Ultimate Sacrifice

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Here are just a few of the hundreds of documents cited and quoted in Ultimate Sacrifice; many new files are shown and quoted for the first time in the trade paperback edition. Most are available from the National Archives in Washington, DC.

In some cases where only a portion of a document is shown, clicking on it will show the full document.

  1. John and Robert Kennedy's top secret plan to stage a coup against Castro on December 1, 1963 was revealed to the authors by several Kennedy associates in the early 1990s, years before most of the following documents about it were declassified. The leader of JFK's coup was to be Commander Juan Almeida, the head of the Cuban Army in 1963 and a famous hero of the Cuban Revolution.

    This is a 1992 photo of RFK’s top Cuban exile aide Enrique “Harry" Ruiz-Williams (Harry Williams) with author Lamar Waldron. The photo has been placed next to a photo of Harry Williams and Robert Kennedy, in an open copy of the The Bay of Pigs by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Haynes Johnson,. Below that photo is Harry’s signature. The photo was taken at the first of a half-dozen interviews the authors had with Harry about the Kennedys, the coup plan, and Commander Almeida. (Color photo by Thom Hartmann)

    Bobby Kennedy called the shots for the Coup Plan, working closely with Harry and five other exile leaders.

    While most files about Almeida's role in JFK's coup plan are still classified, some have been released in recent years, such as this CIA dispatch sent shortly after JFK’s death

    The US military had a leading role in the coup plan, and the CIA only a supporting role. The CIA’s side of the coup plan was code-named AMWORLD, and this CIA memo from June 28, 1963, announces the start of AMWORLD. KUBARK = CIA, PBRUMEN = Cuba, PBPRIME = United States, ODYOKE = Kennedy Administration, AMBIDDY/1 = Manuel Artime, one of Harry Williams’ main exile leaders.

    The Coup Plan and AMWORLD were withheld from the Warren Commission and later government investigating committees which looked into aspects of JFK’s assassination.

    This is the 13th draft of the “Plan for a Coup in Cuba", from September 30, 1963. It was submitted by Secretary of the Army Cyrus Vance to General Maxwell Taylor, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs. Input was obtained from the State Department and other agencies by telling them the planning was just in case someone was found to stage against Castro. Only Vance, RFK, Harry Williams, and a few others knew the US already had a high Cuban official, a famous hero of the Revolution, ready to stage a “palace coup" against Castro.

    The authors submitted written testimony about the existence of the Kennedys’ “Plan for a Coup in Cuba" to the JFK Assassination Records Review Board in November, 1994. The first document from 1963 titled “Plan for a Coup in Cuba" wasn’t declassified and released until three years later.

    This detail from a CIA AMWORLD document confirms Harry Williams’s leading role in the coup plan for Robert Kennedy.

    The date for the Kennedys’ coup in Cuba was eventually set for December 1, 1963, according to this CIA AMWORLD cable sent on November 22, 1963. This date for the coup matches what we were told by several associates of Robert Kennedy.

  2. Three Mafia bosses—Johnny Rosselli of the Chicago mob, Santo Trafficante of Tampa, and Carlos Marcello of Louisiana/Texas—penetrated the Kennedys’ coup plan. According to government documents and sources, 12 of their men learned about the coup plan and 6 of those actually worked on it!

    This detail from a CIA memo shows that Rosselli’s Chicago Mafia family bought their way into the JFK-Almeida coup plan, with a $200,000 bribe to exile leader Tony Varona, one of the men working with the Kennedys. Other CIA files in the new trade paperback of Ultimate Sacrifice show that weeks later, Varona secretly brought a Trafficante killer named Rolando Masferrer into the JFK-Almeida coup plan.

    Along with Tony Varona, former Bay of Pigs leader Manuel Artime was one of five Cuban exile leaders working with Harry Williams and Robert Kennedy on the JFK-Almeida coup plan. But this CIA memo--withheld from several Congressional investigations and the CIA's own Inspector General--shows that Artime worked with the Mafia, something the Kennedys were not told.

    This CIA memo--also withheld from Congressional investigators--makes it clear that Artime had long-rumored ties to the Mafia even while he was working on AMWORLD, the CIA's part of the JFK-Almeida coup plan.

    Another associate of Trafficante and Rosselli who learned about the coup plan was John Martino. In this FBI document, Martino taunts FBI agents with his knowledge of JFK’s plan to invade Cuba. Shortly before his death, Martino confessed his role in JFK’s assassination.

    This detail from an FBI memo to J. Edgar Hoover shows that Martino worked with Santo Trafficante and notorious killer Rolando Masferrer.

  3. This chart, prepared by the House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA), shows how Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy’s war on organized crime tremendously increased the pressure on the Mafia. RFK not only hired 10 times the number of Mafia prosecutors as the previous administration, but they spent 13 times as much time presenting Mafia cases to grand juries. Louisiana and Dallas godfather Carlos Marcello, Tampa godfather Santo Trafficante, and Johnny Rosselli of the Chicago Mafia were under so much pressure in 1963 that they had to murder JFK in order to end the pressure from RFK.

  4. Tampa Police Chief Mullins and other law enforcement sources told us that on November 18, 1963—four days before Dallas, and two weeks after a plot to kill JFK in Chicago—there was a plot to assassinate JFK, during his long motorcade through Tampa. They were especially worried about the Floridan Hotel, which overlooked a left turn on JFK's motorcade route. This exclusive photo shows the view JFK would have had of the building and it's many unguarded windows. Photo by Chris Barrows.

    The Tampa plot to assassinate JFK was kept completely out of the press at the time, due to National Security concerns surrounding the JFK-Almeida coup plan and the possibility that the threat involved Castro. (As a high Florida law enforcement official and a Secret Service agent confirmed, the threat actually involved Santo Trafficante and the Mafia.) This small article appeared only once in the Tampa Tribune, four days after the motorcade and the day after JFK died. The Tampa attempt was then withheld from the Warren Commission and all later Congressional investigations.

    As detailed in the book, much about JFK's assassination was covered-up by RFK and other officials to protect Commander Almeida, who remained unexposed and high the Cuban government for decades. After Almeida's work for JFK was finally uncovered by Fidel in the early 1990s, he disappeared for several years only to reemerge by 1995. However, since Almeida's reemergence, he is rarely allowed in public unless accompanied by Raul or another high official. But as this August 2006 CIA webpage shows, Almeida is still listed as #3 in the Cuban government.

    We waited until the National Archives confirmed that Almeida's role in JFK's coup plan was being made available to the public, before finally naming him in the trade paperback of Ultimate Sacrifice. Perhaps because of the uncertainty surrounding Fidel's recent medical condition, no action has been taken against Almeida, who is one of the most revered men in Cuba after Fidel and Raul. In fact, Almeida recently shared the stage with Raul Castro on December 2, 2006, when Raul unexpectedly extended an "olive branch" to the US at a huge celebration in Havana.


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