On November 22, 1963 President John F. Kennedy arrived in Dallas to a crowd of excited
people lining the streets hoping to get a glimpse of the President. As his motorcade proceeded
down Elm Street, Governor Connally’s wife said, “You can’t say that Dallas isn’t friendly to you
today Mr. President.” Upon that, John F. Kennedy, the thirty-fifth President of the United States
was assassinated. The United States mourned the death of its young and inspiring President. It has been thirty-seven years since the assassination of John F. Kennedy and many people are still uncertain as to who is actually responsible for his assassination. Through the years there have been numerous theories that the CIA and the FBI were somehow linked to the assassination.
Though many would doubt that the president’s own government would conspire to murder him; there are several possible reasons for their potential participation in an assassination plot. The Bay of Pigs was the spark that ignited the devastating fire. 1500 CIA trained anti-Castro expatriates were sent to seize Cuba. At the critical last moment President Kennedy cancelled the air strikes which were supposed to disable Castro’s air force. As a result more than 100 of the CIA’s men were killed; the remaining agents surrendered. (Morrissey)
Kennedy took full public responsibility for the Bay of Pigs disaster though secretly he blamed the CIA. Kennedy fired three of the CIA’s top men whom were responsible for the operation: Director Allen Dulles, who was later a member of the Warren Commission (Lifton 176), General Cabell, and Richard Bissel. (Morrissey) After the CIA lost time, effort,
and people in the attempt to secure Cuba, the CIA became hostile and wanted to get rid of Kennedy to prevent him from losing more ground, especially in Vietnam.Adding to the fire were Kennedy’s secret commitments to pulling out of Vietnam and his threat to“Smash the CIA into a thousand pieces and scatter them in the wind” (Belzer 79)
There were three known attempts on taking JFK’s life in the fall of 1963. In late October, Thomas Arthur Vallee was arrested by the secret service in Chicago days before a scheduled visit by Kennedy. Vallee was discovered to have an M-1 rifle, a handgun, and three thousand rounds of ammunition. Days later, the Secret Service received another threat: Kennedy would be ambushed in Chicago by a Cuban hit squad. The Chicago trip was cancelled without explanation.
On November 18, four days before the assassination in Dallas, Joseph Milteer outlined the details for the upcoming Texas attempt to a police informant. None of these threats were forwarded to authorities in Dallas. (Belzer 10)
The amounts of activity and suspicious incidents in Dallas on November 22, 1963 are astounding. The evidence in the third and final attempt on President Kennedy’s life in Dealey Plaza provides a reason to believe that U.S. government agencies had a role in JFK’s death. It all begins on Main Street on which the motorcade was supposed to stay (Garrison 117). The Dallas Morning News featured a detailed map of the planned motorcade route. The motorcade was supposed to take a relatively strait course through Dealey Plaza without passing by the Book Depository. Suddenly, unexpectedly the motorcade veered from the approved route. This exposed JFK to snipers positioned at the Book Depository, “Grassy Knoll”and the Dal-Tex building. This also caused drivers to slow down to an estimated 10 miles per hour. The Secret Service have had to approve the unexplained changes. (Garrison 117-119)
There were many photographers and people videotaping in the Dealey Plaza who captured the devastating moments in which President Kennedy was murdered. Mary Muchmore
shot a movie of the final frontal shot into Kennedy’s head (Belzer 17). Orville Nix shot a video that features flashes from the grassy knoll and an image of what people believe to be a gunman (Belzer 17). Robert Hughes captured movement from the sixth floor corner window of the Book Depository and the window next to it (Belzer 17). Abraham Zapruder shot perhaps the most famous film of all. His film stemmed evidence that for instance, there was a question –based on the timing of the firing sequence taken from his film- as to whether a lone gunman could have fired so quickly with accuracy. Marine sharpshooters tried- and failed (Belzer 15). Other evidence indicated that policemen on the scene turned not toward the Book Depository, but toward Zapruder’s position neat the grassy knoll. Zapruder testified that he believed shots came from behind him: on the grassy knoll. None of the films ever made it into the Warren Commission.
