Watch the video above. It is important in the context of this page.
Many people wonder about the assassination of JFK. There are so many conspiracy theories and much conjecture surrounding his death.
If you don't get caught up in 'who done it' and concentrate on 'how could it have happened', many logical things start falling into place. One thing that soon becomes clear is the degrading of security for JFK. A sniper would be the first thing any competent state and federal security/police force would identify as a threat to any President, not just JFK. All high buildings in Dallas that overlooked JFK's route through Dallas would, you would have thought, have been covered and closely scrutinized and observed by people responsible for the safety and welfare of the President of the United States. Especially when you consider Dallas was identified as a hostile environment for the President at that time.
Lee Harvey Oswald was the accused assassin of U.S. President John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963 in Dallas, Texas. A former Marine who defected to the Soviet Union and later returned, Oswald was arrested on suspicion of killing Dallas police officer J. D. Tippit and later connected to the assassination of President Kennedy. Oswald denied any responsibility for the murders. Two days later, before he could be brought to trial for the crimes, while being transferred under police custody from the police station to jail, Oswald was shot and killed by Jack Ruby on live television.
Lee Harvey Oswald was a malcontent, who, through a degrading of security protecting JFK, got his chance to kill the President of the United States. If anyone has any doubts about Oswald, the killing of Tippit pretty well seals his complicity in the assassination of JFK. The evidence of his rifle and other factors gives a fair degree of certainty that Lee Harvey Oswald shot JFK from the the sixth floor of the book depository warehouse as the President's motorcade moved through Dealy Plaza in Dallas. Of course it's absolutely reasonable that there are many people who can't believe JFK could be killed in such a manner and there has to be a conspiracy involving other people or interests. That is the sad thing about JFK's death, a malcontent sniper got his chance, not through a planned conspiracy involving other people and interests, but through the degrading of the President's security. The troubling thing about how JFK died, is one can ask the question, why was his security so degraded to be unable to protect his life from a sniper on the sixth floor of the book depository warehouse?
The other thing which stands out is the death of Lee Harvey Oswald. Being dragged through areas in the Dallas police headquarters where people had access to him on a number of occasions. This was the number one suspect in the murder of the President of the United States, the killing of a police officer and the serious wounding of the Governor of Texas. Jack Ruby shot Oswald close up. Nobody, apart from police, FBI and federal government security people should have seen him let alone him being pulled out into areas where Jack Ruby got his chance to shoot him. Again, a complete degrading of security. How some-one like Jack Ruby could shoot Lee Harvey Oswald is close to unbelievable, but it happened. It was important for the country and the family of JFK that Lee Harvey Oswald be held personally accountable for his actions through the justice system. Once JFK was killed, everything following that should have been locked down and secured. But it wasn't. The events of November 1963 in Dallas point to chaos and confusion.
There were many people in Dallas that didn't like JFK's policies and made it clear in newspapers and other printed material on the day he arrived in Dallas. To some in Dallas, JFK was seen as a traitor. This alone should have upped the security of the President. In 1963, less than a month before the president's visit, United Nations ambassador Adlai Stevenson had been struck with a placard and spat upon during his own Dallas appearance. Despite this, the Secret Service wasn't worried. One Secret Service agent whose job was to protect the President has said: "And what could I have done about 20,000 windows?".
Oliver Stone's JFK movie and a host of conspiracy theories continue to fuel interest in JFK and his untimely death. The vast array of conspiracy theories regarding the assassination of JFK. Such theories began to be generated soon after his death and continue to be proposed today. Many of these theories propose a criminal conspiracy involving parties such as the Federal Reserve, the CIA, the KGB, the Mafia, FBI director J. Edgar Hoover, Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson, Richard Nixon, Israel, Fidel Castro, Cuban exile groups opposed to the Castro government and the military and/or government interests of the United States. The conspiracy theories are highly improbable.
What the conspiracy theories in themselves do however, is highlight widespread dislike of JFK's policies and the direction he wanted to take the United States.
