CTKAformerly published Probe Magazine.
Most of the articles on this site first appeared in Probe.
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for publication on this site, please send mail to us at here.
Jim DiEugenio's Upcoming appearances and radio Interviews:
April 13th, Barnes and Noble, Metro Pointe,
901 B South Coast Drive Ste 150, Costa Mesa,
May 4th, Barnes
and Noble, Orange Town & Country
791 South Main Street Suite 100,
NEW DATE! May 18th, Barnes
and Noble Bookstore in Manhattan Gateway Shopping Center 1800 Rosecrans
Avenue Building B, Manhattan Beach, CA 90266
310-725-7025, 12-4 PM
October 16-19th Passing the Torch
Conference, at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh
November 21-24, November
in Dallas, at the Adolphus Hotel in Dallas
The French Connection, by
Peter Kross Review
by Seamus Coogan
on Lunch with Arlen Specter on January 4, 2012
By Vincent Salandria
1: Review of Peter Janney’s "Mary’s Mosaic"
By Lisa Pease
2: Entering Peter Janney’s World of Fantasy
By James DiEugenio
Awful Grace of God, Religious Terrorism, White Supremacy
and the Unsolved Murder of Martin Luther King, Jr.
by Martin Hay
KENNEDY & ME: A Very Good Book With A Few Pages of Trouble
by Vince Palamara
Jim DiEugenio analyzes and summarizes Larry Hancock's
interesting and unique new book Nexus:
The CIA and Political Assassination
Jim DiEugenio reviews the work
of Chris Matthews on the life and death of President Kennedy,
including his latest biography, "Jack Kennedy: Elusive hero".
Reviews of John McAdams' book JFK
Assassination Logic by:
IN DALLAS: LBJ, the Pearl Street Mafia, and the Murder of President
Reviewed by William Davy
a DVD Robert Kennedy documentary produced,
written and directed by Massimo Mazzucco. Reviewed by Jim DiEugenio
Connally Bullet Powerful evidence that Connally was
hit by a bullet from a different assassin, by Robert Harris
those who were in and around Dealey Plaza that
day and those who made a career of the case afterwards.
Joseph Green on the late Manning
Marable's new full scale biography of Malcolm X.
and the Majestic Papers: The History of a Hoax by Seamus
- and -
and the Conspiracy to Kill Kennedy: A Coalescence of InterestsSeamus Coogan
on Joseph Farrell's new book
No Evil: Social Constructivism and the Forensic Evidence in the
by Donald Byron Thomas
Comprehensive Review by David Mantik of
Wikipedia? by JP Mroz and Jim DiEugenio (3 part series)
Sirhan and the RFK Assassination
Part I: The Grand Illusion Part
II: Rubik's Cube by Lisa Pease
is Anton Batey?
CTKA takes a close look at a most curious radio host who is a JFK
denier, Chomskyite, and yet happens to be in league with John McAdams
and David Von Pein. Yep, its all true.
Reviews of Douglas Horne's multi-volume study
of the declassified medical evidence in the JFK case. Reviewed
Jim DiEugenio, David Mantik and Gary Aguilar.
Exclusive excerpts from Mitchell Warriner's long
awaited new book on
the Jim Garrison investigation
Evaluating the Case against Lyndon Johnson
with Seamus Coogan and Phil Dragoo
In light of the ongoing stream of LBJ-did-it books, beginning
with the Glenn Sample/Mark Collom The Men on the Sixth Floor in
1996, and capped by Philp Nelson’s rather overstated LBJ:
Mastermind of JFK’s Assassination in 2011, the authors’
decided to analyze some of the common evidence used in these
tomes. From 1996 to 2011 there have been at least six books saying
more or less the same thing: LBJ was in charge of the Kennedy
plot. Besides the two named above, there are works by the bombastic
Barr McClellan, the prolific Joseph Farrell (Click
here to see that review), one by Mark North (click
here to see that review ), and a revision of his first book The
Texas Connection by Craig Zirbel called The Final Chapter.
Almost all of these books use one or more of the following pieces
of evidence of testimony in advancing their arguments. Johnson
has occupied a curious position at CTKA. Barring two reviews
of books, by Seamus Coogan and Joe Green, (Click
here for Joseph Green’s review of Philip Nelson’s book),
arguments mitigating this "Johnson did it alone theory" are
scattered around CTKA in a number of articles and on linked websites.
Perhaps the two most detailed looks are Coogan’s review of Alex
here for that) and a reply by Coogan to George Bailey on
Greg Parker’s site, which has now been removed. The authors have
tangled with this myth in various threads related to Nelson’s
book at the Lancer and DPF forums, with the assistance of people
like Charles Drago, Gerald Ven, Tony Franks and Albert Doyle,
to name just a few.
No matter how often you tell people that the accumulated evidence
clearly shows that Johnson had grave doubts about the assassination,
and was unconvinced (as was Hoover) with the evidence concerning
Oswald in the days after the assassination (Gerald McKnight, Breach
of Trust, p. 283), and no matter how often you send people
the link of LBJ asking Hoover, if any shots had been fired at
him, there is still an “LBJ as mastermind” syndrome afoot. We
are not saying that Johnson had no role in the assassination
or cover up. The evidence for the latter is clear. But for some
writers to say, as Barr McClellan and Phil Nelson do, that Johnson
was the prime force behind the conspiracy, this simply has not
been demonstrated to any convincing degree. Indeed a suspicious
amount of LBJ did it obfuscation abounds. Let us detail some
1: LBJ created the Warren Commission
This is perhaps the biggest fallacy (and it’s really
the most ignored ‘truth’) in all the pro conspiracy LBJ-did-it
phenomena. Thanks to the excellent work of Donald Gibson, in
his star turn in Probe Magazine (reprinted in The
we now know the true, documented story behind this potent but
ultimately fanciful tale.
