The confusion, shock, and pandemonium at the scene of the crime can hardly be overstated. Amidst the sensory assault of roaring motorcycles, wailing sirens, and the highly animated throng cheering the arrival of President John F. Kennedy and his elegant wife, Jacqueline, one of the most momentous events of the 20th century occurred in mere seconds. Eyewitness perceptions varied wildly. Even then there were people making up things. Even then! We were back in the parking lot when it happened!
Skeptics were quick to emphasize the reports of eyewitnesses who seemed to contradict the official conclusion. Several witnesses said they had heard at least four shots fired, while the Warren Commission concluded there had only been three shots, all fired by Oswald. There was a clear consensus, however: 81 percent of the witnesses who expressed an opinion believed there had been precisely three shots.
The next most common opinion—at 12 percent— was two shots. As to the direction the shots came from, the witnesses were undeniably divided. There is one fact that is hard to dispute, however: of the dozens of witnesses who described the sound of the shots, very few you could count them on one hand said that they came from more than one direction.
Click the image to enlarge it. For example, some described a massive blowout to the rear of the head, rather than the right front— forward of the ear—where the autopsy report placed it. Surely, the reasoning goes, these highly trained and experienced professionals could not all be wrong. But they were wrong, and research shows this is not at all unusual. A study published in in the Journal of the American Medical Association examined 46 cases involving fatal gunshot wounds over a five year period.
By comparing the post-mortem findings of a board-certified forensic pathologist to the previous assessments made by trauma specialists, the study found that the trauma specialists made errors about the nature of bullet wounds such as the number of bullets involved and in distinguishing between entrance and exit wounds in 52 percent of the cases. In truth, as with the Dealey Plaza witnesses, the testimony of the Parkland doctors and nurses is highly contradictory and confused. If the eyewitness testimony was less than conclusive, perhaps the technology of photography offered an alternative.
A Polaroid photograph taken by bystander Mary Ann Moorman captured the grassy knoll at almost precisely the instant of the fatal shot to the President. Were my eyes deceiving me? And perhaps my view was better. Utilizing a higher quality source, Lifton would later conclude that this perceived gunman was, in fact, a photographic artifact, not a real person. And then another. And another. And yet another. David Lifton eventually decided that there was a subjective component to all of these perceptions.
Some of the crime scene photographs had more to offer than blurs and shadows. The Warren Commission had never mentioned these characters; surely they could have been up to no good. Once Watergate made national headlines, it was even pointed out that if you looked really hard, two of the three resembled Watergate conspirators Frank Sturgis and E. Howard Hunt—although comparisons of morphological and metric features between the tramps and Sturgis and Hunt would ultimately rule them out as candidates. The story was revived in , when contract killer Charles Harrelson father of actor Woody , was in the midst of a six-hour standoff with Texas police.
High on cocaine and threatening suicide, Harrelson claimed involvement in the Kennedy assassination. The true names of the three men finally surfaced in Dallas police files released to the public in , and journalists were able to confirm their identities, tracking down two who were still alive and a family member of the third, who was deceased. Abrams, and Harold Doyle; they were, in the end, tramps after all. Was he a conspirator signaling to gunmen in the surrounding areas, perhaps?
Or could the umbrella itself have been a sophisticated weapon, as one researcher postulated at length? I wanted to churn the bars. Tippit approximately 45 minutes after the assassination, and TV game show fixture Dorothy Kilgallen. Still, she was passionately interested in the case, told friends she firmly believed there was a conspiracy and that she would find out the truth if it took her all her life.
Few of these deaths were even all that mysterious, contrary to the way they are presented in the Ramparts article.
Watch it again. The President going back to his left. Shot from the front and right. Totally inconsistent with the shot from the Depository. Again—back and to the left… back and to the left…back and to the left. But does this really prove a shot from the front? He attributed the popular misconception on this subject to the dramatic effects employed in television and motion picture productions.
