Jump to content
The Education Forum

Ultimate Sacrifice: Salon Review


David Talbot
 Share

Recommended Posts

Salon Magazine (Dec. 1, 2005)

http://www.salon.com/books/feature/2005/12/01/review/

Every Nov. 22 we are haunted by the unquiet ghost of John F. Kennedy, and last week's anniversary of his assassination was no exception. As usual, none of the flurry of press reports taking note of the mournful occasion shed any new light on what remains the greatest unsolved mystery of the 20th century. The national dialogue about the case remains stuck where Oliver Stone's explosive 1991 film "JFK" and Gerald Posner's bestselling 1993 rebuttal, "Case Closed," left it. Stone's dark dream, peopled by sinister government officials and demons from the underworld, had the virtue of channeling the deepest fears of the American public, a consistent majority of which continues to believe JFK was the victim of a conspiracy. Posner's book, which mounted a game defense of the lone gunman theory in the face of a growing body of contrary evidence, had the virtue of simplicity and calming reassurance.

Though you wouldn't know it from following the media coverage, there have been new developments in the case during the past dozen years -- many of them sparked by the thousands of once secret documents released by the government as a result of the furor around Stone's film. (Millions of other pages remain bottled up in agencies like the CIA, in defiance of the 1992 JFK Assassination Records Collection Act.) Some of this recently unearthed information is now beginning to appear in new books, including "Ultimate Sacrifice," this year's most highly touted JFK assassination book.

Written by two independent researchers who spent 17 years on the book -- former science fiction graphic novelist Lamar Waldron and Air America radio host Thom Hartmann -- the book arrives in a blaze of publicity about its provocative conclusions. Columnist Liz Smith excitedly announced that the book was the "last word" on the Kennedy mystery.

The "revelations" in "Ultimate Sacrifice" are indeed as "startling" as the book jacket promises. The authors contend that before he was killed, President Kennedy was conspiring with a high Cuban official to overthrow Fidel Castro on Dec. 1, 1963 -- a coup that would have been quickly backed up by a U.S. military invasion of the island. The plot was discovered and infiltrated by the Mafia, which then took the opportunity to assassinate JFK, knowing federal law officials (including the president's brother, Attorney General Robert Kennedy, who was in charge of the Cuba operation) would be blocked from pursuing the guilty mobsters out of fear that the top-secret operation would be revealed.

While the authors' thesis is provocative, it is not convincing. The Kennedys undeniably regarded Castro as a major irritant and pursued a variety of schemes to remove him, but there is no compelling evidence that the coup/invasion plan was as imminent as the authors contend. By 1963, after the disastrous Bay of Pigs invasion and the heart-thumping nuclear brinksmanship of the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Kennedys were in no mood for any high-stakes Cuba gambits that had the potential to come crashing down loudly around them. Before they entertained such a risky venture, they would have thrashed out the idea within a circle of their most trusted national security advisors -- a painful lesson they had learned from the Bay of Pigs fiasco, a closely held plot that JFK had been steamrolled into by his top two CIA officials, Allen Dulles and Richard Bissell.

But according to Waldron and Hartmann, though the exceedingly ambitious coup/invasion plan was supposedly just days away from being implemented when Kennedy was assassinated, key U.S. military officials like Defense Secretary Robert McNamara had still not been told about it. The idea that the Kennedys would seriously undertake such a risky operation without the participation of their defense secretary, a man they trusted and admired more than any other Cabinet member, defies reason. (For the record, McNamara himself has firmly rejected the notion that JFK was plotting a major Cuba intervention in late 1963, in an interview I conducted with him earlier this year for a book on the Kennedy brothers.)

The Kennedy administration was in the habit of churning out a blizzard of proposals for how to deal with the Castro problem, most of which the president never formally endorsed. It seems that Waldron and Hartmann have confused what were contingency plans for a coup in Cuba for the real deal. In fact, an exchange of government memos in early December 1963 between CIA director John McCone and State Department official U. Alexis Johnson that was released under the JFK Act -- and apparently overlooked by the authors -- specifically refers to the coup plot as a "contingency plan." On Dec. 6, 1963, Johnson wrote McCone, "For the past several months, an interagency staff effort has been devoted to developing a contingency plan for a coup in Cuba ... The plan provides a conceptual basis for U.S. response to a Cuban military coup." The key words here are, of course, "contingency" and "conceptual basis" -- neither of which suggests anything definite or fully authorized.

