KENNEDY ASSASSINATION SPECIAL: WAS LBJ BEHIND DEATH OF JFK?; 40 Years after Kennedy Assassination New Book Points the Finger at Vice President

Article excerpt

Byline: JULIAN BROUWER in New York

IN THE 40 years since America's most popular president was gunned down in Dallas, everyone from Fidel Castro to the Mafia has been blamed for the crime which shocked the nation.

But in the month when the world mourns the death of John F Kennedy, a bombshell new book is now pointing the finger at Lyndon Blaine Johnson - his deputy and the man who succeeded him as president.

Written by Barr McClellan, the father of current White House Press secretary Scott McClellan, the conspiracy book Blood, Money & Power: How LBJ Killed JFK, promises to offer photographs, copies of letters, insider interviews and even fingerprint evidence.

Veteran writer McClellan astonishingly alleges that JFK's right-hand man, LBJ, instructed the former ambassador to Australia, Edward A Clark - the shadowy boss of his private and business legal team - to head up the assassination operation and subsequent cover-up.

McClellan, 63, who was once a partner in the Texas law firm that served Johnson, said: "Johnson had the motive, opportunity and means.

"The book is about Johnson's role in the assassination and how it all developed. He was behind the assassination.

"The beauty is, readers don't have to believe a word I say. They can believe the fingerprint examiner. They can believe the exchange of memos and letters."

McClellan, who spent nearly 20 years researching his expose, rejects the findings of the Warren Commission, claiming that his information comes from extensive conversations with LBJ's legal adviser Clark, whom he began working with in 1966 at a law firm in Austin, Texas.

The author said: "When I first started work there and was told that Clark was behind the assassination, I didn't believe it.

"I was told: 'This guy you really liked, John Kennedy - he was killed by the guy you're working for now.'

"I think I went into a bad case of denial."

In the book, McClellan writes about an alleged 1961 meeting between LBJ and Clark at Johnson's ranch outside Johnson City, Texas, in which the plot was hatched.

He claims that at this meeting LBJ handed a secret policy manual for the protection of the president to a colleague so he would be able to devise a way of breach-ing Kennedy's tight security and assassinating him.

McClellan claims that Johnson said: "That envelope in the car is yours." Then, he says, Johnson stepped toward the car and muttered: "Put it to good use."

McClellan's book has been dismissed as "wild speculation" by many experts and Kennedy historians.

Barry Bishop, senior shareholder of Clark's former law firm, said: "His theory is absurd. Mr Clark was a big supporter of Mr Kennedy.

"The day that President Kennedy was assassinated, there was going to be a dinner for him that evening in Texas. Mr Clark was a co-sponsor of that dinner."

And John McAdams, who teaches a course on the JFK assassination at Marquette University in Milwaukee, said it was "exceedingly unlikely" that LBJ was involved in the plot.

He said: "What did McClellan find in the documents, and what does it, in fact, indicate? If he's looking at all the documents everyone else is looking at, I would want to know which documents he's interpreting as LBJ."

However, public opinion surveys show that most Americans suspect there was indeed a high level conspiracy, with most disagreeing with the findings of the Warren Commission.

In a bid to nail down "whodunnit", US television network ABC has conducted its own in-depth study of the murder.

The channel staged a complete reconstruction of the murder, using the sort of sophisticated computer-generated technology which is now frequently used in criminal investigations. It claims the evidence "irrefutably" confirm Oswald acted alone. …