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Senator Richard Russell of the Warren Commission

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The massive corruption in the CIA that resulted in unfathomable corruption in the Government can in large part be laid at the doorstep of Senator Richard B. Russell. The information on him clearly shows why he was chosen for the Warren Commission, and that the assassination of President John F. Kennedy couldn’t have happened without him.

On February 3, 1955, “Senator Richard B. Russell said today that a Senate group had been keeping a close check for years upon operations and activities of the super-secret Central Intelligence Agency. The Georgia Democrat, as Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, named a three-man subcommittee to, as he phrased it, ‘continue the work.’”

“The members are Mr. Russell himself and Senator Leverett Saltonstall, Republican of Massachusetts, and Senator Harry F. Byrd, Democrat of Virginia.” (As cited in an earlier section on the lack of oversight, Senator Saltonstall, as Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, shot down the 1954 attempt at Congressional oversight of the CIA and he had the support of Senator Russell. Democrats became the majority party in January 1955, but the CIA still reigned supreme.)

“Mr. Russell’s statement that there had been a continuing check on the CIA came as a surprise. Numerous Members of Congress have complained they were kept completely in the dark about CIA activities . . . Mr. Russell told reporters, ‘We have endeavored to keep in touch with the CIA and its operations.’”

A Washington Post editorial on October 12, 1963, said “It is true that senior Members of House and Senate committees meet from time to time with the CIA Director, but the tone of these sessions is one of discreet non-curiosity.” As previously noted, Senator Saltonstall had once remarked, “The difficulty in connection with asking questions and obtaining information is that we might obtain information which I personally would rather not have.”

When Congressional oversight of the CIA was again an issue in 1966, the New York Times addressed the failed attempt in 1954, stating that Senators Russell and Saltonstall “agreed with the then CIA Director, Allen W. Dulles, that the joint committee might jeopardize security.”

In May 1966, Senator Russell stated, “There is no justification what-so-ever for any other committee to muscle in on the jurisdiction of the Armed Services Committee so far as the CIA is concerned.” He characterized attacks on the CIA, saying, “erroneous charges are calculated to deceive Members of Congress,” and “he added that they ‘affect the sources available to the CIA, which are easily disturbed.’”

The New York Times addressed Russell and Company’s dealings with the CIA in 1966, stating: “The subcommittee members exercise no real control because they are not informed of all covert operations, either before or after they take place . . . A handful of men like Mr. Cannon and Senator Russell, with their great prestige, do not so much control the CIA as shield it from its critics.”

In November 1966, a New York Times article cited that Senator Russell acknowledged that there was “dissent” on the Warren Commission pertaining to “original wording” in the Warren Commission report “that said categorically that there had been no conspiracy involved.” Senator Russell said that Chief Justice Earl Warren “finally took that part and rewrote it himself. . . . Warren was determined he was going to have a unanimous report.” (Apparently Russell protected the CIA while Warren saved us all from a nuclear war.)

Senator Russell “agreed with Governor Connally in rejecting the theory of a single bullet wounding both the Governor and the President.”

Regardless of his own “lingering dissatisfaction,” Senator Russell said that “any group of honorable men, given the same evidence, would have come to the same conclusion as the Warren Commission.” (Russell clearly stated that they performed their cover-up task because they were “honorable men.”)

As for “evidence,” Russell made a startling admission in 1970 and it was more than evident that he was directly accusing the “Secret Service” of conspiring to assassinate President Kennedy.

On January 19, 1970, “Senator Richard B. Russell, Democrat of Georgia, said today he never believed Lee Harvey Oswald assassinated President Kennedy without at least some encouragement from others . . . The 72-year-old Senator made the statements to newsmen in response to questions prompted by an article in the Washington Post based on a series of taped interviews he recorded . . . Senator Russell said the Warren Commission was not able to investigate specifically the source of such possible encouragement, and he added he could not pinpoint it.”

As the following paragraphs will show, it is an understatement to say Russell was implicating the CIA/Secret Service.

On November 29, 1963, a New York Times reporter reporting from Dallas wrote: “Oswald returned to Dallas early in October after a mysterious trip to Mexico and began looking for work, according to persons who saw him daily at that time . . . While Oswald was looking for work, his Russian-born wife and child lived with Mrs. Michael R. Paine, a friend in Irving, a small town near Dallas.”

