Is the John Birch Society Responsible for Spreading Most of the JFK Assassination Conspiracy Theories?

"... It’s no wonder that the Kennedy assassination has become associated with crackpots and nutcases as most of the stories and misleading information were spread by right-wing whack-jobs like the Birchers. ..."

Just one month after President Kennedy was assassinated, one of the founders of the John Birch Society came out with an article entitled, “Marksmanship in Dallas". Revilo Pendleton Oliver, the man whom JBS figurehead Robert Welch described as, “quite possibly the world’s greatest living scholar,” outlined some of the great conspiracy theories that would dominate the JFK assassination debate over the next forty years.

Revilo’s article is extremely disturbing and demonstrates how much the far-right hated JFK and how much contempt they had for liberals, blacks and Jews at the time. Revilo asserts that Oswald was a communist and had helped communists everywhere, including the U.S. government. This article would unleash a flood of far-right literature designed to obfuscate the facts of the assassination.

It’s no wonder that the Kennedy assassination has become associated with crackpots and nutcases. as most of the stories and misleading information were spread by right-wing whack-jobs like the Birchers. Their message always seems to be, don’t trust the government or the political left,while implicating the usual suspects; it’s all part of a communist plot, or maybe LBJ was involved with help from the CIA, possibly the Illuminati, and you can bet that the One-Worlders in the Council of Foreign Relations were behind it. In all the noise, an American President’s murder becomes a joke and any possible conspirators walk cleanly away.

A careful reading of the record reveals that the major conspiracy authors have a lot in common with the John Birch Society perspective.

Many of the right-wing JFK conspiracy propagators share something else: connections with extremist organizations and groups. Mark Lane, author of “Rush to Judgement,” ended up working for the ultra-racist Liberty Lobby and defended people like James Earl Ray and holocaust denier Willis Carto. Revilo P. Oliver went on to organize the National Alliance with William Pierce, and then went to work for the Institute for Historical Review in trying to discredit the Holocaust. Victor Marchetti and Fletcher Prouty used the Orange County-based Holocaust denial network to spread their stories. ...

This article was originally published on Saturday, December 22, 2007

Aaron Dahl

5 Responses to “Is the John Birch Society Responsible for Spreading Most of the JFK Assassination Conspiracy Theories?”

Mary Chrisitne

so what’s the point? Granted these people might put a commie or goofy spin on it, but the evidence points in precisely the combo cia mafia lbj oni etc. direction
that the extremeists mention.

That they say don’t trust the government, is merely a start for trust them instead, not a proof that the JFK conspiracy theories are wrong.

One way to defang a dangerous upsurge in seeing through you is to get on the bandwagon, with some twists thrown in.


“so what’s the point? Granted these people might put a commie or goofy spin on it, but the evidence points in precisely the combo cia mafia lbj oni etc. direction”

You’ve been drinking the Kool-Aid, put LBJ and Mafia in the middle of it, and fail to even mention “Minutemen” (Birchers), Nazis, at the core. Your formula isn’t Posnerized, so you’re step up – it’s “Birched.” The widely-publicized Mafia template is a contrived distraction. Same with the LBJ books.

You are apparently confused about the assassination because you fell for the misinformation, and it is MEANT to confuse you.

“… they say don’t trust the government … ”

They MEAN don’t trust liberal, Democratic government that serves the interests of the people. This is why Birchers demonize “big government,” health care, any expenditure that serves the common good. They serve the same military-industrial corporations that financed Germany’s Nazi Party. Do you trust THEM? Birchers are the ultimate corporatists, and the conspiracy theory is a programming tool. Eisenhower was called a “communist” to drive the proles drinking their Kool-Aid even further to the right during the Cold War. The MO is the same today. It’s a transparent psychological manipulation once you realize that Birchers are in the business of mental programming via the usual fascist methods of scapegoating, ultra-nationalism, red-baiting, ersatz propaganda and conspiracism, etc.

