An End to Conspiracy? Rare Photo of Lee Harvey Oswald’s Arrest Suggests Why He’s Guilty


An End to Conspiracy? Rare Photo of Lee Harvey Oswald’s Arrest Suggests Why He’s Guilty
Click to visit the original postIn our 50th anniversary commemorative issue of TIME, we published a rare photograph of Lee Harvey Oswald being arrested outside the Texas Theatre. Gary Mack, the curator of the Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza, writes for LightBox about the photo’s legacy:

Certain images and scenes from the Kennedy assassination — the gruesome Abraham Zapruder film; Bob Jackson’s shocking photo of Jack Ruby shooting Lee Harvey Oswald; Stan Stearns’ heart-wrenching view of John F. Kennedy Jr. saluting his father’s casket outside the Cathedral of St. Matthew — remain as powerful and disturbing today as they were 50 years ago.

But there’s another photograph that remains relevant and gripping five decades later, in a different way, and relatively few have seen it.  The picture was taken by Dallas freelance photographer James “Jim” MacCammon barely 80 minutes after gunshots reverberated through Dealey Plaza. MacCammon photographed 24-year-old Oswald as he emerged from the Texas Theatre into the bright midday sun, sandwiched between Patrolman C.T. Walker and, still chewing his cigar, Detective Paul Bentley.
Read more: An End to Conspiracy? Rare Photo of Lee Harvey Oswald’s Arrest Suggests Why He’s Guilty – LightBox

http://lightbox.time.com/2013/11/22/an-end-to-conspiracy-rare-photo-of-lee-harvey-oswalds-arrest-suggests-why-hes-guilty/#ixzz2lN3DV2zM

Conspiracy Theories; How I Figured Out That Lee Harvey Oswald Killed JFK


How I Figured Out That Lee Harvey Oswald Killed JFK

How I figured out that Lee Harvey Oswald killed JFK
by Marc Ambinder

Confession: I am a JFK assassination buff. I never much liked the term, but it describes me well. I’ve read just about every book ever published on the assassination, watched every documentary, mock trial, and dramatization. And for a long time, until about 14 years ago, I was a conspiracy theory believer. Too many loose ends. Too many coincidences of propinquity. And since I had no understanding of physics, or ballistics, or medicine, or of the world, really, I was fascinated with Oliver Stone’s enormously influential JFK. I remember writing somewhere, and bear in mind I was 14 at the time, that the third act scene with “Mr. X” was one of the most dramatic moments in modern film history. That might have been true to a kid who hadn’t scene many movies and who had no idea how awful New Orleans prosecutor Jim Garrison actually was, or how utterly absurd his theories were.

Lee Harvey Oswald

A year later, the day that Gerald Posner’s Case Closed came out, I remember sitting in my high school library waiting for my chance to page through U.S News and World Report, which was serializing the chapter on the “single bullet.” I was nervous. Part of me didn’t want to read a book that concluded something that was precisely the opposite of what I believed. But, clearly, I wasn’t totally convinced, because I wanted to read it in the first place.

I took the magazine and began to read. I can pinpoint the moment when my blinders came off, when my childhood assassination conspiracy fantasies dissolved. Posner pointed out that (a) the president’s row of seats inside the presidential limousine were built to be higher than the row of seats where Gov. John Connally and his wife Nellie would sit; and (b) all the photographs of the motorcade entering Dealy Plaza showed Connally sitting closer to Nellie, away from the edge of the car.

Continue reading at The Week.

Warrant For Assassination; The Price of Encouraging Political Violence


The  Price of Encouraging Political Violence

Wanted for Treason pamphlet circulated in Dallas on the very day of JFK’s assassination!

The comparisons to much of the rhetoric and language used by the contemporary Religious and Political Rights smear-mongering, frighteningly contain the same sentiments of the above leaflet,  which was handed out in Dallas, Texas the day of John F. Kennedy’s assassination.

Indeed, words and phrases like “anti-American”, “anti-Christian”,  and “treasonous” are more of a call to arms than a call to the ballot box.

