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LBJ Question


Greg Wagner
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I've always thought that LBJ was a good candidate to be a conspirator- one of the men in the exec branch who was approached with the incapacity/security risk case against JFK. And of course, as John Simkin has so ably pointed out, he was in deep sh%t and also in danger of being dropped from the '64 ticket. So that's always made the dirty SOB, in my mind, a probable conspirator in the murder.

I guess I've started taking another look at him since I'm in the middle of reading Holland's The Kennedy Assassination Tapes. It's all of Johnson's transcribed (relevant) phone conversations in the days following Dallas. If he's acting (knowing the dialogue is being recorded), he does a pretty good job. If I had to choose, I think I'd still have to say he was involved. But I'm less certain than I used to be. I do think they could have pulled it off without him. After all, with the dirt Hoover surely had on him, and after witnessing Kennedy get his head blown off, he wouldn't be fool enough to take a stand against them. So, would there have been any reason to exclude LBJ from the circle of conspirators?

Johnson really seems to kiss Hoover's a$$, which seems odd. The tapes (and commentary added by Holland) really seem to suggest that LBJ is, at least initially, dead-set against a presidential commission. He states that perhaps that would infringe upon Texas law and create States' rights issues. Hoover, at one point on 11/29, states to Johnson that it would be "very, very bad to have a rash of investigations." Hoover also seems to be planting the seed in LBJ's mind about LHO's "Cuban ties"- allegedly receiving $6500 from Sylvia Duran in Mex City. Which we now know never happened, according to the CIA's own David Atlee Phillips, much to Colby’s displeasure. It's odd, because if you didn't know better, you'd swear Hoover was LBJ's boss by reading, and listening to (according to Holland), this exchange.

Hoover also goes on to ask LBJ if he has a bulletproof car to ride in and mentions that "you could have a thousand Secret Service agents on guard, and still a sniper can snipe you from up in the window if you are exposed, like the president was." Hoover goes on to tell Johnson that, "You see, there was no Secret Service man standing on the back of the car. Usually the presidential car in the past has had steps on the back next to the bumpers, and there’s usually been one [agent] on either side standing on those steps at the back bumper.”

Is it possible that Johnson WAS out of the loop? And, reading between the lines, was Hoover maybe trying to tell him something (Play ball- and don’t think we can’t get to you too if you refuse.)? And so Johnson orchestrated/went along with the official cover-up.

Perhaps I’m reading too much into this conversation. Very possible. But when I read the transcription, this stuff jumped out at me. I’d be interested in any thoughts. Has anyone HEARD this conversation? Does anyone know if the actual audio recordings are available somewhere on the Internet? I’d love to actually HEAR this conversation.

;)

Edited by Greg Wagner
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Greg, I am so glad you are reading "The Assassination Tapes." I agree with you that when you read this book it is difficult to believe that either LBJ or J. Edgar were involved in the assassination. As you put it, they would have to be very good actors.

And it is also interesting, is it not, that it was RFK who recommended Allen Dulles to serve on the Commission, proving rather conclusively that RFK did not suspect CIA complicity in his brother's assassination.

Edited by Tim Gratz
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I don't have that book yet, but in terms of the conversations between LBJ and Hoover, I want to remind you of the one on 11/29/63 in which it is clear from their conversation that they know or assume there was a shooter in front. They talk about Connally turning and catching a bullet from the front that was intended for JFK. This is after Hoover has stated that they have enough evidence to prove Oswald fired all the shots. IOW they are in effect talking about the setting up of Oswald, without either one of them coming out and saying so. Talk about good acting, I think this is an example of it. They're acting together and know it. And I see no reason to believe that both of these men were not in on the plot from the beginning, both being essential to its success in terms of the cover-up, as well as both being low enough to want it done and both having a need for it to happen.

On the question of the bullet proof car, it's my recollection (I remember hearing the audio on a national news broadcast when the tape was first released) that LBJ asked Hoover if he had a bullet proof car, and Hoover said yes, and LBJ then asked him if Hoover thought he (LBJ) ought to have one too, and Hoover said yes, explaining why. Hoover didn't ask LBJ if he had one. But again that's my recollection from hearing it (which was pretty impressive), so I could be wrong.

