The British JFK Producer Who Brought Shame on the History Channel


Mr. Holland is under contract with Alfred A. Knopf to write a narrative history of the Warren Commission.

The first allegation in print that Lyndon Johnson was not merely a bystander or witness in Dealey Plaza, but a perpetrator and the chief beneficiary of President Kennedy’s assassination, dates back to 1966.On January 31st of that year, a well-known New York dealer in autographs named Charles Hamilton put on sale a letter allegedly written by Jack Ruby.The sales catalog described the letter this way:

Astounding confession of international importance pinpointing LYNDON B. JOHNSON as the real murderer of JOHN F. KENNEDY and the tool of a Fascist conspiracy to liquidate the Jews!Neatly written by Ruby to a fellow prisoner on slips torn from a memo pad, this [1965] letter was smuggled out of the Dallas Jail and is unpublished in any form.

Despite questions about its provenance—and if not of uncertain provenance, then clearly evidence of Jack Ruby’s unsound mind—the letter sold for $950 to Penn Jones, the long-time editor of the Midlothian Mirror, a small newspaper in East Texas.Jones promptly published excerpts from the letter in his self-published May 1966 work Forgive My Grief, a compilation of his editorials on the assassination.[1]

Subsequently, the insinuation that Lyndon Johnson played a role in the assassination gained many adherents in the fall of 1966 because of two factors:the increasing unpopularity of the war in Vietnam, and new questions about the probity and integrity of the Warren Report.There was a rising perception among some elements in the country that “the whole direction of American [foreign] policy” had changed since November 1963, as evinced by Vietnam, and that President Johnson had ostensibly embraced “the road of war, terror, dictatorship and profiteering.”[2]The coincidental but simultaneous erosion of public confidence in the Warren Report initially fed this first phenomena, and the two quickly became mutually reinforcing.If the Warren Commission’s findings were untrustworthy, then what was one supposed to make of the ostensibly drastic changes in U.S. policy?

Initially, barbed references to Johnson’s role occurred in the cultural sphere; it was too unspeakable an insinuation to make elsewhere.In 1966, Barbara Garson, a veteran of the 1964 Free Speech Movement in Berkeley, fashioned “MacBird!”, a play loosely based on Shakespeare’s “Macbeth,” whichpointed to Johnson as being responsible for the assassination.Originally conceived as an “entertainment” for a protest rally, the play became an underground best-seller and was eventually produced as an off-Broadway play, despite criticisms that it was vulgar, cruel, and tasteless.[3]

In fairly short order books and articles presuming to be non-fiction started leveling the same claim.One of the first was by a German-American journalist named Joachim Joesten, who was also the first author to write a book about the assassination published in the United States.That 1964 volume, Oswald: Assassin or Fall Guy, was printed by the publishing house of Marzani & Munsell, and claimed that Lee Harvey Oswald was in the employ of the CIA when he killed President Kennedy.[4]In a similar vein, Joesten assertedin Johnson the Assassin that LBJ “usurped presidential power in November 1963 by backing the conspiracy to assassinate his predecessor.”[5]By the end of 1966, innuendo regarding Johnson had become so commonplace that it was acceptable for a respected, if left-wing, magazine to claim in all seriousness that “if the evidence against Johnson is too weak to stand on its own feet, it is still stronger than the framed case against Lee Oswald.”[6]Indeed, inside the Johnson White House in late 1966, one of the many concerns regarding William Manchester’s forthcoming book was that Manchester’s pejorative depiction of Johnson would inadvertently feed the burgeoning belief that the president had some role in the assassination of his predecessor.[7]

The high point of the allegation about Johnson’s involvement, in retrospect, occurred in November 1967, when New Orleans district attorney Jim Garrison was the featured guest speaker at a Los Angeles convention of radio and television newsmen.Garrison famously asked the “Qui bono?” (Who benefits?) question, and then answered it:“The one man who has profited most from the assassination—your friendly president, Lyndon Johnson!”[8]It should always be kept in mind that Garrison represented a watershed in conspiracy thinking.Prior to his arrival on the scene in February 1967, not even the Warren Commission’s worst critics dared allege that the federal government itselfwas complicit in the assassination.The most serious charge had been that Washington was either incompetent, and/or too worried about where the trail of an alleged conspiracy might lead, to uncover the “real” killers.

