The 35th President of the United States had one of the most controversial periods in history in the White House, with the Cold War at it’s peak and with Cuba under the leftist leader Fidel Castro- who was considered a threat by the US government, along with the failure to control these perils by the Operation Northwood and Bay of Pigs invasion.
However, the J.F. Kennedy controversy doesn’t end, even after his demise. His assassination continues to be one of the most contentious unsolved mysteries.
J.F. Kennedy was on a political trip in Texas to smooth the friction between liberals Ralph Yarborough and Don Yarborough and conservative John Connally in the Democratic Party. Texas was an important state for Kennedy in the presidential election.
The president’s motorcade was making its way through Dealey Plaza in downtown Dallas when, five minutes from its destination, three shots rang out from behind and above the presidential limousine. Two of those shots found their mark, with the second one being fatal. Texas’s Democratic governor, John Connally, who was seated immediately in front of the president, was also hit, though he would recover from his injuries.
Seventy minutes after the attack, Dallas police arrested Lee Harvey Oswald, a former US marine who had spent three years in the Soviet Union. However, before Oswald could be properly questioned on his motives, less than 48 hours after the assassination of the president, Oswald himself was also gunned down. He was shot at on live television by Jack Ruby, a Dallas nightclub owner who also had links to organized crime. This inspired generations of conspiracy theorists for whom the Kennedy assassination was an expression of unidentified malevolent forces threatening the United States.
Following Investigation and the official ruling
Lyndon B. Johnson, the newly sworn President (and former Vice President), set up a committee to explore the conditions of the JFK assassination and later, the killing of Lee Oswald. It was known as the Warren Commission.
The Supreme Court Justice, Earl Warren, headed the committee and worked with other highly regarded officials. The formal decision was that with no conspiracy engaged, Oswald acted alone.
Due to the fact that one whole bullet and two bullet fragments which were retrieved from the stretcher matched the rifle, the proof with the weapon being linked to Oswald was determined. And the Zapruder film helped in determining the location of the shooter and its angles.
Magic Bullet Theory
The Warren Commission believed that there were three bullets fired. The first bullet missed, the second bullet that hit both JFK and Governor Connally, and the third bullet was the fatal headshot.
The commission theorized that from the sixth-floor window, the second bullet entered through the back of JFK’s neck and exited through his throat, then entered through Connally’s right side of the back, exited beneath his right nipple, and then entered and exited from Connally’s left thigh.
The problem with this theory is that according to Warren Commission the intact bullet found at the scene of the crime was a magic bullet. However, the trajectory analysis of Zapruder Film says it’s impossible for this to happen as a bullet cannot be intact after traveling through multiple wounds.
House Select Committee on Assassinations in 1978
This committee was established in 1976 to conduct an investigation into the assassinations of JF Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr. The House Select Assassination Committee was formed after a Senate Committee confirmed that the CIA had withheld information from the investigation into the Warren Commission. A fresh acoustic research method was used in the 1970s to evaluate the shooting audio, which discovered 6 points in the background, which could contain echo patterns comparable to those of gunfire. In 1978, the House Select Committee on Assassinations concluded that science acoustic evidence demonstrated a high likelihood that two gunmen shot at JFK.
The theories that make sense:
1. New Orleans Conspiracy
Three separate mob organizations claimed to be liable for the assassination of JFK, The Chicago Mob, the Miami Mob, and the Mob from New Orleans. As attorney general, Robert Kennedy had moved, potentially angering them against organized crime. The guy who murdered Lee Harvey Oswald, Jack Ruby, was a Dallas nightclub owner who had mafia contacts. Some even think the mob was working to carry out the Kennedy-hit in collusion with the CIA. In 2015, a formerly incarcerated mafia hitman named James Files claimed to be the second shooter in the murder, stating he was part of a mafia-CIA collaborative plot. Another interesting link is that JFK had alleged links with Sam Giancana, the Chicago Syndicate’s head. Before Giancana could testify to the Senate Committee in 1975 about his role in the CIA assassination plot he himself was assassinated.
2. Organized Crime Conspiracy
Frank Ragano, an attorney representing Jimmy Hoffa-president of Teamsters-wrote a book in 1994 which alleged that Hoffa requested the assassination of JFK from mob bosses Santos Trafficante and Carlos Marcello. Ragano also said in 1987, Trafficante, who was dying, confessed to a role in the murder of the president and expressed his regrets saying, “We should have killed Bobby” instead.
3. CIA Conspiracy
One of the most sought after theories is that somehow, the CIA is responsible for the murder of the president, either partially or fully. JFK may have discovered that the CIA plotted to kill Fidel Castro and the CIA felt that Kennedy might have an alternative agenda or might even disband it, so they planned to kill him. There is also alleged footage from an angle distinct from the Zapruder movie of the JFK assassination. This alternative footage would have shown smoke indicating second gunmen. However, this file has not been seen by anyone since after the House Select Committee on Assassinations in 1978. Many believe that the second shooter was a CIA agent.