John Simkin Posted November 24, 2004 Author Share Posted November 24, 2004 Excellent article with astute analysis! Have you seen an aticle by Phil Brennan, a GOP House aide? He states that Hill came to him in literal fear for his life becauseof pressure from Bobby Baker. Brennan advised Hill that his only way out was to go public by filing suit against Baker. Later Brennan introduced Hill to Sen. Williams. Thank you for the link. Another example of collective intelligence at work. I will email Phil Brennen and maybe he will join the seminar. I think the following passage is especially interesting (1) : To make a long story short, Baker advised Hill to go into the vending machine business and promised him he'd arrange to get some major defense contractors to install the machines, which vended soft drinks, sandwiches, cigarettes and the like. There was only one catch - Baker wanted under-the-table payoffs for his part in setting up what would be a very lucrative business opportunity with tens of thousands of potential customers who worked in defense plants. True to his word, Baker got a number of defense contractors to agree to allow Hill the exclusive right to install his vending machines on their premises. It was an opportunity to print money by the barrel, and with those golden contracts in hand, Hill was able to go to the bank and borrow all the funds he needed to buy the vending machines and go into business. For a while he prospered - as did Baker. But whatever he was paying Baker was not enough to satisfy the man who, for all intents and purposes, had the Senate under his thumb. He saw that the members of the Democrat majority got whatever they wanted - money, bimbos, LBJ's help, you name it. They were all in his pocket. He could arrange multimillion-dollar contracts for the defense industry or take them away if he wanted. He was LBJ's guy and was all-powerful and a very dangerous man to have as an enemy, a fact Ralph Hill learned when Baker put the bite on him for bigger payoffs. The problem for Hill was that he had big payments to make on the loans he'd taken out to buy the equipment and set himself up in business, had some pretty steep overhead, and simply didn't have enough left over to boost his payments to Baker. He tried to explain that fact of life to Baker, but the secretary of the United States Senate wasn't having any. He simply repeated his demands and threatened Hill that if he didn't pay up he'd see that Hill lost all those juicy defense plant contracts. Bad went to worse, Baker made good on his threats, and Hill was facing bankruptcy. Moreover, it was made known to him that if he didn't simply fold his tent and go off without making trouble for Baker, he might meet with an unfortunate - and probably fatal - accident. But Hill was facing bankruptcy and the loss of everything he had, and he simply would not give up. He was fighting for his life. And he had the guts to hang in there. He asked me to help him. But I was completely a creature of the House side of Capitol Hill - the Senate side was foreign territory and, I hate to admit it, I didn't even have the vaguest idea of who this Bobby Baker, the Senate's imperial potentate, was. I told Hill that his only way out was to expose Baker publicly, to get the story out - once it was public, Baker could not afford to retaliate. I advised Hill to file suit against Baker, laying out all the sordid details in the complaint, and once he had served Baker, to give me the complaint papers and I'd see that the media on the Hill got their hands on copies. He did and I did - and I now found myself a potential target, not only of Baker's but of the media as well, but that's another story. I was able to get only two reporters to write the story - the late Clark Mohlenhoff, one of the best investigative reporters in Washington, and one other whose name I don't recall. For the most part, the Washington press corps kept the lid on the story - until the late Bob Humphrey, then the GOP Senate leadership's spokesman, an incredibly gifted strategist and a mentor, asked me to tell the story to the late Delaware Republican Sen. John Williams, a crusader for good government and a crackerjack of an investigator. Sen. Williams asked me to introduce him to Hill and I did. They got together with some Senate investigators for the GOP minority and Hill told them the whole story, including the part played by Vice President Johnson. Williams got his committee to launch an investigation and the lid came off. A few days later, the attorney general, Bobby Kennedy, called five of Washington's top reporters into his office and told them it was now open season on Lyndon Johnson. It's OK, he told them, to go after the story they were ignoring out of deference to the administration. And from that point on until the events in Dallas, Lyndon Baines Johnson's future looked as if it included a sudden end to his political career and a few years in the slammer. The Kennedys had their knives out and sharpened for him and were determined to draw his political blood - all of it. In the Senate, the investigation into the Baker case was moving quickly ahead. Even the Democrats were cooperating, thanks to the Kennedys, and an awful lot of really bad stuff was being revealed - until Nov. 22, 1963. By Nov. 23, all Democrat cooperation suddenly stopped. Lyndon would serve a term and a half in the White House instead of the slammer, the Baker investigation would peter out and Bobby Baker would serve a short sentence and go free. Dallas accomplished all of that. Sometimes I wonder: If I had not met Hill and convinced him to go public with the story, and the Bobby Baker case and Lyndon's part in it had not come out as a result, would Dallas not have happened? I don't like to think about that. There has always been a aspect of the Bobby Baker case I have not been able to understand. Hill told Baker he planned to go to the press with his story. Baker ignored these threats. As Brennen points out, the story was slow to get out. Before publishing their story reporters contacted Johnson. He was furious and he told Baker to sort it out with Hill before the story got published. (2) For some reason, Baker refused claiming that the story would not go public. He was wrong and in September, 1963, the story appeared in the September edition of the Vend magazine (3). The story was then picked up by the Washington Post (4) and became big news. It was as a result of this story that Don Reynolds contacted John Williams. Some else tipped off Williams about the parties that Baker had been holding for politicians, business contacts, members of the underworld and women of easy virtue (very few were actually prostitutes) at Carole Tyler’s home. It was also revealed that Tyler’s home was actually owned by Baker. The question is why did Baker not sort it out? Baker just claims it was the biggest mistake of his life. I suspect Baker is not telling the truth about Hill. Is it possible that the it was already out of Baker’s control. That some powerful figure was already setting up Johnson? That Johnson was being moved into a position that would guarantee that he would participate in the cover-up. Notes (1) Phil Brennan, Some Relevant Facts About the JFK Assassination (19th November, 2003) (2) Bobby Baker, Wheeling and Dealing (1978) pages 175-76 (3) Vending Magazine (September, 1963) (4) Washington Post (12th September, 1963) Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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