The impact of such a bullet, he explained, can cause some immediate movement of the head in the direction of the bullet, but it would not produce any significant movement of the body. However, in a move strongly contested by several committee members, the HSCA also endorsed the findings of a computer science professor and his assistant, indicating that a shot had indeed been fired from the grassy knoll. While the recording contained no audible sounds of gunfire, the HSCA endorsed the theory that the motorcycle in question was part of the presidential motorcade; and that waveforms of sounds on the tape, as plotted by a computer on a lengthy strip of graph paper, were identical to waveforms of actual test shots fired in Dealey Plaza, three from the Texas School Book Depository and one from the grassy knoll.
There was a high probability, the committee concluded, that a conspiracy had killed John F. Ramsey— found that not only was there no evidence of gun shots on the Dallas recording, but the waveforms identified as shots were actually recorded approximately one minute after the assassination, as voices in the recording indicated that the limousine had already been instructed to head for Parkland Hospital.
Even as the HSCA was confirming the case against Oswald as the lone assassin, doubters were shifting into overdrive, pointing fingers at an ever-increasing cast of conspiracy suspects. While conspiracy theorists insist that their accusations are drawn from evidence, the motley assortment of suspects they have come up with suggests that bias plays a more prominent role.
In fact, a number of associates had warned the President not to travel to Dallas, where U. Suspicions of a right wing plot took a seemingly lethal blow when the suspect—Oswald—turned out to be a self-professed Marxist and ardent supporter of Fidel Castro. In fact, the Soviets could have been none too pleased to learn that the accused assassin was the unstable young man they had reluctantly allowed to defect to Russia in after he attempted suicide in Moscow.
Thoroughly disillusioned with the state of Marxism in the U. To those who were predisposed to certain suspicions, however, little evidence, authentic or otherwise, was really necessary. Dallas assistant district attorney Bill Alexander, incensed by the immediate nationwide condemnations of notoriously conservative Dallas, even spoke of charging Oswald with participation in a Communist conspiracy.
Theories of Oswald as a Communist agent, in fact, would not fare well. While he was an avowed leftist, the simple fact is that other leftists he came into contact with wanted nothing to do with him. His bogus chapter of the Fair Play for Cuba Committee in New Orleans was a one-man operation, complete with documents he created himself.
Conspiracy theories involving secret societies have been with us for centuries, frequently oriented along religious lines. Granted, as secret societies go, the Central Intelligence Agency has two clear strikes against it: first, in contrast to some organizations that have been singled out for suspicion over the years, the CIA undoubtedly exists; and, second, it was not so long after the Warren Commission closed up shop that public revelations of CIA involvement in plans to assassinate foreign leaders began raising questions about precisely who authorized such plots and whether such ruthless methods could conceivably be employed against, say, a highly placed domestic target.
I think they have done a good job. Conspiracy theorists also may find it self-evidently suspicious that President Johnson appointed to the Warren Commission former CIA director Allen Dulles, who had resigned in the wake of the Bay of Pigs. Whose idea was this? One of the originators of the hypothesis that Oswald was not a genuine defector but an intelligence agent was author Harold Weisberg. The theory that may well be the most far-fetched nevertheless demands close attention, as it picks upon psychological wounds that, for many who lived through the s and s, never fully healed.
If these conditions were not met, U. Fearing that the turmoil would benefit the Communist insurgents, Kennedy conceived of bringing home one thousand of the sixteen thousand American military advisers as a way of prodding Diem into behaving more leniently. Had the President really decided to withdraw from Vietnam? That would be a great mistake. I even want to think about whether or not we should be there. Keep this in mind. And the 1,man withdrawal—around 6 percent of the total— was just a token that might never have been repeated. Kennedy about Vietnam, and never once did he say anything of this sort to his own secretary of state.
When all else fails, conspiricists can always try to pin the assassination on organized crime. Robert Blakey did. It is a historical truth. The Committee report does not say the Mob did it. I said it. I think the Mob did it. But, as with other suspects, the actual evidence is slim. The conspiracy theorists want to believe everybody but those who really knew him. You have to be crazy to think anybody would have trusted Ruby to be a part of the mob. He was a psycho. He liked the limelight. He was highly volatile.
He liked to be recognized with people, and I would say this to this committee: if Jack Ruby was a member of organized crime, then the personnel director of organized crime should be replaced. The most oft-repeated allegation is that Ruby made a number of phone calls to Mob-connected individuals in the months prior to the assassination, as documented in black and white by his telephone records.
