Why I Dared to Use the Term "Mastermind" — And Why Many People Dislike That Choice

Webster definition of “Mastermind”: “A person who supplies the directing or creative intelligence for a project” 

Nothing there about “controlling every single detail” of the “project” that I can see . . . Given that definition, even a person who only had the original germ of an idea and the ability to communicate / sell it to others — but had nothing whatsoever to do with its execution—could still qualify for that title.

One of the many faces of Lyndon B. Johnson
(An unusual and rare photograph, since he personally
controlled practically all photographs of himself)

The need for this essay is not because I’ve never previously attempted to explain why I chose to use the word “Mastermind” to describe LBJ’s role in the assassination of JFK, because I have, repeatedly. Rather, it’s mostly because so many people who haven’t heard or read my previous statements still misunderstand the meaning of that term because of their own preconceptions. It is a word that most people don’t bother to look up in a dictionary as they presume that they somehow intuitively understand its meaning; apparently many believe that it means that such a person directly controls and monitors every single act, event and participant, the schedules, logistics and the overall plan, such that there is nothing about the project or operation that he or she does not completely understand or directly control (at least, that is what some have even spelled out on various internet platforms, as absurd as such a predicate is, on its face).

Even before I finished the original manuscript, I discussed this point several times with Noel Twyman, the author of Bloody Treason, a book that I had referenced multiple times and, in fact, stated that it was embraced in its entirety by proxy into my own book. Twyman warned me against using that term for the same reasons as others have; yet I still believe it was, and is, appropriate. In most cases, I think people generally agree with that once I’ve explained it to them and, in any case, they at least cordially “agree to disagree”.

In other cases, I have been viciously attacked, repeatedly — mostly by people who have never read any of my books — for the use of the term “Mastermind.” They have neglected to consider that I have always acknowledged that the assassination was conducted by actions / actors of the “Deep State.” The point that is generally overlooked — yet one which I’ve stated over and again, with limited success — is that in 1961-1963 (and beyond, until the end of his presidency in 1969), Lyndon B. Johnson was “CEO, president and chairman of the board of the Deep State (Even one of its modern-day founders)”

Please consider the implications of that point, before making the same mistake that dozens, or hundreds (thousands?) of others have previously made.

I’ve described that point in detail in each of my four books, on internet forums and again within this blog; see here, and here for example. In fact, this essay may seem familiar to people who’ve read my books and blogs because it includes excerpts of paragraphs that I’ve previously published, plus others that I have not.

Books from Phillip F Nelson

The word “Mastermind” is a term that I (apparently mistakenly) thought the first book with that title would clarify. The parameters of Johnson’s involvement described in every chapter of the book defined his participation in the plot to kill John F. Kennedy. In case anyone missed it, I established that his active participation in the event began in 1958, two years before the presidential election when he had the Texas legislature change the state law to permit him to run concurrently on the state ballot for his Senate seat while also running for national office.

The making of a presidential murderer

For clarification purposes, I will attempt to define and summarize what I meant by using that term. When Johnson set out in 1958-59 to put himself into the office of vice-president of the United States, knowing that, as a Southerner without a base from the more populous Eastern or Western regions, he knew that he must forfeit any idea of actually running for the presidency at that time. He planned — unlike any other vice president before or after him — to put himself into the position of running for the vice presidency because he saw it as his only path into the presidency itself, in accordance with his self-defined destiny, at a time and place to be determined.

Once he became vice president, he began sabotaging practically every domestic and international initiative advanced by JFK as he collaborated with his associates and other high officials within the military and intelligence organizations of the U.S. government. Because of his self-inflicted severance, between 1961 and 1963, as a result of numerous, repeated incidents, his relationship with JFK and his administration deteriorated; during the same period, however, his relationship with military and intelligence officials grew greater, and tighter. He had nurtured the relationships to the military chiefs — all of whom were already antagonistic to the Kennedys — to a point that many of them decided that JFK’s presidency presented too many risks to what they perceived as the “national security” of the United States.

No one knows for sure, of course, precisely how all of these relationships evolved and when the detailed planning for the assassination commenced; precise timelines and detailed assassination plans cannot be established because none of these “understandings” were ever committed to paper. My contention is that Johnson was the original initiator beginning in 1958, because, by definition, the “invisible government” (or National Security State a.k.a. the “Deep State”) could not realistically have become involved until after the 1960 election, and probably not until a number of Kennedy’s “sins” had been committed (e.g. the Bay of Pigs [1961], the Cuban missile crisis [1962], the nuclear arms treaty [1963], the move to limit the Federal Reserve — Executive Order 11110 [1963], and the “Peace Speech” [1963] etc.).

