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John Simkin

Gerald D. McKnight: Breach of Trust

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When you were researching Breach of Trust did you find any evidence that LBJ selected the membership of the Warren Commission because he had information that would enable him to blackmail them into producing the report he wanted? There is definitely evidence that LBJ and Hoover were involved in swapping information at this time to apply pressure on potential witnesses. For example, the New York Times exposed LBJ of using information from FBI secret files to apply pressure on Don B. Reynolds.

Intriguing hypothesis. I can't say it didn't happen. My sense is however that it was not necessary. Let's be real. It is almost certain that all the men who served on the Commission knew that JFK was the victim of a conspiracy and probably they all had a pretty good idea of the reasons why and what state actors were involved in Dallas. They all were of a mind to come up with a politically safe answer to the crime. That is, tranquilize the body politic into accepting that it was a senseless and random act of a mad man that inconveniently interfered with the workings of our democracy, etc.

They all saw it as their role to go ahead with this agreed upon mythology and do their best to make sure that Lyndon received a clear title to the presidency so that the system would no lose the trust of the people and its legitimacy, etc.

JFK's problem was that he took on the military-industrial-congressional complex and was searching for an end to the Cold War. As he said, after the Missiloe Crisis was resolved without the US Military solution of nuclear war, he should have chosen that night to go to the theatre. Kennedy knew he was living on borrowed time. And so the rest, as they say, is history as this imperial republic heads for smash up on the rocks of its own mad dreams of empire and world hegemony.

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Prof. McKnight,

Many thanks for sticking around to answer all these qustions. Most authors move on quickly.

In regards to other historians taking on this subject, have you ever met, talked with or corresponded with Max Holland, who is reportedly writing the difinitive history of the Warren Commission?

Also, do you know anything about the contributions to the Warren Report made by Warren Commission staff members Alfred Goldberg or Adolph Winnacker?

Thanks

Bill Kelly

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Professor McKnight, I have just had an exchange with Professor McAdams on the alt.assassination.JFK newsgroup. He said he doesn't trust Weisberg re the controls Weisberg acquired. If you have been able to locate them and/or can help me figure out how to locate them, it would be most appreciated.

(Note: in September 2007 I acquired the Weisberg material from the Hood College Archives. I write about this in chapter 4c at patspeer.com.)

I must say I have no idea what you mean by "controls." If you can be more explicit I'll try and respond.

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Prof. McKnight,

Many thanks for sticking around to answer all these qustions. Most authors move on quickly.

In regards to other historians taking on this subject, have you ever met, talked with or corresponded with Max Holland, who is reportedly writing the difinitive history of the Warren Commission?

I have been on a panel or two with Max Holland. In a way Max is the Great White Hope of those elements in our society who want very much that Max's views on the JFK assassination will triumph over all those of us who regard the Warren Report as mythology.

Holland invents freely. But he also has done some fine work when it comes to his editing of the LBJ correspondence related to the JFK assassination. He simply refuses to draw the right conclusions from what he lays out.

All I can say is that I have done some work on the Commission and there is no way (except tricky and dishonest writing) that he will ever turn that sow's ear of the Warren Commission Report into a thing of beauty and a joy forever. Not possible. The bullet-proof evidence that the Commission Report is a fraud is too easily demonstrated.

In any case, that's my story and I am sticking to it.

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All I can say is that I have done some work on the Commission..... The bullet-proof evidence that the Commission Report is a fraud is too easily demonstrated.

In any case, that's my story and I am sticking to it.

You have indeed done some work, Professor and we all appreciate it.

One comment in your book has stirred a lively debate on this thread:

http://educationforum.ipbhost.com/index.php?showtopic=11762

I wonder if you would care to add some comment on the probative value of the Walker shooting evidence.

I still have good memories of our meeting, at the home of Harold Weisberg, about 1993-4. I remember the weather, it was Winter's last gasp and snow was still on the ground, and covered the famous green hills of Maryland.

