It Was LBJ

A transcript of the Lew Rockwell Show episode 394 with Roger Stone.

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ROCKWELL:  Well, good morning.  This is the Lew Rockwell Show.  And what an honor, what a thrill to have on the show this morning as our guest, Mr. Roger Stone.  Roger is, of course, a legendary political consultant/strategist for many important Republican politicians, Nixon, especially Reagan, Bob Dole, many others.  Although, I’m glad to say he’s recently joined the Libertarian Party, rather than the Republican Party.  And he has a wonderful blog, a wonderful Twitter feed, a wonderful website.  We going to, of course, link to all that.

But, you know, Roger, I remember the late Gerhart Niemeyer, who was a professor of political science at Notre Dame, being asked — this was back in Cold War days — why did the Russians bother to have all these lying slogans and lying publications and lying speeches and so forth, how could it have any effect.  And he said, well, constant lies have a very demoralizing and a depressive effect on people when they’re not answered.  So we’ve, of course, had many official lies about the Kennedy assassination, not to mention, of course, a tremendous number of other subjects.  But in your new book, The Man Who Killed Kennedy: The Case Against LBJ, you’re speaking the truth, you’re telling the truth, you’ve learned the truth, and you’re communicating it to people.  And it really lifts the heart to know the truth of this horrendous event that, of course, still has many bad effects.  But led you to write this book? The Man Who Killed Ken... Roger Stone Best Price: $7.47 Buy New $44.60 (as of 04:40 EDT - Details)

STONE:  Well, Lew, in 1964, when I was a lonely Goldwater volunteer, actually, a pre-teen, I read a book called A Texan Looks at Lyndon

ROCKWELL:  Yeah.

STONE:  — by J. Evetts Haley, which is one of the very earliest books that talked about his criminal and corrupt activities in Texas.  I believe that LBJ is responsible for at least eight politically motivated murders; murder to cover up corruption, murder to cover up electoral fraud and vote stealing in the 1948 Senate election.  So murder was in his repertoire.  You know, our tax dollars every year go to the LBJ Library to burnish the image of a man who was, in fact, an amoral psychopath.  Lyndon Johnson was vicious, vindictive, abusive, mean-spirited, dishonest, corrupt, and he fathered at least three illegitimate children that I name in my book.  I mean, he was, by the admission of his own press secretary, George Reedy, a monster.  Bobby Kennedy called him an animal.  Richard Nixon called him an animal.  Bill Moyers, one of his flunkies, said he was a very, very sick man.  And he wasn’t speaking of his health, other than perhaps his mental health.

So, you know, you start there, and now you add to that fact that he blackmailed his way onto the 1960 ticket using information from J. Edgar Hoover’s famous secret files on Jack Kennedy’s sexcapades.  So Johnson blackmailed his way onto the ticket.  And then, you know, he was a man facing not only disgrace and political ruin but probably prison for his corruption activities in two huge scandals, the Bobby Baker scandal and the Billy Sol Estes scandal, in November of ’63.  So he was a man staring into the abyss.  I have really tried to build on the work of others who went before me, across the board, on the entire question of the assassination, and these are the conclusions I reached.

ROCKWELL:  And you point out in your book that’s it’s not only, of course, you who reached this conclusion, but there was a French intelligence investigation and a Soviet intelligence investigation, both of which arrived at the same conclusion that you’ve arrived at.

STONE:  Yeah.  The list of people who say it was Lyndon Johnson responsible for the death of JFK includes Jack Ruby, it includes Barry Goldwater, it includes French intelligence at the behest of Jackie Kennedy.  She asked for the investigation.  She may have paid for the investigation.  The KGB, there’s an 81-page report of their own investigation, the entire assassination and Johnson, and they conclude that it’s Johnson.  Evelyn Lincoln, President Kennedy’s personal secretary, believes it was Johnson.  I’m not alone in this — and I don’t want to call it a theory because I believe it’s a fact.  When those in the mainstream media refer to conspiracies, that’s a pejorative; that’s meant to denigrate anyone who questions the government’s version of things.  I don’t speak in terms of conspiracies.  I talk in terms of a plot and I talk in terms of facts.  So those who say the CIA killed Kennedy, Texas Oil killed Kennedy, the mob killed Kennedy, they’re all correct.  They all played some role in Kennedy’s death.  But the linchpin, the guy who was indispensible because he controlled Dallas, he controlled the Dallas Police Department, he controlled the Dallas County Sheriff’s Office, he controlled the Dallas County District Attorney, the indispensible man in this plot was Lyndon Johnson.

