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Lamar Waldron: Ultimate Sacrifice


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1. More than one government agency was involved in the decision to make Commander Almeida's identity and work for JFK available to the public. So rather than focus on just the CIA (who was involved) or the ARRB, it would be more accurate for now to say that it was the decision of the US government. It is explained in more depth in the book's last chapter.

2. The US government's decision to make his identity known was make independent of - and before - publication of the hardback edition of Ultimate Sacrifice. Obviously, at the time the hardback was written and published, I assumed the US government wouldn't reveal it until 2017, which is why I worked so hard to not reveal his identity.

3. It was confirmed to me in writing in late November 2005 - just days after the hardback hit the stores - that his identity would remain available to the public. But it was March before it was clear there was no chance the decision would be reversed. That's when I decided to tell the full story in the trade paperback, and fully and as accurately as possible.

4. Castro has known about the official since 1990, when he disappeared for several years. That's when Kennedy associates first told us about the coup invasion plan (Dean Rusk, 1990) and all the details about the official's identity and work for the Kennedys (1992), because they thought he was dead. It surprised everyone when he turned out alive and back in the government in 1995. That's why - after Thom and I appeared on the History Channel and Vanity Fair in Nov. 1994 talking about the coup (and I wrote to the Review Board about it that same month) - we had to back off public appearances for years.

5. Apparently hoping his disappearance was for some other reason, the CIA tried an outreach to the official and his old allies in the Cuban military, in order to try to get them to stage a coup against Castro. This attempt even involved some AMWORLD veterans from 1963. However, it finally became clear to the CIA in 2001 that Fidel knew about Commander Almeida's work for JFK in 1963, and he was no longer in a position to help them even if he still wanted to.

6. So, it wasn't our decision to reveal his identity, and in fact, we argued against it. But once their decision was made, we felt the best thing we could do was to tell the whole story as accurately and fully as possible. As readers will see, the framework is already there in Ultimate Sacrifice. As a noted historian told me recently, at this point, wide publicity is Commander Almeida's best protection, so Fidel cannot take action against him in secret, as he did in 1990.

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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 were these people besides the Kennedy brothers?

- 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

I think these questions may have been written by someone who hasn't read the entire book, but I'm happy to answer them.

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

Several documented Kennedy associates, starting with Dean Rusk in 1990, as we detailed in the hardback of Ultimate Sacrifice. Keep in mind that Rusk confirmed the coup plan "on the record" to Vanity Fair, shortly before his death.

Also, we were told all the main information--and we talked about it on the record and on tape--before all the document releases of the mid to late 1990s (and documents are still trickling out). We talked about it in our ASK JFK conference presentations in 1993 and 1994 (both taped; anyone who has copies is welcome to circulate them for research purposes), to Vanity Fair 1994, on the History Channel in 1994, and in my written submission to the Review Board in November 1994. In that submission, I talked about a "Plan for a Coup in Cuba" in the Fall of 1963 and it was (I believe) two or three years before any documents from 1963 with that title where released. Also in that November 1994 submission, I told them for the first time about the Tampa assassination plot of November 18, 1994. As detailed in their Final Report, in January 1995, the Secret Service admitted at that time that they had just destroyed records for motorcades (which would include Tampa) in the weeks before Dallas.

After those publicity presentations in 1993 and 1994, Commander Almeida (Chief of the Cuban Army in Nov. 1963) resurfaced after having disappeared for several years (since 1990). Our sources had thought he was dead. Hence, Thom and had to pull back on our public efforts at that point.

"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?

As the book explains, and the documents show, many of those doing the planning (like Rusk) in the summer and fall of 1963 were told the planning was just in case a high Cuban official was found who could stage the coup. Those official were also aware of efforts to try to locate a high official like that (AMTRUNK, CIA-DIA Task Force, Cubela, etc.). As Rusk told me in 1990, he only learned soon after JFK's death that the planning had been for real, that the Kennedys already had a very high Cuban official lined up, far more powerful than Cubela. Rusk said he wasn't angry that JFK and RFK had kept that from him, because it would have been impossible to keep secret otherwise. Rusk would have probably had to tell his subordinates; Rusk--like McNamara--was a high profile public official at the time, constantly talking to the press.

If an official like Rusk had been told months or even weeks earlier about Commander Almeida, he would have been in a difficult position with the press or his subordinates or even other Cabinet officials who hadn't been told, if one of them had asked about rumors that might have surfaced.

Plus, as I document in the book (a bit more fully in the new trade paperback, but it's also on the Mary Ferrell website), it appears that Rusk, McNamara, and some other Cabinet level officials would have been told just a few days prior to the coup. They likely would have been told that the US efforts to find someone to stage a coup had paid off, and all the plans they had all already signed off on were ready to be put to use.

Finally, keep in mind this was always supposed to appear to be a "palace coup" by Commander Almeida and his allies, with US forces being "invited" to help prevent a Soviet take-over. It was never supposed to be known the Kennedys had been working with Commander Almeida since May 1963 and were behind the whole thing. That would also protect the Kennedys if the coup had failed.

Who were these people besides the Kennedy brothers?

Some are named in the book. They would include Cyrus Vance, Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Maxwell Taylor, CIA DIA Chief Carroll, McCone, Helms, FitzGerald, Enrique "Harry" Ruiz-Williams, and others.

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

Again, as the book explains and documents prove, RFK was directing a secret committee in the weeks before Dallas (since September 1963), making plans for what to do if an American official was assassinated. Those plans weren't complete--and those doing the planning never imagined the "American official" might be JFK--but the thinking behind those plans no doubt influenced the actions of key officials after JFK's death. Starting with RFK, who was calling the shots at the autopsy. Remember, with RFK at Bethesda in the family suite (I believe on the 17th floor) were JFK aides Powers and O'Donnell, who had witnessed the shots from the grassy knoll.

McCone and Helms withheld info from the Warren Commission, as did RFK. Hoover wasn't officially part of the coup planning, but had no doubt picked up information about it from informants. LBJ had been out of the loop, and had to be quickly brought up to speed on the real coup plan, Cubela, AMTRUNK, and the CIA-Mafia plots. All knew that if the coup plan leaked, not only would in cost the life of America's ally, Commander Almeida, but just a year after the Cuban Missile Crisis, could have triggered another nuclear confrontation with the Soviets.

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

I think court testimony and other evidence shows at least that Harrelson worked for an associate of Marcello, and knew an associate of Jack Ruby.

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

We did not find his claims about being one of the tramps to be credible. And, he admitted forging documents to back up his claim.

What little he knew that wasn't widely available in various books, he could have obtained from obscure sources or other associates, like Col. Robert Bayard or Aldo Vera Serafin. There is no evidence Bayard or Serafin was involved in JFK's assassination, but each man did know someone who did have some knowledge (like Artime). Holt put himself at the scene of each of those murders, both of which I believe are still unsolved (Bayard's slaying was in Atlanta). But I take anything Holt ever said with a huge grain of salt.