– AC

John Judge

Mae Brussell pointed out long ago that there were John Birch society ties to the JFK assassination. In fact, the first complete set of early critical books and the Warren Commission volumes I ever saw was on a visit with my family to the home of the head of the JBS in Texas. Of course they spread disinformation, as did the planted critics like Mark Lane. The intelligence and government agencies have to cover both ends, and do damage control by appearing to be the critics themselves. James Earl Ray was not a racist, as this article implies. I recommend the new book Memoir of Injustice by T Carter due in January from Trine Day, written with Ray’s brother Jerry for more insight into this patsy. The whole point of the Birch society anti-Communist analysis was to cover the tracks of the fascists and the rise of the Military Industrial Intelligence Complex Eisenhower saw coming, and the power shift to the Southern Rim economy that followed WWII. Birchers point only to the eastern establishment, never to the oil, aerospace, munitions and other money that paid for the Kennedy assassination. Mark Lane has been a lawyer for John Hinckley, E. Howard Hunt, Jim Jones of Jonestown infamy, Grace Walden Stevens, and most recently for the hack plagiarist Gerald Posner who defends the lone nut thesis on JFK and MLK, in direct opposition to Lane’s supposed beliefs. While the Birchers and their assets blew smoke to cover the tracks of ONI, the Pentagon and the Nazis that Garrison and Mae pointed to (not some fuzzy dishonest government as implied here, but specific people in the Joint Chiefs and down the chain) involved in killing JFK, the real JFK researchers went unpublished, scorned and ignored but they won their case with the public anyway. The earliest ones were mostly women, save for Oliver who had his own reasons to cover the killers’ tracks. You can read about them in John Kelin’s excellent In Praise of An Earlier Generation. Field appointed Brigadier General Penn Jones, Jr. in Texas, investigator and writer Josiah Thompson, Sylvia Meagher who deconstructed the Accessories After the Fact early on, Richard Popkin who noticed The Second Oswald, academician Peter Dale Scott who is still dissecting the hidden state and deep politics and connections forward, courageous forensic scientist and coroner Dr. Cyril H. Wecht, political analyst Carl Oglesby who discerned a Yankee Cowboy War, and the indefatigueable Mae Brussell, housewife and daughter of Rabbi I. Magnin in Los Angeles who took apart the Commission volumes and then clipped and read the news making weekly connections on her radio shows that not only shone light on the past but predicted the horrid future we now live in. Nowadays, all conspiracies are lumped together. But the hard evidence only leads in one direction, to the Pentagon. Marchetti and Prouty have to be seen in their context as lifelong intelligence agents who may have represented factions within the agencies that wanted to get out the truth, but linking up with the Holocaust deniers was clearly not the way to do it. On the other hand, the left press never wanted to touch the real stories behind the news or seem to believe in conspiracies, which by then was seen as your writer sees them, a purview only of the right wing. Chip Berlet, Michael Albert of Z magazine and the Chomsky acolytes love to lump all conspiracy research into either irrelevance or right wing fantasy. I study historical conspiracies that arise from the class structure itself and its divisions, and the rise of global fascism that we live under. I indict the right wing for their part in all this. I am a progressive activist. I have nothing to do with John Birch or the Holocaust deniers and none of the real JFK researchers mentioned above did either. This convoluted little smear on our work fails to recognize the role disinformation plays in any covert operation. It is like the cute ploy of our critics who say we name so many groups as responsible that it would be impossible to keep secret or coordinate. Part of the right wing smoke is to obfuscate the reason for the murder, so the Birchers love to point to a small run of silver certificates JFK approved to claim the Federal Reserve must have had him killed. Hardly, but it avoids, as always talking about the war in Vietnam, the Cold War, the Joint Chiefs, the MIC, the military intelligence apparatus that consumes 85% of its budget since it started (out of $80 billion now admitted) and makes the CIA and FBI into the think tank toys they are, the oil tax depletion allowance the Kennedy brothers wanted to kill, the Castro assassination plots they tried to stop, the moves toward ending the nuclear arms race and detente with the USSR which the same plotters had foiled with the U-2 incident when Eisenhower met Kruschev, the civil rights movement, the JFK plan to withdraw from Vietnam in 1964, the push to end organized crime which was closely linked to both ONI and CIA, the international drug traffic connection that was being discovered, the wish to scatter the CIA to “the four winds”, the abandonment of General Landsdale’s failed approach to use covert operations in place of overt wars, the wish for real peace, and the sense of hope for social justice against the old order that JFK and RFK began to create and support. It was these same factors that led to the same forces killing Dr. King and Robert Kennedy in 1968, as well as their fear that the JFK case would be reopened. Read Talbot’s book Brothers to understand. Jim Douglass gets it in JFK and the Unspeakable, who killed JFK and why. The why is everything and that is what the right wing and the DIA want to hide the most. The people who broke open the Kennedy case and exposed the Warren Commission were progressives not right wingers. It was their hard work over the years that convinced nearly 90% of the public that there was a conspiracy. Oliver Stone did not do a John Birch society movie, he wrote from the work of the real critics in the case. Mae Brussell assisted Jim Garrison’s case, not the right wing. Just because someone tells you the government is lying to you does not mean they are telling the truth. But just because someone says the government is lying does not make them a right wing nut. The Coalition on Political Assassinations holds annual meetings in Dallas each year near November 22 and presents the best real evidence in these political murders then and now. See and realize that not all conspiracies are created equal. John Judge