Waldron and Hartmann rely on two key sources for their theory about the coup plan (which they refer to as "C-Day," a code name they concede is entirely their own creation, adding to its chimerical quality) -- former Secretary of State Dean Rusk and a Bay of Pigs veteran named Enrique "Harry" Ruiz-Williams, Robert Kennedy's closest friend and ally in the Cuban exile community, both of whom they interviewed before the two men's deaths. But, according to Rusk, he only learned of the coup plan after the Kennedy assassination from sources within the Johnson administration. And considering the legendary antipathy between Bobby Kennedy and Johnson loyalists like Rusk, who often portrayed the Kennedy brothers as fanatical on the subject of Castro, this testimony must be viewed with some skepticism.

Ruiz-Williams, on the other hand, was very friendly with Bobby, phoning him on a regular basis and joining the Kennedy family on ski trips. But his belief that a Kennedy-backed assault on the Castro regime was imminent might be a case of wishful thinking. While Bobby's romantic nature did open his heart to brave anti-Castro adventurers like Ruiz-Williams, RFK's hardheaded side always dominated when it came to protecting the interests of his older brother. And Bobby knew that as the 1964 election year loomed, his brother's main interest when it came to Cuba was keeping it off the front pages. That meant making sure the volatile Cuban exiles were as quiet and content as possible, which is why Bobby was working aggressively to encourage anti-Castro leaders to set up their operations in distant Central America bases, with the vague promise that the U.S. would support their efforts to return to Havana.

At the same time, the Kennedys were secretly pursuing a peace track with Castro, to the fury of the CIA officials and exile leaders who found out about it, seeing it as another blatant example of Kennedy double-dealing and appeasement. Waldron and Hartmann play down these back-channel negotiations with Castro, writing that they were failing to make progress. But the talks, which were spearheaded by a trusted Kennedy emissary at the U.N., William Attwood, were very much alive when JFK went to Dallas.

The authors further undermine their "C-Day" theory by refusing to name the high Cuban official who allegedly conspired with the Kennedy administration to overthrow Castro. They decided to withhold his name out of deference to national security laws, they write, a puzzling decision considering how long ago the Kennedy-Castro drama receded into the mists of history from the center stage of geopolitical confrontation. "We are confident that over time, the judgment of history will show that we made the right decision regarding the C-Day coup leader, and that we acted in accordance with National Security law." This flag-waving statement will surely win the hearts of anonymous bureaucrats in Langley, but it will only alienate inquisitive readers.

While bowing to "national security," Waldron and Thomas cannot help themselves from heavily implying who the Cuban coup leader was -- none other than the charismatic icon of the Cuban revolution, Che Guevara, who by 1963 was chafing under Castro's heavy-handed reign and pro-Soviet tilt. If all the authors' winking and nodding about Che really is meant to point to him as the coup leader, this raises a whole other set of questions, not least of which is why the Kennedys would possibly regard the even more incendiary Guevara as a better option than Castro.

If C-Day is a stretch, the second part of the book's argument -- that the Mafia assassinated Kennedy with complete government immunity, using their inside knowledge of the top-secret plan to escape prosecution -- is even harder to swallow. Waldron and Hartmann portray a group of mobsters so brilliant and powerful they are able to manipulate national security agencies and frame one of their operatives, Lee Harvey Oswald; organize sophisticated assassination operations against JFK in three separate cities (including, finally, Dallas); and then orchestrate one of the most elaborate and foolproof coverups in history. Think of some awesome hybrid of Tony Soprano and Henry Kissinger.

It is true that Santo Trafficante, Carlos Marcello and Johnny Rosselli -- the three mobsters whom the authors accuse of plotting JFK's demise -- were cunning and cruel organized crime chieftains. And they hated the Kennedys for allegedly using their services and then cracking down on them. But even they lacked the ability to pull off a brazen regicide like this by themselves. And if they did, "national security concerns" might have been enough to stop investigators like Waldron and Hartmann, but never Bobby Kennedy, whose protective zeal toward his brother was legendary. All the attorney general would have had to do was explain the national security concerns in the judge's private chambers, and once the coup plan was safely under wraps, his prosecutors would have been free to take the gloves off and go after his brother's murderers.

The biggest puzzler about the authors' Mafia theory is this: Why in the world would organized crime bosses, who had been scheming to return to Havana ever since Castro's revolutionary government had evicted them from their immensely lucrative casinos, knock off Kennedy just days before he was about to knock off Castro? Here again, "Ultimate Sacrifice" fails the basic logic test.