The HSCA’s description of how the Warren Commission came into
existence is neither complete nor accurate. The myth--or at least
part of it--goes that Johnson, Fortas, Katzenbach and RFK decided
to create a presidential committee to silence rumors of conspiracy.
Katzenbach himself testified before the HSCA in 1978 and gave
an extremely mixed account of how the commission was set up,
not to mention who originated the idea. Indeed, it appears that
he and the Committee were reluctant to discuss that rocky road.
Donald Gibson found out that the idea for a commission was first
suggested by Eugene Rostow, Dean of the Yale Law School during
a telephone call to presidential aide Bill Moyers, on the 24th
of November 1963. Moyers then informed LBJ about his discussion
with Rostow on the morning of November 25th. That same day LBJ
talked with Hoover at 10.30 am about the idea put forward to
him about a commission, telling Hoover that it was a bad idea.
Indeed, he stated unequivocally that he preferred an FBI report
sanctioned by the attorney general that would support a Texas
court of inquiry. A mere ten minutes later LBJ got a call from
journalist Joe Alsop. Alsop, using all the charm and persuasion
he could muster, tried to change LBJ’s mind regarding a presidential
commission and he encouraged him to discuss the matter with former
Secretary of State, Dean Acheson. Gibson believes that the idea
originated from Rostow, Alsop, and Acheson, and it was supported
by the Washington Post and the New York Times and
Dean Rusk. LBJ called Senator Eastland on the 28th of November
and persuaded him to abandon the idea to create an independent
senate investigative committee. So LBJ was transformed in the
space of four days from an opponent to the creator of the commission.
One of the more sinister things that happened during this time
was that, in talking to the White House, Rostow gave every indication
that there were other people in the room with him awaiting the
outcome of that very conversation. Alsop told Johnson he had
just talked with Acheson. Who were Rostow’s “other people”? Well,
that’s anyone’s guess. But when we consider that Rostow, Acheson
and Alsop were all members of the Eastern Establishment it’s
hardly surprising that Seamus Coogan and Jim DiEugenio suspect
that one of the people listening in on Rostow’s phone call was
Further Reading: The Creation of the ‘Warren Commission by
Donald Gibson, pages 3-16, The Assassinations edited
by James DiEugenio and Lisa Pease, 2003.
2. E. Howard Hunt named LBJ as the Mastermind of the
In 2007, E. Howard Hunt, the infamous CIA officer and Watergate
conspirator gave a deathbed confession to his son Saint John
Hunt. He left behind a taped confession in which he claimed that
LBJ ordered the murder of JFK. He claimed that LBJ asked CIA
officer Cord Meyer to organize a plot to kill the man he considered
an obstacle between himself and the Presidency. Then Meyer enlisted
CIA officers, David Phillips, William Harvey, David Morales,
Frank Sturgis and a French gunman to carry out the assassination.
Hunt claimed that he did not take part in the plot, but was merely
a benchwarmer. Should we really believe Hunt and his allegations
that LBJ was the mastermind of the plot? Of course not.
Hunt was a professional liar during his career at the CIA and
he remained a liar to his death. Old habits die hard. Mark Lane
proved in his book Plausible Denial that Hunt had lied about
everything, like his denial that he was in Dallas the 22nd of
November. And there is also his dirty effort to blame the deceased
President Kennedy for the murder of Vietnamese President Ngo
Dinh Diem by forging documents.
It seems that his confession was a limited hangout to shift
the blame for the deed from the real conspirators to a past president.
So he gives us something to satisfy our curiosity, like some
renegade CIA agents and LBJ in order to stop us from searching
further, thus protecting the identity of the real conspirators
to whom Hunt was intensely loyal.
If Hunt was indeed part of the plot (and there are strong indications
that he was no bench warmer but ‘well in on it’), he would have
taken orders from people like Dulles, Dick Helms and James Angleton.
For example he was exceptionally close with Dulles, helping author
his memoirs once Kennedy had him kicked out of the agency after
the Bay of Pigs debacle. Yet Hunt did not mention any of this
and instead suggests for the organizing role, for the first time,
another CIA officer, Cord Meyer. The problem with this attribution
is simple: There is little or no corroborating evidence to show
that Cord Meyer was a part of the conspiracy. On the other hand,
there are plentiful indications that Hunt was involved.
It is important to note here how this whole ‘Hunt confession”
episode, which Jesse Ventura also used on his Kennedy conspiracy
program, got started. Canadian journalist David Giammarco and
actor Kevin Costner had an abiding interest in the JFK murder.
They tried to get Howard Hunt to star in a documentary about
the case. They wanted him to tell what he knew about it. It literally
took years to coax him into doing so, and Costner had to make
a special trip down to Florida and entice Hunt with a promise
of a producer credit for the show. As with most TV specials,
Hunt would be paid a certain amount upfront when the project
sold, and then he would get a certain percentage of the profits
As most people know, the thing eventually fell to pieces. And
then, Hunt’s son, Saint John Hunt, became his father’s sole adviser
on the project. From here on in, it was all downhill. The project
never got made. What was left then was a one-sided story in the
April 5, 2007 Rolling Stone, which is incomplete and not factually
solid. This then was the genesis of the so-called Hunt confession(s).
