Part 2 Of The JFK Assassination 60 Years On — The Biggest Whodunit

Youssef El-Gingihy
7 min readNov 21, 2023
Photo by Library of Congress on Unsplash

What do we know that proves a conspiracy in the assassination of President Kennedy sixty years ago on November 22nd, 1963? It is necessary to scrap everything you think you know about the case — gleaned from years of disinformation, misinformation, hearsay and rumour– and begin afresh from first principles.

The most basic details of the case remain contested starting with the arcane analysis of ballistics and medical evidence; a vortex from which one struggles to arrive at definitive conclusions. The official version, constrained by the timeframe imposed by the Zapruder film, rests on the single bullet theory — also known rather derisively as the magic bullet, which was deemed responsible for seven wounds in Kennedy and Governor Connally. Most people find this theory unconvincing to put it mildly. Yet precisely how many shots were fired has never been established with fidelity.

The magic bullet theory critically underpins the lone assassin theory. The necessity for the endorsement of this theory came from the Zapruder film, which provided an unanticipated, permanent visual record. It established that the time frame only allowed for a maximum of three shots between frame 207, which was the first opportunity for a shot from the Texas Book Depository due to an oak tree obscuring the view and frame 313 showing the fatal head shot. It then emerged that a bystander James Tague standing next to the underpass was nicked by a fragment of a bullet. The Commission tried to ignore this but was unable after it gained too much attention. This only left one bullet to explain the remaining seven wounds in Kennedy and Connally before it was remarkably found in almost pristine condition on a stretcher in Parkland hospital.

The Warren Commission affirmed that the head shot came from behind Kennedy going against what common sense dictates from the Zapruder film in which Kennedy’s head is violently thrown back and to the left. Furthermore, the time between Kennedy and Connally being shot was too short for one shooter to manually reload the Mannlicher-Carcano rifle supposedly used by Oswald in the assassination. In other words, the obvious explanation — screaming in the face of anyone who has chosen to examine the evidence — was that there was more than one assassin. The Warren Commission instead chose to back the magic bullet theory — an undoubted affront to the intelligence of the American public.

That is, if you actually believe in the intelligence of the American public. In the executive sessions of the Commission, former CIA director Allen Welsh Dulles is heard pontificating on the consequences of the report’s publication,

“But nobody reads. Don’t believe people read in this country. There will be a few professors that will read the record…The public will read very little.”

And that’s about it. The chilling flippancy is evident for all to see. Dulles is effectively pointing out that even if someone works out that there is a whole lot more to the story, it will frankly be an academic exercise.

Over the years, researchers have gradually fleshed out the hidden depths. However, anyone critiquing the official version has been labelled a conspiracy theorist. The Kennedy assassination is thus lumped in the same category as reptilian DNA and alien abduction. Its proponents are dubbed conspiracy theory nuts — the type that once cannot possibly engage with as parodied hilariously in Richard Linklater’s movie Slacker

If questioning the official version means that one is a conspiracy nut then this extends to everyone intimately involved. Starting with the occupants of the motorcade on that fateful journey from Love Field Airport to Dealey Plaza in downtown Dallas. Jackie Kennedy privately believed in a domestic conspiracy as did brother and Attorney General Robert Kennedy. President Johnson at various times confided his belief in a conspiracy most remarkably to his alleged mistress Madeline Brown in which he fingered renegade intelligence operatives and Texan oil men.

Texan Governor John Connally, seated directly in front of Kennedy, who survived despite being wounded, never accepted the magic bullet theory. Senator Ralph Yarborough, a WWII veteran, heard shots from the grassy knoll as did Kennedy aides, riding in the follow-up car, who changed their testimony at the behest of the FBI.

Connally always maintained that he was not hit by the first bullet, which struck Kennedy. Interestingly, he was not alone in this and had some unexpected allies. Several members of the Warren Commission did not accept the absurd ballistics of the so-called magic bullet. LBJ himself did not endorse it and is overheard in taped conversation in the Oval office sceptically refuting this theory.

