OMG! Anybody see the History Channel special about the JFK assassination tonight?

The special on the History Channel tonight (Nov. 22) accused Lyndon Johnson of arranging Kennedy’s assassination. Apparently, LBJ was involved in a lot of corrupt business transactions. The show said that Kennedy was going to drop Johnson as VP in the next election, and then order a criminal investigation into Johnson’s dealings. Supposedly, J. Edgar Hoover also hated Kennedy, and the CIA was pissed because Kennedy decided to pull the troops out of Vietnam.

They accused LBJ of having arranged other murders during his carreer, most of them people who were involved in his shady business deals.

The evidence they presented looked pretty good. They had many people who had talked to Johnson’s buddies, and Johnson’s mistress said that just before the assassination, Jonhson was muttering that Kennedy “would never embarass him again.”

They also went into Lee Harvey Oswald’s background, including his work as a US intelligence agent (which I’ve already heard about.) They didn’t spend too much time on the Lone Gunman vs. Multiple Gunmen debate, but they did show the Zapruder film, and dammit it looks like he was shot from the front!

Anybody else see these shows? What were your impressions?

Diceman, read the Warren Commission Report. It’s available on-line.

Read Gerald Posner’s excellent book, Case Closed: Lee Harvey Oswald and the Assassination of JFK.

When a series says “Oswald’s word as a US INtelligence agent” I have to stifle a guffaw. Oswald was too self-centered and too wacko to be of reliable use to any intelligence agency. He was a freak as a child, a freak as a teen, a freak in the Marines, A freak in Russia, and a freak when he came home to the US. Intelligence agencies don’t make use of sullen incompetant losers. The KGB realised that he knew diddly squat and wasn’t even worth propaganda value.

As for the Zapruder film, learn a little bit about the jet effect.

I always find it ironic that LBJ belevied in some kind of conspiracy, yet has become the subject of many buff’s wrath as the primary suspect.

Oswald did it, Oswald did it alone. No tangible evidence for other gunman has cropped up in over 40 years.

I’m looking for the opinions of people who saw the shows, folks. If you can’t comment on the material presented on the History Channel programs, then go play somewhere else.

I hope that your entire knowledge of the JFK assassination does not come from that television show.

I see, so if a show gives a bunch of misinformation that can be refuted by real evidence, we can only express that by watching the hunk of crap first?
If it stinks like old left over baolney in a new slick package… it likely is. Sorry looks like you’ll have to play with yourself Diceman

Exactly. Because if you don’t know what they said, then you can’t formulate an intelligent response. And I do hope that you’re not going to make sweeping generalizations about several hours of programming based on a very short summary posted on a message board. That wouldn’t be very intelligent, would it?

I repeat: I am looking for people who can discuss the accusations made on the History Channel programs.

Sure we can. Unless you’ve totally misrepresented the show, it said that Johnson, Hoover, and the CIA conspired to kill Kennedy. They didn’t, so the show is wrong.

In every commercial break the History Channel inserted the disclaimer that “there are many theories about the assasination of President Kennedy. This is one of them.” That’s not an exact quote, because I didn’t record it, but it’s the gist of it. The History Channel wants to entertain us with theories without being held responsible for any of them.

Earlier they showed another “documentary” about a woman named Judith Baker, who claimed to be the mistress of Lee Harvey Oswald. This pitiful woman spun a tale about Oswald being a hero who actually tried to save Kennedy from the assassins, after having tried to deliver a home laboratory-manufactured cancer virus to someone in Mexico who would take it to Cuba and inject Castro with it. This is pure fantasy, but “there are many theories” and “this is one of them.” You pays your money and you takes your choice. They’re all about equally good. And equally ridiculous.

As for the Johnson as conspiracy mastermind theory, a mountain of inuendo, supposition and vitriol could probably be assembled about almost anybody the theorist didn’t like. Suspicions aren’t proof.

Personally, I am not satisfied with any of the theories, including the “Oswald as lone assassin” theory. Peter Jennings on ABC the other night spent an hour telling us that Oswald wasn’t generally competent, that he was rejected by the KGB because they thought he was useless, but that we should believe that he planned and carried out the assassination alone and without help from anyone. To me it doesn’t add up. I don’t think Jennings has put this thing to bed once and for all. Sorry, Pete!