We use the plural because the one detailed in the Rolling
Stone piece and in Hunt’s last book differ slightly. But
the key points are, the CIA was ordered to do a job by Vice-President
Johnson; and Hunt is not a participant. Which, to anyone really
interested in the case, is a telling point. Because when it came
time in court to prove where Hunt was on November 22, 1963, the
CIA psy war operator who despised President Kennedy couldn’t
do it. Even with hundreds of thousands of dollars and his reputation
on the line.
In summary, except for Cord Meyer, the rest of the CIA officers
that Hunt named—David Phillips, Bill Harvey, Antonio Veciana,
Frank Sturgis, Dave Morales, Lucien Sarti—are in reality
nothing new. For they are have all been mentioned by other authors,
and often in other scenarios not related to the Kennedy assassination.
In fact Sarti, Hunt’s grassy knoll gunman, was first introduced
in the original The Men Who Killed Kennedy series as
part of the, now discredited, Christian David-Steve Rivele French
assassination team story. Further, Hunt actually says that Sturgis
invited him in on the plot, but he turned down the opportunity.
To anyone who knows Hunt’s imperious and condescending approach
to the Cubans he manipulated during the Bay of Pigs and Watergate,
the idea that Sturgis would approach his boss Hunt for a project
simply does not ring true. But by doing this, apart from spreading
disinformation, Hunt gave his son a little gift to provide him
with some extra income. His son cashed in on this in a big way:
he now sells everything his father ever said. Further, there
is no declassified evidence that Cord Meyer was close to the
Kennedy case either in the months leading up to it, or in the
months afterwards when the cover up ensued. And Hunt says that
Meyer was the action officer in charge of the operation.
On the other hand, there is evidence that people like Phillips,
Jim Angleton, Richard Helms, and Howard Hunt were so involved.
And there is plentiful evidence that Allen Dulles was a large
part of the cover up on the Warren Commission. But yet, except
for Phillips, none of these men were mentioned by Hunt. I wonder
Indeed an indication of how far Saint John Hunt has slumped
in credibility since his Rolling Stone stardom can be
seen in the generally negative opinions of his appearance on
Jesse Ventura’s show. Some months before his appearance, CTKA
had run one of the first exposés of Hunt’s very public and explicit
wheeling and dealing in a well known article on Alex Jones (Alex
Jones on the Kennedy Murder: A Painful Case by Seamus Coogan).
When Saint John Hunt stated along the lines that the more exposure
he had the more dangerous it had become for him, Hunt’s lack
of sincerity was all too obvious.
3. Madeleine Brown’s allegations
Out of respect to people who have passionately advocated for
Madeleine Brown, her claims that she was LBJ’s mistress are
likely true. But she gets a bit wobbly with her claims she
gave birth to his illegitimate son Stephen, and she falls off
the precipice with her murder plot party story. For instance,
before her son passed away, he filed a lawsuit against Lady
Bird Johnson for depriving him of his legal heirship. This
action was dismissed since Stephen failed to appear in court.
("Dallas Morning News", 10/3/90) As so often happens
with people like Brown, the temptation to embellish upon the
original tale is simply too great. In the cruel, imbalanced
world of tall stories, serial liars like Judith Campbell Exner
thrive, while those like Madeleine Brown are punished from
all quarters and quite mercilessly so.
In this regard Brown’s claims that Johnson was behind the assassination
led her into the clutches of Dave Perry. During the nineties,
and still today, Perry glories in picking up on the worst aspects
of conspiracy research, pulling it apart and cleverly insinuating
that the research community is advocating for people like Brown.
When, in fact, only a small group of largely Dallas-based JFK
researchers have ever endorsed her story. Brown left herself
open to Perry, the bottom rung opportunity feeder.
According to Brown’s story she was invited to a social party
at the mansion of Clint Murchison, the Texas oil tycoon. She
said that among the guests were J. Edgar Hoover, Clyde Tolson,
Richard Nixon, H. L. Hunt, Fred Korth, Cliff Carter, etc. In
her own words “Tension filled the room upon his arrival. The
group immediately went behind closed doors. A short time later
Lyndon, anxious and red-faced, re-appeared. I knew how secretly
Lyndon operated. Therefore I said nothing... not even that I
was happy to see him. Squeezing my hand so hard, it felt crushed
from the pressure, he spoke with a grating whisper, a quiet growl,
into my ear, not a love message, but one I'll always remember:
‘After tomorrow those goddamn Kennedys will never embarrass me
again - that's no threat - that's a promise.’” But did this meeting
happen? And were LBJ and Hoover present? As explained in the
Alex Jones article, probably not. There are a number of versions
of this myth and each one gets wilder than the next.
Johnson himself was seen by a few thousand people and filmed
that night in the company of President Kennedy at the Houston
Coliseum. Johnson didn’t arrive in Fort Worth until 11.05 pm
on the night of the 21st of November, and it is roundly reported
that he wound up his day in the same hotel at a very late hour
with his advisors. (William Manchester, Death of a President,
pgs 135, 138).
The same goes for Dick Nixon, who was on the town late that
night with Joan Crawford. (Nixon was a partner in a law firm
that represented the Pepsi-Cola Company. Crawford was the wife
of the CEO of Pepsi.) This was widely reported in the Dallas
press and was still being reported until fairly late that evening.
(The Dallas Morning News, Friday, November 22, 1963,
Section 1-19) Kai Bird’s biography describes John McCloy hearing
the news of the assassination while having breakfast with former
President Eisenhower. (The Chairman, p. 544) As for
Hoover, according to Anthony Summers, it is highly likely (to
the point of absolute certainty) that J. Edgar Hoover, like McCloy,
was nowhere near Texas at the time. For instance, the next day
he was calling Bobby Kennedy from his Washington office at around
1:34 P.M EST with news of the shooting. (Summers, Official
and Confidential, p. 394). In fact, none of the standard
biographies of Hoover—Powers, Theoharis, Gentry, or Summers—notes
him being in Texas that evening.
