NOT ALL SO-CALLED “TRUTH-SEEKING” ORGANIZATIONS OR INDIVIDUALS (AND THEIR WEB-SITES) ARE WHAT THEY CLAIM TO BE, AS EVIDENCED BY THEIR NOT-SO-SUBTLE DECEITS
Following are three specific instances of “book reviewers” whose assertions are revealed to be vacuous, ill-informed and generally incoherent, giving rise to questions as to their own veracity and the missions they were apparently assigned by anonymous handlers:
This essay was originally published as “Appendix A” in the book Who REALLY Killed Martin Luther King Jr.?
Unfortunately, there are organizations whose specialty seems to be directed at screening new books as part of their stealthy mission, which many have come to believe might be their primary raison d’être: that of “keeping state secrets secret.” To accomplish this, while portraying themselves as “truth seekers,” they are known to somewhat arbitrarily dismiss certain sources that go too far into areas that they prefer to keep out-of-bounds. The organization “Kennedys and King,” (previously known as CTKA—paradoxically named “Citizens for Truth in the Kennedy Assassination”) is one such entity. While there are a number of contributors to it whose works do not cross those circumscribed boundaries—because the subject matter conveniently does not—many others are apparently assigned the role of keeping researchers/authors on a very narrow path, as though there were invisible boundaries that cannot be breached.* As with all myths, it is necessary to include enough truth to make them believable to a large audience, and that did not go unnoticed by the mythmakers who created this organization, or other similar entities.
Such was the case with Dr. Pepper’s works, in a review written by Martin Hay dated August 1, 2016, shortly after Pepper’s latest book, The Plot to Kill King, was published. In his opening commentary, Hay wrote:
“Over the years, this reviewer has adopted something of an agnostic position when it comes to areas of Pepper’s work. Whilst there is undoubtedly great value in what he has uncovered and accomplished, it nonetheless remains true that there a number of legitimate reasons for doubting important elements of Pepper’s research.”
On that weak platform, the “reviewer” set forth to disparage many of the people who had come forward with pertinent information, and some of the collateral witnesses or suspects whom Dr. Pepper interviewed as a result of the his arduous, decades-long investigation. In doing so, it seemed as if the memory lapses of decades-long events, and the relatively inconsequential character flaws in a number of them, completely disqualified them from being considered at all believable in the considered opinion of this reader of books and self-styled critic.
Clearly, though this review was written in such a way as to give Dr. Pepper some general recognition for his long-term commitment to solving King’s murder, the reviewer apparently decided that Pepper was getting too dangerously close to an unstated but apparent long-standing objective of his sponsors: exposing partial truths while keeping to its real agenda of protecting the nation’s highest state secrets, one of which is the criminality of the 36th President. In this specific instance, the reviewer’s obvious objective was to invalidate the case Dr. Pepper had made against a number of key figures whom he—through witness Ron Adkins—had implicated as having been involved in the murder of Dr. King: such luminaries as Rev. Samuel “Billy” Kyles, Rev. Jesse Jackson, Memphis Mayor Henry Loeb, Memphis Police and Fire Department Chief Frank Holloman, FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, FBI Associate Director Clyde Tolson, and a number of others who worked either for one of them or were associated with the Dixie Mafia. And, by direct extension, President Lyndon B. Johnson.
The sworn depositions of witness Ronnie Lee Adkins, a.k.a. Ron Tyler, run over 111 pages in the book, consisting almost entirely of (reduced) deposition pages, four to each book page, for a total of nearly 400 pages. In other words, Dr. Pepper went to an incredible amount of time, expense, and patience to carefully extract information from this man, and others—and document it for all time, and present it to a public hungry for the very rare truths and hard-to-find facts amongst the jetsam found in many of the best-selling but fictional books written about this case—because Pepper had considered him, and them, as reasonably credible witnesses wanting to provide truthful testimony. Since the Adkins’ deposition was taken over forty years after the event (it is dated December 10, 2009), some basic errors and inconsistencies should be expected.
But the reviewer evidently had a much higher standard than that, as demonstrated by his declaration that
“calling Adkins’ story hard to believe would be a vast understatement. In fact it is, in this reviewer’s opinion, so utterly lacking in credibility that it hardly seems worth wasting time on a detailed deconstruction . . . Accepting this man’s word without verification is, as far as this reviewer is concerned, completely unthinkable.”
As for what possible motives Mr. Adkins might have had for going to all the trouble of sitting through the hours of intensive, memory-searching interviews, followed by even more intense, on the record, very detailed testimony under oath—at the risk of perjury or contempt charges—in the depositions, we have nothing other than this rather haughty pronouncement. That such an assertion could be made, devoid of any specific reasoning whatsoever about any possible motive Adkins might have had for willingly undergoing what can only be concluded was an extraordinary act of masochism, should be enough to abrogate the charge and validate Adkins’s testimony.
Let’s examine specific examples of the deceptive methodologies used in the delusive “review,” among an assortment that the reviewer referenced, some of which have already been addressed within the narrative of this book:
- The first relates to his assertion that because Adkins had stated that Jesse Jackson was responsible for ensuring that the Lorraine Motel would change Dr. King’s room to the one having a balcony, when the manager had claimed that he had received a telephone call from someone at the Atlanta SCLC to make that change, this “error” should discredit Adkins’s testimony. Consider, just for a moment, the possibility that both could be true, that Jackson had been instructed to make certain, in person, that this long-distance telephonic instruction would actually be carried out, given that the caller was (apparently, assuming the call really was made from Atlanta) too far away to do that. Had the reviewer given it a few seconds to sink in, he might have realized that its critical importance to the objective might require on-site “back-up” assurance: the term used by the spooks is called “planned redundancy,” and it is a key element of covert operations that helps to assure that all elements of a carefully crafted plan are executed in accordance with that plan. Qualified reviewers of books about such operations should implicitly understand that elementary concept and would have not used it to make a fallacious point.
- Another example relates to the incident that became the catalyst for ensuring Dr. King’s appearance in Memphis: that he would come to Memphis to lend his support for the sanitation workers. Two of them, Echol Cole and Robert Walker, were crushed to death when the compactor mechanism of the trash truck was (according to the official city report) “accidentally” triggered. The fact that city rules forbade black employees to seek shelter from rain anywhere but in the back of their compressor trucks, and the meager financial settlement offered their families after the incident, ultimately led to Dr. King’s decision to return to the city to lead a protest march. According to Dr. Pepper’s witness, Ron Adkins, that incident was no “accident”: it was purposefully done as part of the larger plan to assure King’s return to Memphis for that very purpose. Other than citing the “official findings” (which, like so much of this case, is rightfully suspect—to the point of arguably a lie that should be reinterpreted as the opposite of what it asserts), there is no evidence presented to doubt the veracity of Adkins’s sworn testimony based upon his “insider knowledge.” It isn’t a stretch—given all the other component parts of a very elaborate, detailed plan—to believe that the plotters would come up with a subplot such as this, to ensure that King would respond to a request to appear in Memphis to play homage to these men, killed in a tragic accident caused in part by dangerous working conditions. And it needn’t have to be conditioned to a particular day, merely one “on the next rainy day.” To deny the possibility of that, again based on the same arbitrary dismissal of all of Adkins’s testimony, with the flippant statement: “But in Ronnie’s world, this was no accident, ‘Somebody pulled the hammer, pulled the lever on the truck and mashed them up in there’” is merely another instance of “selective preference.”
In another passage, the reviewer makes a number of misstatements and factual errors when he asserts:
“In Adkins’ narrative there is no mention of or accounting for Raul and he names some extremely unlikely individuals as part of the plot. He even has MPD officer Tommy Smith . . . waiting in his car on Main Street and then dropping the bundle of evidence in the doorway of Canipe’s.”
- First, regarding Adkins’s not “accounting for Raul,” the question must be asked: “Why would he?”
As another elementary point about people involved in covert operations, they are all compartmentalized, to assure that anyone without a “need to know” is purposefully kept from knowledge of all aspects of the operation, and there are multiple reasons for that which most minimally informed people already know. There was no reason that Adkins would have had any reason to know about Raul, or even Ray, for that matter; his knowledge was confined to the events he witnessed as a teenager over approximately two years at his father’s side. That should be self-evident to anyone who gives it a moment’s thought, so we will leave it at that and save the reader from a lengthy discourse about that point.
- Second, his statement that Tommy Smith was the one who dropped the “bundle of evidence in the doorway of Cannipe’s” is, simply, incorrect. In his deposition (part 2), at page 163 (book page 643), the actual statement reads as follows: “The guy that was with Tommy Smith when I saw Tommy at the red light is the one I was told put the gun there.” The reviewer actually cited page 256, the narrative supplied by Dr. Pepper, in explaining the witness’ testimony, however even that clearly states, “He [Adkins] was told that the officer who sat with Lieutenant Tommy Smith was the man who dropped the bundle in front [of] Canipe’s.” (Emphasis added in both of the above sentences.)
Nowhere does the witness, Adkins, say anything about it being Tommy Smith who deposited the bundle of evidence. In evaluating this rather glaring error, one must ask themselves whether it was simply an oversight—merely a reading slippage whereby the five key words were somehow skipped—or, lacking sufficient concrete reasons to discredit the witness, the exercise of a license to misinterpret certain statements, being extended by the organization that assigned the reviewer this project, was just another trashing tool? There can only be two possible explanations for this kind of factual misrepresentation; not being able to prove it one way or the other, we’ll leave it at that and let the reader decide which seems more appropriate.
One of the reviewer’s statements dismissing Dr. Pepper’s witness was this:
“There are also logical problems aplenty with Adkins’ story. Like why on Earth would Hoover have had the names [sic: initials] JFK, RFK and MLK put on a [prayer] list and handed to Russell Adkins Sr. in 1956? Was anyone even referring to them by their initials back then?”
That “prayer list” he referenced was conveyed to Russell Adkins by none other than Hoover’s and Adkin’s mutual friend, Senator Joe McCarthy, at Clyde Tolson’s request, as a little “head’s up” alert about possible future “targets” that would eventually follow; since McCarthy died in 1957, it is presumed to have been sent in 1956 at the latest. As most minimally informed people know, the practice of politicians using their initials as a short-cut ID started with FDR (first elected in 1932), so we turned for guidance on this practice to a book by William Safire titled Safire’s Political Dictionary:
Ted Sorensen wrote: “JFK—as he persuaded the headline writers to call him, not to imitate FDR but to avoid the youthful ‘Jack.’”
(The following statement was also taken from Safire’s piece, so we include it here):
Even before his association with FDR, LBJ was preoccupied with initials: Lady Bird Johnson, Lynda Bird and Luci Baines all carried the same initials, as did his ranch and his dog Little Beagle Johnson.
On another page of this book (p. 467), he stated that Johnson was also called “Big Daddy,” which was undoubtedly an endearing term that he himself had also started, for prurient reasons that we have previously noted.