John Judge

PS – As to “drinking the Kool Aid and Mark Lane, I suggest my article The Black Hole of Guyana: The Untold Story of the Jonestown Massacre available at to expose the Kool Aid lie and Mark Lane’s role in history.


I disagree with the article’s attacks on Jim Garrison, who did not advocate a “Bircher Theory” in any way. In fact, he pointed the finger at right-wing, cold-warrior factions of the US Military/Intelligence Complex. Hardly “Bircher” targets. In OTOTA, he clearly connects fascist/Nazi elements to the crime through his exposure of Clay Shaw’s ties to Permindex.

I’m unsure about Mark Lane, however. While he has defended suspicious people (Posner, Jim Jones, etc.), his defense in the Hunt trial was mainly aimed at exposing the CIA. His books contained much useful information.

However, acknowledging that Lane is a former US Army Intelligence agent and served as a lawyer for the “People’s Temple” MKULTRA project, it is probable that he was an agent. I just can’t see how his book “Plausible Deniability” helped the perps.

I take issue, however, with the implications made against James Earl Ray. Is the article-writer unaware of the testimony of Lloyd Jowers, which, along with other evidence, implicates covert, right-wing elements of the CIA, FBI, Military-Intelligence, and Memphis Police Force?

I will, however, agree that the John Birch Society has connections to the JFK Assassination:

-Harry Dean (Ex-FBI/CIA), an FBI snitch within the John Birch Society, reported that members of the organization (Among them Edwin Walker and John Rousselot) hired Eladio Del Valle and Loran Hall to kill JFK.

-The John Birch Society was behind the anti-JFK “Wanted For Treason” handbills that were circulated around Dallas. Anti-JFK ads appeared in the local paper, and were financed by Haroldson L. Hunt, a member of the John Birch Society.

-H.L. Hunt of the John Birch Society owned space in the Dal-Tex Building, where many believe shots were fired from. Arrested coming out of the Dal-Tex Building was Eugene Hale Brading, an organized-crime thug who had been in JBS member Hunt’s offices on the day prior to the assassination.

-The JBS had powerful influence in Dallas. The police force, social elite, and local government of the city was saturated with JBS members. The Dallas elite played a major role in luring Kennedy to Dallas, while the police force played a major role in the local cover-up/frame-up.

-W. Guy Banister (Freemason), the FBI/ONI veteran and CIA man who supervised Oswald in New Orleans, was a member of the John Birch Society, along with an important player in several other notable right-wing extremist groups.

-Joseph Milteer, who predicted the assassination 13 days prior to it’s occcurrence, had ties to the John Birch Society.

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