Friday, 19 April 2024 18:19

Under Cover of Night, by Sean Fetter, Part 2 Featured

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In this volume, Fetter makes his case for a conspiracy, one featuring Lyndon Johnson and, of all people, the deceased House Speaker Sam Rayburn. To say that it does not work is being much too kind to the author.

In the first part of this review of Sean Fetter’s very long book, Under Cover of Night, I concentrated on his rather radical ideas about how the medical cover up about the JFK murder was executed. By self-acknowledgement, his book is in the line of the 1974 volume Murder from Within. I also indicated that although the book is full of scorn and bile against the late David Lifton, it is also reminiscent of Best Evidence. For reasons stated there I did not find his case convincing in that aspect. As I noted there, the second person Fetter had extreme scorn for is Lyndon Johnson.

Considering the length of the two volume set, it does not take long for Fetter to get to his point about Johnson. Relatively early he calls Johnson the “plotter-in-chief”. (Fetter, p. 134) What is rather startling about that rubric is the man who Fetter names as Johnson’s accomplice in the plan to kill Kennedy. It’s a name that I had never previously heard of in that regard. Fetter says that the man who was Johnson’s cohort was House speaker Sam Rayburn. (See Chapter 27 throughout, e.g. pp. 596-97). One reason the reader may never have heard of Rayburn as a co-plotter to kill Kennedy is rather simple: He died on November 16, 1961. That is two years before Kennedy was killed. So the logical question would be: How could a man be part of a plot to kill JFK if he died two years before it happened? After all, most critics think that the plan to kill Kennedy was intricately plotted in advance and very cleverly designed. Further, many think today that there were also precursors to what happened in Dallas, namely attempts on Kennedy’s life in Chicago and in Tampa in the weeks before Dallas. So how could someone like Sam Rayburn, dead in November of 1961, have been part of something like that?

This is where the author now gets into another dispute with other critics. And Fetter is very clear about this:

The JFK assassination plot did not occur because of fierce intragovernmental disputes over Vietnam, or Communism in general, or nuclear war, or Cuba, or Berlin, or civil rights, or the Federal Reserve, or the CIA—nor because of President Kennedy’s words, policies, actions or inaction on any subject. Period. (Fetter, p. 593)

Therefore, in the space of one paragraph, Fetter disposes of the work of authors like John Newman on Vietnam, Larry Hancock on Cuba, Donald Gibson on the economy, Mark Lane and Jim Garrison on the CIA, and Peter Kuznick on Russia and atomic weapons. The work that these men did is plentifully documented. These policy disputes did occur, and they are proven.

But as mentioned above, with Fetter, that is rather irrelevant to the cause at hand.   I mean, did Sam Rayburn fight any battles with Kennedy over Vietnam? How could he if Rayburn was dead within months of Kennedy’s inauguration? What Rayburn was known for was his incorruptibility. For instance, while being in the state legislature he was also part of a law firm. Yet he would not take fees from railroad companies that his firm represented. As many, including Robert Caro have noted, Rayburn was immune to lobbyists, turned down honorariums for speeches, and even refused to take travel expenses that he was legally entitled to. When hosts would try and extend him funds, he would reply “I’m not for sale” and then walk away. Rayburn died with cash assets of $35,000 while being $18, 000 in debt. (The Salt Lake Tribune, 2/25/2006, story by Mark Eddington)

From the above, one could say that Rayburn had a common touch about him. As his friend Cecil Dickson once said:

Rayburn is always watching out for what he calls ‘the real people’—those who come into life without many advantages and try to make a living and raise their families. The other people, well-born and with advantages, can get just about everything they want without government help, but ‘the real people’ need the protection of the government. (Patrick Cox at Constituting America web site)

Rayburn was born in Tennessee and moved to Texas at age 5. He spent about a half century representing people in the Lone Star state. But he did not sign the Southern Manifesto in 1956, as about 100 Washington southern politicians did, thus declaring their resistance to civil rights. He supported the creation of a civil rights commission and the Civil Rights Act of 1957. (ibid). In 1961 Rayburn was clearly and seriously ill. That summer he lost consciousness twice while in the Speaker’s chair. He was told he had cancer. He decided to return home to pass on and was quoted as saying, “I am one man in public life who is satisfied, who has achieved every ambition of his youth.” (Ray Hill in The Knoxville Focus, 4/8/2024) When Rayburn died, about 30,000 people showed up in his hometown of Bonham for his funeral. Among them were three presidents: Eisenhower, Truman and Kennedy. JFK was an honorary pallbearer.

