Nothing like it since JFK Assassination
by Marianne Means, Hearst Newspapers, undated
From: Ed T
Sent: Saturday, September 15, 2001 7:01 PM
To: Jim Marrs
Subject: Nothing like it since JFK Assassination
by Marianne Means, Hearst Newspapers, undated
Washington -- In modern peacetime, only the 1963 assassination of President John F Kennedy matches the enormity of the sheer horror and international angst produced by the attacks against the New York World Trade Center towers and the Pentagon.
Lee Harvey Oswald's murder of the president was a direct assault on a flesh-and-blood symbol of American power. Tuesday's murderous assault on buildings that represent our global, financial, and military supremacy carried the same impact. In both cases, the country immediately went on an emergency alert as concerns for national security and fears of a worldwide conspiracy were raised.
The Kennedy assassination turned out to be an isolated evil perpetrated by a loony loner, but this did not dispel the emotional intensity provoked by such an unexpected cruel event. It is too early to know the extent of the plot behind the worst terrorist attack ever on American soil, but the unprecedented number of deaths guarantees that the deep mourning will be as traumatic.
Not even the shock of the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, in which 168 died, compares to the sense of national crisis that staggered this country after JFK's death and has sent us reeling now.
On Tuesday, all air traffic was forbidden, government buildings evacuated, business halted and the president flown to a safe military base far from Washington.
President Bush's continuing duty is to maintain communication with the rest of the world, reassure all of us with calm, steady leadership, and quickly demonstrate that the guilty will be punished.
This is the heaviest burden that can befall a president and as important as it is rare. It was Lyndon B. Johnson's task, too, in the immediate aftermath of Kennedy's death.
In such emotional chaos the stability of government, and its primary leader, is put to its greatest test. Shaped by law, tradition and generations of practice, the machinery of government must function normally to preserve the survival of our democratic system.
Alone in a Parkland Hospital room in Dallas he was told Kennedy had been declared dead in a surgery room a few steps away. Johnson had no way of knowing why or by whom Kennedy had been shot. It was his responsibility to suspect the worst and guard the country against every possibility, as it is now Bush's.
A communist plot, a domestic military coup or some other unimaginable orchestrated calamity could not be ruled out in 1963, at the height of the Cold War. In fact, Johnson told me some time afterward that he had indeed originally suspected the Soviets might seek to take advantage of the American confusion to make some big military move.
Taking charge, Johnson ordered the Joint Chiefs of Staff to warn all U.S. combat commands around the world to hold themselves in readiness for action. The U.S. commander in Bonn, Germany, alerted his troops to a possible invasion from the east.
Accompanying JFK's body and Mrs. Kennedy and a few staffers, Johnson hastily fled the hospital, where the White House party was physically vulnerable, and headed for the security of Air Force One.
Bush, too, was immediately surrounded by extra protection, initially avoiding the inevitable dangerous exposure of returning to the White House.
Johnson remained on guard once in the relative safety of the airplane. He ordered the window shades on the plane pulled down. He called for a local judge to rush to the plane to swear him in and invest him with the full powers of the presidency, assuring the orderly transition before Air Force One flew home. Pennsylvania police were sent to guard the Gettysburg farm of former President Dwight D. Eisenhower in case he should be a target too.
Johnson was on the telephone constantly during the flight home, contacting the FBI, the CIA, Cabinet members, all the officials who now had urgent tasks to perform.
Oswald was quickly captured but it took time to establish that he had acted alone, a fact which would be disputed by conspiracy buffs for decades afterward. Two days after JFK's death, Soviet Ambassador Anatoly Dobrynin appeared in White House aide Horace Busby's office and plopped a fat file on his desk. "Oswald's not one of ours," he said tersely, to reassure the president there had been no Soviet plot. The file was the confidential record of KGB surveillance of Oswald during a visit to the Soviet Union, which concluded he was unstable, untrustworthy, and not good spy material.
In retirement later, Johnson told me he thought that Cuban President Fidel Castro was somehow behind Oswald's deed, but that has never been proven. Some tragedies are so numerous the country weeps as one, rallying behind a sorrowful president and temporarily putting aside partisan differences that suddenly seem irrelevant. For a time, at least, Bush will have our support, as did Johnson, until the normal spirit of contrariness returns.
From: Ed T
Sent: Saturday, September 15, 2001 3:56 PM
To: Marianne Means
Subject: "Nothing Like It Since JFK Assassination" article
Dear Marianne Means:
I have felt pretty demoralized by the events of this week, but your article of historical inaccuracies sent my depression into overdrive. I'm sure my response will accomplish nothing in your mind, but having researched the Kennedy assassination since it occurred, (when I was an idealistic boy of 16), I feel compelled to respond.
