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Destiny Betrayed 2022


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58 minutes ago, W. Tracy Parnell said:

I see that Anna Nelson is cited in the article. One should avoid that. We have reason to believe she knows little about the assassination, and simply decided, a la Bugliosi, that it was too complicated to think about, and that one should just accept Oswald's guilt. 

Here she is in 1998, in a chapter on the ARRB for a book entitled ""A Culture of Secrecy – The Government Versus the People's Right to Know." When discussing the Warren Commission's conclusions, she wrote "Three shots had been fired; one hit the president but did not kill him, one went astray, and the third killed Kennedy and wounded Governor Connally of Texas..."

Yikes. Historian or not, she was so ignorant about the case that she thought the single-bullet theory related to a final shot head shot. 

That's not all that surprising, moreover. From studying the articles and TV programs that came out around the 50th it became clear to me that the average talking head,  "pundit" or "historian" knows less than the average reader of this forum. And it's not even close. 

Edited by Pat Speer
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2 hours ago, W. Tracy Parnell said:

Litwin seems blind to the full context of the memo. In deciding to use the press to shut down "undue rumors" Katzenbach has started a defacto cover-up. Neither he, nor Hoover, nor the DPD, had enough info at that time to say it was Oswald acting alone, but they had already decided that was the best story to tell the public.

He is also misleading about just what these "undue rumors" were. One of the biggest surprises I came across when I started looking into this horrible bit of history was that most everyone has bought the cover story--that Johnson was worried the assassination would lead to nuclear war, etc--when the historical fact is that Johnson was mostly concerned people would think he was behind the assassination. That's right. It's 100% clear when one looks at it that the WC was created to clear Johnson of the crime. Warren would not think it improper to chair a commission looking into the possibility of foreign involvement, after all, but would think it improper to have the Chief Justice--the head of the Judicial branch--clear a President--the head of the executive branch. And he was right. It was improper. Grossly improper. So improper that only a Machiavellian animal like Johnson would force Warren to do it.

 

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4 hours ago, Pat Speer said:

Litwin seems blind to the full context of the memo. In deciding to use the press to shut down "undue rumors" Katzenbach has started a defacto cover-up. Neither he, nor Hoover, nor the DPD, had enough info at that time to say it was Oswald acting alone, but they had already decided that was the best story to tell the public.

He is also misleading about just what these "undue rumors" were. One of the biggest surprises I came across when I started looking into this horrible bit of history was that most everyone has bought the cover story--that Johnson was worried the assassination would lead to nuclear war, etc--when the historical fact is that Johnson was mostly concerned people would think he was behind the assassination. That's right. It's 100% clear when one looks at it that the WC was created to clear Johnson of the crime. Warren would not think it improper to chair a commission looking into the possibility of foreign involvement, after all, but would think it improper to have the Chief Justice--the head of the Judicial branch--clear a President--the head of the executive branch. And he was right. It was improper. Grossly improper. So improper that only a Machiavellian animal like Johnson would force Warren to do it.

Pat on the face of it this idea that the purpose of the Warren Commission was to clear LBJ of the crime, and that was the issue with Earl Warren's reluctance, does not make sense. Could you elaborate or develop that?

Here is what does not make sense: you know there had to be a high-profile investigation in the public eye so the only issue was what form it would take. There was no evidence or credible allegation that LBJ had done it so it was not as if something concrete was out there in the air that needed to be investigated and cleared. No doubt LBJ did not want people thinking it was him, and for sure there would be street talk in America wondering if he did it. But as long as that was not the talk in Congress or from Walter Cronkite, which it wasn't, that does not drive an investigation of that magnitude. (What the non-voting working poor bottom half of America says or thinks being of little concern in the larger picture of things provided it is not organized.) Earl Warren's reluctance, its been a while but I have read that he had other things on his plate in his life at that time and it was not his wish to take on this major undertaking, for reasons that appear unrelated to an issue of clearing LBJ. I also do not see an obvious legal issue per se in the head of the judicial branch investigating the head of the executive branch. There is no legal conflict of interest that I can see in that (if hypothetically the investigation had gone in that direction). And on LBJ invoking the nuclear threat/Cold War becoming hot war issue, that strikes me as very, very believable as a real issue and not a pretext. 