The authors belabor their thesis for nearly 900 punishing and unforgivably repetitive pages. But at the end of their exhausting trek, they are no closer to proving their case than when they started.

It's a shame that "Ultimate Sacrifice" is hobbled by a cockeyed assassination theory and swollen size. Because buried in this weighty tome are a number of shiny nuggets that shed light on the case. Among the important sources Waldron and Hartmann spoke to was JFK's "Irish Mafia" sidekick Dave Powers, who was riding 10 feet behind Kennedy's limousine in Dallas and told them he clearly saw at least two shots from the infamous grassy knoll in front of the motorcade -- evidence of a conspiracy, since Oswald was allegedly firing from the rear, on the 6th floor of the Texas Book Depository building. Powers, who spoke to the authors before his death in 1998, told them he felt they were "riding into an ambush" and said that he was pressured to change his story by the Warren Commission. (For some reason, the authors perversely stash most of Powers' story in the acknowledgments, at the far end of the book.)

Waldron and Hartmann also chronicle in detail for the first time an aborted plot to kill Kennedy during a motorcade in Tampa, Fla., four days before he was cut down in Dallas -- as well as fleshing out an earlier plot in Chicago not widely known about. These three plots, which bore remarkable similarities, suggest that JFK was being relentlessly stalked in his final days by a sophisticated group of conspirators.

"Ultimate Sacrifice" also presents a convincing portrait of Oswald as the "patsy" he told the world he was as he was being escorted through the Dallas police station -- a low-level intelligence operative whom the authors contend was being groomed by the CIA as the fall guy in an assassination plot against Castro and was then ensnared in the scheme to kill Kennedy. And the book presents persuasive evidence that Jack Ruby, far from being the distraught citizen who shot Oswald out of deep affection for the Kennedy family, was actually a longtime Mafia errand boy and enforcer who was paid off by associates of Teamster boss Jimmy Hoffa, RFK's public enemy No. 1, to silence Oswald before he could tell a court everything he knew.

The authors also examine the numerous tension points between the Kennedys and the CIA, pointing to a number of insubordinate acts by the agency related to the administration's Cuba policy that can only be described as treasonous, including trying to sabotage the Kennedy-Castro peace feelers by pursuing an assassination plot against the Cuban leader without the Kennedys' knowledge or assent.

Also unnerving is the authors' account of Cuban exile Alberto Fowler, a Kennedy-hating Bay of Pigs veteran and probable CIA asset who seemed to be stalking JFK in his final days, moving into the house next door to the Kennedys' Palm Beach mansion on the weekend of Nov. 17, 1963, where JFK was sequestered while finishing a speech he was to deliver in Miami.

While the authors take pains to (repeatedly) exonerate the CIA in the killing of Kennedy, their book actually winds up raising serious questions about the agency's possible role in the crime. Though it's not the authors' scenario, after finishing "Ultimate Sacrifice" the reader is left with the unmistakable impression that the assassination was probably the work of a conspiracy involving elements of the CIA, Mafia and anti-Kennedy Cuban exiles -- a cabal that was working to terminate Castro's reign (by any means necessary) and turned its guns instead against Kennedy. This is precisely what Robert Kennedy himself immediately suspected on the afternoon of Nov. 22, 1963, though Waldron and Hartmann wrongly assert that Bobby blamed only the Mafia (and New Orleans godfather Carlos Marcello in particular) for the death of his brother. In truth, CIA officials like David Atlee Phillips, William Harvey and David Morales; gangsters like Marcello, Trafficante and Rosselli; and anti-Castro Cuban leaders like Manuel Artime and Tony Varona were so intertwined in their blood lust against Castro that it's difficult to separate them.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Replies 39
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

As someone who has spent a considerable amount of time reading Lamar's book and discussing the book with others, such as Larry Hancock, I have far more problems with this review than I do with Lamar's book. David seems to make three points:

1) That the coup was one of many far-out anti-Castro plans that was considered but never approved; if it had, someone like Robert McNamara would have known. The coup was just a contingency plan.

2) That Trafficante and Marcello would never approved of a JFK plot if JFK's survival would, in fact, opened up Cuba to them.

3) The book is too long.

I tend to agree with point #3, but points #1 and #2 raise serious questions about the rigor of the review.