Ron

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Greg, I am so glad you are reading "The Assassination Tapes."  I agree with you that when you read this book it is difficult to believe that either LBJ or J. Edgar were involved in the assassination.  As you put it, they would have to be very good actors.

And it is also interesting, is it not, that it was RFK who recommended Allen Dulles to serve on the Commission, proving rather conclusively that RFK did not suspect CIA complicity in his brother's assassination.

It just seems to me to be a VERY strange conversation. That's more of a "gut feeling" than anything else. I did not suggest that Hoover was not involved, I suugested that IF LBJ were not, Hoover might have been sending him a messgae about how LBJ should proceed, lest he end up like his former boss.

Tim, the reference you make to RKF suggesting Dulles be appointed to the WC is a VERY interesting one. I read that and I thought, "Really? That seems odd." But I believe that that was just Holland's take, as the footnote (143, on pg 120) states, "According to Dulles biographer, 'there was no evidence that the younger Kennedy played any role in the composition of the commission.'" Of couse, it goes on to say that the assertion that RFK did suggest Dulles was a result of LBJ talking with Fortas, Fortas talking with Katzenbach, and Katzenbach talking to RKF. This, in my mind, makes this somewhat unlikely recommendation by RFK suspect. Or at least open for discussion. I haven't read very much on Bobby. Perhaps this is addressed in one of his bios. The only reason that I can fathom that RFK would suggest Dulles, if in fact he actually did, is that perhaps he felt like Dulles would be inclined to keep the Mongoose stuff under wraps. As far as the CIA goes, Booby clearly had his suspicions about their involvement: "Did one of your guys do it?" Maybe that's a reference to Oswald who he perhaps recognized as an Agency asset. Maybe it was a question about their larger involvement, Oswald aside.

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I don't have that book yet, but in terms of the conversations between LBJ and Hoover, I want to remind you of the one on 11/29/63 in which it is clear from their conversation that they know or assume there was a shooter in front. They talk about Connally turning and catching a bullet from the front that was intended for JFK. This is after Hoover has stated that they have enough evidence to prove Oswald fired all the shots. IOW they are in effect talking about the setting up of Oswald, without either one of them coming out and saying so. Talk about good acting, I think this is an example of it. They're acting together and know it. And I see no reason to believe that both of these men were not in on the plot from the beginning, both being essential to its success in terms of the cover-up, as well as both being low enough to want it done and both having a need for it to happen.

On the question of the bullet proof car, it's my recollection (I remember hearing the audio on a national news broadcast when the tape was first released) that LBJ asked Hoover if he had a bullet proof car, and Hoover said yes, and LBJ then asked him if Hoover thought he (LBJ) ought to have one too, and Hoover said yes, explaining why. Hoover didn't ask LBJ if he had one. But again that's my recollection from hearing it (which was pretty impressive), so I could be wrong.

Ron

Ron-

Impressive indeed! You are 100% correct. Thanks for catching my error. Upon re-reading it though, it still strikes me that Hoover is trying to tell LBJ that he can be "got" just as easily. Again though, gut feeling on my part. Probably not worth a bucket of warm spit without HEARING the tapes. And even then...

B)

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I don't have that book yet, but in terms of the conversations between LBJ and Hoover, I want to remind you of the one on 11/29/63 in which it is clear from their conversation that they know or assume there was a shooter in front. They talk about Connally turning and catching a bullet from the front that was intended for JFK. This is after Hoover has stated that they have enough evidence to prove Oswald fired all the shots. IOW they are in effect talking about the setting up of Oswald, without either one of them coming out and saying so. Talk about good acting, I think this is an example of it. They're acting together and know it. And I see no reason to believe that both of these men were not in on the plot from the beginning, both being essential to its success in terms of the cover-up, as well as both being low enough to want it done and both having a need for it to happen.