So, if Rayburn had gained every ambition of his youth, how does Fetter make him into a post-humous co-planner of Kennedy’s murder? Well, according to our trusted historian and investigative journalist, Rayburn and Johnson were planning Kennedy’s death as far back as 1956. (Fetter, p. 594, pp. 611-13). How and why would they do that? Fetter’s reasoning is as follows: it was the only way to get someone from the south onto a national ticket. (He does not count the fact that Eisenhower was born in Texas, since he only lived there for two years, plus he was a Republican. Go figure.)

Does anyone really think this could be the reason to overthrow a government and murder the president in broad daylight while doing so? I have a hard time swallowing such a discussion taking place. Especially since John Nance Garner, a Texan, would have been president had he not resigned as Franklin Roosevelt’s VP in 1941. Further, Rayburn was a serious contender for that same office in 1944 as the movement to oust Henry Wallace gained steam. Finally, most people thought that since Johnson had proven to be such an effective leader in the senate he would naturally run in 1960, and he would be among the favorites.

So what evidence does Fetter advance for this nefarious plot taking place in 1956? As far as I can see he advances no direct evidence to such a plan being hatched. Neither did I denote any direct quote by Rayburn saying that having a southerner or Texan in the White House was a burning lifelong ambition for him. When Fetter does say that, the statement is not in quotes, and when one reads the footnote it is one of his usual “Author’s exclusive original discovery”. (See p. 622). When he tries to map out the thought process that Rayburn took in coming to that macabre conclusion, the footnotes are all attributed to the author, not the subject (See pgs.625-26).

I also have to add that President Woodrow Wilson was from Virginia, the home of the Confederacy. So when Fetter writes that no white southerner could win his party’s nomination for president, how did he miss that one? (p. 622)



But, in spite of the above, Fetter is wedded to this White Southerner Pledge by Rayburn and Johnson. How wedded to it is he? He actually writes that it did not matter who was the presidential nominee in 1960, Kennedy or anyone else. Because Rayburn and Johnson were so hell-bent they would have targeted, blackmailed and liquidated whoever it was. (Fetter, p. 626) He is quite explicit about this when he writes that if anyone else had beaten Kennedy in 1960, that person—whether it be Hubert Humphrey or Adlai Stevenson—would also have been killed.

At this point, probably earlier, one has to inject a bit of documented history into this rather closed end equation. Did not Lyndon Johnson run for the presidency in 1960? And was he not Kennedy’s closest and most feared rival that year? The answer to both of those questions is yes. In fact, Kennedy was so worried about Johnson running against him that he sent his brother to Texas to ask LBJ about his intentions. This was in 1959. (Jeff Shesol, Mutual Contempt, p. 10)

But here is the capper: Rayburn encouraged Johnson to hurry up and formally get in the race! (Shesol, p. 28). So in light of those public facts, what are we to make of Fetter’s 1956 stealth plan by Rayburn and Johnson?

What happened in 1960 was that Bobby Kennedy, representing a new style politician, outmaneuvered Johnson—an old style one. In examining that race, Jeff Shesol believes that Johnson thought Humphrey would stop Kennedy’s ascent in West Virginia, and LBJ would then enter the race at that time, once JFK’s momentum was broken. In fact, Johnson encouraged Humphrey to run in that state. (Shesol, p. 33). But backed by his father’s money, Bobby Kennedy ran a masterful campaign, closing with a statewide TV infomercial on the eve of the election. Therefore it was Humphrey who was broken. Seeing his strategy upset, LBJ started a Stop Kennedy crusade, using all kinds of attacks--his Catholicism, his youth, the “rich kid” smear. He even exposed Kennedy’s Addison’s disease. (Shesol, p. 35). Finally, about ten days before nomination night, he formally declared his candidacy, what Rayburn wanted him to do months previous. In fact, what is surprising is how well Johnson did in spite of his hesitancy and miscalculations. He finished second, far ahead of Humphrey, Stu Symington and Adlai Stevenson. Kennedy did not clinch his first ballot victory until the last state of Wyoming was called. (NY Times, 7/14/1960, story by W. H Lawrence) And Bobby Kennedy was worried about going to a second ballot.

The next step in Fetter’s Rayburn/Johnson stratagem is right out of Seymour Hersh. The Dark Side of Camelot is a book that I would think no serious JFK researcher would ever use. It has been exposed so many times in so many different areas, and Hersh has fallen into such disrepute, that the man is something of a joke today. (Click here as to why.) His book has been so strongly criticized on so many levels by not just me, but the MSM, that today it is almost a parody. (Click here.)

