By Jon Christian Ryter
September 19, 2007
The Alice Factor
The events that transpired in Dallas, Texas at 12:30 p.m. on Nov. 22, 1963 appear to have begun a day earlier in Alice, Texas. The normally quiet, lazy East Texas town of 19,000 is nestled between Corpus Christi and Laredo. Alice is about 300 miles south of Dallas, in the middle of a stretch of road from no where to no where. One of Jim Welles County's favorite sons, James Evetts Haley, who knew all of the Alice political machine players in the early years observed in his 1964 book, A Study in Illegitimate Power, what he viewed as an irony of fate. Haley recalled seeing Lee Harvey Oswald in Alice on Nov. 21, 1963. In his book, he wrote: "What a strange coincidence that Lee Harvey Oswald—on his return from Mexico shortly before the Kennedy assassination—detoured from Laredo to stop and spend the night in search of a job at Alice in Jim Welles County before proceeding to Dallas and his world-shocking deed." Haley also authored the book, A Texan Looks at Lyndon in 1964. It was a best seller and, in Texas, only the Bible outsold it. As a journalist, Haley was convinced that Oswald was in Alice on Thursday, Nov. 21. He knew Oswald was job hunting because those he saw Oswald talking to said he was. To my knowledge, there is no written record of whom Oswald spoke to. It's a secret Haley took to his grave in Midland, Texas on Oct. 9, 1985.
There's only one problem with Haley's description and timeline if the events he described in his book as happening in Alice on Nov. 21, 1963—it is at odds with the FBI account of Oswald's last 60 days on Earth. Oswald was in Mexico City in September, 1963, trying to get a visa to return to the Soviet Union. The Soviets declined his visa. Oswald then spoke with a KGB agent in the Cuban Embassy. Dragging their heels, it would be Oct. 18 before the Soviets approved his visa. Oswald returned to the United States on Oct. 3. He traveled to Dallas through Laredo (which means its likely his bus may have had a brief stopover in Alice). If Hanley saw Oswald upon his return from Mexico City, it would have been on the October 3rd, not Nov. 21. Hanley was a good enough reporter that his recollection of when he saw Oswald was probably correct. If so, the reason for him being in Alice at that time was fabricated since Oswald was still employed at the Texas School Book Depository.
Oswald, who was living with his wife Marina in Irving, Texas, was job hunting on Oct. 3—but not on Nov. 21. Ruth Paine, Marina Oswald's friend, found Oswald a job at the Texas School Book Depository in Dallas. Oswald started work there on Oct. 16. During the week, Oswald lived at a rooming house at 1026 N. Beckley Avenue. On Nov. 16, the Dallas Morning News reported that the President would be visiting Dallas on Nov. 22. His motorcade would cut through the heart of Dallas along Main Street—about a block from the Texas School Book Depository. The presidential route was confirmed by newspaper reports on Nov. 19. On Thursday, Nov. 21, FBI reports stated that Oswald returned to Irving. When he left the Paine home where Marina was staying, Oswald left $170 and his wedding ring. Did Oswald also visit Alice, Texas that day? One of his co-workers told the FBI that he drove Oswald to Irving, and back to Dallas, implying they did not go anywhere else. Hanley insisted he saw Oswald in Alice on Nov. 21. Alice was a good four hour drive from Irving, meaning the round trip would have taken about eight hours. Why is it important? Because Alice was where the political machine that backed LBJ ran the roost. If Hanley was correct and Oswald was in Jim Welles County the day before the assassination of John F. Kennedy, the implication would be staggering.
The secret hearing
Attorney General Robert Kennedy began his investigation of former Senate page Bobby Baker because, as the Vice President's "go-fer" and personal adviser in 1954, Baker earned a government paycheck of $11,205 per year. Yet, working for the veep, Baker managed to amass a net worth of $2,166,886. Johnson believed the Senate investigation was instigated by Kennedy to force him off the '64 ticket. In point of fact, the investigation was initiated by J. Edgar Hoover who tied LBJ to mobsters like Meyer Lansky and Sam Giancano. The Kennedys would have kept the information secret in order to use it to force Johnson off the ticket.
Hoover gave the Attorney General enough evidence to hang Johnson. But, understanding that politics was more important to the Kennedy's than justice, Hoover also handed copies of the files to Sen. John Williams [R-DE]. The files nailed Baker and forced his resignation, giving Johnson the wiggle room he needed to convince Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman John McClellan that he was the victim of Baker's greed. McClellan used the Bobby Baker files to investigate organized crime in what became known as the Valachi Hearings, centering on Sam Giancana and Jimmy Hoffa. As the Valachi Hearings consumed the attention of the media, Sen. B. Everett Jordan, Chairman of the Senate Rules Committee was holding a secret hearing to determine if the conduct of the Vice President of the United States constituted an impeachable offense.