With  this in mind, we should all be cautious of what the Republicans are aiming for  in their attacks on Barack Obama.

This flyer, around 5,000 copies of which were distributed around Dallas in the days before President Kennedy’s November 22, 1963 visit, accused Kennedy of a range of offenses, from being “lax” on Communism, to “appointing anti-Christians to Federal office,” to lying to the American people about his personal life.

‘They’ did this! | JFK Conspiracies


‘They’ did this!

By James Carroll

President Kenney’s limousine in Dallas, in a footage taken by presidential aide Dave Powers and photographed from a television screen.

Associated Press/Assassination Records Review Board, Dave Powers

President Kennedy’s limousine in Dallas, in footage taken by presidential aide Dave Powers and photographed from a television screen.

That afternoon in 1963, I was in the cellar of a Catholic seminary, a crenellated Gothic building in Washington, D.C. I was seated in the ad-hoc barber’s chair, while an untrained yet officially designated classmate was hacking at my hair, a normal part of the monkish life. Suddenly, one of our fellow seminarians stormed through the doorway to yell the news from Dallas. With a half-finished haircut, I rushed with the others to the common room for its television. A hundred of us were crowded there by the time the usually stolid Walter Cronkite choked up. One by one, we drifted to the chapel.

Across ensuing days, when we weren’t downtown standing on the curbside of Pennsylvania Avenue or in the Capitol grounds, mute witnesses to one funeral march or another, we were planted in front of the television, or on our knees before the tabernacle. Prayer had never come more naturally. I have no memory of that haircut being finished.

I was 20. The day President Kennedy was murdered marked the beginning of my adulthood. It was the first time I realized that hopes can be dashed suddenly and catastrophically — and, soon enough, that even the most vital of questions may go unanswered forever.

That weekend made the nation whole in its grief. Television sealed the bond. Elegantly enacted military obsequies formed one bracket of experience — the riderless horse with boot reversed in its stirrup, muffled drums, a bugle, the bagpipe; the timeless rubrics of Catholic liturgy formed the other — ubiquitous priests, black vestments, the veiled heads of women, power brokers on their knees. Why, if not for this, had suffering defined the essence of Christian faith? In the stately St. Matthew’s Cathedral, such historic figures as Charles de Gaulle, Haile Selassie, and Eamon de Valera filled out the front pews, but my parents were in there, too. Gruff old Cardinal Cushing touched the casket. He spoke for a merciful God by saying simply, “Dear Jack.”

The assassination’s thicket of unresolved ambiguities became a hospitable niche for a profound American insecurity. Who killed the president? The disproportion between the punk Lee Harvey Oswald and the hero Kennedy surely meant that the assassin could not have acted alone. A gut instinct told everyone that Oswald was a mere instrument wielded by a hidden hand, but whose?

In the search for answers, facts lurking below the surface suddenly took on dark significance: Former Marine Lee Harvey Oswald had previously defected to Moscow; the Kennedy administration had locked its sights on Havana again; mobsters had been the Kennedy brothers’ archenemies. When a local man named Jack Ruby — a strip-club owner? really? — found it possible to enter Dallas police headquarters that Sunday and shoot the heavily guarded Oswald at close range, the story took its decisive turn into the realm of the truly deranged.

The connivance of Reds was an obvious theory: Why shouldn’t the demonic Kremlin have begun its openly stated project of burying America by burying the nation’s now universally beloved president? Newly sworn-in President Lyndon Johnson foresaw the problem of an unleashed impulse to lay blame. Johnson, sensing the danger of the question left unanswered, quickly moved to check a coming torrent of paranoid scapegoating. He appointed the Warren Commission, which, ultimately prompting more questions than it answered, would prove to be the disease that called itself the cure.

Soon, everyone knew these plot points: The Texas School Book Depository. Oswald not a drifter, but a calculator. JFK’s autopsy interrupted. Secret Service lapses. Oswald a Communist. No, a right-wing nut. Eyewitness accounts in conflict. The grassy knoll. Contested bullet trajectories. The unlikelihood of three accurate shots in little more than five seconds, especially by a man known for poor marksmanship. Then there was Oswald’s mystery wife — a Red, for sure.