One can conclude that there was a degrading of security for JFK in Dallas and the days that followed. The same thing happens when soldiers in a unit become disenchanted with their officer. In combat an officer can be more vulnerable when those around him lose confidence or are disenchanted with his/her leadership. This means there is no conspiracy to kill the officer or anything is planned to directly hurt the officer, but an enemy has more of a chance to take the officer out. In the fight against terrorism, it is often said that a terrorist has to only get lucky once. Any drop off of security due to negligence (or purposely done) on the battle field or anywhere means a terrorist is given a window of opportunity.
The question, 'Who killed JFK?', can be answered. There was no direct conspiracy to kill him. Instead, those responsible for his ultimate well-being and security, did what some soldiers do in combat They didn't care 100%. This attitude and mindset, unspoken and undetectable, is insidious. It gives a sniper a lucky chance. The disenchantment with JFK was widespread as stated previously. The security situation in Dallas in November 1963 was incomplete, which only gives weight to a commonsense conclusion that JFK was not protected as one would expect for a President of the United States and its Commander In Chief.
Of course this conclusion is not riveting, like a cold hard conspiracy, but there really is no other commonsense explanation. When you watch the video above. Look at the frustration of the Secret Service agent Rybka. He is not part of a conspiracy to kill President Kennedy, he is just reacting to something that has gone wrong. The explanation for Rybka's behavior is that there was not room left for him on the car following the President. Things go wrong when you have a breakdown in security. The other thing which stands out is that when JFK is shot the second time, the First Lady moves to the back of the car and a Secret Service agent boards the back of the Presidents car on the left. No-one is seen anywhere near the President's side of the car on right hand side at the back at that time.
What happens on the front line when soldiers engage in heavy combat, do your really think the soldiers disenchanted with their officer care what happens to the officer. Even if another soldier notices what's going on and tries to help the officer, the reaction and attitude from those around him/her would be noncommittal. When JFK was shot the Secret Service agents in the following car were slow to react. This was the same car that left no room for the frustrated Secret Service agent you see on the video. He was left back at the airport.
People can talk in a conspiracy or be found out before the plan can be enacted. A deep seated disenchantment or resentment can be covered, not spoken about, and never detected, but its consequences can sweep through an organisation like a virus, and give, like in the case of JFK, the lucky chance for Lee Harvey Oswald.
There are many brave people like President Kennedy that lay cold in their graves, buried by their loved ones who believe their loved one was killed by an assassin, a terrorist, or the enemy. But in reality, some are laying there because people around them didn't do their job because they had turned their backs allowing a window of opportunity for them to be killed. When you consider that allied nations will, in their interest, not relay intelligence or information to another ally, even if that ally is to be attacked by an enemy, it shouldn't be a surprise that the greatest threat to ones security or a nations security are closer to home. Some people will also feed disinformation and tell outright lies to drag a nation like the United States into war. Someone once said, "Keep your friends close and your enemies closer". The quote should be, "Keep your enemies close and your friends closer." If someone tells you something that sounds to good to be true, it's usually untrue.
Summary: If there had of been a planned assassination conspiracy involving people apart from Lee Harvey Oswald, it would have come to light by now. There is only one reasonable conclusion one can realistically come to and that is the security surrounding JFK was not operating at 100% efficiency which gave Lee Harvey Oswald the window of opportunity to kill JFK. This degraded security situation can either be seen as a series of honest mistakes or the degraded security eventuated because, at some level, some-one turned their back on their President. After JFK was shot, Jacqueline Kennedy shrieked ''My God, they've killed Jack. They've killed my husband, Jack, Jack!''. The First Lady didn't say 'some-one' killed her husband, she said "They've killed Jack", "They've killed my Husband." She may have been closer to the truth than she realised.
This page is a work in progress, so if anyone has anything to add (or wants to make a comment), please email Peter Barnes.