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We know from the transcripts is that LBJ used emotional blackmail with Earl Warren and Richard Russell when they initially refused to serve on the commission. LBJ seems to be saying that if you don't cover this up, then I will have to start a nuclear war with the Soviet Union over Cuba. What are your views on why he used this strategy? Do you think Warren and Russell believed him?

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We know from the transcripts is that LBJ used emotional blackmail with Earl Warren and Richard Russell when they initially refused to serve on the commission. LBJ seems to be saying that if you don't cover this up, then I will have to start a nuclear war with the Soviet Union over Cuba. What are your views on why he used this strategy? Do you think Warren and Russell believed him?

I think the documentary evidence is there to make the case for LBJ's authentic fear that possible nuclear war was a close thing. The info he was getting from Hoover and from the CIA over the assassination weekend was that Oswald or an impostor had been in touch with the KGB's wet acts expert in Mexico City. LBJ was increasingly aware that elements in the government, especially the CIA, were pushing hard for Oswald as a Castro-Soviet asset who just killed JFK. This was then to serve as the opportunity for the US to launch an attack on Cuba and if the Soviets wanted a piece of the action SAC was ready to exercise its long-planed all-out pre-emptive nuclear attack on Russia and everything Red. I touch on this a little in BOT. But when LBJ pressured Warren and Russell to join the commission he wasn't just blowing smoke, he really believed that he had two alternatives: to go along with the military/CIA campaign to settle the Cuban problem (and the Cold War) in one fell swoop; or to move quickly with Hoover's help to cover up the truth of Dallas with the mythology of a lone nut explanation.

When ole Lyndon threatened Warren that 40,000,000 American deaths were at stake I don't think he was whistling Dixie.

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I think the documentary evidence is there to make the case for LBJ's authentic fear that possible nuclear war was a close thing. The info he was getting from Hoover and from the CIA over the assassination weekend was that Oswald or an impostor had been in touch with the KGB's wet acts expert in Mexico City. LBJ was increasingly aware that elements in the government, especially the CIA, were pushing hard for Oswald as a Castro-Soviet asset who just killed JFK. This was then to serve as the opportunity for the US to launch an attack on Cuba and if the Soviets wanted a piece of the action SAC was ready to exercise its long-planed all-out pre-emptive nuclear attack on Russia and everything Red. I touch on this a little in BOT. But when LBJ pressured Warren and Russell to join the commission he wasn't just blowing smoke, he really believed that he had two alternatives: to go along with the military/CIA campaign to settle the Cuban problem (and the Cold War) in one fell swoop; or to move quickly with Hoover's help to cover up the truth of Dallas with the mythology of a lone nut explanation.

When ole Lyndon threatened Warren that 40,000,000 American deaths were at stake I don't think he was whistling Dixie.

Isn't it possible that LBJ was providing an alibi for the cover-up? He probably feared that the story of the cover-up would eventually get out. What better motive could he have that he saved the world from a nuclear war? However, it is based on the idea that the Soviets would launch a nuclear attack if the US invaded Cuba. The Soviet Union would never have done that and LBJ knew it. LBJ knew that if he blamed Castro for the assassination and launched an attack on Cuba, the international community would have demanded to see the evidence. Any full investigation would have exposed the role that the CIA had played in the assassination. I suspect information about LBJ's corruption would also have come out during any real investigation. It was therefore in LBJ's interest for the lone-gunman theory to be accepted.

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Isn't it possible that LBJ was providing an alibi for the cover-up? He probably feared that the story of the cover-up would eventually get out. What better motive could he have that he saved the world from a nuclear war? However, it is based on the idea that the Soviets would launch a nuclear attack if the US invaded Cuba. The Soviet Union would never have done that and LBJ knew it. LBJ knew that if he blamed Castro for the assassination and launched an attack on Cuba, the international community would have demanded to see the evidence. Any full investigation would have exposed the role that the CIA had played in the assassination. I suspect information about LBJ's corruption would also have come out during any real investigation. It was therefore in LBJ's interest for the lone-gunman theory to be accepted.

