I’m one of those people that read everything they come across related to the JFK assassination. More books and articles have been printed about Kennedy than any other crime in history. For various reasons a lot of people do not believe Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone. Shortly after the Warren Commission released their findings, 1/3 of Americans didn’t believe it drew the correct conclusions. In the following years that number has grown exponentially. I love a good conspiracy and this case has an endless number of theories. To mark the 50th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy’s assassination we’ll take a look at some of the plausible, and not-so-plausible conspiracies.
Around 12:30 pm on November 22, 1963 President Kennedy rode through Dallas, Texas with his wife Jackie, Texas Governor John Connelly, Connelly’s wife, a secret service agent and a driver. As the motorcade approached Dealey Plaza shots rang out and the gathered crowd fled or tried to find cover. That much is fact. It seems that everything else that happened is up for debate, depending on who you talk to.
Thanks to the Warren Commission’s report (which was headed by Allen Dulles, former head of the CIA who had been fired by Kennedy) Americans were told that Lee Harvey Oswald, a loner who had at one point defected to Russia, acted alone and fired the famous shots from a third floor window of the Texas School Book Depository. Two days later while being escorted by police officers Oswald was shot by nightclub owner Jack Ruby. Oswald died hours later at Parkland hospital, the same hospital President Kennedy had been taken to.
That’s how the history books recorded the events, but an entire culture of Kennedy conspiracy subscribers are out there and believe there is more to the story. They believe a larger conspiracy was behind the death of Kennedy. We could spend days writing about inconsistencies in the investigation and pointing out why the official story doesn’t add up, but instead we’ll take a look at some of the conspiracy theories that have been put forth over the last half-century.
The Cubans Did It
CIA agents tried, unsuccessfully, to assassinate Fidel Castro as many as eight times. They even involved the Mafia in the plots. Castro may have felt he was in a kill-or-be-killed situation. A former agent of the Cuban secret service, G2, gave an interview in which he affirmed the Cubans sought out Oswald after he was recommended by the Russian KGB. The mother of all cover-ups ensued, with the new Johnson administration fearing the public’s reaction if they found out Cuba killed Kennedy. In a strange twist, German film maker Wilfried Huismann insists that JFK’s brother and Attorney general Robert Kennedy was responsible for arranging one attempt on Castro’s life. Huismann says the same man Robert Kennedy recruited to kill Castro was also responsible for hiring his brother’s killer.
The Mafia Did It
We see the same players over and over in Kennedy conspiracies. The Mafia and the Cubans make the most regular appearances, along with the CIA. The mob wasn’t a fan of Robert Kennedy’s crusade against organized crime. They also had interests in casinos in Cuba. It’s interesting to note that Jack Ruby, who shot Lee Harvey Oswald, was known to have Mafia connections. Ruby’s involvement and death in jail warrant their own conspiracies (another time, another blog).
The CIA Did It
Pick any conspiracy theory you want and the CIA will be in there somewhere. They’re an easy target since their operations are so secretive. There is much debate as to who exactly was on the intelligence agency’s payroll and the possibility that evidence was covered up or destroyed by the CIA. One of the major disagreements President Kennedy had with the CIA, strangely enough, was over their policy on assassinating foreign leaders. This theory is so widely spread that the CIA has a page on it’s website discrediting it.
The Russians Did It
The Russians were still sore over the Bay of Pigs fiasco, so when this Oswald kid moved to their country with the right “I hate America” attitude, the KGB pounced. Some say Oswald was a Manchurian candidate, programmed by the Soviets to kill the president. Others go as far as to blame the KGB for the murder of Mary Pincho Meyer, a former mistress of JFK who may have been killed for knowing too much. Meyer was shot execution-style while walking in Georgetown.
LBJ Did It
Vice President Lyndon Johnson had the most to gain from Kennedy’s death. He became the most powerful man in the world. Some conspiracists say Johnson was financially backed by rich tycoons who would be better served by LBJ. In recent years there have been rumors of audio tapes on which Jackie Kennedy says she believes Lyndon Johnson had a part in her husband’s death. Some believe Johnson was aided by future-president George HW Bush, but more on that soon.
|LBJ sworn in aboard Air Force One alongside Jackie still in her bloodstained suit|
The Illuminati Did It
What list of conspiracies would be complete without including the shady group of powerful people who secretly run the world? It’s believed by some that JFK’s father, Joe Kennedy, was part of the Illuminati bloodline and his connections got his son elected to the presidency. When JFK’s policies weren’t to their liking, they turned on him. If you run the world from the shadows, surely you could have someone killed and cause enough confusion to keep them guessing.
The Israeli’s Did It
President Kennedy refused to allow Israel to build nuclear weapons. Strike one. David Ben-Gurion, the Israeli Prime Minister at the time believed Joe Kennedy to be anti-Semitic and had sided with Hitler. Strike two. A leading promoter of this theory: Muammar Gaddafi, at least until he was killed by rebels. Foul tip. Johnson’s reversal of the nuclear policy is seen as evidence that the assassination achieved its goal. Strike three.
The Limo Driver Did It
There is a small contingency that believes the limo driver shot the president. There’s a frame in the Zapruder film that most people see as the sun reflecting off the car, but those few assert is the muzzle flash of the driver’s gun. Plenty YouTube videos are out there both supporting and debunking this theory.
In an effort to dig up as many theories as we could on the assassination we came across this one. The CIA is the boogeyman in this scenario also. Kennedy sent a letter to the agency demanding information on UFO investigations. This reportedly prompted the director to send a memo saying, "As you must know Lancer (JFK's secret service codename) has made some inquiries regarding our activities, which we cannot allow."
The Badge Man
Adherents to this theory cite the Moorman Polaroid photo. They claim to see a man in uniform who has just fired a gun standing behind a wall on the infamous grassy knoll. Skeptics simply see light reflecting off litter. You decide:
|Original shot. The Badge Man is seen in the circle on the left|
|Enhanced Badge Man or pareidolia in foliage.|
The Umbrella Man
According to this theory in addition to being shot with bullets, a bystander also shot Kennedy with a poison dart from an umbrella. As weird as it is, a man holding an umbrella did open and close it repeatedly as the presidential motorcade passed by. Others claim the act was a signal to the shooter(s) that the target was in place. A man came forward years after the assassination claiming to be the Umbrella Man. He claimed the act was a form of protest against former British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain and JFK's father had been the US Ambassador to Britain at the time. Oddly, standing near the Umbrella Man is another person who has came to be known as the Dark Complected Man. He holds his fist in the air just as the umbrella is pumped and shots ring out. In the ensuing frenzy both men calmly sat on the curb and seemed to take in the chaos.
DiMaggio Did It
It's well known that JFK had an affair with actress Marilyn Monroe. Monroe's husband, Joe DiMaggio, had the money and the motive to hire a hitman to take out Kennedy. Some conspiracy theorists believe Joltin' Joe became so obsessed with the idea that the Kennedys had his ex-wife killed that he took out a contract on the commander in chief, possibly hiring Lee Harvey Oswald. DiMaggio's lawyer and longtime friend Morris Engelberg wrote that the Yankee Clipper wholeheartedly believed Monroe was killed because she knew too much about the dark side of Camelot.
Storm Drain Shooter
The trajectory of the bullets that were fired that day in Dealey Plaza have been debated for half a century. Many believe a nearby storm drain provided the only possible location for the shooter to have been. In a 2007 interview Tony Gambino, of the New York Gambino mob family, contended that’s exactly what happened, and claimed there was involvement from both the government and the Vatican.
Jackie Did It
Yes, there are conspiracy theorists out there who believe the First Lady pulled the trigger that day in Dallas. They say Jackie concealed the gun in a Lamb Chop puppet she had been given along with a bouquet of flowers then used extreme stealth to fire the gun in the middle of the gathered crowd. Her motive? Jealousy over her husband’s extramarital activities, her desire to be with Aristotle Onassis, or she was a sleeper CIA agent and evidence was tampered with to cover up her involvement.
There’s one more theory we want to cover, but it warrants its own post. There’s just too much information to fit it all in. Stay tuned, as we uncover the motives and evidence that George Herbert Walker Bush was responsible for the assassination of JFK!