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

I don't just implicate Rosselli, but I think he was one of the three main Mafia bosses behind the assassination.

However, Giancana--like Hoffa--was under heavily federal surveillance in the fall of 1963, and thus could have no active role. That would fall to Rosselli, who would neutralize surveillance while working on the CIA-Mafia plots with Morales and--as documents withheld from Congress show--Artime.

Regarding Giancana, despite the heavy surveillance, the FBI appears not to have known that the #2 man in the Cook County/Chicago sheriff's office--Richard Cain--was a "made" member of the Mafia actually working for Giancana. Cain was also a CIA asset, and had learned about the coup plan. Cain was also in position to frame Secret Service agent Abraham Bolden, to keep him from telling Warren Commission staff about Secret Service laxity, the Chicago attempt, and (most importantly) the Tampa attempt (which the Warren Commission had heard nothing).

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

Sure, for all the reasons I document in Section II of the hardback (and trade paperback); and they used the people I document in the book. In the CIA that went at least as high as David Morales, though there were others below his level. For those higher, the evidence is not nearly as clear and their is exculpatory evidence as well for those officials. For example, while it's clear McCone, FitzGerald, Helms, and Angleton were involved in the cover-up, so was RFK. Plus, Helms had withheld so much (ongoing CIA-Mafia plots, trying to use Cubela as an assassin, etc.) from McCone, he had to cover that up as well.

And, as I note in the book, it soon became clear to Helms that one or more of his people had been involved in the assassination, and he did take some action to deal with that.

On the other hand, I don't think Helms would have allowed all the incriminating documents that have been released to survive (especially after he became CIA Director) if he had been an active participant in JFK's assassination. As I note in the book, Helms was meeting with RFK as late as 1967 to discuss withholdinbg information from LBJ. Remember, there are a million CIA files related to the JFK assassination that have been identified, but that are still secret.

No matter what anyone believes about the assassination, I think we should all join together in demanding the release of those one million files as soon as possible, now that Almeida's identity no longer has to be protected. I'm certainly willing to follow the evidence wherever it leads. And I'm confident the files will continue to support what Kennedy associates started telling me back in 1990, before any of the military or CIA or State Department files about the 1963 coup plans were released.

Likewise, I'm confident those files will contain additional information corroborating the innocence of Abraham Bolden.

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Having begun the updated trade paperback - through to about Chapter 56 or so - I am curious about a "stylistic" approach you've taken that doesn't seem to make complete sense to me, that I hope you will explain your reasons for.

The apparent contradiction lies in your willingness to identify Almeida, still presumably the #3 guy in Cuba (#2 if you count Raul as being on top, now that Fidel's infirm), and perhaps in as good or better a position as he may have been in 1963 to take over the government of Cuba once Fidel is no longer part of the picture ... and perhaps in some jeopardy now that he's been firmly identified whereas, even when he was "out of the picture" in 1990-95, then it may only have been a suspicion.

Meanwhile, you have chosen NOT to name a variety of people who have been identified over the years by various sources. One - the "gun dealer" - you say has "avoided publicity" over the years, so you will respect his (unstated?) desire to remain anonymous, even while someone can go to the end-noted source and find his identity.

Another - I don't remember where or whom - you again skirt around naming him while acknowledging that his identity is known to people - and will be known to anyone who researches the endnotes. In that case, you even went so far as to apparently cut out his name at the end of a quote to avoid naming him, along the lines of:

... and the document said "Bill had been discussing it with" him.

... leaving the "him" at the end dangling as if it might've otherwise said "with John Smith of the CIA" (or whatever), but you'd purposely omitted identifying Smith, even tho' he'd already been identified by someone else - or several other people - over the years, and may even be "generally" known except to the "uninitiated" in this case.

This is really the only major difficulty I've got with an otherwise very interesting and cohesive narrative, and a great source of frustration. What's up with that?

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Ultimate Sacrifice

Reviewed by James DiEugenio

The first time I heard Lamar Waldron's name was through the auspices of Gus Russo. It was at the famous (or infamous) 1993 ASK Conference in Dallas. Now, after reading Waldron's book Ultimate Sacrifice (co-written with Thom Hartmann), I think it is relevant and enlightening to describe some of the things that happened back in 1993. Somehow, some way, Russo had been given control over a panel and had also invited some rather odd guests to attend, e.g. Ed Butler. As described elsewhere (see my article on Russo in Probe Vol. 6 No. 2 p. 12) it was at this conference that Russo basically reversed course from his earlier days and went over to the "Krazy Kid Oswald" camp. He had completed work on his shockingly one-sided PBS special and at this conference he and Mark Zaid began to forcefully divorce themselves from any kind of conspiracy angle. For example: The late Larry Harris had gotten several witnesses to arrange themselves in Dealey Plaza. Zaid went there and passed out leaflets attempting to discredit them. Zaid also helmed a panel on Oswald and he proclaimed that Oswald had no ties to the intelligence community. Zaid also was screaming at people who used the Zapruder film to advocate conspiracy: "You know more than Dr. Luis Alvarez, huh!" The conference culminated in a shouting match between Dr. Cyril Wecht and Russo over his loaded PBS special.

It was during this singular conference that I first heard Lamar Waldron speak. Apparently, Waldron was another one of Russo's invitees. On the panel he helmed, Russo had given Waldron a solid hour to expound on his "Project Freedom" thesis. This was an extraordinary amount of time: 20-25 minutes had been the outer limits before Waldron appeared. The talk Waldron gave has become one of the main concepts of the book under discussion. In retrospect, considering where Russo had been and was headed, I now fully understand why he was promoting Waldron. I recall listening to Waldron for about 10 minutes and being puzzled as to how the unconvincing hodge-podge he had assembled fit together. I walked out. When I returned he had fielded a question by mentioning that Robert Kennedy controlled JFK's autopsy at Bethesda. Even at that time this idea was dubious simply because of, among other things, Pierre Finck's testimony at the Clay Shaw trial. In light of that evidence I remember thinking: Lamar Waldron has an agenda the size of a football stadium.

After reading Ultimate Sacrifice I think I was wrong. Lamar Waldron has an agenda the size of the Grand Canyon. I can also see why Waldron needed an hour. The authors are nothing if not long winded. They make the likes of Joan Mellen, Dick Russell (in his revised version), and Noel Twyman look like models of brevity. The book's text comes in at 786 pages. With photos, exhibits, and footnotes the hardcover edition is 875 pages. It was published by Carroll & Graf, a house that is notorious for skimping on editing, fact, and source checking (see the works of Harrison Livingstone.) As we shall see, this book needed serious help in all those areas. In no way does it justify its length. Most of the book is a tedious rehash of the work of dubious authors, so it could have easily been half as long. And what makes that aspect worse is, when all is said and done, they have not proven any of the central tenets of the volume. Even though, as we shall see, they have brazenly cherry-picked the evidence they present.

