Oliver Stone spliced together pseudo facts, conjecture and pure dramatic license when he created JFK, which is almost as much a work of fiction as is his earlier master piece, Apocalypse Now. A good conspiration's theory makes for good drama after all, but picking away at the innaccuracies and speculations doesn't mean that there wasn't an organised, secret plot expedited in a coordinated way.
Stone could use the Garrison protagonist as a vehicle for expression of belief in the conspiratuion theory, but it was probably very unfair to present so many pseudo factas and half truthes which were later open to ridicule, thus p,aying into the hands of the 'single gunman' neo conservatives and myopic sceptics.
Several investigative committees and criminal evidence experts have concluded so far that a single sniper position is completely possible explanation for the shots which killed John.F.Kennedy. This does not though exclude other possibilities for him being the last link in a chain of command, as those who would like to put the issue to bed would like us to think. Pretending the whole thing is just a bore now, we are tiresome liberals chasing the end of a dark rainbow.
Writers critcal to the film and Garrrison, as well as those conluding at the end of official or public hearings, have tried to unpick all of the small, strange and seemingly coincidental strands of human involvement and physical evidence and reduce them to being irrelevant. Even witness testimony is presented as laying the contrary to rest. For example the mysterious umbrella man incident is seemingly exåplained away and laid to rest as purely coincidence.
The "umbrella man" is a case in point, with at least two authors citing both his later witness testimony under cross examination, the symobolic significance from the Chamberlain appeasement fiasco and then they go on to try a hat-trick of killing off intellectual discource by clainming an assailant using a sniper sight would not require signalling. Any one who has been involved in sniper operations or even target shooting will tell you that there is a second man, with a wider field of view scope, who is guiding the sniper during longer range shots in order that they can zero in or the target or cease firing once the enemy is felled, thus not creating unnecessary barrell flashes which reveal their position to other enemy soldiers.
Oswald would in this theory have known the position of the umbrella man, and looked for his signals as to open the window, raise rifle, rough sight to the forthcoming killing zone, and then use his telescopic sight for just the few seconds he would need for his first probably fatal shot, being able to check with the signaller as he lowered his sight to reload. Also the umbrella man would be signalling to accomplices or watchers at a slighly further distance who knew they could dissolve away without ever being traced to being near the scene.
However in any croime there are three elements. Motive, method and opportunity. Here we have two crimes, the actually shooting by one or more gun-men, acting alone or with accomplices unidentified, and also the conspiracy to murder and conceal any such organised illegality. MMO for both sides of the crime are of course estsblishable, and in the coming years the death-bed testimonies and paid to talk sources may reveal more about who was involverd in each of the three phases- preparation, insertion-assasination and cover up. The multi shooter theory would also need some form of signalling which would later be fully disputable in court, where as a radio signal or even hand gesture could be recorded or noted and used as stronger circumstantial evidence.
The umbrella man was real and was overlooked by in large by the FBI during the initial investigation throughout the 1960s. He was later called to testify many years later and cited the kennedy Snr / chamberlain misjudgement and other republicans taunting the Kennedys with this reference to the failed english gentlemanly diplomacy towards Hitler. How would this person, now deceased, be willing to use this cover story iin court to hide his real role on the fateful day? We will probably never know and nothing very conclusive has been established in terms of the frame by frame chain of events from the key film evidence and whether or not the umbrella is making any intelligible signals.
Much of the speculation could have been either settled or alternatively fuelled during a trial of the assassin during which their testimony would have revealed more than we know at this point in time. . In the whole perspective of this case, the killing of Lee Harvey Oswald is so suspicious as to never truly settle the account.
What is the precendent for national security agencies acting in politically motivated conspiracies to extremr violence? Well you only have to look back to the Gulf War and the complete missuse of tentative evidence of "WOMADS" to conclude that the conservative political elite can and will utilise the security services to achieve their politcal-economic ends through violence.
How many more cold war events are purely in the realms of the secret, being carried out covertly and sanctioned by persons now deceased? Where do military, organisational and poltiical loyalties stretch when a generation first pensions omfortably amd then fades away? We the public, cannot really know.
One the one side of the debate is the seemingly overwhelming body of openess. We have across most western democracies, freedom-of-information acts. We have a strong tradition for journalistic investigation. Then we have the whole issue of kiss-and-tell exposees fuelled by vanity and of course money. Surely these alone should negate the slightest chance that there was an organisational conspiracy ?