If the first pieces of the story to emerge seemed jagged, they would fit together eventually, wouldn’t they? Less than a year after the assassination, Chief Justice Earl Warren delivered the commission findings: Oswald was an unhinged lone gunman, and so was Ruby. Because Oswald was dead, the commission said, it was not “possible to arrive at the complete story” of the murder. The nation would have to live with questions. The president had been killed for nothing larger than an accidental act of insanity. A second such act, the killing of Oswald, cut short society’s capacity to reckon with the full truth of it. When even Robert Kennedy publicly accepted this explanation, who were the rest of us to wonder?

Subsequent news events, though, kept fueling deeper suspicions about the commission’s work. Official lies about Vietnam widened a credibility gap.  Demonstrations became rebellions. When Malcolm X was murdered in 1965, it could seem remote to white America, but the shooting of Martin Luther King Jr. in 1968 was a blow to the nation — and assassination all at once felt familiar. When Robert Kennedy was gunned down two months later, it was no longer possible to rank such perdition as mad accidents of history. We knew it, we knew it: The murder of JFK had started something. Lone gunmen all — yet these killers had to have some deeper significance than purposeless madness, right? Otherwise we would all be mad.

Yet the quest for answers proved even madder. The uncorked New Orleans D.A. Jim Garrison launched a sensational JFK assassination investigation in the late 1960s, culminating in the 1969 trial of a businessman named Clay Shaw. By then John Kennedy’s nemesis Richard Nixon was in the White House — from which some Kennedy admirers deduced that a malevolent current was running below the surface of national consciousness, especially when Nixon expanded the war in Vietnam that Americans had been told was ending. In New Orleans, Shaw was quickly acquitted by a unanimous jury, but in that dismally tumultuous year Garrison’s charge that Kennedy was murdered by a conspiracy had unexpected resonance.

Conspiracy books began rolling off the presses — ultimately hundreds of them. After the Pandora’s box of Watergate was thrown open, with revelations of true government criminality, Congress itself returned to the question of President Kennedy’s assassination, with investigations in both the House and Senate. The Warren Commission report was revisited, and now serious inconsistencies, lapses, and even deceptions were exposed. What the American people had been told about Oswald had fallen far short of the full truth.

But rather than restoring public confidence, these revelations further damaged it. Open congressional testimony produced no hard evidence to contradict the Warren commission’s essential conclusion that both Oswald and Ruby had acted alone. But while the Senate and House committees had made many secrets public, others remained sealed, fueling still more conspiracy theories. Those who rejected conspiracy theories out of hand had come to seem naive.

Through the 1980s, Ronald Reagan, for whom destruction of faith in government was a political purpose, cultivated cynicism on the right by demonizing social services, and on the left by pursuing secret wars in Central America. Thus the whole government-hating country was primed for the arrival of Oliver Stone’s 1991 film “JFK.” With Kevin Costner as Garrison, it turned the New Orleans DA from a crackpot self-aggrandizer into a lonely seeker of truth.

In the movie’s centerpiece scene, a long walking sequence shot at the reflecting pool in Washington, a mysterious Pentagon insider, played by Donald Sutherland, explains to Garrison, and by extension the nation, that Kennedy was killed in a carefully orchestrated act of “black ops” involving the US Army, the CIA, the Secret Service, the FBI, and top-level Washington officials — all acting to protect the Cold War national security elite and its military-industrial partners and, especially, to make sure that their much desired war in Vietnam could proceed. An all-too-dovish Kennedy had to be removed, Stone’s film makes clear, because he was a threat to the “establishment.” Dozens, if not hundreds, of conspirators were actively involved in this crime. And they all kept the secret.

