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LBJ and the Assassination of John F. Kennedy

John Simkin

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Given the discussion on Cliff Carter, I post the following image purely as a curiosity. It is a rarely published photograph taken just before the swearing in ceremony on AirForce One and before Jackie Kennedy's arrival. I would love to have been a fly on the wall.

Left to right, Judge Sarah T. Hughes, LBJ, Evelyn Lincoln (background), Homer Thornberry, Jack Brooks (arms folded), Cliff Carter and Bill Moyers.


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Here are a couple on interviews that Robert Kennedy gave about the LBJ scandals. Both appeared in Robert Kennedy: His Own Words (1988).

(1) Kennedy was interviewed by John Martlow Martin in April 1964.

John Martlow Martin: The Bobby Baker case broke in November. Do you want to go into the Bobby Baker case?

Robert Kennedy: I can go into it. I really didn't follow it particularly or get into it very much. The newspapers had a number of articles, The Washington Post particularly. I had always heard stories about Bobby Baker, about all his money and free use of money. My relationship with him always had been reasonably friendly, although I didn't have much to do with him. Even though he was opposed to President Kennedy - he was working for Lyndon Johnson - he was always quite reasonable about it. He certainly didn't create any bitterness on our part. So I was reasonably friendly toward him. Our first involvement in it came, I suppose, in a conversation I had with Ben Bradlee (then the Washington Bureau Chief of Newsweek), who had some information. I can't remember exactly what it was, but they printed it in Newsweek. He asked me if we would look into it, and I said we would look into it.

Subsequently, there were a lot of stories that my brother and I were interested in dumping Lyndon Johnson and that I'd started the Bobby Baker case in order to give us a handle to dump Lyndon Johnson. Well, number one, there was no plan to dump Lyndon Johnson. That didn't make any sense. Number two, I hadn't gotten really involved in the Bobby Baker case until after a good number of newspaper stories had appeared about it. There really wasn't any choice but to look into some of the allegations, which were allegations of violations of law. Some weeks after that, I called (Baker) - I suppose sometime in November - and said that I just wanted to assure him that he'd get a fair shake. If there were any problem, he could send his lawyer to the Department of Justice and he would be fairly treated. Abe Fortas was his lawyer. There were a lot of stories then, after November 22, that the Bobby Baker case was really stimulated by me and that this was part of my plan to get something on Johnson. That wasn't correct.

(2) Robert Kennedy was interviewed by Anthony Lewis in December 1964.

Anthony Lewis: Speaking of Mr. Hoover, did you ever have the feeling, in dealing with Mr. Hoover, that he knew a very great deal about you personally? I mean, did he ever make this evident? This is, at least by way of story, of legend, something he's supposed to do?

Robert Kennedy: I suppose every month or so he'd send somebody around to give information- on somebody I knew or a member of my family or allegations in connection with myself. So that it would be clear whether it was right or wrong-that he was on top of all of these things and received all of this information. He would do this also, I think, to find out what my reaction to it would be.

Anthony Lewis: What do you mean by that?

Robert Kennedy: I suppose that, if there were an allegation regarding a friend or something, whether I would ask to have it investigated. If it were an allegation regarding me, what I would do. I remember on one occasion that he said that my brother and I had a group of girls on the twelfth floor-he didn't say it; but Senators, somebody-a group of girls on the twelfth floor of the LaSalle Hotel and that, I think, the President used to go over there once a week and have the place surrounded by Secret Service people, and then go up and have assignations on the twelfth floor of the LaSalle. I suppose the idea was whether you'd have it investigated or what you'd do about it.

Anthony Lewis: Did you ever do anything?

Robert Kennedy: Yes, I always used to have them go over and find out what was going on, on the twelfth floor or whatever it might be. There was something else going on in the Georgetown Inn or something. A lot of it was so far-fetched that, even on the face of it, it didn't make any sense. I mean, if you were going to do that kind of thing, you wouldn't go on over to the LaSalle Hotel with the Secret Service surrounding the place. It was ridiculous on the face of it. But I think that the idea was just so that you would know that they (the FBI) were continuously getting this information.

Then, people that you knew: a report that somebody had been out drinking or something; you know, so-and-so's father is a member of the Communist party; or so-and-so's brother was picked up for strange activities or something like that. You'd have that kind of information so that it was quite clear that all of this kind of information was available to him and to the FBI. At the time of the Bobby Baker case and that German girl who was deported.

Anthony Lewis: Ellie Rometsch.

Robert Kennedy: Ellie Rometsch. Clark Mollenhoff wrote an article that she had been tied up with people at the White House, which was, in fact, incorrect. But in doing that I had looked into the files, what she had said-and she had been tied up with a lot of people at the Capitol!

Anthony Lewis: You looked into the FBI files?

Robert Kennedy: I got all the information she had. It was found out that she was associated with a number of other girls, all of whom had run operations up on Capitol Hill. This is a little bit off the point, but it's rather an interesting sidelight. In any case, I put together the information regarding all the girls and then the members of Congress and the Senate who had been associated with the girls-and it got to be large numbers on both ways.

Anthony Lewis: "Both ways" meaning girls and Congressmen?

