Everybody on earth on Nov. 22, 1963, it sometimes seems, was involved in a plot to assassinate JFK. If all those alleged conspirators-all of whom have denied the allegations — were there, it’s lucky anyone got out of Dealey Plaza alive. Oliver Stone’s JFK has touched on only some of the possibilities. Here is a definitive roundup of conspiracy theories. Reader, beware: It’s a territory in which facts intermingle freely with conjecture and fantasy.
PLAYERS: Fidel Castro, Raul Castro, Che Guevara; pro-Castro agents in the U.S. posing as anti-Castroites; Soviet-trained Cuban sharpshooters smuggled into Dallas.
WHY: JFK embarrassed Castro big time in the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, and Latin machismo demanded retaliation.
WHAT ABOUT OSWALD: Just who he said he was, a pinko Castro sympathizer opposed to Kennedy’s Cuba policy; silenced by onetime Castro gunrunner Jack Ruby.
COVER-UP RATIONALE: Full disclosure would force the U.S. to retaliate against Castro and the USSR would back its puppet, leading to World War III and the end of civilization as we know it.
ALSO SEE: Red Friday by Carlos Bringuier.
PLAYERS: Exiled anti-Castro activists Eladio Del Valle and Sergio Arcacha Smith; their U.S. rightist henchmen Guy Banister, Clay Shaw, and David Ferrie; CIA baby-sitter ”Maurice Bishop”; mercenary Loran Eugene Hall; snipers recruited from Alpha 66 guerrilla group and coordinated in Dealey Plaza by the anonymous ”umbrella man.”
WHY: JFK withheld air support at the Bay of Pigs, and pulled the plug on all exile get-Fidel plans thereafter.
WHAT ABOUT OSWALD: Never shot anybody; was duped into thinking it was a pro-Castro operation; was silenced by Ruby, notorious bagman for Latin drug dealers and arms traffickers.
COVER-UP RATIONALE: Exposure would have risked disclosure of intimate U.S. ties with anti-Castro firebrands, complicity in Latin assassination plots, secret Central American mercenary bases, etc.
ALSO SEE: Coincidence or Conspiracy? by Bernard Fensterwald Jr.; On the Trail of the Assassins by Jim Garrison; Legacy of Doubt by Peter Noyes.
MILITARY INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX
PLAYERS: Pentagon hard-liners, arms manufacturers, oil producers; Lyndon Johnson and White House hawks; right-wing Secret Service agents who stripped the Dallas motorcade of normal security precautions, then helped alter the corpse and destroy autopsy evidence.
WHY: Sought deeper involvement in Southeast Asia and an end to détente with the Soviet Union. JFK was planning to dump LBJ from the national ticket in 1964 and pull out of Vietnam in 1965.
WHAT ABOUT OSWALD: These guys eat Lee Harvey Oswalds for breakfast.
COVER-UP RATIONALE: These guys eat Earl Warrens for lunch.
ALSO SEE: JFK and Vietnam by John Newman (to be published soon); Crossfire by Jim Marrs; The Secret Team by Fletcher Prouty; Best Evidence by David Lifton.
RENEGADE CIA CLIQUE
PLAYERS: Chief CIA hard-liner James Angleton; fired Bay of Pigs architect Gen. Charles P. Cabell; dark-ops master William Harvey; Dallas mayor Earle Cabell (who rerouted the motorcade as a favor to his brother Charles); professional European assassins, trained by OAS terrorist Jean Souetre, and coordinated in Dealey Plaza by three agents disguised as tramps.
WHY: After the Bay of Pigs disaster, JFK began carrying out his vow to ”splinter the CIA into a thousand pieces and scatter it to the wind.”
WHAT ABOUT OSWALD: Recruited by CIA while serving at U2 base in Japan in 1958-59; sent to USSR as an ersatz defector; brought home and — along with a near-look-alike code-named ”Saul” — assigned to sow confusion along JFK hit trail; escape to airport where plane would take him to Mexico stymied by patrolman J.D. Tippit; silenced by CIA errand boy Ruby.
COVER-UP RATIONALE: Warren Commission member Allen Dulles had been canned as CIA director by Kennedy.
ALSO SEE: Plausible Denial by Mark Lane; Appointment in Dallas by Hugh C. McDonald; Conspiracy by Anthony Summers; Reasonable Doubt by Henry Hurt.
PLAYERS: New Orleans-Dallas boss Carlos Marcello, Miami boss Santos Trafficante, Chicago boss Sam Giancana, Teamsters boss Jimmy Hoffa, ex-Havana boss Meyer Lansky, Johnny Roselli; Marcello family retainers Banister, Shaw, and Ferrie; mob operative Eugene Hale Brading (a.k.a. Jim Braden), whom Dallas police picked up in Dealey Plaza on Nov. 22 and subsequently released.
WHY: To get back into the Havana casino action; to get Bobby Kennedy off Hoffa’s back; to get back at the Kennedys for Bobby’s anti-mob vendetta — all the more galling for the mob’s having helped Chicago mayor Richard Daley steal the ’60 election for JFK.