But yet, Fetter uses one of the worst parts of Hersh’s hatchet job in order to advance his Rayburn/Johnson precept. In The Dark Side of Camelot, Hersh said that the way Kennedy nominated Lyndon Johnson as Vice President was through a confrontation with LBJ and Rayburn. (Hersh, pp. 123-25). But yet, there is no witness to this in Hersh’s version. Hersh used a man named Hyman Raskin, and combined him with Kennedy’s secretary Evelyn Lincoln to arrive at an unwarranted conclusion. Raskin worked in the Kennedy campaign in 1960, primarily as an organizer for the western states. In the mid-nineties he told Hersh that he firmly expected that Senator Stu Symington was going to be the nominee for Vice President at the LA convention. And that both he and Bobby Kennedy were startled when it turned out to be Johnson. Hersh then pasted this together with an interview that Tony Summers did with Evelyn Lincoln for his book on J. Edgar Hoover, Official and Confidential, published in 1993. What Lincoln says is that Johnson had been using information that had been supplied to him by Hoover during the campaign. Its actually Hersh who then surmises a conclusion:

…the world may never know what threats Lyndon Johnson made to gain the vice presidency. Kennedy knew how much Hoover knew, and he knew that the information was more than enough to give Johnson whatever he needed as leverage. Kennedy’s womanizing came at a great cost.(Hersh, p. 129)

This is an example of paralipsis: the implication of something happening when much of significance is being omitted.

To say what Fetter does with this is ‘over the top’ is much too mild.   Fetter uses a newspaper story by columnist John Knight about how LBJ was nominated, a story that was denounced as false by everyone involved. (Shesol, p. 57) He then adds one of his “Author’s exclusive original discoveries” to make it sound as if Johnson and Rayburn had mutual confrontations with, respectively, Bobby Kennedy and John Kennedy. He then tops this with Rayburn and Johnson facing off with JFK in private and presenting him with photographic evidence of his philandering provided by Hoover. As the reader can see, Fetter has taken Hersh’s paralipsis and launched it into Saturn 5 orbit; apparently in order to fit his theory.

What really happened was this: Ted Sorenson put together a VP list for Kennedy. That list was assembled about two weeks before the LA convention, on June 29th. After being winnowed down, it had six men. This included Senator Hubert Humphrey, Governor Orville Freeman, Senator Symington, and Senator Henry Jackson. At the top of Sorenson’s list was Lyndon Johnson. Kennedy was aware of this list prior to LA. (Shesol, p. 42, Sorenson, Kennedy, p. 184). Kennedy liked Humphrey and Symington, since they were both liberals and had run clean races against him. But Clark Clifford, Symington’s manager, told JFK that Symington was going to gamble on a deadlocked convention. The problem with Humphrey was that he was still backing Adlai Stevenson, and if that failed, he would go to his home state’s governor, Freeman.(Arthur Schlesinger, A Thousand Days, p. 40)

There were many politicos in LA who felt that Kennedy needed to balance the ticket geographically. Because quite early, in 1956 and ‘57, he had made two speeches, one in NYC and one in Jackson, Mississippi, both saying that his party had to back civil rights. Since then, he had been hemorrhaging support in the south. (NY Times, 2/8/56; Harry Golden, Mr. Kennedy and the Negroes, p. 95) Two who understood this problem were Mayor Richard Daley of Chicago and the powerful Washington lobbyist Tommy Corcoran. While in an elevator with JFK, Corcoran told Kennedy he had to pick Johnson in order to win. (Shesol, p. 44). Tip O’Neill said the same to Kennedy on the same day, July 12th. He further added that LBJ would accept if asked. Kennedy replied “If I can ever get him on the ticket, no way can we lose.” (Shesol, p. 45).

But two who were also very influential were newspaper men Phil Graham of the Washington Post and columnist Joseph Alsop. And they made their case for Johnson directly to JFK in his suite. (Sorenson, p. 186; Schlesinger, p. 42) After they did so, Kennedy accepted the idea rather easily, commenting on Johnson’s strength in the south. From there, Kennedy made a phone call to Johnson at 8:45 am on Thursday July 14th. Rayburn did not want Johnson to take the offer and told him so. (Schlesinger, p. 46) But rather reluctantly, and after talking to many people, Johnson accepted. (ibid, p. 49).

