Sunday 21 October 2018

Who shot JFK? Five top conspiracy theories

Lee Harvey Oswald
Lee Harvey Oswald

The Warren Commission ruled that gunman Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone... but the conspiracy theories have continued.

1 What happened in Mexico?

Oswald visited Mexico City weeks before the assassination, apparently to obtain a visa that would allow the self-proclaimed Marxist to defect to Cuba. He visited Cuban and Soviet embassies there, and the CIA had his trip under surveillance. But when US ambassador Thomas C Mann told Washington of a possible link between the President's murder and the Mexico visit, and of his suspicions that Oswald was working as a foreign agent, he received an astonishing top-secret message directly from Secretary of State Dean Rusk which told him to "shut down any investigation in Mexico" - Why?

2 A second shooter on the grassy knoll

In 1979, the House Select Committee on Assassinations concluded there were four shots, one coming from the direction of the grassy knoll, implying a second shooter. The grassy knoll was identified by the majority of witnesses as the area from where shots were fired. Lee Bowers operated a railroad tower on the north side of the grassy knoll. He reported that he saw two men behind the picket fence at the top of the grassy knoll before the shooting. After the shooting, Bowers said that one of the men remained behind the fence and that he lost track of the second. Bowers noted that he saw something that attracted his attention, either a flash of light, or smoke, from the knoll, leading him to believe "something out of the ordinary" had occurred there.

3 New Orleans conspiracy

As laid bare in JFK - the Hollywood blockbuster starring Kevin Costner as New Orleans district attorney Guy Bannister - the New Orleans theory implies a link between anti-Castro and anti-Communist extremists and the assassination. Garrison's investigation found that a group of right-wing extremists, known to Oswald, were involved with elements of the CIA in a conspiracy to kill Kennedy. Garrison later claimed that the motive for the assassination was anger over Kennedy's attempts to obtain peace in Cuba and Vietnam.

4 A mob hit?

The theory goes that JFK and Sam Giancana, a Mafia boss in Chicago, had a long-standing business relationship dating back to JFK's father's time. Giancana was an associate of Frank Sinatra, a close Kennedy friend, and allegedly was a donor to JFK's 1960 presidential campaign. Mob leaders were upset that Kennedy failed to overthrow Fidel Castro, who had closed down their lucrative casinos in Havana. The President's brother, attorney general Robert F Kennedy, further had aroused their animosity by launching a high-profile probe of organised crime and pursued some for alleged corruption and ties to the Mafia. Were they responsible for the assassination?

5 Allegations against Lyndon B Johnson

Jackie Kennedy believed Lyndon B Johnson was behind the assassination. The former First Lady revealed her belief that Johnson and a cabal of Texas tycoons orchestrated the murder of her husband by gunman Lee Harvey Oswald. In sensational tapes recorded months after the President's death she claimed that the Dallas murder was part of a larger conspiracy to allow Johnson to become President in his own right.

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