Crux of the JFK issue: conspiracy or gross negligence?

 Jacob writes:
“If I interpret your March 5 post correctly, it seems that you have ultimately decided that Oswald did it, either alone or in concert with one or more people, and that the CIA, at worst, was guilty of gross negligence in preventing Oswald (alone or with others) from committing the assassination.”

Oswald in New Orleans
Lee Oswald in New Orleans, August 16, 1963.


Actually, I don’t think you have interpreted the post correctly, or rather, I have not expressed myself clearly.

You are correct, and I think we agree, that the crux of the eternal JFK debate could be summarized as conspiracy versus gross negligence.

Based on what we know now, the old conspiracy theory vs. lone nut (CT vs. LN) paradigm is defunct. Based on what we now know about the surveillance of Oswald, he cannot be accurately described as a “lone nut,” a person who was unknown to senior U.S. intelligence officials. He was not. He was a man whose actions were documented by codenamed secret intelligence operations from 1959 to 1963. LINGUAL, LIENVOY, and AMSPELL to name but three.

Either, Oswald, the erratic character known to James Angleton and other top counterintelligence officers, killed the president by himself, i.e., his deed was enabled by the gross negligence of those who monitored him and failed to see he was a threat to the president.

Or, there was an organized effort, possibly advanced by CIA counterintelligence officers in Angleton’s domain, to kill the president and set up Oswald as a patsy, i.e. a conspiracy.

I think the latter is more likely that the former but I would say decisive proof is still lacking. My point is that, either way,

senior CIA officers around Angleton and Helms were legally culpable in JFK’s death. That’s true even if you don’t believe there was a conspiracy.

Oswald in Custody
Lee Harvey Oswald:

Jacob goes on to ask: “I’m curious as to whether there was any particular matter, after all these years, that finally caused you to reach that conclusion.”

I have not concluded that “gross negligence” is the best explanation for JFK’s assassination. I think a reasonable person can’t rule out gross negligence because we don’t have direct proof of a plot to assassinate JFK and inculpate Oswald.

Jacob concludes:

“Also, while the Joannides matter is obviously relevant to those of us who believe that Oswald was framed by the national security state, I’m curious to know whether and how you think it lends support to the gross negligence theory.”
The Joannides story is the best empircal test of the conspiracy vs. gross negligence question that you could ask for.
First JFK Conspiracy Theory
The first JFK conspiracy theory, published Nov 24, 1963, and paid for by CIA

Either psy-ops officer George Joannides was one of the CIA officers knowledgable about Oswald and grossly negligent in the wrongful death of JFK. Or he was party to an authorized NORTHWOODS-style pretext operation to inculpate Oswald, the Fair Play for Cuba Committee, and Fidel Castro in JFK’s assassination.

The very secrecy around the Joannides files–especially the reasons for his Career Intelligence Medal–makes me think that was such a pretext operation.
If we ever get to see the complete Joannides file, I think we may well find evidence of gross negligence. I think it is more likely that we will find documentation of an operation targeting Oswald and the FPCC. If so, that could be decisive evidence of a conspiracy.
This is why the CIA will be arguing in federal court on March 19 that there is no “public benefit” from the disclosure of the Joannides files: because those files might contain a proverbial JFK “smoking gun.”

40 thoughts on “Crux of the JFK issue: conspiracy or gross negligence?”

  1. Virtual JFK video has audio of trip as landing, before death trip to nightmare on Elms via Houston’s bush’s, pre rear detail removal, Media bus put to rear, fist time ever, cycles reduced and rearranged, 112th military’s absence not replaced from Hunts Huntsville, ss for SS purposely not checking down windows open epileptic seizure distraction final positioning of three plus teams with back ups after Miami Tampa Chicago pasty could not fail a fourth time…or Houston we have a problem with FED removal disbanding CIA dispersed, Israel to be nuke~ less, Oil at .25cents today, Hoover retired lbj to jail for a gods like peace by “KKK Kennedys King Khrushchev” sharing space op UFOs and….