There is no evidence that Ruby had any significant relationship to organized crime or that any of his phone calls or actions were related to a conspiracy. In fact, genuine Mob connections would have been most helpful in his lengthly and frustrating battles with the AGVA. How do we navigate a path through the complex morass of claims, speculation, rumors, and confusion that seems to hopelessly engulf this subject?
We use critical thinking tools to discern the most reliable evidence. Immediately following the assassination, eyewitnesses directed police to two areas in Dealey Plaza: behind the stockade fence on the grassy knoll, from which many thought they had heard shots but where no one had actually seen a gunman and the sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository, where a gunman had been sighted.
Three spent rifle shells were found nearby. A bolt-action, Italian, Mannlicher-Carcano rifle was found stashed between boxes on the opposite side of the floor, on the way to the stairwell. Ballistic markings as distinctive as fingerprints proved that the three shells had been fired from that rifle to the exclusion of all others. One nearly intact bullet and several bullet fragments were recovered from the presidential limousine and at Parkland Hospital; the bullet and the two largest of the recovered fragments were proved by ballistic markings—again, as distinctive as fingerprints—to have been fired from that rifle.
Who owned the rifle? Documentary evidence assembled over the next two days established that the weapon had been purchased through the mail under an assumed name by Lee Harvey Oswald, one of the few Book Depository employees who had not gone outside to watch the motorcade. Oswald had fled the scene of the crime, taken a cab to the room he rented in suburban Oak Cliff, apparently picked up the handgun he had also purchased through the mail, and then killed the first police officer he encountered.
The autopsy of the President—as well as the medical examination of Texas Governor John Connally, who was critically wounded during the shooting but survived—confirmed that the shots had come from above and behind the limousine, not the grassy knoll. Such hypotheses are constructs arising from the a priori assumption that Lee Oswald had been framed by evil forces capable of ruthlessly accomplishing anything they desired—anything, that is, except removing John F.
Kennedy from office by any means other than a public execution in broad daylight. Connally, seated in front of the President. Critics commonly suggest that the scenario was fabricated out of thin air in order to explain how a lone gunman could have fired the shots in the requisite time, as established by the Zapruder film.
According to then-Warren Commission junior counsel and later five-term U. Humes, the pathologist who supervised the autopsy of the slain President, who first voiced the possibility that JFK and Governor Connally had been struck by the same bullet.
If Humes was right, it would explain not only the timing of the shooting, but also where the first bullet that struck the President went after exiting his body as no bullet was found in the car, and there was no damage from such a bullet. Arlen Specter and others serving with the Warren Commission were initially skeptical of the hypothesis, but a reconstruction of the shooting by agents of the FBI and Secret Service in Dealey Plaza affirmed its plausibility. From the side the bullet appears unaltered except for a small amount of lead that has been squeezed past the bottom edge.
But the end-on view reveals the formerly round bullet is far from pristine. Meticulous reconstructions of the shooting by the British Broadcasting Company, the Discovery Channel, and Dr. John Lattimer, as well as highly accurate 3D computer models of the assassination by Failure Analysis Associates, Inc. Though in its incipient stages it was but a theory, the indisputable evidence is that it is now a proven fact , a wholly supported conclusion.
Why did Oswald do it? The Warren Commission heard testimony and examined psychological evaluations from his teen years suggesting he was a greatly troubled individual. Oswald never confessed to the assassination, so it is impossible to state definitively what his motives were.
But when a mentally unstable, radically leftist, violently inclined Castro idolater like Oswald, with aspirations to greatness and a belief in the power of violence to enact political change, murders the man who is at once the personification of a social structure he despises and the man Fidel Castro has singled out as his greatest enemy, and who already made an assassination attempt on Major General Walker, it makes sense.
As author David Aaronovitch discusses in his book, Voodoo Histories , it has become fashionable in recent years to defend conspiracy theories—even politically incorrect to challenge them—regardless of their truth or falsity. So, in that sense, arguing about whether there really had been a conspiracy was not just beside the point, but amounted to an attempt to try and deny the larger alternative truth. This is an approach that dovetails with an intellectual trend, loosely labeled postmodernist or post-structuralist, which has become increasingly attractive to academics and intellectuals in recent years.