That is why your comment took me by surprise. Could you develop it a little? Say why the the sensitive issue of the Oswald/Castro or Oswald/USSR linkages would not be of real, as opposed to manufactured, concern as to relations between the superpowers and management of conflict so as to limit the Cold War to skirmishes in proxy small states without going nuclear at each other in a big way? If, for example, there came to be a believed public narrative that the USSR had been behind the assassination--killing America's own popular president!--is there a realistic way that could not have gone nuclear? (Doesn't matter whether the allegation is true or not, only if it is popularly believed.) Maybe skilled diplomacy on both US and USSR sides could have navigated a non-nuclear resolution to a US president assassinated by Moscow--they could apologize? promise a trillion dollars to make it up to Jackie and Caroline and the American people? Soviet leaders assure the American people that the KGB who did that had been fired and it was a mistake and won't happen again? 

And if the only exit ramp away from the destruction of the world was for LBJ to explain that it was all some loose cannon CIA fabricating the whole setup to only make it look that way with Oswald, that might quell the overpowering popular urge to retaliate on the USSR (think 911 reaction driving the Iraq war x 500). But it would be an utter meltdown of the US intelligence agencies, the mother of all scandals (as Saddam Hussein would put it).

I can see LBJ leaning on Earl Warren, elder statesman of America with gravitas and respect, telling Earl Warren this was much bigger than what he would prefer to do with the rest of his life. It was existential. If he loved his country he had no choice. LBJ pressed hard and Earl Warren consented, and looked like a broken man the rest of his life over it.

What is your counter-narrative? 

Edited by Greg Doudna
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55 minutes ago, Greg Doudna said:

Pat on the face of it this idea that the purpose of the Warren Commission was to clear LBJ of the crime, and that was the issue with Earl Warren's reluctance, does not make sense. Could you elaborate or develop that?

Here is what does not make sense: you know there had to be a high-profile investigation in the public eye so the only issue was what form it would take. There was no evidence or credible allegation that LBJ had done it so it was not as if something concrete was out there in the air that needed to be investigated and cleared. No doubt LBJ did not want people thinking it was him, and for sure there would be street talk in America wondering if he did it. But as long as that was not the talk in Congress or from Walter Cronkite, which it wasn't, that does not drive an investigation of that magnitude. (What the non-voting working poor bottom half of America says or thinks being of little concern in the larger picture of things provided it is not organized.) Earl Warren's reluctance, its been a while but I have read that he had other things on his plate in his life at that time and it was not his wish to take on this major undertaking, for reasons that appear unrelated to an issue of clearing LBJ. I also do not see an obvious legal issue per se in the head of the judicial branch investigating the head of the executive branch. There is no legal conflict of interest that I can see in that (if hypothetically the investigation had gone in that direction). And on LBJ invoking the nuclear threat/Cold War becoming hot war issue, that strikes me as very, very believable as a real issue and not a pretext. 

That is why your comment took me by surprise. Could you develop it a little? Say why the the sensitive issue of the Oswald/Castro or Oswald/USSR linkages would not be of real, as opposed to manufactured, concern as to relations between the superpowers and management of conflict so as to limit the Cold War to skirmishes in proxy small states without going nuclear at each other in a big way? If, for example, there came to be a believed public narrative that the USSR had been behind the assassination--killing America's own popular president!--is there a realistic way that could not have gone nuclear? (Doesn't matter whether the allegation is true or not, only if it is popularly believed.) Maybe skilled diplomacy on both US and USSR sides could have navigated a non-nuclear resolution to a US president assassinated by Moscow--they could apologize? promise a trillion dollars to make it up to Jackie and Caroline and the American people? Soviet leaders assure the American people that the KGB who did that had been fired and it was a mistake and won't happen again? 

And if the only exit ramp away from the destruction of the world was for LBJ to explain that it was all some loose cannon CIA fabricating the whole setup to only make it look that way with Oswald, that might quell the overpowering popular urge to retaliate on the USSR (think 911 reaction driving the Iraq war x 500). But it would be an utter meltdown of the US intelligence agencies, the mother of all scandals (as Saddam Hussein would put it).

I can see LBJ leaning on Earl Warren, elder statesman of America with gravitas and respect, telling Earl Warren this was much bigger than what he would prefer to do with the rest of his life. It was existential. If he loved his country he had no choice. LBJ pressed hard and Earl Warren consented, and looked like a broken man the rest of his life over it.

What is your counter-narrative? 

It's not my counter-narrative. It's the historical truth, or will be when the historians get their heads out of their rectums. Think about it. The right-wing in this country HATED Earl Warren and considered him to be a commie symp if not a commie himself. His leading a panel claiming Oswald did not do it for Russia meant nothing to them. So why was Warren necessary? Because the left held him in high esteem and would largely believe him if he told them no right-wing conspiracy was afoot. Well, what would be the point of Warren's investigating if he might go off the reservation and lead a fishing expedition of the right wing? No way was Johnson gonna allow that. No way. It's clear then that Warren was upset because Johnson not only told him he had to lead the investigation, but that it was his patriotic duty to clear Johnson in the process. The Warren Commission was political theater, that made no real attempt at getting at the truth. 