Robert Kennedy: Yes. Also, all political parties.

Anthony Lewis: Oh, yes?

Robert Kennedy: They (the FBI) were started down that road at that time. I went to see the President, and I said that I thought that it was very damaging to the reputation of the United States. I spoke to the President about it-and it didn't involve anybody at the White House-but I thought that it would just destroy the confidence that people in the United States had in their government and really make us a laughingstock around the world. I suggested that maybe Hoover should meet with (Senate Majority Leader) Mike Mansfield and (Senate Minority Leader) Everett Dirksen and explain what was in the files and what information they had. So that was arranged at Mike Mansfield's apartment one noon for lunch. I guess it was a shock to both of them.

Anthony Lewis: Were you present?

Robert Kennedy: No. The President talked to them afterwards. From then on, there was less attention, up until the last week, on that aspect of the investigation. Some of the Senators had Negro girlfriends and all kinds of things which were not very helpful.

Anthony Lewis: You were convinced of the accuracy of the stuff?

Robert Kennedy: Well, a lot of that stuff, a lot of that material was accurate. Some of it wasn't accurate. Some of the girls just obviously told lies about it, which was brought out. Some of it I had to look into further to determine the truth or the falsehood of it. And some of it was all lies. But in any case, going back to your point, he has all of that information and that material. But we had it under control. At that time we weren't using it for any purpose. I would say the idea, really, now, is that you can use that information and that material.

Anthony Lewis: Why?

Robert Kennedy: I saw it during the time of the Walter Jenkins case. Lyndon Johnson was up here during the Walter Jenkins case, and I talked to him about the case. His response on the Walter Jenkins thing was to try to develop information on Republican Senators and to develop information regarding Barry Goldwater ... being involved in something-that Barry Goldwater was closely identified with Walter Jenkins. He gave me some information about certain Senators and Congressmen that [he thought] he should bring out, and I knew it had come from the FBI because it was the same material that I had had a year or fourteen months ago. I said that I didn't think that he should do that. My advice to him at that time was that he should answer Walter Jenkins by talking about foreign policy, that he should have a meeting of the National Security Council, that he should go on television and talk about the explosion in China-and not try to answer these things. He had prepared a statement that he was going to give-which he showed me in the car driving out-which hit, sort of indirectly, at Barry Goldwater because Barry Goldwater knew Walter Jenkins.

Anthony Lewis: He was his commanding officer.

Robert Kennedy: Yes. That was all going to be done on that basis. Every time I have any conversation in which there's any attack on Bobby Baker, the response always is: "We should bring this out about such-and-such a Senator." The night before he was up here, he told me, he had , spent all night sitting up and reading the files of the FBI on all of these people. And Lyndon talks about that information and material so freely.

Anthony Lewis: You think it's bound to?

Robert Kennedy: It's going to get out. Bob McNamara, who's having his problems with him now, is convinced that he tried to put a tap on his telephone because he's opposed to him.

Anthony Lewis: You mean because the President thinks McNamara is opposed to him?

Robert Kennedy: No, because Hoover feels that McNamara is opposed to him.

Anthony Lewis: That Hoover put the tap on?

Robert Kennedy: Hoover. To get information, because he thinks that there's a conspiracy by McNamara and me to get rid of Hoover.

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Until yesterday I had not come across anyone who agrees with the idea that LBJ was blackmailed into passing the Civil Rights Act. However, last night I was reading Deborah Davis’ book, ‘Katharine the Great: Katharine Graham and the Washington Post’. (1) The book is about the role the Washington Post played in Operation Mockingbird and does not cover the assassination of JFK.

Davis appears to be well informed about these events. Although she rarely reveals her sources. Davis worked for Ramparts when it became a target of Operation Mockingbird. At the end of 1966 Desmond FitzGerald, head of the Directorate for Plans, was informed that Ramparts, a left-wing publication, had discovered that the CIA had been secretly funding the National Student Association. FitzGerald ordered Edgar Applewhite to organize a campaign against the magazine. Applewhite later told Evan Thomas for his book, The Very Best Men: "I had all sorts of dirty tricks to hurt their circulation and financing. The people running Ramparts were vulnerable to blackmail. We had awful things in mind, some of which we carried off." (2)

This dirty tricks campaign failed to stop Ramparts publishing this story in February, 1967. As well as reporting CIA funding of the National Student Association it exposed the whole system of anti-communist front organizations in Europe, Asia, and South America was essentially blown.

In her book Davis briefly covers LBJ’s reasons for advocating the 1965 Civil Rights Act. She believes the pressure (she does not use the word blackmail) came from the CIA and the FBI. Davis argues that the CIA main preoccupation was to prevent the spread of communism. The CIA (and the FBI) were aware that “dangerous kinds of radicals” were playing an important role in the civil rights and anti-Vietnam War movements.

According to Davis “Communists were working in American to try to create chaos, a belief that Katharine shared not only with the president, but with the directors of the FBI and the CIA, army intelligence and navy intelligence, all of whom a few years later blamed the Soviets for the rise of Black Power” (3)

The Military Industrial Congressional Complex (MICC) could not compromise over the Vietnam War. However, it could undermine the work being done by communists working via the Civil Rights movement. In doing so, the MICC (as reflected in the Suite 8F Group) switched its support from the Democratic Party to the Republican Party. The alliance between the Northern liberals and Southern racists had been destroyed. The 1965 Civil Rights Act made no difference at all to the MICC’s financial objectives.

