The Renewed Importance of the Kennedy Assassination

8 mins read

“‘Mr. Oswald, have you ever been to Mexico City?’ 
“… Oswald jumps up like a live wire and slams his manacled fists down on the desktop. ‘No! I’ve never been there!’ he shouts. ‘What makes you think I’ve been to Mexico City? I deny it!’”

—Vincent Bugliosi, “Parkland”

No other Cold War era event is seared into the collective American consciousness like the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. It has been analyzed, dissected and documented countless times yet the fascination remains. 

In January 2019, relatives of Robert F. Kennedy, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X joined more than 60 authors and investigators calling for a new congressional investigation into the assassinations of those three men and President Kennedy. The subject of the Kennedy assassination persisted through the Trump administration.

There are almost as many JFK assassination conspiracies as there are baby boomers and Gen X-ers, and I strongly recommend Vincent Bugliosi’s exhaustively researched “Parkland” as the definitive guide to dispelling most of them.  

As one pores over the known details of Lee Harvey Oswald’s life and travels, an unassailable truth emerges. Oswald was heavily influenced by Soviet ideology. Shortly after discharge from the Marine Corps, he defected to the Soviet Union, where he lived for three years. While there, he spoke of denouncing his American citizenship and becoming a Soviet national. According to Warren Commission findings, which include Oswald’s personal diary, he was a deeply troubled young man who attempted suicide when he learned that his Soviet visa would not be renewed and he would have to return home. Reports state that the former Marine sharpshooter spent a week on a Moscow psych ward, and it isn’t a stretch to suggest that if an American wasn’t out of his mind upon entering a Soviet psychiatric hospital, he certainly was upon leaving. 

His hardship discharge from the Corps was later changed to an “undesirable discharge” due to Oswald’s time and questionable activity in the Soviet Union. Interestingly, after that week in the hospital, the Soviet government extended his visa. He spent 2½ years in Minsk working in an electronics factory, married a Russian woman, apparently became disillusioned with Soviet life, and returned to the States in June 1962.

According to Bugliosi, Oswald understandably attracted the FBI’s attention after his return home. In addition to his history in the USSR, he became an activist, pushing a much softer stance on Communist Cuba, which was essentially the only Soviet ally in the Western Hemisphere. 

In hindsight, the FBI didn’t pay quite enough attention to Oswald. But following the assassination of Kennedy in November 1963, the arrest of Oswald brought his Soviet connections back to the forefront for the FBI. Oswald’s file showed that when he returned from a September 1963 trip to the Soviet embassy in Mexico City, he penned a letter to the USSR’s embassy in Washington. 

A  juicy question remains: What exactly happened in Oswald’s meeting with KGB assassination expert Valeriy Kostikov in Mexico City just two months before the assassination? As Oswald’s immediate post-arrest interview with FBI agent James Hosty indicates, Oswald became enraged and lied about ever having been to the Mexican capital, let alone the Soviet embassy there. Was he protecting someone?

Flash-forward a half century. In 1992, George W. Bush promised a full release of all JFK assassination records, “unless the President says that doing so would harm intelligence, law enforcement, military operations, or foreign relations.” In October 2017, the remaining Kennedy assassination files were to become declassified under President Bush’s order. The date came and passed. Eighteen thousand CIA records remained under wraps by the Trump administration. What did that administration not want us to know about an event which changed America forever?

According to Kennedy expert Dr. Larry Sabato, founder and director of the University of Virginia Center for Politics, there is a 52-page document on Oswald’s activities in Mexico City. Only five of the 52 pages are currently available for review. Then-CIA director Mike Pompeo, appointed by Trump, was apparently the major source of pushback against the full release of records. Nixonian malcontent and Trump-pardoned felon Roger Stone alleges that Pompeo was protecting the CIA and that Oswald was trained and planted by the agency.

But what if Stone was actually running interference? Knowing Roger Stone (as well as the Trump administration’s proclivity to smear US Intel services), this certainly isn’t a crazy thought.  

The decision to release some, but not all, of the previously classified JFK files certainly leaves the door open to speculation. Over the last four years, both Trump and Vladimir Putin went to enormous effort to dispel perceptions that Russia was an enemy to the United States. Not once has Trump spoken a single stern word about Putin, not even in the midst of a massive Russian cyberattack or when news broke of a Kremlin bounty on U.S. soldiers. Would Americans change their perceptions of Putin and Russia if they knew that Oswald was influenced not only by Soviet ideology, but also by actual Soviet agents? 

If the Soviets (Russians) participated in the assassination of an American president, it’s not much of jump to think that they would furiously work to install a puppet POTUS to be pillow soft on Russian relations. If the Soviets played a greater role in Kennedy’s murder than previously thought, and Trump was owned by the Russian government and oligarchs, of course Trump would try like hell to conceal both facts. Recall that we still haven’t seen Trump’s tax returns.

There are people who have dedicated their lives to finding the answers to JFK’s assassination, and I’m not one of them. Until the full complement of files is released, a fog will obscure the circumstances which led to the death of a beloved American president, and theories will abound. The Biden administration should immediately release the entire complement of documents, if they survived the toadies Trump appointed to protect himself and those he clandestinely served. The American people deserve to know the truth.

Photo by Everett Collection/REX (415565dq) Lee Harvey Oswald with rifleVARIOUS

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