On the other hand there is the motivation for the assassination. A bright new democratic super star in the ultimate positon of power, set to potentially move te USA to being a non interventionist in both the post Missile Crisis and Bay of Pigs Cuba, and SE Asia. Billions of dollars of military spending going to the industrial political complex, a massive crypto socialist subsidy to a protected industry which stood on the brink of the cold war otherwise becoming a limited spend on mutually-assured-destruction via ICBMs and other systems to deliver nuclear warheads. Conventional war was more mechanically diverse, and labour-mechanically intensive with a wider sector of industry able to supply conventional weaponry and in particular airborne transport platforms.
As Stone points out in the film, the Mafia hated Kennedy because of losing Havana for ever to communism, the military hawks hated him, the Republicans naturally didn't want such a charasmatic president leading them into a social democratic future. Even Lyndon B. Johnston was partisan to Kennedy. Then there is the Krusjtjov motivation post Missile crisis, with the link to Oswald.
Is there an alternative style of conspiracy theory, to most of those presented? The various angles taken by Garisson, and the other authors and of course Oliver Stone are those which presume that the so called book-repository-turkey-shoot was orchestrated by several snipers, aided and abetted by mysterious figures in black or fur coats who disappeared from the crime scene never to be identified by the state police or the FBI. These theories also presume that there was a large, organised premeditation in the whole affaire, which has been covered up, the final loose end being the terimination of Oswald. What overall form could an alternative take and how could it be more feasible in practice and in remaining unresolved?
You have to start at the end and work backwards. Why did FBI investigators in the land-of-the free draw a virtual blank on actual hard evidence and witness testimony which would fully contradict the lone gun-man contention? Organisational conspiracies all have their weakest linkes, their whistle blowers and paid for snitches, their exposure to the course of law and public scutiny. But what if the organisatioin behind the assassination was so closed and so used to covering its tracks that it managed to achieve this? Firstly this then rules out any political party or organisation which has individuals with discretion and a societal conscious. So that leaves only the Mafia, the Soviets and the CIA with possibly the internal NSA being the exception being more accountable to law and politics in the US.
Surely now though, there would be enough documentation released from freedom of information acts and the falling of the iron curtain to pay-to-play politics. Also how many mafia bosses would be interested in avoiding jail by brokering a deal on the kennedy killing in the aggressive anti Mafia late 60s and 70s? What ageing CIA official or agent would be so cash strapped from successive divorces as to decide to cash in their blue chips of knowledge about the conspiracy?
Now we are getting warm. The alternative theory is characterised by a much narrower channel of influence in stark contrast to the pyramidal structure many have been looking for, with Oswald as the final link. The operational 'silo' is tall and thin. A decision was taken, the pinacle route of mimimal involvement chosen and the command given. This is most likely to reflect a single 'supply chain' down to the point of recruiting, or merely encouraging Oswald to follow the methodology he did.
This vertical organisational silo would be typically single organisation, but nothing rules out a chain of command which crosses organisations. KGB to Mafia, Mafia to CIA, CIA to Mafia or secret political influences operating across two of these. However the likelihood is that a single organisation could contain the secrets better up to the point of Oswald, with him either being indeed the single shooter or the Patsy who just happened to get at least one shot into the President amongst other snipers securing the goal.
Would any group of people or chain of command be ideologically stubborn, committed and evil as to hide the secret for so long? The question is then how many nodes were there between order and Oswald/accomplices? Crossing organisations both potentially exposes the secret and circumstantial indicators and movements around the events to more people, while also actually allowing for the opposite. In other words each party has a particular self interest in keeping it from the chains in their own organisation, and by crossing over the lines of command, the thread of evidence if it was exposed is both limited and neutralisable. This is a term we will return to.
Each chain of command has access to one crucial thing and that is knowledge. One side has knowledge of the Opportunity while the other controls the Method. The motivation is either shared or becomes a transaction- a trading of values. This is then of course true within a single organisation and is a characteristic today of how terrorist cells are commanded such that the chain of command remains short yet distant and any connecting nodes largely neutralisable or defendable.