A Dallas-to-Washington round trip is around 3.5 hours each way.
Why would two very powerful and highly visible 68-year-olds,
like Hoover and McCloy, fly to Dallas to meet with Johnson at
some ungodly hour, well after 11:00 P.M CST, compromising themselves
in the process, and then fly back from Dallas, arriving home
anywhere between 3:00-5:00 AM the following morning?
The chauffer that supposedly furnished the Hoover story was
identified as Warren Tilley, but he was unable to talk due to
throat cancer. His wife Eula who also worked for Murchison said
that there wasn’t any such party, and further, that Clint Murchison
Sr. had suffered a stroke in 1958 and he would have been unable
to attend. But beyond that, Clint Murchison Sr. was not even
living in that house those days, but in his ranch 75-85 miles
southeast of Dallas. His son John Murchison was occupying the
house in question with his wife. Another purported witness to
the party was a seamstress named May Newman who did not work
in the house that staged the alleged party but in the house of
Virginia Murchison, Clint’s second wife. And, if so many famous
people flew into Dallas that night, and so many of them drove
to one house, would not at least one or two reporters have noticed
it? Or been told about it?
Assuming that Murchison, LBJ, Nixon, McCloy and Hoover among
others were planning to assassinate JFK, would they have waited
until the night before the assassination to finalize the plan?
And, my God, why would they meet in front of so many attendees?
Why would they plan the killing in Texas, Johnson’s and Murchison’s
home state? And why wouldn’t the four lads based in Washington
just get together there? These sorts of logical questions have
to be discounted for one to believe this scenario in all its
Another problem with Brown is that she appears to be contradictory—and
contradicted—on certain points. For instance: When did she first
announce her relationship with LBJ? In 1982, almost 20 years
after Kennedy’s murder. At that point, there was no accompanying
announcement that she had a child with Johnson. She says she
first met LBJ at the Adolphus Hotel in Dallas in early October
of 1948. But there is no evidence in any publications or newspapers
that LBJ was in Dallas at that time. She first claimed that LBJ
was behind the assassination, but then went on to say that LBJ
told her that “It was the oil men and the CIA.” LBJ later told
aide Marvin Watson that the “CIA had something to do with this
plot.” Brown published a photograph in her book Texas in
the Morning that shows an angry RFK hitting a post while
LBJ looks really shocked. Madeleine claimed that the White House
photographer that took the picture heard RFK screaming at LBJ:
“Why did you have my brother killed?” How does she know that
is what was said? Did the photographer tell her? Is it her interpretation?
Nothing like this was verified in Talbot’s Brothers nor
in Anthony Summers’ biography of J. Edgar Hoover. Or in any standard
reference work on Bobby Kennedy. Then later in 1992, she told
Harry Livingstone that LBJ did not die a natural death. His own
Secret Service had him killed. Why? Because they hated his guts.
She now had discovered even more evidence about the assassination.
Namely that there were actually three plots to kill Kennedy,
and the other two were backup plots. It was Johnson’s which succeeded
with the KGB’s help. And Billy Sol Estes knew the names of all
three assassins. Further, it was H. L. Hunt who called Jack Ruby
to murder Oswald. (Killing the Truth, pgs 503-07)
Brown’s motive for putting herself in the spotlight may have
been her dire financial situation. This had led her to be convicted
of fraud in 1988 by forging the will of a relative and thus forging
her destiny as a dubious LBJ source. (The conviction was reversed
on appeal in 1994 on a procedural error.)
4. The Billie Sol Estes allegations
Billie Sol Estes was a friend of Johnson’s who provided lots
of money for his political campaigns. The Department of Agriculture
subsidized farmers to prevent overproduction and oversupply,
things which occurred during the Depression. Cotton production
on new land was prohibited so each farmer could produce cotton
according to allotments that were given to them according to
Estes made millions of dollars from Federal subsidies for storing
grain and cotton allotments by illegally purchasing allotments
from other farmers for his farm. The Department of Agriculture
suspected that Estes was involved in illegal activities and sent
Henry Marshall, one of its officials, to investigate Estes. Marshall
was killed in 1961 while investigating the scandal, but the case
was (wrongly) ruled a suicide. Estes was convicted of fraud in
1962; he was sent to jail and was released in 1971. In 1984 Estes’
attorney sent a letter to the Justice Department and offered
his client’s sworn testimony that LBJ had ordered the murders
of eight people, including those of Henry Marshall, LBJ’s own
sister Josefa and President Kennedy. Estes claimed that LBJ passed
his orders through his aide Clifton Carter to Mac Wallace. (It
is odd that Estes’ list included Josefa since she reportedly
died of a cererbal hemorrhage in 1961 a the age of 49.)
Now, if we examine the original charges and newspaper stories
that put Estes away—all based upon defrauding the government—one
will see very little credible evidence, if any, showing that
Johnson was involved with Estes’ schemes. There were three articles
published in the Pecos Independent and Enterprise which triggered
a federal investigation. Those articles don’t show any evidence
that LBJ was involved in the scam or brought any improper influence
to bear to protect Estes. (J. Evetts Haley, A Texan Looks
at Lyndon, pgs 112-13, 119-20, 123) In 1984, when the murder
of Marshall was reopened, Estes took the stand for the grand
jury. Here he made the charges mentioned above, and this is where
the Mac Wallace as LBJ assassin angle began. Since everyone Estes
named was dead, it was easy for him to make the charges. And
impossible to indict anyone. And contrary to unsupported rumor,
there was no return of uninidicted co-conspirator charges against
LBJ, Carter, and Mac Wallace in the Marshall case. How can one
indict dead people who never appear before a grand jury?
