Introduction to the book
President Kennedy paid the ultimate
price for trying to execute one of the most secret covert operations
in United States history.
by Lamar Waldron
www.AlterNet.org, February 3,
[Editor's Note The following is
the Introduction to Ultimate Sacrifice: John and Robert Kennedy,
the Plan for a Coup in Cuba and the Murder of JFK, by Lamar Waldron
with Thom Hartmann (Carroll & Graf).]
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
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
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.