The Whole is Less than the Sum of its Parts
by John Delane Williams
There is a saying from Gestalt philosophy/psychology: The whole is more than the sum of its parts. The book by Lamar Waldron, with
Thom Hartman proves, to my way of thinking, to be a counter-example to that Gestalt maxim. That is, their whole contribution is less than the sum of its parts. They conclude that one of the many plans to remove from power Fidel Castro, which they term "C-Day," and planned for December 1, 1963, was sidetracked by the Mafia, and, with the help of one person in the employ of the CIA (David Morales, stationed in Miami), changed the objective of "C-Day" to be the assassination of President Kennedy, to be accomplished in Chicago (November 2, 1963), Tampa (November 18, 1963) or Dallas (November 22, 1963). It is their conclusion that I find to be unwarranted, particularly as it excludes other participants in Kennedy's assassination. On the other hand, they have completed research related to the JFK assassination that does make a contribution.
They investigated each of the two less known potential sites with their separate patsies. They address the framing of Abraham Bolden, the first Black member of the Secret Service. They give a much more in-depth consideration to the involvement of Richard Cain, the chief investigator in the sheriff's office in Chicago. Cain was also a "made" member of the Mafia, and connected to the CIA. This part of their research is a definite contribution. On the other hand, their conclusions about the "C-Day" operation would seem to be misguided; some might even term it "misinformation."
The Aborted Chicago Assassination Attempt
Abraham Bolden, Richard Cain, and Thomas Arthur Valle were showcased in Waldron & Hartman's research. Bolden was a member of the Secret Service stationed in Chicago, and instrumental in bringing the information of the Kennedy assassination plans for Chicago, and leading to the cancellations of Kennedy's motorcade and of his appearance at the Army Air Force football game at Soldier Field. Bolden later traveled to testify before the Warren Commission, only to be framed by Mafia members on a counterfeiting charge that would send him to prison. Had Bolden testified, he would have described a proposed attempt on Kennedy's life by a group of four Cuban dissidents. This testimony would seemingly have left the lone assassin theory in shambles. Thomas Arthur Valle was to be the patsy in Chicago.
Thomas Arthur Valle, like Lee Harvey Oswald, had served in the Marines; in Valle's case from 1949 to 1952, and from 1955 to 1957, when he was honorably discharged with a diagnosis of schizophrenic reaction, paranoid type, with manifestations of homosexuality and femininity. Valle had some involvement with the John Birch Society. He had trained Cuban exiles to assassinate Castro for the CIA. Apparently, Cain was privy to the information on Valle, and was poised to release it as soon as JFK was assassinated in Chicago (in much the same manner as information was released regarding Oswald in Dallas twenty days later). The actual potential assassins were four Cubans, whom Bolden reported on to other Secret Service personnel.
The Aborted Tampa Assassination Attempt
Less is known about the Tampa attempt. A brief article occurred in the Tampa Tribune on November 23, 1963. It appeared in only one edition of the paper. Two persons were of interest (perhaps as potential patsies): Gilberto Lopez and Miguel Casas Saez. Lopez had a brother who was then studying in Russia; Saez had learned Russian in Cuba from Russian instructors. The CIA received two reports on Saez between the Chicago aborted attempt and the planned Tampa attempt. Lopez was actually a member of the Tampa chapter of the Fair Play for Cuba Committee (FPCC), and attended meetings. There was a reported meeting between Oswald, Lopez, and a key member of the Tampa FPCC which purportedly took place the weekend before the proposed Tampa attempt, in Tampa. Apparently the rationale for such a meeting was to link Oswald and Lopez. Oswald might have been impersonated by someone else at this meeting. Both Lopez and Saez crossed into Mexico shortly after the assassination, returning to Cuba. Supposedly Oswald was expected to have left for Cuba at the same time. Lopez's wife remained in the US and had not heard from him since November, 1963; they were never divorced.