So, to answer the reviewer’s question: “Yes,” at least in the case of JFK, whose appearance in the headlines began at least in the early 1950s, it can safely be intuited that the use of his initials had begun well before 1956, and his brother Robert, being as close to “Jack” as he always was, had probably been coincidentally influenced to do the same.
As for MLK, who knows? Perhaps Mr. Hoover just wanted to use the same script style to make matters easy for others to understand, knowing that they would figure it out in due course; indeed, it may have simply been Hoover’s choice as a cryptic device that would not be sufficient to prove his criminal intent, or merely one of his many other inexplicable fetishes.
Not to be pedantic about it, but, one might raise the question, “How does this question even merit such a diversion?” Answer: It’s called “piling on” and serves the purpose of throwing in everything, including a metaphoric “kitchen sink,” to try to destroy the credibility of Dr. Pepper and his masterful book.
THEN THERE WAS THIS HODGE-PODGE OF ASSORTED QUESTIONS:
- Once Dr. King’s assassination was decided, why did it take four years for so many presumably intelligent people to formulate a plan?
This is probably one of the easiest questions to answer, except that a thorough explanation must necessarily be lengthy. The answer to this question—the reader may be excused for presuming it to be stunningly obvious— is because it was a rather sophisticated plan, involving a lot of complicated subplots, thus, extensive planning meetings were necessary (which were called “prayer meetings,” probably because they had long been on J. Edgar Hoover’s “prayer list” as well as the fact that many took place in a church).
As every project manager knows (but evidently not all book reviewers), they would first have to lay out a macroplan and, as consensus agreements were made, then add detailed subparts: identification of the tasks (and consequent risk evaluations), time lines, and specifications for potential assignments, then the nomination of carefully chosen “recruits,” followed by the required approvals, to get to a microlevel detailed subplan for each of them. They were undoubtedly not working with standard business planning devices such as PERT Charts to conduct this work, but they still had to go to great lengths to make their plans, some requiring great lead times, such as carefully selecting, then setting up, a patsy. In this case, high-level sleuths were clearly involved to first produce a list of several potential candidates, then select the one most suitable for such a sacrifice.
These were men (most likely James J. Angleton chief among them, as explained elsewhere) who were knowledgeable about each candidate’s past, and his present whereabouts, who selected James Earl Ray. The plan required the assistance of the prison warden to set up a carefully controlled escape, and this would require its own time line. A “handler” and other facilitators were also needed for this purpose, and they would need to be given specialized training for that purpose; then additional plans would be needed to make subsequent contact with the “patsy” in carefully preplanned—but seemingly serendipitous—meetings . . . in this case, the first was at the Neptune bar in Montreal in July, 1967.
This part of that plan would be the lengthiest “task”—the key “critical path” upon which everything else depended. From there, the handler would make the patsy dependent upon him for financial backing from then on through the period leading up to the scheduled killing of MLK. These meetings were explained at length in Adkins’s deposition, for example in pp. 25-50 (book pages 608-615). The general instruction from Clyde Tolson himself was “Make it happen in Memphis . . . so we can control it” (i.e., by the local officials named elsewhere and various members of the Dixie Mafia, the FBI, CIA, and military intelligence). The 3½-month ocean cruise in the summer of 1964, where the plan was carefully pieced together by Tolson and Russell Adkins Sr., was the first major task. Tolson also placed an early order for “five or six” rifles and had them shipped from Oregon to Memphis, and this was all done in 1964, probably to ensure that there would be no record of them, or if there was, that they would have sufficient time to have it erased, or if necessary to get replacement rifles acquired elsewhere. And then there was the matter of recruiting “FBI informants” who would cooperate for their own self-serving reasons (mostly monetary and career-building), as well: Jesse Jackson and Billy Kyles being two of them, according to this witness, which the reviewer finds so incredible.
Another one of the “action items” that might have had a long lead time would have been related to the money Hoover collected and then gave to Clyde Tolson for necessary expenses, such as the bribe of $25,000 to the warden at the prison where James Earl Ray was incarcerated. That occurred in November, 1966, so that one single component was done almost eighteen months before the killing date. Another eighteen months before that would likely be required, in simply getting the plan underway; the patsies screened and winnowed down to one; the key highest level team players identified and agreed to; getting the money set up, the financiers and highest-level Washington plotters behind it satisfied that the mission was being handled tightly; the required street-level men selected, all from diverse backgrounds and positions—all of whom had to “pass muster” and be implicitly trusted to keep their lips sealed—accounts for three of the four years that have been questioned. Getting Hoover’s retired lieutenant Frank Holloman appointed as police and fire commissioner, in time to control that end of the operation, would have also been a key item on the “To Do” list. We could extend this elementary exercise further into the weeds, but this should be sufficient to make the point: it was a very sophisticated plan, created and managed by men having decades of experience in the skullduggery required for successful political assassinations. So the short answer to Mr. Hays’s simplistic question is “Yes, four years seems about right.”
- How did they come to decide that “pissing off” the sanitation workers was the best way of getting Dr. King into Memphis?
Who knows? But there had to be a pretext, something that would “piss off” some group of people enough to practically demand an appearance by Dr. King. The long-term animus toward this group by Memphis Mayor Henry Loeb probably had something to do with the choice.
- Why was it necessary for 16-year-old Ronnie to carry the rifle to the scene on the back of his motorbike? Who thought that was a good idea? What if he had been stopped by police officers not in on the plot? Why did Junior not just take the rifle with him in the first place?
Again, the answer to this question will never be known for certain, but if the police were to find a rifle on a 16-year-old, it might have raised fewer questions than if it were found in the trunk of a car of a middle-aged man whom they might have liked to frame for something, or possibly was already the subject of a “Wanted” poster.
- And what exactly was Earl Clark doing in the bushes if he wasn’t the shooter? Would it have been so difficult for Junior to have handed the rifle to Jowers himself? It should be noted that there is no support anywhere in the record for the notion that there were three people hiding in the shrubbery.
Earl Clark was there as a “spotter” assisting the shooter and to take the rifle immediately after the shot, allowing the shooter to escape the scene. Jowers waited at the back door of the restaurant for the rifle to be brought to him by EarlClark.* Clark received the gun from the shooter, in a similar fashion as what is known to have happened in Dallas, after the shooter on the grassy knoll quickly handed his gun to an accomplice to dispose of, knowing that the shooter (in both cases) would be preoccupied with his own immediate escape, whereas the “helper” could deal with the weapon a bit more dispassionately. As to the question of “the record,” there was a lot more information than that, which was also either never recorded or subsequently deleted.
In his final assessment, Hay stated: “Yet none of these arguments preclude the possibility that Jowers’ confession was invented as part of a money-making scheme that backfired.”
Rather than accepting just a scintilla or two of Jowers’s testimony, given the raw fact of his actual presence at the scene throughout the murder, and Dr. Pepper’s more seasoned and intelligent judgment of Jowers’s credibility—based on intensive interactions with him over a long period of time—this review simply throws it all out, “the baby with the bathwater.”
Then, despite lauding Pepper’s success at advancing the case in the civil trial of King v. Jowers, and bringing out facts and witnesses that should have been done in 1969, the reviewer returned to disputing the credibility of many other witnesses, going through a litany of reasons why one should not believe any of them. In each case, the reviewer’s specious reasoning, flawed critiques, and use of “selected preference” biases—as demonstrated here merely for one such witness—could easily be used to rebut all of the others, but in the interest of brevity, we will resist that temptation.
Finally, Mr. Hay concludes his treatise with what seems to be a startling, and stunning, embracement of the work of the famed prevaricator-plagiarist Gerald Posner,† when he offers the following as another exhibit in his defamation of Dr. Pepper’s latest and most complete book: “Gerald Posner [has] delighted in quoting Pepper’s former investigator Ken Herman as statingthat ‘Pepper is the most gullible person I have ever met in my life.’” Given Dr. Pepper’s enormous accomplishments, his long history of the pursuit of truth and justice in the face of unrelenting resistance, and his prestigious general legacy, there is another way to interpret that comment, which is not very complimentary about Mr. Herman’s own gullibility and hubris.
Posner’s Killing the Dream (MLK) book, as was also true in his previous Case Closed (JFK) tome, is rife with half-truths, whole-cloth lies, and made-up “testimony,” as previously documented at the very website where Mr. Hay has posted this document. It is therefore curious that he would offer as “evidence” of Pepper’s “gullibility” anything that Posner wrote and expect readers to believe its veracity. But Hay’s attitudes about Pepper seem, alas, to have been shaped more by Gerald Posner than anyone else, which is a troubling indicator of the degree to which he has gone to smear Pepper’s latest and greatest book. As anyone—being well informed of the overall details of the MLK murder case, and then viewing this unfortunate sideshow—who looks at this vignette will soon realize, it is not Dr. William F. Pepper, Esq., who is the “gullible” one at this table, as Mr. Hay could understand by simply looking into a mirror.
There were other instances of long and rambling discourses—seemingly pointless statements, non sequiturs, leaps of logic, gaps of reasoning, and illogical conclusions—but rather than going through all of the machinations used to discredit important new evidence that Dr. Pepper has painstakingly presented (to borrow the reviewer’s own phrase above) hardly seems worth wasting time on a detailed deconstruction. To suggest that his pronouncement that critical witnesses—whom Dr. Pepper personally vetted through lengthy hours of intense interviews and the time, expense, and trouble involved in taking sworn depositions, upon which their credibility was firmly established—should be rejected because the reviewer felt that he gave erroneous statements is a bit conceited: indeed, as noted above, in multiple instances, it was the reviewer himself who unnecessarily created his own confusion.
The enormous work and tenacious efforts of Dr. William F. Pepper, in his stellar record of accomplishments for over four decades, should not be minimized or devalued by shoddy, ill-informed “book reviews” having a preordained mission. It is easy to declare oneself the “decider” of what research is acceptable, or not, and what books and authors are to be believed, or not, as has long been the stated “purpose” of the ironically named organization that published this drivel. But it is the unfortunate result of the checkered history of their reviews that causes many in the “research community” to believe that their true purpose is to channel newer readers in certain directions that do not necessarily go where actual “truths” might be found. Like shepherds leading their flocks to well-controlled pastures, the administrators of that organization thus ensure that the “sheeple” grazing in their domain are led into well-marked “safe corners,” thus ensuring that the most-prized secrets of the estate are safely withheld.
The people who finance and run the noted websites have succeeded in their efforts to dissuade many people from reading important works, not only Dr. Pepper’s, but many others that point directly back to the very cabal that was responsible for the 1960s treasons. Their high-handed, brutal but perfunctory, error-filled “book reviews”—as exemplified above—suggest that they are not motivated by passion for exposing truths, so much as perpetuating myths and plumbing for payoffs. It raises questions about whether their existence has been derived from financial subsidies provided by officials who represent the successors of that selfsame cabal. If so, their real mission is revealed by the product they have created: are they the embodiment and an extension of the same “invisible government” that they purportedly decry?
