Conspiracy Theories

Voice Card  -  Volume 22  -  John Card Number 14  -  Sun, Dec 22, 1991 5:21 PM

This is ONE OF 3 responses to VC 22 Roger 1 ("Kennedy again")...

Roger and my cousin Dave and I have been having some heated debates about this Kennedy assassination business (even before the Oliver Stone movie).

Basically, I am not convinced that someone other than Oswald shot Kennedy. There is a lot of solid physical evidence that Oswald fired on Kennedy, and the speculation about mysterious agents who fired from the grassy knoll and then vanished seems full of holes.

Whether or not Oswald acted alone is another question. It seems to me quite possible that he did. As we have seen in subsequent years, there are plenty of nut cases wandering around who want to take a shot at a president. I must admit, however, that Ruby's assassination of Oswald is very fishy. It would not surprise me to learn there was more to that story than the Warren Commission uncovered.

It is not at all hard to come up with possible conspirators. Kennedy had plenty of enemies: The Russians, who were forced to back down after the Cuban Missile Crisis; Castro, understandably peeved after the Bay of Pigs fiasco and the CIA's clumsy assassination attempts; the Mafia and Jimmy Haffa, engaged in an all-out war with the Kennedy brothers, J. Edgar Hoover, who was already blackmailing Kennedy, etc. The list goes on and on.

Some of these scenarios seem more plausible than others. Roger's current favorite, put forth by a life-long conspiracy buff named Mark Lane is rather innovative. According to Roger, Lane proposes a double conspiracy. First there is a detailed Soviet conspiracy which the Warren Commission knew about but decided to conceal from the public to prevent World War III. This conspiracy, however, was supposedly just a smokescreen concocted by the CIA to conceal the REAL conspiracy: a plot by the CIA itself to overthrow Kennedy before he could make further budget cuts at the CIA.

This is where Roger and I part company. It's not unusual for bureaucrats to disagree with a president, especially if departmental budgets are in danger. But I find it incredible that not just one man, but an entire group of intelligent, prominent officials, men with long public careers like John Foster Dulles, could plan so rash a move over a policy dispute. I also find it incredible that the CIA, which couldn't even assasinate Castro, could pull off such a stunt so successfully without so much as one leak. A whole team of people would have had to have been involved, not just CIA, but FBI and local police. And in thirty years not a single shred of evidence, not a single whisper, not a single deathbed confession, from ANYONE? Not likely.

This is my main problem with all the conspiracy theories. None of them offer any real proof. I don't find any of them to be more plausible than the lone nut scenario, and most are wildly implausible. Most importantly, I find it hard to believe that a conspiracy as vast and complicated as the ones suggested could hold up to thirty years of intense scrutiny without a single leak. Think of all the scandals that have come to light over the years, Watergate, the CIA's assassination in Chile, Iran-Contra, BCCI. It's very hard to keep scandals quiet. It's especially hard when bodies are involved. Sooner or later someone talks or at least leaves a fingerprint. So with a story this good, why hasn't anyone talked?