One aspect of this inclination is a distrust of normative notions of truth. All accounts of events are essentially stories, and no single account ought to be privileged above another. It is a seductive and not entirely worthless way of looking at the world. They say such and such happened. They create, they make it bigger, they make it better. So, what is history? Who the fuck knows? Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr. The conspiracy theories stem from logical fallacies, not legitimate arguments. Conspiracy theories appear to be a way of reacting to uncertainty and powerlessness.
And, really, where is the harm? We accuse the government of criminal actions; so what? We know agents of the government frequently engage in unethical and illegal acts; so why not point fingers? Is it really such a bad thing if some of the specific charges happen not to be true? Of course it is. Facts matter.
The truth matters. And new research suggests that conspiracy theories in themselves can actually be quite harmful. It gets worse. Research shows that those who believe AIDS was created by the government are less likely to practice protected sex. The result: pockets of measles and whooping-cough infections and a few deaths in places with low child-vaccination rates.
Of course, there is a way out of all this: base your beliefs on facts, not the other way around. To others, it was a time of persistent racial segregation, oppression, and violence; the Cold War and the arms race; and bloody, tragically misunderstood uprisings in Southeast Asia and Latin America. One may find many things to admire about JFK without turning a blind eye to his lack of effectiveness in advancing the civil rights legislation he championed, his secret war against Cuba, or his lapses in judgment with regard to personal behavior that threatened to compromise the integrity and security of his office.
But even if JFK was the white knight some would make him out to be, did his death really reverse the direction of politics in the United States? Conspiratorial accounts of the political shootings of the s as the moment when everything went wrong thus require a certain blindness to the progressive landmarks of that decade and after. In the final analysis as he himself was wont to say , those who seek to honor John F. Though much has changed in the world, we might recall some of the words with which President Kennedy challenged friend and foe alike at his inauguration:.
Let both sides explore what problems unite us instead of belaboring those problems which divide us…. Let both sides seek to invoke the wonders of science instead of its terrors. Together let us explore the stars, conquer the deserts, eradicate disease, tap the ocean depths, and encourage the arts and commerce. And if a beachhead of cooperation may push back the jungle of suspicion, let both sides join in creating a new endeavor, not a new balance of power, but a new world of law, where the strong are just and the weak secure and the peace preserved.
All this will not be finished in the first days. Nor will it be finished in the first 1, days, nor in the life of this Administration, nor even perhaps in our lifetime on this planet.
But let us begin. Download the references in PDF format. Hello there, It was the fall of , I had just barely finished Army Basic Training, I was never any good as a soldier. I was taking a bus to my next Army training station, I had a short layover in Dallas, Texas, while waiting for the next bus, I took a walk. I came to the Daily Plaza, still in my little bubble walking down toward the viaduct when I had that moment of realizing that I was in Daily Plaza, 20 to 30 feet from where JFK was killed. At that moment I turned to the street and visualized the presidential limo, then I turned and looked up at the schoolbook depository building, there was a red circle on the window at that time, I looked down, I looked up, at that moment I knew that it was a lone gunman who had done the deed.
Much was made of Oswald being trained as a Marine, also had difficulty qualifying with his rifle in basic training. I read this with great interest, but found it superificial, even though long and detailed. It seems intent on mocking the theories of others, rather than dealing with the best of their evidence.
It ignores recent evidence that defector from Cuban intelligencne credibly claims he was told to direct his monitoring devices to Texas that morning, rather than toward Miami and Washington, as normal. It ignores some weird behavior by Castro, pointedly wanting to exonerate him and Cuba. It ingores that Oswald tried to call a guy in Raleigh, N.
It ignores a letter Oswald wrote to the Soviet embassy about ten days before the assassination. I realize the author cannot deal with all evidence, but he seems to pick on the weakest of the opposing evidence and arguments, rather than the strongest. I say all this as a believer that the most likely answer is Oswald as a lone gunman. One also certainly could not provide any conspriracy theory beyond a reasonable doubt.
Maybe one could prove he acted alone by a preponderance of the evidence. One could not prove his motive under any legal standard. I had exactly the same thought when I stood at the window and looked down at the street. No marksmanship required. The interest is conspiracy theories is perfectly understandable.