At the end of the section on the Warren Commission on my website, I list the clear-cut evidence Warren was in on the fix.

From Chapter 3c at patspeer.com:

1. Chief Justice Warren was determined from the outset that the commission investigating President Kennedy's death limit its scope to the investigations already performed by the Dallas Police, Secret Service and FBI. Yes, unbelievably, the transcript of the commission's first conference reflects that Warren wanted the commission to have no investigators of its own, no subpoena power, and no public hearings.

2. When the Attorney General of Texas, Waggoner Carr, persisted in his plan to convene a Texas Court of Inquiry, a public hearing at which much of the evidence against Lee Harvey Oswald would be presented, Warren convinced him to cancel his plan by assuring him the commission would be "fair to Texas." No record was made of this meeting.

3. Not long thereafter, the commission became privy to the rumor Oswald had been an intelligence asset. Although commissioner and former CIA chief Allen Dulles assured Warren and his fellow commissioners the FBI and CIA would lie about this, he also told them the only way to get to the bottom of it was to ask President Johnson to personally tell the heads of the FBI and CIA not to lie. Warren did not do this. And the transcript of the hearing in which this rumor was first discussed was destroyed, undoubtedly at Warren's direction.

4. The commission's staff had questions about the medical evidence. They were particularly concerned about the location of Kennedy's back wound, which may have been too low to support the single-bullet theory deemed necessary to the commission's conclusion Oswald acted alone. Even so, Warren personally prevented Dr. James J. Humes from reviewing the autopsy photos he'd had taken, and wished to review.

5. The commission's staff had questions about Oswald's trip to Mexico. What did he say to those he spoke to? What did he do at night? Did he actually go to the Cuban consulate and Russian embassy on the days the CIA said he'd visited the consulate and embassy? And yet, despite the commission's staff's fervid desire they be allowed to interview Sylvia Duran, a Mexican woman employed by the Cuban consulate, who'd handled Oswald's request he be allowed to visit Cuba, (and who, it turns out, was rumored to have entertained Oswald at night), Chief Justice Warren personally prevented them from doing so, telling commission counsel David Slawson that "You just can't believe a Communist...We don't talk to Communists. You cannot trust a dedicated Communist to tell us the truth, so what's the point?"

6. The commission's staff had questions about Russia's involvement in the assassination. Oswald, of course, had lived in Russia. His wife was Russian. While in Mexico, he'd met with a KGB agent named Kostikov, who was believed to have been the KGB's point man on assassinations for the western hemisphere. Shortly after the assassination, a KGB officer named Yuri Nosenko defected to the west. Nosenko told his handlers he'd reviewed Oswald's file, and that Oswald was not a Russian agent. The timing of Nosenko's defection, however, convinced some within the CIA that Nosenko's defection was a set-up. The commission's staff hoped to talk to Nosenko, and judge for themselves if his word meant anything. The CIA (er, rather, The CIA's Assistant Director of Plans--its master of dirty tricks) Richard Helms, on the other hand, asked the commission to not only not talk to Nosenko, but to avoid any mention of him within their report. Chief Justice Earl Warren, acting alone, agreed to this request. He later admitted "I was adamant that we should not in any way base our findings on the testimony of a Russian defector."

7. The commission's staff had questions about Jack Ruby's motive in killing Oswald. Strangely, however, the commission's staff charged with investigating Ruby and his background were not allowed to interview him. Instead, the interview of Ruby was performed by, you guessed it, Chief Justice Earl Warren. Despite Ruby's telling Warren such things as "unless you get me to Washington, you can’t get a fair shake out of me...I want to tell the truth, and I can’t tell it here. I can’t tell it here…this isn’t the place for me to tell what I want to tell…” Warren refused to bring Ruby to Washington so he could provide the details he so clearly wanted to provide.