Because of the nature of the allegations, Jordan ordered the meeting room sealed. Once the committee members entered the room, they were not allowed to leave. Nor was anyone allowed to enter the cordoned-off area. No phones were allowed. Nor were any media people allowed to listen to the testimony. Twelve-thirty came and went. Not one soul in the room knew that John F. Kennedy had just been shot in Dallas, Texas and that, within two hours he would be dead—and that the man they were investigating would become the 36th President of the United States.
Had John F. Kennedy not been assassinated that day, it is very likely that Johnson would have been pressured into either resigning his high office before the end of the year, or announcing that he would not be a candidate for the office of Vice President in 1964, allowing JFK to replace him on the ticket with Gov. Terry Sanford without any infighting between the moderate and liberal factions of the Democratic Party. Instead, as Air Force One prepared to bring the body of the nation's 35th president back to the nation's capitol, a new Caesar was being crowned. Johnson, flanked by his wife (on LBJ's right) and a distraught Jackie Kennedy (on his left) is administered the oath of office by Judge Sarah Hughes. When Air Force One landed at Andrews Air Force Base, the 36th President of the United States assumed power.
At that time, Lee Harvey Oswald was in custody. A grief-stricken nation sat glued to their TV sets, waiting for answers to a puzzle that has still not been solved. With the assassination of Oswald by Jack Ruby, the public demanded a speedy but thorough investigation into the death of Kennedy, and Johnson—a man believed by many to be the architect of Kennedy's death in order to guarantee his destiny was now in charge of finding that impartial panel of "experts" to unravel the mystery and identify the mastermind behind Kennedy's assassination.
Johnson asked Chief Justice Earl Warren to head the Commission. Warren refused. The chief justice knew the President wanted a cover-up. Three shots had been fired. It already appeared that only one shot had been fired from the window in the Texas School Book Depository. The other two shots—clearly heard by others at the scene—would evolve into the mysterious bouncing bullet in an attempt to make Oswald appear as the sole gunman. What was Johnson trying to hide? And, why was it so important to conceal the fact there there were at least two gunmen—one in front and one behind the motorcade? Was there a lone assassin? Were there two sets of assassins working together? Was Oswald the killer? Or, was it Cubans? Or, the FBI or CIA? Perhaps the KGB? Or, was the hit arranged by the Mafia—with or without the advise and consent of the Vice President of the United States?
Whatever else happened that day, it is a fact that LBJ wanted Earl Warren heading the commission badly enough to blackmail him into accepting the job. According to former Congressman Richard Russell, after Warren refused the job several times, Johnson called him to the Oval Office and reminded him "...about a little incident in Mexico City..." that Hoover learned about. With that, Russell said, Warren broke down and began to cry, telling LBJ that "...I won't turn you down. I'll do whatever you say."
The Warren Commission concluded that while there were three shots fired, all of the shots were fired by Lee Harvey Oswald. The Commission also concluded there was no evidence of a conspiracy. That was the conclusion Johnson wanted the Commission to reach. He wanted to put the matter to rest. Commission Chairman Earl Warren, and members Gerald Ford, Allen W. Dulles, John J. McCloy, John S. Cooper and Thomas H. Boggs agreed.
But even more important , Lyndon Baines Johnson's partnership with the mob was buried with John Fitzgerald Kennedy. And, on June 5, 1968, the remaining skeletons of that misadventure were buried with the president's brother. Once again, tidying up history, Lyndon Johnson commissioned a panel of men he trusted to "get to the bottom" of Bobby Kennedy's death at the hand of Palestinian born Sirhan Bishara Sirhan. A Christian Palestinian, Sirhan insisted that he killed Kennedy as revenge for US support of Israel. Had Sirhan been a Muslim, his argument would have had merit. As a Coptic Christian, it did not. Kennedy died at 2 a.m. on June 6, 1968—on the 3rd anniversary of the Six Day War. Once again, the facts surrounding the real motives were obscured by the smoke and mirrors of political necessity. For part one or two click below.
© 2007 Jon C. Ryter - All Rights
[Read "Whatever Happened to America?"]
Jon Christian Ryter is the pseudonym of a former newspaper reporter with the Parkersburg, WV Sentinel. He authored a syndicated newspaper column, Answers From The Bible, from the mid-1970s until 1985. Answers From The Bible was read weekly in many suburban markets in the United States.
Today, Jon is an advertising executive with the Washington Times. His website, www.jonchristianryter.com has helped him establish a network of mid-to senior-level Washington insiders who now provide him with a steady stream of material for use both in his books and in the investigative reports that are found on his website.
Hoover gave the Attorney General enough evidence to hang Johnson. But, understanding that politics was more important to the Kennedy's than justice, Hoover also handed copies of the files to Sen. John Williams [R-DE].