It was nonsense. Critics said so. Still, many took the movie as history. Never mind that Stone’s hypothesis, offered up as fact, amounts to a ghastly slander of numerous identifiable people — one of whom, as it happens, was my father. He was the Pentagon’s intelligence chief, a character bound to be at the center of such a plot. Not given to weeping, to put it mildly, Dad had wept that November weekend. He felt the loss of Kennedy more acutely than anyone I knew. By 1991, luckily, Dad was not aware.

Stone’s film resonated, though, because it salved what had by then become an intolerably painful national wound — not the memory of JFK’s death, but our failure to fully explain it. That we’d been invited to regard the assassination merely as a cruel turn of fate was the work of malevolent forces. The government did this to us, Stone’s film explained.

His narrative was a roaring rejection of the contingency of life, of how great consequences can follow from the petty deeds of wholly insignificant individuals acting with weightless motive more or less alone. “JFK” would prove to be the master template for all assassination conspiracy theories, right down to those 50th anniversary books being published this month. Such elaborate fantasies would be nation-destroying if they were true. Yet, ironically, they offer us a rescue of the moral order — an insistence that massive social and political heartbreak must be the result of intentional design.

In their own way, these conspiracy theories prepared the soil in which took root the broad distrust in government that curses the nation to this day. More than that, conspiracy-mindedness undercuts the civic maturity that is necessary for a commonwealth to function responsibly. Every tug in the direction of conspiracy — “they” did this! — is a signal of the test we have been failing. The compulsion to keep asking the question “why?”, replying to every answer with another “why?”, until the final conjuring of a satisfactory explanation is forced, is a mark of childhood. More recent conspiracy theories, from the supposed murder of Vince Foster to “9/11 was an inside job” to insinuations about missing birth certificates, are also rooted in a callow refusal to get real.

Fifty years later, it is hard to convey how most Americans felt— and how I felt — about John F. Kennedy. In his first summer as president, a crisis over Berlin had ignited the lethal nuclear standoff between the United States and the Soviet Union. Kennedy told us to prepare for war, and we did. In fear, we felt bound to him.

The climax came, of course, not over Berlin but Cuba. During that October in 1962, an unflinching Kennedy dispelled the danger for which he had primed us. When he and Nikita Khrushchev, equally chastened, agreed to a partial nuclear test ban the following summer, we glimpsed the opening — arms-control negotiations — through which a peaceful end of the Cold War would eventually come.

Less than three months later, when the shots rang out at Dallas, it seemed the post-Cuba reprieve from terror had been revoked. In the death of one man, as we felt it, a far more catastrophic fate had shown itself, an armageddon after all. That the fabric of the nation so quickly unraveled seemed somehow unsurprising. And why shouldn’t we have sought ways to put off maturity — by filling in the gaps in the record with grandiose theories whose vast scope reflected the depths of our sorrow?

At some point, though, a grown person has to say, “I do not know, and never will.” That is the reply to life’s most important questions. For me, it was also the terrible lesson of Kennedy’s death.

James Carroll writes regularly for the Globe.

JFK Assassination; Aussie out to show Secret Service blunder was to blame


Aussie out to show Secret Service blunder was to blame

  • by: ANDREW RULE
[Well, if the Yanks are so gullible and willing to palm off their hard-earned cash to conspiracy hucksters, why shouldn’t Aussies make a profit off American paranoia and gullibility?  Wonder if Colin McLaren has been shown the Bronson footage yet?! He seems like a decent and rational individual. Perhaps he has a responder?]

Colin McLaren at his restaurant and accommodation Villa Gusto

Colin McLaren at his restaurant and accommodation Villa Gusto                      Source: News Limited

COLIN McLaren got the bad news the week he started at the police academy: his much-loved Uncle Neil had been killed in a shooting accident.

Neil McLaren was a sensible and seasoned shooter but he’d made a mortal error, getting into a car after a shooting trip without checking his shotgun. The car hit a bump, the gun went off and he was dead.

His nephew always had that loss hanging over him. He would spend years living dangerously in heavy squads and undercover jobs, dealing with the Walsh St murders and infiltrating Australia’s Calabrian mafia. He carried guns, but carefully. He knew mistakes could be fatal.

