Monday, June 25, 2007

Kennedy conspiracy? Two viewpoints, same conclusion... Yes

For a long time I've always wondered about the Kennedy assassination. I've long believed that there is FAR more to both John and Robert Kennedy's assassination. I admit that some of the conspiracy notions are pretty outrageous and clearly made up by people who just want to believe in such things, but there are some theories that aren't so outrageous, that are credible but certainly disconcerting because they involve elements of our own government. I certainly don't believe there was a massive government cover-up, but I do believe some people in our government wanted rid of both John and Robert, and they did so.

Recently in Time magazine there was an article of opinion about the assassination of President John Kennedy and whether it was a conspiracy. One says yes, the other says no. They're brief but worth reading. The writer in the positive, David Talbot brought up some very interesting facts and dilemmas attached to the assassination and what followed. I think he posited his claims well and raised some interesting questions.

The writer that argues in the negative, Vincent Bugliosi, offered a truly weak rationale for his reasoning which relies mostly on it just seeming unbelievable to him that our government would have done such a thing and would have employed someone like Lee Harvey Oswald in any part of it.

He starts right off with this misleading statement, "After 44 years of investigation by thousands of researchers, not one speck of credible evidence has ever surfaced that groups such as the CIA, organized crime or the military-industrial complex were behind the assassination, only that they each had a motive."

While there apparently isn't enough known evidence to indict anyone, there most certainly is a great deal of credible evidence that Oswald did not act alone, that people within the government and the Mafia had a hand in it and in covering up a great deal of the evidence surrounding it.

The author claims, "I have found there are 32 separate reasons for concluding there was no conspiracy." Believe it or not he starts off with something as lacking in substance as:
"Moreover, the very thought of members of the military-industrial complex (Joint Chiefs of Staff, captains of industry) or the CIA or organized crime actually plotting to murder the President of the U.S. is surreal, the type of thing that only belongs, if at all, in a Robert Ludlum novel."
You really have to question a person who uses a feeling he gets as part of his "case" against something. This guy actually has wrote a book about the Kennedy assassination. Surely his book isn't filled with specious gems like this...

He goes on to argue that Lee Harvey Oswald was clearly guilty of involvement in the assassination, I'm not sure of anyone claiming otherwise, but he seems to operate under the assumption that since Oswald clearly was involved and had no reasonable claim of innocence, that therefore there must not have been a conspiracy... Not sure how one equals the other, but he attempts to make that leap.

"Oswald's efforts to construct a defense [...] turned out to be a string of provable lies, all of which show an unmistakable consciousness of guilt. Only in a fantasy world can you have 53 pieces of evidence against you and still be innocent. Conspiracy theorists are stuck with this reality."
Yes, I think there is no denying that Oswald was involved in the assassination and that he shot the president, the point here is that he did not act alone.

"Even assuming that the CIA or Mob or military-industrial complex decided 'Let's murder President Kennedy,' Oswald would be among the last people in the world those organizations would choose for the job. Oswald was not an expert shot and owned only a $12 mail-order rifle—both of which automatically disqualify him as a hit man."
Again, Mr. Bugliosi relies on his quite limited assumptions, that since Oswald wouldn't qualify as a good hitman then he couldn't have possibly been used by organizations who were conspiring to kill the President as their assassin. So if Oswald doesn't seem like the perfect hitman therefore there must have been no conspiracy... What a weak sense of logic he's got going on here.

This is actually a very interesting point that he brings up though, not only does it not help his argument it actually hurts it. First of all, Oswald was tested during his earlier service in the Marines just above the minimum qualifications as a sharpshooter. So while he wasn't an expert he wasn't a bad aim either. But okay, so the claim here is that he wasn't an expert shot and that he only owned a $12 mail-order rifle. Then just how in the hell did he manage to shoot the President of the United States from over 65ft away as he was traveling 15mph in a motorcade with only 2 shots, the fatal one being a shot to the head?

But, apparently this doesn't matter, Bugliosi does in fact want us to believe that someone who toward the end of his brief service in the Marine Corps only scored as a marksman and who accidentally shot himself in the arm with a pistol was able to pull off this remarkable feat, what Bugliosi himself refers to as "the biggest murder in American history"? I find that to be far less believable than the theory that there was a second, far more qualified gunman...

