Tuesday, February 27, 2007

[investigation] conspiracy theory or research

There is a tendency to immediately label anyone who doesn't accept the consensus or the 'given out' view as a conspiracy theorist, aka kook or nutter. It trips so glibly off the tongue of those who have either not looked into a matter or else have an agenda.

Jan. 2, 1979: The U.S. House Select Committee on Assassinations supported the Warren panel’s conclusion that Oswald fired the shots that killed Kennedy. However, the committee stated that a second gunman had fired at the motorcade from the grassy knoll — a key factor in its final conclusion that the president “was probably assassinated as a result of a conspiracy.”

Jean Hill, Charles Brehm, William Newman, Mary Woodward, Maggie Brown, Jean Newman, Aurelia Lorenzo and John Chism all said they'd heard shots from the grassy knoll. Then there was James Tague who was hit by fragments when a bullet, which had logically come from the Dal-Tex building behind Kennedy, hit the path near Tague.

Now anyone who takes this admissable evidence and follows it to its logical conclusion - is that person a kook? To conclude that there were any number of people who wanted Kennedy out of the way is not even far-fetched in this instance.

But what about a far-fetched explanation? Such as the existence of Manchurian Candidates and Oswald as one of them, as well as Officer Tippett? They certainly existed at the time. Yes, that's a theory but based on three things - the likely scenario on the ground at the time of the assassination plus the established connections between the military and the psychological community. Plus the host of anomalies.

If you're willing to shelve your prejudices for the nonce and travel unfettered wherever the evidence leads you, if you're willing to consider all the evidence, no matter how inconvenient or unpalatable, unlike Sergeant Holcombe, that's hardly conspiracy theory. It's standard investigative technique.


Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Yes, those who doubt the accepted version are labelled as "nutters" - and in some cases they may be - but they are also a safeguard. No one seriously believes the Warren Commission findings now, do they? I remember that assassination, btw, like so many of my generation: it was the day we stopped loving America and the day the world grew older.

Not Saussure said...

The problem is, though, in moving from 'the Warren Commission's findings look fishy' (if they do) to 'it was so-and-so what done it'. I rather like James Ellroy's (fictional?) version of the Kennedy assassination in American Tabloid and of the events between that murder and the assassination of his brother Robert in The Cold Six Thousand.

james higham said...

Yes, Welshcakes. Notsaussure - I don't know Ellroy's version.

The Tin Drummer said...

Nor do I, and I'm not persuaded by Stone's version either. I'm still drawn to the conspiracy theory, and partly for psychological reasons (or what I take to be psychological reasons), namely that the world was so horrifed by the death of this young, vibrant winner (Harold Macmillan had nightmares about Cuba until he died, or so Peter Hennessy says) that it needed a deeper explanation for it. Myself - I suspect that lots of people were involved, but then I'm convinced that Dr David Kelly was murdered, so what do I know.

not_saussure said...

I don't really want to do a plot spoiler, but James Ellroy's novels -- which really are well-worth reading as wonderfully noir thrillers about the seamier side of America during that period -- start from the premise that there were loads of inter-connected groups who'd got a grudge against the Kennedys (the mob, the CIA, unhappy Cubans, nutty right-wing millionaires, the Ku Klux Klan ...) for their various, and inter-connected, reasons. The result is something on the lines of Murder on the Orient Express and should please The Tin Drummer, since there are a lot of people involved.