"Some people may think I am pointing the finger directly at a Secret Service agent or agents assigned to protect JFK on the day he was assassinated. No, what I believe happened, is some-one, most likely up the chain of command in the President's administration turned his/her back on things that needed fixing. Too many things went wrong in Dallas to lay the blame on those on the ground. The investigation should have concentrated on those directly responsible (at the top) for the President's security and focused on their personal attitude towards the President. A malcontent, nutter, or terrorist, only has to get lucky once, and you can bet your boots on one thing, and that is every President since Kennedy would have made sure that the people ultimately responsible for his security were 100% for him." Peter Barnes
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On 5th June 1968, 12.15am, Senator Robert F. Kennedy was making his way from the ballroom at the Ambassador Hotel, Los Angeles, to give a press conference, after winning the California Primary. The prearranged route went through a food service pantry. While making his way through this area, a Palestinian Arab, Sirhan Sirhan, stepped forward and fired a .22 revolver at the Senator. Although Sirhan was quickly subdued, Kennedy and five others were wounded, although only Kennedy was fatally wounded. Even though presidential candidates weren't protected back then as they are today, it's amazing that Robert Kennedy wasn't given secret service protection, being the brother of JFK. One would have thought that the security services of the US government would have known there was a great chance a nutter would try to assassinate the brother of JFK. RJK's death should make anyone who has even the slightest understanding of the word 'commonsense', ponder and think.
When President John F. Kennedy was gunned down in Dallas in November 1963, Robert, then the US attorney general, was having lunch at his home in northern Virginia when word of the shooting reached him. J. Edgar Hoover, director of the FBI, telephoned and said: “I have news for you. The president’s been shot.” Twenty minutes later, Hoover phoned again to deliver the final blow: "The president’s dead", he said and promptly hung up. Hoover obviously didn't like both Kennedy's. You don't have to have a conspiracy to murder, you just turn your back and let someone else do it for you.
JFK and RFK were sitting ducks. The most compelling and insightful thing about JFK's death, is not about murder and conspiracies. Take a look at JFK and the First Lady in the motorcade before the assassination, they are both totally relaxed and unworried. They think everything has been done to protect them. They were wrong. What happened in Dallas is far more insidious and worrying than a contrived plot to murder. The system that the President and the Commander In Chief of the United States of America relied on to keep him and the First Lady safe, completely broke down in Dallas. That system then didn't do anything to keep a nutter from killing his brother.
RFK's assassination is baffling if certain reports are to be believed. Powder burns on Kennedy reveal that the shot that killed him was fired from 0 to 1-1/2 inches away, and yet, witnesses claim that Sirhan's gun could not possibly have done this, for not one person places Sirhan's gun that close, and according to the general consensus Sirhan's gun never got to point blank range of Kennedy. Obviously Sirhan shot at Kennedy, but the coroner who did the autopsy on RFK has said, "Until more is precisely known…the existence of a second gunman remains a possibility. Thus, I have never said that Sirhan Sirhan killed Robert Kennedy." How all this was answered was because of the chaos when the gunfire started, people around Kennedy were not in the position to accurately know what happened. So, in effect, Sirhan could have shot Kennedy close-up. The only problem with this is powder burns on Kennedy and his clothing reveal that all three of his wounds were from a gun fired from 0 to 1-1/2 inches away. And yet, after firing the first two shots Sirhan was grabbed and contained, but still squeezing the trigger. Eyewitnesses also said that at no time during the attack did RFK turn his back during the firing and yet the entry wounds to RFK came from behind.
The crime scene above where people are positioned is interesting when you consider the autopsy report outlines that it was physically impossible for Sirhan to have fired the fatal shot to the back of Kennedy’s head, or any other shot that struck the Senator. The autopsy shows that Kennedy was shot from behind from below, while all witnesses say that Sirhan Sirhan shot at Robert Kennedy in a face to face position from 2 to 5 feet away with his arm outstretched horizontally toward the Senator. The trajectories of bullets that struck Kennedy were at sharp upward angles of 60° to 80° (nearly vertical), and the mortal wound fired into his brain was from just a couple inches behind him.