During his time in the force, a policeman called Neil Clinch was shot dead by a policewoman aiming at an “offender” – who was, in fact, a householder fearing the police in his backyard were intruders.

Then there was Constable Clare Bourke, shot dead at Sunshine police station by a policeman fooling around with an “empty” pistol.

Meanwhile, plenty of other incidents went unreported, such as the one in which a future Assistant Commissioner and another cop were chasing a suspect in Windsor. One of them accidentally shot a passing taxi. The bad guy escaped; the innocent cab driver surrendered immediately.

Anyone who has handled guns knows mistakes happen – and that we don’t always hear about it. McLaren was reminded of that in 1992 when he took a trip to New York to recover from a tough year investigating the “Mr Cruel” child abductions.

He picked up a book in Times Square for the flight to Chicago. The book, Mortal Error, outlined how a ballistics expert called Howard Donahue had proved beyond reasonable doubt that John F. Kennedy was hit in the head by a hollow-point bullet, not the conventional military rounds fired seconds earlier by Lee Harvey Oswald.

Donahue identified the origin of the fatal hollow-point – a Secret Service agent with an assault rifle in the open-top escort car behind the President’s. The iconic Zapruder film of the Dallas motorcade shows the alarmed Secret Service man clutching the weapon as he tries to stand just after Oswald’s shots strike from above.

The force of a simple story that fitted the facts satisfied McLaren’s detective instincts. To an expert, the bullet fragments revealed a tragic accident caused by Oswald’s crazy assassination attempt. This was no convoluted conspiracy theory, of which there were many, including the one peddled by Oliver Stone in his fictionalised hit film JFK. It seemed common sense.

But a dry, factual ballistics analysis was never going to compete for public attention with Kevin Costner starring in Stone’s fictionalised entertainment.

McLaren realised the case needed an independent investigation to test if the other evidence supported Donahue’s conclusion that Secret Service agent George Hickey had accidentally finished what Oswald had begun. Who better to do it than an outsider: an Australian investigator with no axe to grind?

McLaren was keen but first he had to see out his police career and finish other projects. He wrote two successful books based on his undercover work and built his hospitality business from scratch in northeastern Victoria.

Nearly five years ago, he started on the JFK project. As a detective, he says, he was happy to go “where the evidence takes us”. He bought a 26-volume set of the official Warren Commission report. Then the 5000-page Assassination Records Review Board finding of 1993, which lifted secrecy provisions on material from 28 Government agencies.

It seemed clear that key players had strived to save the Secret Service huge embarrassment by hiding the fact that Kennedy’s brain (which vanished immediately after autopsy) had been pulped by one of their own bullets.

Book cover - JFK The Smoking Gun , Colin McLaren

Book cover – JFK The Smoking Gun , Colin McLaren Source: Supplied

McLaren traced 22 witnesses who saw Kennedy shot. Ten had smelled gun smoke and 12 of them saw it at ground level near the Secret Service car. Hickey normally drove but had been handed the weapon because the security detail was shorthanded.

Witnesses revealed they had been intimidated and gagged before and during the Warren Commission hearings in 1964. But now they could tell all.

McLaren worked with a Canadian production house to film a documentary, which will be aired in North America and Australia (on SBS) next month to follow this week’s launch of his book JFK: The Smoking Gun. Hickey died in 2011, which makes it easier to tell the story without the fear of a lawsuit. Hickey had attempted to sue Mortal Error’s publishers but failed.

McLaren knows that the fact most Americans don’t believe the official account of the assassination does not guarantee they will “buy” what he calls his “brief of evidence”. But when he launches a three-week publicity tour of the US and Canada today (including the David Letterman show and a Wall Street Journal interview) at least he gets the chance to argue it was a fumbling accident, not a murky assassination conspiracy.

Diehard conspiracy theorists might consider the fact that in September 2006, a Secret Service agent accidentally fired his shotgun while guarding the visiting Iranian President. It would the Secret Service years to acknowledge that embarrassing fact, now the subject of a book.