The book is divided into three parts. Part One deals with the so-called discovery of C-Day. That is, a plan for a coup in Cuba to be carried out by the Pentagon and the CIA. This would be coordinated with the murder of Castro by a secret collaborator on the island. The murder would be blamed on the Russians, this would create a crisis on the island and that would precipitate an invasion by a large flotilla of Cuban exiles led by Manuel Artime, Tony Varona, Eloy Menoyo, Manolo Ray and a group of Fort Benning trained Cuban militia. A provisional government would then be erected. This first part of the book also discusses the CIA-Mafia plots against Castro, two previous assassination attempts in Chicago and Tampa and profiles of major players involved in C-Day. (Part of the book's turgidness comes from repetition. There was no need to discuss the two previous plots against JFK here since they are detailed much later.)

Part Two deals further with the CIA-Mafia plots, and what they see as the actual perceived build-up to the assassination by the Mob. Part Three is essentially a chronicle of November 1963. It includes longer versions of the Chicago and Tampa attempts, the actual assassination, and how that impacted C-Day, and a final chapter entitled The Legacy of Secrecy, in which the authors trace how the assassination enabled a cover-up of C-Day and how this had an effect on events afterwards.

If one examines the text, the first of many curious aspects becomes evident. The longest part of the volume is the middle section, which is not actually about C-Day. It is really about the Mob's motivation, planning, pretexts, and precedents for killing JFK. And this is really the subject of the last section also. So by my rough estimate, about 2/3 of the book is not about what the author's trumpet as their great discovery. The larger part of the book is actually a kind of concentration and aggrandizement of all the Mob-did-it books rolled into one. As we shall see, this book is actually a new (and fatuous) spin on an old and discredited idea, namely Robert Blakey's Mob-did-it theory. The reader can see this just by browsing through the footnotes, which I did for this review. The familiar faces are all there: John Davis, Dan Moldea, Blakey, the HSCA volumes, David Scheim, even, startling enough, Frank Ragano. They are all quoted abundantly and, as we shall see, indiscriminately. I can literally say that this book would not exist in its present (bloated) form without that gallery of authors.

But before dealing with that aspect of the book, let's deal with Part One, where Waldron and Hartmann present the concept of C-Day to us. The plan I summarized above was scheduled for December 1, 1963, nine days after JFK was killed. The sources for this is a series of CIA documents codenamed AM/WORLD, interviews with former Kennedy Secretary of State Dean Rusk, and a man named Harry Williams who was a friend of Bobby Kennedy's and was allegedly coordinating this plan with the exiles.

In the hardcover edition of the book, they do not name the coup leader, but they very strongly hint that it was Che Guevara. They do everything except underline his name in this regard. Whole chapters are written about him. Now, considering that, I had a hard time digesting the logic of AM/WORLD. As anyone would who has read the history of Castro's revolution. We are to believe that Che Guevara, the man who came to symbolize worldwide Marxist rebellion, would betray that lifetime struggle, murder his partner in revolution, ally himself with the capitalist colossus of the north, and blame the murder of his friend on his Russian communist allies. Further, he would then cooperate in a provisional government with the likes of CIA stooges like Artime and Varona. Had Che Guevara undergone a rapid and extreme conversion without anyone noticing? Did the bearded revolutionary icon really believe that by killing Castro and throwing in his lot with Artime, Varona and the CIA that he would be purifying the communist zeal of 1959 which Castro had somehow subdued?

To put this strange scenario on the page, the authors leave out some facts that made Che Guevara the living legend he was. And also the facts of his death, when he was hunted down and killed in Bolivia with the help of the CIA. (Poor devil, he actually thought the guys who killed him were his allies.) Let's fill in some of those expurgated pages. After Castro's revolution took hold, he began rounding up all the higher ups left over from the Batista government. He then arranged a series of show trials before he imprisoned and/or executed them. The number put before the firing squad is estimated at about four hundred and up. The man in charge of the phony trials and summary executions was Che Guevara. So the idea that he would turn around and be palsy-walsy with Artime and Varona, who were much closer to Batista than to him, is kind of weird. In 1959 he may have had them shot or imprisoned. Second, one of the reasons Che left Cuba is that he wanted to spread the Marxist revolt abroad, whereas Castro was trying to solidify it at home. Yet the authors want us to believe that Guevara would put an end to this foothold right in the place he struggled to establish it. Third, during the Missile Crisis, it was feared that the US would launch a huge armada to invade the island. The Russians had given the Cubans not just ballistic missiles, but tactical nukes. Reportedly these were under the control of the Cubans. It was Che Guevara who urged Castro to use them to vaporize any invasion crossing the Caribbean. If you buy this book, a year later he was inviting them with open arms to take over the island he was willing to partially nuke in order to save. Maybe Che Guevara had a nervous breakdown in the interim? Or did he really believe that Artime, Varona and the CIA would allow him, Ray and Menoyo to construct a leftist paradise after the invasion?

Evidently, others, like David Talbot in Salon, had some trouble with this aspect of the book. So in the trade paper version, the authors changed their tune. The new identity of the coup leader is Juan Almeida. Now Almeida does not really fit the profile the authors describe in the hardcover version. That is, a person of such enormous stature and appeal that he could seamlessly replace Castro, convincingly blame the murder on the Russians, and then set up this Provisional Government with a group of people who had invaded their country two years ago and then almost nuked it 13 months before. Further, he is still alive and in the titular position of Revolution Commander. There is a recent photo of him with Raul Castro at a session of the National Assembly in Havana. It was after the trade paper version was released. I wonder what the conversation was like between the two when Raul learned of Juan's plan to murder his brother, and probably him, and turn the country over to the CIA, the Pentagon, and Artime.

What makes this switch even more bracing is the person who rode to the rescue for Waldron and Hartmann. It was none other than Liz Smith. The same Liz Smith who is always good for a blurb on the books of John Davis. Who is always there for a "Kennedys and the murder of Monroe" spiel (which, predictably, figures in this volume on pp. 402-407). And who has always been an avid promoter of Judith Exner. In fact she penned the last installment before Exner passed away. (Of course, Exner appears here more than once.) In her column in the New York Post dated 9/22/06 she says she found out about the coup leader's actual identity through some new CIA documents. Hmmm. (She is not known as an ace archival researcher.)

Another interesting aspect of this coup in Cuba idea is who knew about it and who did not. According to Talbot, Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara did not know. Even though the authors insist that it was more a Pentagon operation than a CIA one. (Even more puzzling: they state on p, 42 that the operation could rise to the level of a full-scale invasion by US forces. When were they going to tell McNamara, the day before?) And although the authors use Rusk to bolster their claim, he says he did not know about it at the time, but learned about it later. National Security Adviser McGeorge Bundy did not know about it either since he told author David Corn that in 1963, the operations against Cuba were winding down to a dribble. So the three highest Cabinet level officers, who should have known about such an operation, somehow were left in the dark.

