“It is virtually not assimilable to our reason that a small lonely man felled a giant in the midst of his limousines, his legions, his throng, and his security. If such a non-entity destroyed the leader of the most powerful nation on earth, then a world of disproportion engulfs us, and we live in a universe that is absurd.”
Saturday, November 22, 2014, marked the 51st anniversary of the Kennedy assassination. An event that occurred, which when taken on par with several other tragedies, for example the Boston marathon bombing, ranks amongst one of the worst events that has ever taken place on American soil. Conspiracy theories are more prevalent than ever these days, thanks to the internet and, of course, social media. I must admit, that occasionally, I find a particular conspiracy theory intriguing. For the most part, however, I dismiss them, as either deluded thinking on the part of the individual espousing them, or, at best, as half truths. However, the Kennedy assassination is the one conspiracy theory that, I must admit, has always held a deep fascination for me.
I guess I have a hard time believing, that one, lone, disgruntled, American, Lee Harvey Oswald was the mastermind behind the operation that killed the then leader of the free world. I am not saying he didn’t take a shot. I am not saying he didn’t want to kill President Kennedy because of his warped psyche. I am stating, however, that I am more apt to believe the claim he made on live television, that he was “a patsy.” I have a much easier time rationalizing that Oswald was part of a greater scheme, orchestrated by more powerful and intelligent individuals. For that matter, I don’t think Sirhan Sirhan, was the lone assassin in the killing of President Kennedy’s brother, Robert Kennedy. That particular view-point of mine, is shared by Vincent Bugliosi, who is most famous for being the prosecutor who sent Charles Manson, and his ‘so called’ family members to jail; many of them originally to death row, only to have their sentences commuted to life in prison, once California changed its laws.
The reason I bring up Bugliosi, in particular, is that he is a vocally staunch opponent, when it comes to entertaining any notion that Lee Harvey Oswald, was not the lone assassin in the murder of President Kennedy. I am not sure why he has to maintain such a steadfast outlook on the possibility that Oswald was not the only one involved in the crime. He is willing to admit that witness testimony, as well as the location of the bullet wounds found on Robert Kennedy’s body, suggest that a possible conspiracy took place regarding the younger Kennedy’s murder. If given a chance to speak with him, I would ask Mr. Bugliosi, why he finds it so difficult, to give credence to dozens of witnesses, who not only saw smoke, but a man running from the area of the infamous grassy knoll, in Delay Plaza, immediately following the fatal head shot, which ended President Kennedy’s life.
Before I go any further, let’s take a step back in history: On November, 21, 1963, John F. Kennedy, the 35th President of the United States and Jacqueline Kennedy, the First Lady, boarded Air Force One for Texas, where they were going to be making five separate stops over a two day period. They arrived in San Antonio, where the First Lady and President Kennedy were welcomed by Vice President Johnson, John Connally, the Governor of Texas, and Senator Ralph W. Yarborough. Afterwards, the political contingent made its way to Brooks Air Force Base for a dedication of the Aerospace Medical Health Center. Houston, was the President’s next speaking engagement, where he spoke to a group of people who were attending a dinner in honor of Congressman Albert Thomas. At the end of the day, Kennedy and his entourage, stayed the night in a hotel in Fort Worth.
The following morning, at approximately 9:00 a.m., Kennedy addressed thousands of his supporters, outside of his hotel. Afterward, he attended the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce breakfast, that was being held in his honor, before travelling to Carswell Air Force Base for the short flight to Dallas.
After the President’s plane arrived at Love Air Force Base, the people, who had shown up to greet Kennedy and The First Lady, were ready to celebrate them with shouts of adulation and support. Disembarking from the plane, the attractive First Lady, dressed in her pink Chanel suit, and President Kennedy, the epitome of charisma, had their eardrums assaulted with just such an outpouring by their well wishers. Before getting into their waiting limousine, Kennedy shook hands over a fence that separated him from the throngs of devoted Americans, and Mrs. Kennedy, was handed a bouquet of red roses. Joining them for the ride to the Trade Mart, where President Kennedy was scheduled to speak at a luncheon, were Governor Connally and his wife.