  2. Richard Turnbull, J.D.

    Geez, I don’t mean my attitude to be anything other than Wallace Stevens metaphyiscals about theses triple, connected murder: PT109. while Nixon is
    dealing poker. Mark Lane debating William F Buckley about the Warren Comm is already very educational.

  3. Michael Tyrrell

    It’s both, but the problem is we cannot conclude definitively what happened physically because, imo, we were subjected to a subterfuge. I think “the firecracker” -the first shot- was a ruse. It made everyone think the shots were coming from the grassy knoll… It produced the gunpowder smell that so many “nose-witnesses” testified to, including Texas Senator Yarborough. It was the flash that the rail-tower operator saw… The evidence suggests that a bullet -perhaps from a silenced weapon- struck JFK in the right temple at an angle (head facing down, some 25 degrees left of center of the limo) that blew out the right rear of his skull. A majority of surgeons saw that damage, so it could only mean that the death shot (put aside the other shots for now) came from the area (do the geometry) of the South Knoll -perhaps the USPS Parking lot, or as I like to speculate, from the box-truck seen in the Zapruder film. An assassin could have easily taken this exact shot from behind and through the truck’s cab (concealed by the box, but aiming through the driver’s-side window (watch the Z-film for yourself). It all makes sense if you consider how Dark Complected (Cuban) Man, and the Unbrella Man served as signalmen and as guides for weapon aim and timing. Go down to Dealey Plaza -things line up as you’d expect. Do note that any such speculations -anyone’s, not just mine- assume a major operation took place. Don’t think for a moment it wasn’t as sophisticated or calculated, or as geometrically complex as the scenario I describe… we’re taking CIA rogues and mobsters… and disgruntled Cuban expats…. how else would have such an operation have unfolded? Bear in mind the Warren Commission avoided taking testimony from the motorists who were right there -front and center!… You don’t have to believe it, but this scenario -the South Knoll/Box Truck hypothesis- should enter the wider conspiracy/negligence discourse, imo.

    1. The smell of cordite is easily distinguishable from firecracker powder. The gunsmoke from 1950’s ammo is visible but not to the extent firecracker powder would be. This is not to say that Yarbrough and others who smelled explosive powders were confused by what they did smell. However, my thought is that were a common firecracker device used to distract attention, smoke might easily have been recorded by films and photos taken in the area. Holland’s descriptions seem persuasive to me.

    2. Agree as to CIA rogues, mobsters & disgruntled Cuban expats as the usual suspects.

      Also agree that the South Knoll is a possible if not more probable source of non-fatal and fatal shots (I plotted trajectories from points along the picket fence on the Grassy or North Knoll, and none seem to exit out of the right rear of JFK’s head).

      However, as mentioned in a YT video, a shot from the sewer opening along the north side of Elm, could explain why JFK’s head not only goes back and to the left, but also UP (not down), being consistent with an upward trajectory from the source out of that sewer opening. (When I plotted that trajectory on the surveyor’s plan, it seemed possible but not very apparent).

      1. Lawrence P. Schnapf

        im involved in a project where we are having laser ground and aerial measurements taken of DP as well as the limo to get accurate measurements (as opposed to Dale myers’ work which was tantamount to cartoon drawings) that will be converted to a 3D Z-film. will allow views from any perspective in DP.

        1. That’s quite a project. Good luck with that, and thank you for the heads up Lawrence.

          The late Sherry Fiester referred to a documentary wherein shots were taken from behind the picket fence to a dummy in the limo. All of them exited out of the left hemisphere of the head. However, don’t think they tried a shot from the sewer. So you will plot a laser line from there too? [Incidentally, the Cigarette Smoking Man from the X-Files was the assassin in his early days of black ops, who took the fatal shot from that very position as depicted in that classic episode from the X-Files. Entertaining notion. The CSM is a Canadian actor.]

          I also remember that a forensic firm (Failure Analysis?) did not take Groden’s recommendation to plot trajectories from the picket fence. So you’re project can shed further light.