I think this also helps to explain the assassinations of Malcolm X (4) and Martin Luther King (5). You need to look very closely at the political direction they were taking at the time they were murdered.

In the early 1960s. Malcolm X and Martin Luther King offered two very different approaches to the civil rights issue. This resulted in a divided movement. This would have given great pleasure to those opposed to racial equality. However, in March, 1964, Malcolm X made a pilgrimage to Mecca. On his return, he began to change his views on the subject. In the weeks preceding his murder, he rejected his former separatist beliefs and advocated world brotherhood. Malcolm now blamed racism on Western culture and urged African Americans to join with sympathetic whites to bring it to an end. If Malcolm X had lived he had the potential to unite those who wished to change American society.

After the passing of the 1965 Civil Rights Act Martin Luther King became increasingly involved in the anti-Vietnam War movement. He also got involved in trade union struggles. J. Edgar Hoover was now convinced that King was a communist agent.

In March 1968, James Lawson asked King to visit Memphis, Tennessee, to support of a strike by the city's sanitation workers. On 3rd April, King made his famous I've Been to the Mountaintop speech. The following day, King was killed by a sniper's bullet while standing on the balcony of the motel where he was staying.

After the death of Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy the left fragmented. The Military Industrial Congressional Complex was back in full control. Today, with George Bush in the White House, the MICC must feel it is invincible. After all, who would have thought it would have survived the fall of communism in the late 1980s? It did so by creating another threat. The fear of international terrorism.


1. Deborah Davis, Katharine the Great: Katharine Graham and the Washington Post (1979)

2. Evan Thomas, The Very Best Men: The Early Years of the CIA (1995) page 330

3. Deborah Davis (pages 237-238)

4. http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/USAmalcolmX.htm

5. http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/USAkingML.htm

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Meet Malcolm Wallace.

I knew you would not let me down. The one I uploaded is only a photocopy of Wallace and appears in all the books. These are new to me. Where do they come from?

I just had to share this photograph, after looking at it I thought about the old adage "A picture is worth a thousand words, I mean is it just me or are there not some intruiging glances being exchanged in this photo? I guess this post is a little self-indulgent, but I couldn't resist.

Edited by Robert Howard
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Can anyone explain why LBJ and de Mohrenschildt are writing to one another a week after the Walker Shooting? Can Mr. Simkin explain why LBJ and de Mohrenschildt are meeting in April and May of 1963?

Can Mr. Adams provide proof that LBJ and deMorenschildt met and/or corresponded in the spring of '63?


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The words he used -- again I could be wrong, because he didn't go into detail-- suggest that he might be buying the line about the WC going along with the lone nut in order to flush the far right "communists did it " argument from public perception, thereby preventing a possible nuclear war. I personnaly see this argument-- which was also offered by Michael Bechloss, the acceptable liberal historian on PBS-- to be a planned patch in the cover up quilt: the conspirators knew that by playing up the threat of nuclear war they could get many different parts of the political spectrum involved in the cover up. Most of these, of course were not involved in the assasination itself.

I agree. This was the only excuse that LBJ could come up with after he decided not to go along with the Castro did it theory being pushed by the FBI and the CIA. It is complete nonsense of course. There was no way that the Soviets would have launched a nuclear war if the US invaded Cuba. It is for the same reason that the US did not launch a nuclear attack when the Red Army marched into Hungary in 1956. It was all to do with sphere of interest policy. It this policy was not kept, the Cold War would have quickly become a Hot War (and I mean hot). This provides the key clue to why LBJ launched a cover-up. It makes no sense at all unless you consider what might have happened following an invasion of Cuba.

The whole world would have demanded to see the evidence for the charge that Castro organized the assassination of JFK. The only evidence for this was evidence manufactured by the FBI and the CIA. Anyone with any political understanding of the Cold War knew that it was not in the political interests of Castro to kill JFK. Questions would have been asked about LBJ’s willingness to believe this story. Was he in someway involved in the assassination? Why was it important that he became president in November, 1963? People would have begun to look closely at the Bobby Baker scandal that had been emerging at that time. Don B. Reynolds testimony about LBJ and the General Dynamics TFX contract, given in a closed session of the Senate Rules Committee on the day of the assassination would have become public. Even if LBJ was not guilty of organizing the assassination, most people would have believed this was the case.

LBJ was a shrewd politician who always kept risks to the minimum. His safest course was to force Hoover and McCone to come up with the lone gunman theory. Then it would be case-closed and he would then be in a position to use his power to cover-up the Bobby Baker scandal. The clue to this concerns the first person they had to kill after the assassination. E. Grant Stockdale on 2nd December, 1963.

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This article is well woth reading.


Yellow Roses by Dave Reitzes

Malcolm E. "Mac" Wallace came to Washington to work for Senator Lyndon B.