8. The commission's staff had even more questions about how Ruby came to kill Oswald. It was hard to believe he'd just walked down a ramp and shot Oswald, as claimed. As Ruby had many buddies within the Dallas Police, for that matter, it was reasonable to investigate the possibility one or more of the officers responsible for Oswald's protection had provided Ruby access to the basement. Commission counsel Burt Griffin even found a suspect: Sgt Patrick Dean. In the middle of Dean's testimony in Dallas, in which Dean said Ruby had told him he'd gained access to the garage by walking down the ramp, Griffin let Dean know he didn't believe him, and gave him a chance to change his testimony. Dean was outraged and called Dallas DA Henry Wade, who in turn called Warren Commission General Counsel J. Lee Rankin. Dean then asked that he be allowed to testify against Griffin in Washington. Not only was he allowed to do so, he received what amounted to an apology from, you guessed it, Chief Justice Earl Warren. Warren told Dean "No member of our staff has a right to tell any witness that he is lying or that he is testifying falsely. That is not his business. It is the business of this Commission to appraise the testimony of all the witnesses, and, at the time you are talking about, and up to the present time, this Commission has never appraised your testimony or fully appraised the testimony of any other witness, and furthermore, I want to say to you that no member of our staff has any power to help or injure any witness." It was later revealed that Dean had failed a lie detector test designed to test his truthfulness regarding Ruby, and that the Dallas Police had kept the results of this test from the Warren Commission. If Griffin had been allowed to pursue Dean, this could have all come out in 1964. But no, Warren made Griffin back down, and the probability Dean lied was swept under the rug. (None of this is mentioned in Willens' book, of course.)

9. Although Warren was purportedly all-concerned about transparency, and wanted all the evidence viewed by the commission to be made available to the public, he (along with commissioners McCloy and Dulles) came to a decision on April 30, 1964, that the testimony before the commission would not be published along with the commission's report. (This decision was over-turned after the other commissioners--the four elected officials on the commission, and thereby the only ones accountable to the public--objected.)

10. Although Warren was purportedly all-concerned about transparency, and wanted the public to trust the commission's decisions, he wanted to shred or incinerate all the commission's internal files, so no one would know how the commission came to its decisions. (This decision was over-turned after commission historian Alfred Goldberg sent word of Warren's intentions to Senator Richard Russell, and Russell intervened.)

11. Although Warren was purported to have worked himself day and night in order to give the President the most thorough report possible, he actually flew off on a fishing trip that lasted from July 6 to August 1, 1964, while testimony was still being taken, and the commission's report still being polished.

12. Although Warren was purportedly all-concerned about transparency, and felt the commission's work should speak for itself, he (according to Howard Willens' diary) asked the National Archives to hold up the release of assassination-related documents that were not used in the commission's hearings, so that said documents could not be used by critics to undermine the commission's findings.

So let's review. The Chief Justice, who was, by his own admission, roped into serving as chairman of the commission by President Johnson through the prospect of nuclear war, refused to allow important evidence to be viewed, refused to allow important witnesses to be called, cut off investigations into controversial areas, demanded that testimony before the commission be done in secret, agreed to keep the testimony before the commission from the public, tried to keep the commission's internal files from the public, and ultimately asked the national archives to help hide some of the evidence available to the commission from the public until a decent interval had passed in which the commission and its friends in the media could sell the commission's conclusions.

Now if that ain't a whitewash, then what the heck is?

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Now, as to your other point, Greg, that the fear driving the whitewash was the fear of nuclear war, I address that in chapter 1 at patspeer.com.

While Chief Justice Earl Warren, the chairman of the Warren Commission, and the man tasked with overseeing its investigation of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, is reported to have told his staff that "the truth was their only client," much evidence has arisen over the years to indicate that this simply was not so. The available record, in fact, now suggests that the Commission had another client, one whose interests were to be placed above and beyond the Commission's search for truth. This client was called... "national security" or, more specifically, President Lyndon Johnson.

One need look no further than the memoirs of Warren, for that matter, to see that this is true. There, in the final pages written at the end of his long successful life, Warren admitted that he was strong-armed into chairing the Commission only after Johnson, Kennedy's successor, told him that if people came to believe there was foreign involvement in the assassination it could lead to a war that would kill 40 million. This, one can only assume, gave Warren the clear signal he was NOT to find for a conspiracy involving a foreign power.

But when one reads between the lines--and reads other lines--a fuller picture emerges. Warren was also told he was NOT to find for a domestic conspiracy, or at least anything that could point back to Johnson.

There were signs for this from the get-go. The Voice of America, the U.S. Information Agency's worldwide radio network, had initially reported, in the moments after the shooting, that Dallas, Texas, the scene of the crime, was also "the scene of the extreme right wing movement." It soon stopped doing so. This suggests then that someone in the government was particularly sensitive to the idea that the right wing would be blamed for the shooting, and had ordered the Voice of America to downplay the possibility of a domestic conspiracy.

This "sensitivity," moreover, was in the air and spreading. Deputy Attorney General Nicholas Katzenbach, whose discussions in the days after the shooting sparked the creation of the Warren Commission, testified before the House Select Committee on Assassinations (the "HSCA") on 8-4-78 that he sensed that the rest of the world would suspect Johnson's involvement, and that this in effect "disqualified" Johnson from leading an investigation into Kennedy's death. Katzenbach then explained that this feeling had led him to believe that "some other people of enormous prestige and above political in-fighting, political objectives, ought to review the matter and take the responsibility" of identifying Kennedy's assassin.

