Gatekeepers of the Lincoln assassination

Meet Edward Steers, Jr., one of the leading propagandists who wants to keep a lid on the Lincoln assassination by looking in all the wrong places. Steers is not an independent researcher and his subjectivity is splashed all over the pages of his rambling book, Blood on the Moon.

Steers notes that only three books on the assassination have been written by academics in the field, while all the others are written by armchair historians, many of whom  portray “Lincoln’s secretary of War, Edwin Stanton….as orchestrating the murder of his president.” According to him, “Such a theory is based on flawed and even fabricated evidence, all designed to titillate the reader and create a type of shock history that, although financially rewarding to the author, misleads.” Steers does not use evidence to support these conclusions, and refers to any attempt to investigate the Radicals as “silly.”

Steers has a close relationship with Roger Norton who runs the largest online Lincoln forum. He seems closely associated with as the Surratt society as well, the volunteer organization that serves as a gatekeeper on assassination research. This crew doesn’t seem interested in breaking the case open, and lead debate of who was responsible in circles going nowhere. Steers’ books are filled with the most amazing prejudices and flights of fancy and he portrays any attempt to analyze the role of the Radical Republican cabal (who hated Lincoln with a purple passion) as meaningless. This is transparent propaganda at work.

I was absolutely floored by the hostile reception my book on the assassination received from the director of the Surratt society and of course Norton himself made no secret of his disgust for my theories and research.

What this crew does is run people around in circles debating the role of Mary Surratt and Dr. Samuel Mudd, both of whom were undoubtedly part of the Confederate underground in Maryland and assisted that underground whenever they could. But by focusing on these two characters (while also claiming that Jefferson Davis was also involved in the plot), they have tried to keep a lid on any real investigation. I don’t understand their motives, but I can assure you they’re not the least bit interested in investigating the cabal that really killed Lincoln, and will ridicule any attempts to do so.

In fact, the military tribunal that hanged Surratt and put Mudd in jail was not a legitimate trial, but a sham stuffed with fakes, forgeries and perjuries. It’s a fluke this was even discovered, and would not have been revealed if not for one honest Congressman named Andy Rogers, who was able to cross examine the key witnesses who testified at the tribunal at a later Congressional investigation, and many of them folded and confessed to receiving coaching and considerable money for their testimony from Sanford Conover. Why is this Congressional investigation virtually unknown by most Americans, who assume the original trial was legitimate?

When you have a trial so filled with manipulations and deceits, the first person that should be investigated is the one orchestrating the trial, because they are most likely involved. Yet, Steers takes the approach Stanton is above all reproach, and this is the attitude of most on Norton’s forum it seems, since so many immediately attacked me without bothering to read my book or consider my evidence.

We’re reaching a tipping point with this case and with the 150th anniversary almost upon us, I’m hoping the anniversary can help open some minds. Just like the JFK assassination was changed forever when the Zapruder film was finally shown on national television (convincing millions in an instant that Kennedy was shot from multiple directions), the release of The Conspirator by Robert Redford a few years ago opened my eyes to the hoodwinks employed by the tribunal to convict Jefferson Davis, Mary Surratt and Dr. Mudd.

But after that Congressional investigation revealed the truth, many American finally realized Surratt and Mudd had been railroaded by a kangaroo court, and even though they were Southern sympathizers, they had no hand in Lincoln’s assassination, which is why Andrew Johnson had Mudd released from prison, while admitting regrets over the hanging of Surratt.

Let freedom ring and the truth be told from every mountain top. Lincoln’s assassination was an inside job.

A nest of spooks controlled the Lincoln investigation

Meet Joseph Holt, a lawyer educated in Bardstown, Kentucky, who moved into the upper echelons of power under President James Buchanan, along with fellow Democrat, Edwin Stanton.
Holt was Secretary of War under Buchanan, a position Stanton would hold under Lincoln. War, it should be noted, is the greatest profit producer known to man, and Secretary of War is the key man deciding who profits most.

Recently, I watched Robert Redford’s The Conspirator, a film that reveals how Mary Surratt was railroaded onto the gallows by a kangaroo court after Lincoln’s assassination. The film encouraged me to peer deeper into the case, and I’ve been astounded by what I’ve uncovered in one week assembling primary documents available free online. Thanks to hundreds of citizen researchers, this case is probably the most heavily documented murder trial in history. In the late 1930s, a professor in Chicago published a book suggesting Stanton was involved in the assassination, and marshaled considerable evidence to support this claim, some of which has been disputed. But after watching Redford’s film, I became sympathetic to this theory, because it certainly was a kangaroo court.

Little known today is the fact public sentiment turned against Stanton and his tribunal after its key witness, Sandford Conover, was unveiled as a chronic perjurer. In fact, much of the eyewitness testimony at the trial appears manufactured and the chief investigator, Lafayette Baker, was notorious for manufacturing evidence and accepting bribes, while his boss Stanton had become quite expert at arranging convictions.
Conover was eventually unmasked as Charles Durham, a New York lawyer and double or possible triple agent who had been posted inside the Confederate War Department briefly and had posed as a journalist writing simultaneously for both sides. Historians are still trying to unravel all the various identities he created during the war.
Forgotten today is the fact Jefferson Davis and the heads of the Confederate Secret Service were proclaimed guilty of fomenting the assassination by President Andrew Johnson before the trial commenced. In response, they accused Johnson as being the instigator, as Johnson seems to have benefited most, and Booth had left his calling card at Johnson’s hotel before the assassination, a detail that convinced Mary Todd Lincoln of Johnson’s guilt. That theory conflicts with the allegation Johnson was slated for assassination along with Secretary of State Seward that night. Although the military tribunal sold that story to the nation, there remains zero evidence anyone ever intended to assassinate the Vice President.