          P.S. It should be noted that even if the picket fence was not the origin of the fatal head shot(s), that doesn’t mean that a shooter wasn’t there, based on other circumstantial evidence and witness reports. There also seems to be some debate as to whether the entry to JFK’s head was top right forehead near the hairline or at the side of the head in the right temple area. Therefore, I would think that the head-wound entry location also affects the precise trajectory and origin of that shot.

    3. MT, its incredible that your South Knolll box truck or mobile shooting platform has never gotten any traction. Maybe because the long standing conspiracy theorist have long ago bit on their favorite hook which has been offered to the masses. There seemed to be plenty of diversionary pieces out there that day, a perfect set for a planned operation of professionals. Sheri’s synopsis supports it, so does the flinch that you see Connely have as JFK reaches for his neck. I wish I could find photos of those trucks on Commerce street just before it happen, because they were all moving immediately after the last shot. Were they sitting there right before the motorcade?

  4. Beyond the commodity of the JFK assassination, the official eddice of lies, upon which the myth of Lee Harvey Oswald remains publicly enshrined, must be toppled because: repeated persistent lying is symptomatic of pathology; acceptance of invented scenarios in place of truth is entertaining, but intentionally distracting; and, to continue perpetrating falsity while withholding the truth, erodes the credibility of the one doing the withholding, regardless of length of time, or how many people are sacrificed, during the post-assassination campaign of suppression. What we are looking at here is a period dubbed the “Cold War” that is characterized by the United States overthrowing/killing legitimate Heads of States. “Plausible deniability” is applicable ONLY when the denial is plausible, not laughable. America killed JFK.

  5. I have seen on YouTube a coverage of the assassination of JFK that posed the theory that Officer Tippit’s body and JFK’s were switched on the trip back to D.C. aboard Airforce One. Unfortunately, I am not able to locate it again. Do any of the people on this site know anything about this accusation.

    1. I don’t recall ever participating in a JFK forum where that “theory” was presented. If I was, I would have rejected it outright. I do not know anything about such an accusation.

      1. its…. so funny… Jefferson, the lie by its own descriptive phraseology has become what that it is, a false hood completely fo r the truth is, as would have it’ stripped in subordinate clauses in the vernacular the Magic “bul-let” that never was nor can ever be, that which was to validate the Theory” the big little bang, they are sole purveyors and professors of, proves itself false, by its very admission of admonition ammunitions accumulations “there is no magic bullet” used to describe all provably non factually deposited supported data

      2. Lawrence P. Schnapf

        The idea of Tippit body being substituted for JFK for the autopsy or at least x-rays has been posited by some as they suggest a sufficient facial similarity with JFK. Of course, this would have required getting JFK dental records to somehow impose into the x-rays. I consider this one of those marginal theories along with agent Hickey shooting the president or LBJ ordering the hit.

    2. Richard Turnbull, J.D.

      No, but there’s different “corpse tampering” theory argued with much evidence in David Lifton’s Best Evidence. The thing is the autopsy or autopsies and alleged autopsy photos raise all sorts of questions. Theories like the one you mention have plagued the case largely because the original Warren Commission operated in secret(imagine trying that today)and then issued a lengthy summary report flawed with manifest inner inconsistencies and blatantly contradicted by what was released to the public in the full twenty-six volumes of hearings and exhibits.
      Also, when readers want to explore avenues that Jefferson Morley doesn’t specialize in , you probably could do worse than look at the tabs on the left side of the front page of the kennedysandking dot com website.

        1. Richard Turnbull, J.D.

          I take it you’re pointing out that the WC simply ignored the implications of all kinds of credible testimony, including from the FBI, when it didn’t suit their narrative.
          We may be witnessing a similar move in progress, vis-a-vis the US intel agencies’ consensus on systematic Russian election interference being simply ignored by the GOP for blatantly partisan reasons. Why employ all these highly skilled professionals and then pretend their expertise is useless because it threatens your grip on power? This will not end well.

      1. Have never understood why mutilation of a corpse would not be distinguishable from injury to living person.

    3. @ Fr. Thom,

      I believe you can find certain You Tube videos that touch on that subject matter but I doubt they are credible. If Tippit was likely shot from the front too, why would conspirators switch his body with JFK’s if the purpose was to deceive the origin of shots in Dealey Plaza?

