Jump to content
The Education Forum

The LBJ Cover-Up


Tim Gratz
 Share

Recommended Posts

Most of us are convinced that LBJ orchestrated a cover-up of the assassination. We know he persuaded Earl Warren to head the commission by expressing concern that a cataclysmic nuclear war would result should evidence demonstrate foreign involvement in the assassination.

The question I raise is what motivated LBJ to order the cover-up. I think it is helpful to list the various scenarios and consider them.

In doing so, it may very well depend on who the conspirators were. I believe Trafficante was orchestrating much of the plot. He may have been acting at the request of Castro, Hoffa, Giancana, rogue CIA agents or a combination thereof.

One possibility is the conspirators did not care whether there was a cover-up or not. They simply thought they could get away with it. Or, they merely anticipated or hoped that Oswald's links to the Soviet Union and/or Cuba and/or the CIA would generate a cover-up.

Under this scenario, LBJ on his own independently ordered a cover-up. Possibly for one of two reasons. First, he truly feared foreign involvement and that evidence thereof would lead to a war. Second, he found out that LHO was a US intelligence asset and he feared repercussions if that fact was discovered by an investigation. Another possibility is that he was trying to prevent disclosure of the CIA-Mafia plots against Castro but I do not think he was aware of the plots at this time.

Another scenario, of course, is that LBJ himself was part of the conspiracy.

A final scenario (unless I missed one) is that LBJ was blackmailed into orchestrating the cover-up. This is the scenario I suspect.

Would appreciate other members' thoughts. I know some of you are convinced that LBJ was part of the plot. I don't think he was but I think it is possible the plotters gave him foreknowledge of it.

Edited by Tim Gratz
Link to comment
Share on other sites

A good question, Nic.  I don't know the answer but I suspect at least one of our members does.

I figure, if it's true, it's all the proof I personally need that LBJ had foreknowledge. He'd want to kill two birds with one stone.

The idea, though, that anyone would suggest LBJ was completely 100% an innocent bystander wrongly implicated after the fact, makes me feel sick.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Was it ever confirmed that LBJ wanted his nemesis Yarborough in the car with JFK instead of his good buddy Connally?

William Manchester wrote of a furious argument between JFK and LBJ the night before the assassination. The subject matter of the argument is not revealed but it's also been mentioned by others, including John Simkin, that there was a further disagreement concerning the seating arrangements on the morning of the assassination. LBJ obviously wanted his friend Connally out of the line of fire. Naturally, LBJ wouldn't reveal anything about this dispute, but it's clear to me that he knew very well what was about to occur.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Tim

If you want to have some fun with your question let's go out on a limb and ponder an additional fact.

On November 29, 1963 Lyndon Johnson announced that he was going to drive forward with what became known as the Civil Rights Act of 1964 in the name of our fallen President. What became law after the assassination was a questionable piece of legislation before the assassination that Kennedy was, it seems, afraid to push forward.

The Warren Commissioners:

Earl Warren: Major proponent of Civil Rights

Richard Russell: Southerner who was a major opponent of of Civil Right legislation. Russell switched positions and announced he would not block the Civil Rights Act.

Hale Boggs: Soputherner that supported the Bill, supporter of Civil Rights in general.

John S. Cooper: Southerner who supported the legislation

Gerald Ford: A general opponent to Federal involvement in Civil Rights he supported the Civil Rights Act as Chairman of the House Republican Caucus.

John J. McCloy: Architect of the integration of the US Military he was an early and vocal proponent of Civil Rights.

Allen Dulles: It is difficult to find information about his position on Civil Rights.

It seems that not only did this group come together on the assassination findings but they also seem to have blended their views together, dispite some rather divergent positions, on Civil Rights. To some extent the Warren Commissioners became the key players in the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 dispite some who had led the fierce opposition prior to the assassiation.

At the time of Kennedy's death civil rights leaders in the South had criticised Kennedy for doing too little in this area. He had voted against the Civil Rights Act of 1957. Kennedy had to tread a very fine line in the South. His popularity by September 1963 showed that his support had dropped to 44% in the South. It had been 60% in March 1963. Chances for the passage of Civil Rights legislation was dropping as fast as Kennedy's poll numbers.

Civil Rights as a major campaign issue in 64 may have threatened Kennedy's reelection bid and set back the Civil Rights movement by years.

One could argue that the death of Kennedy led to the resurrection of the Civil Rights Act!

Coincidence?

Jim Root

Edited by Jim Root
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Tim

If you want to have some fun with your question let's go out on a limb and ponder an additional fact.

On November 29, 1963 Lyndon Johnson announced that he was going to drive forward with what became known as the Civil Rights Act of 1964 in the name of our fallen President.  What became law after the assassination was a questionable piece of legislation before the assassination that Kennedy was, it seems, afraid to push forward.

The Warren Commissioners:

Earl Warren:  Major proponent of Civil Rights

Richard Russell:  Southerner who was a major opponent of of Civil Right legislation.  Russell switched positions and announced he would not block the Civil Rights Act.

Hale Boggs:  Soputherner that supported the Bill, supporter of Civil Rights in general.