“Wesley Randle, a teenage neighbor of Mrs. Paine, said he heard that Oswald was looking for a job and told Mrs. Paine that he knew of one at the Texas School Book Depository. Mrs. Paine called about the job and on October 14th, Oswald went in and made application. He was accepted and started work the next day, October 15th, as a stock clerk at $1.25 an hour.”

“Mrs. Paine said when Oswald got the job he had just received his last unemployment check and his wife was expecting the arrival of their second child. He telephoned from Dallas, Mrs. Paine said, and announced, ‘Hooray, I've got a job.’”

“It had been announced here on September 28th that President Kennedy would visit Dallas, but no parade route was disclosed. The parade route was not decided on until the Wednesday before the President’s arrival on Friday and was not published until Thursday, the day before his death.”

“Oswald had no way of knowing when he took the job at the Texas School Book Depository that it would provide a vantage point for assassinating the President.”

This scenario left only one day for the “encouragement” that Russell cited.

As cited in the section on the Dallas Police and the IACP, the Chief of the Secret Service, James J. Rowley, was for some reason in Houston on October 8, 1963, during the IACP convention there.

He said that Kennedy would be in Dallas in November and, “I am not free to disclose plans until they are announced. However, three weeks prior to the visit some of the White House detail will come to Dallas to help arrange all phases of security.”

With the parade route not decided on until November 20th and not announced until November 21st, Senator Richard Russell was clearly stating that Oswald’s encouragement would have come from the “Secret Service.”

Declassified Warren Commission documents show that on January 27, 1964, less than two months after the cover-up team was established, Russell and Warren Commission member Allen W. Dulles, former Director of the CIA, discussed whether the directors of the FBI and the CIA “would truthfully answer questions on whether Lee Harvey Oswald had ever worked for either of their agencies.”

Dulles, the former CIA Director, said, “I think under any circumstances, I think Mr. Hoover would say certainly he didn’t have anything to do with this fellow . . . I would tell the President of the United States anything. Yes, I am under his control. I wouldn’t necessarily tell anybody else, unless the President authorized me to do it.”

Russell stated, “If Oswald never had assassinated the President, or at least been charged with assassinating the President and had been in the employ of the FBI and somebody had gone to the FBI, they would have denied he was an agent,” to which Dulles responded, “Oh, yes.”

Russell then said, “They would be the first to deny it. Your agents would have done exactly the same thing,” and Dulles replied, “Exactly.”

Obviously, Russell and Dulles, of all people, decided that they couldn’t determine if Oswald worked for the CIA, just as they couldn’t determine who “encouraged” Oswald.

It is a state secret that the Secret Service is the CIA, and Senator Russell dared not venture down a track that would show his stalwart defense of the CIA resulted in the assassination of the President of the United States, especially since he claimed to be an “honorable man,” which was his excuse for the cover up.

Russell’s startling admission on January 19, 1970, came almost three years before Warren admitted in December 1972, that they were given their assignment because President Johnson feared a nuclear war. Russell was 72 years old at the time and ten months earlier, in March 1969, he had been hospitalized with emphysema and a lung tumor.

Russell said he “assumes” the tumor is “malignant,” but he received treatment and was supposedly “cured,” but was hospitalized again in December 1969, the month before he admitted that he knew Oswald received “encouragement from others.”

On January 21, 1971, one year and two days after his startling admission, Richard Russell died of a respiratory infection complicated by emphysema. (Two years after Russell died, 81-year-old Earl Warren admitted why they were given their assignment, and Earl Warren died less than two years later.)

As for Oswald’s “encouragement,” the section on Warren Commission member Hale Boggs will clearly show the ease with which Oswald was manipulated by the CIA, manipulation which Russell viewed as “encouragement.”

Like Warren, who claimed that they didn’t find any evidence of Cuban or Soviet involvement, Richard Russell maintained that Oswald was the lone assassin, but one year before the ailing Russell died, he was most definitely stating that there had been a conspiracy.

Russell, in fact, “said that he did not have ‘the slightest doubt’ that it was Oswald who fired the fatal shots in Dallas on November 22, 1963,” but Russell failed to realize that by acknowledging “encouragement,” he was pointing the finger of guilt at his beloved CIA.

James J. Rowley, chief of the “Secret Service,” didn’t have to “disclose plans” when he was in Houston during the IACP convention. The “Secret Service” was making the necessary plans for the assassination.

Oswald started work at the Texas School Book Depository one week after Rowley said he couldn’t “disclose plans.”