I see you have a point on LBJ. My sense of the dynamics as they existed immediate post 11/22/63 that Lyndon was hearing from the FBI about a Oswald imposter in Mexico City, etc.... And he was getting an earful about Oswald as a Castro and possible KGB source from McCone via Helms and those CIA knuckle-dragers like Des Fitzgerald along with the unalloyed support for any opportunity to execute SAC's pre-emtive nuclear strike on the Soviet Union, etc. Recall that in 1963 it was SAC and not the president that controlled our nuclear arsenal. The post-1962 Cuban missile crisis introduction of Permissible Action Links giving the president the keys to control of all warheads had not been introduced as of yet. LBJ did'nt know whether he had control over the military and CIA. This was the situation that existed with Kennedy as well.

It would have been easy for Johnson to have let the CIA settle its grudge fight with Castro by going along with the myth of Oswald's Red connections and special asset of the Castro government. Of course if the US went ahead in Cuba the Russians would certainly have had to respond in some fashion. The most likely response would have been for Khruschev to move against West Germany. . . . .The rest would have been end of story of the world.

I think LBJ "bought off" the JCS by giving them their head in Vietnam ("Rolling Thunder" to begin) and he turned away from Cuba. (Of course the CIA continued its own unauthorized war against Castro).

Dave Talbot sets some of this out in most readable fashion in his "Brothers." There is a book due for release by Orbis Press by a James Douglass entitled "JFK and the Unspeakable." I did a little review of this book and I think Douglass does a solid job in laying out all the meta political force field surrounding LBJ as he assumed the presidency. Another excellent source that deals with these very dynamics is Peter Dale Scott's essays in his "Deep Politics II."

In any case that's my two cents. It's an essential (maybe existential) question about LBJ and what he faced over that two week period following Dallas. The more dialogue on the question the better.

As far as Goldberg (the resident historian w/ the Commission) I only mentioned sparingly. He had no significant influence on the Warren Report as far as I could determine. Warren or Rankin called on him to try and get the F BI to bolster Howard Brennan's description of Oswald as the man in the sniper's nest. Brennan, one of the Commission's most ludicrous and self-subverting witnesses, was the Commission's source of the description of the shooter that allegedly went out over the police radio.

Hoover in effect told Rankin to stuff his request. Hoover, miffed at the Commission, left the Commission hanging.,

It was this official story that allegedly prompted offikce Tippit to stop "Oswald" and was shot and killed for his troubles.

The long and short of it all was that Brennan could not have been the source for the police which left the Commission with an embarrassment. That was, the very likely explanation was that the police message re: Oswald's id,came from soneone who was in on putting Oswald in the frame.

My own research on Oswald's whereabouts convinces me that at the time of the JFK shooting hee was standing on the front steps of the Texas Depository. He is the man at the exrtreme left at the top of the front steps that we see in Altgeld's famous photo. Oswald in the man in the doorway, not Billy Lovelady.

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Also, do you know anything about the contributions to the Warren Report made by Warren Commission staff members Alfred Goldberg or Adolph Winnacker?

As far as Goldberg (the resident historian w/ the Commission) I only mentioned sparingly. He had no significant influence on the Warren Report as far as I could determine. Warren or Rankin called on him to try and get the F BI to bolster Howard Brennan's description of Oswald as the man in the sniper's nest. Brennan, one of the Commission's most ludicrous and self-subverting witnesses, was the Commission's source of the description of the shooter that allegedly went out over the police radio.

Hoover in effect told Rankin to stuff his request. Hoover, miffed at the Commission, left the Commission hanging.,

It was this official story that allegedly prompted officer Tippit to stop "Oswald" and was shot and killed for his troubles.

The long and short of it all was that Brennan could not have been the source for the police which left the Commission with an embarrassment. That was, the very likely explanation was that the police message re: Oswald's id, came from someone who was in on putting Oswald in the frame.

My own research on Oswald's whereabouts convinces me that at the time of the JFK shooting he was standing on the front steps of the Texas Depository. He is the man at the extreme left at the top of the front steps that we see in Altgeld's famous photo. Oswald in the man in the doorway, not Billy Lovelady.