Johnson before being appointed as an economist to the Department of

Agriculture. Wallace was the convicted murderer of John Douglas Kinser, a

professional golfer then dating Senator Lyndon B. Johnson's sister,

Josefa Johnson. The murder had taken place on October 22, 1951. Wallace

shot Doug Kinser five times with a .25 caliber automatic handgun. When

the case came to trial in the 98th District Court of Travis County before

Judge Charles O. Betts, Wallace was represented by Lyndon Baines

Johnson's longtime personal lawyer, John Cofer. On March 27, 1952,

Wallace was convicted of "murder with malice aforethought" -- murder in

the first degree -- for which he received a five year suspended sentence.

He walked away essentially a free man (J. Evetts Haley, *A Texan Looks at

Lyndon,* 107-8).

In 1961, State Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation official Henry

Marshall was investigating a broad series of fraudulent government

subsidies -- amounting to figures in the seven or eight digit range --

allotted to Billie Sol Estes, a close personal friend of Senate Majority

Leader then Vice-President Lyndon B. Johnson. Marshall had uncovered a

paper trail that was leading him closer and closer to Johnson himself.

On June 3, 1961, Mac Wallace knocked Henry Marshall unconscious with a

blunt object, fed the unconscious man carbon monoxide from a hose

attached to Wallace's pick-up truck, then shot him five times with a

bolt-action .22 caliber rifle and dumped him in a remote corner of

Marshall's farm near Franklin, Texas. Justice of the Peace Lee Farmer

pronounced the death a suicide and ordered Marshall buried without an

autopsy -- over the protests of Marshall's widow. The verdict remained

unchanged until 1984, when Billie Sol Estes, under a grant of immunity,

told a grand jury that Wallace had been Marshall's killer, and that the

order came from Vice-President Lyndon B. Johnson through White House aide

Cliff Carter. Based on Estes' testimony and supporting evidence, the

grand jury changed the earlier ruling of suicide to murder. Mac Wallace

could not be indicted; he died in an automobile accident in Pittsburgh,

Texas, on January 7, 1971.

On December 25, 1961, LBJ's sister, Josefa Johnson, was found dead in bed

at her Fredericksburg, Texas home at 3:15 am. The cause of death was

stated to be a brain hemorrhage. Josefa Johnson had returned home at

11:45 pm from a Christmas party at Lyndon Johnson's ranch. There was no

autopsy and no inquest; the death certificate was executed by a doctor

who was not present to examine the deceased. Ms. Johnson was embalmed on

Christmas Day and buried on December 26th (Walt Brown, "The Sordid Story

of Mac Wallace," *JFK/Deep Politics Quarterly,* July 1998).

A Pecos doctor, John Dunn, picked up Henry Marshall's investigation.

Despite filing his report on Johnson and Estes with numerous law

enforcement agencies and US congressmen and senators, Dunn could not

convince a single press outlet to report his findings, and no one in

Washington would take any action. Out of desperation, Dunn and an

associate bought their own newspaper, the Pecos Independent and

Enterprise, and began running the Johnson-Estes stories on February 12,

1962. A month later, Billie Sol Estes was in jail; he would receive a

light sentence with the help of Johnson's ever-helpful John Cofer. The

Senate Investigations Subcommittee chaired by John McClellan conducted a

brief and superficial series of hearings that swiftly exonerated Johnson

of wrongdoing without any substantial investigation. Dr. John Dunn was

soon disbarred from practicing medicine and charged with malpractice and

claims that he had taken advantage of a patient, a young black woman, all

of which Dunn vigorously denied (Haley, 119-24).

"On the night of April 4, 1962, at the western end of Texas, a ranchman

came upon the body of George Krutilek in the sandhills near the town of

Clint, slumped in his car with a hose from his exhaust stuck in the

window. He had been dead for several days, and the El Paso County

pathologist, Dr. Frederick Bornstein , held that he certainly did not die

from carbon monoxide poisoning (San Angelo *Standard Times,* April 5,

1962; Haley, 137).

"Krutilek was a forty-nine-year old certified public accountant who had

undergone secret grilling by FBI agents on April 2, the day after Billie

Sol Estes' arrest. . . . Krutilek had worked for Estes and had been the

recipient of his favors, but he was never seen or heard of again after

the FBI grilling until his badly decomposed body was found" (Haley, 137).

Harold Eugene Orr was the president of the Superior Manufacturing Company

of Amarillo, Texas when he was indicted for his role in Estes' fraudulent

enterprises, and sentenced to a ten-year prison term. On February 28,

1964, just before Orr was to begin his prison term, he was found dead of

carbon monoxide poisoning in his garage. It was ruled an accidental

death. A few weeks later, Howard Pratt, the Chicago office manager of

Commercial Solvents, a supplier of farm products for Billie Sol Estes,

was also found dead in his car, a victim of carbon monoxide poisoning.

This strange series of carbon monoxide deaths was discussed in an

Amarillo *Globe-Times* article of March 26, 1964, by reporter Clyde

Walters (Haley, 137-38).

Coleman Wade was a building contractor out of Altus, Oklahoma, who had

contracted with Billie Sol Estes for many of Estes' storage facilities.

