JFK Conspiracy Theories
Sorry, no real debunk here. Creation Date Saturday, 23 November 2013. Hits 2967
Two conspiracy theorists die and go to heaven. St. Peter tells them that Heaven is a place of all knowledge, so they can each ask him one question and he will reveal the answer to them. The first one says "Who killed John F. Kennedy?" St. Peter says "Lee Harvey Oswald." The other says "Who was he working with?" St. Peter says "He acted alone." The two of them look at each other and say "Wow! The coverup is bigger than we thought!" But seriously, what keeps this stuff going? Some would say the evidence. Other would say mental illness. I myself am unsure, and I have a hard time really focusing on this one as I didn't live through it. This article is pretty much a starting point for me and a note to self. Steve, debunk this one.
Understand that "debunking" anything is a risky proposition. Sometimes it works out, and sometimes you inadvertently convince yourself of something that you didn't want to believe. In this particular case I have no vested interest. I am simply curious as to what actually happened. I say debunking only because I start at a place of doubting these theories. I doubt them in large part for the following reasons.
- If it was the FBI or the CIA as many speculate, it is extremely hard to keep something like that under wraps. I have no faith in a government that can't keep a stain on a blue dress a secret pulling off this type of coverup.
- If it was the military as some speculate (or, more precisely, the military industrial complex) then isn't there an easier way to pull it off? After all, they were not only control and maintain the plane he flew in, but they were the air traffic controllers at the bases he flew in and out of.
- If it was the Russians or the Cubans, as some claim, then perhaps they would have more motivation to keep it secret, but wouldn't at least one of the people involved who could prove it try to flea here and trade info to escape communism?
- If it was the mob (and they are factored in to other scenarios as well) why the hell use Lee Harvey Oswald? I'll get to that later.
I listened to Coast to Coast this morning, a habit that I broke a few years ago, but I wanted to catch this episode on the Kennedy assassination. In the final hour, as George introduced his 4th guest on the topic, he stated that over the years he has been doing the show he has become more convinced that Oswald did not act alone. Could that be due, at least in part, to the fact that all four of his guests were conspiracy theorists? His first guest was a man by the name of Jim Marrs who set up the episode with something like this. This is, of course, far from a word for word recitation, but it is true to the notion.
If you are inclined to believe everything that the government tells you, then you're probably not interested in what he has to say. May I remind you that this government has told may lies, including most recently "If you like your plan you can keep it." But if you are one who believes whatever they try to tell you, then you're probably not interested in what I have to say.
This caused me to wonder, what does Jim have to say. Not just about the JFK assassination, of course. What else does Mr. Marrs have to say. After all, if the Government should lose or gain credit based on lies or truth, shouldn't other claims he makes be relevant? Like, for example, his book "Alien Agenda."
Author and award-winning Journalist Jim Marrs has uncovered compelling new evidence regarding extraterrestrials-that alien life forms have not only visited our planet in the past, but are among us right now. Drawing on numerous eyewitness accounts, highly classified CIA reports, and his own meticulous research, Marrs marshals an impressive array of facts to confirm the reality of UFOs--as well as the depth of the government campaign to keep America in the dark. Here is information unavailable in any other single source, including:
- Intriguing insights into the 1947 Roswell crash and the U.S. military's efforts to suppress all public inquiries
- Detailed accounts of UFO landing sites in South America and of abductions in the U.S.
- Vivid descriptions of UFOs by Apollo astronauts-in their own words
- Tantalizing clues to the alien timetable for revealing their plans here
- And much more!
Now in much the same way that I can neither confirm nor deny the conspiracy theories surrounding JFK, I can neither confirm nor deny that aliens are currently plopping down their space craft in backyards near you, nor that they are abducting your redneck cousin in hopes of impregnating her with some type of hybrid or trying to figure out if she uses her rectum as a storage compartment. I doubt that they do, but I can't prove it. That having been said, here are my largest problems with the conspiracy theory angle.
Why so many potential bad guys?
If one starts with the evidence and follows it wherever it might lead, then why is it taking individual people to so many different places? Of the four guests, 3 of them had at least 3 potential bad guys. None of them could entirely rule out Oswald from having any role at all. Yet I am supposed to believe that the people who say it was Lee Harvey are the ones that don't have it figured out?
Why continue to toss out motives?
The notion that a motive and a Presidential assassination go hand in hand is preposterous. Take our current President. No, that is dicey. Take our last President. A little safer to speculate on. If President Bush had been assassinated, who would have a motive? Wouldn't it be easier to list who wouldn't? Iraq and Afghanistan would certainly be suspect. Domestically, there are some environmental and eco terrorist groups that might get a good look. Not to mention Cindy Sheehan and the anti war movement. Hollywood and big labor would certainly have motive. When the biggest part of your case is a motive, and your victim has a job that requires that he anger half of the country on any given day, it is a weak case.
Why Lee Harvey Oswald?