My books go to some lengths to describe the evolution of some of the relationships between Johnson and the members of the “invisible” force; this description is not located on any single page or sets of pages, but appears throughout the books. Therefore, to understand how the books describe all of this, one must, of course, read the books.

LBJ was uniquely qualified for his role as “mastermind”

LBJ administers “Johnson Treatment” to Abe Fortas


The enterprise, like all major undertakings of humanity, required a powerful catalyst to give it momentum, direction, and the subsequent promise of protection that all the players would expect, a promise that only LBJ could make effectively. That catalyst would have to reach into not only all the federal agencies, especially the military and intelligence organizations, but just as certainly into the state and local authorities in order to simultaneously ignite the fuses within each; it would take a unified “driving force” to do that, and Lyndon Johnson was uniquely capable of providing that kind of reach into every such entity. That element could have only come from a very powerful and dedicated single person, a very forceful person, one who could bring all the elements together. Some may prefer other terms, such as a “CEO,” a “Key Man,” a “Linchpin,” or even the term I’ve used, a “Mastermind,” but that person, regardless of the label one prefers, could only have been a man consumed by power and obsessed for decades about becoming president.

Johnson was acting as a forceful CEO of an enterprise that would primarily benefit himself, but sold to the others as being necessary for accomplishing their own interests, whether that be a more aggressive foreign policy, especially toward Vietnam, an end to the “peace process” with the USSR that Kennedy had implemented, a stop to the threat he had introduced to the power of the Federal Reserve, or simply a change to the apparent slippage toward socialism that many feared. Only a very powerful force, a “colossus” as he was described by none other than Bill Moyers, could have possibly been the driving force that was the essential ingredient, the “critical mass.”

Axiomatically, whomever one believes was the primary catalyst behind JFK’s assassination, that person had to have connections to all the key people in multiple agencies of the federal government as well as to local officials in Dallas, Texas. The “key man” had to have the ability to push all the right buttons and get those people—some unwittingly, with only a limited scope of knowledge of the overall plan—to take actions on his command.

The accumulated evidence demonstrates beyond doubt that Lyndon Johnson really was smart enough to have “masterminded” the plot to kill JFK (a point that many incorrectly believe excludes him from being a worthy candidate for this title). It must be remembered that the dictionary definition of this term means that he did not have to develop the entire plan, but merely the germ of the idea, where the people he recruited (e.g. Allen Dulles, among others) would be delegated that responsibility and they in turn would select trusted associates to assist with sub-plots and other details (e.g. through J.J. Angleton, to Bill Harvey and David S. Morales, for example). No other candidate for that role comes close to the manic Johnson, pushing and pulling the other key people to stay on task, including the trial runs (“beta tests” as they might be called today) planned for Chicago and Miami in the weeks before the Texas trip.

allen dulles, executive vice president and chief assistant to the ceo

The clubby, unemployed demon and
introverted psychopath Allen Dulles

For those who insist it was the introverted Allen Dulles — someone without personal connections to such other key people as James Rowley in the Secret Service, or even J. Edgar Hoover, with whom he had battled for turf that he considered his own — a man who in 1963 only had sway with others through an established linear hierarchy, within which he could receive input and issue orders, an obvious question arises: How could he do that when he had been fired two years earlier from his position of power and authority over many others?

Could the champion of the cause be a chameleon, operating from the shadows of power, a man who held no official power? Such a predicate would implicitly require a secret organization, presumably run from some camouflaged boardroom in Washington, complete with all the management tools available in 1963 in order to harness all the disparate people and entities involved. Apparently, based upon what little is known about the structure of this “invisible government,” this mysterious group of men was run by a nameless board of directors, each of whom had an equal, albeit secret, vote.

The premise would necessarily require the existence of an entirely separate organization, an enterprise dedicated to a presidential assassination. If that were the case, does it not follow that the authority residing within such a structure designed to carry out the mission of this “invisible government” had to be conferred upon him when he was chosen for the position by some very powerful men? Are we to infer, in that scenario, that Allen Dulles issued his deadly orders as the enigmatic, albeit secret, CEO, through an amorphous group of anonymous men at the helm of this invisible government?

It can be imputed that the only effective way to run such an organization and allocate its power must necessarily involve the use of standard operational procedures common to such enterprises, developed to ensure orderly deliberation and debate—such devices as Robert’s Rules of Order. Was a simple majority enough, or was a super majority vote required for such a committee to reach a consensus vote to murder the president? Yes, of course this scenario is absurd, which is why such a construct fails this elementary test of logic.

Yet it was indeed a consensus of such powerful men—a confluence of common interests—who were recruited for the purpose. But the missing element in the above scenario is a nucleus for the organization: a single “driving force.” As explained previously, Lyndon B. Johnson was uniquely qualified to be that nucleus.

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