As long as Garrison made headlines, Johnson was an integral (albeit subordinate) element in the DA’s grand theory of the assassination, which eventually took the form of a military-industrial/CIA plot against President Kennedy because he refused to fight a ground war in Southeast Asia and in general, end the cold war.In this scheme, Johnson usually played the role of an accessory after the fact.[9]When Garrison’s case against Clay Shaw collapsed in 1969, the DA’s grand conspiracy theory fell into disrepute too and allegations involving Johnson subsided.Thereafter (and until very recently) President Johnson’s involvement would only be alleged sporadically and he would seldom be labeled a primary instigator.His alleged complicity pales, for example, in comparison to the oft-heard allegations regarding CIA involvement.

The point of this historiography is to show that the allegation of Johnson’s complicity is an old one, almost dating back to the assassination itself from the perspective of 2004.Therefore, one might plausibly argue that a balanced documentary treatment of this “theory” is justified.

"The Men Who Killed Kennedy"

“The Men Who Killed Kennedy” (TMWKK) premiered on England’s CentralTelevision network as a two-part documentary in November 1988 to mark the 25th anniversary of the assassination.[10]Three additional episodes were filmed two years later and a sixth episode was added in 1995.[11]For 2003, the 40th anniversary, three new installments (“The Love Affair,” “The Smoking Guns,” and “The Guilty Men”)were added, bringing the total to nine.[12]Initially the series wasbroadcast in the United States on the Arts & Entertainment (A&E) cable channel beginning in September 1991.The venue on A&E was a self-described “news-driven documentary” program called “Investigative Reports,” and for an American audience the British narrator was replaced by the authoritative-sounding, veteran U.S. newsman Bill Curtis, executive producer and host of “Investigative Reports.”[13]The maiden A&E broadcast occurred three months before Oliver Stone’s film “JFK” premiered and became a box-office blockbuster.“We see ourselves as the . . . responsible solution to the dialogue,” Curtis said at the time.[14]

TMWKK appeared on A&E until 1993, the 30th anniversary of the assassination.After 1993 there seems to have been a lull of two years, after which TMWKK resurfaced beginning in 1996 on the History Channel.[15]Insofar as I am aware, TMWKK is one of the most frequently-televised and highest-rated franchises on the History Channel.Presumably it is

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James Feliciano - 3/16/2008

If the above link(s) no longer allows you to go there, then try this:
http://www.cia.gov and type in Max Holland in the [SEARCH] box on the official CIA website.

James Feliciano - 3/16/2008

THE POWER OF 'REAL' DISINFORMATION: "What's white, is black. What's black, is white."

Max Holland's link to CIA:


Jim R. Feliciano - 7/9/2004


How the (controlled) propaganda machinery within the U.S. media came to accept and endorse (fully) the false story of the Warren Commission's "lone-gunmen" hypothesis, then, and still to this day:


Jim R. Feliciano - 7/4/2004

re-post link:

Jim R. Feliciano - 7/4/2004

In order that the reader may understand of the very 'mind-set' to which Max Holland had engendered (and selfless ascribed to) against those who would stand to refute, question, and would attempt to contradict the "official" findings of the Warren Commission, read the following article (a copy which I have) that firs appeared in the NEW YORK TIMES, in November, 1977:

'Allusions to plot'
"CIA tries to stem JFK death theories"
[c. 1977; N. Y. Times News Service]

The CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY has often argued that it's worldwide PROPAGANDA EFFORTS are intended only to alter the climate of public opinion in other countries and that any "fallout" reaching the "eyes and ears" of Americans is both unavoidable and unintentional.

But a CIA document [CIA #1035; April 1, 1967] recently declassified under the Freedom of Information Act (at the time), provides a detailed account of at least one instance in which the agency mustered it's propaganda machinery to support an issue of far more concern to Americans, than to citizens of other countries.

