Back in 2003, during the 40th anniversary of the JFK assassination, the History Channel aired an excellent and pretty in-depth series exploring different facets of the JFK conspiracy called “The Men Who Killed Kennedy” by Nigel Turner. Originally a 9-part series, the last 3 episodes were cut from the re-run broadcasts and are not included in the DVD box set for sale on the History Channel’s website. The last episode #9 is of particular interest in our current discussion, and it is called “The Guilty Men”. This segment details the revelations of Barr McClellan from his book Blood, Money, and Power: How LBJ Killed JFK, where he places the blame for Kennedy’s murder squarely in the lap of man who would succeed him in the presidency…Lyndon Baines Johnson. Barr McClellan had worked as an attorney with a firm headed by one of the most powerful men in Texas (at the time) named Edward Clark, who was an attorney for LBJ and also one of LBJ’s closest political cronies. I can still remember staying up very late one night and catching most the “Guilty Men” episode on the History Channel and thinking- “This is an astounding broadcast. I can’t wait for it re-air so that I can tape it.” Little did I know at the time that this episode would create a firestorm of controversy and draw the angry ire of Jack Valenti, Bill Moyers, and Lady Bird Johnson, which would cause the History Channel to never air this seminal documentary again (even with the disclaimer).
However, the burning question remains 50 years later, what role (if any) did LBJ play in the assassination of JFK. One of the first questions any professional detective asks before undertaking any investigation of a crime, is “Qui bono?” Who benefits? In the JFK assassination, this takes on even more vital urgency, since the stakes are of national significance and import. However, clearly the Warren Commission was set up to fail, and this was due in no small part to LBJ’s appointments of key Kennedy enemies, of whom Allen Dulles (whom I discussed in the previous article), was the most obvious. In other words, at no time was there to be any true investigation into the events that transpired on November 22nd, 1963 but rather (in keeping with the official coverup begun by LBJ himself shortly after he assumed office) the “lone gunman” of Lee Harvey Oswald firing 3 shots only was to be advanced as the official version of events.
When the Church Committee Hearings re-investigated the JFK assassination for the Senate back in 1974, they came to the conclusion that the FBI and the Warren Commission were deficient in their investigation into the JFK assassination. Although the Church Committee didn’t state explicitly that they thought there was a “conspiracy” in the plot to kill Kennedy, it is at least significant that there are now two “official” government versions of the assassination on the record with the later more skeptical and critical. Since we’ve already covered the lead up and Dulles’ role in the assassination, let’s now turn to Lyndon B. Johnson’s role from multiple people, who were close and/or connected to LBJ during these times.
By all accounts (including the official biography by Robert Caro), Johnson was a crude, crass, and corrupt SOB. He delighted in humiliating his aides, especially in public. He was known to spout racist remarks, which would seem to belie his appeal in the mainstream media as a champion of black people. And, he was a ruthless political animal that employed dirty tricks, blackmail, bribery, ballot stuffing (such as the infamous Box 13 scandal), and even murder of people that he viewed as political opponents of his or that he thought might threaten his carefully crafted image. According to many who knew him, he had a maniacal desire to be head honcho, and Nixon once remarked how he never liked to be #2. He also hated the Kennedy brothers, and the feeling was apparently mutual.
Having blackmailed his way onto the 1960 ticket by using evidence of JFK’s many sexual exploits supplied to him by J. Edgar Hoover, by 1963 he was facing serious criminal indictments from a two-pronged attack. The first was an explosive Senate Rules Committee investigation to be headed by RFK into LBJ’s history of taking massive bribes and kickbacks, using his protege and right-hand man Bobby Baker. According to various reports, Bobby Baker knew “where the bodies were buried” and was known to have ties to the mafia in addition to being one of the most powerful men (as assistant to the Majority leader) on Capitol Hill. And, the second was a major expose into LBJ’s long train of abuses, corruption, and murder that was set to be published in an article in Life Magazine set to be published around Nov. 26-29th, 1963. In other words, LBJ’s goose was thoroughly cooked. He was facing major criminal indictments that could net him prison time, and he was going to be unceremoniously dropped from the 1964 Democratic ticket and probably replaced by Terry Sanford of North Carolina.
