JFK Cover-Up: Where There's Smoke There's Fire
In November of 2003, Senator Max Cleland resigned from the 9/11 Commission investigation, directly disparaging it by way of the Warren Commission investigation. Senator Cleland said:
[T]he Warren Commission blew it. I'm not going to be part of that. I'm not going to be part of looking at information only partially. I'm not going to be part of just coming to quick conclusions. I'm not going to be part of political pressure to do this or not do that ( Boehlert ).
The most obvious fact, to indicate that the true story of John F. Kennedy's slaying is not as the government has presented, is the cover-up itself. Elaborate cover-ups spanning 50 years cannot orchestrate themselves, and there must be compelling reasons for hiding the truth from the American people, or else it would simply be declassified and revealed. If the killing of the president was committed by a lone nut single shooter named Lee Harvey Oswald, because of his great love of Marxism, there would be no compelling reason to keep his files secret five decades after the fact. Quite the opposite, Mr. Oswald's clear guilt and personal history would have been useful propaganda material in the ideological battle between the Western world and the Soviet bloc. The ongoing and arguably illegal suppression of assassination evidence by the US government should be taken as a clear indicator of some level of official complicity in the original assassination.
Despite the US government and major media pressing the official story for fifty years, still relatively few Americans believe it. By 2004, "74 percent" of Americans thought there was a "cover-up of the facts about the assassination of JFK" ( Blanton ). Today, polls show a majority firmly behind the conspiratorial view, with an April 2013 Associated Press finding that, "59 percent of Americans think multiple people were involved in a conspiracy."
Of course the 1979 House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA) determined the killing was "probably" a conspiracy, with a pathetic guess their final determination. Their committee was "unable to determine" the identities of other shooters or the "extent of the conspiracy" ( Porter ). This is more evidence of cover-up, especially so given the sheer number of documents to be released after 1979, and, even more damaging, those that remain secret to this day. We know of at least 1,100 multi-page records related to the JFK hit that remain classified.
Among those still classified records are details of the CIA's surveillance of Lee Harvey Oswald prior to the assassination ( Morley, "Top 7..." ). Characters kept shielded from public scrutiny include Bill Harvey who headed an assassination team for CIA code named "ZR-RIFLE." CIA operative David A. Phillips was allegedly seen with Oswald in Dallas in September of 1963, two months before the slaying of a president. At least 332 hidden pages concern E. Howard Hunt, a CIA thug and Nixon "plumber" (plugged leaks) involved in Watergate. Hunt would confess on his deathbed to being part of the JFK hit, as published in Rolling Stone, although specifics of his story may be inaccurate ( Maier ). In his confession E. Howard Hunt did name Cord Meyer, Bill Harvey, David Morales, David A. Phillips, Frank Sturgis and then Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson ( Hedegaard ).
The second JFK investigation, the 1979 HSCA, in no way got to the truth of the matter, and nowhere is this more clearly shown than in its failure to interview Jerrol Custer when it addressed whether the Kennedy X-rays were forgeries or not ( HSCA, "Section IV" ). Custer was the x-ray technician who took the pictures, and yet he was not brought in to clarify that the images were authentic. Custer testified in 1997 to the Assassinations Records Review Board: "[W]hen I looked into the skull -- I remember seeing an apparatus in there... It was non-human. It had -- I'm not sure if it was metallic or plastic"" His commanding officer, Dr. Ebersole returned late that night with additional skull fragments from Dallas. "High-ranking people had talked to [Ebersole]. And he suggested to me that everything I see from now on, I should forget" ( ARRB, "Deposition..." p146 ).Three days after Kennedy's killing, and just one day after Lee Harvey Oswald was also gunned down -- while in police custody and having never confessed to anything -- the assistant Attorney General of the United States, Nicholas Katzenbach, wrote a memo to a white house aide that included this point: "The public must be satisfied that Oswald was the assassin; that he did not have confederates who are still at large; and that the evidence was such that he would have been convicted at trial" ( Katzenbach ).
Clearly, at this early juncture there was no way for Nicholas Katzenbach to know these things as facts. In explaining his memo, Katzenbach told the House Select Committee on Assassinations that his emphasis was on full disclosure and not on pressing the lone assassin theory ( HSCA, p.653 ). Katzenbach's premature memo also noted some conspiracy theories that the Soviets were behind the Kennedy killing or that the extreme right wing was behind it in order to blame it on leftists. "Unfortunately, the facts on Oswald seem about too pat, too obvious (Marxist, Cuba, Russian wife, etc.)" (Katzenbach).
So even as he relayed the (premature) determination of FBI agents that Oswald was responsible and that he acted alone, Katzenbach expressed a reservation that it seemed "too obvious" that Oswald was so blatantly linked to the Soviet bloc.
We see an official policy to stick to the lone assassin theory, and specifically not to blame the JFK hit on the Soviets or Cuba, from President Johnson as well. A phone call on November 29th, one week after the slaying, from the President to Senator Richard Russell, made clear his concern. Johnson said, "[W]e've got to take this out of the arena where they're testifying that Khrushchev and Castro did this and did that and kicking us into a war that can kill 40 million Americans in an hour..." The direct threat of nuclear war supposedly took precedent rather than full disclosure, at least from the mouth of President Johnson. This rationale for covering up some facts was already established and on the record, inside the white house, one week after President Kennedy's murder.
Discrepancies with the Oswald legend would emerge later. Particularly curious is this bit of skullduggery: "In one taped conversation, Oswald -- or someone saying he was Oswald -- called the Soviet embassy. Then-FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover listened to the tape and told President Lyndon Johnson that it wasn't Oswald's voice" ( Rosenbaum ). That tape disappeared forever. Perhaps Katzenbach's "too obvious" speculation was spot on.
Oliver Stone's JFK film included another spot on point. As Associated Press states plainly, "Pamphlets Oswald had in his possession bore an address of a local anti-Castro operation connected to a former FBI agent with ties to organized crime," (Porter). So was Lee Harvey Oswald supposed to be pro-Castro, anti-Castro, undercover or what?
A cognitive dissonance surrounds this issue, particularly in the corporate media. Investigators routinely report highly suspicious facts only to attempt to spin them away, to diminish their importance. An example of this behavior is former Washington Post reporter Jefferson Morley, who has taken on the Kennedy case. Claims Morley: "This is not about conspiracy, this is about transparency... I think the CIA should obey the law" (Porter).
The definition of conspiracy is when multiple parties, or an organization such as CIA, break the law. Establishment journalists are so terrified of accusing the government of conspiracy, that they even seem prepared to attack the English language rather than to open themselves up to accusations of being a dreaded "conspiracy theorist."