At least 50 witnesses heard shots from the grassy knoll. The railroad workers standing on the overpass even saw smoke rising from behind the picket fence. Many reported the smell of gunpowder, including those in the motorcade; unusual if the shots came from the sixth floor of the Depository rather than at ground level (as can be seen in Mark Lane’s seminal documentary Rush to Judgement available on YouTube).

In the immediate aftermath, a crowd ran up the embankment to pursue an assassin in the pandemonium. This is when police officer Joe Marshall Smith confronted a man carrying secret service credentials. It later disturbingly transpired that this must have been an impersonator after the Secret Service confirmed that they had no men on the ground at the time and all were accounted for in the motorcade and en route to Parkland. Even more intriguingly, an off-duty Dallas police officer saw a man running scrambling down the slope into another getaway car. He gave chase but eventually lost his quarry. He did manage to transcribe the number plate and handed the information to the Dallas police but the lead was never followed up.

Several witnesses also saw two men standing in the infamous sixth floor window of the Depository. Others such as Dallas cop Roger Craig saw men running out of the Depository and piling into a Rambler wagon, which sped off away from the crime scene. Craig became a thorn in the side of the department and died in suspicious circumstances.

Deaf-mute Ed Hoffman even witnessed the grassy knoll gunman — the irony of a deaf-mute being the only direct witness to what unfolded on the grassy knoll cannot be overstated. But it is the story of witness Gordon Arnold, which is perhaps the most electrifying. Arnold, a new army recruit, came across a man in the parking lot behind the grassy knoll, who told him to clear off. When Arnold questioned his authority, the man showed him Secret Service credentials. He eventually positioned himself in front of the grassy knoll in order to film Kennedy with his camera. He “hit the dirt” when he felt the first bullet whizzing over his shoulder. Remarkably, this story is corroborated by Senator Yarborough, who saw a man throw himself to the ground in the vicinity of the grassy knoll, and thought to himself ‘There’s a combat veteran, who knows how to act when weapons start firing.’ Afterwards, he was forced to hand over his film to two menacing men, who threatened him.

A woman, who has come to be known as the ‘Babushka lady’, positioned opposite the grassy knoll, can also be seen filming the assassination in other footage. Beverly Oliver, a dancer who worked at Jack Ruby’s Carousel Club, later came forward and claimed that the FBI took away her film promising to return it in ten days but she never saw it again. This would have likely shown the grassy knoll at the time of the shooting and if it exists may be the only smoking gun in the entire case.

Doctors and nurses at Parkland hospital in Dallas, attempting to resuscitate the fatally wounded President, reported an entry throat wound and a large parieto-occipital (presumed exit) wound in the back of the President’s head consistent with a frontal shot. An immediate autopsy in Texas, as required by law, would have quickly established trajectories and ballistics. Instead, against the wishes of Parkland doctors including coroner Earl Rose, the body was spirited away by the Secret Service to Washington. The findings of the official autopsy at Bethesda Naval hospital naturally proved to be compatible with a lone assassin shooting from behind and contradicted much of the eye-witness testimony from Dealey Plaza and Parkland hospital.

By definition, a conspiracy involves two or more individuals. The timeline established by the Zapruder film left the Warren Commission with minimal wiggle-room and little choice but to endorse the absurd Arlen Specter’s single or ‘magic’ bullet theory in order to support its lone gunman conclusion. In plain English, Oswald could only have popped off three shots to account for seven wounds in President Kennedy and Governor John Connolly. And he managed this world-beating performance with a WWII Italian rifle known as the ‘humanitarian rifle’ on account of how often it missed — a Mannlicher-Carcano with a faulty scope. Oswald’s feat was unmatched by every single one of the Army and FBI’s sharpshooters, who attempted to replicate his feat.

Add in the common-sense visual evidence of the whole ‘back and to the left’ throwback of JFK as his head disturbingly explodes on the Zapruder film made famous by Oliver Stone and part of the late comedian Bill Hicks’ stand-up routine. Only an ostrich would conclude that there was not a second shooter from the front most likely the grassy knoll. The truth is often simple and stares us in the face. As George Orwell put it, “To see what is in front of one’s nose needs a constant struggle.”