Then there’s the scandal of the death of an all-American hero, the former NFL footballer Pat Tillman who became a patriotic poster boy for the Afghanistan campaign when he quit a $3 million football contract to join the army after the 9-11 attacks.

Tillman’s enlistment was such a public relations coup that when he was killed by a trigger-happy American soldier in 2004, the cover-up ran from his own commanders to the White House. Tillman’s family were lied to for months about who killed their son. Which would make perfect sense to the Secret Service bosses who apparently covered up George Hickey’s blunder for 50 years.

One thing is certain: guns go off in the darnedest ways and places. When Lee Harvey Oswald was a marine, he once accidentally shot himself in the leg with his service pistol.

UVA PROFESSOR: We Cannot Rule Out A Conspiracy To Kill John F. Kennedy


UVA PROFESSOR: We Cannot Rule Out A Conspiracy To Kill John F. Kennedy

Michael Kelley

JFK

It’s not just crackpots who question the conventional wisdom that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone when he killed President John F. Kennedy on Nov. 22, 1963.

University of Virginia professor Larry Sabato, author of “The Kennedy Half-Century: The Presidency, Assassination, and Lasting Legacy of John F. Kennedy” argues that “the chance of some sort of conspiracy involving Oswald is not insubstantial.”

Sabato reached this conclusion after considering 50 years of evidence, even while also debunking a conspiracy theory put forth by a House committee in 1979.

“For all attempts to close the case as ‘just Oswald,’ fair-minded observers continue to be troubled by many aspects of eyewitness testimony and paper trails,” he writes.

The founder of the UVA Center for Politics opened this never-ending debate “because the assassination is critical both to understanding America’s past and future paths and to the lasting legacy of John Kennedy that is the subject of this book.”

Alternative theories cannot be put to rest because of discrepancies and inadequacies in the initial response to the assassination.

To start, there are the questions about why the autopsy was performed at the Bethesda Naval Medical Center in Maryland, not in Texas as required by the law, and why the Bethesda team did not confer with doctors from the Texas trauma room and did not have the president’s clothes.

“[The autopsy] opens it up to conspiracy theories immediately that the body was altered, the wounds were altered, and all the rest of it,” Sabato told us. “I understand why they couldn’t leave the body there but it would have been so much better if it had been performed in Dallas.”

More questions arise with the investigation ordered by President Lyndon Johnson, which Sabato claims was haphazard and inadequate.

“The problem is the Warren Commission did not do a thorough job when the trail was hot,” Sabato told Business Insider. “The trail went cold decades ago. It is virtually impossible 50 years later to put all of the pieces back together. I’ve interviewed people 50 years later that the Warren Commission never interviewed that were right there and took important photos or films.”

Because of these errors, certain conspiracy theories may never be put to rest.

JFK

The conspiracy theories

While all evidence suggests that Oswald killed Kennedy, some clues suggests that he may not have been the only assassin or that he may not have acted alone.

First, there remains “the live possibility of a second gunman in the grassy knoll area,” given the testimony of several witnesses, the presence of phony Secret Service agents, and the armed men seen in the vicinity of the Dealey plaza before, during, and after the assassination.

Adding to this theory is Dr. Robert McClelland, a physician in the trauma room of the hospital where JFK was taken, who contends that the wound he saw was consistent with a shot from the grassy knoll. Sabato notes that the “ambiguous nature of the visual evidence” has led to experts to disagree as to whether the bullet that entered JFK’s head came from the rear (where Oswald was) or the front (the grassy knoll).

As for the idea that Oswald received help or encouragement, there is no proof that he did, but there also is no proof that he didn’t — and there are reasons to be suspicious.

“For a complete nobody, Oswald certainly did seem to hang out with well-connected people,” Sabato told BI.

Some of those shady connections include:

Upon returning from his short defection to the Soviet Union, Oswald became friends with an international man of mystery named George de Mohrenschildt, who “had ties with American intelligence and the State Department … and killed himself before he could testify to the House Committee on Assassinations,” Sabato said.