WHAT ABOUT OSWALD: Fingered as the fall guy by Marcello’s New Orleans flunkie, Ferrie; silenced by debt-ridden Mafia underling Ruby, who earned his mob spurs in Chicago running numbers for the Capone gang.
COVER-UP RATIONALE: Through JFK’s dalliance with Giancana’s moll Judy Exner and Peter Lawford’s escapades with the Rat Pack in Vegas — not to mention Papa Joe’s bootlegging in the ’30s — the mob knew about more Kennedy family skeletons than the Kennedys did.
ALSO SEE: The Plot to Kill the President, by G. Robert Blakey and Richard N. Billings.
PLAYERS: Oilman H.L. Hunt; European emigres George DeMohrenshildt and Ferenc Nagy; alliance of wealthy John Birchers, U.S. defense security agents, Cuban exiles, Odessa-style ex-Nazis and White Russian monarchists, operating under the umbrella of Permindex Corp., a global intelligence-financial network; crack American Volunteer Group riflemen coordinated by paramilitarist Joseph Adams Milteer (the ”go” signal was the black-bordered ”Welcome” ad in the Nov. 22 Dallas Morning News).
WHY: Considered Kennedy ”soft on communism”; hated JFK’s foreign, domestic, and economic policies; didn’t much like Bobby, either. WHAT ABOUT OSWALD: Perfect fall guy — a confused Com-symp defector — for laying the blame at Kremlin’s doorstep; plan to have him knocked off by right-wing cop J.D. (for Jefferson Davis) Tippit failed; silenced by Ruby, a devotee of the Hunt-sponsored ”Life Line” broadcasts.
COVER-UP RATIONALE: Right-wing clout in the FBI, CIA, and U.S. military helped obliterate evidence.
ALSO SEE: Nomenclature of an Assassination Cabal by ”William Torbitt”; The Men Behind the Guns by W.R. Morris; Spy Saga by Philip Melanson.
PLAYERS: Premier Nikita Khrushchev, KGB chairman Yuri Andropov, KGB American expert-turned- defector Yuri Nosenko, Marina Prusakova Oswald; Oswald control agent Albert Osborne; Latin leftist guerrillas coordinated by ”second Oswald,” code-named Alek Hidell, a trained KGB assassin.
WHY: JFK outbluffed Russkies in the Cuban Missile Crisis, and was about to abandon Cold War militarism to attack Soviets where they were weakest: the economic front.
WHAT ABOUT OSWALD: Marxist turncoat ”made” as a Soviet agent when his Marine radar training helped bag Gary Powers’ U2 spy plane; groomed by KGB in Minsk and assigned ”wife” whose uncle was a high-ranking Soviet intelligence official; returned to U.S. with a Soviet double in 1962; slain by low-level KGB agent Ruby.
COVER-UP RATIONALE: Warren Commission didn’t want to stir up anti-Soviet public opinion that would fuel impeach-Earl Warren rightists, elect Goldwater, and thus risk World War III and the end of civilization as we know it.
ALSO SEE: The Oswald File by Michael Eddowes.
PLAYERS: J. Edgar Hoover (visiting Dallas Nov. 22 on ”private business”); former FBI officials William Sullivan, Louis Nichols, Alan H. Belmont, James Cadigan, J.M. English, and Donald Kaylor, all of whom died under mysterious circumstances in 1977; sharpshooters recruited from FBI-infiltrated anti-Castro and right-wing groups.
WHY: JFK was threatening to force the aging longtime director into retirement and to bring the agency under control.
WHAT ABOUT OSWALD: Former Marxist idealogue-defector was ”turned” when he came back to the US; infiltrated pro-Castro groups; set up by being told he was spying on the real assassins; slain by fellow FBI asset Ruby.
COVER-UP RATIONALE: The Warren Commission relied exclusively on the FBI for its investigations and received only what Hoover wanted it to receive.
ALSO SEE: The Assassination Tapes by George O’Toole; Act of Treason by Mark North.
PLAYERS: Howard Hughes, ”Mr. X,” operatives recruited from CIA, Mafia, anti-Castro Cubans, right-wing paramilitarists, possibly including hit man Charles Harrelson, courier Chauncey Holt, and communications expert Jim Hicks.
WHY: Elimination of wealthy, independent Kennedy; elevation of vainglorious Johnson; discredit of American liberals; election of puppet Nixon. Alternate explanation: The Mafia had actually taken over Hughes organization from the bedridden recluse, and it was run by a ”Mr. X,” possibly Meyer Lansky.
WHAT ABOUT OSWALD: A cagey chameleon selling his services to the highest bidder and trapped in his own game; left Dealey Plaza in a light-colored station wagon and should have been shot at the Texas Theater while ”resisting arrest”; instead, Hughes’ toady Jack Ruby — frequent guest at Las Vegas casinos — was told to knock him off.
COVER-UP RATIONALE: Not even the Warren Commission could be sure of what Hughes owned, or whom.
ALSO SEE: The Assassination Chain by Sybil Leek and Bert R. Sugar.
Research assistance provided by Carl Oglesby and Harvey Yazijian of whom was anywhere near Dallas on November 22, 1963