Friday, October 27, 2017

More JFK Assassination Files Released

The National Archives released about 2,800 records related to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy late last night. In a move that will only fuel the conspiracy theories,  a number of government agencies prevailed upon President Trump at the 11th hour to block about 300 further documents. Agencies seeking to have those documents blocked have until April to report and reconsider their reasons for blocking those documents.

Meanwhile, there's not much of note in what got released last night. Obviously, there's no smoking gun and no flat-out confessions from members of shadowy intelligence organizations. Still, there are a few nuggets in the docu-dump. Here's a list of some of the more interesting documents revelations:

  • A local British newspaper received an anonymous call about "some big news" in America 25 minutes before President John F Kennedy was assassinated. A memo to the director of the FBI, dated November 26 1963, noted that an anonymous phone call was made to the senior reporter at the Cambridge News at 6.05pm on (12:05pm Central Time in the U.S.) the day Kennedy was shot. The caller said only that the Cambridge News reporter should call the American Embassy in London for some big news and then hung up. After the word of the President's death was received the reporter informed the Cambridge police of the anonymous call and the police informed MI-5

  • An FBI memo discussed Lee Harvey Oswald's "Fair Play For Cuba"activities. A document from the FBI office in New Orleans indicates that an FBI agent was keeping up "with Cuban sources" for information relating to the Pro-Castro "Fair Play for Cuba Committee," which Oswald was a member of. The document says that the committee appears to have gone dormant since Oswald left the area, and that the "Dallas Division for information" is searching for Oswald. It says that if Oswald has relocated to Dallas "he may inaugurate an FPCC branch in that area."

  • The FBI received a call at its Dallas office threatening Oswald's life the night before he was shot and killed by Jack Ruby. The report says "We at once notified the chief of police and he assured us Oswald would be given sufficient protection. This morning we called the chief of police again warning of the possibility of some effort against Oswald and he again assured us adequate protection would be given. However, this was not done." The report goes on to mention J. Edgar Hoover's suspicions that Jack Ruby was an "underworld" figure "with the reputation of being a homosexual."

  • The Soviet Union believed Kennedy's death was the result of a conspiracy. An FBI document discusses how the Soviet Union reacted "with great shock" to the assassination of Kennedy. The assassination shocked Soviet diplomats who preferred Kennedy as President because they held him in such high esteem and that they knew little about Lyndon Johnson. Some within the Communist party believed that the assassination was in fact a coup initiated by the "ultraright." They were also worried that a rogue US general might use the lack of leadership to fire a nuclear weapon at the Soviet Union. The memo goes on to state that Soviet officials had denied any involvement with Lee Harvey Oswald, who had briefly defected to the Soviet Union years before: "They described him as a neurotic maniac who was disloyal to his own country and everything else." The KGB believed Oswald to be unstable, in part owing to his suicide attempt while in Soviet custody.

  • Fidel Castro denied involvement in the Kennedy assassination. A report from the House Select Committee on Assassinations, which was formed in 1976 to investigate the killings of President Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr, says that the members met with Cuban dictator Fidel Castro, "who assured the Committee that neither he nor his government had any involvement in the assassination of President John F. Kennedy."

  • Dallas Police Officer J.D. Tippett was accused of being the real assassin. An FBI document discussed an alleged conversation between an informant and H. Theodore Lee, where Lee indicated that previous members of the Fair Play For Cuba Committee had said that Patrolman Tippett (who had been murdered by Oswald about 45 minutes after the JFK assassination) had met Jack Ruby and an unnamed third party at Jack Ruby's night club a week before the assassination. 
So, what's the takeaway from this? Well, it certainly seems to torpedo the theory that the Soviets had anything to do with the JFK assassination. And the recently released documents don't do anything to advance the theory that Castro had anything to do with it. The theory that Lee Harvey Oswald was a CIA agent who went rogue and the CIA covered up any connections he had to the agency in order to avoid embarrassment still has some legs, though. Also worth noting is that there doesn't seem to be anything in these documents indicating direct evidence of a second shooter.

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