Updated May 7, 2008: For Part II click here
At this point in history, if anyone who examines the available facts still believes the "single bullet" theory advanced by the Warren Commission report on the assassination of 35th President of the United States, John F. Kennedy, they may be willfully self-delusional. It seems, in retrospect, an almost obvious PR concoction.
SPOILER ALERT: What follows is strictly an exercise in speculation. No new facts are adduced and no definitive answers are forthcoming. More questions are raised, based on available evidence, than are answered.
In trying to tease out from available facts what actually happened in Dallas, Texas at 12:30 p.m., CST, November 23, 1963 and why, two questions suggest themselves:
- Who stood to gain from JFK's assassination and why?
- Who stood to gain from a cover up, if there was one?
The short list for answers to question one is fairly obvious: Lyndon Johnson, the Mafia, the CIA, J. Edgar Hoover, and Cuba.
Cuba appears the least likely. Castro has always been a realist and would have known the possibility of discovery of a Cuba-inspired operation, even if unsuccessful, would lead instantly to a US invasion and his execution; that would have been deterrent enough for a realist, even one threatened by murky CIA plots against him. Plots that, as it turned out, he found easy enough to thwart.
Hoover seems equally unlikely as a candidate; never his style. Although he knew the Kennedy administration wanted him gone, he had enough blackmail material on the Kennedy's to ensure his position as long as they were in office, a positive disincentive.
Plus, there appears to be no credible public evidence directly implicating either Cuba or Hoover in events leading to the assassination.
CIA is a possibility for two unrelated reasons.
The Directorate of Operations still employed a number of people involved in the JFK-aborted Bay of Pigs operation against Cuba who were reportedly still burning with resentment over JFK's roll in aborting it, and who had the technical skill to set up and do the deed.Considering the photographic evidence placing CIA direct and contract agents (including GHWB, then a senior CIA official according to Hoover) in Dallas on the fateful day, CIA involvement at some level, for whatever reason, can't be excluded. The revenge motivation seems the weakest of the two possibilities. Throughout its existence, the CIA has become inured to being thwarted, second-guessed, stopped and started arbitrarily by US presidents. It's part of their brief. Credible evidence of presidential mental instability might be another matter but, given the potential players, it's doubtful they would have acted on their own.
We now know that, because of his physical difficulties, JFK was on a heavy daily cocktail of uppers, downers, and painkillers which likely had adverse affects on his mental state. It may be that CIA (or someone else in government) had knowledge of and were frightened by JFK's potential mental instability owing to heavy drug use, concluding that an irrational moment might lead to nuclear war.
The Mafia is a weak candidate. First, it would go against the Mafia grain; they have a long history of aversion to attacks against law enforcement and political officials in the US for obvious reasons of guaranteed retribution. Second, it's difficult to imagine what they would possibly gain. RFK would have been a more obvious target, if they were tempted. However, the Mafia did have a long history of cooperation with the intelligence community (OSI, Naval Intelligence and the FBI), starting with their manipulation of the New York dock strikes during World War II and lasting at least through the end of the war, so they might possibly be a candidate for a secondary role.
Lyndon Johnson seems an equally weak candidate at first blush. True, he was a wily manipulator who proved his capacity for deception and mendacity with his exploitation of the Tonkin Gulf incident (which now, it appears, never happened) and he was no fan of the Kennedy clan. But to cast him in the role of instigator in a political assassination, absent some other motivation, isn't consistent with the way he operated or with any other action he is known to have participated in, including the Tonkin Gulf incident. Could he have green-lighted a potential operation presented to him based on evidence of JFK's mental instability? It's an interesting question. If one credits his patriotism and love of secrecy, it might just be conceivable if the evidence were serious enough. More likely, if involved, it was through a trusted intermediary.
The second question, who stood to gain from a cover up (if there was one), is the easier of the two.
Obviously, the participants in a conspiracy, if there was one, would benefit. On the other hand, suppose it was clear to the Warren Commission, or key members of the panel, who the conspirators were and what their reasoning was, and the commission (or at least those who controlled the information flow to the commission and its use within the commission), irrespective of the evidence, believed the benefits of exposure were far outweighed by the dangers posed to the nation in terms of political stability? Could the truth, in their judgment, possibly lead to something like insurrection by either the public or the military, or a breakdown in trust of government so profound as to destroy government's capacity to rule? Could they, in effect, be saying to the American public, "You can't handle the truth."
The logical key to dismantling the house of cards the Warren Commission report has become may lie in the assassination of putative JFK lone assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald, by Jack Ruby, the fringe Mafia associate, self-described super-patriot, terminal cancer patient, and police groupie.
Strangely enough, owing to the CIA sightings in Dallas, the Ruby-Mafia connection, and the previous links between the two organizations, this bizarre event places the possibilities of both Mafia and CIA involvement front and center in any evaluation of a possible conspiracy in the JFK assassination, and may indirectly -- and by inference only -- point to LBJ or some other very senior administration official as the likely candidate for making a key decision that led to execution of an assassination plot.
Update...May 7, 2008