This is in direct response to the conspiracy theorist who says "Why would Jack Ruby kill Oswald if it wasn't to shut him up?" I know it is hard to believe that Ruby loved the Kennedy family so much that he felt the need to sacrifice his own freedom to kill the man that killed JFK. But have you considered the alternative? He was sacrificing his own life either way, be it for a family he loved or... well.. for a family he loved, the latter being a mob family of course. But can you imagine with me, if you would, the mob boss who decides it is time to kill Kennedy who chooses this plan? You be the boss, and I'll be the right hand man that sells the plan to you.
- Me--- Hey, boss. We have this guy in Dallas who is real loyal. We can trust him to kill someone and keep his freaking mouth shut. He'll do anything for this family and no way this guy will rat.
- Boss--- Great, so we'll have him kill Kennedy then.
- Me--- Well, not exactly. You see, we have this other guy who is a loose cannon. A real whack job who runs off at the mouth about communism and pulls all kinds of crazy stunts to get attention. I was thinking we could get that guy to kill the President, and then our friend Jack Ruby will kill him to shut him up.
So, are you sold? Who in the hell would plan this out like that? And even if you think that Oswald never fired a shot, that he was simply creating a distraction while the real assassin struck, why not just use Ruby if he was that damned loyal and you were going to use him to kill Oswald in front of a live television camera for crying out loud?
Did you know that Oswald said he was a patsy?
Oh, well that settles everything! Why didn't you tell me earlier that he was the only person in recorded history accused of a crime who claimed that he didn't commit it? Sarcasm aside, the reality is even more humorous. After all, what is a "patsy?" It is a foolish person who is easily tricked or cheated. So your theory that Oswald didn't do it actually originated from the mouth of a man who professed himself to be a fool who is easily tricked.
These are just some of the reasons I have for being skeptical of the theories. Does this alone disprove or debunk them? Of course not. This is just my starting point. That, and the fact that I tend to believe that people who easily subscribe to conspiracy theories suffer from a sort of self perpetuating mental illness. Allow me to explain.
It is often times easier to find a source to blame then to chalk up a bad occurrence to a random uncontrollable event. It makes life feel a little bit riskier if any of us could be taken out at any random point in our life by some single unhinged lunatic. Thus, it is more comfortable to find fault in the victim or to blame a devious person with ill intent. In other words, if the girl got raped because she dressed inappropriately, then I can avoid this by dressing appropriately. When the victim is someone we hold in great esteem, it is hard to blame the victim. It is necessarily easier to assign intent or motivation to the perpetrator. But when it is one disturbed individual, that is hard to do. It is much easier to imagine a scenario where that individual is motivated or controlled by a manipulator with a real motivation. Be it Johnson's aspiration to become President, or the mobs desire to get back into their casinos in Cuba, or the military industrial complex wishing to exploit a war in Vietnam for financial gain, any of these are welcomed thoughts as opposed to a random moment of insanity.
This illness (I use that term loosely, as this is my theory and I am certainly not a doctor) perpetuates itself for two reasons. The first reason is that the acceptance of the first conspiracy theory makes the second one much easier. At some point all authorities become suspect because they are either in on it or too incompetent to figure out what the people under them are doing.
Secondly, it drives itself with the mere notion of the good guy going away and the bad guy remaining. It doesn't so much matter if it was the mob, the CIA, the FBI, Cuba, Russia, the military industrial complex, or LBJ himself, all of those individuals, entities, or countries are still here. So each time a good guy goes down, the list of bad guys grows. And if they did that then, what might they be doing now? In addition to looking for more events to blame on conspiracies, one now has a longer list of conspirators to be wary of. Thus, the theories grow at twice the rate because one is not just looking at occurrences that might have a conspiratorial causation, but also conspirators that might be causing more occurrences. At this point it is no longer simply events that cannot be easily explained that are suspect, but any event that is tied to "known conspirators" becomes suspect as well. Thus if your neighbor gets hit by a car in Russia, it might have been the Russian government that put the driver up to it. It is also equally likely that if your neighbor is accused of setting off a bomb in Russia that it was actually done by the Russian authorities themselves and your neighbor is simply a patsy. Solid evidence against your neighbor (like fingerprints, photos, or receipts of purchase for bomb components) is dismissed as planted by the conspirators, but weak "evidence" against the conspirators (like a missing report or poor chain of custody on a piece of evidence) is viewed as convincing proof against them. Why? Because your neighbor is good, and the Russians are "known conspirators."
So where does all of this lead? I'm thinking I should buy a book. Jerome Corsi might be a good place to start. However, in the sake of fairness, if any of my readers believe in any of these conspiracy theories surrounding JFK then please point me in the right direction. Give me the book that sold you on it. On a related note, I will also be reading "Killing Kennedy" just because I want to. If those of you who believe the official version also know of a book that lays out that case in the best manner feel free to recommend it.