But the authors know who was in the light. They were:

Jack Ruby

Guy Banister

David Ferrie

David Morales

Howard Hunt

John Martino

Richard Nixon

Carlos Prio

Santo Trafficante

Jimmy Hoffa

Carlos Marcello

Sam Giancana

Johnny Roselli

David Phillips

Rolando Masferer

Bernard Barker

James McCord

Michael Mertz

Charlie Nicoletti

Gilberto Lopez

Richard Cain

Frank Sturgis

George Nonte

And I saved the best for last: Lee Harvey Oswald. So the Kennedys were so careless that the word about this secret operation leaked out to people like Ruby and Ferrie; but yet they were paradoxically so careful that they managed to keep it from McNamara. Now some people would think this odd. The authors anticipate this by saying that some people in the administration knew and some did not. They even go to the lengths of depicting meetings at which some know about it and some do not. (p. 51)

Even when it's actually under discussion. Yet, to use a figurative example, McNamara never said to Richard Helms, "Dick, did you say we were sponsoring a coup in Cuba next month?" To which Helms must have replied, "Oh no Bob, the Cubana Coupe is a new car model I'm buying."

The aspect of who knew and who did not is so tenuous, so questionable, so minutely balanced on the head of a pin that serious questions arise about those who the authors say were witting. As stated above, Helms was supposed to be knowledgeable about C-Day. Yet there is a revelatory anecdote about this issue in his book, Over My Shoulder (pgs 226-227). Helms got word of a large arms cache that had landed in Venezuela from Cuba. It was allegedly shipped to help some communist guerillas there. In other words, Castro was exporting revolution into South America. Something the Kennedys did not want him to do. Helms was so alarmed by this that he personally went over to see Robert Kennedy to plead his case for emergency action. After all it was three tons of armaments. RFK passed on it and told him to go see the president. He did and he even took over one of the rifles supposedly found, presumably to convince JFK of the urgency of the situation. Here was the casus belli. Yet JFK was non-plussed. But Helms did salvage something for his efforts. He asked for and got a photo of Kennedy.

What I find so interesting about this episode is the date Helms places it on: November 19, 1963. Did Helms forget C-Day was coming up in 12 days? Did he want to move it up because he knew the Mafia was going to kill JFK? Was it all a silly charade? Or maybe Helms just wanted the picture. But that's not all. In Joseph B. Smith's book Portrait of A Cold Warrior (p. 383), he refers to the seizure of this cache of arms. He apparently got some reports on it, and skillful and veteran analyst he was, he quickly deduced it was planted. So if we take Ultimate Sacrifice seriously, Helms went to the trouble of creating a phony provocation when he knew that C-Day was less than two weeks off.

But the capper is this: both the Helms and Smith books appear in the footnotes to Ultimate Sacrifice.

David Talbot raised an interesting point about the central thesis. If the Kennedys were sponsoring a coup in Cuba for December 1st, why would the Mafia, and some Cubans, conspire to assassinate him nine days before? It's especially odd since one would think that the exile Cubans who Waldron and Hartmann say knew about it, like say Masferer and Sturgis, would likely want it to succeed. After all, they had been working for this for years. Interestingly, the authors don't even mention some of the Cubans who are highly suspect in the JFK case, like say Bernardo DeTorres and Sergio Arcacha Smith. Now, if Smith was involved in JFK's murder, it is really odd. He was part of the Cuban Revolutionary Council (CRC) as was Varona, who the authors maintain was one of the major players in the operation. Yet Varona apparently never told his colleague Smith. Or maybe there was nothing to tell. For as Bill Davy noted in Probe Magazine(Vol. 7, No. 2, p. 5), FBI informants within the CRC, including leader Jose Miro Cardona, were disgusted with Kennedy in 1963 over his Cuba policy. After a high level meeting in Washington, Cardona came away with the feeling that "the United States policy is now one of peaceful co-existence with Communist Cuba." More to the point, "the United States has no plan to free Cuba of Communism." The Justice Department report continued that the CRC's feeling about the US was "very bad, and they feel they had been abandoned in their fight." Is this perhaps why people like Smith and DeTorres became suspect in the JFK case and why Smith tried to set up the seemingly pro-Castro Oswald, in order to provoke an attack against Cuba? You won't read a sentence about that in Ultimate Sacrifice.

Although the authors mention the Lisa Howard/William Attwood back channel to Castro in the attempt for détente with Cuba, they downplay it (p. 113), and later they actually dismiss it as meaningless. They also do not mention Kennedy's 1963 letter to Khruschev, which Davy quotes: "I have neither the intention nor the desire to invade Cuba. I consider that it is for the Cuban people themselves to choose their destiny." (Davy, op. cit.) And of course, Waldron and Hartmann ignore the important Peter Kornbluh article in Cigar Aficionado (summarized in Probe, Vol. 7 No. 1 pp. 8-9). Probably because it paints a quite different picture of the quest for détente. When Castro learned of Kennedy's death, he told JFK's envoy in the process, "This is an end to your mission of peace. Everything is changed." And as Kornbluh notes, Castro was right. LBJ pursued it no further.

This rigorous, systematic refusal to acknowledge or confront contrary evidence is nowhere more demonstrable than in the treatment of the Bay of Pigs and the Missile Crisis. One would think that in a book concentrating on Cuban-American relations from 1960-63, these two events would get special treatment. One would be dead wrong. Combined they get all of five pages. Even though there have been reams of documents declassified on both events by the Assassinations Records Review Board, they use none of it. Incredibly, they ignore both the CIA Inspector General Report by Lyman Kirkpatrick, and the White House sponsored Taylor Report on the Bay of Pigs. Concerning the Missile Crisis, they fail to quote from the landmark book The Kennedy Tapes, which is the closest thing we have to a verbatim account of the crisis. This was unfortunate for me since I wanted to get their take on why JFK would not OK an invasion during those two events when everyone in the situation room was demanding it, yet he would OK one in 1963 when tensions had decreased and fewer people were egging him on. If you essentially skimp the two incidents, you can dodge the question.

II

The second part of the book is about the plotting of the Mafia Dons to assassinate President Kennedy. It also discusses the idea that the Mob discovered the C-Day plan, and then used this to somehow cover up their murder plot. This is the new twist to another Mob based scenario.

This part of the book is heavily -- and I mean heavily -- reliant on the authors of three decades ago whose books were spawned by the work of the House Select Committee's unremitting focus on the Mob. Waldron and Hartmann line them all up and use them profusely and without care: Dan Moldea, John Davis, Robert Blakey and Dick Billings, David Scheim. Even Frank Ragano and Aaron Kohn appear. As we shall see, some of the statements made in this section of the book are rather startling.

