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Monday 16 September 2019

Trump will allow the opening of JFK files

DALLAS 1963: In the car, seconds before the first shot rings out
DALLAS 1963: In the car, seconds before the first shot rings out

Alexandra Wilts in Dallas

Conspiracy theorists everywhere can rejoice over Donald Trump's decision to release tens of thousands of never-before-seen documents left in the files on the John F Kennedy assassination.

Yesterday morning, US president Donald Trump announced via Twitter that he will authorise release of the remaining documents.

"Subject to the receipt of further information, I will be allowing, as President, the long blocked and classified JFK FILES to be opened," he tweeted.

The 1992 Kennedy Assassination Records Collection Act required that the millions of pages - many of them contained in CIA and FBI documents - all be published by October 26. The US National Archives has released most of the documents already, either in full or partially redacted.

While experts say they don't think the last batch of papers contains any major bombshells, many are hoping the information will shed more light on the activities of JFK assassin Lee Harvey Oswald.

Oswald was killed by Jack Ruby two days after the JFK assassination and therefore never stood trial, leaving many questions unanswered.

JFK was assassinated on November 22, 1963, struck by two bullets - one in the head, one in the neck - while riding in an open-topped limo through downtown Dallas.

A year later, a presidential commission headed by US chief justice Earl Warren concluded that Kennedy was killed by a single gunman, Oswald, who acted alone and not part of a conspiracy.

However in 1978, another government committee, the House of Representatives Select Committee on Assassinations, found that in addition to Oswald, there likely was a second gunman who fired at the presidential motorcade. The committee found that the gunmen were part of a "conspiracy" without determining exactly who was behind it, opening the door to a series of theories - some more realistic than others - about what happened.

Five decades after his assassination, a large percentage of Americans continue to believe that Kennedy's death was the result of a larger plot.

Popular culprits include the Soviets (Oswald also had ties to the USSR); the Mafia (as JFK's Bay of Pigs fiasco ended their chances of returning to Cuba); Cuba ("Kennedy was trying to get to Castro, but Castro got to him first," President Lyndon B Johnson famously told ABC News in 1968); even Lyndon B Johnson has been put in the frame (who had most to gain if JFK was killed?).

However if you are hoping for a magic bullet, you may be in for a long wait.

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