When Oswald moved from Dallas to New Orleans, he moved in with his uncle, a small time hustler and bookie for New Orleans Mafia boss Carlos Marcello. According to an FBI informant, Oswald received money from one of Marcello’s chief lieutenants.

It was in the Big Easy where Oswald became acquainted with the FBI. Oswald handed out pro-Castro literature with the address 544 Camp Street on it. Curiously, FBI agent Guy Bannister and a CIA-backed Cuban Revolutionary Council also rented space at the same location.

“One thing that I’ve always wondered about is [Oswald’s] time in New Orleans because he was apparently associated with Guy Bannister, who clearly had FBI and CIA ties, and yet he’s also scuffling on the street with [the local representative of] an anti-Castro group,” Sabato said.

When Oswald was arrested after the fight, he demanded to speak with FBI, and the agency sent Special Agent John Quigley to see him.

“All of these things are suspicious,” Sabato told BI.

As a teenage Oswald was photographed with David Ferrie, a staunch anticommunist who would allegedly go on to buy weapons from mob boss Marcello and hand them off to Bannister and a CIA asset. Ferrie denied ever knowing Oswald, yet in September 1963, six witnesses alleged that the two showed up at a voter registration office in Clinton, Miss.

“It could be that Oswald was just a Forrest-Gump like character who popped up at interesting moments wherever he happened to live,” Sabato writes. “But just as conceivably, whether related to the Kennedy assassination or not, Oswald actually had secretive contacts with the CIA or the FBI, or both.”

Dealey Plaza

Sabato details several more intriguing connections to Oswald, including the top CIA officials who withheld information about Oswald after he allegedly showed up at the Cuban and Russian embassies in Mexico City on Oct. 9, 1963, in a failed attempt to secure visas so that he could go back to the Soviet Union.

When the CIA Mexico City station informed CIA headquarters that a man named Lee Oswald had been in contact with the Soviet consulate, Langley only sent a bare-bones reply with Oswald’s basic facts. And the CIA, which had self-operating surveillance cameras and telephone bugs in both buildings, has never produced a photo or recordings of Oswald at either embassy.

“The pieces of the Oswald puzzle stamped CIA may be ill-fitting, but they could reasonably create a portrait of covert action,” Sabato writes. “CIA headquarters might have found a good use for Oswald and would not have wanted to share how much they knew about this particular asset with lower-level employees or foreign country stations.”

Taken together, Sabato concludes that the prime suspects for influencing Oswald to murder JFK would be the Mafia, the anti-Castro Cubans, or a rogue cell within the CIA.

“They all had means, motive, and opportunity,” according to Sabato.

“As far as the CIA goes … it is clear beyond question that the CIA lied repeatedly to the Warren Commission and continued lying to the House Select Committee on Assassinations,” Sabato told BI. “Revealing nothing about the assassination attempts on Fidel Castro. Revealing very little about the fact they kept close tabs on Oswald: They knew what he was doing, they were evaluating him. I think they had something in mind. I don’t subscribe to the hidden coup within the CIA, although I don’t rule it out. ”

The suspicions about CIA went all the way to the top. Sabato writes that Marvin Watson, LBJ’s postmaster general, told the FBI that “President Johnson expressed a belief in private in 1967 that the CIA had had a role in Kennedy’s death.”

Where the mystery stands

The Kennedy Half Century

“Given the lack of hard evidence, to accuse any arm or agency of the federal government of orchestrating Kennedy’s assassination is both irresponsible and disingenuous,” Sabato writes. “At the same time, it is impossible to rule out the possibility that small, secret cabal of CIA hard-liners, angry about Kennedy’s handling of Cuba and sensing a leftward turn on negotiations with the Soviets … took matters into their own hands lest the United States go soft on Communism.”

The truth is that we may never know.

“I think this subject after 50 years requires some humility, which very few analysts of the assassination have,” Sabato told BI.