      What I do believe was a possible pre-autopsy, body tampering or manipulation for deceptive photos (i.e, pulling the scalp over an exit wound at the back of the head), and doctoring of autopsy photos and/or x-rays [but I won’t get into those details here].

  6. The concept of FUBAR is here for sure in the official government understanding and arriving at the truth of the assassination of JFK and who murdered JFK and how was it done and Why? We should all see the movie RASHOMON before we piece together all the useless information.

  7. Hi

    yes I had the same thoughts as Jacob. Well the CIA better come clean, because they cannot win either way. They are really not as clever as they think they are and we are not ALL sheep. To assume we are is one for the mistake prone.

  8. “This is why the CIA will be arguing in federal court on March 19 that there is no ‘public benefit’ from the disclosure of the Joannides files: because those files might contain a proverbial JFK ‘smoking gun.'”

    Had to read this passage a few times before I got it. Think you nailed the ‘no public benefit’ dodge.

    From the agency’s POV, better to keep this secret forever than roil the nation and the world with the truth.

    They should not be allowed to make that decision!

    1. Exactly.

      What is the risk to national security?

      That the CIA would be criticized for its past gross negligence (if not complicity by rogue agents) and pay a price today?

  9. Richard Turnbull, J.D.

    Ok, as soon as you can actually cite concrete, credible evidence tieing Oswald to shooting either JFK or Officer Tippit, we could move into the next territory.
    Possibly that task evades the immense understanding of many who casually read about the connected triple murders of JFK, Tippit, and Oswald, since it seems to be so much work to become familiar with the case against Oswald. But there’s no real evidence that he shot anyone at all, much exculpatory evidence in his favor, and until Oswald can at least be credibly placed on the sixth floor when shots were fired, and connected to the alleged assassination weapon, we are left with a conspiracy that created Oswald as exactly what he said he was: “the patsy.”

  10. Lawrence P. Schnapf

    isnt there a third theory that LHO was part of a conspiracy as opposed to being a patsy–that is he was ONE of the shooters? I dont subscribe to this theory but it seems to be advocated by some.

    1. Richard Turnbull, J.D.

      There are practically endless “theories.” What makes you think there’s a shred of concrete, credible evidence that Lee Harvey Oswald was in the so-called sniper’s nest at around 12:30PM on 22 November 1963, for starters? “Well he was in the building that day” isn’t very persuasive, is it?
      What about the so-called evidence connecting Oswald to the supposed assassination weapon? You see, I am urging you to start researching from far before single-bullet theories or the Zapruder film, or “why JFK was killed.” Trying to assemble the basic evidence you would want before claiming so-and-so shot so-and-so and forgetting about it being the death of a president, in other words. Then you discover there’s almost nothing and indeed, all kinds of exculpatory evidence. The Dallas Sheriff famously admitted there was only a very weak case against Oswald.

      1. Lawrence P. Schnapf

        i wasnt endorsing that theory. That theory was raised in the mock trial this past november as a possible alternative.

        1. Richard Turnbull, J.D.

          Well yes, various people have been “raising it as a possible alternative” from the the get-go, it’s kind of silly at this point if those who do endorse it can’t even flesh out how Oswald is supposed to have killed JFK, meaning, citing relevant evidence beyond “well he was in the building.” It’s also embarrassing when people who should know better simply accept the idea Oswald was a “marxist” or a “communist” or that his supposed defection attempt was not part of an intelligence operation. There’s so much evidence available for so many years that is routinely ignored.

    2. I say follow reliable evidence available. I don’t think Oswald was a shooter … BUT I also don’t think he was completely innocent in the conspiracy to murder JFK. November 22nd paraffin tests on Oswald’s face came back negative. Indication he did not aim through a scope and fire the carcano. Paraffin tests on Oswald’s hands came back positive. I believe he did shoot Tippett once he started to sense and figure out that he was being set up as the fall guy by the architects of the assassination. At that point for Oswald it was either kill or be killed. Once he was arrested and had his pistol taken away “be killed” was the only path left for him.