He said much the same thing in subsequent testimony. On 9-21-78 he told the HSCA that his primary concern in the aftermath of the assassination was "the amount of speculation both here and abroad as to what was going on, whether there was a conspiracy of the left or a lone assassin or even in its wildest stages, a conspiracy by the then vice president to achieve the presidency, the sort of thing you have speculation about in some countries abroad where that kind of condition is normal."

Egads. These words suggest that Katzenbach, who was only running the Justice Department in the aftermath of the assassination, considered Johnson's involvement unthinkable, and not really worth investigating.

And this wasn't the last time Katzenbach suggested as much. In his 2008 memoir Some of It Was Fun, Katzenbach wrote that in the days after the assassination: "Among the many conspiracy theories floating around were those that put conservative Texas racists in the picture and even some that saw LBJ as the moving force."

That Katzenbach's concern about these theories influenced the Warren Commission's investigation, moreover, seems obvious. Howard Willens, a Justice Department attorney reporting to Katzenbach, was made an assistant to Warren Commission General Counsel J. Lee Rankin, and was tasked with 1) hiring the commission's junior counsel (the men tasked with performing the bulk of the commission's investigation), 2) assigning these men specific areas of investigation, 3) supplying these men with the FBI, Secret Service, and CIA reports pertinent to their areas of investigation, 4) working as a liaison between these men and the agencies creating these reports, and 5) helping to re-write the commission's own report. On 7-28-78, in Executive Session, Willens testified before the HSCA; he admitted: "there were some allegations involving President Johnson that were before the Commission and there was understandably among all persons associated with this effort a desire to investigate those allegations and satisfy the public, if possible, that these allegations were without merit."

But these allegations weren't investigated, not really. The Commission's final report amounted to a prosecutor's brief against a lone assassin named Lee Harvey Oswald, and the 26 volumes of supporting data published by the Commission contained next to nothing on Johnson or other possible suspects.

That this "clearing" of Johnson's name was a major factor in the commission's creation is confirmed, moreover, by a 2-17-64 memo written by Warren Commission Counsel Melvin A. Eisenberg. While reporting on the Warren Commission's first staff conference of 1-20-64, Eisenberg recalled that Chief Justice Warren had discussed "the circumstances under which he had accepted the chairmanship of the Commission," and had claimed he'd resisted pressure from Johnson until "The President stated that the rumors of the most exaggerated kind were circulating in this country and overseas. Some rumors went as far as attributing the assassination to a faction within the Government wishing to see the Presidency assumed by President Johnson. Others, if not quenched, could conceivably lead the country into a war which could cost 40 million lives."

Eisenberg's account of Warren's statements was supported, furthermore, by Warren Commission Counsel--and subsequent Senator--Arlen Specter in his 2000 memoir Passion for Truth. In Specter's account, Warren claimed that Johnson had told him "only he could lend the credibility the country and the world so desperately needed as the people tried to understand why their heroic young president had been slain. Conspiracy theories involving communists, the U.S.S.R., Cuba, the military-industrial complex, and even the new president were already swirling. The Kennedy assassination could lead America into a nuclear war that could kill 40 million people..."

 

Now this, apparently, wasn't the only time Warren admitted Johnson's worries extended both beyond and closer to home than the possible thermo-nuclear war mentioned in his autobiography. In his biography of Warren, Ed Cray reported that Warren once confided to a friend that "There was great pressure on us to prove, first, that President Johnson was not involved, and, second, that the Russians were not involved."

And yet Warren refused to put Johnson's fears he'd be implicated on the record. While Warren was interviewed a number of times in his final years about the creation of the Commission, he never admitted in these interviews what he'd readily told his friends and the commission's staff--that Johnson had railroaded him onto the commission in part to clear himself.

In fact, Warren claimed the opposite. When interviewed by Warren Commission historian Alfred Goldberg on March 28, 1974, Warren told Goldberg the opposite of what he'd told Eisenberg and Specter (and presumably Goldberg) in 1964. Instead of claiming Johnson told him "Some rumors went as far as attributing the assassination to a faction within the Government wishing to see the Presidency assumed by President Johnson," Warren now related "There were of course two theories of conspiracy. One was the theory about the communists. The other was that LBJ's friends did it as a coup d'etat. Johnson didn't talk about that."

It seems likely, then, that even Warren thought it improper for the President, the head of the Executive Branch of Government, to pressure the Chief Justice of the United States, the head of the Judicial Branch of Government, to head a Commission to help clear the President's name.