Let's take point #1. Lamar himself acknowledged that C-Day was *portrayed* as a contingency plan. It was Sec. of State Dean Rusk who first pointed this out to Lamar. When asked why he wasn't concerned with the C-Day revelation post-assassination, Rusk expressed to Lamar that Rusk recognized JFK's need for secrecy but that, more importantly, Rusk FELT THAT HE HAD INPUT INTO THE *REAL* PLAN THROUGH HIS COMMENTARY ON THE SO-CALLED CONTINGENCY PLAN. It was Rusk who argued that the ruse of a contingency plan was used to gather input from key administration officials WITHOUT the direct knowledge of said officials (among whom we can count Rusk.) I find no reason to think that McNamara would have been any more aware of the ruse pre-assassination than Rusk; nor do I find it surprising that McNamara may simply have not have been privy to the same post-assassination information that Rusk received. Talbot completely ignores this concept, and instead casts doubt on Rusk himself. But this is too simple-- we have pre-assassination confirmation of an ACTUAL plan through Harry Williams. Talbot dismisses Williams by claiming that he was wishfully thinking. Taken separately, the claims by Talbot might pass muster. But these are independent witnesses who can attest to the plan's existence from both pre- and post- assassination experience. It's the independent corroboration that amplifies each of the figures' credibility. For Talbot to be right, Rusk would have to have been fooled by LBJ administration officials about a C-DAY plot that Williams deliriously believed was an out-and-out plot from his good friend Bobby. But there's more corroboration... this supposed (if we believe Talbot) contingency plan somehow had an exact execution date-- December 1st, 1963. Even those who haven't read the book could have seen the raw documentation at Lamar's presentation at Lancer. No contingency plan should have an execution date... by their very nature, contingency plans are made in preparation for the UNEXPECTED!!!! I would ask Talbot if he is aware of this document, and if so, how he explains it? I would also like to know why he chose to ignore Lamar's explanation for why C-Day was presented as a contingency plan? I would also like to know if he has actually seen any of the AMWORLD documents from NARA? I have. Larry Hancock has. They are very hard to understand in the context of a contingency plan, especially since AMWORLD persisted BEYOND Kennedy's own administration. AMWORLD is the CIA's codename for C-DAY.

As for point #2, this is a much easier criticism to dispel. Talbot is wrong to assume that the organized crime figures who had infiltrated C-DAY would have been content with a post-coup, *KENNEDY* backed Cuban regime. RFK was undoubtedly the second most powerful man in the country; one of the few who JFK implicityly trusted. He was also the Attorney General who had led by far the most active anti-mafia campaign in the history of America. Could a mobster safely assume that JFK's most trusted advisor would have stood idly by while mafia figures inserted themselves into post-coup Cuban casino industry? I think not. It would have been safe to assume that Bobby would have done anything in his power to keep the mafia out of Cuba. Indeed, it stands to reason that C-DAY would have accelerated and excacerbated any anti-Kennedy mafia prerogatives. Whatever revenge motives they already entertained, a Trafficante or a Marcello would have known that the best chance for their financial success would have been a successful C-DAY sans the Kennedy's. So kill JFK. Blame Castro. Catalyze C-DAY. Literally kill two birds with one stone. You would now have a free Cuba with no obstacles (ie Bobby) to your freedom of movement. It's a pretty simple concept to undertsand, from my vantage point.

Do I believe that Lamar may have the wrong driving force behind the actual JFK plot? I think it's possible that the catalyst for the plot could have been CIA or mafia, although I believe that either way, the latter was definitely a factor in the crime. But as far as nailing down the the context for the plot, its motivations, its dynamics, etc., I believe Lamar has come closer than any previous author. I'm convinced, having read 100s of books and articles, that any future attempt to explain the assassination must be in the parameters the C-DAY invasion plan and its implications.

I hope Talbot would be willing to reconsider some of what he wrote.

-Stu

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just going to jump in here with a couple of thoughts in regards to David's revue, specifically as they relate to his assessment of Lamar's description of a coup project.

1) We know that JFK was willing to take an extreme political risk in his exploratory contacts with Castro. In fact RFK was concerned enough about it to comment that if Congress knew about it there could be extremely serious consequences. And we know that this approach was not done through standard channels i.e. State. In fact the further the contacts went the more personal they got, involving individuals trusted by JFK but with no government affiliation and in one case a foreign national. Definitely an end run around "channels".