(As cited in the section on the “Secret Service,” a man in New York was encouraged by “barroom acquaintances” to sit along President Johnson’s motorcade route on October 31, 1964, with a telescopic rifle on the seat beside him and a loaded shotgun in the trunk, but he was discovered by Suffolk County Police, after which he was questioned by the “Secret Service” and “jailed for the night,” charged with “disorderly conduct.”

Plans for the motorcade “to make a number of stops along the motorcade route” were changed, and plans to assassinate President Johnson were foiled.)

Besides his symbiotic relationship with the CIA, Russell’s perspective that Connally was struck by a separate bullet, and his acknowledgment of Oswald’s being encouraged, Senator Russell made it clear in August 1963 that he had a decidedly unfavorable view of President Kennedy.

On August 12, 1963, the Washington Post reported: “Georgia’s Democratic Senator Richard B. Russell said yesterday that if a presidential election between President Kennedy and Senator Barry Goldwater were held now, the Arizona Republican would win in Georgia.”

“Russell said that while he is willing to ‘wait and see,’ as matters now stand it will be ‘very difficult’ for him to ‘actively support’ President Kennedy in next year’s election. He added that he has ‘no intention’ of ‘knocking myself out’ in taking the stump for the President.”

Kennedy’s assassination meant Russell didn’t have to wait and see about doing something very difficult, and he undoubtedly had “no intention” of “knocking himself out” when he investigated Kennedy’s assassination either, especially since it was in actuality a cover-up task.

(Georgia, “which never before had deserted the Democratic Party,” was one of only five states, all segregationist Southern states, that went to Goldwater in 1964, besides Goldwater’s home state of Arizona.)

Senator Richard B. Russell was perfectly suited to be a defense attorney for the CIA, but not at all suited for prosecuting an investigation of President Kennedy’s murder, two factors which made him invaluable to the cover-up team.

His propensity to “actively support” the CIA showed up again in 1967.

After it was disclosed in February 1967 that the CIA had, since the 1950s, been using foundations as conduits to channel millions of dollars to a wide spectrum of organizations including the National Student Association, labor groups, legal groups and others, Senator Richard Russell, star of the Warren Commission and long-time CIA protector, “confirmed that he had known and approved of the subsidies since their beginning. He especially defended assistance to the student association.”

Two of Russell’s Senate cohorts, Senators Symington and Young, asserted that surprisingly, they discovered that other people control the CIA and its Director Richard Helms, that it wasn’t responsible for what it did, but that it was all perfectly legitimate.

Among the bizarre statements they made were: “Mr. Helms cleared up a lot of things . . . The CIA is operating under the instructions and policies of others . . . The agency had subsidized some organizations it had no desire to help and had no authority on its own to withdraw some of its subsidies . . . In some instances, the intelligence organization was operating at the direction of the State Department or the National Security Agency, a secret arm of the Defense Department. All subsidies were recorded by the Bureau of the Budget.”

(In May 1966, when Russell said that he wouldn’t let other committees “muscle in” on his territory, it was cited that Russell and Saltonstall’s CIA panel had grown to seven Senators and it included Senators Symington and Young. Yet, they allegedly had no knowledge of how the CIA worked and the subsidies that Senator Russell knew and approved of, and Richard Helms had to “clear up a lot of things” for them.)

As for Senator Russell, the New York Times stated: “The trouble, he insisted, was not in the subsidies themselves but in the disclosures. He left the implication that subsidies should be stopped when disclosed and continued when not.”

Russell stated, “A great number of people would like to see the CIA destroyed.”

When he was “asked if the agency was in danger of destruction, he replied, ‘Its effectiveness has been impaired.’” (Renegade CIA officers have certainly impaired the effectiveness of the CIA. The September 11th terrorist attacks are proof of that.)

Richard B. Russell, the devoted guardian of the CIA, was undoubtedly more qualified than anyone to be on Warren’s cover-up team.

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Richard Russell was LBJ's closest friend in Congress. After the assassination he spoke more to Russell than anyone else. Here is an extract from the telephone conversation that took place at 8.55 p.m on 29th November, 1963.

Richard Russell: I know I don't have to tell you of my devotion to you but I just can't serve on that Commission. I'm highly honoured you'd think about me in connection with it but I couldn't serve on it with Chief Justice Warren. I don't like that man. I don't have any confidence in him at all.

