If there is one thing we all agree upon, it is the theory that more than one person was involved in the assassination of former United States President, John F. Kennedy. Nearly 70% of independent voters, 60% of republican voters and 61% of democrat voters agree that JFK was not killed by Lee Harvey Oswald Alone. However, who exactly was involved and what exactly happened, is yet to be agreed upon.
President Trump recently announced that he will be releasing the case files and evidence from the assassination of John F. Kennedy for further review and investigation. In light of this, conversations surrounding JFK conspiracy theories are heating back up at an uncontrollable rate. That said, we think it’s important to list out the conspiracy theories and shine light on the ones that actually might have some validity.
The very first JFK conspiracy theory surprisingly does not owe its origins Oliver Stone’s JFK movie starring Kevin Costner or the always entertaining Reddit thread. Instead, this one comes directly from none other than the United States House of Representatives.
Just one week after John F. Kennedy’s assassination on November 22, 1963, newly sworn-in President Lyndon B. Johnson issued an executive order creating the President’s Commission on the Assassination of President Kennedy — the Warren Commission, named after its chairman, Supreme Court Chief Justice Earl Warren.
Less than one year later, the Warren Commission concluded Oswald was the lone gunman as was Jack Ruby, the Dallas nightclub owner who shot Oswald two days after the JFK assassination.
People found it awfully convenient that the United States Government established the investigation commission considering they were at the forefront of most of the conspiracy theories. After the emergence of the Zapruder film in 1976 (available at the bottom of this article), which showed the JFK assassination in slow motion, people yet again started to question the one-shooter verdict.
So what did the United States government do again? They established another Select Committee to re-investigate the JFK shooting as well as other assassinations such as Martin Luther King.
Like the Warren Commission, the House investigation found no evidence of Soviet, Cuban or CIA involvement in Kennedy’s assassination. But the committee did conclude that there was “probably” a conspiracy involving a second gunman on the now infamous “grassy knoll.”
These strange double-standard of acknowledging the conspiracy is what really perpetuated the two-shooter theory all of these years. Why would they even acknowledge the conspiracy if they had such conclusive evidence proving otherwise?
By far most popular theory involving multiple gunmen focuses on the “Umbrella Man”, a suspicious figure holding a black umbrella on the sunny day of the JFK assassination. Many believe that the Umbrella Man shot a poison dart into Kennedy’s neck, immobilizing him to allow for Oswald or others to deliver a kill-shot. This might explain Kennedy grabbing his neck prior to the head whip seen in the Zapruder film (available at the bottom of this article).
Oliver Stone’s conspiracy-fueling 1991 film titled “JFK” shows Umbrella Man sending strange signals to his fellow assassins.
However, when questioned some 15 years later, Louie Steven Witt told the House committee that he brought the umbrella to “heckle” the young, controversial President.
According to Witt, he wasn’t even aware of the conspiracy theories over his umbrella until years later, and that it was “bad joke” aimed at Kennedy’s father. The black umbrella was the trademark of Nazi-appeasing British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain, who Joseph Kennedy had previously supported.
“If you look at a really bad copy of the Zapruder film, it will look like William Greer, the driver, reached over his shoulder with a gun and shot Kennedy in the head,” John McAdams, author of “JFK Assassination Logic: How to Think about Claims of Conspiracy,” told The Daily Beast. “But his hands were on the steering wheel the whole time, it only looks differently in a very bad copy of the Zapruder film.”
This is not a likely theory as it would have been way, way too difficult to hide from the investigation and potentially damaging footage that could have been captured.
An Inside Job
Another fan favorite JFK conspiracy theory is that the CIA and Lyndon B. Johnson were deeply involved. This theory ties back to the “deep state” or the “invisible hand” conspiracy which JFK posed a large threat to with his unorthodox principals of governing America.
“I realize that delving into the world of assassination research and a belief in a conspiracy will lead some to brand me as an extremist or a nut, but the facts I have uncovered are so compelling that I must make the case that Lyndon Baines Johnson had John Fitzgerald Kennedy murdered in Dallas to become president himself and to avert the precipitous political and legal fall that was about to beset him,” Oliver Stone wrote in his 2013 book, “The Man Who Killed Kennedy: The Case Against LBJ.”