ROCKWELL:  And I remember Murray Rothbard, in a great essay on this topic, pointing out that when there’s a crime that’s committed, the first place the cops look is — I mean, cui bono?  Who benefits from it?

STONE:  Exactly.

ROCKWELL:  It doesn’t mean that that person did it, but that’s the first suspect.

STONE:  Yeah.  There’s actually a Latin axiom that I use in my book that goes, “Cui prodest scelus, est fict,” which means the person who derives the greater benefit from the crime is probably the person who committed it.

(LAUGHTER)

ROCKWELL:  Yeah, it’s certainly true.  And you give a wonderful anecdote about what Nixon had to say about Johnson and the Kennedy assassination.

STONE:  Yeah, Nixon was not given to introspection.  He wasn’t also given to retrospect.  He didn’t really like to talk about the past.  You would say, well, Mr. President, what was Eisenhower really like, and he just wasn’t interested.  He was very interested in the future.  He was very forward-looking.  But on those few occasions where I did get him to talk about it — you know, he had a very low tolerance for alcohol.  So after a couple of cocktails, he became a lot more loquacious and you would learn a lot.  He still spoke, you know, circuitously.  In other words, he never just flatly said, “Well, LBJ did it.”  What he said instead was, “Well, Lyndon and I both wanted to be president, the difference was, I wasn’t willing to kill for it.”  To me, that kind of sums it up.  On another occasion, I asked him who killed Kennedy, and his eyes got very narrow, and he just said, “Dallas.”

(LAUGHTER)

So, you know, as I write in my book, he had an association with Jack Ruby.  He recognized Ruby as a Johnson man.  Murray Shatner, who was Nixon’s priest, kind of his first political advisor, who had also been a mob lawyer in L.A., brought Jack Ruby to Nixon in 1947, and he said, “Lyndon Johnson would appreciate it as a courtesy if you could get him on part time as an informant for the House Un-American Activities Committee,” which Nixon agreed to do.  And in fact, payroll records of the U.S. Clerk of the House show that Jack Rubenstein, of Chicago, was on the payroll as an informant for Nixon’s committee.  To me, that kind of nailed it.  Then Nixon knew that Hoover was lying to him.  He knew that Johnson was lying to him.  He got the big picture immediately.  He understood and, as you probably know, attempted to get the CIA’s Kennedy assassination record.  The president of the United States ordering a federal authority to hand over the records, and they refused.  Nixon knew the CIA was in it up to its neck, and that’s what he wanted to prove.  I always suspected he kind of wanted it as an insurance policy.  Blood, Money, & Power:... Barr McClellan Best Price: $6.00 Buy New $9.34 (as of 04:10 EDT - Details)

So I do have a lot of first-hand anecdotes in the book.  Tony Salerno, “Fat Tony” Salerno, the head of the Genovese mob in New York, somebody I had occasion to meet in the early 1980s, he told me it was Johnson, with the assistance of Carlos Marcello, John Davis Lodge, a distinguished ambassador to Spain, Argentina, Switzerland; serving three presidents; a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee; governor of Connecticut; brother of Henry Cabot Lodge.  He told me Cabot always said it was Johnson and the agency boys assisted by some Mafiosi, as he would say.

So, you know, the more you dig, the more you could find.  America experienced a coupe d’etat, a hostile takeover of the U.S. presidency on November 22, 1963.

ROCKWELL:  You know, you mentioned A Texan Looks at Lyndon.  When I was a Goldwater volunteer, as well, it was my job to pass out as many copies, free copies of that as possible in Massachusetts.

STONE:  Yeah, me, too.

ROCKWELL:  It didn’t work, by the way.

(LAUGHTER)

STONE:  Yeah, I remember.

(LAUGHTER)

ROCKWELL:  But it’s a great book and he was a great man.  So it’s wonderful that you’re carrying on his work and, of course, vastly expanding on it.  And I didn’t learn about Goldwater’s view of this until your book.

