Sen. Richard Russell, the first dissenter

 Speaking of “Six insiders who suspected a JFK plot,”

Len Osanic’s Black Op Radio drills down on the story of Insider #4, Georgia Senator Richard Russell, a conservative defender of racial segregation and a member of the Warren Commission.

Russell’s biographer dubbed him “the first dissenter” in the  JFK assassination story.

Watch:

32 comments

  1. Hans Trayne says:

    Although not perfect in his political views, one has to admire Senator Russell for smelling what much of the world was smelling cooking on LBJ’s & J. Edgar Hoover’s stove at the time: ‘snake oil’. He wanted no part of it. The gangsters LBJ stuck him with on the Warren Commission couldn’t even be honest with the Senator.

    In retrospect, wouldn’t LBJ & Hoover had been better off rejecting Katzenbach’s ‘we must convince the public Oswald did it alone’ memo & tried a truthful approach? Something along the lines of ‘we really don’t know what happened, but we think Oswald may have been a part of it [but we might be wrong]‘.

    Today’s public is used to drive by attacks in which the perpetrators escape; the 1963 public had seen it portrayed on TV’s ‘The Untouchables’.

    • John McAdams says:

      In retrospect, wouldn’t LBJ & Hoover had been better off rejecting Katzenbach’s ‘we must convince the public Oswald did it alone’ memo & tried a truthful approach?

      You are misrepresenting Katzenbach.

      Here are some parts of that memo that conspiracists fail to ever mention.

      It is important that all of the facts surrounding President Kennedy’s Assassination be made public in a way which will satisfy people in the United States and abroad that all the facts have been told and a statement to this effect be made now.

      And further:

      I think this objective may be satisfied by making public as soon as possible a complete and thorough FBI report on Oswald and the assassination.

      And finally:

      I think, however, that a statement that all the facts will be made public property in an orderly and responsible way should be made now.

      Conspiracists assume that Katzenbach was calling for a coverup. But Katzenbach didn’t believe any coverup was necessary.

      In short, you folks are assuming that there was a conspiracy, and that Katzenbach knew that.

      • Jeff Harker says:

        Two statements you make are wrong, Mr. McAdams. Not all multiple-gunmen researchers believe Katzenbach was calling for a cover-up, because I’m certainly one who doesn’t. Neither am I assuming that Katzenbach thought there was a cover-up, because I don’t believe he did.

      • Gerry Simone says:

        Lol, I’m sorry but it can be interpreted as implicitly calling for a whitewash or to calm the people.

        “…in a way which will satisfy people…”

        If it was a simple case of a lone assassin, why MUST the government CONVINCE the public of that? Why can’t the facts speak for themselves?

        • John McAdams says:

          If it was a simple case of a lone assassin, why MUST the government CONVINCE the public of that?

          Because a lot of irresponsible people — or people with an ideological ax to grind — would promote conspiracy theories.

          • Larry Schnapf says:

            I meant to say that I would actually have given LBJ and WC members/staff a pass if they had later admitted that they had concocted the lone gunman theory because they felt it was in the best interests of the country to move ahead and also avoid a possible unnecessary war.

          • Larry Schnapf says:

            Ah- John McAdams reveals what is at the heart of his defense of the WC: “Because a lot of irresponsible people — or people with an ideological ax to grind — would promote conspiracy theories.”

            There certainly are many who have such animus towards LBJ or the CIA that they cant see through their rage. But that statement would seem to be an overgeneralization and certainly does not apply to many of us serious researchers.

            Indeed, it seems that many of the supporters of the WC are the ones with an idealogical axe to grind. They often blame the loss of respect in our government’s institutions to the JFK conspiracy theories.

            But many suffer from a deeper, more emotional basis for their blind allegiance to the WC findings. They cant accept that the government of our great nation would lie to its citizens, that our nation is really no different than other countries and that our leaders would resort to expedient measures (i.e., lies, coverups) to preserve power. It destroys the illusion of american exceptionalism. They are blinded by their so-called patriotism

          • Frank says:

            “Because a lot of irresponsible people — or people with an ideological ax to grind — would promote conspiracy theories.”