In early 1963, Wade was flying home from Pecos, Texas, in his private

plane when the craft went down in the area of Kermit, Texas, its

occupants instantly killed. "Government investigators swept in and

instead of expeditiously cleaning up the wreckage in their routine way,

kept the area roped off for days" (Haley, 141).

When Lyndon Johnson's friend, Mayor Tom Miller of Austin, died, Johnson

flew down for the funeral. During his return flight, he made an

unscheduled stop in Midland, Texas, where Billie Sol Estes and an

unidentified lawyer were quietly escorted on board. The men met for an

hour while the plane was guarded by Secret Service men. When reports of

this secret meeting leaked out from eyewitnesses, an investigator tried

to obtain the flight records for the Midland airport. He found the

records were sealed by government order (Haley, 147).

A decade after LBJ's death, a friend of Estes, a federal marshal, talked

Estes into coming forward with what he knew about Henry Marshall's death.

Then on August 9, 1984, following Billie Sol Estes' grand jury testimony

regarding Mac Wallace's murder of Henry Marshall, Estes' attorney,

Douglas Caddy sent a letter to Stephen S. Trott, Assistant Attorney

General, Criminal Division, of the US Department of Justice. The letter


Dear Mr. Trott:

My client, Mr. Estes, has authorized me to make this reply to your letter

of May 29, 1984.

Mr. Estes was a member of a four-member group, headed by Lyndon Johnson,

which committed criminal acts in Texas in the 1960s. The other two,

besides Mr. Estes and LBJ, were [White House aide] Cliff Carter and Mac

Wallace. Mr. Estes is willing to disclose his knowledge concerning the

following criminal offenses:

1. Murders

1. The killing of Henry Marshall 2. The killing of George Krutilek 3. The

killing of Ike Rogers and his secretary 4. The killing of Harold Orr 5.

The killing of Coleman Wade 6. The killing of Josefa Johnson 7. The

killing of John Kinser 8. The killing of President J. F. Kennedy

Mr. Estes is willing to testify that LBJ ordered these killings, and that

he transmitted his orders through Cliff Carter to Mac Wallace, who

executed the murders. In the cases of murders nos. 1-7, Mr. Estes'

knowledge of the precise details concerning the way the murders were

executed stems from conversations he had shortly after each event with

Cliff Carter and Mac Wallace.

In addition, a short time after Mr. Estes was released from prison in

1971, he met with Cliff Carter and they reminisced about what had

occurred in the past, including the murders. During their conversation,

Carter orally compiled a list of 17 murders which had been committed,

some of which Mr. Estes was unfamiliar [sic]. A living witness was

present at that meeting and should be willing to testify about it. He is

Kyle Brown, recently of Houston and now living in Brady, Texas. . . .

It continues for several more pages, detailing many other crimes Estes

had knowledge of, including illegal cotton allotments and payoffs.

Estes' testimony was conditional on certain demands, including immunity

from prosecution, a full pardon, and absolution of past income tax debts.

Talks between the Justice Department and Billie Sol Estes broke off later

in the year.

On June 19, 1992, US Marshall Clint Peoples told a friend of his that he

had documentary evidence that Mac Wallace was one of the shooters in

Dealey Plaza. On June 23rd, Peoples, a former Texas Ranger and a onetime

friend of Henry Marshall, was killed in a mysterious one-car automobile

accident in Texas.

Investigator Harrison Livingstone spoke to Kyle Brown, named as a witness

in the above letter, at length in 1993, and Brown backed up everything

Livingstone had heard. Kyle Brown, to this day, is one of Billie Sol

Estes' closest friends.

On March 12, 1998, a 1951 fingerprint of Malcolm "Mac" Wallace was

positively matched with a copy of a fingerprint labeled "Unknown," a

fresh print lifted on November 22, 1963, from a carton by the southeast

sixth floor window of the Texas School Book Depository. This carton was

labeled "Box A," and also contained several fingerprints identified as

those of Lee Harvey Oswald. The identification was made by A. Nathan

Darby, a Certified Latent Print Examiner with several decades experience.

Mr. Darby is a member of the International Association of Identifiers,

and was chosen to help design the Eastman Kodak Miracode System of

transmitting fingerprints between law enforcement agencies. Mr. Darby

signed a sworn, notarized affidavit stating that he was able to affirm a

14-point match between the "Unknown" fingerprint and the "blind" print

card submitted to him, which was the 1951 print of Mac Wallace's. US law

requires a 12-point match for legal identification; Darby's match is more

conclusive than the legal minimum. As cardboard does not retain

fingerprints for long, it is certain that Malcolm E. Wallace left his

fingerprint on "Box A" on the sixth floor of the Texas School Book

Depository early on November 22, 1963.

The FBI currently has custody of the Mac Wallace fingerprint, Nathan

Darby's sworn affidavit, and several hundred pages of corroborative

evidence developed by Texas research group which is currently remaining

anonymous. Brown has received permission from the group to release the

name of one eyewitness to some of the covert business dealings between

Lyndon B. Johnson and members of the assassination plot. This is Barr

McClellan of Houston, Texas, onetime attorney for the law firm led by Ed

Clark, which had represented Lyndon B. Johnson in the 1960s.