But even I was surprised at what the authors pulled in Chapter 33. Like Joan Mellen, they want to rewrite the history of the CIA-Mafia plots. To do so they question the best source we have on that subject, namely the 1967 Inspector General Report done for Richard Helms at the request of President Johnson. They say it is incomplete and that it leaves out certain aspects. Maybe this is so, and maybe it is not. For instance, there are rumors that the writers of the report actually did interview John Roselli. Did Waldron and Hartmann actually stumble upon this tape, or transcript or at least the interviewer? Is this what they found that was left out? That would truly be new and important.

But that isn't it. What is it then? None other than Dan Moldea (pp. 380-390).

They actually say that material in Moldea's 1978 book The Hoffa Wars should have been in the IG Report. I had to smile.

Let me explain. After I read Moldea's disgraceful book on the RFK case, I was shocked at its shoddiness (Probe Vol. 5 No. 4, p. 10, and The Assassinations pgs 610-631). I wondered how someone like this ever got started. So I went back and borrowed his first volume, the book on Hoffa. I took 30 pages of notes and came to the conclusion that it was almost as bad as his RFK book. (I never reviewed it since we decided to discontinue Probe.) Since Moldea is relying a lot on Walter Sheridan and other such sources, the portrait of Hoffa is aggrandized and sensationalized. The reason for this is twofold. Sheridan furnished Moldea with his prime witness against Hoffa, Ed Partin. Second, Moldea was writing right after the revelations of the Church Committee Report, which exposed in public the CIA-Mafia plots to kill Castro. Partin, Sheridan, and Moldea had a problem with those plots. Hoffa wasn't in on them. So Sheridan let Moldea borrow Partin so he could further his mendacious magic act. And Waldron and Hartmann suck this all up -- and expand it even further.

But being indiscriminate with a writer like Moldea is like a boxer leaving his chin exposed in the ring. You're looking for trouble. When Sheridan was heralding Partin as his star witness he had to do a lot of rehab work on him. Because writers like Fred Cook had shown that Partin had a criminal record that, to say the least, was rather compromising. So he decided to give Partin a lie detector test. Needless to say, since Sheridan arranged it, he passed with flying colors. But years later, something interesting happened to this test. A professional society of polygraph technicians got hold of the raw data from it. They were worried that less than scrupulous people were abusing legal ethics in using the machine. So a team of the country's leading experts studied the results and unveiled their findings at a convention. They concluded that Partin was deceptive throughout, but he almost broke the machine at the part where he related Hoffa's plot to murder RFK. Partin was so bad that the society deduced that the administrator of the test had to turn down the detection device to ensure the results Sheridan wanted. Ace archivist Peter Vea mailed me these documents over a decade ago and I discussed them at the 1995 COPA Conference in Washington. Vea later sent me a newspaper story about one of the original technicians being later convicted for fraud. So the information has been out there for about 12 years. Somehow, Waldron and Hartmann missed it. (And so did Moldea since he was still vouching for Partin in 1997 when his RFK book was published.)

But as I said, Moldea's book came out in 1978. Well after Hoffa was convicted and passed away so mysteriously. So the act Partin did for Sheridan was not enough for Moldea.. Watergate and the Church Committee had occurred in the interim. So for Moldea, Partin added some current sex appeal to his already fatuous story. He now told Moldea that Carlos Marcello contributed a half million to Nixon's campaign in 1968 (Moldea pp. 108, 260). The go-between was Hoffa. Hoffa was also supplying arms to Castro before he took over Cuba (Ibid. p. 107). Waldron and Hartmann use these tales and source them to Moldea-- without telling the reader that the source is Partin! At one point they even refer to this proven xxxx as a most trusted source. In this day and age, with all we know about Partin, this is academic irresponsibility.

But if Moldea is bad, what can one say about Frank Ragano? Ragano is mentioned many times by Moldea in his Hoffa book. Ragano was an attorney for Hoffa, Marcello and Trafficante. He did this for many years. And during this time, many of these Mafia did it books emerged. But it was not until Oliver Stone's JFK came out that he decided to write about how his three clients conspired to kill President Kennedy. The other curious thing about the timing of Ragano's 1993 book Mob Lawyer, is that he was in trouble with the IRS over back taxes and cried out that he was being persecuted: perhaps for his much delayed broadcast about his clients assassination conspiracy? Or maybe he was just using the delayed expose to plea bargain the charge down? Whatever the case, Ragano made two mistakes in his coming out party. First, he sold Moldea the old chestnut about Jim Garrison's investigation of Clay Shaw being a method to divert attention away from Marcello. I exposed this for the canard it was at the 1994 COPA Conference, and Bill Davy expanded on it in his book, Let Justice Be Done (pgs 149-167). Evidently, Ragano had not done his homework on the issue. And that crack investigative reporter Moldea was not up to checking it out beforehand. (See Ragano's biography at spartacus.schoolnet.) Second, Ragano tried to get cute and was a bit too specific about Trafficante's convenient deathbed confession to him. He said it occurred on March 13, 1987 in Tampa. He says the ailing Don called him and asked him to come down and pick him up. When Ragano arrived to take him for a spin, the dying 72-year-old Mob boss trotted out to the car in pajamas and robe. He told Ragano that he and his underworld cohorts had erred. They should have killed Bobby, not John. His conscience cleansed by his confession to his consigliore, Trafficante passed away a few days later.

Unfortunately for Ragano, Tony Summers checked up on his belatedly revealed tale. According to Summers, who sources several witnesses, Trafficante was living in Miami in March of 1987 and had not been to Tampa for months. He was very ill at the time and was receiving kidney dialysis and carrying a colostomy bag. Further, Summers interviewed at least two witnesses who placed Trafficante in Miami on that day. There are also hospital records that put him in Miami's Mercy Hospital for dialysis treatment on both the day before and the day after the Ragano "confession". And Trafficante's doctor in Tampa said he was not there on March 13th. (Vanity Fair 12/94) Now, from Miami to Tampa is about 280 miles. To think that a 72 year old dying man would drive four hours one way and then four hours back -- between dialysis treatments -- to do something he could have done with a call on a pay phone strains credulity to the breaking point. To postulate that he would fly the distance is just as bad. Did he buy two seats in order to put his colostomy bag next to him? Ragano told Summers he could produce other witnesses. But only if he was sued for libel. Since it is next to impossible for a family to sue for a deceased member over libel, Ragano was being real gutsy.