Cuba and Soviet Union
Regardless of where you place this one on your priority list, the theory that the Cubans and the Soviet Union were involved in the assassination of JFK is most likely the one to be discussed in light of the latest release of classified JFK files.
The Washington Post’s reported that 3,100 previously unreleased files are set to be released. These files cover in-detail Oswald’s six-day trip to Mexico City just two months before the assassination of JFK. As a result of this “coincidence” many believe Oswald received orders from international enemies on his trip.
Oswald moved to the Soviet Union in 1959 where he spent nearly two and a half years there after his short stint as a movie director before he returned to the United States. In September of 1963, he traveled to the Mexican capital, where he allegedly planned to move to a communist country shortly after.
“I’ve always considered the Mexico City trip the hidden chapter of the assassination. A lot of histories gloss right past this period,” Philip Shenon, a former New York Times reporter and the author of a book on the Warren Commission, told Shapira. “Oswald was meeting with Soviet spies and Cuban spies, and the CIA and FBI had him under aggressive surveillance. Didn’t the FBI and CIA have plenty of evidence that he was a threat before the assassination? If they had acted on that evidence, maybe it wouldn’t have taken place. These agencies could be afraid that if the documents all get released, their incompetence and bungling could be exposed. They knew about the danger of Oswald, but didn’t alert Washington.”
A subset of this conspiracy theory’s followers believe that when Oswald moved to the Soviet Union, the KGB trained a look-alike who assumed his identity and, eventually, killed Kennedy. The man behind the theory even convinced Oswald’s widow to allow him to unearth the corpse.
“We, both individually and as a team, have concluded beyond any doubt, and I mean beyond any doubt, that the individual buried under the name Lee Harvey Oswald in Rose Hill Cemetery is, in fact, Lee Harvey Oswald,” announced Assistant Dallas County Medical Examiner Linda E. Norton.
In the days after his brother’s assassination, Robert Kennedy had a horrible feeling that the killing was his fault.
“Robert Kennedy had a fear that he had somehow gotten his own brother killed,” according to biographer Evan Thomas. “That Robert Kennedy’s attempts to prosecute the mob and to kill Castro had backfired in some terrible way, had blown back, as the intelligence folks say.”
There is no public evidence of an organized crime plot against the president, however, and experts again discount the idea.
Ralph Salerno, a former New York City Police detective who investigated mafia involvement in the assassination for the House committee, said he reviewed “thousands of pages of electronic surveillances of organized crime leaders all over the United States” at the time of the assassination and heard nothing suspicious.
“We even came across a few sympathetic remarks about the president,” he told ABC. “‘No, they killed the wrong one.’ ‘They should have shot his brother.’ ‘That little SOB.’ ‘He’s the guy who’s giving us a hard time.’”
Ted Cruz’s Dad
You probably remember President Donald Trump taking a shot at Rep. Senator Ted Cruz during the republican national convention.
Trump, who was at the time battling Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) for the Republican presidential nomination, claimed that his opponent’s father, Rafael Cruz, had been spotted with Oswald before the shooting.
“His father was with Lee Harvey Oswald prior to Oswald being, you know, shot,” Trump said during a telephone interview. “I mean the whole thing is ridiculous. What is this? Right? Prior to his being shot. And nobody even brings it up. I mean, they don’t even talk about that — that was reported. And nobody talks about it.”
Trump appeared to be referencing an April 2016 National Enquirer article headlined “Ted Cruz Father Linked to JFK Assassination!” The story contained a photo that, according to the tabloid, showed Oswald and Rafael Cruz distributing pro-Castro leaflets in New Orleans in 1963.
Even after clinching the nomination, Trump stuck by the widely discredited story.
“All I did is point out the fact that on the cover of the National Enquirer, there’s a picture of him [Rafael Cruz] and crazy Lee Harvey Oswald having breakfast,” Trump said. “I had nothing to do with it. This was a magazine that frankly in many respects, should be very respected. They got O.J. They got [John] Edwards. They got this. I mean, if that was the New York Times, they would have gotten Pulitzer prizes for their reporting.”