2. John Delane Williams’ “Review” of LBJ Mastermind and LBJ Colossus Books
In the second of two essays published by John Delane Williams on May 31, 2018 he offers his critique of my first two books, however in doing so makes a number of outright errors and other confusing misstatements.
Williams’ critique begins with this paragraph:
The titles simply promise more than Nelson delivers. Nelson doe [sic] a very good job of bringing together the works of others and ties them together well. However, LBJ was a poor candidate for the “mastermind” of the JFK assassination. That Lyndon Johnson was a scoundrel of the worst sorts was widely known, and Nelson went to great lengths to remind us of Johnson’s nefarious activities. But does it add up to Johnson being the “mastermind” of the JFK assassination? In my opinion, Nelson makes a better case for James Jesus Angleton as being the “mastermind” than for Lyndon Johnson.
His opinion that LBJ was a “poor candidate” for being the “mastermind” and that James Jesus Angleton was a better one may be due to his own dubious reasoning skills as well as the indications he left which suggest that he missed entire sections of both books, as will be demonstrated below. To assert – as he did in that opening paragraph – that I’ve based that proposition only on Johnson’s ambiguous “nefarious activities,” indicates that he missed numerous specific, factually-supported statements.
Next he asserts that I “garbled” the account of “[the] hearing held by the Senate Rules Committee regarding Lyndon Johnson’s relationship to Bobby Baker”. His own muddled “correction” of the name of the committee (he stated that name was “the Senate Rules and Administration Committee”) was simply another instance of what he himself conceded — that he was “parsing words” — about my calling the meeting “secret” instead of “closed” (another term that might apply here is “pedantic”).
But the correct terminology (according to Wikipedia), at the risk of creating even more pedanticalness, is:
“The Senate Committee on Rules and Administration (also called the Senate Rules Committee [emphasis added – ed.]) is responsible for the rules of the United States Senate, administration of congressional buildings, and with credentials and qualifications of members of the Senate, including responsibility for dealing with contested elections.”
I concede my error in the statement that Senator John Williams (R-DE) “chaired” the committee, since it could only be chaired by a Democrat, as they were the majority party. I should have stipulated that he merely voluntarily came to the committee with information obtained while running his own investigation of the Bobby Baker scandal. To be more accurate, however, he had begun acting as its ad-hoc chairman, virtually taking over the committee’s investigation of Bobby Baker as a result of the feckless “leadership” of the actual committee chairman, B. Everett Jordan.
The committee had been considered by many senators to be a dead-end assignment and Chairman Jordan was probably the least energetic senator in the chamber. Senator Jordan was described by Robert Caro as “[a] sixty-seven-year-old … first-term southern conservative from North Carolina . . . slow-talking and slow-thinking—even Baker had to say he was ‘something of a bumbler’.”
Sen. John Williams, practically single-handedly, was credited with being the driving force behind the Bobby Baker “investigation” because he was personally directing it, while being fed information about Baker’s shenanigans by none other than Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy. Senator Carl Curtis affirmed this point within his book, “Forty Years Against the Tide” (p. 246):
At this point, Senator John Williams, of Delaware, began to take an active part. Williams was a man beyond reproach, sincere and intelligent and dedicated. During his service in the Senate he was rightly referred to as “the conscience of the Senate.” He was an expert investigator, tenacious and courageous. Senator Williams became the prime mover in bringing about the investigation of Baker.
[ . . . ]
Senator Williams introduced a resolution calling upon the Committee on Rules and Administration to conduct an investigation of the financial and business interests and possible improprieties of any Senate employee or former employee.
Williams then referenced my five requirements for the “Mastermind” title:
a. Who has the most to gain?
b. Who has the least to lose?
c. Who has the means to do it?
d. Who has the apparatus in place to cover it up?
e. Who has the kind of narcissistic/sociopathic personality capable of rationalizing the action as acceptable and necessary, together with the resolve and determination to see it through?
After agreeing that these were all necessary, he then lists three more, stating that LBJ “fails miserably” to meet them, while ignoring the fact that in other parts of the book I specifically explained how Johnson either met each of them, or why they were not pertinent:
f. Who has a sufficiently strong intellect to carefully plan the details of the action?
I would be the first to concede that Johnson wasn’t “intelligent” in the context of, for example, being a candidate for intellectual study—e.g. he was never a potential Ph.D. candidate—but, as I stated in the Mastermind book (p. 48):
“The source of Johnson’s strength throughout his lifetime was his unique talent to manipulate men and women; it was a skill that he honed throughout his career and one he had perfected early on, as we saw demonstrated with the president of his college. That ability was based upon his innate talent for sizing up his targets and forming psychological blueprints of them, down to their strengths and weaknesses—especially their weaknesses: he may not have been a particularly intelligent man in general, but he was a genius at instantly categorizing someone into a kind of natural database of hundreds of categories, ranging from personal characteristics and background to his instant impression of their intangibles: intelligence, attitudes, and prejudices. Hubert Humphrey explained it in an oral history interview he did for Joe Frantz and the LBJ Library: “Johnson was like a psychiatrist. Unbelievable man in terms of sizing up people, what they would do, how they would stand under pressure, what their temperament was. This was his genius. He used to tell me many times, ‘You’ve got to study every member of this body to know how they’re really going to ultimately act. Everything about them, their family, their background, their attitudes, even watch their moods before you even ask them to vote.’ He was a master of human relations when it came to that Senate.”
And beyond the Senate, he was able to attract men and women to do his bidding in whatever field they occupied: From J. Edgar Hoover (ergo the entire FBI); Robert McNamara (DoD); Allen Dulles, Richard Helms, James J. Angleton (CIA); Eliot Janeway (Corporate financial markets); William Paley, C.D. Jackson, Henry Luce, etc. (MSM); Lew Wasserman, Ed Weisl, Arthur Krim (Hollywood); Abraham Fineberg (NY financial backer), to Carlos Marcello, Meyer Lansky, Sam Giancana, et. al. (Mafiosi), not to mention the numerous politicians from around the country, and his own employees, under his immediate direction.
Did Dulles or Angleton have that breadth of reach? No they did not, nor did anyone else in Washington.
g. “Who is sufficiently grounded in their psychological functioning so as to gain the support of other necessary high-level plotters?”
[Furthermore, Williams stated]:
“Johnson was probably among the least able in terms of his psychological functioning. His probable bipolar disorder (See Hershman, 4) would have rendered Lyndon unable to function as a leader of people who were his intellectual superiors with somewhat more stable psychological functioning.”
As I explained in the Colossus book (p. 485-486, among other pages), Johnson actually used his manic state to climb his way up the political ladder:
“ . . . he was highly skilled, even a genius, in the most esoteric psychic senses, especially while in his manic state, when he wasn’t in a psychotic meltdown [his most common state of mind]. Many people described his ability to “read” other people, always trying to find the real motives that his quarry preferred to remain hidden. By prying their innermost secrets from them in one or another of his varied methods, or obtaining them from private detectives or FBI files, he held a “special currency” custom fitted to that person’s position which he knew he could draw on at a later time.”
h. “Specifically, who would be trusted by James Jesus Angleton, J. Edgar Hoover, General Curtis LeMay and the other Chiefs of Staff, the top Mafiosi, and the moneyed oilmen?”
The above excerpts also speak to this issue, as do numerous other pages of both books. Indeed, the answers to all of Mr. Williams’ doubts are present within these books, but it does require one to read them with an open and curious mind. It is that point that will be examined further below.
Williams then criticized my supposed “error” regarding the number of “points” of the Malcolm Wallace fingerprint which matched the “blind print”.
For the record, in my first book (Mastermind) in the context of the original announcement, I had reported that fingerprint expert Nathan Darby found fourteen (14) matching points in his initial analysis in 1998. In the second book (Colossus), I reported that Mr. Darby had re-examined that fingerprint prior to his appearance in the 2003 video The Guilty Men and had modified his findings to be “at least thirty-four” (34) points.
Speaking of “confusing and garbling”, he then stated (see his footnote #6) that Darby had:
“made [only] a six-point match of Mac Wallace’s fingerprint to the previously unidentified fingerprint found in the sniper’s nest at the TSBD. Later, a 34 point match confirmed Wallace’s presence on the sixth floor of the Depository, reported in Brown, W. (2001).”
Had he noticed the plainly-stated context in each of my books, he might have saved his readers a lot of confusion about a non-existent discrepancy when he wrote that,
“Apparently Nelson did not see a later article when a 34 point match was reported, until after he finished the first book. Nelson does address the 34 point match in his second book.”
After sowing all of that confusion, he then tackles what he sees as more compelling evidence that, rather than Johnson, the “Mastermind” was more likely James J. Angleton:
“Clearly, LBJ was unlikely to have played a role in these aborted attempts, other than perhaps to hope one of them was successful. But Nelson has LBJ playing a major role in Dallas. Part of that role was security stripping. Presumably, Johnson might have had an inkling of the two aborted assassination attempts (or three, including Miami). Only after the failure in Tampa on November 18 would the Dallas attempt be fully in play. Fairness would suggest the central figure in the plot was James Jesus Angleton of the CIA.”
Angleton as “Mastermind” . . . Really??
How could he possibly have had the connections to all of the other, non-CIA, non-Mafia, key people who performed mission-critical tasks. Angleton had no long-term, deep connections to any of the key Texas officials, such as these, for example:
The Texas-based judicial officials
As the same point pertains to Johnson, I answered that in Chapter 1 of Colossus:
LBJ’s long-term sycophant, U.S. Attorney (later, thanks to his service to Johnson, a Federal Judge) Barefoot Sanders, who helped him derail all threats before, during and after—even decades after–the assassination, and well after Johnson and Hoover had both died.
The Dallas police officials
Clearly, Johnson’s connections to the Dallas Police Department, and their intrinsic fear of his long-heralded power over all Texas and federal law enforcement and judicial organizations, was key to a successful execution of the plot. This was amply demonstrated in the days immediately following the assassination, through his own voice and that of his aide Cliff Carter: “You have your man, no need for further investigation,” as reported by Henry Wade and Captain Fritz, among others.
Q: Who, other than LBJ, had that kind of authority? A: No one, that’s who.
- Who—other than Lyndon B. Johnson—could have over-ridden JFK’s advance man Jerry Bruno’s efforts to select the Women’s Building at the state fairgrounds rather than the Trade Mart?
- Who else could have made the last-minute changes to the motorcade route, and the sequence of vehicles, including canceling the flat-bed truck for photographers normally in front of the presidential limo, and putting them into automobiles six or seven cars back from the limo?