There was yet another film shot by a lady referred to as the “Babushka Lady”. This film was shot from a point where the depository windows and the grassy knoll could be seen clearly. The Monday following the assassination two men, whom she believed to be Secret Service or FBI agents, appropriated the film. The men told the “Babushka Lady” that her film would be useful evidence, and if she turned it over it would be returned within ten days. The tape was never returned, and the men eventually said it was “bad film”. (Belzer 19)
Another suspicious activity that took place on the tragic day was the presence of the mysterious “umbrella man”. The umbrella man was in the crowd on the Dealey Plaza sidewalk. He is very noticeable because he is the only one to bring an umbrella on the particularly clear and warm day. In photos before the limousine enters the plaza, the man is shown standing casually with his umbrella closed. But, as the president’s car comes nearer a “choreography”(Belzer 22) begins. As JFK draws parallel to the man, the president is hit by the first bullet. The man opens his umbrella pumping it in the air many times then closes it and
lowers it. At that same moment his accomplice thrust his right arm into the air in what many researchers believe to be a clenched wrist salute. (Belzer 22)
Yet another baffling incident is the lack of Secret Service protection during the motorcade route and the shooting. Secret Service agents actually turned down an offer from the Dallas Police Department for more security. During the motorcade the service diminished their shield by reducing motorcycle police from eight to four. Once firing began photos and videos show strange lack of reaction from agents riding behind Kennedy. While JFK grasp his throat, Secret Service agents are looking around, two towards Kennedy, two towards the rear except Clint Hill, an agent brought at the last minute by the first lady. No agents move to shield the president from further gunfire. After the first shot was fired Kennedy’s driver actually brings the car to a halt. (Belzer 46)
Lee Harvey Oswald was arrested for the murder of President Kennedy. When he was taken into custody, Oswald pleaded that he was set up, he was a patsy (Garrison 70). The evidence surrounding the case of Oswald, and the evidence surrounding the day of the assassination suggest that in fact Oswald was the perfect pasty for the CIA to mold.
The CIA had been setting up Oswald since as early as January 1961, the month of Kennedy’s inauguration. Investigators believe that the CIA had people impersonate Oswald in order to paint the picture that Oswald was a crazed communist assassin. Before the assassination, Oswald was spotted at the Russian embassy in Mexico, buying a car, at the rifle range (Belzer 67), and giving out pro Castro leaflets in New Orleans. “In the intelligence community there is a term used to describe this kind of manipulated behavior designed to create a desired image: sheepdipping. (Garrison 70).” It seems that Oswald had been in New Orleans to be sheepdipped under the guidance of Guy Banister and that he had been sent back to Dallas when the mission was accomplished (Garrison 71). Oddly enough records indicate that the Oswald who enlisted in the
Marines was 5’11,” the Oswald who went to Russia was 5’6” while the dead Oswald measured in at 5’9” (Belzer 68)
At noon, on a street in Dallas, the president of the United States is assassinated. He is hardly dead when the official version is broadcast. In that version, which will be the definitive one, Lee Harvey Oswald alone has killed John Kennedy. “The weapon does not coincide with the bullet, nor the bullet with the holes. The accused does not coincide with the accusation: (Galeano 183)”Oswald is an exceptionally bad shot, but according to the official version, his acts were those of a champion marksman and Olympic sprinter. He has fired an old rifle with impossible speed and his magic bullet, turning and twisting to penetrate Kennedy and John Connally, the governor of Texas, remains strangely intact (Stone JFK).
Oswald denies it. But no one knows, no one will ever know what he has to say. Two days later he collapses before the television cameras, the whole world witness to the spectacle, his mouth shut by Jack Ruby, a two-bit gangster and minor trafficker in women and drugs. Ruby
says he has avenged Kennedy out of patriotism and pity for the poor widow.(Galeano 183)
President Lyndon Baines Johnson set up a committee led by chief justice Earl Warren, to conduct an official investigation into Kennedy’s murder. On 24 September 1964, the Warren Commission finally issued a report of their findings (Gest 28). They concluded that President Kennedy was murdered by a single gunman, Lee Harvey Oswald. (Lifton 12) The Warren Commission was made up of seven LBJ appointed members. Three of them had ties to the CIA or the military elite. The Report concluded that the shots that killed Kennedy were fired from the sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository building, and no other site. They further concluded that there was three shots fired in all, and all of them were fired from Lee Harvey Oswald. The Commission stated that there was no conspiracy, domestic or international, and that there was no connection between Jack Ruby and Oswald. However, through the twenty six
volumes and the approximately thirteen thousand pages of testimonies and documentary exhibits traces of testimonies from Kennedy’s physicians, Dallas physicians, eyewitnesses, or civilian films cannot be found.
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