Why did Estes turn on LBJ in 1984? In his book, Billy Sol
Estes, he writes that he thought LBJ would help him when
he was charged in the sixties. And Estes says Johnson could
have done so. But this claim is bereft of logic. For if the
sensational claims about Wallace killing Marshall are true,
how much more can one help someone than ordering murder for
hire? Which is what Estes says happened with Marshall. But
if LBJ could have helped Estes in his legal plight, then why
did he not just push some levers instead of resorting to murder?
If we examine the benefits Estes asked in return for the above
information we’ll discover that he requested in return immunity
from prosecution, his parole restrictions lifted, favorable consideration
being given to remove his long-standing tax liens, and an official
pardon. From his own words, its obvious that, as stated above,
a convicted felon and liar like Estes—who was actually conviced
of fraud twice-- had personal motives to implicate a dead President
in the murder of JFK. Therefore we cannot take for granted the
word of someone with a damaged reputation, little credibility,
a criminal past and evident personal self-interest like Billie
Sol Estes. In furtherance of this, if, as he said in his book
(pgs 138, 143, 150, 152-3, 165) he had tapes of Carter talking
about his carrying out LBJ’s orders in the Kennedy murder, he
could make a million selling them. He never did so. And the reason
he says he has tapes is probably to neutralize the fact that
there is no other credible corroboration for his late arriving
But beyond that, as noted in the Madeleine Brown section, Estes
later became a conduit for unbeleivable stories about the assassination.
In addition to knowing the identities of the three assassins
in the murder, he later got into a mutated form of David Lifton’s
body alteration theory. In his 2005 book he now said there was
body alteration in the JFK case. But it was not to JFK, but to
a lookalike. Before the assassination, a mortician named John
Liggett was to find a body like Kennedy’s, and it was to later
match certain wound descriptions. On the day of the murder, Liggett
was picked up in a hearse that contained the lookalike’s body.
At Love Field he got on a plane and instructions were relayed
to him and he made it look like the double had been shot in the
head from the rear. Then, photographs of both bodies were taken
and were later mixed and matched for the offical story. (Estes,
Who can beleive such a man? Or such a story? Well, maybe the
always gullible Nigel Turner. He put Liggett’s wife on his extremely
disappointing 2003 version of The Men Who Killed Kennedy. Turner
and Arts and Entertainment Network were promptly sued by Liggett’s
brother. A settlement was reached in 2005. That is what Turner
gets for listening to a con man who said, at his second trial
for fraud, words to the effect that his problem was he lived
in a dream world. (Wall Street Journal, 8/7/79)
5. LBJ and Ed Clark organized the assassination
In 2003 Texas attorney Barr McClellan published his book Blood,
Money & Power: How LBJ Killed JFK. Here he presented
his theory that LBJ was the prime instigator who authorized the
murder of JFK. McClellan was an attorney who in 1966 went to
work in the law firm Clark, Thomas & Winters in Austin, Texas.
This law firm represented LBJ’s interests, including advising
on political strategy, campaign contributions, media issues and
labor disputes. McClellan became a full partner in the firm in
1972 and left after a dispute with Ed Clark. McClellan claimed
that Don Thomas, one of the partners, revealed to him in 1973
the truth about the president’s murder. Thomas allegedly said
that LBJ confessed to him a month before his death that he had
ordered attorney Ed Clark to organize the assassination of Kennedy.
LBJ had also confessed this to his psychiatrist while being treated
for depression. Thomas also claimed that LBJ asked him to reveal
the truth to the world after he was dead to redeem himself from
guilt. McClellan was astounded by these revelations but kept
quiet until after Thomas’s death. In fact, at the 40th anniversary
when the book was published, no one was around to contradict
him. Not LBJ, not Thomas, not Clark, and of course, not the LBJ
constant, Mac Wallace, who died in a car accident in 1971. That
makes it kind of convenient to go on TV and say you knew Johnson
killed John Kennedy.
This book, like Billy Sol Estes, and like a similar Johnson
did it product, The Men on the Sixth Floor, says that
Johnson was in on the Henry Marshall murder. Except in the Estes
version, Clifton Carter arranged the murder. In the McClellan
version its Ed Clark who did the arranging. But again, McClellan
never advances any credible evidence that Johnson had anything
to do with Estes’ scams. Which makes it easy for him to avoid
the question of why Johnson would do such a thing. But, with
McClellan, no evidence is really needed. Estes had LBJ responsible
for about eight murders. McClellan goes way beyond that. LBJ
was a veritable Murder Incorporated, responsible for eleven confirmed
killings and with nine more possible ones.
Why would Thomas reveal all this to McClellan? Why would LBJ
tell Thomas in the first place? This is how the author explains
it. He sets forth a long conversation that he says Thomas told
him about. Shortly before Johnson died in 1972, Thomas was at
his ranch. Johnson now started to tell him about how he had Kennedy
killed. Why did he say this? Because his presidency had collapsed,
his reputation was nil, and he thought this confession would
elevate his low image! Which is why he wanted Thomas to broadcast
it after his death. Yep, that’s what he says. Maybe LBJ really
was over the edge at the time? Or maybe it never happened. The
psychiatrist himself did not reveal anything and neither he nor
LBJ left anything written. McClellan’s whole book is like this.
A series of sensational disclosures is made, and one goees looking
for the annotation. Or even some corroboration. Its not there.