This was the (agency support) of the WARREN COMMISSION (conclusion) that LEE HARVEY OSWALD ALONE WAS RESPONSIBLE for the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

In a CABLE sent to some of its overseas stations and bases on April 1, 1967, CIA headquarters began by recalling that, "from the day of President Kennedy's assassination on, there had been speculation about the responsibility of his murder."

Such speculation, the cable said, was "stemmed for a time" by the release of the Warren Commission's report in early 1964. But, the cable noted, "...various writers have now had time to scan the commission's public records and documents for new pretexts for questioning, and there had been a new wave of books and articles (thru early 1967) criticizing the commission's findings."

"This trend of opinion is a 'MATTER OF CONCERN' to the U.S. government INCLUDING OUR ORGANIZATION", the CIA said, adding that the organization was "DIRECTLY INVOLVED" in the matter because, "among other facts, we CONTRIBUTED INFORMATION TO THE INVESTIGATION."

"CONSPIRACY THEORIES," the cable went on, "have frequently THROWN SUSPICION ON OUR ORGANIZATION, for example, BY FALSELY ALLEGING THAT LEE HARVEY OSWALD WORKED FOR US. THE AIM OF THIS DISPATCH is to provide material for COUNTERING AND DISCREDITING THE CLAIMS of the 'conspiracy theorists', so as to inhibit circulation of such claims in other countries."

The CIA was careful to caution its stations overseas, NOT TO INITIATE a discussion "of the assassination question" where such a discussion was "not already taking place." But where such discussions were under way, CIA officers abroad were DIRECTED TO DISCUSS THE PUBLICITY PROBLEM "WITH 'LIAISON and FRIENDLY ELITE CONTACTS', especially 'POLITICIANS AND EDITORS'" and to "EMPLOY PROPAGANDA ASSETS TO ANSWER AND REFUTE THE ATTACKS OF THE CRITICS."


"Point out also," the cable directed, that parts of the CONSPIRACY TALK appear to be generated BY COMMUNIST PROPAGANDISTS."

Two of the strongest critics of the Warren Commission (noted at the time were), EDWARD J. EPSTEIN and MARK LANE, (they) were singled out for (CIA)attacks... "although MARK LANE's book is much less convincing that EPSTEIN's and comes off badly when contested by knowledgeable (counter) critics," the cable said, in reference to LANE's book, "RUSH TO JUDGEMENT," (and) "it is also much more difficult to answer as a whole, as one becomes lost in a morass of unrelated details."

These critics and others, the CIA said, should be depicted as "WEDDED TO THEORIES ADOPTED BEFORE THE EVIDENCE WAS IN," (as) politically or financially "interested" in disproving the commission's conclusions, "hasty or inaccurate in their research, or INFATUATED WITH THEIR OWN THEORIES."

Such critics, the cable advised, 'have often been enticed by an intellectual form of pride, (that) they light on some theory and FALL IN LOVE WITH IT; they also SCOFF AT THE COMMISSION BECAUSE IT DID NOT ALWAYS answer every question with a flat decision (in) one way or another'.

"Actually, the makeup of the commission and it's staff was an excellant safeguard against over commitment to any one theory, or against the illicit transformation of probabilities into certainties."

In what was perhaps a burst of professional pride, CIA headquarters asked that it also be pointed out that "OSWALD WOULD NOT HAVE BEEN any sensible person's choce FOR CO-CONSPIRATOR--he was a 'loner,' mixed up of QUESTIONABLE RELIABILITY to any professional intelligence service."

[End of NY TIMES article]

Review more on these subject related links:

"...Point out also, that parts of the conspiracy talk appear to be generated by communist propagandists."

Obviously, the reader will note the Holland 'posture' still articulates well with the above 1967 agency directive.

Based on this declassified CIA [1035; 4/1/67] memo, it is of no consequent surprise, that Max Holland, still, to this very day, slants aggressively of his insurmountable attacks towards those critics (or anyone for that matter) who has stood well in disputing the commission's own conclusions, and that of it's "official" 1964 (bogus) report.