Biographer Robert A. Caro, author of two volumes to date in the

groundbreaking series *The Years of Lyndon Johnson* writes:

"Because Lyndon Johnson would have been only sixty-seven years old, when,

in 1975, I began my research on his life, most of his contemporaries were

still alive. This made it possible to find out what he was like while he

was growing up from the best possible sources: those who grew up with

him. And it also makes it possible to clear away . . . the misinformation

that has surrounded the early life of Lyndon Johnson.

"The extent of this misinformation, the reason it exists, and the

importance of clearing it away, so that the character of our thirty-sixth

President will become clear, became evident to me while researching his

years at college. The articles and biographies which have dealt with

these years have in general portrayed Johnson as a popular, even

charismatic, campus figure. The oral histories of his classmates

collected by the Lyndon Johnson library portray him in the same light. In

the early stages of my research, I had no reason to think there was

anything more to the story. Indeed, when one of the first of his

classmates whom I interviewed, Henry Kyle, told me a very different

story, I believed that because Kyle had been defeated by Johnson in a

number of campus encounters, I was hearing only a prejudiced account by

an embittered man, and did not even bother typing up my notes of the


"Then, however, I began to interview other classmates. . . . When I found

them, I was told the old anecdotes that had become part of the Lyndon

Johnson myth. But over and over again, the man or woman I was

interviewing would tell me that these anecdotes were not the whole story.

When I asked for the rest of it, they wouldn't tell it. A man named

Vernon Whiteside could have told me, they said, but, they said, they had

heard that Vernon Whiteside was dead.

"One day, however, I phoned Horace Richards, a Johnson classmate who

lived in Corpus Christi, to arrange to drive down from Austin to see him.

Richards said that there was indeed a great deal more to the story of

Lyndon Johnson at college than had been told, but that he wouldn't tell

me unless Vernon Whiteside would too. But Whiteside was dead, I said.

"Hell, no," Richards said. "He's not dead. He was here visiting me just

last week.

". . . I traced Mr. Whiteside to a mobile home court in Highland Beach,

Florida . . . flew there to see him, and from him heard for the first

time many of the character-revealing episodes of Lyndon Johnson's years

at San Marcos at which the other classmates had hinted. And when I

returned to these classmates, they confirmed Whiteside's account;

Richards himself added many details. And now they told additional

stories, not at all like the ones they had told before . . . [a]nd the

portrait of Lyndon Johnson at San Marcos that finally emerged was very

different from the one previously sketched.

"The experience was repeated again and again during the seven years spent

on this book. Of the hundreds of persons interviewed, scores had never

been interviewed before, and the information these persons have provided

-- in some cases even though they were quite worried about providing it

-- has helped form a portrait of Lyndon Johnson substantially different

from all previous portraits" (Caro, The Years of Lyndon Johnson: The Path

to Power, 769-70).

This passage demonstrates the power that Lyndon Baines Johnson wielded

over people; even people who hadn't seen him in fifty years; even people

who knew nothing of him but his childhood and teen years -- people who

knew no secrets of state, no political ammunition, little more than

gossip; people who continued to fear him and "his people" even after

Lyndon Baines Johnson, in fact, was dead.

Caro continues:

"Prior to his entrance into campus politics at San Marcos, 'no one,' as

another student recalled, 'cared about campus politics.' Elections -- for

class offices or the Student Council -- were casual affairs. But Johnson

saw in those elections an opportunity to obtain a measure of control,

small but pivotal, over the fate of some of his fellow students. At this

'poor boys' school,' a diploma was for many students the only hope of

escape from a life of poverty and brutal physical toil on their families'

impoverished ranches and farms, and in the Depression, campus jobs, with

their tiny cash stipends, represented the only means by which these young

men could stay in school and obtain their diplomas. Johnson saw a method

by which the victors in campus politics could obtain authority to

dispense those jobs. And to obtain this power that no one else had

focused on, he did what no one else on the sleepy campus had done:

created, out of a small social club, a disciplined and secret political

organization. And when, because of his personal unpopularity, the club

could not, despite his organizing, win elections, he taught

unsophisticated farm boys how to steal elections (and how to win them by

other methods: 'blackmailing' a popular rival woman candidate out of a

race over a meaningless indiscretion, for example; 'things we would never

have dreamt of if it hadn't been for Lyndon'). College Hill's pattern was

repeated on Capitol Hill in 1933 and 1934. The 'Little Congress' of

congressional aides was a social organization. But Lyndon Johnson saw in

its presidency a means of entree to men of power. Again there were

repeated complaints, this time from fellow Little Congress members, that

he had 'stolen' elections ('Everyone said it: "In that last election that

damn Lyndon Johnson stole some votes again"'). When, in 1933 and 1934,

Johnson was accused of 'stuffing' a ballot box, he was not yet

represented by Abe Fortas, and his accusers succeeded in accomplishing

what Fortas prevented Johnson's 1948 accusers from accomplishing: opening

the ballot box. When the Little Congress box was opened, it was found

that the accusations against Johnson were true. Again, as at college,

what he had done was unprecedented: no one had ever stuffed a Little

Congress ballot box before. (And, perhaps no one would ever stuff one

again, for after his departure the organization quickly reverted to its

easygoing social role; 'My God, who would cheat to win the presidency of

something like the Little Congress?') In his first campaign for the

Senate, he stole thousands of votes, and when they proved insufficient

('He ['Pappy' O'Daniel] stole more votes than we did, that's all'), his

reaction was to try to steal still more, and his failure in this attempt

was due only to [an] irredeemable tactical error, not to any change in

the pattern . . . At each previous stage of his career, then, Johnson's

election tactics had made clear not only a hunger for power but a

willingness to take (within the context of American politics, of course;