 

Now, it's not as if Warren's fellow commissioners had a problem with serving this higher purpose--that of clearing their new President. John McCloy, Wall Street's man on the Commission, told writer Edward Epstein on June 7, 1965 that one of the commission's objectives was "to show foreign governments we weren't a South American Banana Republic." Well, seeing as the expression "Banana Republic" is not a reference to countries whose leaders have been killed by foreign enemies, but to countries whose leaders have been killed by domestic enemies, who then assume power, this is most certainly a reference to Johnson.

And it's not as if this was all a big secret. The December 5, 1963, transcripts of the Warren Commission's first meeting reflect that Senator Richard Russell, Johnson's long-time friend and mentor, admitted "I told the President the other day, fifty years from today people will be saying he had something to do with it so he could be President."

And it's not as if Washington insiders were unaware of this non-secret secret. In 1966, columnists Rowland Evans and Robert Novak published Lyndon B. Johnson: The Exercise of Power. There, they discussed the creation of the Warren Commission as follows: "There was first the question of the assassination itself. Inevitably, irresponsible demagogues of the left and right spread the notion that not one assassin but a conspiracy had killed John Kennedy. That it occurred in Johnson's own state on a political mission urgently requested and promoted by Johnson only embellished rancid conspiratorial theories. If he were to gain the confidence of the people, the ghost of Dallas must be shrugged off."

Now, should one still doubt that Johnson was at least as concerned with suspicions of himself as of the Soviets, there is confirmation from an even better source: Johnson himself. In a rarely-cited interview with columnist Drew Pearson, cited in a November 14th, 1993 article in The Washington Post, Johnson admitted that, in his conversation with Warren, in which he convinced Warren to head his commission, Johnson brought up the assassination of President Lincoln, and that rumors still lingered about the conspiracy behind his murder 100 years after the fact. According to Pearson, Johnson admitted telling Warren that "The nation cannot afford to have any doubt this time."

Well, that says it all. The doubt, according to Johnson, the nation could not afford to have, was doubt about Southern and/or military involvement in the assassination. The rumors about Lincoln's death, after all, revolved largely around his being murdered by The Confederate Army as revenge for his successful campaign to re-unite the States, or his being murdered by his own Secretary of War, or his being murdered by his Vice-President, a Southerner named JOHNSON.

And Johnson acknowledged this was his concern in his presidential memoir, The Vantage Point: Perspectives on the Presidency 1963-1969, published 1971. Of the national mood on 11-24-63, after the man accused of killing President Kennedy, Lee Harvey Oswald, a purported communist-sympathizer, was shot down while in police custody, by Jack Ruby, a man with connections to organized crime, Johnson wrote: "The atmosphere was poisonous and had to be cleared. I was aware of some of the implications that grew out of that skepticism and doubt. Russia was not immune to them. Neither was Cuba. Neither was the State of Texas. Neither was the new President of the United States."

 

 

Now, should there still be any doubts, we have Johnson's own words to nail this all down. 

From Chapter 1 at patspeer.com:

In October 2007, the Johnson Presidential Library released a batch of previously withheld recordings of President Johnson's phone calls while President. Most interesting of these was a January 11, 1967 phone call between Johnson and his most trusted adviser, Supreme Court Justice Abe Fortas. This call built upon similar calls with Fortas on October 1 and October 6, 1966. It was made, moreover, just one week after the "smoking gun" document was written. Well, in this call, surprise surprise, Johnson drops his guard completely, and tells Fortas that he believes Senator Robert Kennedy--his predecessor's brother--and Robert Kennedy's supporters--are behind the recent spurt of books and articles on the assassination. He claims, moreover, that: "They've started all this stuff...they've created all this doubt...And if we'd had anybody less than the attorney general--ah, the chief justice--I would've already been indicted."

Now, should one think Johnson exaggerating here, and stating something he didn't really believe, one should consider that he said similar things to others--even after RFK was dead and buried. As reported by Robert Caro, in his 2012 epic The Passage of Power, Johnson dropped his mask once more during the August 19, 1969 recording of an oral history for the Johnson Library. He declared: "I shudder to think what churches I would have burned and what little babies I would have eaten if I hadn't appointed the Warren Commission." He also offered a slightly different and no doubt more honest version of how he got Warren to chair his commission. Leaving off the bit about the Russians launching nukes should they think we blamed them for killing Kennedy, he admitted he'd actually pressured Warren through a call for domestic tranquility. He said he told Warren: "When this country is threatened with division, and the President of the United States says you are the only man who can save it, you won't say no, will you?" And that Warren responded, "No, sir!"