Check out the trial transcript and I think you’ll be amazed at the obvious manipulations. The first third of the trial involved crimes fomented by Davis and the Confederate Secret Service located in Canada, and had nothing to do with the people on trial. Those poor saps were all fringe characters who had the misfortune of knowing John Wilkes Booth and being Southern sympathizers. Booth was dead, so there was little hope of moving up the chain to discover who financed the complex operation, and Booth was discovered with a large amount of cash. And Booth’s acquaintances were held in solitary confinement with hoods permanently placed over the heads so anything they might have known wasn’t going to leak out.

But once Conover was unmasked as a serial liar, the credibility of Holt’s military tribunal was put in doubt, and the fact neither Jefferson nor any Confederate officials were put on trial only supported the conclusion the trial had been rigged to hang patsies so real criminals could walk free.

Secret societies were very popular during the Civil War. Some, like the Knights of the Golden Circle, were masonic spin-offs possibly created by high-ranking masons who wanted to launch operations without casting shadows on their primary lodges. Albert Pike was the most powerful mason in America at the time, and although he was from Boston, Pike became a Confederate General and organized Indian raids on civilians during the war.

One powerful secret society was located in New York City, the Order of the Star Spangled Banner, created to protest the arrival of Irish, Italian and German immigrants into North America, especially Catholics. This movement become national and launched the powerful “Know Nothing” political party, so named because of the response members were instructed to give when questioned about the society. Thaddeus Stevens became an important member of that society.

Many conspiracy theories were floated right after the assassination, possibly by Stanton himself as he controlled the press in Washington. The official story was that Jefferson Davis had masterminded the plot in revenge for losing the war, but many were led to believe it was a Catholic conspiracy based on John Surratt and his mother being Catholic. Many intelligent Americans, however, probably suspected Stanton, since he was cited as the most unpopular man in the country by some newspapers. This theory would not re-emerge until the late 1930s.

After the hanging of Mary Surratt, the country was left with a sour taste since she was the first woman executed in American history and now it looked like she was set-up and innocent of all charges.

Holt became so dishonored by public sentiment he eventually published a pamphlet to clear his name in which he accused Jefferson Davis of fomenting a campaign to destroy his credibility by planting the spy Conover in his case. That document is available here:

https://archive.org/details/vindicationofju3693holt
Later on, Holt would write another book about the assassination, but this one accused the Vatican of fomenting the plot.



The Conspirator: an overlooked film on Lincoln’s assassination

I just watched a film about the Lincoln assassination on Netflix. It’s a Robert Redford production that was released a couple of years ago, but it didn’t even hit my radar back then. But the film certainly strikes some timely chords today.

The Conspirator shows how Secretary of War Edwin Stanton completely controlled the investigation into Lincoln’s assassination, which concentrated only on finding minor characters on the fringe of the conspiracy, but did nothing to locate the actual figures in command of the situation. I’ve written earlier about the possible involvement of Albert Pike, a Confederate General, in Lincoln’s assassination. At some point, the possibility of a much larger conspiracy will have to be addressed. Pike, after all, was the most powerful Mason of his time. Lincoln was not a member of the Masons. But Edwin Stanton certainly was.

Today many people seem to think John Wilkes Booth acted alone because that’s the only way political assassinations in this country are spun—probably to protect the guilty—but, in fact, the plot also included an attack on Secretary of State William Seward. Some people think Seward was marked for death in order to engineer the line of succession, but at the time of the assassination, the Secretary of State was not even in that line, which, by the way, has been re-tooled several times over the years.

In the movie, the conspirators are tried by military tribunal and experience none of the rights of a civilian trial. The film adeptly shows how Stanton cared little for civil rights. His only concern was to get some people hanged and hanged quickly. After this sham trial, a law would be passed insuring the rights of every American citizen to due process and a fair trial—even in times of war. Unfortunately, those rights seem to have been rescinded by the Patriot Act.

Hopefully, someday our rights to a fair trial will be returned. I’m sure future generations will look upon the Patriot Act and everything that followed, including the current sham trial taking place in Guantanamo Bay, with horror. After railroading Mary Surratt onto the gallows, the government was unable to convict her son John in a civilian trial 16 months later after he was captured following an extensive manhunt. John had participated in a failed attempt to kidnap Lincoln with Booth and then fled the country after discovering the plan had switched to an assassination plot. If a civilian court could not find John Surratt guilty, it’s doubtful his mother would have ever been convicted in a legitimate trial.

There are many stories told that Booth escaped, though, and the others were just patsies, since some members of Booth’s famous family have always asserted Booth did not die in a fire in a barn outside Port Royal as the government asserts, but, instead, another’s charred body was substituted and Booth walked free. Booth’s dentist ID’d the teeth in those charred remains as being Booth’s and the corpse did have a broken ankle, which Booth may have suffered after jumping to the stage following the assassination, although his diary claimed that happened later, during the escape when his horse slipped and fell. The mysteries linger. But I believe it was Booth who died in the barn, and he was killed to prevent him from spilling the beans on who actually paid for the assassination. We just know it involved a New York element.