the coups and assassinations that characterize other countries' politics

were not and never would be included in his calculations) whatever

political steps would be necessary to satisfy that hunger. Over and over

again, he had stretched the rules of the game to their breaking point,

and then had broken them, pushing deeper into the ethical and legal

no-man's-land beyond them than others were willing to go. Now, in 1948 .

. . he was operating beyond the loosest boundaries of prevailing custom

and political morality. What had been demonstrated before was now

underlined in the strongest terms: in the context of the politics that

was his life, Lyndon Johnson would do whatever was necessary to win. Even

in terms of the most elastic political morality -- the political morality

of 1940s Texas -- his methods were amoral" (Robert A. Caro, *The Years of

Lyndon Johnson: Means of Ascent,* 397-98).

Lyndon Johnson could not have acted without the assistance of his best

friend, the most powerful law enforcement agent in the world, J. Edgar

Hoover, Director of the FBI. An operation such as this could not be run

without enormous cash reserves, businesses in which to launder funds and

transmit orders, to set up trusts for beneficiaries at a later date; the

kind of money that H. L. Hunt had; the kind of money that Clint Murchison

had. In 1963, oilman H. L. Hunt was literally one of the richest men in

world, estimated to be worth five billion dollars.

H. L. Hunt had the kind of money that could buy trucks, jeeps, guns, and

explosives for the Minutemen and the John Birch Society; could fund a

radio station making daily broadcasts interpreting the day's news in

light of the terrible "Communist threat" in the inner corridors of

Washington; could build munitions plants and helicopter factories just in

case a war should suddenly erupt; could keep active men with valuable

connections such as Sergio Arcacha Smith and Jack Ruby on the payroll.

Hunt and his sons had a private intelligence agency up and running to

combat the Communist threat, having hired intelligence agents away from

their government positions to charge for their loyalties by the hour.

Their man in charge was Paul Rothermel, an ex-FBI agent presiding over a

host of ex-FBI agents, and ex-CIA assets could also be counted on to keep

their mouths shut. Hunt's top aide for many years, John Curington,

eventually left the organization, fed up playing cops and robbers without

a badge.

He told Harrison Livingstone that not only was Lamar Hunt chatting with

Ruby on November 21st, but shortly after Oswald's arrest, H. L. himself

requested that Curington personally take a stroll over to DPD

headquarters to see how tight security was around the suspect. He added

that Curington should make a point to check out the elevators they were

using to transport the prisoner. Curington strode into the building, rang

for the elevator, and when the doors opened he found himself face to face

with Lee Harvey Oswald. Oswald's police escort introduced the two men

(Livingstone, *Killing the Truth,* 502). His employer was pleased to

learn that security around the prisoner was rather lax.

Curington saw Marina Oswald depart from a private meeting with H. L. Hunt

one evening in December 1963. "Hunt asked me to lock everything up and

prevent anyone from coming upstairs on the elevator. As I waited, an

elevator came down and Marina Oswald came out of it, left the building,

and got into a waiting car. I'm absolutely sure it was her" (Livingstone,

501). Marina first denied the story, but has conceded that she met with

many people she didn't know after the assassination.

Eventually, the Hunt "security" agency became so intricate that the

billionaire's billionaire son, Nelson Bunker Hunt, would feel the need to

institute his own counterintelligence program to weed out intruders and

turncoats; it would cost him. Paul Rothermel, the former G-man, went

public with incredible charges against the younger Hunt, whom, Rothermel

charged, asked him to help start a private army to be called the American

Volunteer Group (AVG), drawn from the ranks of General Edwin A. Walker's

John Bircher brigade. Hunt's goal was a top-secret paramilitary based in

southern California that could be called upon to act when Communists and

liberals got too pushy. Like father, like son; just before November 22,

1963, H. L. Hunt told a gathering of compatriots that the only way to get

Communists like the Kennedy brothers out of office is to "shoot 'em out."

When Rothermel refused to participate, he found himself spied upon and

his phone tapped. Nelson Bunker Hunt would eventually plead guilty "to a

misdemeanor stemming from a massive wiretapping conspiracy in which he'd

hired a Houston detective agency to eavesdrop upon his own security

force, a force composed largely of former FBI agents" (Jim Hougan,

*Spooks,* 74-75). Hunt denied the AVG charge, however, journalist Peter

Noyes confirmed that the AVG was up and running for at least a brief

period of time. His sources were a number of active California Minutemen,

a group which had been tapped by the Hunts for recruits, but who found

the Hunts a bit extreme even for their taste (Hougan, 75).