Then we have this incredulous collection of incoherence:
“It seems entirely unlikely that either the CIA or the military would follow plans delivered by LBJ. More to the point, the CIA and military insulated themselves from exposure; if the plot failed and was exposed, Johnson would likely be implicated by Mac Wallace being present on the sixth floor of the TSBD. The area around Dealey Plaza was teeming with Mafia, which could lead to their being implicated. I can’t imagine J. Edgar Hoover paying much attention to a plan from LBJ. More likely, regarding the assassination, LBJ would have been involved on a “need to know” basis. Presumably, there was a contingency plan for an assassination in Dallas if the other attempts failed. His part of the plan likely was delivered to him through someone like Cliff Carter. The most important part of LBJ’s involvement was to cover-up the conspiracy.”
So, John Delane Williams actually thinks that Cliff Carter most likely explained and sold the plot to LBJ. Seriously?
Do I have this right? These wholly unsupported, intrinsically banal assertions—e.g. “seems unlikely that either the CIA or military would follow LBJ”—posits a rather weak predicate upon which to base the remainder of the absurd suppositions. They begin with his assertion that Hoover wouldn’t be “paying much attention to a plan from LBJ.” The reality was that Hoover’s entire existence as FBI director depended upon Johnson’s continued patronage, a point validated and repeatedly demonstrated throughout both of the books that Williams has supposedly read, and repeated again in my fourth book, “Who REALLY Killed Martin Luther King Jr.? — The Case Against Lyndon B. Johnson and J. Edgar Hoover.”
The level of naiveté of Williams’ statements reveals as much about the writer’s cluelessness as it does about the lack of merit of his argument. In fact, its speciousness renders the need for any further rebuttal on that point unnecessary.
As I wrote in “Colossus,” the “Driving Force” could not realistically have been merely a proxy figure, someone having much less power than that imbued into the person essentially guaranteed to imminently hold the office of the presidency:
“That catalyst would have to reach into not only all of 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, “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 of the United States. And such a man had to be someone known to be a sociopath, someone whose conscience was either non-existent or whatever little of it that might have remained was so completely repressed that it would not be a factor in the eventual execution of the plan. Moreover, such a person had to be driven by a mania that could not be suppressed, someone who knew that failure to attain the objective would spell personal disaster, something that was already assured, through the vindictive attorney general who really was “out to get him.”
Things get even worse than that in the next paragraph:
“Nelson presumed LBJ had the guile to plan all of the important aspects in the assassination in Dallas. LBJ couldn’t even get President Kennedy to allow a change in the seating arrangements; LBJ wanted Governor Connally and Senator Yarborough to change their seating in the two limousines. This was denied by President Kennedy.”
To negate Johnson’s possible role in JFK’s assassination by citing his inability to get JFK to change the seating arrangements is beyond absurd. It only proves that there actually was one individual, JFK, whom he could not dominate. Compounding this specious reasoning, in the next paragraph he seems to be accepting without question what Johnson told Hoover the next day on a telephone call which he was taping (surely Williams must recognize that Johnson did it merely for the purpose of “papering the file” with meaningless verbiage):
“A reason that neither the CIA nor the military would likely listen to any of Johnson’s ideas was that Johnson was a known loose cannon. Even as the planned assassination was unfolding, Johnson was unsure as to whether he might also be a target, in addition to President Kennedy. Nelson describes this in vivid detail (pp. 472-485). Johnson started ducking BEFORE any shots were fired, which tells us two things; LBJ knew when and where the shooting would take place; and Johnson’s own insecurities had him fearing for his own life. Such a man could not be trusted with any information that might implicate any of the main plotters.”
Mr. Williams actually believes (according to his own words here) that Johnson was “fearing for his own life”? Apparently, he doesn’t understand that his saying that to Hoover – in asking if anyone was shooting at him – in a recorded telephone call illustrates that Johnson always knew which calls were being recorded for posterity–he controlled that with his finger on a desk button–and thus put that in “for the record.” One does not need to be a “rocket scientist” to understand implicitly what should be an obvious point, one that goes to Johnson’s core manipulative skills.
Next Williams moves on to focus (more or less) on “The Colossus.” Here he misses more than one point, multiple times:
“While Nelson points out many of LBJ’s transgressions, one area not addressed is Lyndon’s fathering of children out of wedlock while being married to Lady Bird. The name Mary Margaret Wiley is in the name appendix with no page number, nor is she mentioned in the first book; she is addressed in the second book. It is surprising that Nelson is so circumspect in this area. Nelson acknowledges that LBJ brought Mary Margaret Wiley to Washington from Texas, and that she was a favorite mistress. She “suddenly” married one of LBJ’s key aides, Jack Valenti. Apparently Valenti agreed to allow the affair to continue after the marriage. As would happen, Mary soon became pregnant and a daughter, Courtenay, was born. Nelson only intimates that LBJ may have been the father.”
I believe that in the “Colossus” book, within the bounds of good taste and my attempt not to be overbearing about it, I made it adequately clear to most non-pruriently obsessed people that, absent DNA proof, Courteney Lynda Valenti’s paternal parentage is not clear-cut.  Evidently, some readers expect much more sensationalism in their reading materials, possibly from too much exposure to tabloids like The National Enquirer, with their ads saying things like “Don’t Miss Out . . . Get the Juicy Stories!”
And then we have this gem:
“Nelson said very little about Madeleine Brown, other than that she and LBJ had a son together.”
This is arguably the most absurd accusation in all of Mr. Williams’ pontifications.
Altogether, Madeleine Brown is cited twenty-five (25) times within the two books Williams purportedly read, which he could have discovered merely through checking the Index of those books and counting the page citations to Ms. Brown. For him to have missed twenty-four of them (96%) leaves his “batting average” at 4%, thus explaining the origins of his cognitive dissonance:
- In the first book, “Mastermind”, she is cited on ten (10) separate pages, throughout the book, some more than once on a page.
- In the second book, “Colossus,” she is cited on fifteen (15) separate pages.
- She is repeatedly referenced for everything from how Hoover had pressured LBJ to get JFK to keep him on as the FBI director to how Johnson had been behind the disappearance of her son’s nanny, merely as retribution for her having seen the two of them embrace at the doorway to their hotel room.
- She provided much context for Johnson’s relationships with the rich Texas oilmen and their mobster friends, and how they were all close friends of both Johnson and Hoover.
- She also had knowledge about Johnson’s involvement with the murders he had ordered for five associates of Billie Sol Estes, stating that “had Marshall and the others not been killed Lyndon would have been forced out of office right then . . . “
- Furthermore, among many other references, she had come forward to furnish information about the murder of U.S. Marshal Clint Peoples, including the fact that, though not reported publicly, witnesses had stated that “his wrists showed marks from handcuffs.”
Though, for the sake of brevity, I haven’t listed all twenty-five instances, it should be clear to all fair-minded people that there was much more to her story that was reported than merely that “she and LBJ had a son together.”
This ridiculous comment proves that Mr. Williams is not a focused reader—he has missed much substantive detail in not only this instance, but throughout his perfunctory “review” and thus cannot be expected to be a credible reviewer of either of my books, and, ergo, any other book for that matter.
Williams then made this banal and gratuitously off-point observation:
“Nelson goes on for 25 pages about LBJ’s Jewish connections. Nelson claims first to not be construed as being anti-Semitic, then tells us that LBJ’s maternal grandmother was Jewish and that LBJ was very pro Zionist in regard to Israel.”
To suggest that there is a disconnect between my unequivocal comment about not being anti-Semitic and merely pointing out those plain facts, essential to the background context, all related to his being closely associated with militant Zionists—nothing about which can be reasonably construed as “anti-Semitic”—is yet another proof that the “disconnect” here is all in Williams’ mind. This is merely one of the many ways that making any statement that touches on Israel, Jewish people or term “Zionist” evokes a knee-jerk rant of “anti-Semitism” in many people, as patently absurd as it is on its face.
Finally, in his summation, Williams made a series of erroneous statements, best illustrated by the following sample relating to Johnson’s treasonous actions to prod Israel to attack his ship, the USS Liberty, so that he could foist the blame for it on Egypt, and its president, Gamal Abdul Nasser, as a pretext for joining Israel in the Six Day War:
- “A nuclear war with the Soviets was very likely off the table.”
Evidently, he skipped over the point that Johnson—before realizing that the Liberty had not sunk–had ordered two A-4 bombers to bomb Cairo, with nuclear bombs; they were recalled just minutes before reaching their target. (see p. 385)
- “Both the Soviets and LBJ would have liked the removal of Nasser.”
Why would the Soviets want to have Nasser removed? He had been forced into the Soviet orbit, in part due to Johnson’s own actions, beginning in 1957 when he tried to force Eisenhower to withdraw his sanctions against Israel in their provocative actions in the Sinai. Then, in 1963, upon becoming president when Johnson dropped any pretense of neutrality between the Mideast states when he gave Israel his unlimited support. Meanwhile, for the previous decade — since at least the “Suez Crisis” — Nasser had been courted by the Soviet Union and they were certainly not interested in his removal. Does Williams have any knowledge about this that no real historian has ever noticed?
- “The Soviets were ready to unleash their military if Israel did not pull back from their offensive against Syria.”
Then why didn’t they, when Israel did not “pull back from their offensive against Syria?” Does Williams not understand–half a century later–that Israel captured the Golan Heights from Syria and still occupies that territory?
- “The U.S. was also opposed to the Israeli invasion into Syria.”
The U.S. tried to portray that position, but that was more the result of the diplomat’s attempt to deny reality; the U.S. under Johnson had preplanned the entire war for at least three years. How else did Israel manage to seize the Golan Heights from Syria, beginning the same day as the attack on the Liberty? In fact, his aide Harry McPherson cabled him that very morning, before the attack, about the plans to invade Syria for that purpose, and it came as no surprise to Johnson or any of his highest level aides.
- “The American planes that were called back from aiding the USS Liberty were prepared to attack whomever was attacking the USS Liberty. The attack by Israel was deemed to be deliberate, and they (e.g. Moshe Dayan) knew that the ship was American. The Israelis also knew the ship was a spy ship, collecting information from both the Egyptians and the Israelis. In the Israeli view, they could not be sure whether the Americans were sharing information with the Soviets or Egyptians, justifying the attack, at least to them.”
Again, Williams states things so matter-of-factly that readers who don’t know any more about the attack than he does fall under the illusion that he has some kind of expertise in the subject, which he clearly does not. As stated previously, the U.S. and Israel planned that “spontaneous” war for at least three years and Israel knew they had Johnson’s backing for everything they did. During the enormous cover-up, of course both sides had to keep that little secret to themselves, thus the rigorous attempt to portray the Liberty’s spying on both sides.
After writing the “Colossus” book, I wrote—with the help of three of the survivors, Ernie Gallo, Phil Tourney and Ron Kukal—another more detailed book on the subject, “Remember the Liberty!” New evidence of Johnson’s treacheries and treasons is included in that book that I had not known previously.
I point this out for Mr. Williams benefit, so that he might learn a little more about the attack on the Liberty by reading that book, but in doing so I am not encouraging him to review it, or any more of my books. His stilted, error-filled and perfunctory “review” of my first two books is the best demonstration that perhaps he should reallocate his time to other activities.
