This column is being written two days past deadline on Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, Nov. 22. The date explains the delay. For those not old enough to remember, today is the 44th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. I’m running late because I’ve spent the last three days getting bleary-eyed reading JFK conspiracy web sites–It happens every November!
Perhaps because I am old enough to remember (I was 12 on that fateful day), I’ve always had a fascination with what has been called the Crime of the Century. The killing of a young President was bad enough, but what came next has forever sown the seeds of doubt about what really happened. Like millions of others, I witnessed the murder of alleged assassin Lee Harvey Oswald by Jack Ruby live on national television.
Even a cursory look at Ruby’s background throws much doubt on the cover story that he was a Kennedy-loving patriot out to avenge the murder of his hero. Ruby may have been a patriot, but it’s hard to sell that as the primary motivation for someone who was the owner of a sleazy Dallas strip club and had traveled to Havana at the invitation of mob friends at least once.
Once you go down the rabbit hole of conspiracy theories it can be tough to get back to the surface. And once you realize how many enemies Kennedy had in 1963 Texas, it’s a wonder that more people weren’t hit in the crossfire in Dealey Plaza that day.
A short list of people who wanted JFK dead would include Cuban exiles who were upset over Kennedy’s failure to supply promised air support for the aborted Bay of Pigs invasion; their CIA controllers who were fired for launching the raid in the first place; the Mafia who were double-crossed and prosecuted by AG Bobby Kennedy after helping elect his brother (and also wanted to get back into Cuba); the Military-Industrial complex who were angry at Kennedy’s decision to withdraw from Vietnam; LBJ who was about to be dumped as a running mate because of persistent financial scandals that were under investigation; Oil men mad at JFK’s proposal to cut the oil depletion allowance which would have cost them millions, bigots angry at Kennedy’s support for civil rights legislation, and possibly even Jackie for all of her husband’s philandering!
No wonder that analysis of photos taken on Elm Street that day allegedly show a rogue’s gallery of every spook and black ops agent ever known. In addition to those caught on film, it was also reported that most of the future Watergate burglars and future Presidents Richard Nixon and George H.W. Bush were in town that day.
Of course, seeing is believing, and for many years the gold standard of what really happened during those much disputed seconds in Dallas was the Zapruder film. Just when the Warrenistas had seemed close to finally proving that Oswald really was the lone gunman, however, along comes some very serious questions about the authenticity of that film. Could it have been doctored by cover-up artists seeking to hide the truth? I don’t know, but the evidence is disturbing.Try googling it.
Regardless of all that, it seem increasingly likely to me that Oswald told the truth when he said “I didn’t kill anybody, I’m just a patsy.” I tend to believe the reports that he was a paid FBI informer who was “sheep-dipped” in New Orleans to make it appear that he was anti-Castro.
His main job was informing on renegade Cubans who Kennedy had ordered the FBI to shut down after the Bay of Pigs, but he may have been allowed to infiltrate the assassination plot, by those wanting to compromise that agency. How better to control an investigation than by framing an active FBI contact?
One of the more disturbing elements to me personally that my recent reading (and viewing) has uncovered is the allegation of George Bush 41’s involvement in the plot. This stems from a memo that J. Edgar Hoover drafted about the assassination in which he describes briefing “George Bush of the CIA.” Bush has always denied that he was involved in the CIA before being named Director in 1975, but isn’t that standard operating procedure?
I find it hard to believe that the genial man we hosted in our home when he spoke at the Wadsworth lecture in 1999, could be the mastermind of the Crime of the Century and involved in many other nasty things as well, but those were different times. After Russian missiles were discovered in Cuba in 1962, it’s understandable why many felt it was in the national interest to eliminate Fidel Castro.
Studying the Kennedy assasination is a great way to learn about politics and the history of our country. Suffice is to say there are many dark truths which are generally not taught in our grade schools. For those who like their trails less cold, I recommend you read up on the deaths of Vince Foster and Ron Brown during the Clinton years.
If nothing else, the battle for truth over these cases, JFK, Watergate, Flight 800, 9/11 and many more controversies should teach us not to always trust our own eyes or believe the conventional wisdom.