If JFK was willing to engage in that sort of activity in pursuit of some type of settlement which would at best move Castro into a neutral position, why is it impossible to presume that he would have taken a high risk, ultra covert gamble on encouraging a coup which would have eliminated Castro? The coup plan Lamar describes involved only a very few personal contacts...all covert... with a senior Cuban leader. And none involving State nor Defense. Is that so very different? And if Congress found out they would have voted JFK a medal. However, as I read Lamar there would have been no US involvement at all until at some point where the coup leader sadly announced the death of both Fidel and Raoul and the formation of a new government. In a way it seems a lot lower risk scenario than the peace gambit.

2) If there was really nothing to the coup plan, other than Harry William's imagination, why among all the people in the world, would RFK contact him the afternoon following JFK's murder. What in the world would even bring Harry William's to RFK's mind at that time if there was not something serious between the Kennedy's and Harry? Doesn't that telephone call from RFK to Harry serve to confirm Harry as a serious source?

Another thing that seems to me important to explain if there was not any serious planning going on for support of a coup is the Presidential trip to Tampa and the President's STRIKE command meeting there. That seems rather unique, especially given what we know now about the concerns about threats in both

Miami and Tampa. Chicago was cancelled - but not Tampa? It may be even more interesting considering the message out of Texas from some military intelligence organization to STRIKE command on November 22.

-- Larry

Link to comment
Share on other sites

WOW, more trashy propaganda.

I think John buried that baby with this succinct post:

Anyone read the recently published Ultimate Sacrifice by Thom Hartmann and Lamar Waldron?

Apparently they argue that the Kennedys were secretly working with a high Cuban official (he refuses to name him for "national security" reasons) to topple Castro in a coup and then follow up with a U.S. military invasion of Cuba on Dec. 1, 1963. He further claims that the Mafia penetrated this plot and realizing that the government would do anything to keep it secret, took advantage of this veil of secrecy to kill JFK. In an interview with another researcher McNamara has denied such an invasion was in the works. The authors claim that McNamara was not in the loop. Dick Goodwin has commented “it's crazy to think the Kennedys, who were still riding pretty high after the Cuban missile crisis, would take such a huge political risk on the eve of the 1964 presidential season. JFK was too shrewd to flirt with another Bay of Pigs fiasco.”

Thank God for original documents.

Edited by Lynne Foster
Link to comment
Share on other sites

WOW, more trashy propaganda.

I think John buried that baby with this succinct post:

Anyone read the recently published Ultimate Sacrifice by Thom Hartmann and Lamar Waldron?

Apparently they argue that the Kennedys were secretly working with a high Cuban official (he refuses to name him for "national security" reasons) to topple Castro in a coup and then follow up with a U.S. military invasion of Cuba on Dec. 1, 1963. He further claims that the Mafia penetrated this plot and realizing that the government would do anything to keep it secret, took advantage of this veil of secrecy to kill JFK. In an interview with another researcher McNamara has denied such an invasion was in the works. The authors claim that McNamara was not in the loop. Dick Goodwin has commented “it's crazy to think the Kennedys, who were still riding pretty high after the Cuban missile crisis, would take such a huge political risk on the eve of the 1964 presidential season. JFK was too shrewd to flirt with another Bay of Pigs fiasco.”

Thank God for original documents.

----------------------------

And as Tim G. asked me earlier [over his "cheapo" cell phone]: "..Why are there Lansdale documents which show that Goodwin, while ignoring Bob Hurwich's useless (and "coward-ass") whinings NOT to travel down and meet me -- after RFK insisted that Lansdale was correct in suggesting said R/V...??!!" Goodwin also met with some very unsavory types during that same trip, and amongst them was Rolando Masferrer !!

"Pineapple Face" Goodwin isn't about to admit to anything he believes might be considered untoward by the Kennedy clan, or his old lady !!

He and Dan Rather are "rather identical" in this shared attitude, and I am further reminded of the week that Rather was ordered to come down to "No Name" amidst the Missile Crisis (to sniff out our Cuba assets, and then snitch us out to Hoover).

But he never got out of the Motel on Biscayne & NE 6th Street due to his trembling from head to toe, and quickly left to "cover" a Hurricane in Mississippi -- and Hughes Rudd came down in his stead. Now we are to believe that he got promoted by CBS over the Hurricane coverage ??!!

Ass-holery !! It was his threats to reveal that CBS had been doing "Queen" Hoover's bidding during all of those months of 1962 which got him "Tenure" at "Corrupt Bullxxxx Systems" !!