It is essentially a murder mystery. And, if lone gunman Oswald theory is true, it is an exampe of fact being far stranger than fiction. And the single bullet theory, while probably true, is like a one in a million chance that a single bullet would produce that result. Even the explanation above about why the head moved left and back is pretty speculative, after all these years. Very good compilation of the information and the logical conclusions to be drawn from the information. Everyone who looks at the information without any conclusion to be supported before hand just has to conclude LHO did it all by himself.
How did you calculate the odds of the bullet doing what it did to be a million to one? Yes, no calculation on the million to one. The history of Oswald is amazing. He travels this path through the marines, defection to Russia, return to U. I saw the video of Oswalt debating in New Orleans, and he was an intelligent person.
Yet, once he is tabbed as the asssassin, everyone denies any relationship with him. And Ruby, how could a character like him get into the story. The Soviet claim that they did not even interview him? Come on. He may have acted alone, but he sure hack a strange road getting there. I was a conspiracy nut for years but like you, once I sat in the next window to Oswald and looked down, I thought hell I could have made that shot. That began my long slide into understanding that Oswald made two out of three shots, and got lucky with the last one. CIA assassination teams, the mob, Oswald?
Military autopsy facility personnel? The Mob? There would have been so many people in the know, that keeping it a secret would have been near impossible. The S.
Read "The Secret: Edward Wilson And The Government Conspiracy" by Netta Murray Goldsmith available from Rakuten Kobo. Sign up today and get $5 off your. This book suggests a solution to an episode that has remained a mystery to this day. It is a story involving a king, his mistress, one of Princess Diana's ancestors.
I can see by the film that JFK had to be shot from the front because when he was hit the back of his skull landed on the car behind him, that is when his wife got up on the trunk of the car to retrieve it. I used to hunt when I was a kid in Ohio and never saw something when hit come back in the direction of the projectile. This is ludicrous On top of all that if one bullet did all that damage it would not look like it does in the picture, after all lead bullets when hitting bones distort.
Remember also when does are government ever tell the truth? Lets take one of the critical conspiracy assumptions, Ruby. If just a loyal soldier, he was expected to throw his life away while everyone else in the conspiracy got away? He was close enough. Never heard of a hit man shooting someone in the stomach.
Like me! There is abundant evidence of a grassy knoll assassin; ear, eye, olfactory witnesses remember the police officer who smelled gunpowder? I understand that you were firmly planted in the conspiracy camp — indeed — I wonder what could have changed your mind? Maybe being a big fish in a small pond?
Why make that stupid turn up Houston and down Elm right by Oswald. Simple answer… there was no change. Look at a map people. Either way through, Oswald still has his shot. While I admit we may never know for certain what did happen in Dealey Plaza that day, there are problems with this conspiracy theory. It seems highly unlikely. The depredations and the iniquities of the Federal Reserve Board and the Federal Reserve banks acting together have cost this country enough money to pay the national debt several times over. Some people think the Federal reserve banks are United States Government institutions.
They are not Government institutions. They are private credit monopolies which prey upon the people of the United States for the benefit of themselves and their foreign customers, foreign and domestic speculator sand swindlers, and rich and predatory money lenders. Those 12 private credit monopolies were deceitfully and disloyally foisted upon this country by bankers who came here from Europe and who repaid us for our hospitality by undermining our American institutions.
Those bankers took money out of this country to finance Japan in a war against Russia. They created a reign of terror in Russia with our money in order to help that war along.
They instigated the separate peace between Germany and Russia and thus drove a wedge between the Allies in the World War. Every effort has been made by the Federal Reserve Board to conceal its power but the truth is the Federal Reserve Board has usurped the Government of the United States. Chairman, when the Federal reserve act was passed the people of the United States did not perceive that a world system was being set up here which would make the savings of an American school-teacher available to a narcotic-drug vendor in Macao. They did not perceive that the United States was to be lowered to the position of a coolie country which has nothing but raw materials and heavy goods for export.
That Russia was destined to supply man power and that this country was to supply financial power to an international superstate--a superstate controlled by International bankers and international industrialists acting together to enslave the world for their own pleasure. Wikipedia has an article about: Conspiracy. Look up conspiracy in Wiktionary , the free dictionary.