 As summarized in the Epilogues of Mastermind generally (and specifically at pp. 596-600) and Colossus (pp. 495-498).
 See Caro, The Passage of Power, pp. 282-291 and Spartacus Educational website:
 See LBJ: Mastermind, pp. 589-590
 See LBJ: Colossus, pp. 47-48
 See LBJ: Colossus, pp. xxxvi, 141, 153-155. [In the first edition of the Mastermind book (Xlibris, 2010) Mary Margaret Wiley’s name and her sexual involvement with Johnson was noted. When Skyhorse bought the rights to it, they asked me to remove certain non-assassination-relevant information, and everything subsequent to the assassination (other than the cover-up itself) and plan to put it in a “sequel,” which became the second book, “Colossus.” At that point, I had already submitted the Index, with Mary Margaret Wiley’s name included. Unfortunately, the clerk employed by the publisher neglected to delete the name when no matches to the name appeared].
3. The website “Kennedys and King” (originally CTKA) review of “LBJ: The Mastermind of the JFK Assassination” by Joseph Green.
There is a tiny corner of cyberspace inhabited by two groups, probably many more, which are heavily armed by big axes that evidently require constant grinding. They share a common ground, which could be likened to a “limited hangout” acknowledgement of the obvious fact that a conspiracy existed in the matter of the assassination of John F. Kennedy. While they have different areas of focus, they appear to have in common a mission–to perpetuate their own existence–that is not necessarily congruent with the goal of ever solving the “crime of the century.” Their beliefs seem to center on the idea that the conspiracy involved many people, none of whom had over-all accountability for being the predominant force behind the assassination; evidently, according to those views, the authority for the assassination resided within an “invisible government,” run by an amorphous group of anonymous men. Apparently, this mysterious group of men were run by a nameless board of directors, each of whom had an equal, albeit secret, vote. One might be excused for intuiting this description to be what is essentially the “status quo” with respect to the present state of the investigation into the death of President Kennedy; that’s because it is, and it is precisely where many people would prefer to leave it.
The first of these groups calls itself, paradoxically, the “Citizens for Truth in the Kennedy Assassination (CTKA).” It consists of a handful of people who seem to take their marching orders from the titular head of the group, one James DiEugenio. He happens to be one of the most prolific of the hundreds or thousands of JFK researchers, even though his writings have been known to produce a condition known as “MEGO” (My Eyes Glaze Over” effect amongst uninitiated readers. The hallmark of its position in the panoply of JFK assassination research organizations is that it believes any viable theory of the assassination must exclude any hint of criticism of John, Robert or Joseph Kennedy, or, assuredly, anyone else having that surname. Period. To suggest that there might have been real–legitimate or not–reasons why some other groups or persons hated any of the Kennedys for anything involving their personal indiscretions or judgmental errors in the conduct of national affairs, causes predictable reactions from CTKA, generally of the “whoa, you can’t blame the victim” kind. Referencing the documentation of others regarding such facts provokes such reactions as “you can’t use anything Seymour Hersh (or fill in the blank) ever said about anything because he’s a CIA stoolie”–as absurd as that might sound, given Hersh’s lifelong career of exposing some of the worst secrets of that organization. CTKA has thusly become the self-appointed arbiter of which JFK assassination books are considered credible, and, in every case, the issue becomes centered on whether the work has avoided negative reflections on the enchanted dreamland called “Camelot”.
The other group is composed of people who share–to be charitable–a perplexingly paranoid view of the world which seems to postulate that the entity behind the assassination was a very hazy, amorphous group which they refer to as the “national security state” or “the invisible government”. This group inhabits another small fraction of cyberspace called the “Deep Politics Forum.” While they throw around a lot of names to populate the “invisible government”, there will never be–by definition, cannot ever be–enough evidence uncovered to completely expose the whole truth. Thus, their future remains secure. The nature of the beast, according to these “deep thinkers”, is so utterly complex (and deeper than deep), that the essential, key and pivotal participants cannot be revealed because there were none: the entire enterprise consisted of a massive but undocumented covert operation executed by shadowy figures who may have had fractional awareness of the pending coup, but none of whom–regardless of their individual acts to plot, plan, execute or cover-up the assassination–will ever be concretely identified and held accountable, even in a post-mortem context.
Thus, their respective organizations have a self-fulfilling, perpetual life cycle that can never be willfully terminated.
After the original publication of LBJ: The Mastermind of JFK’s Assassination on July 27, 2010, a member of the CTKA group began blasting the work as unworthy, and that no one–other than a specific researcher (Ed Tatro) who many people within the “JFK research community” acknowledge has been working for twenty years on his own book–could ever write a book naming Lyndon Johnson as the central plotter. Seamus Coogan, evidently in league with DiEugenio, began a very unbecoming, contemptuous barrage of denigrating verbal assaults on the book, proclaiming it to be utterly unworthy, as he vowed never to even bother to read it. Whether his bullying, thuggish rants were self-inflicted or invoked by his partners will probably never be known, but to most thoughtful and objective people his pronouncements were merely a source of amusement.
After five months of promises that one of their members, Joe Green, would tear this book apart, the review was published: two days before Christmas, for some reason. So, suspending all of my normal holiday routines, I quickly threw together a rebuttal to his review, which he had smugly titled, “A Texan Looks at Nelson.” This response (following below) was originally posted on the Education Forum on December 27th, in response to a link to the original “book review” published on the CTKA website. Shortly after that, the EF website, due to technical problems, “went down.” The review was then posted by DiEugenio on the JFK Lancer Forum, however it caused (evidently due to its “hatchet job” nature) an outbreak of contretemps with the administrators/owners of that forum and just as quickly disappeared from that venue; DiEugenio then moved on to the Deep Politics Forum, where he signed on as a new member and posted this review as his initial offering. A lengthy squabble then commenced at that venue, led by one of its founders, Charles Drago, who posted nothing at all comprehensible but merely a collection of invectives that were marked by their singular viciousness towards me, because, according to Mr. Drago, I was an evil dispenser of “disinformation” which was intended to hide the real “sponsors” of the assassination (i.e. those murky members of the “invisible government”). Never mind that, as outlined above, Mr. Drago knows more about dispensing “disinformation” through his “Deep Politics” platform than anyone else could ever match. A cynic might conclude that this organization has become an integral part of the cover-up, as originally designed by Lyndon B. Johnson, which has now worked effectively for almost fifty years.
Only those having an extreme interest in this vacuous “mini-controversy” should feel compelled to read any further. But, for those who do, there is no need to commit to reading it all the way through; that would be presumptuous for me to expect, and a completely non-humanitarian kind of torture for those who try.
Original Response to the CTKA “book review: (December 27, 2010)
Mr. Green should be commended for his up-front, candid acknowledgement that he found his latest assignment distasteful: “This particular genre of Kennedy book is admittedly one I find less useful than others.” There was never any doubt, after reading that comment, whether the review would be free of any preconceived bias. And with that, he proceeded to offer the reader his most thoughtful commentary about reading a book that he viewed with disdain even before opening it to the first page. He evidently accepted this assignment very grudgingly, because it is apparent in his review that he never really understood it. Had he read it more thoroughly, with an open and curious mind, his impressions might have been more in line with other reviewers of the book.
But that result was never in doubt, even four months ago when Jim DiEugenio began making it clear that he didn’t expect this book to be worthy of a well-reasoned review, which was about the same time his man Seamus Coogan began publicly attacking the book as soon as it was published, declaring that “his side” would demolish it – even as he vowed never to read it. Many of his posts alluded to the long-awaited book by Ed Tatro, essentially positing the official CTKA attitude that no “LBJ did it” book by anyone other than Tatro would ever be satisfactory to them. Well, the problem is, there is no such book by Tatro and no real indication that there ever will be. I’ve been waiting for two or three decades for someone else to write this book and would have gladly not done so myself if he or someone else had done it. Now, let’s suppose that Ed Tatro never publishes a book; does that mean that Johnson’s possible role in the assassination will forever be “off limits” for anyone else to ever explore? If so, long live Tatro!
Another long-established rule at CTKA, apparently, is to disparage any book that attempts to analyze the assassination if it contains even a hint of criticism of JFK’s personal life and reckless attitudes as perceived by his enemies. In fact, Kennedy created some of the very “vulnerabilities” to his enemies which caused some of them not only to hate him viciously, but led them to rationalize his killing as being a patriotic act. It was this phenomenon that must not be ignored in exploring the events that led to the assassination. Unfortunately, that has been declared out-of-bounds by the folks at CTKA, as evidenced by Green’s repeated lament: “What does this have to do with the book? We were talking about Lyndon Johnson, right?” This material was put into a section properly labeled as “JFK’s vulnerabilities” and thoroughly described as such; perhaps in his zeal to dismiss all of this material, Mr. Green overlooked that fact.
That rule also explains why James Douglass’ book (which I agree is one of the best and is, by the way, within the same “genre” as my book) has been rated so highly by this group. Nary a word about any of the “darker side of Camelot” was included here, so of course it passed this hurdle. It further explains why Douglass was given a pass on using the rather wild and uncorroborated claims of Robert Vinson regarding his trip on a CIA owned four engine airplane (the equivalent of a DC-6, which was used extensively by airlines in the 1950s) which purportedly landed, and then took off again, on the shores of the Trinity River south of Dallas. If anyone else had used that story, they probably would have been savagely attacked for it, but in DiEugenio’s review of the book, he glossed over the story in this ho-hum manner:
“. . . this double was ultimately flown out of Dallas on a military transport plane. This is based on the testimony of retired Air Force officer Robert Vinson.”
Not to put too fine a point on it, but most researchers do not put a whole lot of credence in this particular item. So what we can discern about the CTKA methodology here is that, if you write a book that avoids criticism of Kennedy and thoroughly praises him in practically every page, that earns you a pass for the use of any material which would not otherwise pass muster; not even a tiny caveat or minor qualification, mind you. Nothing that questions the veracity of that account was noted.
Another favored tactic of the CTKA crew is to denigrate the sources of any information which it deems to be unfavorable. In the case of Seymour Hersh, anything he says is discarded with a snide comment about his lack of credibility, based upon the completely spurious charge that he is somehow in the pocket of the CIA. Never mind the fact that Hersh has been battling the CIA and Pentagon for approximately forty years and is the least likely candidate for “CIA stooge” that one can imagine. Charging him with that is beyond absurd; it is simply laughable. His position as the best and most prolific investigative reporter of our times has been well established, except for anyone associated with the CTKA organization, who evidently have to submit to DiEugenio’s dogma that he was and is somehow 180 degrees opposite of this. He should be judged on the basis of his entire body of work, and the awards he has received – not least of which is the Pulitzer Prize – which vindicate him and reveal the conflicted position of CTKA regarding his reputation. Quoting from a more “balanced” source, a ten year old article in Salon.com, the controversy about Hersh’s book can be summarized as:
“The story of the reaction to The Dark Side of Camelot ended up being much bigger than the book itself, which, truth be told, contained less new information than confirmation and amplification of known Kennedy misdeeds.” (From Salon 1/18/2000 article by David Rubien: http://link/
So in fact, much of the dirty laundry on John F. Kennedy was already public knowledge before Seymour Hersh wrote his book; he merely corroborated the charges and gave them additional support and publicity. The CTKA folks seem to understand that, because they never actually deny the charges, they merely seek to cover them up; instead, they undermine any book that repeats them through innuendo and the premise that Hersh is not credible and this was all decided years ago when DiEugenio ran him over with the CTKA bus.