            Interesting response. “Because…”? Are you agreeing that the WC facts alone were inadequate in the effort to convince the public? The fact is the WC report outlines a weak case owing to inadequate facts. That is what was the most convincing aspect of it from the very beginning.

            As for the “irresponsible” or “ideological” people, they are here in any event and they are not the target of the WC, the general public was and is. It fails in convincing the general public. Convincing facts would be the best approach every day of the week, unless the facts presented don’t support what the public is being asked to convince themselves of, and they don’t when there are significant facts available that contrast unfavorably with those included in the report.

            The only responses left for those who are convinced by the report is to “correct” the facts that contrast with it. It’s a full time job.

            There is a convincing set of facts buried out there somewhere. The question is, what would they convince someone of?

          • Gerry Simone says:

            Professor, it was only AFTER certain people digested the Warren Commission Report that it’s conclusion became unacceptable.

            Generally-speaking back then, most people were apathetic towards and had faith in, their government.

            Even Vincent Bugliosi said that the People began to lose their trust in the government after the Kennedy assassination.

            Unless Katzenbach had a premonition about rumors and speculation about conspiracy, or was opposed to the fundamental principle of justice (that the accused is innocent until proven guilty), he may have been talking about preempting any suspicion as to conspiracy by instilling into the people, the preconceived notion that Oswald was the lone assassin.

          • John McAdams says:

            But many suffer from a deeper, more emotional basis for their blind allegiance to the WC findings. They cant accept that the government of our great nation would lie to its citizens,

            That’s an argumentum ad hominem, and I’m sure you are aware that equal ad hominem arguments can be rolled out to attack conspiracy believers.

            Richard Hofstadter’s “Paranoid Style” is the usual text trotted out.

          • John McAdams says:

            Are you agreeing that the WC facts alone were inadequate in the effort to convince the public?

            Actually, they would have been if the public had read the Warren Commission Report. But virtually nobody did. They read conspiracy books instead.

            The fact is the WC report outlines a weak case owing to inadequate facts.

            That’s the impression anybody would get reading conspiracy books.

            Convincing facts would be the best approach every day of the week,

            There are lots of issues where “convincing facts” are on one side, and majority public opinion is on the other.

            But Katzenbach did want “all the facts” released. Whether “all the facts” will convince people is another issue.

        • John McAdams says:

          Why can’t the facts speak for themselves?

          Katzenbach is calling for the release of “all of the facts surrounding President Kennedy’s Assassination.”

          • Gerry Simone says:

            Yes but don’t forget that he qualifies it with this phrase,

            … in a WAY which will satisfy people in the United States and abroad that all the facts have been told and a statement to this effect be made NOW.

            .

            How can he one make this assertion before the investigation or without knowing any of the facts yet?

            The MMF link here says it better than me:

            https://www.maryferrell.org/wiki/index.php/Katzenbach_Memo

  2. JSA says:

    I looked on John McAdams’ site, but couldn’t find anything about Senator Russell’s role in the Warren Commission and of his problem in supporting the single bullet theory. Does McAdams cover this topic on his site? Anyone know?

  3. bugle boy says:

    McAdams covers Russell, on an opinion page:

    http://mcadams.posc.mu.edu/opinions.htm

  4. anonymous says:

    First dissenter or first conspiracy theorist? Doesn’t rejecting the lone nutter single bullet theory make one a conspiracy theorist? LBJ would be the second…

    Very good episode but: “Where does Gerald McKnight (on 50yrs Episode 41 below) get this Stuff about Warren crying over the prospect of war? One might ask ‘Is there Any Evidence that Warren cryied over the prospect of war?’

    Is there a tape of Warren crying over the prospect of war? LBJ did record conversations…
    Is there a recording of this infamous conversation between LBJ and Warren?