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My own research on Oswald's whereabouts convinces me that at the time of the JFK shooting he was standing on the front steps of the Texas Depository. He is the man at the extreme left at the top of the front steps that we see in Altgen's famous photo. Oswald in the man in the doorway, not Billy Lovelady.

Professor McKnight, thanks for your research which culminated in publishing Breach of Trust.

In your book you cite the accounts of Viola Adams, Carolyn Arnold, Pierce Allman and Terrance Ford. You also describe the conflicting testimonies of Lovelady and Shelley.

My question: Is there evidence not contained in Breach of Trust that helped you conclude that it was Oswald in Altgen's photo?

I keep wondering why Oswald said he was on the first floor during the assassination instead of in the doorway where a perfect alibi would await if one of his co-workers had happened to notice him there. I wonder how his framers could have allowed him to be in such a crowded and visible place, where a positive identification could have ruined all their plans.

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Hi. Mr. McKnight. Glad to see you on the forum. I greatly enjoyed reading your book and have bought about twenty-five coppies using my NYC Teachers Choice money over the past two years. I find it an excellent into for the perkier students who I try to introduce to the Assassination as an entry into the Cold War. I think narrowed focus into the WC investigation makes it a great first book.

I noticed on another thread that you listed Barbie Zelizers Covering The Body as one of your top five books. I was wondering if you might expand briefly on why. I myself find that there are a lot of VERY intrigueing and valuable gems of info hidden in her somewhat professionalese rhetorical style.

Its almost as if what she was saying was to dangerous to communicate clearly. Any thoughts?

Edited by Nathaniel Heidenheimer

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My own research on Oswald's whereabouts convinces me that at the time of the JFK shooting he was standing on the front steps of the Texas Depository. He is the man at the extreme left at the top of the front steps that we see in Altgen's famous photo. Oswald in the man in the doorway, not Billy Lovelady.

Professor McKnight, thanks for your research which culminated in publishing Breach of Trust.

In your book you cite the accounts of Viola Adams, Carolyn Arnold, Pierce Allman and Terrance Ford. You also describe the conflicting testimonies of Lovelady and Shelley.

My question: Is there evidence not contained in Breach of Trust that helped you conclude that it was Oswald in Altgen's photo?

I keep wondering why Oswald said he was on the first floor during the assassination instead of in the doorway where a perfect alibi would await if one of his co-workers had happened to notice him there. I wonder how his framers could have allowed him to be in such a crowded and visible place, where a positive identification could have ruined all their plans.

***********

Hello Professor McNight , and it's good to see you here posting.....

Bernice......

*********

Hello Mike.....

Re the Captain Fritz notes....that Walt Brown found...Fritz states he, LHO, said he was "out with Bill Shelley in front"...

Just posting the one, all are available....as well as the history....of the find.

FWTW......

http://www.jfk-info.com/notes1.htm

The Best to all for the News Years,....

B......

Edited by Bernice Moore

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Hello Mike.....

Re the Captain Fritz notes....that Walt Brown found...Fritz states he, LHO, said he was "out with Bill Shelley in front"...

Just posting the one, all are available....as well as the history....of the find.

FWTW......

http://www.jfk-info.com/notes1.htm

The Best to all for the News Years,....

B......

Thanks for providing that B..... Still a lot of questions.

The best to you as well.

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Concerning the Weisberg reference to the AEC test results back in 1964 on the Oswald rifle and the blowback that produced positive results on the cheeks of shooters in 10 out of ten test results. I did a little follow up on this and the results are in Weisberg's CA 78--1976 suit. He got results from ERDA in the 1970s. The problem is that ERDA dumped on his some 4 file drawers of documents. He have these at Hood but I will need to go through the entire collection to locate the requesite records.

I plan on doing this at my convenience. If you want to come to Frederick and spend a day looking you are welcome. Otherwise, have patience and when I locate them I'll let you know. It is possible that I can short circuit this by locating them in FBI files, but that is over "theory" at this point.

Dear Professor McKnight:

When you find those documents, please e-mail me at GJJmail@aol.com. I'm interested in purchasing a copy of them.

Thank You.

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