"If the Mafia leaders, for instance, decided to kill the President of the U.S.—an act that would result in a retaliation against them of unprecedented proportions if they were discovered to be behind it—wouldn't they use a very professional, tight-lipped assassin who had a successful track record with them, someone in whom they had the highest confidence?"

Yes, they might use someone like that... In fact, I'd say they did. I contend that Oswald did not act alone. There was a professional involved, and he wasn't about to get caught. If I were the professional, there is no way in hell I would be counting on just slipping away from that place unnoticed. He needed a distraction, a fall guy. Afterall, there was no way that the assassin of the President of the United States was just not going to get caught, ever.

Since Bugliosi is framing his arguments about what he thinks government officials and mob bosses would or would not do then how about this: Oswald was chosen because he was a loser who was easy to manipulate, he would be easy to villainize what with his past including his ties to communism, and he would be a believable assassin since he had been a Marine and had qualified as a sharpshooter... In short, he was an ideal fall guy that few would suspect wouldn't have motive and capability to shoot the President. If you were going to pick someone to shoot the President who could be a lone gunman, a loser like Oswald would seemingly make a very good choice. And if this is true then it was obviously a very wise decision, because officially Oswald acted alone and the conspiracy deniers still abound.

Of course, as a side note, I think it is worth mentioning that the government and the mob during that era had used incompetent hitmen before, like the miserably failed attempts to kill Fidel Castro.

Again Bugliosi continues on with his all too convenient assumptions:
"let's assume, just for the sake of argument, that the CIA or Mob decided to kill Kennedy and also decided that Oswald should do the job. It still doesn't make any sense. After Oswald shot Kennedy and left the book depository, one of two things would have happened, the less likely of which is that a car would have been waiting for him to help him escape down to Mexico or wherever. The conspirators certainly wouldn't want their killer to be apprehended and interrogated by the authorities. But the more likely thing by far is that the car would have driven Oswald to his death. Instead, we know that Oswald was out on the street with $13 in his pockets, attempting to flag down buses and cabs. What does that fact, alone, tell you?"
This all tells me that Bugliosi isn't very clever. Ok, so let's assume that the CIA and/orMob did decide to kill President Kennedy and that they did use Oswald. Unlike this guy though, I'm not going to rely on his convenient premise that Oswald was the lone hitman. Instead, Oswald was the stooge. He was the guy that would throw everyone off the scent, someone the authorities could catch and convict. Case solved, the country will move on. And if this were true, then no there was not going to be a car waiting for Oswald, there would be no escape to Mexico.

As for his last comment about Oswald flagging down cabs and only having $13, Bugliosi wants us to believe this proves the Mob wasn't involved. Quite the contrary, those details certainly do not sound like the description of a man who was planning to shoot the President and then escape on his own to mingle back into society... Nope, it sounds like someone who was expecting a set up getaway that, to his surprise, wasn't there afterward and so he was desperate to improvise an escape.
"Three people can keep a secret but only if two are dead. Yet we are asked to believe that in 44 years, not one word of the vast alleged conspiracy, not one syllable, has ever leaked out."
The fact that Oswald was killed soon after he was in custody by Jack Ruby, who also died soon afterward, seems to have totally escaped him... Yes, those that wanted Kennedy dead certainly didn't want Oswald to talk, and they made sure he didn't.

As for there not being a word leaked out about this conspiracy {which doesn't have to be as vast as he claims}, that is yet another bogus claim on his part. The many conspiracy theories that exist weren't just created in a vacuum. They have been based on evidence, albeit much of it circumstantial, and there have been claims made by people which it remains to be seen if their claims are true or not. There is no basis for Bugliosi's claim that there is no evidence that there was a conspiracy, and there is no basis for his claim that nothing has been leaked about it. But Bugliosi doesn't want there to be a conspiracy and so anything that would substantiate that conspiracy is rejected.

Of the so-called 32 reasons not to believe there was a conspiracy, Vincent Bugliosi didn't give a single one that was even remotely convincing. Mostly it amounts to it not making sense to him... He can't conceive of it and therefore it just can't be so. Really, he is a major embarrassment to the anti-conspiracy movement.

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