Again, Max Holland, thruout the years, congratulations... it was you who served your "master" well:

Jim R. Feliciano - 6/5/2004

Here's one other letter by Peter Dale Scott, which was written to the editor of AMERICAN HISTORY magazine, in regards to an article and (of his derisive) comments written by Holland, against Scott's book on the JFK assassination, DEEP POLITICS.

Dear Editor,

In the June 1994 REVIEWS in AMERICAN HISTORY, you published an essay by Max Holland concerning my book, DEEP POLITICS, which he already attacked in the WILSONIAN QUARTERLY. His article opens with a reference to "fantastic conspiracies through innuendo, presumption, and pseudo-scholorship" (p. 191); it closes with his own innuendo about "palpable, cunningly manufactured falsehoods" (p. 209).

Surely it is gross intellectual cowardice to alledge or imply falsehoods without supporting this accusation. One might have thought that in a 19-page attack on my "opaque prose" and "fevered imagination" (p. 191), there would be at least a paragraph dealing with what I had actually written. I can actually find one dependent clause on the penultimate page, referring to "the fantasy that Kennedy was on the verge of pulling out of South Vietnam" (p. 208). Even this is not very close to what I actually wrote: "that in late 1963 Kennedy had authorized an initial withdrawal of... troops... to be substantially completed by the end of 1965" (DEEP POLITICS, p. 24). I went on to note how "time after time"... critics, from LESLIE GELB in the TIMES to ALEXANDER COCKBURN in the NATION, have replaced this verifiable issue of fact by an unverifiable one: whether or not JFK would have pulled the United States out of Vietnam" (p. 25-26). Holland, a long-time NATION editor, has, you will note, once again resorted to this simple trick of devious substitution.

Why do we find in an academic journal the turgid rant and wildly mixed metaphors ("unfathomable crossroads," p. 193) of the Nation? Holland demonstrates at the outset that he has done no basic research on Oswald, whom he believes to be the only important person in this case. He writes that... "prior to that Friday [November 22, 1963], no one called him Lee Harvey Oswald" (p. 193). In fact he had been called Lee Harvey Oswald in newspaper accounts of his 1959 defection to the USSR (and 1962 return) in the New York Times, Washington Post, New York Herald Tribune, Washington Star, Fort Worth Press, etc., to name only some of those press accounts filed under "Lee Harvey Oswald" by the FBI, ONI, Texas Department of Public Safety, etc. (It is true that the CIA chose for it own reasons of state to label one of its three files on Oswald "LEE HENRY OSWALD," but Holland would be very foolish to adduce this as proof that the CIA Oswald was unimportant). The very first State [End page 564] Department cable from Moscow (1304 of 10/31/59) referred to "Lee Harvey Oswald," and this cable was also filed by other federal government agencies, as well as reproduced in the Warren Commission volumes (18 WH 105). Holland's theorizing about the ignored Oswald's supposed "desire to prove his central importance" (p. 199) is based on, and mislead by, perverse secondary sources -- notably GERALD POSNER's CASE CLOSED.

Holland also has it wrong when he says that "the FBI and CIA had lied by ommission (my italics) to the [Warren] Commission" (p. 204).
Officials of both agencies had lied in much more constructive ways, to the Commission as well as to each other. The CIA for example supplied a radically falsified version of "Lee Henry Oswald" 's 201 file, which RICHARD HELMS then certified to be accurate and complete. The FBI falsely denied a pre-assassination contact with Oswald, and compounded possible perjury about this (5 WH 13) with criminal destruction of relevant evidence. (I refer you on this last point to Posner's CASE CLOSED, pp. 214-16.)

In my view, these undisputed falsifications of the record after the assassination (which I did not even bother to mention in my book) are much less significant than the misleading games played with the Oswald files of the CIA and FBI (with innuendoes of a possible KGB plot) just before the assassination. I gave prominent place to these in my book, and Holland, predictably, ignores them. The newly released documents prove the pre-assassination deceptions to be far worse than I described them. Given these facts, it is surprising that an academic journal supposedly committed to inquiry, shortly after tens of thousands of important new documents have been deposited in the National Archives, would publish Holland's fatous excuse for not bothering to look at them (they "ultimately will only prove one thing: the Warren Commission got it right"-- p. 208).