To try to counter all of this with the 30 year old memory of a man who was not even in on the negotiations, and a secretary who was reduced to tears after being fired by Johnson within 24 hours after he became president, to me that is simply balderdash. Which is what Hersh’s book was. But alas, Fetter also accepts a Hershian view of the Kennedys and Marilyn Monroe. He says that Bobby Kennedy was secretly meeting with Marilyn Monroe, and was at her home on the day and evening of what he terms ”her murder”. (Fetter, p. 213) Bobby Kennedy was nowhere near Monroe’s home in Brentwood on that day. He was 350 miles north in Gilroy and this is provable beyond any doubt through pictures and eyewitness testimony. (Susan Bernard, Marilyn: Intimate Exposures, pp. 184-88) Secondly, Monroe was not murdered. Forensic pathologist Dr. Boyd Stephens stated categorically for the record that she died due to an ingested drug overdose, either taken purposefully or by accident. (Donald McGovern, Murder Orthodoxies, p. 494)



But in the face of all these problems, Fetter plunges on. The next step in his plot takes place on Air Force One as the shocked presidential entourage is readying to leave Dallas after the assassination. What the author does with this scene is, to my knowledge, unprecedented in the literature. There is no official record of the calls Johnson made to Washington to talk to Bobby Kennedy about taking the oath in Dallas. The recording device only worked while the plane was in flight. (William Manchester, The Death of a President, p. 268) I have read some of the accounts of the calls back and forth in several books: William Manchester’s The Death of a President, Jim Bishop’s The Day Kennedy was Shot, Jeff Shesol’s Mutual Contempt, and Johnson’s own account in his memoir The Vantage Point, among others.

The issue of whether or not Johnson should take the oath of office immediately came up at the Parkland press conference after Kennedy was pronounced dead. It was addressed to Malcolm Kilduff, the acting PR man for the White House. (Manchester p. 221) Others brought it up. So Johnson called the Attorney General about who should administer the oath. RFK deferred the question to Deputy AG Nicholas Katzenbach and he called the Office of Legal Counsel. The message was relayed back to LBJ that any federal judge could do it and Katzenbach suggested a Johnson appointee, who ended up being Sarah Hughes. (Shesol, pp.114-115)

As with his Hershian moment at the 1960 Democratic convention, Fetter says all the above is really a cover story. The real point was that the focus of their conversation was a “problem of special urgency” which would result in “security measures”. He then adds on to this alleged RFK/LBJ conversation, specifically with LBJ mentioning things like security measures being needed to keep everything together. He further adds that Johnson said Castro could be mixed up in all this; that we have to contain an uncertain situation; we have early word of a possible Cuban involvement; and we need to prevent unhealthy speculation and wild rumors. (Fetter, pp. 212-13). The closest that Fetter comes to a footnote in all this is when he quotes p. 269 of Manchester’s book. That reference leads us to Johnson’s statement to the Warren commission in July of 1964. (WC Vol. 5, pp. 561-64). The only even remote reference that Johnson makes to any of these remarks that Fetter attributes to him is when he says that they discussed “problems of special urgency because we did not at that time have any information as to the motivation of the assassination or its possible implications.” Johnson then says that RFK then looked into the matter of the oath of office being administered to him and would call back. Which he did.

I have no idea where Fetter got the rest of this material. Or who he imputes it to, Kennedy or Johnson. And I have no idea as to how it relates so portentously to what actually happened due to the calls. Johnson had been told that he should go back to Washington by, among others, McGeorge Bundy. (Manchester, p. 271). The question of the oath was something that no one knew anything about. And it was also Bundy’s idea to get advice from the Justice Department on that. Which made perfect sense. (ibid)

But Fetter is not done with Air Force One and Love Field on November 22, 1963. He also writes that LBJ told Secret Service agent Jerry Kivett ”not to file a flight plan—that is, not to give the Air Force One crew a destination, and not to tell them where the presidential plane was actually headed.” (Fetter, p.184) I listened to this interview, which one can find at the Sixth Floor Museum web site. What Kivett says is he was told by LBJ to tell the flight crew not to file a flight plan, but to do so just ahead of the take off. Right before this, Kivett says that he was actually worried about Johnson being shot at the hospital. That is how high the fear and tension was at that time. He was also told by his superior Rufus Youngblood not to let anyone on Air Force One unless he knew them. With his blinkers on, Fetter cannot put these two pieces of information together to understand why Johnson told Kivett what he did: until they got back to Washington, there was a continuous threat.

But my other question about this was: The crew really had to be informed of that? I mean with politicians, Kennedy’s staff, and Mrs. Kennedy on board? Where else were they headed?

