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Ultimate Sacrifice - Upcoming Waldron appearances

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Lamar Waldron be giving a his first talk and signing since the Lancer conference in New York City on April 4, 2006. At 7pm at McNally Robinson bookstore, 50 Prince St. (between Lafayette and Mulberry)., Waldron will be talking about how the operations revealed in "Ultimate Sacrifice" set the stage for many of today's government secrecy problems. He'll explain why one million JFK files are still withheld from Congress and the America people, and why others were destroyed in 1995.

Waldron will also show how new information in "Ultimate Sacrifice" finally clears framed ex-Secret Service agent Abraham Bolden, as well as what people can do to get justice for Bolden and get all the remaining JFK files released. Waldron's discussion will be hosted by noted author Mark Crispin Miller, as part of his "First Tuesday" series at McNally Robinson. Following the discussion, Waldron will answer questions and sign copies of "Ultimate Sacrifice." For bookstore directions or info call (212) 274-1160 or go to:


Also on April 4, from 10pm to 11pm (Eastern), Waldron will be a guest on New York's "Joey Reynolds" radio program, heard on WOR and other cities in the US. He'll be talking about "Ultimate Sacrifice" and taking questions from callers. Later in the show, they will be joined by long-time JFK researcher Jones Harris.

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OverviewFor more than four decades since his death in 1963, John F. Kennedy has captured the imagination of the American people. Myth and conjecture have swirled around JFK, his political legacy, his family, and its multiple tragedies. Admirers and critics have examined every detail of his life and work, gradually lifting one veil after another to shed new light on his presidency, from his maneuvering behind the scenes during the Cuban Missile Crisis to his personal weaknesses. Nonetheless, the secret with the most profound and catastrophic effect on America has remained hidden. Ultimate Sacrifice reveals this secret for the first time, transforming the history of the Kennedy years and providing the missing piece to one of the great puzzles of post-war America: the true circumstances behind JFK’s assassination on November 22, 1963.

Seventeen years ago, Thom Hartmann and I began writing a book about the battles of President Kennedy and his brother, Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, against the Mafia and Fidel Castro. Drawing on new information and exclusive interviews with those who worked with the Kennedys, in addition to thousands of recently declassified files, we discovered that John and Robert Kennedy had devised and were executing a secret plan to overthrow Fidel Castro on December 1, 1963. “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.

The “Plan for a Coup in Cuba" was fully authorized by JFK and personally run by Robert Kennedy. Only about a dozen people in the US government knew the full scope of the plan, all of whom worked for either the military, the CIA, or reported directly to Robert. The Kennedys’ plan was prepared primarily by the US military, with the CIA playing a major supporting role. Input was also obtained from key officials in a few other agencies, but most of those who worked on the plan knew only about carefully compartmentalized aspects, believing it to be a theoretical exercise in case a Cuban official volunteered to depose Fidel.

Unique and different from any previously disclosed operation, the Kennedys’ “Plan for a Coup in Cuba" is revealed in this book for the first time. The CIA’s code name for their part of the coup plan has never surfaced in any book, article, or government investigation. Officially declassified in 1999, “AMWORLD" is the cryptonym the CIA used for the plan in its classified internal documents. Since the overall coup plan was under the personal control of Attorney General Kennedy, who did not use a code-name for it, we call it “C-Day" in this book, a name entirely of our own invention. Its evocation of D-Day is intentional, since the Kennedys’ plan included the possibility of a US military invasion.

C-Day was undoubtedly one of the most secret covert operations in United States history. In its secrecy, however, lay tragedy. Even though the Kennedys’ coup plan never came to fruition, three powerful Mafia dons—Carlos Marcello, Santo Trafficante, and Johnny Rosselli—learned of the plan and realized that the government would go to any lengths to avoid revealing it to the public. With that knowledge, the three mob bosses were able to assassinate JFK in a way that forced the truth to be buried for over forty years.

