupposed theory. The book fails at dealing with Oswald, the key player in this drama. Not addressing who sent LHO to work that day with a rifle and directed his actions in the Depository, is an unfortunate lapse. I can tell you this though, it wasn't a Mafioso that was running him that day.

Big book. Just cracked the pages and there's a ton of stuff here, some repeated and some fresh stuff but worth the space next to Hinckle Turner tomes as a reference guide to topic. I have many questions.

Question for authors:

How much contact with Menoyo did you have during the 17 yrs research and has he commented on the finished piece?

Did you interview Masferrer family members and do they concur with the research? How about Olga Morgan who is on a mission to restore Morgan's lost citizenship? Was there cooperation from her as well? Any cooperation from sources in Cuba? Were guys like Wayne Smith or other USemb/State people helpful to you?

Just started reading and jumping around the book so maybe these q's are answered within.

Thank you for illustrating there was an ongoing program to get to Castro and also that he didn't triumph on his own-important to keep in mind.

I'm curious why you don't name key individual C-day, is it because they are still alive? If the docs are avail and declassified I wonder why not refer researchers to the source or the documents that name source in some manner so the researchers can sleuth it out?

Verona seems to come out of book an opportunist not well respected and I've heard this in Miami during interviews myself. I wonder why you don't mention the Feria/Masferrer 27 man invasion prior to BOP but I may have missed it in bk. Side story of this event, I was told, is that Verona gave Castro the heads up on 27 man invasion team out of fear he would be superceded by Masferrer in a new Cuba. Castro's men were waiting and men were captured and executed on heels of JFK election which should have been an indicator that this mini Bay of Pigs was a forshadowing of failure to come six months later, mho.

I have yet to read the book, but found something which might have a bearing on the reliability of one of its main sources, Harry Williams. On the Mary Ferrell site there are a number of old essays by researchers. In "The Assignment of G. Robert Blakey", by Richard E. Sprague, presumably written in the early 80's, Sprague writes that the HSCA failed in part because they had Richard Helms on the stand but that "They didn't ask him about Harry Williams' statement that Helms, Hunt, Williams, and Lyman Kirkpatrick were together in Washington, D.C. on November 22, 1963, talking about the CIA supporting another invasion of Cuba, without JFK's knowledge."

Does anyone know where Sprague got this? Did Williams really say this? Is this covered in Ultimate Sacrifice? If Williams really said this then as far as I'm concerned his credibility is nil. Hunt and Kirkpatrick in the same room planning an invasion of Cuba, WITHOUT JFK's knowledge? This is not only completely incompatible with UT's central premise, it's also incompatible with everything we know about the inner politics of the CIA in 1963. Kirkpatrick was the number one critic within the CIA of the BOP; Bissell and Barnes despised him; Hunt was working for Barnes in '63, apparently, not on Cuba. The idea that these four men would be in a room together on November 22 is absurd. After all, when put to the test, Hunt testfied he was with his wife in a Chinese market when the assassination occurred. He couldn't remember if he worked that day. If he'd been with these other three, how come none of them testified on his behalf?

Those that wish to believe in Sprague's accuracy--he repeats this argument in The Taking of America (Tim Gratz's favorite book)--are seemingly forced to choose between trusting Sprague or the new book. We can be pretty sure that Sprague made more than his share of mistakes. Are Waldron and Hartmann's faith in Williams' story a similar mistake?

It has occurred to me that if the Ultimate Sacrifice analysis of the Chicago and Tampa assassination plots is correct, neither of the Kennedy brothers would have allowed Jackie to be riding in an open limo through Dallas only days later. This is especially true considering that Jackie hadn't motorcaded with the President since the Inauguration Day Parade down Pennsylvania Avenue.
This is a very good point. I cannot imagine any husband encouraging his wife to sit in an open-topped car if he really thought he was going to be assassinated.

According to the authors, JFK was a profile in courage when he stood in the limo for the Tampa motorcade on November 18. It's their premise that the Kennedys deliberately concealed the Tampa plot and the earlier one in Chicago on November 2 to protect the C-Day cover. Finally, on its own, Dallas represented a uniquely variegated security threat.

If that November began with the coup in Vietnam and the assassination of Diem, followed the next day by a plot in Chicago, the final countdown meeting for C-Day on the 12th, and then the Tampa plot and Miami Airport circumstance on the 18th, the last thing in the world Kennedy would have done is have Jackie ride with him for the first time since the Inauguration in an open limo through Dallas.

It's somewhat amazing that this wasn't considered by the authors. This is especially true given that they specifically argue that the Cuban Contingency Plan concerned the judgment that as C-Day drew near, "attempts at assassination of American officials" were "likely."

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  • 3 weeks later...

Just to add my two cents. I also got the impression that the coup leader was Che Guevara. Slowly making my way through the book. It is so far an excellent read and comes highly reccommended by a few people I know. One thing that keeps repeating in my mind is that I can't believe the kennedys would take such a bold step clse enough to the election, surely they would wait for a second term to try anything with Cuba, given they were burned once.

I'm keeping an open mind with regard to the book, as I find it hard to believe that both Harry Williams and Dean Rusk are lying for some unknown reason.

No questions as of yet, but I'm sure I will find a few by the end!



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Ironically, one of the more famous of the WWII "Merrill's Marauders", later retired as Director of the D.I.A. -- moreover, he is alive and well, and currently runs a small college. (Gerry Hemming)

I guess that would be Lt. Gen. Samual V. Wilson.


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The current edition of Lobster includes a long review of Lamar Waldron’s Ultimate Sacrifice. Robin Ramsay accepts Waldron’s theory that after JFK rejected Lansdale’s Northwoods proposal, he developed a more subtle and more internationally defensible plot in which the US military would intervene in Cuba to “stabilize” it after an internal coup (organized by the US) had got rid of Castro.

Ramsay says: “There has been a great deal of debate about the Kennedys’ role in the CIA plots against Castro, with Kennedyphiles trying to fend off the charges of Camelot’s involvement. This argument should now cease. The authors show beyond dispute, in overwhelming, almost tedious detail that the Kennedys were planning a coup which would result in Castro’s death.”

Ramsay is less impressed with what he describes as “an extremely intricate version of the Mafia-dunnit thesis”. He suggests that there were in fact several plots against JFK and is not convinced that the Mafia story is the one that killed him. As Ramsay points out: “Of mob or Cuban hitmen on Dealey Plaza – or in Chicago or Tampa – there is no evidence.”

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Dear Mr. Waldron,

A few questions:

- Have you found any witnesses to confirm the top secret Kennedy plan to overthrow Cuba?

“The Plan for a Coup in Cuba” (as it was titled in a memo for the Joint Chiefs of Staff) would include a “palace coup” to eliminate Castro, allowing a new Cuban “Provisional Government” to step into the power vacuum, and would be supported by a “full-scale invasion” of Cuba by the US military, if necessary."

If they were planning an all out invasion within a month, how could only a dozen people know about the plan?

Who wre these people besides the Kennedies?

- Who orchestrated the cover-up / Warren Commission and why?

- What is your opinion on Chauncey Holt and Charles Harrelson? Do you agree Harrelson worked for Marcello and Giancana?

- Why did your partner Thom Hartmann interview Holt once and never published anything about it?

- If you implicate Roselli, do you agree that Giancana was involved too?

- Are in your scenario Marcello, Roselli and Trafficante the puppetmasters who pulled all the strings on the operation?

Thank you,

Wim Dankbaar

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