Who Killed President John F. Kennedy?

An Alternative Assessment

The assassination of President Kennedy and the following assassinations of Robert F. Kennedy and the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. were crucial events and turning points in American history, and Americans should understand much more about them because they virtually stopped America's progressive momentum and ultimately resulted in America being pushed backward, particularly during the last 32 years.

There are many indicators showing that, such as the rapidly growing income gap between the wealthiest few and the working poor, the rapid shrinking of the middle class, the growth of the working poor population, and the increase in poverty, hunger, and homelessness.

That is why America and much of the world is divided, in conflict, and suffering. It is part of the reason why the wealthiest few Americans now hold 95 percent of the nation's wealth. And all of  that is why this is an important issue.

Therefore, this article recognizes that the truth about Kennedy's assassination lies somewhere between the official government version of the story and the wild conspiracy theories that have been submitted during the last 50 years and increasingly in recent years.

There are many opinions about why President Kennedy was assassinated, and the official story is that the assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald, acted entirely on his own and of his own volition. However, while that may be true, many people believe there's more to it than that, and some researchers have provided some fairly reasonable evidence to lend credence to that belief.

Therefore, we should consider all the circumstances during the years leading up to the assassination and the circumstances immediately prior to and during the assassination in order to assess the actual situation, and we should try to reach a truthful conclusion.

For example, we should consider that in 1962 Kennedy had the courage to oppose the CIA regarding its plans concerning Cuba. He overruled the Pentagon and his top military generals and refused to bomb Cuba and risk nuclear war. Instead, he faced down the Russians who had planted nuclear missiles in Cuba, and he averted catastrophe by taking action diplomatically and also by a courageous military show of force, the result of which was that the Russians removed their missiles from Cuba.

Other facts reveal that Kennedy was considering firing FBI Director Herbert Hoover. Kennedy was in opposition to a right-wing dominated CIA and Pentagon. He had opposed the CIA's plans regarding Cuba, and he had even made it apparent that he was going to reduce the size and role of the CIA. He had rejected the Pentagon’s Chiefs’ "Operation Northwoods," which was a plan to commit real or perceived acts of terrorism against Americans and blame Cuba's Castro for it. And Kennedy had also rejected the Pentagon’s insane argument that the Soviet Union should be attacked while the U.S. held far superior nuclear advantage.

However, that wasn’t the main reason top brass at the Pentagon resented Kennedy, because he had also overruled their desire to initiate U.S. military combat involvement in Vietnam. In fact, he had planned to start pulling all of Eisenhower’s non-combatant military advisers out of Vietnam and have them out by 1965. That plan was hated by the Pentagon and the entire U.S. Military Industrial Complex.

Unfortunately, in November 1963 not long after he formulated that plan he was assassinated, and soon after that Lyndon Johnson and the U.S. Military Industrial Complex were able to sharply escalate U.S. involvement in the war in Vietnam. Regular U.S. combat units were deployed beginning in 1965 (whereas prior to that only non-combatant military advisers were involved). And that decision made in 1965 plunged U.S. fighting troops and forces headlong into a dirty war until 1975 -- making many government contractors and industrialists very much richer, all at the expense of all the Americans and Vietnamese, Cambodians and Laotians who were killed or maimed during that very long war.

Of course, in recent years Republicans have tried to discredit the disengagement story because Kennedy never actually revealed his plan to end U.S. involvement in Vietnam, at least not publicly. In fact, in public, Kennedy had expressed support for Eisenhower’s policies regarding military advisers in Vietnam, and he stated that it would be best to do whatever possible to help the South Vietnamese government ward off the Communists. And after all, that was the political rationale at the time, based on the old “Domino Theory” (that if a country fell to Communism, others would naturally fall too).

However, National Security Action Memorandums reveal that Kennedy's disengagement policy from Vietnam was on record, and as president, Johnson actually did reverse it. Johnson and the Pentagon instead committed combat troops for the first time, which expanded the war far beyond what it was. Furthermore, Kennedy’s withdrawal plan was also confirmed by Kennedy aides Dave Powers and Ken O'Donnell who were close to him for 15 years, knew him well, and reported the story in 1971. 

Even so, Republicans have had some success in denying the disengagement story, for several reasons. In November 1963 when the Vietnam War became Democratic President Lyndon Johnson’s war with ground combat troops committed, many Kennedy friends and confidants, including his brothers, put aside their distaste for the Texan Johnson and they supported the Vietnam War in public -- perhaps because they didn’t think it would be politically expedient or helpful to the country to reveal what they knew.

That has left the door open for Republicans to claim that Kennedy did not want to withdraw military advisers from Vietnam, and they claim that the O'Donnell/Powers story is false because it came out at a time when all the Democrats who had originally supported the war publicly became against the war when it became Republican Richard Nixon's war.

However, the facts of the matter have been made clear. It was the Pentagon and the U.S. Military Industrial Complex that wanted a ground war in Vietnam, and Kennedy defied the brass whereas Johnson went along with them when he became president by default.