Fetter’s answer to that question is this: Mexico. (Fetter, p. 185) Fetter again has “exclusive original discoveries” on hand that no one ever realized. Or imagined. (Perhaps for good reason?) According to him, Johnson somehow knew that his plot to kill Kennedy was failing and was “in danger of total implosion.” Oh really? With the Dallas Police apprehending Oswald, and finding the rifle with three shells on the 6th floor? With supervisor Roy Truly supplying Oswald’s name to Will Fritz? And with the Texas School Book Depository now being sealed off as the setting for the crime? With cops like Ken Croy, W. R. Westbrook and Jerry Hill at work? I mean who could ask for much more?

Fetter defers from this. He wants us to think that Johnson so feared the skill, precision and dedication of the Dallas Police that the Vice-President was going to hijack the plane and fly to Mexico to escape justice. Yep, its right there in black and white on page 185. And he was going to stay there, perhaps for the rest of his life. Fetter does not say anything about how the rest of the people on board would have reacted to that, especially Jackie. (‘Are we going to bury Jack in Yucatan?”) Or anything about the willingness of the crew to go along with it. Or about any countervailing messages that would come in from Washington. Nope he doesn’t have to since, this is another of his “Author’s exclusive original discoveries”.



To go through this entire book, as I have in the instances above, and point out all of its leaps of evidence and logic in regard to historical fact and evidentiary analysis would take an essay bordering on a pamphlet in length. So let me deal with some other points more briefly:

  1. The author calls the Warren Commission the Johnson Commission, and he actually tries to insinuate that somehow LBJ created and controlled that body. (See p. 502, 801) Anyone who has read Donald Gibson’s excellent essay on the subject knows that Johnson did not even want any blue ribbon Commission. Two men were instrumental in forcing it on the White House: Eugene Rostow and Joe Alsop. Johnson resisted these initial overtures but eventually gave in. (The Assassinations, edited by James DiEugenio and Lisa Pease, pp. 3-16) Once established, it was controlled by Allen Dulles, John McCloy, Jerry Ford and J. Edgar Hoover. (See Walt Brown’s The Warren Omission.)
  2. In addition to John Kennedy, our trusted historian and investigative journalist says that Johnson also killed Bobby Kennedy. (Fetter, p. 855). No serious author of that case even insinuates such a thing. No one who studies it, as I have, can find any evidence for such a conclusion. See, for example, Lisa Pease’s fine work, A Lie Too Big to Fail.
  3. In his obsession to make Johnson into a mass murderer the equal of Hitler and Stalin, Fetter says that LBJ killed 9 million people. (Fetter, p. 750) He then lists several countries but without any references to death lists for them. For example, the deaths in Vietnam after Kennedy’s death should not be all attributed to LBJ. Because Nixon thwarted Johnson’s peace proposals, and then continued that war throughout his first administration: dropping more bomb tonnage on Indochina than Johnson.
  4. Fetter says that Johnson confessed to the murder of JFK through notes left behind after a meeting with Clark Clifford and Dean Rusk. He sources this to a book by Lloyd Gardner called Pay Any Price. He says that during a meeting in March 1968, Johnson jotted down the word “murderer”, Fetter says this was a confession. That section of the book deals with Johnson’s ideas about Vietnam after the Tet offensive. Clifford was advising him to get a truce and start negotiating a peace. Johnson left a note behind after on which there were three lines: “Murderer-Hitler”, “Stop the War” “Escalate the Peace”. Its very clear from this and Gardner’s context that LBJ was persuaded by Clifford’s argument, and that is the reason he made those notes. How do we know? Because, after this meeting , Johnson then made his famous abdication speech, saying he was not going to run and he would push for peace. How could anyone leave all that out? (Gardner, pp. 455-57)
  5. Fetter also says that LBJ confessed in his memoir called The Vantage Point. I first wondered how the tens of thousands of readers, perhaps hundreds of thousands, could have missed it. I then looked up the pages he referred to (pgs. 12, 18, 27) Its pretty obvious from reading the first two passages that Johnson was referring to reassuring the public that there was not going to be any paralysis in the transfer of government from Kennedy to him. This is one reason why he was advised to get back to Washington, the other being to escape any kind of wide ranging murder plot. The final reference, p. 27, which Fetter does not distinguish, referred to convincing Earl Warren to head the Warren Commission. Yet, Fetter does not note this in his text or describe how Johnson convinced him to do so!
  6. Fetter writes that Robert Kennedy actually knew that Lyndon Johnson had murdered his brother, and this is why he went into a period of depression afterwards.(Fetter, p. 793) The best volume on RFK’s investigation of John Kennedy’s death is clearly David Talbot’s book Brothers, which features scholarship Fetter cannot touch. In the interviews Talbot did for the book, the three suspects RFK had were the CIA, organized crime and the Cuban exiles. Johnson was not mentioned.