Ron

___________________________________

I totally concur with Ron's assessment of this conversation. They KNEW tape was running and it does not take the skill of a Robert DeNiro to get through this conversation.

Hoover talking about setting up LHO, pretending all the bullets came from behind, while discussing Connally taking a bullet from the FRONT.

Do the non believers here need a signed confession from LBJ and J. Edgar???

This tape is pretty darn close to one.

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My recollection of hearing the tape (it was only a portion, on CBS News with Roger Mudd) is that LBJ sounded like he was reading his questions. There was no folksiness, no uh, er, or pausing, he just rattled off questions staccato ("Any shots fired at me?" then the questions about a bullet proof car

) like he wanted to get them over with. Hoover in contrast sounded natural and folksy. It's been many years since I heard it, but that's the way I recall it. As I said, hearing that audio made quite an impression.

Ron

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Greg wrote:

Tim, the reference you make to RKF suggesting Dulles be appointed to the WC is a VERY interesting one. I read that and I thought, "Really? That seems odd." But I believe that that was just Holland's take, as the footnote (143, on pg 120) states, "According to Dulles biographer, 'there was no evidence that the younger Kennedy played any role in the composition of the commission.'" Of couse, it goes on to say that the assertion that RFK did suggest Dulles was a result of LBJ talking with Fortas, Fortas talking with Katzenbach, and Katzenbach talking to RKF. This, in my mind, makes this somewhat unlikely recommendation by RFK suspect. Or at least open for discussion. I haven't read very much on Bobby. Perhaps this is addressed in one of his bios. The only reason that I can fathom that RFK would suggest Dulles, if in fact he actually did, is that perhaps he felt like Dulles would be inclined to keep the Mongoose stuff under wraps. As far as the CIA goes, Booby clearly had his suspicions about their involvement: "Did one of your guys do it?" Maybe that's a reference to Oswald who he perhaps recognized as an Agency asset. Maybe it was a question about their larger involvement, Oswald aside.

Very perceptive comments Greg.

I think, however, Dulles' biographer got it wrong. See "The Assassination Tapes." In a 1966 recorded phone conference with Fortas, LBJ TOLD FORTAS that RFK had suggested Dulles. The initiative to place Dulles on the WC indeed came from RFK.

If by Dulles' biographer you are refering to the author of "Gentleman Spy", in that book he refers to an incident that happened in June of 1964 when LBJ called on Dulles to go to Mississippi to help with the atmosphere after the killing of the three civil rights workers. RFK was in the office with LBJ when he placed the call to Dulles, suggesting RFK may have suggested the idea to LBJ. When LBJ was through talking to Dulles, he handed the phone to RFK. RFK then scheduled a private meeting with Dulles before he left for Mississippi.

But you are probably correct that beyond friendship with Dulles, RFK wanted Dulles on the WC because he could count on Dulles NOT to reveal to the Commission the details of Operation Mongoose and the assassination attempts.

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  • 6 months later...

I just started reading James Fetzer's Murder in Dealey Plaza, which is a compilation of work from a number of authors, along with Fetzer's own analysis. One of the pieces is taken from Ira David Wood III's as yet unpublished JFK Assassination Chronology, which Fetzer says is over 400 pages long. I've found a few references in this piece that are new to me, and fascinating. Problem is, since this is an excerpt from another book, there are no sources cited for this chronology piece.

pg. 32: "12:29pm: In the motorcade's Vice Presidential limousine, Lyndon Johnson is later described as having his ear up against a small walkie-talkie held over the back seat, listening to the device which is turned low. (This description comes fron Sen. Ralph Yarborough who is riding with Johnson.)

I've never heard this claim of Yarborough's before. Is anyone familiar with this walkie-talkie device? Maybe there's a perfectly good explanation for it? Hard to believe Yarborough would make it up out of the blue. Is there anything to substantiate, refute, or explain this? It's hard to believe he'd be so bold as to be listening to radio traffic between the teams (if he knew), but it does seem odd and quite coincidental.

pg. 32: "12:29pm: Lyndon Johnson's Secret Service detail is already "on the alert." Photographic evidence reveals that the left side rear door to Johnson's Secret Service back-up car is already being held open- the agents inside seem poised for immediate action."