Lyndon B. Johnson: It has already been announced and you can serve with anybody for the good of America and this is a question that has a good many more ramifications than on the surface and we've got to take this out of the arena where they're testifying that Khrushchev and Castro did this and did that and chuck us into a war that can kill 40 million Americans in an hour....

Richard Russell: I still feel it sort of getting wrapped up...

Lyndon B. Johnson: Dick... do you remember when you met me at the Carlton Hotel in 1952? When we had breakfast there one morning.

Richard Russell: Yes I think so.

Lyndon B. Johnson: All right. Do you think I'm kidding you?

Richard Russell: No... I don't think your kidding me, but I think... well, I'm not going to say anymore, Mr. President... I'm at your command... and I'll do anything you want me to do....

Lyndon B. Johnson: Warren told me he wouldn't do it under any circumstances... I called him and ordered him down here and told me no twice and I just pulled out what Hoover told me about a little incident in Mexico City and I say now, I don't want Mr. Khrushchev to be told tomorrow (censored) and be testifying before a camera that he killed this fellow and that Castro killed him... And he started crying and said, well I won't turn you down... I'll do whatever you say.


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BTW a copy of LBJ Videotape Dramatizations to actual phone recordings is a "mustsee" for anyone interested in LBJ. Don't know who distributes this, it's rather old video series. Priceless.

Another heads up on Sen. Russell. He was getting briefed on intel and Cuba regularly I think. He can't play dumb (well, now he can) he was senior committee member etal. Hooverite and old school Cold War/DC.

In a talk I did for groups in Dallas once, I mentioned that I was told as kid Russell was a "family friend" (Georgia) which explains why my father a Pro then Anti Castro covert operator was visiting him in DC, or does it? There were a few such trips in memory.

I've always thought Russell knew something more about a lot of things, certainly intelligence, military-related.

good thread on Sen Russell, always wondered what more we could learn about him

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Awww James, you beat me to it. I can't compete with LookAlikeProductions-ha!

I use this image in my presentations when I talked about Russell. What are they discussing? Where to have lunch? Hoover's indiscretions? the "Negro Problem" or Kennedy(s)?

Remember the JFK movie (contrived composite character) when the voice says into the phone, "In the fall, in the South?" Perhaps it was all hushed voices and winks. Chilling nonetheless.

Thanks James, your photo posts are a pleasure.

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I would like to explore further the relationship between Richard Russell and Lyndon Johnson.

Russell was elected to the Senate on 12th January, 1933. He held extreme right-wing views and told his constituents during an election campaign against Eugene Talmadge in 1935: "As one who was born and reared in the atmosphere of the Old South, with six generations of my forebears now resting beneath Southern soil, I am willing to go as far and make as great a sacrifice to preserve and insure white supremacy in the social, economic, and political life of our state as any man who lives within her borders."

Russell developed a reputation as the leader of the white supremacists in the Senate. Russell participated in his first filibuster of a civil rights bill in 1935 when he stopped an anti-lynching bill (Costigan-Wagner Act) with 6 days of non-stop talking.

By the end of the Second World War Russell was the acknowledged leader of the Southern bloc in the Senate. In 1950 it was suggested that Russell should become head of the Democratic Party in the Senate. Russell declined the offer and instead gave his support to his great friend, Lyndon B. Johnson, the recently elected senator from Texas. Russell's decision enabled Johnson to become the most powerful man in the Senate.

On the surface this seems a strange decision. Johnson had only been elected to the Senate in 1948. Was Russell using Johnson as a front man for his own policies or did Johnson have something on Russell. Whatever the answer, the two men remained close friends.

A lifelong bachelor, Russell spent most weekends with Johnson. He was such a regular visitor that Johnson's daughters affectionately referred to Russell as "Uncle Dick".

Russell continued to lead the white supremacists in the Senate and was the main figure involved in blocking John Kennedy’s civil rights legislation. Russell told the Senate: "We will resist to the bitter end any measure or any movement which would have a tendency to bring about social equality and intermingling and amalgamation of the races in our (Southern) states." Russell organized 18 Southern Democratic senators in filibustering this bill.

It was during this struggle that Johnson forced Russell to join the Warren Commission. This was one of the main reasons why Russell attended so few of the WC meetings.

On the 15th June, 1964, Russell did something very strange. He privately told Mike Mansfield and Hubert Humphrey, the two leading supporters of the Civil Rights Act, that he would bring an end to the filibuster that was blocking the vote on the bill. This resulted in a vote being taken and it was passed by 73 votes to 27.