    LBJ does tell Dick Russell about how he persuaded Warren to chair the commision:
    @12:30 “he (Warren) told me no twice.And I just pulled out what Hoover told me about a little incident in Mexeco city,and I said now I dont want Khrushchev testfy before camera that he killed this fella… @13:10 Now I’m surprised that you, Chief Justice United States would turn me down and he started crying and said I wont turn you down.I’ll just do what ever you say…”
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YE6i2vYbY3I#t=750

    @3min LBJ DOES use the threat of War on Dick Russell (not Warren) : “where they’re testifying that Casto did this and did that, and kick us into a war that can kill a million Americans in an hour…
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YE6i2vYbY3I#t=195

    50 Years – Gerald McKnight Episode 41:
    “unless the american people were satisfied that kennedy was the victim a lone assassin, a right-wing elements in the nation might push this country into a confrontation with the soviet union with the prospect a forty billion dead Americans who use that on muscle use that on Waren also group was reluctant but once born got that kinda pitch you broke into tears”

    BTW LBJ also says that Khrushchev “didn’t have a dam thing to do with it”
    I’d love to know what Hoover told LBJ about a little incident Warren had in Mexeco city

  5. Shane McBryde says:

    It’s just amazing to me! Here’s a highly respected, indoubidibly credible member of the United States Senate expressing reasoned doubt, and it’s completely drowned out by his fellow men of great character.

    • Fearfaxer says:

      Hale Boggs didn’t agree with the WC’s conclusions either. He was the person who got Jim Garrison to start looking into the assassination.

  6. anonymous says:

    CIA files from 1963? – Is anyone interested in NSA files from ’63?

    “Does rejecting the lone nutter single bullet theory make one a conspiracy theorist?”

    Some lone nutter sock puppets become conspiracy theorist on other issues:
    Ed Epstein and Co. have written much on JFK and Ed Snowden. You can’t wake someone who is pretending to be asleep. Maybe it’s just as well, Epstein’s never interviewed Snowden – See Epstein’s tale of interviewing George De Mohrenschildt on his last day:
    “I asked Ed who he thought was behind the assassination, and he said “the CIA”.
    http://educationforum.ipbhost.com/index.php?showtopic=19273

    Ed Epstein and Co. seem to be more interested in Snowden than the NSA – Look at some of their on-the-ground reporting: “Is Snowden a spy?” ; The Snowden Penetration; Was Snowden’s Heist a Foreign Espionage Operation? ; Revisiting Snowden’s Hong Kong Getaway… “Revisiting Snowden’s Hong Kong Getaway – A year after the intelligence thief landed in Moscow, many questions remain about how he ended up in Putin’s hands.”
    http://online.wsj.com/articles/edward-jay-epstein-revisiting-snowdens-hong-kong-getaway-1404075875

  7. Ronnie Wayne says:

    Senator Russell, in spite of his racism, should be honored for trying to speak the truth about the assassination as the first official, elected dissenter.
    A large part of the American People were the True first dissenters before the report was ever written.
    The afternoon and evening of 11/22/63 they gathered around black and white TV’s or radios or read newspaper extras about initial reports of shots from the front, the knoll, the railroad yard. Some saw Presidential assistant press secretary Malcolm Kidluff point to his right temple. Some heard dallas Parkland ER Dr. Malcolm Perry speak about an entry wound in the throat.
    Two day’s later they watched a mob hit on the accused assassin who claimed he didn’t shoot anybody and was a patsy on live TV from the dallas jail.
    Why do we question the official version reached in two days with a squelched investigation?

  8. If I recall correctly, wasn’t it LBJ who said Warren was either in tears or on the verge of tears when he left his office.

    That meeting was essentially the beginning of the WC cover up.

    Russell, in my opinion, was probably not just the first dissenter. He was probably the best of the WC appointees. He boycotted most of the meetings, wrote a letter of resignation–which he did not mail-and when he saw what the WC was going to be, he conducted his own inquiry.