Another spurious author used extensively in this section is Davis, who they refer to as a "noted historian" (p.264) and later (p. 768) as an "acclaimed historian." (The authors are quite liberal in their use of the term "historian": Tony Summers, Peter Dale Scott, even Tad Szulc are all given the title. Yet none of them are historians.) Others, like Bill Davy and myself have questioned the methodology of this "noted historian". As I once wrote of him, although Davis likes to use a large bibliography to lend weight and academic ballast to his work, he does not footnote his text. And as Davy and I have both pointed out, even the freight of his pretentious bibliography is spurious. In his two books on the JFK assassination, Mafia Kingfish and The Kennedy Contract, Davis listed two primary sources: the transcript of the Clay Shaw trial and 3, 000 pages of CIA documents. He said they were housed at Southeastern Louisiana University at Hammond. Davy checked and I called. They aren't there. (Probe Vol. 5, No.1, p. 9) In that same issue, in discussing his Kennedy biography, Dynasty and Disaster, I showed how Davis distorted his sources to twist words and events into something they do not really mean. And sometimes into the opposite of what they mean. I then demonstrated how his lack of footnoting made this hard to detect for a novice.

But Ultimate Sacrifice ignores all this. The book uses Davis, and even some of the claims that Davy actually addressed head on. For instance: the 7,000-dollar payoff, which Marcello supposedly admitted in his HSCA executive session testimony. The problem here is he actually didn't admit it. (Ibid) Further, Davy and I interviewed U.S. Attorney Jon Volz who was in on the prosecution that put Marcello away. He and his cohorts listened to years of surveillance on Marcello, including the storied "Brilab tapes". Volz told us, "There's nothing on those tapes." (Ibid). In fact, Volz told us that far from the fearsome, all-inspiring Mafia Don Davis makes him out to be, Marcello was kind of slow and dull. Further, Waldron and Hartmann use their "noted historian", to make Marcello an all encompassing Mafia Superman, his Hitlerian reach extending throughout ten states, Central America, the Caribbean and beyond. (Ultimate Sacrifice p. 264). Funny, because Volz told us that, by the time he prosecuted him, Marcello was not even the number one godfather in Louisiana. Anthony Carolla was.

But Waldron and Hartmann need to use Davis to exalt Marcello because they want us to believe, as Davis and Blakey do, that Marcello was reaching through to Oswald through Guy Banister and David Ferrie. Repeatedly, throughout the volume, Ferrie and Banister are referred to as "working for Marcello.". In no other book I have ever encountered have I seen this rubric used with these two men anywhere to the extent it appears here. Further, Banister and Ferrie are pretty much cleaned off of their other well-documented ties to the CIA and the FBI. There is almost no mention of Ferrie's ties to the Bay of Pigs, how he trained Cuban exiles for that operation, how he engineered aquatic equipment like a miniature submarine, how he watched films of the debacle with his friend Sergio Arcacha Smith. There is also no mention of Ferrie's attempts to recruit young men for MONGOOSE. And it's almost the same for Banister. Again, this was an eccentric trend that was started with Blakey and Billings at the end of the HSCA. Ferrie had worked for Wray Gill, one of Marcello's local attorneys. So Blakey shorthanded this into Ferrie working for Marcello. In 1962 and 1963, Ferrie got Banister some investigatory work through his Gill employment. But not even the HSCA and Blakey construed this as Banister being an employee of Marcello. Waldron and Hartmann do this throughout. Again, this is deceptive and journalistically irresponsible. But, as I will show later, its part of a grand design.

But it's not just Marcello who gets the Superman treatment. Apparently modeling themselves on Davis, they attempt to enlarge John Roselli beyond any dimensions I have ever read. Roselli was seen previously as a second tier Mafia figure, right below the top Godfathers who sat on the national council. And his affable demeanor, brains, and facility in conversation made him a good ambassador and envoy for the Cosa Nostra to gain entry into things like the film business and the CIA-Mafia plots. This book goes way beyond that to places I had never seen or imagined. Did you know that Roselli was somehow in on the murder of Castillo Armas in Guatemala in 1957? How about the assassination of Trujillo in the Dominican Republic in 1961? If you can believe it, the dapper, satin shirted, silk tied Roselli was in training with the Cuban exiles at JM/WAVE. He even makes an appearance at Banister's office at 544 Camp Street. Roselli is somehow involved with Marilyn Monroe in a ménage a trois with Frank Sinatra and Sam Giancana before she tries to warn the FBI about a Mob hit on RFK. (This whole episode with Monroe has to be read to be believed. Its on pages 405-409.) And with Waldron and Hartmann, its Roselli who introduced Judith Exner to Senator Kennedy, since Roselli is trying to play it safe in the 1960 election (p. 390). And as the Mob plot heats up, he maneuvers her around to somehow monitor JFK.

Except it's not true. Unfortunately, I read Exner's book My Story (see The Assassinations pp. 329-338 for my essay on Exner). In that book, Exner describes her first meeting with Senator Kenendy. She met him through a dinner hosted by Peter Lawford and Frank Sinatra (see pp. 86-89). In that book, contrary to what Ultimate Sacrifice clearly implies, there is not a hint that John Roselli had anything to do with her relations with JFK. In their further aggrandizement of Roselli, they attempt to place him in Dallas on 11/22/63 but they qualify this by saying that none of the sources meet their standard of reliability. (p. 712) But they state the accusation anyway by noting the multiplicity of accounts. Also, according to them, Roselli had no alibi for that day. When I looked up their multiplicity of sources, I smiled and shook my head. The three were James Files, Robert Plumlee, and Chauncey Holt. Gary Aguilar wrote a searing expose on the whole Files affair, which resulted in a rather embarrassing video on the JFK case. (Probe Vol. 3 No. 6 p. 27) Plumlee has been marketing his story for years about flying various people in and out of Dallas before and after the assassination. He figured in one of the early cuts of that video which the producer tried to sell to investors. The late Chauncey Holt was trying to sell himself as one of the three tramps for a number of years. The fact that the authors include these men is critical comment in and of itself.

III

But even using all these dubious books and authors, with their questionable sources and bibliographies, Waldron and Hartmann still suffer greatly from the "conditional syndrome". That is, something can happen only if something else occurs i.e. the contingency or assumption factor. To give the reader a representative sample:

If Roselli had told David Morales that Ruby would be helpful in the fall 1963 CIA-Mafia plot, Morales would have had no reason to doubt him. (565)

It is possible that the call was related to Oswald...or a trip Ruby would soon make to Chicago... (566)

And even on November 1, Ferrie might have flown to Chicago instead of back to New Orleans, if the Chicago assassination plan had not been uncovered ...(577)

Phillips was saying that about Oswald in the context of an autobiographical Novel, but it could indicate that the CIA's "plan we had devised against Castro" was similar to the way JFK was killed. (p. 580)

The sad thing is that the Mafia may have taken the very plan that the CIA had intended to use against Castro...and used it instead to kill JFK in an open limousine. That could account for the comments of Bobby and David Atlee Phillips after JFK's death. (P. 581)

And my favorite:

Morales probably engaged in business with Trafficante associate John Martino in the years after JFK's death. On the other hand, Morales may have simply provided help and information to Roselli during his nighttime drinking binges. (p. 584, italics are mine in all excerpts)

I am reminded of Cyril Wecht's response to one of Michael Baden's inventive rationales for the single bullet theory: "Yeah, and if my mother had a penis she'd be my father." The book is literally strewn with these kinds of "would have" "could have" "might have" scenarios. In the sample above, I culled from a span of 20 pages and I cited six passages, leaving at least one other one out. Go ahead and do the math for a text of 786 pages. There must be well into the hundreds of these Rumsfeldian "unkown unknowns" populating this book-- like autumn leaves in a Pennsylvania backyard. When I wrote my introduction to Bill Davy's fine work, Let Justice Be Done, I noted that one of its qualities is the author used very few of these types of clauses. He didn't have to. I also noted that the Mafia theory advocates were noted for these kinds of contingency phrases. Since Ultimate Sacrifice is essentially the "Mega Mob Did It" opus, it amplifies the usage of them exponentially. Which leaves one to ask: If you need so many of these clauses then what is the real value of the book and its research?

Hand in glove with the above feature is the "he had dinner with him" syndrome. Peter Dale Scott 's works were rich in this kind of thing and then Robert Blakey brought it to new heights in the field. Waldron and Hartmann continue in this tradition.

Back in Dallas on Thursday evening November 20, Ruby had dinner with ... Ralph Paul. Paul was associated with Austin's Bar-B-Cue, where one of the part-time security guards was policeman J. D. Tippit. (p. 713)

The Teamster organizer was an associate of Frank Chavez, linked to Jack Ruby by FBI reports. (p. 740)

Ruby called the home of friend Gordon McLendon, owner of KLIF radio, who was close to David Atlee Phillips and had a connection to Marcello. (747)

If you use the sources the authors use, and a lot of conditional phrasing, and you make the connections as oblique and inconsequential as a Bar-B-Cue pit, then you can just about connect almost anything and anyone. Sort of like the Six Degrees of Separation concept. You can even come close to duplicating that masterpiece of disinformation, Nomenclature of an Assassination Cabal, aka The Torbitt Document (which is not a document and is therefore even deceptive in its nickname.) The point is that now, with the work of the ARRB, we don't need to do this anymore. Waldron and Hartmann want to take us back to the Torbitt days.

In this middle section of the book, which allegedly describes the plotting of the assassination, appear some of the most bizarre statements and

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Having begun the updated trade paperback - through to about Chapter 56 or so - I am curious about a "stylistic" approach you've taken that doesn't seem to make complete sense to me, that I hope you will explain your reasons for.

The apparent contradiction lies in your willingness to identify Almeida, still presumably the #3 guy in Cuba (#2 if you count Raul as being on top, now that Fidel's infirm), and perhaps in as good or better a position as he may have been in 1963 to take over the government of Cuba once Fidel is no longer part of the picture ... and perhaps in some jeopardy now that he's been firmly identified whereas, even when he was "out of the picture" in 1990-95, then it may only have been a suspicion.

Meanwhile, you have chosen NOT to name a variety of people who have been identified over the years by various sources. One - the "gun dealer" - you say has "avoided publicity" over the years, so you will respect his (unstated?) desire to remain anonymous, even while someone can go to the end-noted source and find his identity.

Another - I don't remember where or whom - you again skirt around naming him while acknowledging that his identity is known to people - and will be known to anyone who researches the endnotes. In that case, you even went so far as to apparently cut out his name at the end of a quote to avoid naming him, along the lines of:

... and the document said "Bill had been discussing it with" him.

... leaving the "him" at the end dangling as if it might've otherwise said "with John Smith of the CIA" (or whatever), but you'd purposely omitted identifying Smith, even tho' he'd already been identified by someone else - or several other people - over the years, and may even be "generally" known except to the "uninitiated" in this case.

This is really the only major difficulty I've got with an otherwise very interesting and cohesive narrative, and a great source of frustration. What's up with that?

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My recollections of Gus Russo at the "infamous" 1993 ASK conference may have some bearing on this discussion.

At the end of a full day of presentations, Russo and John Newman spread the word that they would be conducting an unscheduled but sanctioned workshop in one of the breakout rooms. A small audience was then treated to one of the most fascinating exercises in heavy breathing ever offered at a JFK assassination event.

Messrs. Russo and Newman spun the tantalyzing tale of their visit to the Florida penthouse apartment of the aging Delk Simpson -- although they declined to name him at the time, and instead described him only as one of Robert Morrow's US Air Force Colonels as described in his, well, problematic "First Hand Knowledge."

Breathlessly they spoke of how they and their unwitting target got pleasantly plastered on world-class Scotch ... how the lonely, widowed Simpson gave his game away to the pair of undercover gumshoes posing as simple, aw shucks history buffs, all but admitting to his role as (one of) the assassination's paymaster(s) and to his acquiescence in the murder of his own son (who had been speaking of his father's perfidy to anyone willing to listen).

At one point Newman even chastened an on-a-roll Russo to "be careful, man," the implication quite clear that Gussy was placing both of them in jeopardy.

(In jeopardy of being silenced by conspirators or loosing a publishing contract? I'm still not certain.)

They went on to describe an inebriated Simpson berating the Kennedys, whose Palm Beach compound could be seen from the terrace of the old man's luxurious digs.

Also offered was a name worthy of Ian Fleming: a certain "Joseph Silverthorne" was the international man of mystery who was the key assassination facilitator.

Or was that Silverthorne Stables, in or near Paris (France or Texas?)?

I harbor significant respect for Professor Newman and his JFK-related work. But he would be well advised to clarify this one-and-out episode with Russo, I think.

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Thanks to Lamar Waldron and Thom Hartmann for a mighty effort and relatively coherent argument. However on fundamental points, the evidence points away from select Mobsters as the principles. First you refer to Douglas Valentines's The Strength of the Wolf but slightingly, and getting his first name wrong on p278 of HB edition. His thrust which you seem to ignore is that select "million dollar men" Trafficante, Marcello, Giancana operated with the protection of CIA, and in pursuit of higher US national interests as perceived by CIA. In other words they were at all times subordinate allies and not able to pre-empt major US political/military operations, unless sanctioned by higher authority. This does not preclude involvement, only initiative.

Second, the attempt to meld right and left factions into a post-coup Cuban government, while excluding CIA from a co-ordinating role, may well have been the catalyst for the assassination of JFK, but main aggrieved parties were the Bay of Pigs vets and their CIA and corporate supporters--Operation 40 members for example. Kennedy policies in the Laotian tripartite

fiasco, his approach to Sukarno over West Irian and the Non Aligned Bloc in general, a Test Ban (leading to disarmament and possible opening to China) united opposition to RFK/JFK from the lowliest gusano to the highest boardrooms and war rooms.