You definitely need to take some of our members' "strident" recommendations, that is: suspend your nonsensical TROLLING", go back to any library for a few months; and then return to the Forum with something more advanced than juvenile utterances !!

Chairs,

GPH

_____________________

Link to comment
Share on other sites

While I have not yet read Lamar's book, I have to admit I am skeptical of any so-called invasion. I've read enough about the Kennedys to have a feel for how they thought about things, and an invasion of Cuba was not at the top of their agenda in November, 1963. While it's possible they might have given someone, even Guevara, the U.S.' blessing to overthrow Castro, UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES would they have authorized the landing of U.S. troops in Cuba as part of the plan. This would have given the Russians the green light to move on Berlin.

Having not read the exact plans for AMWORLD myself, however, I remain open-minded.

If there's anyone here who thinks the case remains where it was after JFK and Case Closed, by the way, they need to read Larry Hancock's book and my own presentation, among other sources. While my presentation uses the medical evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt there was a conspiracy, Larry's book draws a circle around the likely culprits. Does anyone have Liz Smith's phone number?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"Buzzflash Reviews" "The Ultimate Sacrifice:

Certainly, when it comes to speculation about what information the U.S. government has kept from its citizens, the Warren Commission -- and the John F. Kennedy assassination -- is the granddaddy of examples of how we are kept in the dark.

BuzzFlash isn't a great follower of Kennedy assassination conspiracy theories, because there are so many. This is precisely because the goal of the Warren Commission -- like the goal of the 9/11 Commission -- was to make sure that nothing was revealed that might cause domestic or international shock waves.

BuzzFlash doesn't profess to know the true tale of who was behind the Kennedy assassination. But, many of the conspiracy theories are more believable than the Warren Commission report, which bent facts like pretzels in order to "conclude" that Oswald was an isolated, rogue assassin. In fact, it is extremely difficult to fathom -- given the available information and logic -- that Oswald acted entirely on his own volition.

The problem presented when you have a tradition of an elitist government that keeps the truth from the public is that it is very difficult to ferret out what really happened -- because much of the information that you need to come to a plausible conclusion has been destroyed, classified or purposefully shunted aside.

That is why "Ultimate Sacrifice: John and Robert Kennedy, the Plan for a Coup in Cuba, and the Murder of JFK" breaks new ground in the effort to understand why JFK was assassinated. Co-authored by Thom Hartmann, one of BuzzFlash's favorite colleagues, and Lamar Waldron, a veteran researcher -- this 912-page book was 17 years in the making. Hartmann and Waldron took advantage of belatedly declassified CIA and other government documents to carefully document their theory, along with extensive interviews with individuals close to the Kennedys and the CIA.

You don't have to agree with the conclusion of "Ultimate Sacrifice" to value it as a skilled, thoroughly researched contribution to the library of Kennedy conspiracy theories. It is an extremely important book because it relies on detail and the accumulation of facts, rather than mere speculation.

For some, the notion that the mafia alone was behind the assassination of JFK will be hard to fathom. Yet, Hartmann and Waldron lay out a trail of support for their hypothesis that is entirely persuasive. They reveal for the first time that Robert Kennedy was spearheading plans for a December 1963 coup in Cuba, code named "AMWORLD" -- and that JFK was the target of two prior planned assassination attempts. Three mafia chieftains, headed by Carlos Marcello, were furious with the Kennedys for RFK's relentless pursuit of the mob. The assassination of JFK was the ultimate hit. Jack Ruby, a mob foot soldier, made sure that Oswald didn't implicate anyone else by finishing him off with a gun.

You'll have to read the book to understand how the authors contend that the truth about the assassination was covered up due to the world crisis that the revelation of the "AMWORLD" Cuban coup might cause. But, given the groundbreaking research of Hartmann and Waldron, "Ultimate Sacrifice" is much more than a garden variety Kennedy conspiracy theory.

No one will ever be able to definitively prove who had JFK killed, but after reading "Ultimate Sacrifice," if you had to place a bet, you would probably put your money down on the Hartmann-Waldron theory getting pretty darn close to the truth. Not that we are betting people.

Personally, we've always thought the argument of whether or not there were one or two gunmen has been a bit of a distraction. We just accept as a given that Oswald was a patsy. The real question is who planned the assassination of JFK, however it was carried out. "Ultimate Sacrifice" offers an entirely credible theory in answer to that question.

Perhaps it is best to close our BuzzFlash comments with an excerpt from a Publishers Weekly review: "How well do the authors make their case? With a relentless accumulation of detail, a very thorough knowledge of every political and forensic detail and the broad perspective of historians rather than assassination theorists...no future historian of that tormented period in American history will be able to ignore their very convincing presentation."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

While I have not yet read Lamar's book, I have to admit I am skeptical of any so-called invasion. I've read enough about the Kennedys to have a feel for how they thought about things, and an invasion of Cuba was not at the top of their agenda in November, 1963. While it's possible they might have given someone, even Guevara, the U.S.' blessing to overthrow Castro, UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES would they have authorized the landing of U.S. troops in Cuba as part of the plan. This would have given the Russians the green light to move on Berlin.

Having not read the exact plans for AMWORLD myself, however, I remain open-minded.

If there's anyone here who thinks the case remains where it was after JFK and Case Closed, by the way, they need to read Larry Hancock's book and my own presentation, among other sources. While my presentation uses the medical evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt there was a conspiracy, Larry's book draws a circle around the likely culprits. Does anyone have Liz Smith's phone number?

Pat,

The plan involves stunning the Soviets from action (by framing someone with obvious Soviet ties... someone like Oswald ... for the murder of Castro) and the *Cubans* insisting on U.S. intervention. If someone like Che Guevera openly ASKED for U.S. intervention following a coup, that would have been an entirely different situation than if the U.S. invaded on its own accord.

-Stu

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Having not yet read the book, I'm curious as to what if anything it says about the handling of the patsy. If three Mafia dons cleverly pulled off this assassination, it amazes me that they could screw up on something so fundamental as eliminating the patsy or successfully getting him away (for eventual elimination).

The conspirators know where Oswald is at the time of the shooting. He leaves and goes home. They know where he lives. He leaves home and goes to a theater. During all this time he is inconvenienced only by a cop who stops him for unknown reasons and gets shot. Was Tippit working for the Mafia? What a hire.

The conspirators had a hour and a half from the time of the shooting till Oswald's arrest to do something with or to him.

It's hard to believe that the Mafia couldn't remove or if necessary take out a patsy or anyone else in that length of time when they generally know where to find him, even if an initial effort to deal with him using a corrupt cop fails.

I know that this issue may seem irrelevant with respect to the thesis of the book. But Oswald's post-assassination odyssey seems to defy logical explanation, no matter whose names are inserted as conspirators.

Perhaps David Lifton's book on Oswald will solve this mystery if any of us live long enough to get a copy.

Edited by Ron Ecker
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Gerry here’s a challenge to researchers:

Take the files and separate them into JFK and Cuba Rev and ops afterwards. Sort the history and start there. Each batch requiring separate analyses to form some whole. Two separate piles with the invisible line between that (call it Garrison’s aptly put ‘gossamer thread’) and take each event uniquely. Is this impossible to do? Why in your opin?

For families who have searched high and low for info regarding disappearances and Cuba intrigues of their members this has been the task. Somehow the archivists have made the Cuba story the JFK story. Simple as that they pile up files that should be considered separate historical events.

The killing of a president takes center stage while authors concede that to understand the death you must look to the Secret War with Cuba. You and I and others know this is a separate history. People conjure the assassins the motive. Not everyone was in DP but a bunch of history re: Cuba and points south has become the JFK story to our detriment. IOWs bury it deep in JFK and no one will look further.

Why have operations before, concurrent with BOP and events after been thrown into the Oswald/Kennedy boxes? Why do we find that we are always referred to these files? In my case, my father disappeared three years before (10/1960, prior to election) but JFK records is where I’ll find the pieces of the disappearance puzzle. In another case the files on Oswald were given as part of a lawsuit to a party to explain away another disappearance with no conclusion. The parties walked away shaking their heads. I’m sure they didn’t take the bait because they knew the story was more complicated.

In Cuba my father’s file is tossed into the Oswald file as well. Escalante parrots the investigation stateside giving a story researchers want to hear without those researchers’ having the tools to ck to see if it’s correct.

My research on Paul Hughes not conclusive but there are leads and for that I‘m appreciative for the JFK Act and AARRB work. Now a book comes along to explain this phenomenon with a body of evidence that says Kennedy bros. Planned an attack that backfired (I will read book to be fair) . Have yet more researchers taken some bait?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Now a book comes along to explain this phenomenon with a body of evidence that says Kennedy bros. Planned an attack that backfired (I will read book to be fair) . Have yet more researchers taken some bait?

Chris, it is intriguing to me that Waldron's scenario has seemed to light so many fires. I'm wondering if the attraction isn't that it clears LBJ and the CIA of any malevolence. The one piece that is an ABSOLUTE CROCK, as far as I'm concerned, is that Bobby Kennedy went along with the cover-up of his brother's death in order to protect the proposed coup. Anyone who's been around grieving people should understand that Bobby and Jackie were in deep shock, the kind of shock that takes months if not years to get over (if ever). If I'm reading Waldron right in that he proposes RFK went along with the Warren Commission cover-up in the name of national security, I must admit I'm skeptical.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You don't have to agree with the conclusion of "Ultimate Sacrifice" to value it as a skilled, thoroughly researched contribution to the library of Kennedy conspiracy theories. It is an extremely important book because it relies on detail and the accumulation of facts, rather than mere speculation. For some, the notion that the mafia alone was behind the assassination of JFK will be hard to fathom.... Jack Ruby, a mob foot soldier, made sure that Oswald didn't implicate anyone else by finishing him off with a gun.

Ultimate Sacrifice is a worthy addition of the body of literature, regardless of the merits of the conclusions. For some readers that will be a difficult distinction. The labels are being thrown around too casually here. The book includes David Morales and David Phillips in the plot, people more known for their CIA affiliations than with the Mafia. Since the disclosures of the Church Committee, the distinction between the Mafia and the CIA has been blurred, and should be understood to be blurred in fact.

Having not yet read the book, I'm curious as to what if anything it says about the handling of the patsy. If three Mafia dons cleverly pulled off this assassination, it amazes me that they could screw up on something so fundamental as eliminating the patsy or successfully getting him away (for eventual elimination).... It's hard to believe that the Mafia couldn't remove or if necessary take out a patsy or anyone else in that length of time when they generally know where to find him, even if an initial effort to deal with him using a corrupt cop fails.

The way the book deals with Oswald is that he was the intended patsy (or future hero) for the planned assassination of Castro. Although the authors don't make this point, as it relates to Ron's observation about the time lag for silencing him, if Oswald was the C-Day plot's patsy, the actual assassins would have had no need to eliminate him. If all he knew was about the C-Day planning, the real threat was to that operation, and not to the piggyback artists who killed Kennedy. In that sense, the Mafia could have had the same sense of being set up as a patsy, organizationally, as Oswald. This would explain why Oswald wasn't killed immediately.

P. 90: "If the Cuban people were told by the coup leader that Fidel had been murdered by a Russian or a Russian sympathizer - for example, someone who had spent a couple of years in Russia and had recently met with a KGB agent at the Russian Embassy in Mexico City - the Soviet troops would have to 'remain in their compounds' to keep from being attacked by the Cuban people."

PP. 656-658: "Oswald was anxious because all his years of undercover work were about to pay off.... He must have been told he would be going to Cuba soon, via Mexico City, but that his assignment would be over relatively quickly. That's consistent with Oswald being an asset for C-Day, which was planned to happen in a month or less. Oswald would not have been told much about C-Day, only that he was going into Cuba in support of some very important, US-backed action against Castro.... If the person blamed for Castro's death were seen as a Russian sympathizer, it would be believable in the eyes of the world, given the recent strains between Castro and Russia. Blaming Castro's death on a Russian sympathizer was the only way to instantly neutralize the thousands of Russians - and all their equipment - that remained in Cuba."

Regarding the idea that some incident other than an assassination was piggybacked in Dallas, on pp. 701-702: "There is one unconfirmed report from a mob associate that some type of demonstration or incident relating to Cuba was planned for Dealey Plaza that day. Oswald may have been told that some sign would be unfurled from a window, or otherwise displayed, that would embarrass JFK with a pro-Castro message, and that this would create news stories like he'd had in New Orleans - supposedly causing the Cubans to welcome him this time when he tried to get into Cuba."

I don't understand the mention of "one unconfirmed report from a mob associate" when there is more corroboration, and from areas not traditionally considered related to the Mafia. We know that H. L. Hunt's security chief wrote him in a memo dated November 4, 1963: "There is another report from a left-wing group that an incident will occur with the knowledge of the President whereby the left-wingers will start the incident in hopes of dragging in any of the right side groups or individuals nearby and then withdrawing."

T.C.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...