Or if its there, it is so nebulous as to be meaningless. And
when I say sensational, I mean it. Consider this string of accusations:
Clark brokered a deal with Joe Kennedy to put LBJ on the 1960
ticket. LBJ learned about the art of assassination from the attempt
on FDR and Thomas was involved in the famous heist of the senate
seat from Coke Stevenson in 1948.
And then there is the Kennedy murder. Again, unlike with Estes,
it was Clark who set this up, not Carter. Somehow Leon Jaworski
got involved with a search for a second assassin, the first--it
goes without saying—was Mac Wallace. Again, there is no
evidence for this Jaworski allegation. Or any reason why it was
Jaworski who Clark called. And there is no evidence advanced
that Clark knew Wallace. Further, McClellan says he has no idea
how Wallace met Oswald or interested him in the plot. So he just
says that Wallace met Oswald at a print shop in Dallas in 1962.
But there is no evidence in the record that Oswald had anything
printed in 1962. McClellan then has Oswald firing at the motorcade
with Wallace from the sixth floor. Even though there is no credible
evidence Oswald was there at that time. The assassination scenario
for McClelan differs from The Men on the Sixth Floor.
In the latter there are three assassins Oswald, Wallace, and
a Chickasaw Indian named Loy Factor. In the McClellan version
Oswald and Wallace are up there, but the third assassin is on
the knoll. If you can believe it, in defiance of the ballistics
evidence, McClellan has Oswald killing Tippit and shooting at
Edwin Walker. In other words, Barr McClellan did not know anything
about the evidence in the JFK case; and he didn’t care to learn.
So he just wrote what he wanted in defiance of the facts.
There is also the evidence of self-interest and personal motive
since McClellan left the company after a heated dispute with
Ed Clark. Not only would he have taken his revenge against Clark
but he would have become famous as the man who solved the case.
Or, alternatively, he distracted everyone at the 40th anniversary
with his whimsical fantasy.
6: LBJ and Mac Wallace
Apart from the above, McClellan also enlisted in the Mac Wallace
as JFK assassin ranks. He says Wallace fired shots from the 6th
floor of the TSBD. If he could prove that Wallace was at the
sniper’s nest, then by association he can cling to his theory
that LBJ ordered the murder. An unidentified fingerprint was
found on a box in the sniper’s nest. McClellan’s fingerprint
expert, the late Nathan Darby, compared the fingerprint stored
in the Archives against the fingerprints of Mac Wallace and found
a match. But other experts have disputed the results, including
those offered by author Glenn Sample, as did the FBI. So we cannot
say with certainty that the fingerprint belonged to Wallace.
And, further, if it was really LBJ who put Wallace up to this,
then why would Wallace not wear gloves?
The book by Glen Sample and Mark Collum, The Men on the
Sixth Floor, also claimed that Wallace was one of the
shooters in the TSBD and that Wallace had recruited Ruby and
Oswald into the plot. The book based this information on a
man named Loy Factor who served a long stretch in prison for
murder. Just before he died, Factor confessed that he was one
of the three gunmen in the TSBD, the other two being Oswald
and the omnipresent Wallace. Factor was not a very credible
witness. In 1948 he had been declared incompetent by the Veteran’s
Administration, to the point they required a legal guardian
for him. In 1969 he strangled his wife. He also had a severe
case of diabetes. In this version of the story, Wallace recruited
Factor after testing his marksmanship ability. He then offered
him ten thousand dollars for the job. At a house in Dallas
two days before the assassination, Factor was in on planning
sessions with Wallace, two mysterious Latins, and two others:
Ruby and Oswald. He was then driven to the TSBD the day of
the murder and escorted to the sixth floor and handed a gun.
When he arrived there, both Oswald and Wallace were already
at their firing positions. An Hispanic woman named Ruth Ann
had a walkie talkie and gave them a countdown. Afterwards,
Wallace, Factor and the girl all managed to escape, presumably
with weapons and walkie talkie intact. The getaway is even
more questionable: Factor was left at a bus stop to get out
of town. But then Ruth Ann and Wallace thought better of it
and picked him up. But yet, it was not exactly a great commando
team escape. The car broke down in Oklahoma due to a bad clutch.
And Factor, get this, had to hitchhike home. God knows what
happened to Wallace and the girl. Factor died in 1994, and
we do not know what motivated him to make this wild claim.
7: LBJ and the Connally - Yarborough incident
According to this one there was a severe argument between LBJ
and JFK regarding the seating arrangement in the Dallas motorcade.
JFK wanted Senator Ralph Yarborough to sit in the same car
with Johnson and Governor Connally in the Presidential limousine.
On the contrary LBJ was furious with this arrangement since
he hated Yarborough for his political views and he demanded
that Connally sit next to him and Yarborough sit with Kennedy.
Those who believe that LBJ planned the plot take this incident
as proof that LBJ knew that an assassination attempt was to
happen during the parade in Dallas and he wanted to protect
his good friend Connally and have Yarborough shot along with
The problem is that LBJ refused to sit next to the senator not
because he knew about the assassination, but because he disliked
the man and could not stand the sight of him. And it was mutual.
When Kennedy arrived in Texas, Connally organized a dinner in
his mansion to honor the President. Yarborough was furious when
he learned that he was not placed at the head table with Kennedy
and that his wife was not invited at all. He was fuming and he
held LBJ responsible for the arrangement and refused to sit next
to him. That was the cause of the heated argument between JFK
and LBJ that many overheard.
8: LBJ and the Mafia
One of the proponents of this theory is Craig Zirbel. Zirbel
is returning for another slice of the ‘Lyndon did it’ pie.