Marcello, Trafficante, and Rosselli undertook this extraordinary act of vengeance in order to halt the Kennedy administration’s unrelenting prosecution of them and their allies. The Kennedy Justice Department had vigorously pursued Marcello, even subjecting him to a brief, nightmarish deportation. Once he returned, Marcello hated the Kennedy brothers with a deep and vengeful passion. The two other Mafia bosses suffered similar pursuit, and eventually Marcello, Trafficante, and Rosselli decided that their only way to avoid prison or deportation was to kill JFK. Our investigation has produced clear evidence that the crime bosses arranged the assassination so that any thorough investigation would expose the Kennedys’ C-Day coup plan. They were confident that any such exposure could push America to the brink of war with Cuba and the Soviet Union, meaning that they could assassinate JFK with relative impunity.

They did not carry out the act themselves, but used trusted associates and unwitting proxies. The most widely known are Jack Ruby and Lee Harvey Oswald, who were both in contact with associates of Marcello, Trafficante, and Rosselli in the months before the assassination. Reports in government files show that Oswald and Ruby knew about parts of the Kennedys’ plan and even discussed it with others.

Robert Kennedy told several close associates that Carlos Marcello was behind JFK’s death, but he couldn’t reveal what he knew to the public or to the Warren Commission without C-Day being uncovered. As this book shows, RFK and other key government officials worried that exposure of the plan could trigger another nuclear confrontation with the Soviets, just a year after the Cuban Missile Crisis.

None of the seven governmental committees that investigated aspects of the assassination, including the Warren Commission, were officially told about the Kennedys’ C-Day plan. However, over the decades, each successive committee came increasingly close to discovering both the plan and the associates of Marcello who assassinated JFK. We were able to piece together the underlying story by building on the work of those committees, former government investigators, and revelations in four million documents that were declassified in the 1990s. Key to our efforts were new and often exclusive interviews with many Kennedy insiders who worked on the coup plan or dealt with its consequences, some of whom revealed aspects of JFK’s assassination and the coup plan for the first time. They include Secretary of State Dean Rusk, Press Secretary Pierre Salinger, and the Kennedys’ top Cubanexile aide, Enrique “Harry" Ruiz-Williams. Their inside information allows us to tell the story, even though a 1998 report about the JFK Assassinations Records Review Board confirms that “well over a million CIA records" related to JFK’s murder have not yet been released. NBC News’ Tom Brokaw confirmed on his September 29, 1998 broadcast that “millions" of pages remain secret and won’t be released until the year 2017.

By necessity, Ultimate Sacrifice examines this complex story from several angles. Part One documents every aspect of the Kennedys’ C-Day plan and how it developed, beginning with the Cuban Missile Crisis. Though it is widely believed that JFK agreed not to invade Cuba in order to end the Cuban Missile Crisis in the fall of 1962, Secretary of State Rusk told us that the “no-invasion" pledge was conditional upon Castro’s agreement to on-site UN inspections for nuclear weapons of mass destruction (a term that JFK first used). Historians at the National Security Archive confirmed that because Castro refused such inspections, the pledge against invasion never went into effect. Consequently, in the spring of 1963, John and Robert Kennedy started laying the groundwork for a coup against Fidel Castro that would eventually be set for December 1, 1963.

Robert Kennedy put the invasion under the control of the Defense Department because of the CIA’s handling of 1961’s Bay of Pigs disaster. The “Plan for a Coup in Cuba," as written by JFK’s Secretary of the Army Cyrus Vance with the help of the State Department and the CIA, called for the coup leader to “neutralize" Cuban leader “Fidel Castro and . . . [his brother] Raul" in a “palace coup." Then, the coup leader would “declare martial law" and “proclaim a Provisional Government" that would include previously “selected Cuban exile leaders" who would enter from their bases in Latin America. Then, at the invitation of the new government, after “publicly announcing US intent to support the Provisional Government, the US would initiate overt logistical and air support to the insurgents" including destroying “those air defenses which might endanger the air movement of US troops into the area." After the “initial air attacks" would come “the rapid, incremental introduction of balanced forces, to include full-scale invasion" if necessary. The first US military forces into Cuba would be a multiracial group of “US military-trained free Cubans," all veterans of the Bay of Pigs. Upon presidential authorization, the US would “recognize [the] Provisional Government . . . warn [the] Soviets not to intervene" and “assist the Provisional Government in preparing for . . . free elections."