Kennedy was showing signs of withdraw from Vietnam (with the aforementioned NSAM 263), and he was perceived by the Pentagon Generals, Chairman of the JCS, and Nazi-like CIA guys as being weak on the so-called communist threat. He was roundly hated by J. Edgar Hoover, Gen. Ed Lansdale, Carlos Marcello, Santos Traficante, Clint Murchinson, and Allen Dulles. However, Lyndon Johnson was one of the good ole boys…so to speak. Granted, he was as crooked and corrupt as they come, but he could be counted on to be “tough” with the commies. And, given his millions in payoffs from Brown & Root (now a subsidiary known as Kellogg, Brown, and Root (KBR) of the huge military construction contractor Halliburton), he also knew that he stood to gain quite a bit in pushing the Vietnam War further into its bloody insanity. Bell Helicopters and General Dynamics were Texas companies, after all, and there were millions of dollars to be made on the slaughter of “slopes” as they were called by US soldiers. Certainly, LBJ didn’t have a problem with making a killing as he was literally ordering the killing.
Beyond this, however, there is plenty of evidence that points the finger squarely at LBJ for being complicit in the planning and coverup of JFK’s assassination. First up, there is the testimony of Madeleine Duncan Brown, who was the long-time mistress of LBJ. She remembers clearly going to the house of the richest Texas oil man at the time, Clint Murchinson, and witnessing some of the most powerful men (H.L. Hunt, Richard Nixon, and J. Edgar Hoover) meet behind closed doors. When LBJ came out of the meeting, he told Madeleine that “after tomorrow [November 22nd] those Kennedy SOBs will never embarrass me again. That’s no threat. That’s a promise!” While some people question her allegations, I personally see no reason for her to lie about this taking place, especially since she was in love with LBJ and wouldn’t want to surreptitiously damage his legacy for no good reason. There’s even a big clue coming from Jack Ruby, as he’s being led away by the police and followed by a reporter, who asks him about why he shot Oswald. His remarks are very telling indeed, as you can hear him saying- “This never would of happened to our beloved president if Adlai Stevenson were the Vice President.” When pressed to clarify what he means by that odd statement, he replies, “The answer is the man in office now.” LBJ!
Next, we have the confessions of infamous Watergate plumber and long-time CIA operative, E. Howard Hunt. Before Hunt died, his son Saint John Hunt, recorded what has come to be known as his “deathbed confession” into the JFK assassination plot. On the video, E. Howard Hunt talks about how he was a kind of “bench warmer” on the assassination and names guys like Morales as being apart of it. However, he says that he was part of backup team should anything go wrong with the first team of assassins. And, he puts the blame for the killing of JFK on the CIA and LBJ. Again, while Hunt isn’t exactly the most reliable of witnesses, he has nothing to gain by lying in this instance, and he gives every indication (towards the end of his days) of genuinely wanting to come clean about his past deeds in an act of personal reconciliation.
We also shouldn’t forget the testimony of one of the trauma physicians at Parkland Hospital that dark day in Dallas, who was a part of the team of doctors, nurses, and surgeons that worked on John F. Kennedy and later Lee Harvey Oswald. Dr. Charles Crenshaw wrote a book called Trauma Room One, later re-titled Conspiracy of Silence, where he describes a scene of pandemonium in the hospital. He also describes how the lower back end of Kennedy’s head was completely blown out, which would obviously indicate a shot fired from the front and exiting to the rear of the skull (as the witnesses to the Grassy Knoll shooter would seem to indicate). The book documents how Secret Service agents stole Kennedy’s body out of Parkland against the wishes of the Parkland doctors and the criminal forensic pathologist, who was supposed to perform the autopsy later done by a couple of stooges in Washington that had never performed one.
The autopsy sketches from the Bethesda Hospital have been rebuked as completely different from what the Parkland doctors witnessed that day, and it should be obvious to all that this is a crucial part of the coverup that was orchestrated. However, what I found extremely fascinating (as it pertains to our topic) is how Dr. Crenshaw states how he was asked to take a phone call in the middle of the operation that was attempting to revive Lee Harvey Oswald as he laid on a table in Trauma Room #2. According to Dr. Crenshaw, he took the phone call in the other room, and it was Lyndon Baines Johnson on the other end. LBJ then told Crenshaw that he had one of his men in the ER, and he wanted to get a “confession” out of Oswald if he could. Most of the Parkland Hospital staff have been too scared to go on the record about what they saw that day, and Dr. Crenshaw waited until after his retirement until he felt safe to tell his important story. Why would he lie about something like this? I believe that LBJ was very fearful that Ruby might not have killed Oswald with the shot and wanted to cover his ass the best way he knew how. And, what better way to do this than get a confession, even if it were a coerced deathbed confession?