In his first book broaching the LBJ angle, The Texas Connection,
he unequivocally stated that LBJ had nothing to do with the
Italian mob and that they had nothing to do with the assassination.
Now on the eve of the 50th Mr. Zirbel has changed his tune
completely. He now says he was incorrect—the Mob was
in on it with LBJ all along! His book, pretentiously named The
Final Chapter, ignores years of work by numerous researchers
since the late 70’s that the assassination had been carried
out by the Mob for their own benefit.
Mark North is another individual who toes this line. In his
latest book Betrayal in Dallas, North argues that JFK
was killed in Dallas by Mafia contract killers hired by Louisiana
Mob boss Carlos Marcello with the help of Dallas crony Joe Civello..
They picked Dallas because it was a Mafia-friendly city where
LBJ, Henry Wade and other officials were bribed by gangsters.
Robert Kennedy was determined to destroy the Civello mob in Dallas.
To save himself and his political future LBJ went along with
the Mafia plot and assassinated JFK. As Bill Davy noted in his
review of this book, the name of the local Mob, the "Pearl
Street Mafia", was actually manufactured by North. In reality,
there is no such named organization. And although the North book
was hyped as being backed by dozens of declassififed documents,
Davy showed that this was just that: hype. For North overwhleming
relied upon old newspaper sources for his footnotes. And a myriad
of them. For example, footnote 10 to Chapter 3, lists 200 Dallas
Morning News articles. Davy concluded that about 90% of
his footnotes were to newspaper articles. Geez, with that kind
of advance publicity, how did the assassination ever take place?
Everyone and their uncle must have known about it. But as Davy
also notes, when it comes time to come up with real references
for criminal acts, the book comes up empty. These are not footnoted.
here for this review .)
It isn’t worth discussing this theory in any depth. It has been
explained in the past that the Mafia could not manipulate CIA
files, arrange the Mexico City incident, manipulate Richard Case
Nagell, run the CIA’s anti-FPCC campaign of which Oswald was
a part of, stage the Odio incident, manipulate the ballistics
evidence, cover up the crime and then alter the medical evidence,
or influence the Warren Commission cover up. If the Mafia was
involved they were very junior partners. Most likely brought
in to infuence Ruby to kill Oswald.
A serious question that we can pose is: Why would LBJ choose
Dallas as the city where the assassination would take place?
It would not have been clever to commit the murder in his own
backyard and face the risk of exposure if the plot backfired.
If the Mafia figures involved in the plot were to be arrested
and confess that LBJ was responsible, it would have been difficult
for LBJ to defend himself with all the potential scandals swirling
around him (Estes, TFX, Bobby Baker). Why would he stupidly
incriminate himself when it would have been easier to organize
it from outside Texas, maybe in Chicago, Tampa or Miami? This
is seldom pondered by the few Johnson sponsors like Joseph Farrell,
Craig Zirbel, and Phil Nelson.
9: LBJ photographs during and after the assassination
Phil Nelson claimed that looking at the famous Altgens photograph
he could not see LBJ, therefore he concludes that LBJ was hiding
to avoid being hit because he had prior knowledge of the assassination.
Unfortunately for Nelson, an object that is either LBJ or his
Secret Service agent Rufus Youngblood can be made out in the
photograph. This renders the notion of Altgen’s photo showing
LBJ hiding to be utterly inconclusive at best.
One of the more bizarre theories tied to this was explained
by the ever unimpressive Alex Jones: that Johnson was in communication
throughout the motorcade with death squads armed with grenades
and bazookas along the route. The stupidest thing about this
is that for Johnson to have been orchestrating this event he
had to be doing so in front of his wife, and barely four feet
away from his arch political enemy Ralph Yarborough. Yarborough,
in fairness, made something of a stir when he claimed to Jim
Marrs that Johnson asked Herschel Jacks (not an agent), to turn
the radio on so he could hear reportage of the motorcade on a
local radio station. (William Manchester, The Death of a
President, p. 203) Occasionally, he would ask how much further
they had to go. Then, Rufus Youngblood, Johnson’s assigned agent,
would radio back to his follow up car “And ask them how many
more miles and so forth.” (Youngblood Testimony, Warren Commission,
Vol. II, p. 151) The closest Johnson ever got to a walkie-talkie
was when Youngblood eventually managed to get over the seat and
protect him from any possible shots. From there, Youngblood was
barking orders to the other agents. (Manchester, pgs 244-245,
Youngblood Testimony, p. 149). There’s nothing hidden here: Johnson
admitted to being near Youngblood’s device when he got up off
the floor. (Johnson Statement: Warren Commission; Vol V P. 562)
If this evidence isn’t enough for you, how does logic sound?
For Johnson to have coordinated the strike, it meant that he
would have had to have undertaken a truly incredible sleight
of hand. Because he was sitting next to his wife Lady Bird and
a few feet away from his arch foe, Senator Ralph Yarbrough. Now,
Yarbrough never said anything about Johnson talking into a radio
in his Warren Commission affidavit. (Warren Commission, Vol.
VII pgs 439-440) Nor did he say anything about Johnson being
in continual radio contact with others to William Manchester
in The Death of a President. (Manchester, pgs 244-245)
H.B. McClain, the motorcycle policeman whose job it was to shadow
Johnson’s car, like other patrolmen, didn’t much like Johnson’s
attitude towards him and his fellow officers either. Yet he never
saw Johnson do anything of the sort. (Larry Sneed, No
pgs 162-169). Let’s not forget the scores of witnesses who never
saw anything of the sort either.