I can't stop you from denigrating my 38 year effort to determine who really killed JFK by your calling me an obsessed buff, but it does give me satisfaction to know that you're wrong in blaming Lee Harvey Oswald for JFK's demise.
Your article makes reference to LBJ's commandeering of Air Force One after the assassination and his subsequent conversations aboard the plane back to Washington. Are you aware that those conversations were taped, but that only a one and a half hours of edited tape of those conversations exist today? We're talking about the destruction of some five hours of taped conversations, Marianne.
Do you know who possessed those pristine tapes? I didn't think so. Well, I do...and it wasn't Oswald. Did you know that Arlen Specter tried to persuade Ken O'Donnell to say that O'Donnell told LBJ to take Air Force One back to DC when it was LBJ who made that decision? Specter wanted O'Donnell to commit perjury to hide the fact that Johnson had, in fact, lied to everyone.
Do you know why all this deception was taking place? I didn't think so. Well, I do, and it had nothing to do with Oswald.
Are you aware that Governor John Connally's clothes were laundered prior to reaching the FBI's lab preventing Hoover from determining if the metal on Connally's clothes would match the metal on Kennedy's clothes, a crucial factor in verifying or destroying the single bullet theory? Do you know the people involved in the chain of transfer of those clothes? (The documents were hidden for 35 years). I didn't think so. Well, I do, and it wasn't Oswald.
Are you aware that the JFK limo windshield possessed an entrance hole through it, not a crack? Do you know the witnesses who saw it? Do you know the name of the professional glass man who was instructed to remove it? Do you know who told him to do so? I didn't think so. Well, it wasn't Oswald or Castro or the Russians ...and yes, I know who did it.
Do you know who suckered JFK to Texas? Do you know who tricked him into going to Dallas? Do you know who set up that motorcade route? Do you know who owned the buildings in Dealey Plaza? It wasn't Oswald.
You seem to be bragging that you talked to Johnson. Do you know about his impending future had JFK not died? Are you familiar with his lifelong corruption? Does the name, Bobby Baker, mean anything to you? Are you remotely aware of the murders related to his affairs? Do you recall Don Reynolds? Do you know what Reynolds said after November 22, 1963? He didn't accuse Oswald. Are you familiar with Billie Sol Estes at all? I've been to the man's house. Do you recall Fred Korth and the TFX scandal?
These are the reasons JFK died....and they have nothing to do with Oswald.
Did you think Johnson would tell you that his best friends killed JFK? He told his mistress BEFORE it happened that it was coming. I edited her autobiography. Have you ever talked to her? I didn't think so.
Have you ever talked to the autopsy technicians who prepared JFK's body at Bethesda? Do you know that every damn one of them has said those published photos are fake? My best friend met them all and videotaped them all. I have met two of them. They aren't lying. Who controlled the medical evidence which has been tampered with? It wasn't Oswald.
I could provide you with much more, but educating you, considering your article, is probably pointless.
Please don't respond with Orwellian doublespeak and arrogant journalistic rhetoric. I'm no dummy. I have been a consultant to Oliver Stone and Nigel Turner, I have two masters' degrees, and I was invited to testify before President Clinton's Assassination Records Review Board in 1995, one of only 6 New Englanders to do so.
Lyndon Johnson , through the years, questioned whether the Russians did it, whether Castro did it, whether the CIA did it, whether the Mob did it, whether the Vietnamese did it... all in the name of diversion...and you fell for it. Only to the mother of his illegitimate child did he tell the truth....and even then, he neglected to include himself in the mix.
And on a more personal level, Oswald was never convicted so your article condemns him when he never had his day in court, a fundamental right for all Americans. Secondly, I am friendly with his widow and articles like yours sting her children unmercifully and unfairly. Ironically, his mother was treated very poorly, but she knew who perpetrated the crime. Do you know the names of those she accused? I didn't think so.
One last point: When JFK died, it was LBJ and his cronies who benefited. Thousands of American kids and millions of Asians were sacrificed for nothing but greed. Keep this in mind when you write about this week's tragedy. Even if Bin Laden is responsible, find out who educated his people and who really financed them before jumping foolishly ahead as before. Who will really gain from all that is apparently about to take place? It is a fair and sobering and frightening question....and many of us may die prematurely because of them and their thirst for money and power.
Edgar F. Tatro
Reprinted for Fair Use Only.