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Barr McClellan: Blood, Money & Power: How LBJ Killed JFK


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Barr McClellan has agreed to answer questions about his book Blood, Money & Power: How LBJ Killed JFK.

(1) In your book you argue that Ed Clark helped organize the assassination of JFK. I am currently reading “Builders: Herman and George R. Brown". Written by two local historians, Joseph A. Pratt & Christopher J. Castaneda, the book, published by the Texas A & M University Press, is very difficult to find. There is a very interesting section on the Suite 8F Group, a collection of right-wing political and businessmen based in Texas. The name comes from the room in the Lamar Hotel in Houston where they held their meetings. Key members of the group included George Brown and Herman Brown (Brown & Root), Lyndon Johnson, Sam Rayburn, John Connally, Jesse H. Jones (chairman of the Reconstruction Finance Corporation), Gus Wortham (American General Insurance Company), James Abercrombie (Cameron Iron Works), Hugh R. Cullen (Quintana Petroleum), William Hobby (owner of the Houston Post), William Vinson (Great Southern Life Insurance), James Elkins (American General Insurance and Pure Oil Pipe Line), Morgan J. Davis (Humble Oil), Larry Bell (Bell Corporation) and Albert Thomas (chairman of the House Appropriations Committee). Pratt and Castaneda claimed that four lawyers, Ed Clark, Alvin Wirtz, Thomas Corcoran and Homer Thornberry also worked closely with the Suite 8F Group. Did you come across Ed Clark's connections with the Suite 8F Group while you were doing your research into Blood, Money & Power: How LBJ Killed JFK?

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In your book you argue that Ed Clark helped organize the assassination of JFK. I am currently reading “Builders: Herman and George R. Brown". Written by two local historians, Joseph A. Pratt & Christopher J. Castaneda, the book, published by the Texas A & M University Press, is very difficult to find. There is a very interesting section on the Suite 8F Group, a collection of right-wing political and businessmen based in Texas. The name comes from the room in the Lamar Hotel in Houston where they held their meetings. Key members of the group included George Brown and Herman Brown (Brown & Root), Lyndon Johnson, Sam Rayburn, John Connally, Jesse H. Jones (chairman of the Reconstruction Finance Corporation), Gus Wortham (American General Insurance Company), James Abercrombie (Cameron Iron Works), Hugh R. Cullen (Quintana Petroleum), William Hobby (owner of the Houston Post), William Vinson (Great Southern LifeInsurance), James Elkins (American General Insurance and Pure Oil Pipe Line), Morgan J. Davis (Humble Oil), Larry Bell (Bell Corporation) and Albert Thomas (chairman of the House Appropriations Committee). Pratt and Castaneda claimed that four lawyers, Ed Clark, Alvin Wirtz, Thomas Corcoran and Homer Thornberry also worked closely with the Suite 8F Group. Did you come across Ed Clark's connections with the Suite 8F Group while you were doing your research into Blood, Money & Power: How LBJ Killed JFK?

The group of key Houston business leaders was well-known despite a preference for secrecy. Clark attended as an outsider whenever he wished but was not a regular member.

As a sidebar, an interesting reason for his “alien” status was Houston leaders considered their city bigger than Texas, somehow elevating a part to more than the whole. But that was part of the mystique they promoted.

More specifically, at the meeting to consider JFK’s visit as part of a birthday for Congressman Albert Thomas, Clark was there for several days and participated.

More to the point, Clark was also there for a meeting of a Texas group interested in the State’s history, the super-secret Knights of San Jacinto. The point is media spin and its propaganda were important parts of the control exercised. Clark was right there. This is mentioned at page 182 of my book.

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Mr. McClellan, in your research into LBJ's history did you ever come across the name Johnny Mitchell? He was a Texas oilman in the fifties and sixties, one of the co-founders of Mitchell Petroleum (along with his brother George). My father once worked for him. I grew up with stories of LBJ's hatred of Mitchell. While reading Robert Maheu's memoirs I was astounded to find that Mitchell was one of his best friends. As Maheu was the CIA's cut-out for assassinations, I've often wondered if LBJ's hatred of Mitchell didn't come from Mitchell knowing a little too much about LBJ's background, via his firendship with Maheu. This presidential fear of Maheu's big mouth was, of course, one of the factors in the Watergate break-in, so such behavior would not have been unprecedented.

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Mr. McClellan, in your research into LBJ's history did you ever come across the name Johnny Mitchell? He was a Texas oilman in the fifties and sixties, one of the co-founders of Mitchell Petroleum (along with his brother George). My father once worked for him. I grew up with stories of LBJ's hatred of Mitchell. While reading Robert Maheu's memoirs I was astounded to find that Mitchell was one of his best friends. As Maheu was the CIA's cut-out for assassinations, I've often wondered if LBJ's hatred of Mitchell didn't come from Mitchell knowing a little too much about LBJ's background, via his firendship with Maheu. This presidential fear of Maheu's big mouth was, of course, one of the factors in the Watergate break-in, so such behavior would not have been unprecedented.

About Mitchell, I was fortunate to represent George in an involved oil and gas regulation case in North Texas involving several counties. I found no unhappiness between George and LBJ; however, at that time LBJ was well into therapy and, for a paying client, Clark was always very understanding. To answer the question as directly as possible, I knew of no connection between either Mitchell or Maheu nor did I hear of any relation to LBJ. Johnny Mitchell was not the same cut as George so there may have been something involved. I have no inside information on it. An interesting insight from Pat Speer so I intend to keep my eyes open for that connection. Thinking back as I write, I just cannot recall any connection between Clark and Hughes. Clark had connections to some of the Houston oilmen and I represented several of the more notorious ones; however, Clark was mainly in East Texas and really did not, to my knowledge, extend beyond that great bank of black oi therel. An interesting connection that will get some more attention from me.

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Mr. McClellan, thanks for your response. You might also be interested to know that the Mitchell brothers were close to the Maceo family. The Maceos, of course, were closely connected to Marcello. Long before the assassination, Marcello bagman Jack Halphen fingered Johnson for being on Marcello's payroll. Connections that may or may not have meaning...

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