All accounts of Johnson after the assassination are one of someone
in deep confusion and fear. At Parkland Johnson was inconsolable
and told Mac Kilduff that he wanted the announcement of JFK's
death to be delayed until he was safely on the plane, stating
his belief in a potential 'world wide conspiracy'. Now, Kilduff
did not obey this command in any way. Johnson's performance at
Parkland Hospital and on Air Force One were certainly not mugging,
as some like the abjectly awful Alex Jones researcher Paul Watson,
has claimed. (Talbot, pgs 282-285). He also took off for Love
Field quite literally with Secret Service Agents sitting on top
of him according to Evelea Glanges who saw Johnson leave the
hospital ducking down in his vehicle on the way to Love Field
(Crenshaw, Conspiracy of Silence, p. 107). On Air Force
One, recently released documents citing Godfrey McHugh's observations
of Johnson's behavior indicate he was so terrified that prior
to the aforementioned swearing in he had to be coaxed out of
the Air Force One toilet.
This leads us to another tangential myth that LBJ ordered Kennedy’s
body to Bethesda Naval Hospital upon disembarkation in Washington.
This is not true at all and the Secret Service's actions, though
illegal, were probably not as sinister as they have been made
out to have been.
The four main instigators behind the Secret Services seizure
of the body and sending it off to Bethesda for one of the most
bungled autopsies ever done were Admiral Burkley, Dave Powers,
Godfrey McHugh, and Ken O’Donnell who, fearing the madhouse that
Parkland was becoming, convinced Jackie to get out of there.
(Manchester, pgs 415-434).
Kennedy’s physician Admiral Burkley wanted the autopsy done
in Bethesda. General Ted Clifton had wanted it done at Walter
Reed. Johnson, had no say at all over where the autopsy was being
held (Manchester, p 177 ). David Talbot then goes on to say that,
at Bethesda, Bobby Kennedy became the most important figure.
However, he did not run the autopsy as has been irresponsibly
pushed by others (Brothers, pgs 14-17). And neither did Johnson
from afar as much as some people would like him to. It was clearly
the military in charge, and Harold Weisberg explains as much
in his book (Never Again pgs 472-474).
10. It was Dallas, Texas, Johnson’s backyard, therefore
he had to have been the mastermind.
This means because the murder took place in Texas,
LBJ was at the controls. The problem with this is with
what we know today, there were probably at least three plots
afoot to kill President Kennedy in the fall of 1963. And the
first two were in Florida and Chicago. The one in Chicago has
been recently fairly well documented due to the book by Secret
Service agent Abe Bolden, The Echo from Dealey Plaza,
the rediscovered in-depth essay by Edwin Black, and the work
by Jim Douglass in his book JFK and the Unspeakable.
(If you have not read the Black essay, click
here) One has to ask: If the Chicago plot had succeeded,
would these books have been published?
Was Johnson in on the assassination in some way? Perhaps. Did
he know it was going to happen? Maybe. Was he in on the cover-up?
But the problem is that the last answer is documented with credible
evidence. For instance, there were phone calls made by President
Johnson to make people serve on the Commission in which Johnson
used knowingly questionable evidence to make them say yes. He
then suspended the specter of nuclear holocaust over them, which
intimidated Earl Warren into asking for an investigation without
investigators. Johnson also understood that FBI Director J. Edgar
Hoover was running a makeshift inquiry which was focused on Oswald
from the first day. These, and other instances, are documented
The answers to the first two questions are not. As we have tried
to show here, some of the evidence adduced by those who advocate
for Johnson’s culpability is not very trustworthy or convincing.
There is little doubt that the Bobby Baker scandal and Don Reynolds’
scandals were threats to LBJ. Even Robert Caro acknowledges them
in his disappointing book The Passage of Power. According
to LBJ spokesman George Reedy, the former was not not a real
threat to LBJ, the latter was more serious. Yet the latter, as
Caro notes, was rather small in monetary value. Reynolds, Johnson’s
insurance salesman, was asked to buy for Johnson’s wife a combination
TV-stereo console set. Unless Reynolds had more up his sleeve,
this seems a rather miniscule reason to murder the president,
wound your friend the governor of Texas, and place yourelf in
jeopardy of being tried and electrocuted for charges of murder
Perhaps there is more to this. Edgar Tatro is working on a long
book on the subject. Based on Tatro’s past work, it should be
worth reading. But we also know that there is evidence upcoming
in Jim DiEugenio’s revised version of Destiny Betrayed that
there was work done by hidden intelligence assets to fool Jim
Garrison into buying into a Texas based conspiracy. And even
before that, in 1966, there was an FBI undercover agent sent
to convince Vincent Salandria and Sylvia Meagher that Johnson
was behind the plot. The woman said her name was Rita Rollins.
She was a nurse from Texas who saw practice runs for the assassination
on a large ranch there. She said she had witnesses in Canada
who could prove that this happened and Johnson was involved in
it. Well, when Meagher started asking her questions about her
nursing job, she couldn’t answer them. Six months later, Salandria
found out that the real name of Rita Rollins was Lulu Belle Holmes.
She worked for the FBI as an agent provocatuer in the Peace Movement.
So its not like questionable efforsts in this vein are new. We
are not saying that the latest round of books are FBI inspired—not
at all. These authors all seem sincere. We just wish they could
come up with something better than the above. Or actually start
with something better than the above and work from more original
Until then, works like McClellan’s, Nelson’s and The Men
on the Sixth Floor, remain, for reasons stated above,
not very convincing. And at worst, they lead to a cul de sac.
With two million pages of declassified files, we have to do
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Forensics can be a complicated subject,
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Enemy of the Truth: Myths, Forensics and the Kennedy Assassination is so
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