JFK Assination - Conspiracy

Hafsah Masood

What reasons did the HSCA in suggesting that John F Kennedy was the victim of a conspiracy?

In 1976, the US Senate ordered a fresh inquiry into the assassination of John F Kennedy, who was murdered in 1963 during a motorcade in Dallas, Texas. People who had been involved in the original Warren Commission investigations were asked to make fresh statements. The FBI and the CIA were persuaded to release more of their documents on Oswald. New lines of inquiry were opened and individuals who had not previously given evidence were persuaded to come forward. Most important of all, pieces of evidence such as photos and sound recordings were subjected to scientific analysis using the most up-to-date methods and equipment. The House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA) completed their investigation in 1979 and they finally came to a discrete verdict that Lee Harvey Oswald fired three shots at Kennedy, one of which killed the president. The fourth shot was fired from the grassy knoll. They concluded that John Kennedy was assassinated as a result of a conspiracy. There are many reasons why the HSCA came to this verdict, but firstly it was important that the American people understood why this case was re-opened over a decade later!

The investigation was set up as direct result of the assassinations of two other major political figures; the civil rights leader, Dr Martin Luther King and the Presidents brother Robert Kennedy, in 1968. Naturally this aroused immense suspicion and the American public started questioning why so many key US figures had been assassinated in the space of just four years when previously this type of incident had been rare. At the time there was also an increasing amount of corruption and scandal within the government. This alarmed the public who had completely trusted the government before. The Watergate Scandal in 1974 involving President Nixon had clearly shown that this was not the case anymore. Nixon had abused his authority and power to his advantage. This indicated that even politicians were prone to sleaze and scandal. As a result of this, people also started questioning the behaviour of the government. This is most likely why they were more receptive in accepting that Kennedy was the victim of a conspiracy, later on.

The public also became increasingly interested in the Kennedy assassination as books such as ?Rush to judgement? by Mark Lane and ?Inquest? by Edward Jay Epstein, started to be written. They immediately became best sellers and played a large role in raising awareness regarding the assassination. As a result people started to inquire more and rumours began that other people or organisations had been involved in Kennedy?s assassination i.e there had been a conspiracy. As people became more and more aware about the events surrounding the assassination, many blamed the Dallas police as being incompetent in handling the whole investigation. They had proven to be extremely unorganised despite the fact that the President had just been murdered. The fact that interviews hadn?t been recorded was one of the reasons why there was so much confusion. Yet the only excuse the Dallas police could come up with was that they couldn?t find a tape recorder! The questions that were asked by the officers proved to worthless and what little records were kept are said to be inadequate. However more seriously, the Dallas police were wildly believed to be at fault for Oswalds death and even the world wide doubt over his guilt. Even though previously an attempt had been made to kill Oswald, no further security precautions had been taken to prevent this from happening again. Considering that they were holding the alleged assassin of the President in custody, the security was appalling. At the hands of Jack Ruby, one bullet had proved sufficient enough to kill Oswald. The fact that reporters were allowed to mingle around Oswald as he was escorted out of court, probably caused the death. Public access to Oswald should not have been permitted under any circumstance. Oswald was murdered in front of cameras and video footage of the incident shows that the police didn?t make hardly any attempts to prevent the murder, but literally just stood there. Many people have found this to be extremely suspicious. Some believe that Jack Ruby killed Oswald to silence him and the police were ordered to let it happen. If this is true, who were