How much evidence does it take to convict a man of murder? How about if he bought the murder weapon, posed with it in his back yard, tried previously to murder another man with the same rifle, was seen taking a suspicious package into work that morning, fled the scene of the crime, shot dead a police officer an hour later, draw a handgun on the posse that pursued him, and smirked like the cat that had swallowed the canary when pressed to account for his movements?
Sadly, none of that counts, at least not for the true believers, because we have it from the lips of the man himself: "I'm just a patsy
OF course you are, Lee, but guess what, you're not going home, now or ever.
Overwhelming though the case against Lee Harvey Oswald
may be, there are those who insist not simply that he was part of a wider plot instead of the proverbial lone nut but that he was totally innocent or even framed. As the man himself said, just a patsy.
The so-called conspiracy theories — read: speculative nonsense and scurrilous talk — have mushroomed exponentially over the years. Currently, the British Library holds 223 books about the subject, and three theses. There are hundreds of thousands of documents — not simply pages, but actual documents — relating to the assassination in the American National Archives
, yet at heart it comes down to one man with a $20 rifle.
The refusal of cranks and much of the public to believe the simple, demonstrable truth has led to a conspiracy culture that infects everything. Look at some of the conspiridiocy we've seen from only the 1990s.
The death of Diana Princess of Wales.
The "murder" of Dr David Kelly
The 9/11 attacks
The 7/7 attacks
Nonsense about Sandy Hook
Everyone up to and including Lyndon B. Johnson has been accused of being behind the Kennedy Assassination: Fidel Castro, the Soviets, the Military-Industrial Complex, International bankers, International Zionism, and the Mafia. One conspiracy "theorist" in high places managed somehow to bring a businessman to trial for participating in this non-existent conspiracy. That was of course Jim Garrison the hero of Oliver Stone's totally fictitious JFK
When Clay Shaw appeared in court charged with this heinous crime, he was granted bail
. What does that indicate about the strength of the case against him?
Although she wasn't quite as big a fish as the President of the United States, the death of Diana Princess of Wales at just 36 was a massive worldwide story. A case can be made out that certain members of the press pack were morally responsible for her death, but unlike Kennedy, she died not by an assassin's bullet but by an entirely accidental car crash. That hasn't stopped the most outrageous nonsense being parroted about her demise, including recently by a British tabloid newspaper that will remain nameless. Anyone who takes its ravings seriously might wonder if arrests are imminent, or indeed why none have so far been made, but most people nowadays realise that the police and other official bodies often see things very differently from the people who run Grubb Street.
It is also clear from their disinterest in this nonsense that by and large the families of President Kennedy and Diana were and remain satisfied that in the first case no one but Oswald was involved, and in the second that there was no assassin, no death squad, no death ray, or whatever. The family of Dr David Kelly is also clearly satisfied that his death was suicide, probably because they realised the pressure he was under and were aware of his state of mind, albeit with the wisdom of hindsight.
Of course, the cranks and exploiters of such nonsense never stop to think about the distress they may be causing to grieving families. For JFK there was to be not only no peace in death but no dignity either. They will not be reproduced here, but with a few keystrokes you can find the actual autopsy photographs. How would you have felt if that had been your father, son, brother or friend?
JFK is of course far from the only president within living memory who has been the subject of lurid speculation. In addition to being branded a serial rapist, Bill Clinton was accused of masterminding the Oklahoma bombing; George W. Bush of being a party to the 9/11 atrocities, and at this very moment a certain Black pastor who should know better but doesn't is spreading salacious claims by some daffy woman from Honolulu
that the current incumbent of the White House is a bi-sexual who snorted cocaine as a teenager in Hawaii, but is protected by mysterious forces. It never occurs to such people that if like the manufactured controversy over his birth certificate
, Barack Obama had done any such thing, Hillary Clinton might just have made an issue of it at the last election, and John McCain at the previous one.
Returning to the subject of murder, on a colossal scale, there is of course no credible evidence that anyone apart from Adam Lanza was involved in the terrible Sandy Hook massacre, but not all conspiracy claims are false. The attacks of both 9/11 and 7/7 were engineered by a conspiracy any way you look at them, but in the case of the former, which is the most credible, a plot by 19 fanatics armed with boxcutters
and funded by two or three evil men beyond American shores, or one involving the President, the Vice-President, the landlord of the World Trade Center, the Mayor of New York, the FBI, the CIA, elements of the New York Fire Department (who lost 343 brothers that day), the BBC, the NSA, five dancing Israelis, the Mossad, and Uncle Tom Cobbleigh
and all? And let's not forget 19 anti-American Arabs who were either tricked into or willing to die for the New World Order.
Today belongs to JFK, of course, so let us finish with the words of the assassin's brother, Robert Oswald
. "It's good that people raise questions and say wait a minute let's take a second look...but when you take the second look and a third and a fortieth and a fiftieth...enough's enough...put it to rest."
Can we now, 50 years on, allow the poor man to rest in peace?