This “palace coup" would be led by one of Castro’s inner circle, himself a well-known revolutionary hero. This man, the coup leader, would cause Castro’s death, but without taking the credit or blame for doing so. The coup leader would be part of the new Provisional Government in Cuba, along with a select group of Cuban exiles—approved by the Kennedys—who ranged from conservative to progressive. The identity of the coup leader is known to the authors, and has been confirmed by Kennedy associates and declassified documents. However, US national security laws may prevent the direct disclosure of past US intelligence assets even long after their deaths, so we will not directly name the coup leader in this book. Since we have no desire to violate national security laws or endanger US intelligence assets, we will only disclose official information that has been declassified or is available in the historical record.

We have uncovered historical accounts of Cuban leaders that have been long overlooked by the public or are in newly released government files. For example, a formerly secret cable sent to the CIA director on December 10, 1963—just nine days after the original date for the C-Day coup—reports “Che Guevara was alleged to be under house arrest for plotting to overthrow Castro," according to “a Western diplomat." Newly declassified documents and other research cast Che’s growing disenchantment with Fidel Castro in a new light. These revelations include Che’s secret meetings with three people close to the Kennedys, followed by yet another house arrest after a CDay exile leader was captured in Cuba.

The Kennedys did not see C-Day as an assassination operation, but rather as an effort to help Cubans overthrow a Cuban dictator. A June 1963 CIA memo from one of Robert Kennedy’s Cuban subcommittees of the National Security Council explains the Kennedy policy as “Cubans inside Cuba and outside Cuba, working" together to free their own country. Nor was C-Day an attempt to install another US-backed dictator in Cuba, like the corrupt Batista regime that had been overthrown by Castro and many others on January 1, 1959. The Kennedys’ goal in 1963 was simply a free and democratic Cuba.

As several Kennedy associates told us, the only man who knew everything about C-Day was Robert Kennedy, the plan’s guiding force. Secretary of the Army Cyrus Vance was one of the few military leaders who knew the full scope of C-Day while the plan was active. The others were generals the Kennedys especially trusted, including Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Maxwell Taylor and General Joseph Carroll, head of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA). High CIA officials involved in C-Day included CIA Director John McCone, Deputy Director for Plans Richard Helms, Desmond FitzGerald, and key field operatives like David Morales and David Atlee Phillips. Most high US officials didn’t know about C-Day prior to JFK’s assassination. There is no evidence that Lyndon Johnson was told anything about C-Day prior to JFK’s death. Likewise, no evidence exists showing that Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara knew about C-Day before JFK’s assassination. Dean Rusk told us he did not learn about the actual C-Day plan until soon after JFK’s death. There is no evidence that Edward Kennedy was told about the plan. Documents and sources indicate that FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover had no active role in C-Day, although he may have learned a great deal about it from field reports. The Secret Service was even less informed about C-Day, which no doubt hindered their actions when serious threats seemingly related to Cuba surfaced against JFK in the weeks before C-Day.

However, officials ranging from Dean Rusk to hawkish Air Force Chief of Staff General Curtis LeMay were needed for the planning of C-Day, so the Kennedys used a shrewd technique that let those officials participate in planning for C-Day while keeping them in the dark about the plan itself. Rusk, LeMay, and others were simply told that all the planning was needed “just in case" a coup happened in Cuba. Officials like Rusk and LeMay were generally aware of other CIA efforts against Castro in the fall of 1963, such as the CIA’s AMTRUNK operation, which looked for disaffected Cuban military officers. Some US officials also knew about a CIA asset named Rolando Cubela, a disgruntled mid-level Cuban official who the CIA code-named AMLASH. However, unlike AMWORLD—the CIA’s portion of C-Day—neither of those operations reached high in the Cuban government or was close to producing results in the fall of 1963. The Kennedys’ “just in case" technique allowed extensive planning to be done for all facets of the military invasion and the post-coup Provisional Government without revealing C-Day or the coup leader’s identity to most of those doing the planning. If the C-Day coup had actually occurred, Rusk and the other officials not privy to the full plan would nonetheless have been fully prepared for its aftermath, with plans they had already approved and helped create.

While such tightly compartmentalized secrecy kept C-Day from becoming widely known within the government and protected C-Day from public exposure, it also contributed to JFK’s death. In 1963, the public would have been shocked to learn that two months before JFK was shot in Dallas, US officials under the direction of Robert Kennedy began making contingency plans to deal with the “assassination of American officials." In the event of an assassination (expected to happen only outside the US), these contingency plans would have mandated certain security measures, and, as this book documents, such principles would be applied to and responsible for much of the secrecy surrounding the JFK assassination.