      1. Richard Turnbull, J.D.

        Paraffin test on Oswald’s hands indicated presence of nitrates, sources of nitrates include paper, cardboard, wood, paint, and urine, Oswald was stacking cardboard boxes as part of his job. That’s the least of the problems with connecting Oswald with the Tippit murder, since the eyewitness testimony is contradictory for both an i.d. of a suspect or suspects as well as the alleged murder weapon (Oswald had a revolver, one witness said the killer had a .32 automatic) and the bullets and shells pose still more problems. Seriously, at this point anyone can just enter search terms like “evidence in the Tippit case” and turn up all sorts of well-sourced facts that tend to exonerate Oswald. You might also run across “fake facts” from “Lone-nut” theorists (MacAdams et. al.) directly refuted in no uncertain terms in other articles on the same page. Bugliosi’s lengthy tome Reclaiming History has been refuted in excruciating detail on key points and for crucial errors in reasoning, as has Posner’s farcical Case Closed, to mention probably the most notorious defenders of the Warren Commission theory of these cases. So it’s just a mistake to cite the paraffin test’s positive results (mostly on Oswald’s palm) without supplying more context. Practically every single detail ever cited as tending to establish Oswald’s culpability has been disputed. That’s worth taking into account.

        1. I couldn’t have explained it better. Thank you Richard.

          In Reclaiming Parkland, James Di Eugenio does a superb job in the chapter on Oswald’s defense.

  11. Arnaldo M. Fernandez

    I think that, in a logical framework, the opposite of conspiracy would be always the lone nut, and the former has been proven. The next logical pair would be gross negligence versus force majeure, meaning that the killing of a sitting US President in broad daylight on the street was unavoidable. It isn’t the case, and the CIA, the FBI, and even the SS and the Dallas Police, are guilty of wrongful death. Finally, another pair of opposites comes into the equation: cover-up versus fact-finding approach, and the cover-up jumps out. Thusly, the crux of the JFK assassination involves a conspiracy (likely by firstly using Oswald and framing him up later), a gross negligence, and a cover-up. Together, they overshadow the American justice system.

  12. What about the witness that had lunch at the same time as the assassination of the President, – but of course they were Afro-Americans, so the history doesn’t haft to note the statements from the two witnesses? I think its shameful, and still today, it’s shameful.

    1. Richard Turnbull, J.D.

      You will see their testimony cited in hundreds of books, but in the “mainstrean media” accounts? Not so much.
      The media accounts over the years have been incredibly free of citations of direct evidence and testimony about what Oswald was doing from around 9AM until placed under arrest at the Texas Theater around 1:45PM on 11/22/1963. Probably because plenty of it tends to either exonerate him from either killing of President Kennedy or Officer Tippit, or just as embarrassingly, leads to questions about other possible shooters. I take it that apart from Marita Lorenz’s list of possible shooters, we have no other names.
      The CIA may not be “collectively” involved in still trying to cover up, but individuals could still consider it quite important to redact incriminating statements or documents.

      1. Lawrence P. Schnapf

        Richard- would you like to help the CAPA legal committee? we have a number of initiatives that we hope will result in some tangible results….and answers.

        1. Richard Turnbull, J.D.

          My preference would be to contact CAPA through the info posted on the website and see what the possibilities are, sure. Given that we have yet another “final ultimate absolute deadline required by law” coming up in just over a month, when the Trump adminstration is supposed to be “seeing that the laws are faitfully executed” with respect to releasing more of the kinds of documents Jeff Morley has been trying to ensure are placed on the public record, there’s bound to be something I could help with in that vein.

      2. vincent danagher

        What about the mysterious fingerprint found on one of the boxes in the snipers nest in the TSBD ? the the Dallas fingerprint expert found 34 points of interest in that fingerprint none of which matched any employe of the TSBD inculding Oswald it led to a former Texas hitman (forget his name) However when the print was sent to the FBI they dismissed it as “Not a match” is this story true?

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