So there you have it, straight from the horse's--ah, President's--mouth. Johnson felt that his having left-wing icon Earl Warren chair the commission investigating President Kennedy's murder not only stopped Kennedy's brother Robert Kennedy from having him (Johnson) investigated as a suspect, but stopped him (Johnson) from actually being indicted for Kennedy's murder.

Edited by Pat Speer
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Wow Pat. I stand corrected. It was about clearing LBJ, suspected the world over already, more than anything. You've convinced me. 

Of course foreign conspiracies needed to be eliminated too, not too hard to do since there never was one to begin with. But putting to rest a domestic conspiracy was #1. You lay out an eye-opening argument.

I looked up the LBJ/Abe Fortas phone call of Jan 11, 1967 you referred to near the end of your sections. The link is here: https://www.discoverlbj.org/item/tel-11333, and the relevant section is at -8:40 to -7:45. I made a transcript, which is pretty stunning. LBJ appears to be talking about the Kennedys and especially Robert Kennedy, although he does not say the name "Robert Kennedy". He calls them by euphemisms, "our friends up in New York", and so on. This section of the phone call follows Abe Fortas telling LBJ how a favorable series done by a reporter for the New York Times on the work of the Warren Commission was spiked by higher management, the story killed. It sounds like Fortas is implying a Kennedy hand in the spiking of that story. That is immediately followed by this below. The stunner is that in this phone call LBJ comes across like a raving conspiracist, accusing the unnamed them which appears to be the Kennedy machine of literally killing anyone who opposes them. Then there is reference to the same them which appears to be the Kennedy machine doing politically targeted prosecutions taking out political enemies. Here is Johnson, and anyone listening to this call can hear the passion and feeling coming through from Johnson as he says the following:

"They started--our friends up there--every one--y'all won't believe this, but every man that crosses them in any way gets murdered. They've started all this stuff. They, they've created all this doubt--its like they have with Manchester, and if we'd had anybody less than the attorney gen--uh the chief justice--I would already have been indicted. That's the way this operation runs. Of course everybody's got skeletons, and it happens that they pick out the ones with the most skeletons first. But they'll get to 'em. Eddie Wiser told me that in 1960. And I just couldn't believe it--I just couldn't think--I was just too naive, thinking anything like that in this world could happen. But I see it just plain as day now, just as clear as anything."

You read this as Johnson saying that if Earl Warren had not been heading the Warren Commission, but someone else (perhaps aligned with the Kennedys?) Johnson could have been indicted. Indicted for what? For the topic of the investigation Earl Warren was head of, the topic of immediate prior discussion to these words, the Warren Commission, the investigation of the assassination of Kennedy. What improprieties related to the assassination or its investigation or aftermath did Johnson have in mind, that someone else running the Warren Commission might have targeted Johnson for indictment? Well, Johnson does not say.

When I read that part toward the end of your above, I thought I have got to fact-check this, see if LBJ really said that and if in context that is being represented and interpreted accurately. But, I don't see how else to read the words than as you presented. I would be interested if others can offer some other reading, but it does read as if LBJ really did say and mean that if it had not been the Earl Warren Commission, but some non-Earl Warren Commission doing the same investigation of the JFK assassination, LBJ could have "already been indicted". Not necessarily for the assassination itself. But something. Or did he mean for the assassination itself. 

Just amazing. That's a game-changer of a piece of analysis Pat. 

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8 hours ago, Greg Doudna said:

Wow Pat. I stand corrected. It was about clearing LBJ, suspected the world over already, more than anything. You've convinced me. 

Of course foreign conspiracies needed to be eliminated too, not too hard to do since there never was one to begin with. But putting to rest a domestic conspiracy was #1. You lay out an eye-opening argument.

I looked up the LBJ/Abe Fortas phone call of Jan 11, 1967 you referred to near the end of your sections. The link is here: https://www.discoverlbj.org/item/tel-11333, and the relevant section is at -8:40 to -7:45. I made a transcript, which is pretty stunning. LBJ appears to be talking about the Kennedys and especially Robert Kennedy, although he does not say the name "Robert Kennedy". He calls them by euphemisms, "our friends up in New York", and so on. This section of the phone call follows Abe Fortas telling LBJ how a favorable series done by a reporter for the New York Times on the work of the Warren Commission was spiked by higher management, the story killed. It sounds like Fortas is implying a Kennedy hand in the spiking of that story. That is immediately followed by this below. The stunner is that in this phone call LBJ comes across like a raving conspiracist, accusing the unnamed them which appears to be the Kennedy machine of literally killing anyone who opposes them. Then there is reference to the same them which appears to be the Kennedy machine doing politically targeted prosecutions taking out political enemies. Here is Johnson, and anyone listening to this call can hear the passion and feeling coming through from Johnson as he says the following:

"They started--our friends up there--every one--y'all won't believe this, but every man that crosses them in any way gets murdered. They've started all this stuff. They, they've created all this doubt--its like they have with Manchester, and if we'd had anybody less than the attorney gen--uh the chief justice--I would already have been indicted. That's the way this operation runs. Of course everybody's got skeletons, and it happens that they pick out the ones with the most skeletons first. But they'll get to 'em. Eddie Wiser told me that in 1960. And I just couldn't believe it--I just couldn't think--I was just too naive, thinking anything like that in this world could happen. But I see it just plain as day now, just as clear as anything."

