Conspiracy Theories and the Kennedy Assassination.

Nov 22

November 22, 2013 marks the fiftieth anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, one of the darkest days not just in American history but world history.

It wasn’t the fact it was the last time an American president was killed by an assassin nor the horrific act itself which makes this such a jarring event. What makes it stick in the memories of those old enough to remember the event, as well as fascinates those too young to remember it, is it marked the ending of America’s modern innocence.

A young president over halfway through his first term was murdered in cold blood, bringing to an end not only the mythical “Camelot” of his administration, but also the feeling of that particular generation that it could do anything.

Kennedy’s death marked a true turning point for America. Until then, the country was enjoying its post-World War II boom. While the fear of the Soviet Union (later revealed to be a paper tiger) was genuine, America was the richest, truest superpower, driving the engine of the world. Anything seemed possible and achievable.

President & Mrs. Kennedy moments before his assassination.

President & Mrs. Kennedy moments before his assassination.

After Kennedy’s death, America was never the same. His passing ended the high water mark for the nation, one they would never return to. Vietnam, Watergate, Iran-Contra, the widening gulf between the rich and poor, 9-11, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and numerous economic problems eroded America’s confidence.

Kennedy’s death remains vivid in that it was the first of the video age, captured in real time by the media of the day. Footage of his murder, filmed by local businessman Abrahan Zapruder with his home video camera, remains embedded in the mind of anyone who watches the brief snippet. The death of a president, his skull exploding as the assassin’s bullet strike it, captured on film for all time.

What’s also kept the memory of The Kennedy Assassination vividly alive over five decades is the cottage industry of conspiracy theories which sprung up following the president’s death.

Polls taken over the decades reveal a majority of people don’t believe the Warren Commission report into the assassination which claimed Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone in killing Kennedy. Instead, they believe the president was the victim of a conspiracy to assassinate him.

All of these theories have their basis in that snippet of film shot by Zapruder of the moment when the fatal shot struck Kennedy’s head, which appears to snap back and to the left at the moment of impact. That’s seen as proof positive of a second gunman behind the so-called “grassy knoll” in Dealey Plaza.

The physics of a rifle bullet striking a human skull from behind will force the skull to literally explode from the pressure of exiting bullet and brain was the reason for Kennedy’s head snap. At the exact moment of impact, his head drives forward a split-second before the resulting explosion of his skull by the exit wound drives it back and to the left.

Many people seize on the head snap, the so-called pristine magic bullet, the multiple wounds to Kennedy and Governor Connolly, supposedly human shapes or puffs of smoke seen from the grassy knoll, echoing sounds and confusion at the moment the shots were fired, Oswald’s ability to operate the Italian-made bolt-action carbine, the angles and trajectories of the supposed paths of the bullets, and much more as “proof” that Oswald either had one or more accomplices, or that he was actually innocent and made a patsy (as he proclaimed in the Dallas jail following his arrest). Oswald’s own death at the hands of Jack Ruby further stokes the theory he was silenced to prevent him revealing his accomplices.

All of this circumstantial, shaky “evidence” has been cited for decades by conspiracy theorists, and believed by millions who just can’t bring themselves to accept the fact one man could successfully murder the President of the United States.

Once this “evidence” has been presented, the question then becomes who was involved in the conspiracy.

Interestingly, everyone who traffics in the conspiracy theory, while agreeing among themselves Kennedy was the victim of a conspiracy, cannot seem to agree on who was actually behind it.

Some believe it was high government officials – perhaps even involving Vice-President Lyndon Johnson – keen to widen the war in Vietnam who were behind it. Some claim the Mafia had Kennedy “rubbed out” as retaliation for his brother Robert Kennedy’s clamping down on their activities while serving as US Attorney General. Some believe Cuban dictator Fidel Castro had Kennedy murdered either in retaliation over the Bay of Pigs invasion in 1961 or because of the CIA’s attempts to assassinate him . Some believe it was the CIA itself for some dark ulterior motive no one can successfully explain. Some blame the Soviet Union, suggesting then-Soviet Premier Nikita Khruschev ordered the hit to avenge his supposed “loss of face” during the Cuban Missile Crisis the previous year.

Ultimately for the Kennedy conspiracy theorists and those who buy into it, it doesn’t really matter who was behind it, as long as they can make some sort of case “proving” Kennedy was the victim of an assassination conspiracy.

It fits into the Orwellian paranoid mindset that, somehow, we are all being controlled by some shadowy government or figures who “really” run the United States or the world.

The problem with the Kennedy Assassination conspiracy theories, however, is they don’t hold up on close inspection. Every piece of supposed evidence cited by the theorists has been disproven.

The wonderful thing about conspiracy theories, however, is those who perpetuate them can easily dismiss the debunking of their “evidence” as merely a plot, that the shadowy forces (or their heirs, since anyone who would’ve been involved directly in such a plot is either elderly or dead) supposedly behind the Kennedy assassination are protecting themselves. “That’s what they want you to think”, proclaimed the theorists when their “evidence” is ripped apart by facts.

The other factor, of course, is the assumption whichever shadowy group was behind the assassination could keep it secret for five decades without anyone spilling the beans over that period.

Think about it. The CIA couldn’t keep its decades of exploits in Central or South America or in the Middle East quiet. President Eisenhower and the CIA couldn’t keep the U-2 spy plane programme out of the media. Nixon couldn’t avoid Watergate, nor Reagan Iran-Contra, or Clinton the Lewinsky Affair, or George W Bush the missing WMDs in Iraq. All of it made its way to the media. Much has been revealed of the Mafia’s workings in America, often by those who worked within it seeking witness protection. Pretty much every hit made by the Mafia has been traced back to them, often by those who either ordered them or carried them out.

Falling the demise of the Soviet Union the infamous KGB archives were made available for public viewing, but while plenty was revealed about their nefarious activities around the world, there wasn’t a shred of evidence of KGB involvement in the Kennedy assassination.

As for Cuba, Castro was such an isolationist the notion he would actually assassinate an American president and risk the full weight of America’s wrath if he were discovered is laughable.

It’s simply ridiculous to believe that any of these groups, which have failed miserably over the years in hiding any clandestine operations from the public, could have pulled off such a monstrous conspiracy to murder a sitting president and successfully keep it silent for five decades and counting. Surely, at some point, the truth would’ve leaked out.

Daniel Ellsberg was a Pentagon employee who simply took classified information about America’s deepening involvement in the Vietnam and gave it to the New York Times. John Dean, a White House lawyer, effectively blew the whistle on Nixon’s direct involvement in the Watergate scandal. The addled Reagan administration could do nothing to prevent their arms-for-hostages story from hitting the headlines. Bill Clinton’s blowjob from an intern in the Oval Office found its way to the press. George W. Bush’s WMD story blew apart like a sand castle following the invasion of Iraq.

The real, sad truth behind the Kennedy Assassination has nothing to do with war-hungry government officials, or Lyndon Johnson, or mobsters, or Soviet spies, or rogue CIA agents or Cuban assassins.

It was an angry, twisted young American, a nobody who desperately wanted to be somebody, using a mail order rifle, climbed to a high vantage point overlooking the publicly published route of a presidential motorcade through a downtown American city, successfully shooting and killing the American President.

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