Let me close with Fetter’s section on Robert Kennedy, Mongoose and the CIA/Mafia plots to kill Castro. Fetter makes it sound as if Bobby Kennedy was ignoring his Attorney General job to oversee Mongoose, the secret war against Castro in 1962. (Fetter, p. 783) According to Arthur Schlesinger’s definitive biography, this is not the case. RFK would devote one afternoon per week to serve as ombudsman over proposed operations. In other words he wanted them in written, detailed plan before he would approve them. (Arthur Schlesinger, Robert Kennedy and His Times, p. 497). How on earth could it be otherwise? AG Kennedy was supervising a massive war against organized crime and the most forward looking civil rights program in history at the DOJ.

Beyond that Fetter implies that somehow Bobby Kennedy was aware of at least the last phase of the CIA plots to kill Fidel Castro. The Inspector General report makes it clear that the CIA deliberately ran these operations on their own and never had any kind of presidential approval for them. (See IG Report pgs. 132-33). But Fetter wants the reader to think something different, and we will soon see why.

Fetter begins his paradigm on November 23rd with the CIA requesting information about Valery Kostikov from Mexico City. (Fetter, p. 785) He skips over how Kostikov’s name came up in the first place. As John Newman points out in Oswald and the CIA, James Angleton released his name on the day of the assassination as having allegedly met with Oswald in Mexico City seven weeks prior. This was incredibly interesting since Oswald was a former defector to the USSR and Kostikov was reportedly involved with Department 13 of the KGB--and one of their assignments was liquidation. Therefore, was the communist Oswald acting as an agent of Kostikov when he supposedly shot Kennedy?

But Fetter downplays this “virus effect” by Angleton, which Newman has talked about at various public appearances. Fetter wants to go to two days later when the Mexico City station brought up the name of Rolando Cubela. (Fetter, p. 786) Now we see why Fetter moves RFK to almost sitting supervisor of Mongoose, and wants to implicate him with the CIA plots to kill Castro. His idea is that this info somehow “froze” RFK in place about his brother’s death. (Fetter, p. 788). He then goes further and says that this effect was the actual reason for Oswald’s journey to Mexico City. Again, I have never seen this view anywhere.

The problems with it are obvious. As stated above, it was made clear in the IG Report that no president ever knew about the plots. Secondly, there was an effort by the CIA to lie to Bobby Kennedy about them. (IG Report pp. 62-64) Finally, the report spends over 30 pages on the Cubela phase of the plots to kill Castro. Its obvious that again, this was hidden from the White House. For example, Cubela wanted assurances from Bobby Kennedy about the plots. He never got them and Richard Helms forbade any acknowledgement of the CIA meetings with Cubela to RFK. (ibid, p. 89). So how would RFK be frozen by the name of Cubela if that name was being kept from him? What is the evidence that he saw that CIA cable anyway? As Newman has stated, the name of Kostikov and the visits to the Soviet and Cuban embassies threatened an atomic war, which is what Johnson used to intimidate Earl Warren into heading the Warren Commission. The question then becomes did Johnson really believe these visits, which Hoover had doubts about. Again, this issue is ignored by the author.

Despite all the lacunae I have shown in this book--and they are large and many--that does not give the author pause. In fact, one of the most disturbing aspects of Fetter’s narrative voice is its conceit. He writes for example that, “I have proven for the first time anywhere the true origins, the true chronology, and the true reasons for the JFK assassination plot.” (p. 881)

No he has not. Not even close. In fact, for this reader, the book is both so agenda driven, so solipsistic and at the same time so diaphanous in every aspect, that it shows, after almost 61 years, what little case there is against Lyndon Johnson in the conspiracy to kill Kennedy. And let us leave Rayburn out of this from now on.

Last modified on Friday, 26 April 2024 14:50
James DiEugenio

One of the most respected researchers and writers on the political assassinations of the 1960s, Jim DiEugenio is the author of two books, Destiny Betrayed (1992/2012) and The JFK Assassination: The Evidence Today (2018), co-author of The Assassinations, and co-edited Probe Magazine (1993-2000).   See "About Us" for a fuller bio.

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