There is only one quotation in Holland's essay about Oswald from an actual Oswald contact: a Dallas assistant district attorney (Bill Alexander), who complained that Oswald was so smug "I was going to beat the shit out of him" (p. 201). This quotation is much more revealing than it sounds. It is taken from GERALD POSNER's CASE CLOSED (p. 345), the latest rehash of the Warren Report for true believers. Alexander is not just a proven liar (as are so many of Posner's preferred sources) he is, only three pages later in Posner's book, a self-admitted liar!

Posner is a lawyer, and we are quite used to seeing lawyers turned to known liars for facts they cannot obtain elsewhere. But why is a self-admitted liar quoted as a source in a supposedly reputable academic journal?

In the first chapter of my book I noted how the Kennedy assassination, and related topics such as Kennedy's late 1963 authorization of troop withdrawal, [End Page 565] had become for many disreputable and indiscussable topics (pp. 12-16). Even so, I was dissapointed to see those who have published me attacked vigourously for doing so by a major academical journal. I continue to believe that it is the job of the academy to open minds, not to close them.

Peter Dale Scott
Professor of English


Max Holland, thruout the years, it is you who has served your "master" quite well:

Jim R. Feliciano - 5/23/2004


"There is something peculiarly sinister and insidious in even a charge of disloyalty. Such a charge all too frequently places a strain on the reputation of an individual which is indelible and lasting, regardless of the complete innocence later proved."


Here below, is an interesting letter sent to Max Holland, which appeared--by virtue of Dr. David W. Mantik's own written hand--is the following excerpt was excised from his journal [Addendum 2, My Response to Max Holland] as titled, "THE SILENT HISTORIANS":

In THE NATION (7 December 1998) Max Holland claimed that there was only an armful of books of lasting value on the assassination, which he listed. Given Holland's bias, it was hardly surprising that none of these books makes a serious case for conspiracy. Each book, in my view, either is seriously flawed (Holland even admits about this one), riddled with errors of fact, or grossly biased. All are now hopelessly out of date. Serious--even devasting--critiques of these books have appeared elsewhere; it is outside the scope of this essay to itemize these critiques. Surprisingly, though, during Holland's rather long discussion, he scarely mentions the medical evidence--the primary decisive evidence--so I thought it wise to remind him of this. My letter (David W. Mantik) appears below. It was never published and Holland never acknowledged it. A friendly note from Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., suggested that a reply from Holland, even if informal, would have been appropriate.

To date only silence has reigned.

Such silence, particularly when preceded by embarrassing, but authentic, questions about this case, has become the signature trademark of the historians, and, journalists alike.

13 December 1998
Letters to the Editor, THE NATION
13 Irving Place
New York, New York 10003
Re: "The Docudrama That Is JFK", by Max Holland

Dear Editor:

Mr. Holland's (JFK) opus meanders intoxicatingly from piccolo to contra bassoon but only fleetingly sounds the leitmotiv of the assassination, For those who are not tonally deaf, that central theme is heard in the medical evidence.

From the new medical depositions taken by the Assassination Records Review Board (ARRB), we now know that the only recognized autopsy photographer, John Stringer, did not take the autopsy photographs of the brain. A memorandum issued by the ARRB strongly suggests that two different brains were autopsied and that the brain photographs in the National Archives most likely are not those of JFK. My personal (D. Mantik), detailed studies of the autopsy skull X-rays, including an original use of optical densitometry, show virtually no brain tissue in a fist-sized area at the front of the skull, just where the photographs (paradoxically) show nearly intact brain. My measurements are not only consistent with the conclusion of the ARRB, but actually anticipated them by several years.

The shot (or shots) to the head pose even worse conundrums for Holland. If he agrees with the pathologists that JFK was struck low on the right rear of the skull, he then has no explanation for the obvious trail of metallic debris that lies more than 4 inches higher. Alternately, if he concludes that a bullet entered much higher, he must than believe that all three qualified pathologists were wrong by 4 inches, and that an absurdedly unique event occured in the history of ballistics--namely than an internal 6.5 mm cross section of a bullet was sliced out and then migrated 1 cm lower and stayed there. In addition, and after all this, he must also believe that the trail of metallic debris still lies well above his proposed entry site. No ballistic expert has ever testified to seeing so much nonsense from one bullet.