Does anyone know what photo the author is referring to? It's hard to evaluate just how sinister (or not) this is without seeing the photo he refers to. Could be nothing. But he makes it sound like they appear to be in a highly agitated mode just prior to the shots. Again, I'm not supporting this idea at this point, but I would like to see the photo for myself.

Thanks for any input.

Edited by Greg Wagner
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Guest Stephen Turner
I just started reading James Fetzer's Murder in Dealey Plaza, which is a compilation of work from a number of authors, along with Fetzer's own analysis. One of the pieces is taken from Ira David Wood III's as yet unpublished JFK Assassination Chronology, which Fetzer says is over 400 pages long. I've found a few references in this piece that are new to me, and fascinating. Problem is, since this is an excerpt from another book, there are no sources cited for this chronology piece.

pg. 32: "12:29pm: In the motorcade's Vice Presidential limousine, Lyndon Johnson is later described as having his ear up against a small walkie-talkie held over the back seat, listening to the device which is turned low. (This description comes fron Sen. Ralph Yarborough who is riding with Johnson.)

I've never heard this claim of Yarborough's before. Is anyone familiar with this walkie-talkie device? Maybe there's a perfectly good explanation for it? Hard to believe Yarborough would make it up out of the blue. Is there anything to substantiate, refute, or explain this? It's hard to believe he'd be so bold as to be listening to radio traffic between the teams (if he knew), but it does seem odd and quite coincidental.

pg. 32: "12:29pm: Lyndon Johnson's Secret Service detail is already "on the alert." Photographic evidence reveals that the left side rear door to Johnson's Secret Service back-up car is already being held open- the agents inside seem poised for immediate action."

Does anyone know what photo the author is referring to? It's hard to evaluate just how sinister (or not) this is without seeing the photo he refers to. Could be nothing. But he makes it sound like they appear to be in a highly agitated mode just prior to the shots. Again, I'm not supporting this idea at this point, but I would like to see the photo for myself.

Thanks for any input.

Greg, i've seen the picture to which you refer, I thought it was in "Murder in Dealy Plaza" I will check tonight, its either there or TGZFH, perhaps Jack can help.Anyway its a pretty persuasive picture..Steve.

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There is another photo somewhere that shows the car door open while the car is still on Houston. I think this was not unusual, it just meant that agents in a motorcade were ready to jump out of the car at the first sign of any trouble.

I have heard the story of LBJ listening to a walkie talkie too, but have no idea where it came from. The possible origin is Manchester's book, where Manchester states that LBJ was listening to the car radio, which was "raucous." Yarborough "ignored" this noise, or tried to, and was likely Manchester's source on the car radio. It is not surprising if this later got transformed into LBJ listening to some other kind of radio.

The chronology in Fetzer's book has to be read with caution, as it is full of errors, bits of false legend, and other misleading info. In addition to the suspicious open car door and the walkie talkie business, here are other examples of what is found in the chronology, as I posted in an earlier thread on this subject:

The 112th Military Intelligence Group was told to stand down rather than report to Dallas, over the protests of unit commander Reich. This myth, compliments of L. Fletcher Prouty, was totally discredited by the ARRB, in interviews of Reich and Prouty. See also Larry Hancock's research on the 112th in his "Keys to the Conspiracy" CD.

Joseph Milteer is reportedly photographed on Houston Street during the motorcade. The Secret Service determined that Milteer was at home on 11/22 (HSCA JFK Document 008814).

Geneva Hine observes the electrical power and telephone system go dead.

She did no such thing. She observed the little lights on the phones go off because nobody was using them.

Phil Willis photographs a man who looks like Ruby near the front of the TSBD. The man is seen in other TSBD photos too, and he is obviously not Ruby.

I could go on, but you get the idea.

Ron

Edited by Ron Ecker
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