John S. Cooper:  Southerner who supported the legislation

Gerald Ford:  A general opponent to Federal involvement in Civil Rights he supported the Civil Rights Act as Chairman of the House Republican Caucus.

John J. McCloy:  Architect of the integration of the US Military he was an early and vocal proponent of Civil Rights.

Allen Dulles:  It is difficult to find information about his position on Civil Rights.

It seems that not only did this group come together on the assassination findings but they also seem to have blended their views together, dispite some rather divergent positions, on Civil Rights.  To some extent the Warren Commissioners became the key players in the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 dispite some who had led the fierce opposition prior to the assassiation.

At the time of Kennedy's death civil rights leaders in the South had criticised Kennedy for doing too little in this area.  He had voted against the Civil Rights Act of 1957.  Kennedy had to tread a very fine line in the South. His popularity by September 1963 showed that his support had dropped to 44% in the South. It had been 60% in March 1963.  Chances for the passage of Civil Rights legislation was dropping as fast as Kennedy's poll numbers.

Civil Rights as a major campaign issue in 64 may have threatened Kennedy's reelection bid and set back the Civil Rights movement by years. 

One could argue that the death of Kennedy led to the resurrection of the Civil Rights Act!

Coincidence?

Jim Root

Hi Jim

A couple of things independent of LBJ's possible involvement in the assassination:

1) Passage of the Civil Rights legislation was made possible not simply because of the removal of Kennedy because of the assassination itself, given the free rein the country usually gives a President after a national tragedy. This is what benefitted George W. Bush during the period after 9/11 -- there is a honeymoon period with political opponents, the media, and the public, in which the nation feels the President can do no wrong and he is able to push through otherwise difficult legislation.

2) Passage of the Civil Rights legislation was made more possible because LBJ was a southerner and Kennedy was not. Just as with Nixon going to China, the old hard line Communist baiter suddenly making treaties with the Reds. Texan LBJ was more palatable to the Old South than the Catholic New Englander as a leader in terms of furthering Civil Rights legislation.

All my best

Chris

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Chris

That is my point, if you want to go in this direction. The nation was being torn apart in many ways over the question of Civil Rights. Kennedy dies and the legislation is passed. One could argue that if that was a motive the "conspirators" accomplished their goal.

Unlike many of the other theories that are advanced (ie Cuba, mafia, far right, etc.) little if anything was accomplished.

What intrigues me about this scenerio is that John J. McCloy was a vocal advocate of Civil Rights for 20 years by the time of the Kennedy assassination. McCloy, in many ways helped raise Warren to his position on the Supreme Court. Warren in turn sped up Civil Rights cases after the passage of the 64 Act that assured that the Supreme Court gave it it's blessing. Both Dulles and Cooper are associated with McCloy as well. Russell and Ford, the two most vocal opponents to Civil Rights legislation on the Commission changed positions and then helped to pass the legislation (one could argue that they saw the light). Boggs was a long time supporter.

And Kennedy was not getting the job done!

Just thoughts worth discussing.

Jim Root

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Nic

Warren changed in many ways after he and McCloy worked together on the relocation of Japanese Americans in 1942. McCloy then became involved in fund raising for Warren that helped his political career up to his indorsement of Eisenhower in exchange for a promise to be appointed to the next Supreme Court seat that opened.

Jim Root

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Chris

That is my point, if you want to go in this direction.  The nation was being torn apart in many ways over the question of Civil Rights.  Kennedy dies and the legislation is passed.  One could argue that if that was a motive the "conspirators" accomplished their goal.

Unlike many of the other theories that are advanced (ie Cuba, mafia, far right, etc.) little if anything was accomplished.

What intrigues me about this scenerio is that John J. McCloy was a vocal advocate of Civil Rights for 20 years by the time of the Kennedy assassination.  McCloy, in many ways helped raise Warren to his position on the Supreme Court.  Warren in turn sped up Civil Rights cases after the passage of the 64 Act that assured that the Supreme Court gave it it's blessing.  Both Dulles and Cooper are associated with McCloy as well.  Russell and Ford, the two most vocal opponents to Civil Rights legislation on the Commission changed positions and then helped to pass the legislation (one could argue that they saw the light).  Boggs was a long time supporter.

And Kennedy was not getting the job done!

Just thoughts worth discussing.

Jim Root

Hi Jim

Your point that LBJ was able to pass the Civil Rights legislation that JFK might have been unable to pass is of course a good one, and it does stack up well against other things that were not accomplished. However, even if JFK was removed such legislation might not have been guaranteed to pass. As it was, it did.

One does wonder whether one would ever wish an assassination for a supposedly "positive" goal or whether in the case of the JFK assassination and other political killings, "negative" motives are paramount, i.e., we hate the guy, he is a Communist-loving liberal (both possible right wing or racist motives), he is destroying our business interests (Mafia motive), or he will stop us going to war in Southeast Asia (military-industrial complex motive).

Chris

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Jim, George et al, interesting thinking.

The brother of the guy who made 'taxi driver', Leonard Schrader, made a 'shockumentary' named 'the killing of america', consisting wholly of real footage, with a commentary documenting a history of violence starting with the assassination of JFK through to Lennon, the 'rise' of the serial killer, the suburban sniper, mass suicides etc.

