Conspiracy: The Killing of a President
In 1976, the US Senate ordered a fresh inquiry into the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, who was murdered in 1963 during a motorcade in Dallas, Texas while campaigning for re-election. 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. A fourth shot was fired from the grassy knoll, which was contradictory to the statement printed by the Warren Commission 16 years earlier. They concluded that John Kennedy was assassinated as the result of a conspiracy.
The investigation was ordered directly after 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 these incidents 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. The HCSA was interested in looking into the possibility that the assassinations were related. At the time there was also an increasing awareness of corruption and scandal within the government. The Watergate Scandal in 1974 involving President Nixon had clearly shown that American government was not entirely free of foul play. As a result of this, people started questioning the behavior of the government, and how much it was holding back from its people. This is most likely why Americans became more receptive and attracted to the idea of a conspiracy behind Kennedy's death.
The public became even more interested in the Kennedy assassination after books such as Rush to Judgment, by Mark Lane and Inquest, by Edward Jay Epstein began to come off the press. 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 theories arose that other people or organizations had been involved in Kennedy's assassination than had been previously thought. 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 unorganized in their efforts to document and investigate the Presidents murder. The fact that interviews hadn't been recorded was one of the reasons why there was so much confusion during the trial, 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 be worthless and what little records were kept are said to be inadequate. Also more seriously, the Dallas police were wildly believed to be at fault for Oswald's death and the worldwide doubt about his guilt. Even though a previous attempt had been made to kill Oswald, no further security precautions had been taken to prevent a second attempt. 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 gave Jack Ruby the freedom to access Oswald and so caused his death. Public access to Oswald should not have been permitted...
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