The fact is, Seymour Hersh is truly a great and iconoclastic figure whose well-earned but controversial reputation as a great investigative reporter is secure. He is comparable to, and arguably the contemporary embodiment of, the legendary I. F. Stone in the minds of objective observers. The folks who continue to take swipes at him for revealing the very secrets that Bobby Kennedy was attempting to contain have demonstrated that they have a greater interest in hiding truths than they do exposing them. It is not possible to understand the complexities of the JFK assassination unless one first understands the underlying dynamics of what caused so many people to hate JFK; those are the key people who became involved in the crime, either as part of the pre or post assassination conspiracies. But the CTKA knee-jerk reaction to anyone who dares reference Hersh makes one wonder just who really has the biggest “axe to grind.” A list of other names was also mentioned of people who are on the same (apparently lengthy) list of unworthy sources who cannot be referenced for much the same reason: General Alexander Haig (and, by extension, Lamar Waldron and Thom Hartmann) Ronald Kessler, Nina Burleigh, Deborah Davis and Donald Wolfe. And, of course, Gus Russo, who, despite his questionable (subjective) conclusions, was referenced in the book on a few points which were pegged to objective factual findings.
Interestingly, no mention was made of Joseph Califano’s comment that “as Robert Kennedy pressed for tougher actions, I thought: he is obsessed with Castro; he is pursuing a total war with Castro.” Was it merely because Califano’s reputation as a liberal Democrat saved him, while Haig’s standing as a (marginally) conservative Republican caused him to be thrown overboard? Why was one name trashed and the other one ignored? They were saying essentially the same thing: Is that what drives CTKA’s search for truth and justice?
Barr McClellan has been repeatedly attacked by DiEugenio for the lack of documentation of some of his references. For example, DiEugenio doesn’t approve of how he referred to conversations he had with other attorneys in Ed Clark’s law firm. Maybe Barr has learned that, whenever he is told top secret stuff by others that he should always get them to swear to their comments in an affidavit? He has established a policy, due to this deficiency and Barr’s use of “faction” which he explains as simply a story telling device, which allows McClelland’s book to be eligible only for referencing the Nathan Darby material. This keeps all of McClelland’s unique insights into the “darker side of LBJ” under wraps and verboten as citations to other works. And, speaking of LBJ’s “mental issues”, it is noteworthy that Green made no comment at all about that point, which is arguably one of the most important issues raised by the book, regardless of everything else he did find reason to question.
Similarly, the depiction of Robert Caro—another holder of many professional awards including the Pulitzer, arguably the greatest presidential biographer ever—as someone who cannot be trusted, is equally disingenuous. This isn’t the first time DiEugenio’s group has attempted to do that. In his review of Douglas Horne’s Volumes 4 and 5, DiEugenio stated that “Caro got reamed by Ronnie Dugger though when in his effort to pull out all the stops to demonize LBJ’s senate race, Caro tried to make Coke Stevenson into a sort of Jacob Javits figure.” That unique take on Caro’s work suggests that Dugger somehow bested Caro; I don’t think that is the impression most knowledgeable people have regarding that particular point, just as they would not even put Dugger into the same league as Caro. In the same thread, DiEugenio also said this about how some biographers have embellished Johnson’s ugliness:
“Calling Lyndon Johnson a psychopath to me simply does not have a lot of forensic value these days. I mean, it don’t know if he was or was not. I wasn’t around him in any close sense and I do not know anyone who was. I do know that in the last say 30 years or so the tendency in biography is to make your subject as ugly as possible since that is the way publishers are convinced they will sell the most books. So as with many of the anti-Kennedy biographies e.g. Reeves, Horowitz and Collier etc, the recent biographies of LBJ e.g. Dallek and Caro, have tended to make LBJ out to be a little worse than Shakespeare’s Richard III.”
This attitude of Johnson as just a low-brow version of a regular guy is apparently the official doctrine of the CTKA reviewers, as it was restated by Green in equally pedantic terms:
“Now these sources do little harm to the early part of the book because Johnson’s character is well-established. He was a low-class sort of a person, prone to vulgar and over bearing displays of machismo in public, and employing men like Mac Wallace who were murderous criminals. And if you take all these famous incidents a face value, and then string them in tandem over the years, then hey! Maybe LBJ does seem like the sort of man who, were it within his power, could have had the president killed and not be halted by any moral barriers.”
In other words, at CTKA, the take on Johnson is evidently along these lines: “While he may have been a low class megalomaniac narcissist and stone cold killer who had a personal hitman, you can’t just assume that by stringing along all those old incidents, that these patterns might connect to the JFK assassination. Hey! cut LBJ a break, he was never convicted of anything.” The key to ever solving the crime lies in understanding just how evil Johnson was; it was his criminal mind and his control over people which led him to successfully recruit others to join his cause.
I found this statement, where Green begrudgingly admitted that perhaps Lyndon did have a few character faults, to be stunningly absurd for anyone who purportedly read the book:
“To say the least, Lyndon Johnson was an unappealing personality. It would not necessarily be surprising, in the abstract, if he had foreknowledge or tacitly approved of the assassination. He might even have been directly involved, although one can argue that. I do not think, however, that at this date, given the documentary evidence, an explanation which ignores the larger political forces of the national security state can be taken seriously.
So, my book “ignores the larger political forces of the national security state?” And this from a person who simultaneously criticizes its length, saying it should have been shortened from 700 pages to 200? Maybe he missed entire chapters which were dedicated to explaining how the “national security state” (through Dulles, Angleton and Burris etc. etc.) interfaced with Johnson and was given the impetus to proceed in the end with the knowledge that he, as president, would provide the ultimate protection for everyone involved; without that, the enterprise would be doomed. Did I note every other possible name of potential directors of the “national security state”? No, because if I had, the book would have grown even larger and besides, the book attempted to focus on Johnson’s role as the key organizer (thus the title). Maybe if I had chosen another title, without the word “Mastermind” and used the term “national security state” a little more generously, then the CTKA folks would have read it a little closer and even understood the real theme of the book, which was simply that Johnson was the critical mass to the plot and arguably the original initiator; I just assumed that anyone who actually read the book would eventually figure that out. As Jim Fetzer noted so eloquently, “Describing LBJ as the “mastermind” does not imply that he was responsible for mopping the floors or sorting out the paperclips.” I would only add to Jim’s sentence, “or even participating in any of the downstream planning or execution, except for the motorcade itself.” I hope this umpteenth re-explanation of that term also answers DiEugenio’s comment above: “to say that someone as unsophisticated as LBJ “masterminded” the whole thing, just does not match up to how complex and multi- tiered the conspiracy was.” If not, please re-read, beginning at “As Jim Fetzer noted . . .” A lot of people have inferred their own definition of the term “Mastermind” in a way that was not implied in the book.
Mr. Green apparently confused my attempt to describe two sides of some events as itself being “confused”. My actual confusion was that I erroneously assumed that typical readers would be able to tell the difference and understand that implicitly. But in regard to the Bay of Pigs issue, I even went to some lengths in the narrative to clarify it for those folks who might have otherwise missed the point, as in this passage:
“Kennedy would never concede that withholding the air strike had caused the failure of the invasion, though the military had pleaded with him, using that very argument. It is easy to see, from different prisms, how Bissell and Cabell could blame Kennedy for the failed mission because he did not act as they assumed he would, yet understand how JFK instinctively knew that he had been sabotaged into not only authorizing the project, but being outmaneuvered in its execution.”
A few paragraphs later, I again led off with “The CIA men, of course, portrayed the debacle quite differently. In their view. . .” Curiously, of all the “criticisms” of the book that I have read, this is the only one which proved me wrong on the assumption that typical readers would understand both points of view.
THE ALTGENS PHOTO
I knew that there would be some discussion of the Altgens photograph, which I contend shows, by the absence of Johnson’s image in it, that he had previous knowledge of where the killing zone would be. It is clear to me, and other objective people, using an un-retouched, high quality photo or jpeg image, that Johnson is not to be seen; one would think that any attempt to rebut that point might consist of a strong and thorough analysis, based on blow-up copies and accompanying sketches, which at least attempts to spot LBJ’s ear, or nose, or “whatever”. But that would be wrong; Green’s proof is simply his single sentence: “Except I can see LBJ in the photograph, as can most others.”
This perfunctory treatment of the photo is reflective of the overall quality of the review itself. On the original thread where this was discussed we witnessed a number of people posting that they were also convinced that he was the “white spot” while others tried to make the case (with the help of modified and enhanced photographs) that he was in the “dark blurry” area. Yet no one was able to make a convincing case of either of these; ultimately, it came down to their words—which were essentially the same as Green’s—which claimed that he was visible. I’d like to see what a jury of objective people would say about that, but if the other reviews I’ve seen have any relevance, it appears that more typical people (you know the kind: objective folks, people having no other agendas to fulfill) appear to agree with me: Johnson is not in the photograph. But, to respond to those who claim to see him in the “white splotch” that would necessarily also mean that he was so far to the side of the car, and lower in profile to Lady Bird, that it would then mean that he was in the process of ducking.
In either case, the point remains.
MISSTATEMENTS: CURIOUSER AND CURIOUSER
But the most difficult issue I have with Green’s review is his mis-statement of a number of points:
- He indicated that I stated that JFK had knowledge of the assassination attempts on Castro. In the passage he references, I said only that Bissell and Dulles had briefed Kennedy on the pending invasion of Cuba; never did I state that JFK had knowledge of the CIA attempts on Castro himself (though in the second edition I will clarify the referenced sentence to indicate the briefing was on the planned invasion; I have no reason to suspect that JFK did—or did not—have such knowledge, I simply don’t know). Any references to attacks on Castro were intended to apply to the government of Cuba.
- In the section regarding Johnson’s relationship with LeMay, Green jumps from what I was describing in 1961-63 to what happened in 1965 as Johnson attempted to micro manage the war: “This last remark simply isn’t true. Even in pro-LeMay biographies, one gets the clear sense that LeMay counseled Lyndon Johnson in full commitment, an immense bombing campaign into North Vietnam.” What does that have to do with how Johnson was feeding secrets through his back channels two to four years before that?