Robert Kennedy and the others making the contingency plans were concerned only about possible retaliation by Castro for C-Day. They failed to consider the threat from others the Attorney General had targeted, especially Mafia bosses Carlos Marcello, Santo Trafficante, and Johnny Rosselli. The Kennedys and key aides had gone to great lengths to keep the Mafia out of C-Day. The CIA’s earlier efforts with the Mafia to assassinate Castro—which began in 1959 under Vice President Richard Nixon—had complicated the Kennedys’ intense prosecution of the Mafia. Without telling the Kennedys, the CIA was continuing to work with the Mafia on plots against Castro in the fall of 1963, which helped to allow associates of Marcello, Trafficante, and Rosselli to infiltrate the plans for C-Day.

In Part II, we will show how—and why—mob bosses Carlos Marcello, Santo Trafficante, and Johnny Rosselli worked together to penetrate the Kennedys’ C-Day plan and assassinate JFK. In 1963, Carlos Marcello was America’s most ruthless and secretive Mafia boss, completely free of FBI wiretaps. From his New Orleans headquarters, he ruled a territory that included Louisiana, Mississippi, and parts of Texas and Alabama. Marcello’s Mafia family was the oldest in North America, able to stage major “hits" without needing the approval of the national Mafia organization, and his associates had a long history of targeting government officials who got in their way. The Kennedys had pursued Marcello since 1959, even before JFK was elected president. Recently declassified FBI documents confirm that just a few years before his own death, Carlos Marcello confessed on three occasions to informants that he had had JFK killed.

Tampa godfather Santo Trafficante was Marcello’s closest Mafia ally. Trafficante’s territory included much of Florida, as well as parts of Alabama, and his organization provided a major conduit for the French Connection heroin trade, whose primary routes included New York City, Texas, New Orleans, Georgia’s Fort Benning, Montreal, Chicago, and Mexico City. The Internet magazine Salon noted that Trafficante “had been driven out of the lucrative Havana casino business by Castro and" that he “had been recruited in the CIA" plots with the Mafia to kill Castro months before JFK became president. Like Marcello, Trafficante later confessed his involvement in JFK’s assassination.

Johnny Rosselli, according to his biographers, also claimed to know what had really happened in Dallas, and he sometimes worked with both Trafficante and Marcello. Rosselli was the Chicago Mafia’s point man in Hollywood and Las Vegas, and his close friends included Frank Sinatra and Marilyn Monroe. Internal CIA reports admit that they recruited Rosselli and Trafficante for their own plots to assassinate Castro prior to JFK’s election in 1960. Unknown to the Kennedys, Rosselli was continuing in that role in the fall of 1963.

Jack Ruby met with Rosselli just weeks before JFK’s assassination, had met much earlier with Santo Trafficante, and had numerous ties to Carlos Marcello, according to government investigators. Ultimate Sacrifice reveals . . .

continued in the book

Sometimes you have to wonder about T. Casey Brennan...


"Call George and tell him the invasion is off," David Ferrie said, light-heartedly, after the assassination.
(2) I spent a GREAT DEAL of time with Lee in both New Orleans and Dallas. I know he was certain that the CIA was planning an invasion of Cuba, and he thought the things Dr. E & David Ferrie were doing to me and Linda and the other kids from Swamp School were an annoying sidelight to the serious invasion plans, and he DID discuss this with officer Tippit. He shot AT Major General Edwin Walker, and missed, deliberately, because the CIA had asked Walker to get his right-wing supporters to help legitimize Beachhead Cuba, you know, shake hands with the people being recruited, give a little rap about the importance of the mission, etc. Walker refused, and David Ferrie ordered Lee to shoot at him and miss.
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Thanks Larry - interesting stuff! I was not aware of the Waldron story until you posted that. More can be found at the link above.

- lee

Don't forget that Lamar Waldron is discussing his book on the Forum here:



There are a few outstanding questions but Lamar promises to answer them soon.

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I would just note that since I'm reading this book right now, I've noticed a lot of what David R. Wrone would call "forced connections" in this book. The phrases "would have" or "could have" and implications about people's actions and motives that are not known with certainty---just speculation on the authors' part---appear too often to close the JFK case.

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