The Kennedy Assassination was the crime of the century; the spectacular murder of a serving American President in public, in front of cheering crowds as he was driven slowly by. The whole, terrible incident was caught on film, most notably the famous Zapruder film
, shot by dressmaker Abraham Zapruder.
Less than two hours after the shooting, there was another murder in Dallas. JD Tippit was a police officer serving with the local police department. He stopped assassin Lee Harvey Oswald in the street, and was shot dead in cold blood. Drawing his gun, Oswald let off four bullets, three of which hit Tippit in the chest, and for good measure, he walked up to where Tippit lay, and put a bullet in his head. It was as cold, calculated, ruthless and evil an act as his earlier slaying of John F. Kennedy.
Oswald took refuge in a theatre - or theater as they say in the US - where he was arrested by a posse, but not before he had drawn his gun in an attempt to escape. As he is led away in handcuffs, having murdered both a police officer and the most powerful man in the world, what does this hero do? He protests that he is the victim of police brutality.
If this sequence of events had happened in Britain, if for example, an assassin had shot Call Me Dave
- or better still, Tony Bliar, sorry, Blair - and had killed a police officer then been arrested and subdued, he would have been taken to a high security police station, where he would certainly have been given a lawyer, because having this much evidence in so serious a case, the police would have wanted to do everything by the book. All this would have been done out of the glare of the cameras in accord with Britain's strict contempt of court laws
. In Dallas though, they paraded Oswald before the media like they did Dominique Strauss-Kahn
in New York nearly five decades later. As with Strauss-Kahn, only more so.
This in retrospect foolish openness, left us a magnificent documentary record. In this particular case, it also opened the door to another murder, one that would silence the assassin before his guilt could be formally proven in a courtroom.
When Oswald was asked how his eye had been bruised, he replied morosely "A policeman hit me". Check out this video
at around 3 minutes. In the same video, at about 1 minute 40 seconds, Oswald makes a claim that has earned him a place in the universal lexicon of immortal quotes: "I'm just a patsy".
It was quickly established not only that Oswald had murdered Officer Tippit but that he had built a sniper's nest in the book depository where he worked, that the rifle he left behind had been purchased by mail order in a false name, that he had posed with the weapon in his back yard, that he had taken it in to work that morning wrapped up and disguised as curtain rods, that his prints were on it, and that he had previously attempted to murder General Edwin Walker.
All this evidence and more, but Oswald claimed he was a patsy, so he must indeed have been framed.
Lee Harvey Oswald was formally charged with the murder of Officer Tippit, and would also have been charged with the murder of the President, but for fate intervening in the form of the obsessive Jack Ruby who rather than wait for a trial, conviction and ultimately execution, decided to administer summary justice. Club owner Ruby walked up to Oswald as he was being transferred handcuffed to a detective in a ten gallon hat, and shot him in the stomach. Oswald was taken away not to prison but to hospital, but he died an agonising death, which some would say was poetic justice. The trouble is, this assassination of the assassin opened an enormous can of worms.
It was soon to become clear that Oswald was a bizarre character, having served in the Marines including in Japan at a time when he openly espoused Marxism. On his discharge, he had defected
to the Soviet Union, that would have welcomed a serving general with open arms, but not a mixed up kid. Faking a suicide attempt in his Moscow hotel room, Oswald blackmailed the Soviets into agreeing to his demands, and was shipped off to work in a factory in the provincial city of Minsk - now in Belarus. Having married and fathered a daughter, Oswald decided the workers' paradise wasn't such a great place after all, so applied to return to the country he had denounced. The Soviets let him go, probably relieved, and after expressing disappointment that there were no camera waiting for him on his return, he ended up eking out a lowly existence in Dallas, treating his poor Russian-speaking wife abysmally, and turning his attentions towards Cuba.
As if this were not enough, Jack Ruby his assassin, was said to have links
to the Mafia. Links may be Gerry Gable's favourite word
, but it means little or nothing here. Ruby was also a Jew, which is even less important, but not to the crazies. Abraham Zapruder was also a Jew, and some of the craziest of crazies even rope this poor bloke into it.
Obviously, in the wake of the assassination, the Government didn't know what was going on, just as it didn't on 9/11 until the second plane hit the Twin Towers. While it soon became clear that Oswald was a lone shooter, there was still a high probability that he was not a lone criminal, and that not only may there be other conspirators out there, but other hit men.
The Government ordered a high powered investigation chaired by Chief Justice Earl Warren. Its conclusion
was that Oswald had acted alone.
While it was, and remains, understandable for some people to believe he did not act alone, it is utterly bizarre that anyone should attempt to exculpate Oswald, but they do to this day.
Much closer to the assassination was Jim Garrison, District Attorney for New Orleans. He came up with a bizarre and convoluted conspiracy theory
that implicated a local businessman, Clay Shaw. Although in March 1967, Garrison managed to indict Shaw on evidence that would make even John Aidiniantz
laugh, and bring him to trial in January 1969, the evidence against Shaw was considered so compelling that he was released to await trial on $10,000 bail, probably not only the first but the last time in history that a suspect
was/will be granted bail after being charged with a crime of such gravity.
Garrison went on to write a book, which became the basis for Oliver Stone's compelling but grotesquely inaccurate film JFK
. He was also celebrated in a song by Johnny Rebel, Keep A Workin' Big Jim
, but the sad fact is that his nonsense is nothing to sing about, nor was his reckless persecution of an innocent man.
There are numerous websites devoted exclusively to the Kennedy Assassination, or certain aspects of it, but as Dale Myers says: "Ninety percent of what is out there is conspiracy-oriented...talk about all the theories you want, this happened one way". Only ninety percent?
There have been books galore on the Kennedy Assassination published by self-styled conspiracy researchers, (read cranks), and people who are long on speculation, short on facts.
There are though some excellent resources that give the true, documented facts about the Kennedy Assassination. There are, in addition to government websites, this excellent video
which is part of a much longer documentary, and there is the John McAdams website
, a massive, thoroughly researched and documented resource.
Apart from and including Lee Harvey Oswald, the finger of blame has been pointed at:
right wing Texas bigots
left wing Cuban supporters/agents
the international Jewish conspiracy
the World Zionist Conspiracy
the Order of the Illuminati
Vice-President Johnson - want to be President? Kill your boss
the Military Industrial Complex
and of late, the Mossad.
Oh, and aliens, strange but true, or not true, as the case may be.
Sometimes, two or more of the above and/or other parties/organisations are claimed to have been involved. Not one of these claims stands up to the slightest scrutiny, and the reader is strongly advised to read the official documentation and the critical literature before he is seduced by any of this - frankly - nonsense.