You read this as Johnson saying that if Earl Warren had not been heading the Warren Commission, but someone else (perhaps aligned with the Kennedys?) Johnson could have been indicted. Indicted for what? For the topic of the investigation Earl Warren was head of, the topic of immediate prior discussion to these words, the Warren Commission, the investigation of the assassination of Kennedy. What improprieties related to the assassination or its investigation or aftermath did Johnson have in mind, that someone else running the Warren Commission might have targeted Johnson for indictment? Well, Johnson does not say.

When I read that part toward the end of your above, I thought I have got to fact-check this, see if LBJ really said that and if in context that is being represented and interpreted accurately. But, I don't see how else to read the words than as you presented. I would be interested if others can offer some other reading, but it does read as if LBJ really did say and mean that if it had not been the Earl Warren Commission, but some non-Earl Warren Commission doing the same investigation of the JFK assassination, LBJ could have "already been indicted". Not necessarily for the assassination itself. But something. Or did he mean for the assassination itself. 

Just amazing. That's a game-changer of a piece of analysis Pat. 

 

Amazing? What's amazing is that someone is amazed, especially after the past 5-10 years. Years of flagrant lying to make "things" look a little less incriminating... LBJ knew, KNEW how JFK's demise was going to look re the general public. And those pesky New Englanders and Democrats in general, not to mention to federal investigators but to those elected officials that knew his LBJ's foibles and tendencies. He was  taking a battering from the anti-war crowd and came to understand the Oval Office could chew you up into small chunks and spit you across the Potomac... not to mention the industrial military complex and of course his best buddy of all time (lmao) RFK was bearing down on his beloved Texan rear end handwriting was on the wall...

And, Abe Fortas resigned from the Supreme Court (1969)under a cloud AND a threat of impeachment (a Wall Street bribe???) the likes of a LBJ would understand...  I wonder why... resignation was in the air I guess...

Maybe things are much simpler than another convoluted, unclear blue-blood conspiracy theory, eh?

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The whole point of the Commission was to cover up any evidence of a domestic plot.

It did not matter where it came from.  All one has to do is look at the evidence that the FBI was concealing who Oswald really was and who he was working for. And the Commission never came close to uncovering the key facts that both the FBI and the CIA had ongoing operations against the FPCC in the summer of 1963. Its pretty clear that Oswald was a part of this and Hoover covered it up completely.  To the point of not asking Banister any questions about Oswald, even though he knew that Oswald had that address on his flyers that summer.

About all this, William Kent, who worked  under Joannides in Miami, said that Oswald was a useful idiot.

I don't see how it gets much more clear than that.

 

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I have been thinking further on that Jan 11, 1967 LBJ/Abe Fortas phone call in which LBJ says, “if we'd had anybody less than ... the chief justice, I would already have been indicted”.

I don't think that is LBJ saying if not for Earl Warren he would have been indicted for killing JFK. I also think it is not exactly clear whether he is referring to Earl Warren as head of the Warren Commission or of the Supreme Court. I think the "indictment" alludes to the known risk and spectre and issue of indictment many believe LBJ faced, conceivably prison, in his last months as vice-president before Nov 22, 1963, in the Bobby Baker scandal and a congressional investigation which was dropped after Nov 22, 1963.

In the context of that phone call, LBJ sees the Kennedys as controlling media and able through media and targeted prosecutions to take down their opponents. As he cited other cases of victims of the Kennedy machine taken down (in that phone call continuing after the transcript excerpt), he saw himself as one such in his earlier experience and near-miss of the Bobby Baker scandals. Exactly how in LBJ's reasoning Earl Warren made the difference in LBJ not being indicted I do not know. As chief justice Earl Warren gave decisions favorable to civil rights legislation that was a success of the Johnson presidency, would that be it? If the meaning was Earl Warren as the head of the Warren Commission, perhaps it was having a final report exonerate every agency and portray Johnson sympathetically, reducing pressure in Congress to prosecute a sitting president.

The main point is there is no confession of the JFK assassination there unless one goes for Freudian slip explanations.

 

 

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