It was on Sunday, November 24 that Katzenbach wrote his famous memo to Bill Moyers, although it wasn't sent until the 25th. This is the famous part, and keep in mind that it was written just a few hours after Oswald died.
"The public must be satisfied that Oswald was the assassin; that he did not have confederates who are still at large; and that evidence was such that he would have been convicted at trial."
Now, how could Nicholas Katzenbach possibly claim to know that at that time? And keep in mind that I don't think for one second that he had anything to do with the JFK assassination. He was appointed by John Kennedy, and he was the #2 guy to Robert Kennedy in the Justice Department. There is no reason to think that the plotters tapped him on the shoulder and told him what they were doing. Why would they? What did they need him for? And I'm even more positive that after the assassination, no one tapped him on the shoulder and told him what they did.
So, this Katzenbach is a very good example of the massive and instantaneous "group-think" that occurred after the assassination, and we need to understand the basis for it- how it happened.
The psychological process started with the idea that this was the United States of America. And in the United States of America, we don't have coup d'etats. So, if you were a loyal American, including anyone and everyone who worked for the government, you knew that the government could not have killed Kennedy. You also knew that the military could not have killed Kennedy. Nor could the intelligence agencies. It's not that you dismissed these things from your mind; they never entered your mind.
This was a national crisis; a national emergency. And what do people do in an emergency? They pull together. After the assassination, it was the government that was effectively providing information about what happened, getting to the bottom of it, unraveling it. And they were sharing all this information with the people; keeping them informed. And it was obvious that things were under control, that the rule of law was still in force, and there was no chaos. No chaos, no chaos, no chaos, and all because of the wonderful government. And, of course, Oswald did it. It was his rifle. He had no alibi. He was a disgruntled Communist sympathizer who defected to the Soviet Union and renounced his U.S. citizenship. And he was pro-Castro.
And remember that there was nobody else even on the radar. Just Oswald.
I'm telling you all this to suggest that it was the same mental process that Nicholas Katzenbach went through himself. Of course, he had even more conditioning going on than most Americans because for him, it wasn't just what he was hearing on radio and television from the media. He was getting it first-hand from within what was now the Johnson administration.
Still, why the willingness for someone like him to be so sure right away that Oswald acted alone and had no confederates? It wouldn't have impugned the government or the military or the FBI or the CIA if he had cohorts. In Katzenbach's case, he was being told that Oswald acted alone by people who presumably knew, like Bill Moyers and Cliff Carter. They're the same two guys who called Captain Will Fritz 13x on 11/22 to tell him to shut down the investigation because he had his man.
But, how could they possibly claim to know that? Aren't we supposed to believe that none of them had any knowledge of or gave any thought to Lee Harvey Oswald prior to his arrest at 1:45?
So, how could they be so sure he had no confederates within the hour?
Of course, Moyers and Carter were taking orders from Johnson. They were both part of his "Texas Mafia." But, what about Katzenbach? Why would he be so amenable to thinking that way?
This is where I think the depiction of Oswald on television played a big role. It was very easy to think of him as a loner. The only people who visited him were, supposedly, his brother- a brother who failed to do the very obvious thing that was needed, which was to get Oswald a Texas lawyer. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know all about John Abt, and the claim that Oswald only wanted him. But, I don't believe it, and that's because Oswald repeatedly appealed to the world to help him get legal representation. And when he made his appeals to the world, he asked for legal representation, not for John Abt. And even if it were true that Oswald actually told Robert Oswald that he would accept no lawyer except John Abt, why didn't Robert straighten him out about it? And I mean something along the line of,
"You SHUT the fuck up, Little Brother! You don't need some God-damn New York lawyer; you need a Texas lawyer! Now, here's what's going to happen: and I'm not asking you; I'm telling you: You're going to keep your fuckin' mouth shut. You tell them that you're not saying another word until you have spoken to a lawyer. And I am going to go out now and get you one. I'll be back with him as soon as I possibly can. Until then, you keep your trap shut; don't say another word. And don't even think about defying me because I am in no mood for it. You will be walking on the fighting side of me. You hear me?????"
Now, that's what a real brother would have said. But, Robert Oswald wasn't his real brother. You just have to read John Armstrong to know that.
But, the point is that, the only people who surfaced as notables in Oswald's life were his brother, his wife, and his zany mother. No one else. And everything they were telling us about Oswald suggested that he was a loner about everything. EVERYTHING. They told us that he was a one-man operation in the New Orleans Fair Play for Cuba Committee. They told us that he was a recluse at the TSBD, that he was distant and unfriendly with everybody. They said that he went to Mexico City- alone. They said that he practiced at the Sports Drome Rifle Range- alone.
There he was, being led around the Dallas Police Department in a torn t-shirt. It was late November, and this was Dallas, not Miami. It did prove to be warm that day, but only for a few hours. It was chilly in the morning. And I don't know the temperature that evening, but I do know that big strong cops and FBI agents were walking around the Dallas PD in shirts, jackets, and hats, and they didn't seem like they were warm. Don't you think it got to be a bit chilly in just that t-shirt? But as late as 6:30 PM on the Saturday, I don't mean the Friday, but the Saturday, Oswald was still in just a t-shirt.
The idea that Oswald did it, and did it alone, was VERY APPEALING. If there could be any sigh of relief, it was that there was no internal political crisis going on relating to this, and there was no international crisis going on relating to it either. It was just a lone nut- and one who was now dead. Anyone who disputed that was saying that things were much worse, and that they could get worse yet, and there was no basis to experience any relief at all. The nightmare wasn't over. In fact, the nightmare was just starting.
So, between those two choices, it's hardly surprising that most people were drawn to the lone nut story. And, if you worked for the government, as Kazenbach did, the word spread VERY QUICKLY that the lone nut story was definitely it, and patriotism and loyalty demanded that you support it instantly. It was for America. You supported it for America.
It was like an evolution except a zillion times faster. How fast was it? It was instantaneous. ACCEPTING THE OFFICIAL STORY OF THE JFK ASSASSINATION INSTANTLY BECAME A LITMUS TEST FOR LOYALTY AND PATRIOTISM.
You should think of it as a group-think tsunami. That's what it was.