STONE:  Goldwater, I think, like many Americans, at first, he bought the cover story.  It’s kind of interesting because even Johnson knew that the Warren Commission’s version of things was thin; very, very thin.  So the way he bolstered it was by telling Earl Warren, for example, the chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, look, there was an international conspiracy, the Russian’s really did this but we can’t admit that because it will cause World War III, so we have to have a cover up, otherwise, folks will learn that the Cubans and the Russians killed Kennedy.  But there’s no evidence whatsoever that the Russians or the Cubans killed Kennedy.  On the contrary.  We know that when he learned this, Khrushchev wept.  It’s not surprising.  He had just taken Kennedy to the cleaners in the Cuban Missile Crisis.  They tell us, oh, Jack Kennedy faced the Russians down and forced them to remove their missiles.  Wrong!  He made a cynical deal to remove our missiles from strategically placed missiles in Turkey and Greece.  That was kept from the American people for 30 years.  He lied to Eisenhower and Truman and Hoover about it, because he called all three of them to brief them on the fact that he had forced the Russians to back down.  And he never required on-site inspections.  So I rather suspect Khrushchev liked dealing with JFK and the Unspeakabl... James W. Douglass Best Price: $4.90 Buy New $9.66 (as of 01:55 EDT - Details) Kennedy.  He was inexperienced and they were taking him to the cleaners.

ROCKWELL:  Roger, maybe one of my least favorite guys on television is Bill O’Reilly.  And of course, he’s written a terrible Kennedy assassination book.  And another great thing that you do in your work, you take him down.

STONE:  Yeah.  First of all, Lew, you and I both know that Bill O’Reilly didn’t write that book.  In fact, I doubt he’s even read that book —

(LAUGHTER)

— because it’s got more holes in it than Swiss cheese.  It just gets so many things wrong.  And I would love to go on with him and debate the book but we both know that’s not going to happen.

(LAUGHTER)

ROCKWELL:  No.

STONE:  Yeah, I think it’s intellectually dishonest.  I mean, first of all, his book is very prurient.  You know, if you’re interested in John Kennedy’s sex life, if you’re looking for the real dirt about his sex life, then it’s a terrific book.  But when it comes to the assassination, he misses so many things.  He gets so many things wrong.

And then he himself claims that he was on the doorstep of George de Mohrenschildt, who was Oswald’s CIA handler.  And de Mohrenschildt was living in Palm Beach, Florida, at the time.  He had received a subpoena from the House Select Committee on Assassinations to testify, and he shot himself.  He killed himself.  At least we believe he did.  He committed suicide rather than testify.  O’Reilly writes that he was on his doorstep in Palm Beach when he killed himself, but we find out that he was on television in Dallas.  No man can be in two places at the same exact time.  So I’d say Bill has a lot of ‘splaining to do.

ROCKWELL:  Roger, what about Gerald Ford?  I mean, he played a very, very interesting role.  Obviously, he was already trusted to be placed on the Warren Commission.  But he played a very interesting role in that cover up.  And of course, that profited him in later political life.

STONE:  Yeah.  In the tape recording in which Johnson asks Ford to be on the commission, he calls him up and says, “‘Well, I want you on there because you know those CIA boys.”  Well, in fact, Newsweek magazine said, in 1970, that Gerald Ford was the CIA’s man in Congress.  He was their guy.  And we also know from the memoirs of both Deke DeLoach, the number-three man at the FBI, and William Sullivan, the number-two man at the FBI, that Ford was doing Hoover’s bidding.  Specifically, in 1992, we got a declassified document that showed that Gerald Ford himself, in his own hand, with a pencil, altered the official autopsy records to make it appear that the wound in President Kennedy’s upper-left back had, in fact, been in his lower neck.  Why?  He did this to accommodate the government’s crazy single-bullet theory.  They had to claim, incorrectly, that one bullet had hit both LBJ: The Mastermind of... Phillip F. Nelson Best Price: $3.39 Buy New $7.57 (as of 04:25 EDT - Details) Kennedy and Governor John Connally.  So the autopsy obviously would not confirm that, so the autopsy records were altered.  The New York Times reported this many years later.  And Ford was asked why he did it, and he said, “The country needed clarity.”  That was his response.