Now, because Hoover’s FBI, the CIA the Pentagon and the U.S. Military Industrial Complex resented Kennedy, many conspiracy theories have been presented ever since the assassination. But while many of those theories are baseless, there is some circumstantial evidence that lends credence to some of them.

For example, it is documented that Oswald visited the Dallas FBI office a couple of weeks before the assassination, asking to see Special Agent James Hosty. There is no documentation, however, regarding the purpose of his visit, or what was said, or why he asked for that agent. All we have is the verbal hearsay testimony of the FBI receptionist, who said that Oswald did not talk to Hosty and merely left a message for him.

According to the receptionist, Oswald’s note told Hosty to leave Oswald’s wife alone, and threatened legal action if he didn’t. And, according to Hosty himself, the note advised him to talk to Oswald directly instead of “bothering my wife,” or “I will take the appropriate action and report this to the proper authorities." We will never know what actually happened, because after Kennedy’s assassination, Agent Hosty said that he destroyed Oswald's note on orders from his superior, Gordon Shanklin.

What makes this suspicious is that Oswald’s note was ordered destroyed by an FBI superior, and we should try to discover why Oswald’s note was destroyed, and why Oswald asked for Hosty.

The possibility is that he knew him as he knew another FBI Agent, John Quigley. After all, it has been documented that on August 9, 1963, Oswald spoke with agent Quigley for over an hour. But the circumstances of these visits, at least according to the official public record, indicate that such contacts Oswald had with the FBI were acrimonious and their purpose was allegedly focused on Oswald’s Communist ties and sympathies. And while that may be true, given the history of coverups, it is reasonable to suspect that there may be more to the story.

There is other evidence that Oswald knew David Ferrie, a CIA employee, and there are even photographs of Oswald with Ferrie with a Civil Air Patrol grooup. And yet all these connections and associations are not considered important or relevant to the government.

It is no wonder there are so many conspiracy theories about Kennedy’s assassination, many of which make the argument that Oswald was just a pawn or patsy, allowed to assassinate President Kennedy because he would make the perfect fall guy. And there are many indicators that would seem to support that theory. One, for example, is this video which shows Secret Service agents being called off or away from their duty to act as human shields behind the president just before the motorcade passed in from of the Book Depository building where Oswald was waiting.

It is no wonder that the Secret Service agents whose duty was to protect Kennedy’s rear (and probably would have prevented the assassination had they not been waved off) were confused and perplexed. If the one had been able to remain at his post to Kennedy’s right rear beside the vehicle or on the right rear bumper, the assassin would not have had a clear shot. After all, snipers do not shoot at moving targets as the targets pass in front of them at a right angle. It’s too hard to aim that way. They wait until the target has passed, and then fire from the rear when there is an easier target moving slowly away.

The fact that Kennedy’s main protection from the Secret Service agent who had been assigned to trot immediately behind him to his right was waved away is highly suspicious and lends credence to the theory that high up officials of the Secret Service were in on a conspiracy. But again, this is circumstantial evidence only. We will not know unless and until those who may have been involved reveal their secrets, if indeed secrets are being kept.

Of course, there are other conspiracy theories that claim there was more than one sniper shooting at Kennedy, and that the shooter who shot him in the head was shooting from the front. However, those theories have been discredited by the facts —  by forensic and ballistic evidence, by video evidence, and by autopsy photos.

It is clear that there were three shots fired – one that missed, one that shot Kennedy in the upper back or lower neck and exited near his lower throat, and one that entered the back of his head and caused a large exit wound on the top right of his head nearer to the front. And the Zapruder film clearly shows that the head shot exit wound caused a little cloud of mist consisting of blood spray and brain tissue that was blown forward, indicating that it was the result of an exit wound and that the bullet had entered from the back of his head. And there is an autopsy photo that shows the small entry wound to the back of the head.

The confusion over this was caused by the fact that right after the head shot entered Kennedy’s head, his head snapped backward quickly, causing some brain matter to fall back onto the trunk of the vehicle. That is what has caused some people to assume that the head shot came from the front. However, they are apparently unaware that President Kennedy was wearing a full torso, corset-like back brace. That is why his body did not fall forward, and it is why, after being shot in the back of the head, his body and head immediately snapped backward as a recoil reaction to his head having been knock forward for an instant because of being struck hard by a bullet from behind. It was the result of the stiff spring-like stays along the back of his back brace.

Now, because Oswald was the only sniper and assassin does not mean that he was not allowed and enabled to carry out the assassination. We should wonder about it and keep investigating, because there may be a reason why so many of those who could tell us died, some within days after the assassination, and others within four years afterward. And it is possible that Oswald was a very convenient fall guy, and it is possible that people within the military and the investigative and intelligence agencies were well aware of what he was going to do and conveniently did not prevent it from happening.

On the other hand, even though President Eisenhower and his successor President Kennedy both disapproved of the inflated and expanded power of the U.S. Military Industrial Complex, and even though Kennedy also disapproved of the over inflated and expanded power of the CIA and the FBI, it is possible that such forces were not responsible either directly or indirectly for his assassination. We must keep our minds open to that possibility as well.