Even worse for Holland, just within the past year, Larry Sturdivan, the ballistic expert for the 1977-78 Congressional investigation, has insisted that this 6.5 mm cross section cannot represent a metallic fragment at all--thus crippling the central basis for the conclusions reached in prior official inquiries. My own research on the X-rays over the past five years (performed at the National Archives and now published in ASSASSINATION SCIENCE, edited by James Fetzer) agrees with Sturdivan that this object cannot be a real piece of metal. I have, in addition, shown how simple it was in that era deliberately to manufacture an altered X-ray with a 6.5 mm metallic image added to it (so that Oswald's rifle would be incriminated). Finally, at my request the ARRB specifically asked each of the autopsy pathologists under oath if they recalled seeing this flagrantly obvious, 6.5 mm object on the (original) X-rays (taken) during the autopsy. Just as I predicted, none of them could recall this artifact--one that my 7-year-old (nonradiologist) son instantly spotted on the extant anterior skull X-ray.

It is past time for Holland to transport his opus from the baroque era into the modern era. The new themes composed by the ARRB must now be played for a younger audience whose ear canals are not yet encrusted by decades of earwax. The baroque era is over.

Sincerely yours,
David W. Mantik, M.D., Ph.D.
Assoc. Prof. of Radiation Sciences, School of Medicine,
Loma Linda University, Loma Linda, CA
Ph.D., Physics, University of Wisconsin, 1967
M.D., University of Michigan, 1976
Board Certified by the American College of Radiology, 1980

[End of Addendum 2 article; by David W. Mantik]

For further read on (the "real") Max Holland:
"Max Holland Saves The Warren Commission And The Nation"

Steve Brody - 4/11/2004

“JFK assassination industry” is an accurate term. I used to refer to it as a “cottage industry”. It is, in fact, an assembly line.

This industry has cranked out hundreds of different theories, most mutually exclusive. Since only one can be correct, it makes some sense to believe the one that is supported by the most evidence: Lee Harvey Oswald, acting alone, shot JFK.

Sheldon M. Stern - 4/10/2004

Max Holland deserves the support of all serious historians for perservering in the face of the endless nonsense coming from the assassination industry. His forthcoming history of the Warren Commission, of course, will not satisfy those who routinely invent "evidence" (as in the dreadful Nigel Turner "documentary".) Several years ago, for example, a friend told me to look at a claim on the Internet that aliens were involved in the events in Dallas (no, I'm not kidding!). After reading this hilarious drivel, I emailed the author and asked for her evidence. I later used her answer as the title for an article: "Evidence! Evidence! That's all you people talk about is evidence."

Peter R. Whitmey - 4/8/2004

Has Prof. Holland considered the possibility that powerful individuals in Texas, who feared LBJ would be dropped from the ticket because of the growing Bobby Baker scandal, plotted to kill JFK without informing Johnson?

George Pangborn - 4/8/2004

Max Holland owes Gregory Burnham an apology for disputing Burnham's assertion that the CIA was not intended to be used for Bay of Pigs type operations.

On unnumbered page 6 of Terry Reed's book "Compromised", he posted a 10 June 1964 letter written by Harry S. Truman to the editor of Look magazine.

The text of the letter reads:

"Dear Mr. Arthur:
Thank you for the copy of LOOK with the article on the Central Intelligence Agency. It is, I regret to say, not true to the facts in many respects.
The CIA was set up by me for the sole purpose of getting all the available information to the President. It was not intended to operate as an international agency engaged in strange activities.
Sincerely yours,
s/Harry Truman"

Mr. Holland it is you that doesn't know what he is talking about.

George Pangborn
Burnet, Texas

Kenneth T. Tellis - 4/6/2004

Every time I read about the JFK assassination, I read stories from all and sundry, but who is to say which story bears anything close to the reality of that happening on November 22, 1963? How can anyone be sure who the real culprits are? Perhaps there will never be closure to the assassination.