The "C-Day" Plan
The "C-Day" Plan, so-called by Waldron and Hartman (they appear not to have discovered a name specific to this plan) was but one of more than a score of plans to remove Fidel Castro from power, either by coup or by assassination. Waldron and Hartman claim that Both John and Robert Kennedy were in agreement to support a "C-Day" plan to remove Castro from office. The problem was, the plan of the Kennedys seems to have varied from the plan of the other participants. Somewhere there was a disconnect between the expectations of the Kennedys, the Cubans, the CIA, and the CIA operatives (which includes some Mafia members, as did other anti-Castro plots). A close reading of JFK's intentions would show that, were any US government involvement to take place, Castro would first have to be removed from power. (Shades of the Bay of Pigs.) In JFK's speech addressing the Cuban situation (November 18, 1963), which, according to Waldron and Hartman, had a special message to the "C-Day" coup leader (who is never identified by the authors, but presumably was Che Guevarra) that was to show the solidarity of JFK to the "C-Day" plan (scheduled for December 1, 1963):
It seems that the phrase, "Once this barrier is removed, we will be ready and anxious to work with the Cuban people..." indicated that the help would come after Castro was removed. It does make sense for Kennedy not to repeat the foibles of the Bay of Pigs less than three years previously. Of course, this clarification may not have been the wished for response. Undoubtedly, Kennedy would have been aware that Castro was less likely to be vulnerable in 1963 than he was in 1961. The stakes would have been higher in 1963, with a Russian presence still in Cuba. Were the Russians to provide tactical help, the US might respond, but the response could also remain hypothetical to keep the Russians from providing tactical aid. One would guess that both the US and Russia would expect Castro to withstand an invasion that did not include US military aid. Thus, it is difficult to see how "C-Day" would succeed, though it is possible that it might. For example, Castro might be removed from power, allowing the US to intercede. It would seem that JFK's understanding, which surely would be understood by his brother Robert, may have been different from the other "C-Day" participants.
Waldron and Hartman would have us believe that the Mafia had already compromised this plan, and had already had two assassination attempts foiled. There are still other problems with their conclusion that the Mafia, together with the CIA's David Morales, were the only persons responsible for the JFK assassination.
LBJ Wasn't Involved in the JFK Assassination?
"Like Nixon, LBJ was not part of the JFK assassination plot." Showing someone was not part of a plot is very difficult. Given the evidence that does exist, avoiding that evidence does not prove anything other than either they were unaware of it, or they chose to disregard it in building their case against ths Mafia. Without attempting an exhaustive list of evidence against Johnson, several writings are suggested; at the very least, Waldron and Hartman's conclusion is unwarranted. It seems likely that Johnson was aware of the plan to assassinate President Kennedy prior to the assassination; Madeleine Brown had indicated that, on the night of November 21, 1963, LBJ told her, "After tomorrow those goddamn Kennedys will never embarrass me again -- that's no threat -- that's a promise."  LBJ had many persons who did his bidding for him, including Mac Wallace, Billie Sol Estes and Cliff Carter. Wallace was considered to be a henchman for LBJ, killing perhaps 17 people on behalf of LBJ
There was one unidentified fingerprint at the time of the initial investigation of the sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository. Finally, in 1998, this fingerprint was identified as belonging to Mac Wallace. Estes named Cliff Carter, an LBJ aide, as the master planner for the assassination. McClellan wrote a book-length effort on showing LBJ was behind the assassination. These writings are but the tip of the iceberg addressing LBJ's involvement. While one might argue that the information available on LBJ does not necessarily prove beyond any doubt that LBJ was involved, it is incongruous that a researcher would absolve Johnson without addressing the mounting evidence against him. Also when addressing LBJ's involvement, no one seriously considers LBJ as a shooter himself; it would be hard to shoot a gun when he was on the floor of a limousine with a Secret Service agent (Rufus Youngblood) laying on top him. Rather, discussing LBJ's involvement implies a network of persons, many of them with something to gain by LBJ, rather than JFK, being president. This network would include persons close to Johnson, such as Mac Wallace, Cliff Carter, Ed Cark (implicated by McClellan ), Texas oil interests and perhaps persons from the military-industrial complex. Johnson's own personal involvement most likely was in regard to the coverup after the assassination.
The CIA Wasn't Involved in the HK Assassination?
Waldron and Hartman limit the CIA's involvement to David Morales:
Were Morales the only CIA person involved, he still would have the ability to manipulate far more people than Phillips. But long after Morales left the agency, they stonewalled on releasing documents related to the assassination, totaling more than a million pages, which Waldron and Hartman point out several times in their book; to be involved in the cover-up of a conspiracy is to be involved in the conspiracy. It would probably be correct that at least the then-director of the CIA, JFK appointed John McCone, would have not likely had knowledge of unauthorized CIA activities. Perhaps as the missing pages are brought to light, much more will be known.
The Secret Service?
To be fair, Waldron and Hartman do a decent job of reviewing aspects of the Secret Service, and do a commendable job in trying to exonerate Abraham Bolden, the agent who blew the whistle on the Chicago plot. They also review some of the work of Vincent Palamara. Yet they don't capture his concept of the security stripping test related to the Dallas trip. What baffles me is their reaction to the Secret Service destroying their records related to the Chicago and Tampa trips: