35th American President John F Kennedy’s assassination on November 22, 1963 by 24-year old ex-Marine Lee Harvey Oswald in Dallas, Texas remains one of the most controversial moments in modern US history. US President Donald Trump recently greenlighted the release of 2,800 heretofore classified investigation files, although a few hundred of them that the American intelligence community still deems “sensitive” have been redacted for another six months.
The official inquiry had determined that Oswald, who was shot dead just two days later while in police custody on live television, acted alone and was in essence a “lone wolf” — an assertion that was never totally satisfactory or plausible to most people and scholars. The Kennedy murder has thus been shrouded for decades in conspiracy theories about what really took place in Dallas on that fateful day. The presence of another shooter, the involvement of the CIA or the KGB (Russian intelligence) in a murderous have been variously suspected as it was so hard to believe that a single man with a rifle could kill the popular leader of the so called free world.
The following are the chief highlights of the new details emerging from the publicly released paper trail, as JFK-obsessed researchers pore over the trove of government files:
The Lee Harvey Oswald and KGB link:
— R.E.A.L Human Rights (@realhumanrights) October 26, 2017
The most exciting finding from the documents so far is that two months before Kennedy’s assassination, assassin Lee Harvey Oswald had been intercepted speaking to a KGB (Soviet intelligence agency) officer in “broken Russian”. A document says: “According to an intercepted phone call in Mexico City, Lee Oswald was at the Soviet Embassy there on September 28, 1963 and spoke with the Consul, Valeriy Vladimirovich Kostikov.
“This was learned when Oswald called the Soviet Embassy on 1 October, identifying himself by name and speaking broken Russian, stating the above and asking the guard who answered the phone whether there was ‘anything new concerning the telegram to Washington’.”
The Soviet reaction and “maniac” Oswald:
In another file, then FBI director J. Edgar Hoover outlines what the agency knew about Soviet reaction of the Kennedy assassination. They believed Oswald to be a mentally unstable man.
“According to our source, Soviet officials claimed that Lee Harvey Oswald had no connection whatsoever with the Soviet Union. They described him as a neurotic maniac who was disloyal to his own country and everything else. They noted that Oswald never belonged to any organisation in the Soviet Union and was never given Soviet citizenship.”
According to the same memo, Soviet feared a war in the aftermath of Kennedy’s death: “Our source further stated that Soviet officials were fearful that without leadership, some irresponsible general in the United States might launch a missile at the Soviet Union.”
Oswald had been on FBI radar
According to a document, the FBI had already discussed Oswald about a month before the shooting. An agent in the FBI memo said: “Will maintain contact with Cuban sources for any indication of additional activity on the part of subject organisation which appears to have become inactive since the departure from New Orleans of Lee Harvey Oswald.” The organisation referred to was the Pro-Castro “Fair Play for Cuba Committee. “If Oswald has relocated in the Dallas territory it is possible he may inaugurate a FPCC branch in that area,” the memo continued.
Anonymous tip-off in Cambridge
Another juicy tidbit from the files is that a British reporter in Cambridge had received an anonymous tip-off before the shooting to call the American embassy for “some big news”. According to MI5, this happened 25 minutes before the President was shot.
— Daniel Dahlen (@idanieldahlen) October 27, 2017
Anti-Castro and other assassination plots of the CIA: As it is known, the upending of Cuban leader Fidel Castro’s regime and his assassination had been a preoccupation of American intelligence agencies at the time. In a 1975 “summary of facts gathered by the Executive Director of the CIA Commission concerning possible involvement in plans to assassinate foreign leaders,” it is stated that the CIA explored working with “mafia resources” as a means of killing the Cuban leader.
CIA plots to kill Cuban leader Fidel Castro included far-fetched sounding ideas like a contaminated ‘skindiving’ suit (Castro was known to love freediving) and exploding sea shells. “The CIA plan was to dust the inside of the suit with a fungus producing madera foot, a disabling and chronic skin disease, and also contaminating the suit with tuberculosis bacilli in the breathing apparatus,” a file reads.
Sabotage was also explored. The meeting was also told that the CIA would look into the possibility of sabotaging airplane parts that were to be shipped to Cuba from Canada. McGeorge Bundy, JFK’s national security adviser, cautioned that sensitive ideas like sabotage would have to be considered in more detail on a case-by-case basis.
Also documented is the involvement of CIA with “persons in Dominican Republic who sought to assassinate Generalissimo Trujillo.”
Cuba had officially insisted that it had no involvement in the assassination, however one of its diplomats could not properly suppress his reaction, according to one CIA memo shortly after the assassination. It described that the “initial reaction of Cuban ambassador Cruz and his staff” was “one of happy delight”.
“Ambassador Cruz received cable, which ordered ambassador and his staff to govern their actions by official attitude of govt to which they accredited. Cruz thereupon issued instructions to his staff and to Cuban consulates and trade office Toronto and Montreal to ‘cease looking happy in public’.”
What is apparent to experts at this point is that the final JFK documents are only one surviving piece, that too only partially revealed, from a much larger trail that is either destroyed and unreleased and so it will hardly put a rest to the conspiracy theories.