Don Schulman, a runner for KNXT-TV in Los Angeles, said that he saw the private security guard (Thane Eugene Cesar) behind Kennedy pull his gun and fire three shots during the chaos. Cesar denied firing, but it has been reported he admitted to pulling his gun. Cesar was allowed to leave the pantry for ten minutes before returning to collect his tie, which had fallen on the floor. Cesar says he was carrying a .38 that night, but he also owned a .22. And it is this smaller caliber weapon which LAPD says was used in the crime.
In later law-enforcement interviews, when Schulman was under pressure to be 'absolutely positive' about what he saw, Schulman stated that he didn't see the private security guard shoot Kennedy, as his first statement seemed to imply. He did assert that he saw the guard fire three times and Kennedy hit three times, but admitted he couldn't necessarily connect the two events. Schulman was pilloried by the judiciary and the press for years but has always stuck by his story. Interesting, when Schulman reported his story on the radio and insisted that Kennedy was shot three times, even though the early media reports and crime scene witnesses generally asserted that the Robert Kennedy was hit only twice, Schulman stuck to his story. The autopsy proved him right. Whether Schulman was accurate or not about Cesar, it appears that shortly after the assassination of RJK, no other gun was checked or tested. If it is true, and that the LAPD did not check or test the two guns owned by Cesar, this would be extraordinary.
Imagine you are a private security guard carrying a gun and someone approaches you with a gun drawn, what are you going to do?. The instinctive reaction would be to go for your gun. Cesar was not a secret service person programed to save someone by leaping between Kennedy or Sirhan. He would've gone into self preservation mode and gone straight for his weapon. He wouldn't even have to think about it, it would be an instant reaction. When you think that people saw Sirhan before he started shooting and tried to grab him this all happened right in front of Cesar. As Sirhan advanced closer and closer and started firing (he got of two shots before being grabbed), what do you think Cesar was doing? The police discounted many eyewitnesses because they said people would have been confused about what happened because the situation was chaotic. Eyewitnesses said Kennedy was facing Sirhan, but Cesar said Kennedy wasn't facing Sirhan. Cesar was a 26 year old with a gun. What would a 26 year old with a gun do as an obvious killer advanced to kill him? Forget Kennedy for a minute, and put yourself in Cesar's shoes (and remember five other people got shot).
The reason why Cesar is focused on by many is that Kennedy was shot from behind and he fell away from Sirhan, laying in a position that doesn't fit with having his back to Sirhan when he was shot. Some suggest Kennedy was pushed forward into the gun but that would have him falling differently. Once Kennedy was shot in the head he would have started to fall. Robert Kennedy's assassination does leave you feeling there's something missing. Something you just can't put your finger on.
Bodyguard Rafer Johnson, a gold medalist in the Olympic track and field decathlon, said that he grabbed the gun from Sirhan's hand after the shooting, took it home and wrote down the serial number H-53725. Can you imagine taking the assassin's weapon home - it's bizarre. Strangely, the official reports show that the gun used for firing tests was H-18602. The difference in the guns used in the crime and the firing tests is alarming. No wonder people are confused about RFK's death.
The following is an excerpt (Rafer Johnson) from The Guardian Saturday January 13, 2007
"When the shooting happened, I was walking about eight feet behind the senator as he came off stage and into the kitchen. I heard what I thought were balloons popping and I looked up and saw a man pointing a gun at Senator Kennedy, with smoke coming out of the barrel. I rushed at him and put my hand on the gun. A lot of people were grabbing at him, with four or five pairs of hands all pulling at the gun. We wrestled with him until I asked the others to let go and I took the gun away from him and put it in my pocket. I got home that night having followed Bobby to the hospital and fearful that he wasn't going to make it. I took off my jacket and there it was in my pocket: the gun. They sent a police officer round and took a statement and I handed it over."
