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It’s been 50 years since the death of John Fitzgerald Kennedy the 35th President Of The United States Of America. His was not a simple death brought on by old age, illness or infirmity. Jack Kennedy’s life came to an abrupt end when he was murdered in Dallas on 22nd November 1963, killed by an assassins bullet. The TV companies are now filling our screens with assorted documentaries about the fateful day many of which will discuss, I have no doubt, the failure of the Secret Service, the impossibility of the shot from the Texas School Book Depository and variously accusing organized crime, the Mafia, Fidel Castro and anyone else they can think of.
Despite Earl Warren’s monumental investigation into the assassination of the President we have seen seen 50 years on theories as to who did what and who the “real” killer(s) were. Critics have castigated the Warren Commission Report as being a whitewash which had the single purpose of pointing guilt at the only suspect 24 year old former Marine, and ex-Soviet defector, Lee Harvey Oswald. I have long been borderline obsessed with the murder of Jack Kennedy reading several books on the subject and yes whole chunks of the Warren Commission Report itself and I too have serious reservations about the report.
It’s flawed, in fact many books about 22nd November 1963 are flawed. I believe the Warren Commission set out believing Lee Oswald to be the lone assassin and worked backwards from the death of the President to prove it. The conspiracy theorists, and believe me the internet has helped them breed like bunnies, start from the viewpoint that Oswald didn’t do it and set out to not only prove or cast doubt on that, but also to lay the blame at someone else’s door. In my opinion that’s not the best way to go about things.
What do I think? I’m not sure anymore. In my youth I never gave the matter any thought. There followed an obsession with the assassination of the 35th President of the USA John Kennedy. I don’t really remember when this all started but when but I saw a book in the library called Six Seconds in Dallas ; A Micro-Study of the Kennedy Assassination by Josiah Thompson and read it, I was immediately hooked and entered into the world of “Black Ops,” Cuba, the Mafia and God knows what else. In the following years I devoured book after book after book and watched documentary after documentary and even Oliver Stone’s myopic movie. I have seen Zapruder’s film more times than I have cleaned my teeth, looked with inexpert curiosity (and “knowledge” and “truths” supplied in whatever book I was reading at the time) at the autopsy photographs. To what end?
To paraphrase Sherlock Holmes the game was afoot as far as I was concerned and I ransacked the library and bookshops for more and more books on the assassination. The book that has influenced me the most has to be “Treachery in Dallas” by Walt Brown. I read this and felt that it tried to look at the available evidence to make some logical assumptions. Walt Brown might not be correct, he may not give any definitive answers, but with so much evidence unavailable that is hardly surprising.
When it comes to the assassination itself, my first interest is not who, if anyone, “authorized” it or put a price on the President’s head. My interest is in the mechanics of it so to speak. How many gunmen, where they were and I’d really like to know who they were., of course Over the years there have been names suggested as to who the gunmen were among them an alleged French mobster Lucien Sarti and a Dallas cop named Roscoe White. There have been more many more of course, including James Files who has confessed to being the Grassy Knoll shooter, but all of these names have been eliminated or the theories discredited. I think my wish to know the names of the guilty will never be fulfilled, but………….
The “official” line is that all of the shots were fired by Oswald from a 6th floor window of the Texas School Book Depository. Is that assertion correct? There are a few things that really puzzle me about this. The key to this for me is the rifle. 6.5 mm Carcano Model 91/38 carbine manufactured in 1940 (!)
He paid $19.95 for it, a real bargain bucket weapon. Call me dumb but this hardly seems to be an appropriate weapon if you intend murdering a President in a motorcade – it just doesn’t. There are those that believe that Oswald never owned this rifle, but the testimony of Marina Oswald and the infamous “Hunter Of Fascists” photograph suggests otherwise. So Oswald owned the rifle and it seems that on April 10 1963 he used it to try to assassinate General Edwin Walker and from 100 feet, missed a stationary target. Walker was poles apart politically from JFK being very right wing and he was behind the “Wanted For Treason” posters circulated prior to JFK’s visit to Dallas. There is evidence that Oswald took a shot at General Walker that seems to be pretty flimsy, but much more compelling on the face of it that he shot JFK, so why Oswald would shoot a man at the other end of the political spectrum, i.e. JFK? To me that defies sense unless the purpose was pure political agitation or Oswald was indeed the “lone nut” as portrayed.