H. L. Hunt once wrote a novel called Alpaca, about a utopian democracy

that based citizenship rights on property ownership and educational

qualifications. (Hunt dropped out of school in the sixth grade.)

Elections in this best of all possible worlds were determined by the

amount of taxes one paid; the more you pay, the more votes you get.

A source requesting anonymity told Harry Livingstone, "H. L. had every

lawyer in Dallas doing something for him. He'd give them all a little

piece of the pie, and nobody could find a lawyer big enough to stand up

to him." Madeleine Brown - Lyndon B. Johnson's longtime mistress and

mother of his illegitimate son Steven, as well as a personal friend of

the Hunts for a number of years -- said, "If they didn't play his game,

they went in and took it. They pulled no punches. The had no morals. They

had no rules. It was strictly power. They were absolutely ruthless"

(Livingstone, 496-7). Madeleine has come to regret merely standing by and


John Curington told Livingstone that H. L. Hunt had a personal line to

Lyndon Johnson through their mutual friend Boothe Mooney (Livingstone,


If Hunt and LBJ were birds of a feather, Johnson also flocked around his

close friend J. Edgar Hoover's generous benefactors, the family of oil

baron Clint Murchison. Murchison is now well known to have hosted the FBI

director for any number of paid vacations both to his home and private

race track as well as other glamorous jaunts, often hobnobbing with the

gangsters the FBI would presumably be prosecuting were they not devoting

all their manpower to fighting the Red Menace. Hoover had been arguably

the most powerful man in Washington for some decades, and it was common

knowledge that JFK was going to put him out to pasture following the 1964

election, just as Kennedy was going to do to Lyndon.

Lyndon's scandalous wheeling and dealing with Bobby Baker from his Senate

days were catching up with him even faster than the Billie Sol Estes

affair, and it would bring the whole Democratic party down with it if the

key players weren't thrown overboard. Estes and to a lesser degree

Johnson were the primary benefactors of their doings, while everyone on

Capitol Hill knew Bobby Baker, and every lawyer, lobbyist, and lawmaker

wanted a piece of the action -- and Bobby was LBJ's boy. The dealings had

been too many to keep quiet with a quick "Texas suicide." LBJ wasn't just

looking at the end of his political career; he was looking at hard time.

Within 24 hours of the assassination, Lyndon Johnson called Captain Will

Fritz, chief of the Homicide Bureau of the DPD, and personally informed

him he had his man in custody and the investigation was over. Johnson

aide Cliff Carter phoned the same message to Texas DA Waggoner Carr, who

was none too pleased to receive it. When Lee Harvey Oswald lay dying in

Parkland Hospital on November 24, 1963, Dr. Charles Crenshaw was

astonished to pick up a phone call and find himself talking to the

President of the United States, who said he wanted a confession from

Oswald; he didn't get it. Johnson created the Warren Commission, which

answered only to him, thereby preempting the numerous proposed

investigations in Texas and on Capitol Hill. Then Johnson locked up as

much of the evidence as he could, all with the help of J. Edgar Hoover,

who buried or destroyed any evidence that threatened to upset the apple

cart; the Hunts and Murchisons and their enormous cash and influence, and

certain rogue elements of the intelligence community who resented Kennedy

for both his foreign policy and his attempts to curb the CIA's massive

and wholly unconstitutional power.

The intelligence community has long hidden in the shadows of the

assassination, between the more obvious suspects as well as the "false

sponsors" they intentionally drew into the operation to shield themselves

-- Castro, the anti-Castro Cubans, the Mob. That was their most important

contribution; though they routinely interfaced with the Texans and

undoubtedly played a role in the events of Dealey Plaza, their most

valuable asset was the one which was needed most: the unfathomed

capability of certain of their ranks to confuse and deceive. More than

getaway planes and unmarked cars, the plotters needed smoke and mirrors

to blind and mislead, to confuse and disorient. They had planned for such

a need; they had masters of propaganda at key points, allies in the

press, and for their greatest trick, a certain "Harvey" rabbit to produce

from a hat and then make disappear on cue.

It may be pure conjecture, but given Hunt's organizational ties and

unholy alliances, his personal spies and private law, one wonders if it

doesn't strain credulity to the breaking point to think there wasn't

someone else we know to have been in Dallas who couldn't have somehow

stumbled into this snakepit; someone who Hunt's chief staff assistant

John Curington admitted he "had run across . . . before the

assassination" (Dick Russell, "The Man Who Knew Too Much,* 317). It was

John Curington who turned over a previously unknown slip of paper to the

FBI, a brief note the handwriting of which has been authenticated by

numerous independent handwriting analysts. The only part of the note

disputed is the signature, which appears to be misspelled. But the

purported author was not immune to misspelling his own name, even on a

very deliberately executed, typewritten document (CE 908, 18 H 97); see

Reitzes, "Alik and Marina."

Nov. 8, 1963

Dear Mr. Hunt,

I would like information concerding [sic] my position.

I am asking only for information. I am suggesting that we discuss the

matter fully before any steps are taken by me or anyone else.

Thank You,

Lee Harvy [sic]


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