Friday, January 22, 2010
John F. Kennedy Assassination
On November 22, 1963, President John F. Kennedy was assassinated while traveling in an open top car in a motorcade in Dallas, Texas. Lee Harvey Oswald was arrested two hours later for the murder of officer J.D. Tippit. At 1:35 AM, he was charged with murdering the president. On November 24, 1963, Oswald was shot and killed while being transferred from the Dallas Police Department to the county jail. In 1964, the Warren Commission concluded that they believed Oswald acted alone in killing the president. In 1979, the House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA) agreed with the Warren Commission that Oswald assassinated Kennedy. Polls since 1966 have consistently shown that the public believes that the assassination of John F. Kennedy was the result of a plot, not the act of a lone killer. A majority of people also believe a second shooter was involved. Lets examine some of the conspiracies now.
Many researchers believe the single bullet theory is implausible. After Oswald's rifle was tested by the FBI, they determined that it could only be fired three times within five to eight seconds. Based on eyewitnesses, the Warren Commission determined that only three bullets were fired. One missed the vehicle entirely, one hit Kennedy and passed through Governor John Connally, and the the third bullet was fatal to Kennedy. The weight of the bullet fragments taken from Connally and those remaining on his body supposedly totaled more than could be missing from the bullet found on Connally's stretcher. The trajectory of the bullet that hit Kennedy above the right shoulder blade and passed through his neck (according to the autopsy) most likely would have to change course to pass through Connally's rib cage and wrist.
Another conspiracy involves the witnesses. Thirty-five witnesses who were present at the shooting thought the shots were fired from in front of the president from the Grassy Knoll Area or Triple Underpass while 56 eyewitnesses believed that the shots were fired behind the president, or at least in that direction. 5 witnesses thought the shots came from two directions. Governor John Conally's wife Nellie Conally who was sitting in the presidential car thought her husband was hit by a bullet that was separate from the two that hit Kennedy. Clint Hill, the Secret Service Agent who shielded the president with his body on the way to the hospital said "The right rear portion of his head was missing. It was lying in the rear seat of the car."
Numerous individuals believed that there were suspects in Dealey Park other than Oswald. Many witnesses reported hearing gunfire from the Dal-Tex Building which is located across the street from the Texas School Book Depository and aligned with Elm Street in Dealey Plaza. The House Select Committee on Assassinations found scientific acoustic evidence pinpointing the Dal-Tex building as a possible source of gunfire.
U.S. Marine sniper Craig Roberts and Gunnery Sergeant Carlos Hathcock said that the assassination couldn't be done as described by the FBI. They said that after reconstructing the "whole thing: the angle, the range, the moving target, the time limit, the obstacles, everything. I don’t know how many times we tried it, but we couldn’t duplicate what the Warren Commission said Oswald did. Now if I can’t do it, how in the world could a guy who was a non-equal on the rifle range and later only qualified 'marksman' do it?” According to the autopsy, the hole in the back of Kennedy's shirt and jacket supported a wound too low to be consistent with the Single Bullet Theory.
Another popular theory is the Federal Reserve Conspiracy. Some people believe Kennedy's assassination might have been motivated by the issuance of Executive Order 11110. This gave the Secretary of Treasury the president's authority to issue silver certificates, bypassing the Federal Reserve System. The Reagen Administration repealed this explaining it was an attempt to drain the silver reserves and it did not endanger the careers of anyone working at the Federal Reserve. Craig Roberts, a U.S. marine sniper and veteran police officer theorized it was the beginning of Kennedy's plan to get rid of the U.S. Federal Reserve. He thinks that Kennedy was killed by a group of international bankers determined to make his plan fail. Actor Richard Belzer believes the president was killed in response to his attempts to transfer power from the Federal Reserve to the Treasury Department.
Nearly twelve people were taken into custody in the minutes after the assassination. For the most part, no records of the identities of those arrested were kept. The most famous among those arrested are known as the three tramps. They were three well-dressed and clean shaven men who seemed unlikely to be riding the rails in a boxcar. It is also suspicious how they were quickly released by the Dallas Police before being investigated on whether they saw anything significant related to the assassination. The Dallas Police Department claimed to have lost the records of their arrest as well as their finger prints. In 1989, Dallas Police released files containing the arrest records of the three men. The brief record explained they were known rail-riders riding through Dallas. It indicated that they had slept in a homeless shelter the night before the assassination where they showered and shaved giving them a clean appearance. Apparently, the three weren't involved in the assassination in any way.
U.S. Army Intelligence officer and National Security Agency executive assistant John M. Newman published evidence suggesting the FBI and CIA intentionally tampered with their files on Oswald before and after the assassination in 1995. He claimed to have found information that could have alerted authorities in Dallas that Oswald was a potential threat to the President.
Regarding the Secret Service, the HSCA inferred that the president had not adequately been protected in Dallas. They also noted that they had processed information that was not properly analyzed, investigated, or used in connection with the President's trip to Dallas. The HSCA also concluded that Secret Service agents in the motorcade were not prepared to protect the president from a sniper. This lack of protection can be blamed in part because of Kennedy's request that the Secret Service make itself discreet during the Dallas visit.
Barr McClellan published the book, Blood, Money & Power: How L.B.J. Killed J.F.K in 2003. He claimed that Lydon B. Johnson masterminded Kennedy's assassination with the help of his friend attorney Edward Clark after being motivated by the fear of being dropped from the Kennedy ticket in 1964 and the need to cover up various scandals. The book claims that Kennedy's assassination was paid for by influential people in the oil industry. Madeleine D. Brown who claimed to be a mistress of Johnson believed he was involved in a conspiracy to kill Kennedy. She claimed that the assassination involved dozens of people including the leadership of the FBI and the Mafia as well as well-known politicians and journalists.
John F. Kennedy's assassination was truly a tragedy. The way in which it occurred has made it subject to a lot of conspiracies. It is very hard to grasp that one bullet could penetrate the skin of one man, go through a car seat, and hit another man sitting directly in front. It is also hard to believe how a sniper with little training could successfully shoot bullets with such accuracy while marine snipers with their extensive training couldn't do that in their replicated model of the assassination. There were a lot of potential motives for the assassination. The most powerful leader in the world shouldn't have been riding in a cover less car. I think going to Dallas under such circumstances was a very dangerous decision the president made which was further worsened by his request that the Secret Service be discreet. This was an event that will truly scar the nation and is a call to action on why increased measures are needed to protect the United State's most powerful governmental official. Hopefully, the government will learn from its mistakes and prevent such a tragedy from occurring again because history tends to repeat itself if mistakes are not thoroughly analyzed and learned from.