Of course, one of the most damning piece of evidence against LBJ comes from his long-time partner in corruption and crime, Billie Sol Estes. Back in 1961, Estes was at the top of his shady enterprise having secured a very lucrative agricultural career in large part from his powerful connections with LBJ and was a part of an illegal cotton allotment scheme, where he was able to get the government to transfer other farmer’s cotton allotments onto his own land. He would therefore be paid millions in the extra subsidies that he would receive from the Department of Agriculture. This fraud was aided and abetted by Lyndon Johnson, and much of the slush funds for this (along with any number of other bribes, payoffs, and theft of government funds) were funneled into LBJ’s coffers. However, this began to be threatened with Henry Marshall started questioning this scam and couldn’t be bought or bribed. That’s when, according Estes, LBJ said-“Get rid of him.” The order went to LBJ’s long-time “stone cold killer” Malcolm “Mac” Wallace, who shot Henry Marshall 5 times with a bolt-action .22 rifle.
In an investigation that boggles the mind in how criminally negligent it was, this obvious murder was originally ruled a suicide! Interestingly enough, a fingerprint matching that of “Mac” Wallace was found in the sniper’s nest of the Texas School Book Depository. This is extremely key in cracking the case against LBJ, since as Roger Stone points out in his book LBJ would want one of his own hit men in Dealey Plaza that day regardless of who else was in on the plot. It wasn’t until 1984 that Billie Sol Estes finally came clean about his dirty dealings with LBJ and the role that LBJ played in JFK’s assassination at the behest of Clint Peoples, a Texas Ranger friend of his. Unfortunately, since all the principles of the crimes were dead, his grand jury testimony only accomplished one thing…it reversed the verdict of Henry Marshall’s death from suicide to murder. However, it bears repeating what his “under oath” testimony was for history’s sake in the case against LBJ. In response to a Justice Department inquiry into Estes’ testimony in the grand jury trial, his attorney Douglas Caddy wrote a letter informing how: “Mr. Estes was a member of a four-member group, headed by Lyndon Johnson, which committed criminal acts in Texas in the 1960’s. The other two, besides Mr. Estes and LBJ, were Cliff Carter and Mac Wallace. Mr. Estes is willing to disclose his knowledge concerning the following criminal offenses:
1. The killing of Henry Marshall
2. The killing of George Krutilek
3. The killing of Ike Rogers and his secretary
4. The killing of Harold Orr
5. The killing of Coleman Wade
6. The killing of Josepha Johnson
7. The killing of John Kinser
8. The killing of President J.F. Kennedy
Mr. Estes is willing to testify that LBJ ordered these killings, and that he transmitted his orders through Cliff Carter and Mac Wallace, who executed the orders.”
Needless to say, #8 on this list stands out as quite a shocker upon first glance, particularly if you’re unfamiliar with LBJ’s history of ordering hits throughout his sordid political career. The letter goes on to state that: “In addition, a short time after Mr. Estes was released from prison in 1971, he met with Cliff Carter and they reminisced about what had occurred in the past, including the murders. During their conversion, Carter orally compiled a list of 17 murders which had been committed, some of which Mr. Estes was unfamiliar.”
So, there you have it folks. Check out the full two letters from the U.S. Justice Department Criminal Division and the reply from Billie Sol Estes’ attorney Douglas Caddy that I just alluded to by clicking on this link. For those of you who might want a little more visual evidence, let’s not forget the scene on board Air Force One as LBJ was being sworn in as the 36th president of the United States, while a traumatized Jackie O. stands close by in her blood-stained pink dress. Everyone is familiar with the first picture of Johnson taking the oath of office (with his right hand raised), but very few people are familiar with the second picture of Johnson looking over his right shoulder a man giving him a sly and knowing wink to what is surely a grinning LBJ. (I would especially like to thank Barr McClellan, Robert Morrow, Peter Dale Scott, Andrew Gavin Marshall, Philip Nelson, and Roger Stone for their invaluable research into LBJ and his role in the JFK Assassination.)