On route to the Trade Mart, Kennedy’s open top limousine wound its way through the heavily populated area of Dealey Plaza. At approximately 12:30, as the President’s motorcade passed the Texas School Book Depository, gun shots were fired. Regardless of how many bullets were actually fired, which I will get to soon, two things are known for certain: One hit President Kennedy in the neck, and as mentioned previously, one in the head, taking with it, a rather large portion of the man’s skull. The Presidential limousine made its way as fast as it could to nearby Parkland Memorial Hospital. The heroic effort, while understandable, was sadly, in vain. There was nothing even the most brilliant surgeon who ever lived, could have done to repair the damage the head shot wound had caused. A famous video image, often shown from that day, is of iconic newsman, Walter Cronkite. He is addressing the American public, on black and white television, trying hard to maintain the composure in his tone of voice, as he reads the official confirmation from Dallas, that President Kennedy had been pronounced dead, at 1:00 p.m.
On November 29, 1963, President Johnson, who had been Kennedy’s Vice-President and who, immediately upon Kennedy’s death, assumed the presidency, selected a group of seven men to look into the assassination. These men who were led by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Earl Warren, became known as the Warren Commission. The investigative body was comprised of Kentucky Senator John Sherman Cooper, Georgia Senator Richard Russell, Louisiana Congressman and House Majority Leader Hale Boggs, the former President of the World Bank John J. McCloy, the former CIA director Allen Dulles, and Congressman Gerald Ford, who would later become President of the United States, after Richard Nixon resigned the Oval Office. On September 27, 1964, the twenty-six volumes of the Warren Commission Report, were made available to the public, and stated that there was no conspiracy, and that only three shots were fired. The report, to this day, remains a source of great contention to the multitudes who believe Lee Harvey Oswald did not act alone in the murder of the President.
To start with, numerous witnesses dismissed the commission’s conclusion regarding the number of shots fired, stating that they heard at least four if not five shots. Additionally, a great number of individuals stated that the shots came from the grassy knoll area, as well as the Texas School Book Depository. There have been many books written, television shows aired, and movies shown, on the various takes on President Kennedy’s assassination. One long-running television show had an episode that seemed to controvert the Warren Commission report. I watched it long after it originally aired on the History Channel, when the station began showing repeats of its “In Search Of” series
The one hundred and forty-four episodes of the show was hosted by Leonard Nimoy, who also added voice over commentary to the episodes. The program, which dealt with a diverse array of subjects, originally aired from September of 1976 through March of 1982. During its run, one episode dealt with Lee Harvey Oswald, and the series take on what might have really happened on that fateful day in Dallas. The Oswald episode, as many of the series shows, left me with more questions than answers. In turn, that caused me to look further into the Kennedy conspiracy.
The particular episode talks about: a recording on a police radio, that hadn’t been heard until fifteen years after the assassination, which when analyzed, contained sounds waves indicating that at least four shots were fired; the contents of a fake Oswald diary; and the conversations and lie detector test that was given by the C.I.A. to a high level KGB Agent, Yuri Ivanovich Nosenko, who defected from Russia to America, two months after the assassination. He just also happened to be the person who supervised Lee Harvey Oswald during the two years Oswald lived in the Soviet Union. The C.I.A. assumed that the Warren Commission would get to the truth regarding Nosenko, once they called him as a witness. The only problem with that, is that the Warren Commission never called Nosenko, so they never heard any testimony from someone who might have been able to shed greater light on the Kennedy assassination. The most fascinating aspect of the show was the discussion regarding the autopsy that was conducted on Lee Harvey Oswald’s body, before he was buried. The coroner conducting the autopsy found numerous discrepancies that confirmed that the body being examined wasn’t Lee Harvey Oswald, but a look-a-like.
The show has a very dated look to it, to be sure, but that does not make the Oswald episode any less interesting and impactful. The episode is available, in its entirety, at least at the writing of this blog, on youtube.com. The entire series has also become available, for the first time, for purchase on DVD. If you are interested in the Kennedy assassination, especially the potential conspiracy aspects attached to the murder, this is an episode you will want to watch.