I think it's interesting that Malcolm X is often left out of these discussions. Early in his public life he certainly was a polarising agent plus he had connections to the SWP (I don't know what those connections were, perhaps they were a group willing to give him a platform) at the same time that Oswald or his 'body double' was waving Militant newspapers around. His controversial comments on the Kennedy assassination plus his change of heart on black separatism after his trip to Mecca marginalised him within his previous affiliations and he was assassinated in 1965. By the assassination of Bobbie, it seems America was teetering on the brink of civil war. In a way I think that the youth who lived through the assassination of JFK had now learnt the lesson. Human life has little value.

The children in dealey plaza in a way were the innocent victims. Having two sweet kids myself, it tears me apart to think what those poor kids went through in seeing the Presidents head explode. If the aim of the assassins was to gain control and to keep it by the means of 'divide and rule' then the concession to civil rights is perhaps just another brick in the wall.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well this is the first time I have ever heard a theory that JFK was killed to advance the cause of civil rights.

His assassination certainly did cause that and in that sense he did not "die in vain".

But who were the conspirators? How could they be certain LBJ would advance the civil rights agenda? It is my understanding that when LBJ reached out to Martin Luther King, Jr. (by telephone) shortly after the assassination king was flabbergasted at the promises LBJ made to him.

As most of you know, I don't think LBJ "did it", but I think he may have had advance notice and been blackmailed into the cover-up. And it is certain that he was financially corrupt. But as I have also said before, he deserves much credit for the Civil rights act of 1964 and the Voting Rights act of 1965.

Perhaps he became such an ardent advocate of civil rights to atone for his personal sins.

Ironically, in 1968 Martin Luther King, Jr. turned against LBJ on the issue of the Vietnam War.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Was it ever confirmed that LBJ wanted his nemesis Yarborough in the car with JFK instead of his good buddy Connally?

This is the background to this story (it probably needs its own thread). According to Evelyn Lincoln (JFK's secretary) LBJ put JFK under a lot of pressure to visit Texas in November, 1963. At the time there was a bitter dispute going on in the Democratic Party in Texas. Johnson and John Connally were seen as the leaders of the right-wing faction, whereas Ralph Yarborough led the liberal wing committed to civil rights (so much so that Connally and Johnson accused him of being a communist). Conservatives were also concerned that Yarborough was having a growing influence on Kennedy’s views on civil rights. (Yarborough was the only member of the Senate representing a former Confederate state to vote for every significant piece of civil rights legislation during the 1950s and 1960s).

Johnson and Connally went back a long way. Connally had ran all of Johnson’s election campaigns. In 1948 Connally was accused of fraud when he discovered at the last moment the existence of 200 votes for Johnson from Jim Wells County. It was these votes that gave Johnson an eighty-seven-vote victory.

Jim Bishop (The Day Kennedy Was Shot, pages 60-61) claimed that there was a fight between JFK and LBJ regarding the seating in the motorcade. According to Michael Benson (Who’s Who in the JFK Assassination – page 489) Craig Zirbel made this claim in The Texas Connection (page 254). However, it does not appear in my edition of the book.

I think the story came originally came from William Manchester (Death of a President). Manchester claims that LBJ and JFK had a loud argument in their last meeting together. According to Manchester, only LBJ and JFK knew what the argument was about, except that it was apparently about "the state's political feud," and Yarborough's name was heard several times by people outside the room.

However, in his book, Johnny, We Hardly Knew Ye (1972 - page 21) Kenneth O’Connell argues that this row was not about the seating in the motorcade. When JFK arrived in Texas it was arranged for him to attend a dinner at Governor Connolly’s mansion. Ralph Yarborough discovered he had not been placed at the head table with Kennedy. He was further infuriated by the decision not to invite Yarborough’s wife to the dinner. Yarborough blamed Johnson for this snub. When the party arrived in San Antonio, Yarborough refused to ride in the same car with Johnson. Kennedy was furious about this dispute (after all, he was visiting Texas in order to heal the divisions between Yarborough and Connally supporters. Kennedy applied pressure on Connally and Yarborough and his wife got to sit on the head table. By the time of the motorcade in Dallas, Yarborough and Johnson were willing to sit together in the car.

The original story appeals to those who believe LBJ knew about the proposed assassination attempt. John Connally was a close friend (he was involved in several of LBJ’s corrupt activities). At the same time he hated Yarborough for his liberal views on civil rights. If he knew about the assassination attempt, he would rather have had Yarborough sitting next to him. Of course, it could be argued that LBJ might have wanted Connolly killed as he knew a lot of his secrets.

Anyway, it is unlikely that LBJ could have believed that Connolly could be persuaded to give up his seat in the presidential car. Connolly, not Yarborough, was the host.

There is another theory on this subject. LBJ and Connolly knew about the assassination attempt but expected it to take place later. This helps explain Connolly comments when the firing started. Something on the lines of “They are trying to kill all of us”. This implies that he believed that there was only one target that day in Dallas.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...