    Make no mistake, the majority, that is Dulles, Ford, McCloy and Rankin knew what was up with this guy. That is why they tricked him at the last meeting. They used a stand in to pose as a stenographer, when in fact she really was not.

    Russell headed what I call the Southern Wing of the Commission, with Boggs, and Cooper. They were the first to break away from the whole mess.

  9. Larry Schnapf says:

    First- check the carefully parsed passage of the Katzenbach memo “….be made public in a way which will satisfy people in the United States and abroad that all the facts have been told”

    Second- McAdams reveals what is at the heart of his defense of the WC: “Because a lot of irresponsible people — or people with an ideological ax to grind — would promote conspiracy theories.” Indeed, it seems that the supporters of the WC are the ones with an idealogical zxe to grind. They often blame the loss of respect in our government’s institutions to the JFK conspiracy theories.

    But there is also a deeper, more emotional basis for their wilful blindness to the facts. They they cant accept the government of our great nation would lie to its citizens, that our nation is no really no different than other countries and that our leaders would resort to expedient measures (i.e., lies, coverups) to preserve power. It destroys the illusion of american exceptionalism. They are blinded by their so-called patriotism

    I would actually have given LBJ and WC memebers/staff if they had later admitted that they had concocted the lone gunman theory because they felt it was in the best interests of the country to move ahead and also avoid a possible unnecessary war.

    • John McAdams says:

      that our nation is no really no different than other countries and that our leaders would resort to expedient measures (i.e., lies, coverups) to preserve power.

      I believe that “if you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan” was a lie (so does the Washington Post).

      I believe there is a cover-up of IRS harassment of Tea Party groups.

      How about you?

      • JSA says:

        @John

        I think that we were lied to about Vietnam,
        I think that we were lied to about JFK’s assassination,
        I think we were lied to about cigarettes causing cancer
        and nicotine being highly addictive,
        And I think we were lied to by corporate fossil fuel interests
        about global warming.

        I’m mad about good books, can’t get my fill
        And James Durantes looks they give me a thrill
        Holding hands in the movie show
        When all the lights are low may not be new
        But I like it, and I like it, I like it, how about you?

      • Paulf says:

        John:

        Again, you demonstrate that your motivation for everything you say on this topic is political. It’s pretty clear that politics trumps logic in your arguments.

        • John McAdams says:

          So it’s OK to say that government lies and covers things up, until somebody says that the Obama Administration did that.

          Then it becomes “political.”

          • Paulf says:

            John, I have no idea what that means. I don’t make political points on this site, and I don’t think partisan politics was a factor in the assassination.

            But the point is that you keep bringing politics into your posts. The idea being that a conspiracy is a “liberal” view and lone gunman is “conservative.” Your side is conservative, so you have to fight every liberal point as if this is Crossfire.

            That you inject ideology into a murder investigation is a serious blow to your credibility. It’s not debatable.

          • leslie sharp says:

            Paulf, it is refreshing and reassuring to read that some who follow this site recognize this remains a cold case murder investigation, not an intellectual let alone political exercise in determining how the history of the assassination of President Kennedy is recorded. The idea that we can vote to resolve the investigation is disturbing; consensus rather than conflict serves democracy in the House and the Senate, but the method should not be applied to resolution of this murder case.

          • John McAdams says:

            That you inject ideology into a murder investigation is a serious blow to your credibility. It’s not debatable.

            Actually, I was testing you conspiracists to see whether you were political.

            It turns out you were. Schnapf was loudly proclaiming that we lone assassination people don’t believe the government ever lies or covers up wrongdoing.

            I said that I know it does, but I used Obama examples to see how you folks would react.

            It turns out you don’t much like hearing that Obama would do those things.

            So why don’t you like hearing such stuff about the Obama Administration? Would you object to hearing it about the Bush Administration?

  10. Avinash says:

    Russell told LBJ that he did not believe in the SBT and LBJ replied that he did not believe it either.

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