The following is an excerpt (Roosevelt 'Rosey' Grier) from Christian News Today Feb 2008
“Bobby had just made a speech and we were getting ready to go some place else but, somehow or another, Bobby jumped off the back of the stage and everyone was out of position and by the time we caught up with him when shots rang out. We were running to see we could stop all the violence that was going on and then we saw Sirhan with the gun so I went and pulled him up on the stage and then up on a table. George Plimpton had been struggling with the gun hand and I just wrenched it out of Sirhan's hand and put it in my pocket. Later on Rafer Johnson asked me if I had it and I gave it to him.”
Who took the gun out of Sirhan's hand?
One can in some ways imagine the confusion that surrounded the assassination and say that eyewitnesses got it wrong and so on, but there are other things that are very strange and go unanswered about the assassination of RFK. The Guardian Newspaper is worth reading.
There is absolutely no doubt that if Robert Kennedy had become President of the United States, he would have done everything in his power to seek out those ultimately responsible for his brothers death in 1963. Those that turned their back on President John F Kennedy, allowing Oswald his lucky chance, would have been well aware of this.
It's interesting that the LAPD didn't want another 'Dallas', meaning they didn't want Sirhan killed like Oswald was killed. But the LAPD did get another 'Dallas', with Robert Kennedy being assassinated. It was not going to be 'if' someone was going to try and kill Robert Kennedy, it was 'when'. Even Jackie Kennedy believed someone would try and kill Robert Kennedy. You would have thought that police departments in the United States would have been aware of the risk to Robert Kennedy and said to themselves, it's not going to happen in our area of responsibility. Uniformed and plain clothes police from the LAPD should have been at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles that night, not only to make sure Kennedy's back was covered, but also to protect their own credibility. In a hundred years time people will be still discussing the assassination of JFK and RFK. What a shocking indictment for the police of two major cities. Oh, people are going to say but there wasn't any program in place like there is today to protect presidential candidates. That's even more of a reason why the LAPD should have been there. Can you imagine the praise the LAPD would have received if Sirhan was stopped from killing Kennedy. No, Kennedy had what you could coldly call a 'rent a cop' beside him. If the LAPD had positioned uniformed and plain clothes police in the Ambassador Hotel, not only watching Kennedy, but looking out for a nutter like Sirhan who was suspiciously floating around the hotel, in all likelihood, Kennedy would have got through that night.
When Martin Luther King was assassinated in April 1968, you would have thought police departments like the LAPD would have considered Robert Kennedy was at risk. Robert Kennedy's death is more of a tragedy than his brothers because the warning signs where there and yet nothing was done about it. That is the legacy of the LAPD. You didn't have to be security expert to realise that Benazir Bhutto, the Pakistani politician who was assassinated in 2007 was at great risk of being assassinated. All the signs where there that it was not a matter of 'if' but 'when'. Robert Kennedy knew someone would try and kill him. He thought he would be killed before his brother was. He was a brave man let down by a weak system. Yes, he was a brave man, and shame on all those that allowed him to be killed in such a way. No wonder there are conspiracy theories, with people to this very day trying to come to grips with his death and make sense of it. Like his bother before him, Robert Kennedy's security was degraded and opened the window of opportunity for someone to kill him, and that's unforgivable.
*The author of this page does not believe Lee Harvey Oswald or Sirhan Sirhan are innocent. Whether or not other people were involved in the assassinations of JFK and RFK, Lee Harvey Oswald and Sirhan Sirhan took their opportunity to kill. Anyone who thinks Oswald or Sirhan are innocent should consider that Oswald also shot dead Dallas police officer J. D. Tippit and resisted arrest. Sirhan also shot and wounded five other people as others tried frantically to disarm him.
RFK part added 29/03/08 (Written by Peter Barnes)
This page is a work in progress, so if anyone has anything to add (or wants to make a comment), please email Peter Barnes.