Lee Harvey Oswald himself was an an enigma wrapped in a paradox in every sense. What I have read of him it seems to me that he was an odd character. He wasn’t unintelligent as evidence by IQ scores, but I do believe that psychologically he had serious character flaws. Reading about his life it appears that he jumped from thing to thing quickly becoming bored or disillusioned. It also appears that on occasions he expected to be the centre of attention as if he had an inflated sense of his own importance. This is illustrated perfectly for me when he defected to Russia in 1959. Instead of being a trophy paraded by the Russian hierarchy he was sent of to an electronics factory in Minsk. He quickly tired of that and came running back to America with the terrible excuse that it “was too cold.” Here was young man who’d been a Marine Radar Operator, defected to Russia and come back all by the age of 22.
He’d become a caricature, a nuisance boy who ran from embassy to embassy, and got involved in the “Fair Play For Cuba” committee and handed out leaflets on the street of New Orleans. The “office” address was in the same building as the office of Guy Banister, an ex-FBI agent who was involved in anti-Castro and intelligence activities. Coincidence? Was Banister appealing to Oswald’s vanity by making him a “spy?” The “plot” thickens! Was Oswald a low level intelligence agent trying to get on the inside of this group of *Commie Bastards,* who knows? Is this the first evidence of some kind of plot? Jim Garrison certainly thought so and went after Banister, Clay Shaw and David Ferrie and got nowhere. This investigation formed the basis of Oliver Stone’s (inaccurate) movie “JFK.” So around Oswald there can be a lot of smoke and mirrors if you choose to interpret things that way. Alternatively look at it at face value and see things differently.
The Warren Commission took things at face value.
On the basis of the evidence…the Commission has found that Lee Harvey Oswald
(1) owned and possessed the rifle used to kill President Kennedy and wound Governor Connally,
(2) bought this rifle into the Depository Building on the morning of the assassination,
(3) was present, at the time of the assassination, at the window from which the shots were fired
(4) killed Dallas Police Officer J. D. Tippit in an apparent attempt to escape,
(5) resisted arrest by drawing a fully loaded pistol and attempting to shoot another police officer,
(6) lied to the police after his arrest concerning important substantive matters
(7) (and) possessed the capability with a rifle which would have enabled him to commit the assassination.
On the basis of these findings the Warren Commission concluded that Lee Harvey Oswald was the assassin of President Kennedy. Not exactly the work of Poirot was it?
Me, I’ve always had my doubts as to Lee Oswald’s guilt. However, in the last few years I’ve tried to be a bit more open minded about the whole matter and now I’m sure of one thing. A few people out there are making some serious money from keeping this whole idea of conspiracy alive with their assorted books, videos and so on.
If there has been a cover up and conspiracy, it’s been a cracker
“When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth?”
Sherlock Holmes in “The Sign of the Four”
When I was reading up on all of this I wonder what I was I hoping to achieve? Was a Black Country lad going to solve the conundrum that was the murder of a President? I wrote in November 2011 that an investigation by the National Geographic channel in a programme called “The Lost Bullet” had really put the handcuffs on Lee Harvey Oswald as far as I’m concerned and with that my curiosity came more or less to an end.
A nutjob and wacko really did shoot the President.
End of story.
Or is it?
I am currently re reading all of my books and have moved on from two by Matthew Smith to Gerald Posner’s “Case Closed.” I’m once more consuming all of the theories…..
As a coda to this I watched a demonstration by Penn and Teller that illustrated the head can jerk backwards when hit by a bullet from the rear.
So bollocks to “Back and to the left” Mr. Oliver Stone.
Ciao For Now
Watch and learn
- The CIA Began Linking Oswald to Castro Just One Day After JFK’s Murder (rinf.com)
- JFK: A Conspiracy Theory (corbettreport.com)
- Lee Harvey Oswald: Did He Kill JFK? Did He Act Alone? (thehollywoodgossip.com)
- 8 Things You May Not Know About Lee Harvey Oswald (pbs.org)
- Twenty Reasons to Believe Oswald Acted Alone (scottaaronson.com)
- Here is Why Oswald is NOT the Shooter (mschuettblahblahblah.com)
- John Kerry has doubts Oswald acted alone in the JFK assassination (trailblazersblog.dallasnews.com)
- Is there more to JFK’s assassination? (cnn.com)