- His “Meat of the Argument” comment is misstated: “LBJ got along better with the Department of Defense than JFK did. (Although Nelson does, curiously, quote Howard Burris from John Newman’s book JFK and Vietnam, saying that he didn’t believe Johnson had a “very deep” understanding of political issues.) Which is odd for a “mastermind.”
But that is not what the quote said. I refer you to page 131: “I don’t think he had a really deep perception and comprehension of what the whole scene was about.” The context was about Vietnam, and the military and intelligence reports about it and the overall social, geopolitical and historical dimensions of the place (i.e. he had “no clue” even then about the implications of U.S. involvement in the war). The next sentence after the one quoted should have cleared up any misunderstandings he had: “According to author John M. Newman, Johnson’s views “were rooted in the superficial politics of Washington, not in the underlying realities of the situation in Vietnam.”
These are the kinds of misstatements that could only result from either preconceived biases or superficial reading and analysis. Perhaps Mr. Green will have a chance to reread the book in its second edition, coming out next year with a new publisher. Next time, it would be helpful if he tried to read it with a clearer and more curious mind; if so, he will also better understand the “big picture” being described.
ADDENDUM: Regarding the Absurd Allegation that Seymour Hersh was a CIA Plant:
(Author’s Note: Subsequent to the original posting of this rebuttal on the three different forums to which it was published by Mr. DiEugenio, a lengthy debate ensued between him and me regarding his assertions that Seymour Hersh was a CIA stooge. He referenced a book which, he said, showed that Hersh knowingly withheld the fact that the My Lai massacre was part of Operation Phoenix. I then traced that reference to the original source, which indicated the exact opposite of DiEugenio’s assertions. In fact, it confirmed that he DID state clearly that this was the case. The specific facts of that are appended to this rebuttal and can be found below).
“The Veneration of Seymour Hersh”
For many years (who knows how long?) the folks at CTKA, following their leader just as Sheeple do, have disgracefully smeared the name of one of the greatest, most prolific American patriots of the Twentieth Century. The man we should all honor for his incredible achievements, especially the exposure of My Lai. It took a man with brass cojones to expose the massacre there and, with it, the fact that there was a little program called Operation Phoenix along with it.
But, in their attempt to banish Seymour Hersh’s book “The Dark Side of Camelot”, from being used as a credible source for anything else, the CTKA organization has attempted to demolish Hersh’s fine reputation as a great and iconoclastic figure who deserved nothing but praise from his fellow citizens. Instead, we were told exactly the opposite of the truth in this recent snippet from a post at the Education Forum. This has been going on for decade(s?) and the record needs to be corrected immediately.
From a posting on the Education Forum “Joe Green’s Review of LBJ the Mastermind”:
James DiEugenio, on 27 December 2010 – 10:16 PM, said:
“Obviously, if you had the evidence for doing such things you would not have spent so much time regurgitating the likes of Sy Hersh and his completely discredited book “The Dark Side of Camelot”. I mean, do you know anything about the man? Apparently not. Hersh has been in bed with the CIA since the beginning of his career. Yes, that is true. Hersh started his career off by covering up a simple fact: That the My Lai massacre was part of Operation Phoenix. Which was one of the darkest CIA secrets of the Vietnam War. Hersh’s book goes to all kinds of absurd lengths to conceal that fact, explicitly saying that the massacre was not part of any kind of operational conspiracy. Hersh did such a nice job covering it up that we had to wait for a real reporter, Doug Valentine, to show us My Lai was part of Operation Phoenix. But Hersh did such good cover up work that Phoenix was then exported to Central America, against the Contras.”
Something about all of that didn’t make sense to me. Here we have a famous reporter and author, Seymour Hersh, who I have always felt was the “real hero” of that incredibly insane time in the history of this country. I acknowledge that there have been some controversies in his past, and much of his work is a bit controversial, but that’s what happens when you’re a true iconoclast, working on exposing truths to a nation not always receptive to the truth. But here, we are talking about the despicable trashing of a guy who was all alone on the fringes of the mighty military and intelligence machine, whose record to most thinking Americans is unblemished, among the general public. There was something wrong with that picture.
So I looked on Amazon to see if I could find anything in the book he had cited (The Phoenix Program by Douglas Valentine) which might clarify all of this. Fortunately, the book was partially on-line, and there was a description of Operation Phoenix on pp. 342-435. Guess who Valentine has referenced three times as stating, both in his news reports and his subsequent book, Cover Up, that indeed the My Lai massacre was a part of Operation Phoenix. None other than the great Seymour Hersh!
Here are the excerpts, right out of Valentine’s book, just so you don’t have to bother looking them up for yourself:
On August 25, 1970, an article appeared in the New York Times [though the author was not named, it is a historical fact that Seymour Hersh was exclusively reporting this story for the Times] hinting that the CIA, through Phoenix, was responsible for Mai Lai. The story line was advanced on October 14, when defense attorneys for David Mitchell—a sergeant accused and later cleared of machine-gunning scores of Vietnamese in a drainage ditch in My Lai—citing Phoenix as the CIA’s “systematic program of assassinations,” named Evan Parker as the CIA officer who “signed documents, certain blacklists,” of Vietnamese to be assassinated in My Lai. When we spoke, Parker denied the charge.
In Cover-up (1972), Seymour Hersh tells how in February 1968, Ramsdell began “rounding up residents of Quang Ngai City whose names appeared on Phoenix blacklists.” Explained Ramsdell: “After Tet we knew who many of these people were, but we let them continue to fumnction because we were controlling them. They led us to the VC security officer for the district. We wiped them out after Tet and then went ahead and picked up the small fish.” The people who were “wiped out”, Hersh explains, were “put to death by the Phoenix Special Police.
“As Hersh notes parenthetically, “Shortly after the My Lai 4 operation, the number of VCI on the Phoenix blacklist was sharply reduced.”
What DiEugenio stated in the above thread, and has been repeating for many years, is the exact opposite of what was actually in the book. How many of his other assertions about Hersh would withstand the scrutiny of someone who had the time to track them all down and unparse the words used to drag his name through the mud? This is a major disservice to someone who ought to be venerated by all of his fellow countrymen.
Does this not vindicate my guy Hersh? Or, do I have to track down everything else uttered about him to correct the record?
Can we please take Seymour Hersh off the blacklist now??
 From Salon 1/18/2000 article by David Rubien: http://www.salon.com/people/bc/2000/01/18/hersh
(From DPF, p. 12, #117) After waiting several days to be “approved” for membership at the Deep Politics Forum, I posted the following:
What, no Welcome Wagon here??
What a greeting for a new member!
Even before I discovered that the debate which started on the Education Forum, then moved to JFK Lancer (where a copy of the Green Review had also been posted) had moved on to its third venue, the level of invective for me and my book reached dizzying heights:
- “Neither he (Robert Morrow) nor Phillip Nelson demonstrate the slightest sophistication as thinkers or writers. The thoughtless — if not sinister — choice of the word “mastermind” as applied to LBJ reveals the total absence of deep political awareness/analytical thought”
- “Nelson’s transparently disinformative book”
- “Nelson’s two goals/assignments: Further factionalize the research community. The other, of course, is to fortify LBJ’s FALSE Sponsorship role, and thus prolong the interminable debate and protect the true Sponsors.”
- “Is Nelson an enemy agent of disinformation? A simple-minded executioner of the mother tongue?”
- “Nelson, Hunt, McClelland, and Estes are criminals — in varying senses of the word. Their stock in trade? DISINFORMATION!”
- Is it just me, or does anyone else think that the hubris around here is downright suffocating? I have to assume that this treatment was designed specially for me and that this is not the usual discourse with which a new member is treated even before his first post. Given this “less than warm” greeting, rest assured that I will not “overstay my welcome.” This will be my first, last and only post on this forum; I may be found lurking around the other two from time to time but I do have other fish to fry and can allocate only so much time to defending myself from unscrupulous attacks by armchair critics who seem to be more interested in perpetuating myths than they are in solving crimes, even the one generally referred to as the “crime of the century.”The Trashing of Seymour HershLast week I posted the same response on Lancer that I originally wrote for EF and awaited further “dialog” on there. After it became apparent that DiEugenio had picked up his marbles and left, I then stumbled across the fact that it had then resumed on DPF. The reason for the latest shift in venue may never be known, but it may have something to do with Mr. DiEugenio’s conduct at that forum when it became clear that his lies about Seymour Hersh had caught up with him. This was all explained in the original post of my response to the Green “review” by Jim Fetzer, who kindly posted a copy of those responses. I will not go into detail about them here again (see post #22 for specifics, particularly the second, “Appendix” part) however, I cannot understand why he would continue to argue that Hersh was a CIA stooge (Ref. Post #1 above), given that I have already demonstrated the falsity of that assertion.
This continuing, shameless character assassination of one of the foremost heroes of our time is disgusting. Seymour Hersh exposed the gruesome details of the March, 1968 carnage at My Lai in a blockbuster news report on November 12, 1969, shortly after Calley was arrested. It had taken that long for the news to leak out because of the cover-up within the military. By August, 1970, after further investigating the incident, Hersh reported in a New York Times article, that the massacre was part of a larger campaign of the CIA called Operation Phoenix. For this remarkable accomplishment in exposing the awful truths, Seymour Hersh established his bona-fides as a great investigative reporter, one who learned his craft from his famed mentor, I. F. “Izzy” Stone, another great and honorable man working at the edges of a machine quite capable of destroying those who attempt to expose its secrets.
Instead of giving up and apologizing for his mistake, now DiEugenio wants to perpetuate the myth of Seymour Hersh being a CIA asset on a completely new forum rather than admit that Hersh has been exposing the most sordid and deadly activities of the CIA:
“. . .apparently Nelson never read Hersh’s first book on My Lai, which predates the articles he notes. I did. In that book, he maintains a government cover up about what happened. As the months wore on, and it became obvious that Calley and the higher ups were being protected by the military and Nixon, even a stooge like Hersh understood the cover up could not be maintained.”
So now, he maintains that Hersh wrote another book sometime before August of 1970 where he denies any CIA involvement. Please enlighten us, Jim, when was that book published and what was the name of it? Give us a quote from that one; you seem to be anxious to leave the previous lies about him behind you, back at those other two forums. This other book is news to me; I see no reference in all the materials I have checked. In that nine month period, evidently, he asserts that Hersh continued “protecting” the CIA and even published another book, which I cannot locate. Yet the record shows that it was the military and intelligence agencies who continued burying facts and deceiving the public. Even though Hersh did not acknowledge CIA sponsorship of the massacre during this nine month period, perhaps the reason was that he was still investigating it and had not yet been able to make an effective case; perhaps the delay was due to his merely using journalistic restraint and caution before coming out with still another important expose.
Seymour Hersh was a genuine American hero then and he still is now, regardless of the specious and outrageous lies perpetrated by DiEugenio. In 1969, he alone proved that he had the brass cojones to stand up to the military – intelligence machine that took us to war and exposed the most horrid story of that unbelievably insane point in time. Most rational and objective people would put him at the head of the list if asked to vote on for the single best example of a real swashbuckling iconoclast, as opposed to a “wannabe” version like Mr. DiEugenio, who can safely hide behind the walls of various organizations which condone his “untruths”.