We should also keep our minds open to the possibility that there were other forces, or a combination of forces, that were responsible, whether directly or indirectly, not only for the assassination of John F. Kennedy, but also for the following assassinations of Robert F. Kennedy and the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. After all, they were also killed by people who appeared to be acting all on their own, and no one else has been officially accused or officially suspected. But deductive reasoning leads one to suspect that there’s more to it than that, because the deaths of those three individuals drastically changed the direction and the progressive momentum of America.

Furthermore, we should understand that it was not merely internal government forces in military, intelligence and investigative agencies that hated liberal progressives like the Kennedy brothers and King. Southern racists who wanted to perpetuate racist Apartheid also hated liberal progressives – with a passion. And that may have been one of the reasons why they were assassinated.

After all, it was perhaps no coincidence that Kennedy’s assassination was one hundred years, almost to the day, after Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, delivered in November 1863 after Union armies defeated armies of the Southern Confederacy at the Battle of Gettysburg.

That may not have been a coincidence, considering that there were many in Dallas Texas that hated Kennedy and his brother Robert for their position against racial segregation and apartheid. In fact, some of Kennedy's harshest critics in Texas were racist right-wing ideologues who accused him of being a “godless socialist.” (Notice that sounds familiar, because Texas Tea Party members lead others in repeating that deceptive mantra against President Obama, and they have proudly displayed the Confederate flag in parades.)

Kennedy in fact supported racial integration and civil rights, and during his campaign for the presidency in 1960 he had telephoned Coretta Scott King, wife of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who was at that time in jail because he had tried to integrate a department store lunch counter in Georgia. At the same time Robert Kennedy called the Governor of Georgia to gain King's release from prison.

Even further, in 1961, President Kennedy said: "The denial of constitutional rights to some of our fellow Americans on account of race - at the ballot box and elsewhere - disturbs the national conscience, and subjects us to the charge of world opinion that our democracy is not equal to the high promise of our heritage."

Kennedy made that statement even though he understood that the civil rights movement angered many Southern whites, and that his support for it would make it more difficult to pass civil rights laws in Congress because it was dominated by conservative Southern Democrats.

Despite the Southern opposition, Kennedy assigned federal marshals to protect civil rights demonstrators like the Freedom Riders. Kennedy signed an Executive Order requiring government contractors to "take affirmative action to ensure that applicants are employed and that employees are treated during employment without regard to their race, creed, color, or national origin." His order also  established the President's Committee on Equal Employment Opportunity.

In 1962 when James Meredith enrolled at the University of Mississippi but was prevented from entering, Attorney General Robert Kennedy sent 400 federal marshals and President Kennedy sent 3,000 U.S. troops after the situation on campus turned violent. The upshot, after the violence was quelled, was that Meredith was finally able to enroll in his first class. And Kennedy followed by signing other Executive Order prohibiting racial discrimination in federally supported housing or "related facilities."

In June 1963 President Kennedy intervened again when Alabama Governor George Wallace blocked the doorway to the University of Alabama to stop two African American students from attending. And that evening Kennedy gave his famous civil rights speech on national television and radio, promoting his initiative for civil rights legislation to provide equal access to public schools and other facilities, and greater protection of voting rights.

The day after his speech, just out of spite, Southern Democrats and Republicans defeated Kennedy’s two-year long effort in Congress to combat poverty in Appalachia. (In spite of that, however, Kennedy’s initiative regarding civil rights ultimately resulted in the Civil Rights Act of 1964, signed by his successor, Lyndon Johnson.) But, during this time Southern racists reacted brutally. For example, they killed Medgar Evers and bombed the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham Alabama killing four African American children in the explosion, and two other children were shot to death in the aftermath.

So, the answer to the question of who killed President Kennedy is that while one corrupted murderer may have pulled the trigger, he was merely a pawn who was moved by the same player or mentality that motivates all hateful, malicious, self-important, self-righteous people who are incited to kill, or approve of killing.

In the final analysis, though, it is not crucially important to determine whether or not any conspiracies were involved in the assassinations of the Kennedy brothers and King, nor is it crucially important to determine that even though it was Lee Harvey Oswald who actually killed Kennedy, he was enabled or allowed to do so by U.S. government agents who served the U.S. Military Industrial Complex that wanted (and still wants) global dominance.

What is most important is to realize that the malevolent spirit and mentality that motivated and approved of the assassins was widespread, and it is still very much alive today.

It is also important to realize that regardless of who was really responsible for it, Kennedy’s assassination, like the assassinations of his brother and Dr. King, caused horrified disappointment and frustration in those who were trying to reform the U.S. political-economic system. But, it soon made them stronger and more determined, and that of course created an even stronger right-wing reaction against them from right-wing conservatives all over the nation.

(This article is actually just a piece of a much larger, two part article titled Ignored American History, which is designed to reveal history that most Americans either ignore, forget, or don't know.)