Most historians take the view that Lyndon Johnson forced Russell to let the bill go through. But why? Johnson had like Russell always been opposed to civil rights legislation. It went further than that. LBJ had been involved in a smear campaign against liberal Democrats such as Ralph Yarborough (the only member of the Senate representing a former Confederate state to vote for every significant piece of civil rights legislation). In fact, one of the main reasons why JFK was in Dallas was to try and bring an end to the conflict between Yarborough and the right-wing members of the party).

The traditional explanation for Johnson’s behaviour is that he wanted to go down in history as the man who got through legislation on civil rights. This was clearly the view that LBJ tried to promote. However, I don’t buy this version. LBJ was not only a racist, he represented the views of racists like Haroldson L. Hunt and Clint Murchison. Why should LBJ betray these people? Why did LBJ go as far as to pressurize Russell to let the 1964 Civil Rights Act to go through?

To my mind something very dramatic must have happened to make LBJ to change his mind on this issue. Could it be that LBJ was being blackmailed? That someone who favoured civil rights legislation had discovered LBJ’s role in the assassination. As much as they hated LBJ they knew if would be very difficult to get him ousted as president (could you imagine the impact this would have on the American political system). However, one possible act of revenge was to blackmail LBJ and his friends to do the very thing that made them want to kill JFK. If so, my bet was that the person behind this was Ralph Yarborough.




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It certainly looks as tho' Russell had something on LBJ and LBJ perhaps on Russell. This was Washington in the sixites, after all. Secrets were closely held. If indiscretions were as reported as they are today, the system may have collapsed under its own weight.

The Cold War, Civil Rights, War and "duck and cover" were upon us. Nobody's 'cause was safe from a deal. I believe Russell was told by the President that he simply will vote in the affirmative, or their relationship would suffer. Russell's life was Washington and LBJ was the man in power now. A deal was cut and chips passed to LBJ. Listen to the "LBJ Tapes" for the actual conversation of this. It seems very like a man telling a friend: "Look, I'm the one in power and you must do this for me...like it or not, CR legislation will be passed and the US will change. I (LBJ) may as be the one. LBJ wrote his own history. It makes sense that LBJ would shrewdly pull rank, enforce loyalty. It was truely a measure of his power.

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LBJ had been involved in a smear campaign against liberal Democrats such as Ralph Yarborough (the only member of the Senate representing a former Confederate state to vote for every significant piece of civil rights legislation).

(WOW! My posts are getting responses! Thanks!)

Let's not forget that Yarborough's Republican opponent in the 1964 Senatorial race in Texas was none other than George W. Bush’s father, George H. W. Bush.

Bush announced his bid for the US Senate on September 11, 1963, exactly one month before Goldwater visited Texas and “rode from the airport in an open convertible” while “a crowd of fans chanted ‘We want Barry’ and waved ‘Goldwater for President’ signs.” (Do you suppose that Goldwater was baiting Kennedy?)

On November 1, 1964, a report in the New York Times stated: “The opposition to Mr. Yarborough struck it rich when the Republicans put up an especially personable candidate in Mr. Bush, the 39-year-old son of former Senator Prescott Bush of Connecticut.”

The Dallas Morning News accentuated the Bush-Goldwater partnership when it reported on a Republican rally held in San Antonio, Texas, on October 31, 1964, the day that Goldwater was expecting President Johnson to be assassinated.

“Given standing ovations on his two appearances on the program, Bush declared, ‘The work of the Republican Party is going terrifically in Texas. Goldwater is going to help our race’ . . . The ovation for the Republican candidate for US Senator from Texas was second only to that given the party’s standard bearer for President, Barry Goldwater.”

On September 23, 1963, twelve days after Bush got into the fray, the Washington Post reported, “One of Senator Barry Goldwater’s strongholds in the Presidential nomination race is Texas. The Arizona Republican’s supporters contend he will sweep the South, including the Lone Star State . . . He is gaining on Kennedy. In May, the President led the Senator 60 per cent to 26 per cent, while a poll released a week ago shows the President still ahead but by 46 per cent to 39 per cent . . . Just to make Texas more interesting, the latest announced GOP Senatorial candidate is George Bush, son of former Senator Prescott Bush.”

At the rally on October 31st, “Goldwater recalled that he had served while the Texan’s father, Prescott Bush, was serving as a US Senator from Connecticut . . . The Presidential candidate singled out Bush for praise as a bright hope on the political horizon.”

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