Was the CIA involved? Was Lee Harvey Oswald the lone gunman? How does LBJ fit into the equation? Conspiracy theorists will be hoping new details emerge as documents are declassified this week.
With the classified John F. Kennedy assassination-related files set to be released for public consumption this week, conspiracy theorists are abuzz with what new information could be unveiled.
While Judge John Tunheim — chairman of the Assassination Records Review Board that decided said documents would remain secret for 25 years — indicated the files were “not believed relevant”, he did say, “there could be some jewels in there because our level of knowledge in the 1990s is maybe different from today”.
Donald Trump tweeted on Saturday that “subject to the receipt of further information” he would not step in to withhold the files.
Subject to the receipt of further information, I will be allowing, as President, the long blocked and classified JFK FILES to be opened.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 21, 2017
LBJ and CIA conspiracy theory
Roger Stone, a long-time friend of Donald Trump, told far-right American radio host Alex Jones that he urged the President not to block the release.
I believe they show that Oswald was trained, nurtured and put in place by the Central Intelligence Agency
He wrote a book alleging that former president Lyndon Baines Johnson was the driving force behind Kennedy’s assassination. He is now hoping further evidence comes to light in the 3000-odd documents the National Archive must disclose by Thursday.
“Yesterday, I had the opportunity to make the case directly to the President of the United States by phone as to why I believe it is essential that he release the balance of the currently redacted and classified JFK assassination documents,” Mr Stone said.
He said “a very good White House source,” but not the President, had told him the Central Intelligence Agency, “specifically CIA director Mike Pompeo, has been lobbying the President furiously not to release these documents”.
“Why? Because I believe they show that Oswald was trained, nurtured and put in place by the Central Intelligence Agency. It sheds very bad light on the deep state,” he said.
Cold War spy E Howard Hunt
In 2007, Rolling Stone documented spymaster Everette Howard Hunt’s ‘death-bed’ confessions (although he went on to live a further four years) to his eldest son in 2003.
…he began to write down the names of men who had indeed participated in a plot to kill the president
Thinking he was not long for this world, the former CIA-operative — who had been involved in Watergate, the Bay of Pigs, and even the lead-up to Che Guevara’s murder — hand-wrote an explosive memo in which he allegedly admitted to being involved in the JFK assassination.
“But now, in August 2003, propped up in his sickbed, paper on his lap, pen in hand and son sitting next to him, he began to write down the names of men who had indeed participated in a plot to kill the president,” wrote Erik Hedegaard of Rolling Stone.
“He had lied during those two federal investigations. He knew something after all. He told St. John about his own involvement, too. It was explosive stuff, with the potential to reconfigure the JFK-assassination-theory landscape.
“And then, earlier this year, at the age of eighty-eight, he died – though not before writing an autobiography, American Spy: My Secret History in the CIA, Watergate & Beyond, published last month.
“Not surprisingly, those things he wrote down about JFK’s death and gave to his eldest son don’t make an appearance in the book, at least not in any definitive way. E. Howard had apparently decided to take them to the grave.
“But St. John still has the memo – ‘It has all this stuff in it’, he says, ‘the chain of command, names, people, places, dates. He wrote it out to me directly, in his own handwriting, starting with the initials LBJ’ – and he’s decided it’s time his father’s last secrets finally see some light, for better or for worse.”
Conspiracy-debunker Gerald Posner
Investigative journalist Gerald Posner, who set about debunking conspiracy theories in his 1993 book ‘Case Closed’, is also eagerly awaiting the declassification.
The records may reveal what the CIA knew about Lee Harvey Oswald’s trip to the Soviet and Cuban embassies in Mexico City weeks before Kennedy was shot in Dallas on November 22, 1963, he said.
“There are these glitches in Oswald’s biography in which we don’t know what he is up to. One of those is Mexico City.”
Eighty-eight per cent of the Archives’ five million pages of JFK material are already public. Another 11% are partly public, with sensitive portions removed. Just 1% of the records remain fully secret.
So, as Mr Posner says: “Let’s see what the documents show!”