“I am tired of reading books by authors who are absolutely certain that they have found the truth about the assassination. Malarkey,” Sabato said. “There is no way to have a full picture. We are where we are and I think we are just going to have to accept that.”

New details could come out soon, however, when thousands of documents are scheduled to be released in October 2017.

“The President at that time will get to rule whether anything can remain secret and redacted,” Sabato said.

Conspiracy Contradictions and The Monological Belief System


Scientific American

Conspiracy Contradictions

Why people who believe in one conspiracy are prone to believe others
magazine cover

ON WEDNESDAY, MAY 16, I spent several hours on a hot bus in a neon desert called Las Vegas with a merry band of British conspiracists during their journey around the Southwest in search of UFOs, aliens, Area 51 and government cover-ups, all for a BBC documentary. One woman regaled me with a tale about orange balls of energy hovering around her car on Interstate 405 in California, which were subsequently chased away by black ops helicopters. A man challenged me to explain the source of a green laser beam that followed him around the English countryside one evening.

Conspiracies are a perennial favorite for television producers because there is always a receptive audience. A recent Canadian Broadcasting Corporation documentary that I participated in called Conspiracy Rising, for example, featured theories behind the deaths of JFK and Princess Diana, UFOs, Area 51 and 9/11, as if there were a common thread running throughout. According to radio host and conspiracy monger Alex Jones, also appearing in the film, “The military-industrial complex killed John F. Kennedy” and “I can prove that there’s a private banking cartel setting up a world government because they admit they are” and “No matter how you look at 9/11 there was no Islamic terrorist connection—the hijackers were clearly U.S. government assets who were set up as patsies like Lee Harvey Oswald.”

Such examples, along with others in my years on the conspiracy beat, are emblematic of a trend I have detected that people who believe in one such theory tend to believe in many other equally improbable and often contradictory cabals. This observation has recently been confirmed empirically by University of Kent psychologists Michael J. Wood, Karen M. Douglas and Robbie M. Sutton in a paper entitled “Dead and Alive: Beliefs in Contradictory Conspiracy Theories,” published in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science this past January. The authors begin by defining a conspiracy theory as “a proposed plot by powerful people or organizations working together in secret to accomplish some (usually sinister) goal” that is “notoriously resistant to falsification … with new layers of conspiracy being added to rationalize each new piece of disconfirming evidence.” Once you believe that “one massive, sinister conspiracy could be successfully executed in near-perfect secrecy, [it] suggests that many such plots are possible.” With this cabalistic paradigm in place, conspiracies can become “the default explanation for any given event—a unitary, closed-off worldview in which beliefs come together in a mutually supportive network known as a monological belief system.”

This monological belief system explains the significant correlations between different conspiracy theories in the study. For example, “a belief that a rogue cell of MI6 was responsible for [Princess] Diana’s death was correlated with belief in theories that HIV was created in a laboratory … that the moon landing was a hoax … and that governments are covering up the existence of aliens.” The effect continues even when the conspiracies contradict one another: the more participants believed that Diana faked her own death, the more they believed that she was murdered.

The authors suggest there is a higher-order process at work that they call global coherence that overrules local contradictions: “Someone who believes in a significant number of conspiracy theories would naturally begin to see authorities as fundamentally deceptive, and new conspiracy theories would seem more plausible in light of that belief.” Moreover, “conspiracy advocates’ distrust of official narratives may be so strong that many alternative theories are simultaneously endorsed in spite of any contradictions between them.” Thus, they assert, “the more that participants believe that a person at the centre of a death-related conspiracy theory, such as Princess Diana or Osama [bin] Laden, is still alive, the more they also tend to believe that the same person was killed, so long as the alleged manner of death involves deception by officcialdom.”

As Alex Jones proclaimed in Conspiracy Rising: “No one is safe, do you understand that? Pure evil is running wild everywhere at the highest levels.”

On his Infowars.com website, Jones headlines his page with “Because There Is a War on for Your Mind.” True enough, which is why science and reason must always prevail over fear and irrationality, and conspiracy mongering traffics in the latter at the expense of the former.