So in this instance, here we have an organization supposedly interested in exposing truths about the “dark side” of an invisible government warmly accepting into their fold someone who is not above crafting the most outrageous lies about a true hero. His bringing those distortions directly into this forum and continuing to denigrate Hersh’s accomplishments by accusing him of being a part of the very organization at the center of the “Deep Politics” conundrum—the very one that Hersh has worked so hard to investigate and expose—constitutes a huge injustice to a true and great American hero. “Disgraceful” is an understatement and does not nearly describe such drivel.
Webster definition of “Mastermind”: “a person who supplies the directing or creative intelligence for a project” Can you say “ambiguous”? Nothing there about “controlling every single detail” of the “project” that I can see. Hell, given that definition, a person who only had the original germ of an idea—and then had nothing whatsoever to do with its execution—could still qualify.
It seems that most of the invective directed by folks on this board to the book relates to my use of the word “Mastermind.” This is a term that I (apparently mistakenly) thought the book itself, in roughly 700 pages, would define. 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 defined his participation in the event as beginning in 1958, two years before the presidential election. I will not use my limited time here to explain all of that; if anyone needs to understand that he or she will need to review at least chapter 5, preferably the entire book if it’s not too much trouble.
It has been asserted here that Johnson was not equipped or empowered to have been the “Mastermind”. The problem seems to have more to do with semantics than anything substantive with the plot I have advanced. Why is it so difficult for so many to be unable to comprehend that the term is inherently ambiguous and subject to the interpretation of every individual who considers it. At Deep Politics, there seems to be an unwillingness to even acknowledge any definition other than their own, which is “by definition” (see above) misguided. And incorrect. And simply wrong, not to put too fine a point on it.
For clarification purposes, I will once again attempt to define and summarize what I meant by using that term: LBJ set out in 1958-59 to put himself into the office of vice-president of the United States; in so doing, he forfeited any idea of actually running for the presidency at that time. He did this 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. Between 1961 and 1963, as a result of numerous, repeated incidents –as outlined in the book – his relationship with a number of these military and intelligence officials grew greater, and tighter, just as JFK’s deteriorated to a point that many of them decided that his 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 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 because, by definition, the “invisible government” which Mr. Drago evidently sees as the single and unique sponsor of the event could not possibly have been thrown into gear until at least after the election and probably not really until a number of Kennedy’s “sins” (e.g. BOP, Cuban missile crisis, nuclear arms treaty, “Peace Speech” etc., etc.) had been committed.
My book goes 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 book. Therefore, to understand how the book describes all of this, one must, of course, read the book. One such reference—which explains, again, why Johnson was not involved in the more detailed tasks such as arranging for the pristine bullet (CE 399)—appears on page 368:
“Although it was Lyndon Johnson who would initiate the overall “macro-level”plan, and be in the position after its execution to enforce a complete cover-up,it is clear now, based upon the meticulous research of Noel Twyman in1997 and further elaboration by Larry Hancock in 2006 and Doug Horne in 2009, that he was not the only planner involved; as dictated by the precepts of plausible deniability, Johnson would not be involved in the details of the assassination, other than planning of the motorcade itself. The gathering consensus is that Bill Harvey was put in charge of the microplanning level, aided by David Morales at the street level. . . “
For DiEugenio to continue making the ridiculous assertion that any “mastermind” would necessarily have to be the one and only person to know every possible detail of the pre and post-assassination conspiracies is, for lack of a better word, simply “ludicrous.” In his post #90, he adds to the list the following ridiculous examples of things that any “mastermind” of the event would have to control:
“Precisely what did LBJ have to do with the following:
1.) Oswald being introduced to the Paines by the Baron.
2.) Oswald being manipulated in the New Orleans area by Shaw, Ferrie, and Banister.
3.) Ruth Paine picking up Marina and separating her from Lee and Lee from his possessions at the time of the murder.
4.) The Oswald charade in Mexico City which is crucial to the plot.
5.) Oswald getting his job at the TSBD.
6.) Ruth Paine producing all that phony evidence after the murder
7.) The military curtailing the autopsy
Only number 7 on his list has any pertinence of what Johnson’s role might have been. The rest are just more instances of how he is unable to absorb the notion that there were a number of other planners of the event at the “micro” level, such as Bill Harvey and David Sanchez Morales. I feel as though this point will never go away. Has nobody else come to this conclusion? Is there some better way that I might explain this? Perhaps I’m simply not articulate enough to accomplish this. Or, perhaps the problem does not lie within the pages of this book. In any event, I shall not pursue this further.
Insofar as I have explained all of this over and over until I’m now literally “blue in the face,” to no avail, I cannot see the point in going further. Perhaps Jim is right and my critics have not even bothered to read the book! But no more; after this, at least on this forum, you may continue picking the bones off the carcass that I leave behind (this post) just like other forms of vultures do in the “real world”, but I do not intend to continue repeating myself merely because you are not willing to consider what I have already explained, repeatedly and ad nauseum.
Contrary to the strident and spurious charges that the book “ignores” the national security state, it actually addresses this issue directly and, if I may say so, quite thoroughly, in the context of its interface with the main perpetrator. That is why the book is over 700 pages long; Mr. Green felt that was way too long and that it should be shortened to 200 pages, evidently because he skipped over the very material he also said was missing. I am not the only one who saw the absurdity of that argument, yet it has still not been acknowledged by either Mr. Green or his chief sponsor, who may actually know no better.
I think the real controversy is caused, as noted above, by the fact that the book focuses more on LBJ’s involvement than it does on the institutional entity called “the national security state”. While I admit that I could have changed this proportion, to be less LBJ oriented and more “national security state” oriented, I suppose certain people would have been more satisfied with the book. Had I done that, I could have then named the book a little less provocatively, something very benign like “LBJ: From Pawn to King”. While some folks here might have been less antagonistic towards the book, it would have also probably been ruinous to it. At the very least, the book would have grown to be much larger than it is, which is already on the outer edges of what a book publisher will even consider. By citing other books which focused on the “national security” aspects of the cabal, I extended the book’s reach accordingly; I even stated that Twyman’s book, for one, was essentially incorporated into the book in its entirety by proxy, because this is one book which I have absolutely no disagreements with (other than that Twyman does not actually see LBJ as the “mastermind”, only as its most critical and indispensable actor). It was essentially the same technique I used to embrace other books as well. For example, Gerald McKnight’s book on the Warren Commission is a good case on point; if anyone wants to see the complete details of issues I only address tangentially, the point is, the full details are completely available within the other cited works.
DiEugenio noted on post #49: “Green writes that Nelson also propagates the whole RFK being in on MM’s murder thesis.”
For the record, the following excerpt from the book explains that this is not true:
Author Donald H. Wolfe, in The Last Days of Marilyn Monroe, made a compelling case that Robert F. Kennedy was not only the last visitor of Marilyn Monroe before she died but was actually involved in it in some way. To be sure, other authors, including Donald Spoto in his book Marilyn Monroe, disagree vehemently with such a conclusion. It is not our purpose here to settle that case; however, it is clear that whatever involvement Bobby may have had would have been known to his nemesis, J. Edgar Hoover; he wouldn’t hesitate a moment to use the secret scandals known only to the handful of people who had access to the FBI reports to keep Bobby Kennedy rattled and under his own complete control. RFK had found out about Hoover’s channels when he ordered the FBI to confiscate the records of her telephone calls from General Telephone within hours of her death. He knew that Hoover knew all about the outgoing and incoming telephone calls, not just the precise times of each call but the taped conversations as well. Since August 4, 1962, J. Edgar Hoover possessed information on both Kennedy brothers that was so potentially damaging that it could end their political careers.
According to credible accounts, RFK, with Peter Lawford, visited Marilyn Monroe the day before she died. And thanks to the constant monitoring of everything going on in her bungalow by his wiretaps, Hoover would have known exactly what went on, even if was nothing more than a shouting match. That is the sum and substance of what I wrote; I specifically stated that I was reporting only what two other authors had written, one which said he was involved in her death, the other vehemently disagreed and that this book did not take either side. I can only conjecture how DiEugenio could have missed it.
Mr. Drago stated that “Hunt’s absurdly transparent final fiction and Nelson’s just plain absurd “hypothesis” both are intended — in my educated opinion — to prolong the JFK debate, reinforce the coverup, and protect the anonymity of the true Sponsors of Dallas and beyond.”
This is the real sophistry which is clearly prevalent on this forum; it is transparently ridiculous and, if anything, the opposite of reality. It is the perpetuation of the idea that the only force that could have possibly been behind the assassination was this murky confluence of invisible–and only partially identified—people that has itself perpetrated the cover-up of the crime. Maybe that’s the objective of his dismissal of my book: to preserve the illusion that “the national security state” was responsible rather than actual human agents acting on their motives and beliefs.
That is the inevitable result of the creation of the ultimate “strawman”: the one which insures that the assassination will never be solved. One result of that is the fact that a miniseries is about to be produced which re-postulates the very same “official story” that so few people even believe in. The people who subsequently remain unpersuaded by that fictional “entertainment” will then be offered up an equally ridiculous movie designed to convince them that it was all Carlos Marcello’s doing [This movie, to star Leonardo DiCaprio, is being produced by Warner Brothers, whose executive vice president in charge of production is none other than Courtenay Lynda Valenti, who was just a toddler when her photograph was taken dozens, if not hundreds, of times around the White House in 1963-1967, always being held or attended to by President Lyndon B. Johnson].
In the meantime, the real killers get yet another pass. Jim Fetzer in “Forrest Gump on the grassy knoll” recognizes the danger in those works of “entertainment” and has sought to warn the public about it. The armchair pundits at this forum prefer only to commiserate about how such shows don’t reflect their singular culprit: the enigmatic “invisible government”, which controls everyone and which will only be exposed if they continue their hand-wringing and the verbal combat with themselves in their tiny corner of cyberspace. Terrific, but count me out.
A logically thinking cynic, after absorbing the debate going on here, might conclude that an organization which calls itself “Deep Politics Forum” might even resort to attacking any book that attempts to outline the only realistically plausible story of the assassination, simply because it does not comport with the premise upon which they exist. Moreover, following simple rules of logic, their real motive might even be more insidious and sinister; why would they mount such a colossal effort to keep the waters muddy and un-navigable? Could such an organization even “pull all the plugs” to destroy a book because of the perception that it is a threat to its own credibility or existence? Is it in the DPF’s own interest to keep the lid on the most plausible story simply to preserve their own existence?
If all of this is so, then the inescapable conclusion is that this organization is not really wedded to the pursuit of truth. By logical extension, which I find very troubling, it appears difficult to deny that the DPF may exist for ulterior motives, a hidden agenda that only surfaces intermittently, as it seems to have done here.