(LAUGHTER)

I think it’s treasonous myself.  But, yes, Gerald Ford is a fine player in the cover up about the facts of the death of JFK.

ROCKWELL:  What about George H.W. Bush?  He plays a very interesting role in the Kennedy assassination, too.

STONE:  Yeah.

ROCKWELL:  Rather than just the cover up.

STONE:  Yeah.  It’s very hard to say, of course, exactly what his role was.  I mean, as a Goldwater Republican, as a Reagan Republican, I fought with the Bushes.  I’m from Connecticut, so I fought Prescott Bush, the patriarch.

ROCKWELL:  Oh.

STONE:  I realized that the Bushes believe in and stand for nothing, other than perhaps crony capitalism.

But for 30 years, George H.W. Bush said that he couldn’t remember where he was on the day of the Kennedy assassination.  That’s ludicrous.  Every adult alive at that time —

(LAUGHTER)

— knows where they were.

ROCKWELL:  Yes.

STONE:  You know.  I know.  We all know.

ROCKWELL:  Yeah. Maryu2019s Mosaic: The... Peter Janney Best Price: $3.44 Buy New $31.93 (as of 04:40 EDT - Details)

STONE:  Then again, in 1992, ironically, and on the basis of legislation signed by George Bush himself, we get two very interesting memos.  One shows us that George Bush called the Houston FBI Bureau seven minutes after the president has been killed, essentially to establish that he’s in Tyler, Texas, that he’s not in Dallas: “IAA, it’s 1:45.  I’m in Tyler, Texas here, giving a speech.  Just wanted you guys to know there’s a young Republican in Harris County” — that’s Houston — “who’s been making threats against the president.”  I don’t know if that means anything.  It may mean nothing.  I’m not making the accusation.  I just need an excuse to call and that’s it.  And then, even more interestingly, he says that he intends to fly back to Dallas that evening and will be in Dallas at the Sheraton Hotel.  But he doesn’t.  He flies back to Houston that night.  In fact, he stayed in the Sheraton Hotel the night before.  Why the obfuscation?  Why the need for an alibi?

And then, secondarily, in that same trove of documents, we get a second declassified document in which J. Edgar Hoover directs someone in the FBI to brief “Mr. George Bush of the CIA.”  The problem with that, of course, is that when he was appointed director of the CIA, he testified in his confirmation hearings that he had never worked for the agency before.  There’s enormous evidence now that he and a fellow named Jack Crichton were involved with the CIA during the Bay of Pigs and they had been raising money for the Bay of Pigs operation.  So there’s a lot of disinformation coming out of George Bush.  I don’t say in my book what he did do that day because I don’t know.  All I’m saying is that he acts very curiously, very strangely, actually bringing more questions than if he’d just kept his mouth shut and done nothing.

ROCKWELL:  Very, very interesting.

Roger, this is such a great book.

I want to urge everybody to buy a copy and read it.  And of course, we’ll have an Amazon link to it.

You know, I think we’re all in your debt for having produced this work.  It’s so beautifully written.  It’s so compelling.  It’s got so many fascinating unknown things in it, or too little known.

And really, congratulations to you, and thanks a million for coming on the show today.

STONE:  Well, you’re very kind to have me on.  I had breakfast with our mutual friend, Judge Andrew Napolitano, yesterday.

ROCKWELL:  Well.

STONE:  He asked me to give you his warmest regards.

ROCKWELL:  Well, thank you.  And he’s another great man.

STONE:  He’s my nominee for chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.

(LAUGHTER)

ROCKWELL:  Boy, I would certainly go along with that.

STONE:  We should be so lucky.

ROCKWELL:  This would maybe be in the Stone administration?

(LAUGHTER)

STONE:  Don’t hold your breath.

(LAUGHTER)

ROCKWELL:  Thank you, Roger.

STONE:  Many thanks.

ROCKWELL:  Bye-bye.

Well, thanks so much for listening to the Lew Rockwell Show today. Take a look at all the podcasts. There have been hundreds of them. There’s a link on the LRC front page. Thank you.

Podcast date, November 6, 2013