The case against Lyndon Johnson
Several investigators have identified Lyndon Johnson, Kennedy’s vice-president, as the mastermind of the Kennedy assassination.
It is, at least, beyond doubt that the plotters acted with the foreknowledge that Johnson, who automatically stepped in as head of State after Kennedy’s death, would cover them.
The context of national crisis enabled him to bully both Justice and the press while achieving his life’s ambition. Johnson not just benefitted from the plot; he participated in its elaboration.
As a former senator from Texas, he could mobilize high-ranked accomplices in Dallas to prepare the ambush. Johnson also had his men in the Navy.
In 1961, Texan senator John Connally had been appointed as Navy Secretary at the request of Johnson.
When Connally resigned eleven months later to run for governor of Texas, Johnson convinced Kennedy to name another of his Texan friends, Fred Korth.
Johnson’s privileged control over the Navy is an important aspect of the case because the Navy was critical in the setting up and in the cover-up of the plot.
First, contrary to a widespread but erroneous belief, Lee Harvey Oswald had been recruited by the Navy and not by the CIA. He was a Marine, and as a Marine he had worked for the Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI).
Secondly, it is at the Naval Hospital in Washington, under the control of Navy officers, that Kennedy’s autopsy was performed, after his body had been literally stolen at gunpoint from Parkland Hospital in Dallas.
The report of this autopsy stated that the fatal bullet had entered the back of Kennedy’s skull, which contradicted the testimonies of twenty-one members of the Dallas hospital staff who saw two entry bullet-wounds on the front of Kennedy’s body.
This was critical because Oswald was presumably shooting from behind Kennedy and could not possibly have caused these bullet wounds.
It is noteworthy that Johnson had actually taken advantage of his connections in the Navy to participate in the greatest corruption case ever recorded at that time.
His accomplice Fred Korth was forced to resign as Navy Secretary in November 1963, only weeks before the Dallas coup, after the Justice Department headed by Robert Kennedy had implicated him in a fraud involving a $7 billion contract for the construction of 1,700 TFX military aircraft by General Dynamics, a Texan company.
Johnson’s personal secretary, Bobby Baker, was charged in the same case.
Because of this mounting scandal and other suspicions of corruption, Kennedy was determined to change Vice-President for his upcoming reelection campaign.
While in Dallas the day before the President’s visit, Nixon publicized the rumor of Johnson’s removal, and the Dallas Morning News was reporting on November 22nd: “Nixon Predicts JFK May Drop Johnson.” Instead, Johnson became president that very day.
Many Americans immediately suspected Johnson’s involvement in the Dallas coup, especially after the publication in 1964 of a book by James Evetts Haley, A Texan Looks at Lyndon, which portrayed Johnson as deeply corrupt.
According to his biographer Robert Caro, Johnson was a man thirsting “for power in its most naked form, for power not to improve the lives of others, but to manipulate and dominate them, to bend them to his will.”
The evidence incriminating Johnson does not conflict with the evidence against Israel, quite the contrary. First, both trails converge in the person of Jack Ruby, whom Nixon identified a one of “Johnson’s boys,” according to former Nixon operative Roger Stone.
The hypothesis that Ruby acted on Johnson’s orders is a likely explanation for some of his odd statements to the Warren Commission:
“If you don’t take me back to Washington tonight to give me a chance to prove to the President that I am not guilty, then you will see the most tragic thing that will ever happen.”
“There will be a certain tragic occurrence happening if you don’t take my testimony and somehow vindicate me so my people don’t suffer because of what I have done.”
He said that feared that his act would be used “to create some falsehood about some of the Jewish faith,” but added that “maybe something can be saved […], if our President, Lyndon Johnson, knew the truth from me.”
With such words, Ruby seems to be trying to send a message to Johnson through the Commission, or rather a warning that he might spill the beans about Israel’s involvement if Johnson did not intervene in his favor.
We get the impression that Ruby expected Johnson to pardon him.
Yet Johnson did nothing to get Ruby out of jail. Ruby’s sense of betrayal would explain why in 1965, after having been sentenced to life imprisonment, Ruby implicitly accused Johnson of Kennedy’s murder in a press conference:
“If [Adlai Stevenson] was Vice-President there would never have been an assassination of our beloved President Kennedy.”
Ruby died from a mysterious disease in his prison in 1967.