Of course, YMMV.

Planning and carrying out the assassination involved this:

  1. Read local newspapers which tell that the presidential motorcade will be passing your building three days from now, or hear same from your co-workers.
  2. Bring your disassembled hunting rifle with scope to work in a paper bag.
  3. During your lunch hour, shoot at motorcade from an upper window as it slowly drives by.

Wow, that was hard.

It wasn’t the most well thought out assassination, either. Three bystanders saw Oswald at the window, and one of them who saw Oswald get off the last shot provided a description of him to police. Oswald was captured within an hour and a half of the assassination. He was the only worker missing from the building.

The History Channel didn’t invent the theory that LBJ had Kennedy killed, and I doubt they uncovered new evidence to that effect. Therefore, even if I’m wrong on the second point, I think people who haven’t seen the special are able to comment on its (lack of) merit. Unless you just want people to agree with you that Johnson did it.

For example, I haven’t seen the special you’re talking about, but you say that “the CIA was pissed because Kennedy decided to pull the troops out of Vietnam.” That’s not true because JFK wasn’t going to get America out of Vietnam, and he didn’t have a huge feud with the CIA going. And that’s false regardless of whether or not I saw the program. Ditto the theory that Kennedy was shot from the front.

Salon says the case has been solved, to wit:

Different theory here – the claim is that a New Orlean mob boss had Kennedy killed. Apparently, some really strong evidence here.

And really, anybody who believes the Warren Commission is a sap.

This is such a huge industry there’s even a “Best Of” list.

Best of Kennedy assassination web sites (they are excellent sites overall and well presented)

Wow, really strong evidence. I had no idea.

Was there eye witnesses? Because several people watched Oswald shooting a rifle at Kennedy, so the evidence that it was someone else would have to be really amazing.

There is a good GD thread on this topic,

DesertGeezer: You’re the type of person who I was hoping to attract. Thank you. However, this thread has attracted too many people who just want to set up straw men and then knock them down.

FTR, I agree with you that none of the theories are very satisfying. Not any of the conspiracy theories, and not the Lone Nut theory. They all pick out the evidence and witnesses that support their theory, and ignore what doesn’t. The whole Kennedy assassination phenomenon strikes me as being a giant excercise in seeing what you want to see.

I saw the Judith Baker documentary, and I agree that her story was rather far-fetched. The stuff about Lyndon Johnson, however, was pretty scary. And that’s what I’d like to discuss, not the Oswald stuff that’s going to get re-hashed for the next 974 years. What did you think of the “Ballot Box 13 scandal,” and the people who said that Johnson was a sinister, corrupt person (kind of a Democratic version of Nixon)? Was Kennedy planning on dumping Johnson in the 1964 elections? That’s the core of the Johnson-was-the-mastermind theory: that Kennedy was going to oust Johnson and then expose his shady dealings.

I have it figured out. Kennedy planted evidence to incriminate everyone from the Chinese guy in the 1980’s “Calgon” commercials to the Burmese Mafia. But he, get this, KILLED HIMSELF! He got up in the book depository window, shot the gun and JUMPED BACK IN THE CAR! He got there just in time for the bullet to hit him in the head. It’s perfect.

I don’t understand why a “screw-up” couldn’t still be an assassin. John Hinckley wasn’t exactly the brightest, or most competent, bulb, yet he nearly accomplished the same thing as Oswald – the major difference being that Reagan survived, Kennedy didn’t.

But then again, there are those who don’t believe Hinckley did it, either, so maybe you have a point…

"The ratio of people who knock this volume to people who have read this volume is about 1,000 to one. "

John McAdams.

Just to play devil’s advocate here, but:

Is it possible that more than one group independently targeted Kennedy at a convenient place and time and simultaneously attempted to whack him without the knowledge of the others?

In the history of wierd but true, not the strangest thing given the enemies he faced. The Mob wanted him, the FBI (Hoover) couldn’t stand him and wanted to bring him down, he was unpopular with communists and even with members of his own party – not to mention the fact the groups of bigots that hated him for everything from being Catholic to pushing for civil rights. Sure a lot of folks hate Bush just like a lot of folks hate (or hated) Clinton, but Kennedy was a polarizing presence that in the super-charged atmosphere of the 60’s could have well produced more than one attempt on his life.

Just a theory.