For what it is worth, I cannot help but see the Mob vs CIA conundrum as an argument about the locus of power in post WWII US society. The Mob are always with us but were not more than bit players, cutouts, go-betweens, even patsies, in the series of assassintions of the 1960s.

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For what it is worth, I cannot help but see the Mob vs CIA conundrum as an argument about the locus of power in post WWII US society. The Mob are always with us but were not more than bit players, cutouts, go-betweens, even patsies, in the series of assassintions of the 1960s.

I agree entirely. I suspect that information leaked to the press about the involvement of the Mob came from the CIA. Interestingly, most of this appeared in the columns of Jack Anderson, who was in China with the OSS at the end of the war (as was Phil Graham, E. Howard Hunt, Emmett Johnson, Ray Cline, John Singaub, Tommy Concoran, William Pawley and Ray Cline).

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I thought I'd share portions of a public exchange I recently enjoyed with Mark Crispin Miller (whose investigations of the American presidential election thefts of 2000 and 2004 cannot be overestimated in terms of their accuracy and significance to the historical record) on the subject of "Ultimate Sacrifice," which he has formally and publicly endorsed as -- my interpretation of his position here -- the most complete and accurate explanation of the assassination as we're likey ever to have.

I began with this basic observation:

The authors' view of the hierarchical structure of the intelligence/organized crime nexus of the period under consideration is at best myopic (although in comparison to their appreciations of the levels of authority and areas of operation and influence of high-ranking CIA officers involved in the assassination conspiracy, it is relatively 20/20).

Later I responded to Professor Miller's direct question as reproduced below:

"Why is W/H's argument 'preposterous on its face'? [my previously expressed judgment] Those Mafiosi had every reason to whack Kennedy." -- Indeed they had, and I'd argue that there's little doubt that figures from OC were brought into the plot in the roles of facilitators and, later, false sponsors. What is preposterous is Lamar's argument that Marcello, Trafficante, and Rosselli enjoyed the means to play the roles of prime sponsors and planners.

I stipulate that when we implicitly differentiate between "organized crime," and "big business," and "intelligence agencies" in the contexts of the crime, and of what Peter Dale Scott has termed the "deep political" structure of the period, we are citing distinctions without true differences. John Rosselli -- "Colonel John Rawlston," big time player at JM/WAVE, the CIA's Miami operation, and trusted confidante of David Sanchez Morales, action officer there -- is THE prime example of the living, connective tissue between OC and CIA.

But when Lamar argues that David Atlee Phillips, head of the CIA's Western Hemisphere Division at the time and one of the knights (perhaps I should say bishops), if you will, of the agency, somehow could have been manipulated by the wise guys and, to use the appropriate if distasteful vernacular, otherwise become their bitch, he dismisses volumes of scholarship, supported by scores of cubic feet of documentary record, establishing precisely the inverse relationship.

On the mechanical level, the assassination could not have been executed in the manner that unfolded in Dealey Plaza had not security been stripped from the motorcade. And simply stated, none of the godfathers or their proprietary rogue intelligence officers had the jam to pull that off.

(Indeed, security stripping remains a sine qua non for successful attacks on targets well protected by, for the most part, incorruptible guards. It happened in advance of the JFK and MLK murders. And if you'll permit me a bit of latitude, it took place before the assassinations of the American electoral process in 2000 and 2004; the security afforded by conventional voting machines, paper trails, and hand counts was stripped, thus leaving the target all but defenseless.)

And this but scratches the surface of the problems with "Ultimate Sacrifice."

Edited by Charles Drago
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How can anyone take seriously a theory that has a group of conspirators assassinating a president because he is insufficiently anti-Castro, when he has okayed the future overthrow of Castro within days of his assassination? What, they couldn't wait nine days? Then, of course, the most ridiculous aspect of this theory; they followed up the assassination of JFK by doing nothing about Castro. The whole Cuban connection to the assassination is, imho, just another smokescreen to divert attention away from the very real, powerful forces who conspired to kill JFK.

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  • 2 weeks later...
I thought I'd share portions of a public exchange I recently enjoyed with Mark Crispin Miller (whose investigations of the American presidential election thefts of 2000 and 2004 cannot be overestimated in terms of their accuracy and significance to the historical record) on the subject of "Ultimate Sacrifice," which he has formally and publicly endorsed as -- my interpretation of his position here -- the most complete and accurate explanation of the assassination as we're likey ever to have.

I began with this basic observation:

The authors' view of the hierarchical structure of the intelligence/organized crime nexus of the period under consideration is at best myopic (although in comparison to their appreciations of the levels of authority and areas of operation and influence of high-ranking CIA officers involved in the assassination conspiracy, it is relatively 20/20).

Later I responded to Professor Miller's direct question as reproduced below:

"Why is W/H's argument 'preposterous on its face'? [my previously expressed judgment] Those Mafiosi had every reason to whack Kennedy." -- Indeed they had, and I'd argue that there's little doubt that figures from OC were brought into the plot in the roles of facilitators and, later, false sponsors. What is preposterous is Lamar's argument that Marcello, Trafficante, and Rosselli enjoyed the means to play the roles of prime sponsors and planners.

I stipulate that when we implicitly differentiate between "organized crime," and "big business," and "intelligence agencies" in the contexts of the crime, and of what Peter Dale Scott has termed the "deep political" structure of the period, we are citing distinctions without true differences. John Rosselli -- "Colonel John Rawlston," big time player at JM/WAVE, the CIA's Miami operation, and trusted confidante of David Sanchez Morales, action officer there -- is THE prime example of the living, connective tissue between OC and CIA.

But when Lamar argues that David Atlee Phillips, head of the CIA's Western Hemisphere Division at the time and one of the knights (perhaps I should say bishops), if you will, of the agency, somehow could have been manipulated by the wise guys and, to use the appropriate if distasteful vernacular, otherwise become their bitch, he dismisses volumes of scholarship, supported by scores of cubic feet of documentary record, establishing precisely the inverse relationship.

On the mechanical level, the assassination could not have been executed in the manner that unfolded in Dealey Plaza had not security been stripped from the motorcade. And simply stated, none of the godfathers or their proprietary rogue intelligence officers had the jam to pull that off.

(Indeed, security stripping remains a sine qua non for successful attacks on targets well protected by, for the most part, incorruptible guards. It happened in advance of the JFK and MLK murders. And if you'll permit me a bit of latitude, it took place before the assassinations of the American electoral process in 2000 and 2004; the security afforded by conventional voting machines, paper trails, and hand counts was stripped, thus leaving the target all but defenseless.)

And this but scratches the surface of the problems with "Ultimate Sacrifice."

Well put.

Ultimate Sacrifice fails because it pins causality on the Mob and not the CIA, while the body of its text has the two working hand in glove. The authors try to absolve the agency from causality, but their own text warns us they protest too much.

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