So as an example we can consider that Oswald is the key assailant in what today we recognise as a terrorist cell. He is chosen by his handlers, the peripheral node, who do not know his missioning only his required skill set. He is chosen to be either likely to succeed because of his marksman skills, or to be a very good scape goat (patsy) with the scenario being multiple snipers. He perhaps has accomplices as in the 'umbrella man' or even there is a second possibility for another sniper somewhere else on the route which was not exercised of course. He is chosen as ideologically opposed to Kennedy and groomed psychologically for this role, being a cold assassin.
The opportunity at the Dallas book repositry, is planned in detail by people who are nodes higher up in the chain of command, and he is only given this missioning at the appropriate time and when it is attained that he is psychologically primed and stable for the attack. On the day, like a modern terrorist cell or a cold war spy assassin, he acts alone for his particular deployment / inesertion point, route and access to sniper position. He may or may not then have had some form of concurrent or subsequent sniper back up, and signalling. As a single node himself, with personal knowledge of only his few handlers under assumed idenities. he can reveal little. He most probably doesn't know of any other snipers in the multi shootist scenario. He is set up to be captured, by his perfect vantage point also being difficult to escape from undetected.
If captured then he realises that he actually knows little about his handlers and psychologically he is primed as the self made anti hero, acting alone as his story. He has perhaps been offered large sums of money or some deal (texas had then and still has the Death Penalty for capital offences) or given some story that the Soviets will over-run the USA and free him. When none of this transpires he realises he is alone, a patsy, and just maybe as his psychological priming wears off and he may begin to think about playing ego games and disclosing his handlers and accomplices, he is gunned down himself. Neutralised by an end node himself, who knew nothing more than he was put up to it.
The nodes further up the line then are either very motivated to never reveal the conspiracy, or are neutralised underway. Neutralisation meas of course, killing them, but involves first passifying them such that they do not try to run or give evidence or otherwise document evidence such that others may find it after their untimely demise as the old film line goes. The fewer the number of nodes, the fewer need neutralising and so the easier it is to not create more trails of evidence in destroying lines of enquiry before they are even discovered.
Another way of looking at the whole notion of it being organised is to think of the concept of 'wishful thinking' and 'my enemy is your enemy, even if we are on the face of it, enemies'. Here then a very small poltically motivated 'star chamber' could discuss means of eliminating President Kennedy. The notion would be taken as hypothetical and deniable for actual intent. Then the next link to middle med who identify the Opportunity. Then via them or another route, contact with the handlers is made, and then Oswald is chosen as the crux of the matter.
In this type of scenario building we can imagine that either Soviets, Republican Ideologists or Mafia Dons sit in the star chamber, and either build a steep, narrow silo for the hit, or if they choose to use a verticle route in another organisation. Here we also stop thinking about organisations as defined by stature or family ties, but rather we can also think of relationships not strictly defined by 'employer'. Thus there may have been a Republican Ideologist who had inroads to the CIA and chose a node there, who then had a good node in the Mafia who could handle Oswald. Or for that matter the Soviets being the handlers of Oswald, with a double agent in the CIA directing them.
The chain is maybe even weaker, with people and actions being suggested rather than actually ordered. The chain may be longer, with as many as six nodes all impeccably reliable or immenently neutralisable. The one most compelling thread of evidence is that Oswald was silenced by someone who would remain silent or not be privvy to more than the 'sparing the first lady testimony' cover story. Over and above this a chain may very easily have been able to neutralise all around Oswald and any accomplices on the day, as long as they were not traced by the state police or the FBI as connected to the scene or Oswald. Disappearing the people who disappeared. Then you are maybe down to just two nodes -the star chamber and the middle man 'fixer'. These were in outset presumed loyal and committed enough never to talk about what chain of events they set in motion.
One man up in a window of an anonymous warehouse building, with a mail order rifle, killing another man who has is in a large open top car travelling at city traffic speeds with little or no obstructing vehicles in the line of sight. One man who knew the route alone and who entered the seemingly insignificant building alone, un perturbed and gained access to a very good shot, which he had premeditated as fully possible from a simple visit to the area in the days before the cavalcade. One man who could have failed but for his will to succeed and his keen skills with a sniper weapon. One explanation, completely plausible.
Silencing may also be achieved by other means. Firstly, by the notion of avoiding self incrimination where an actor in the chain of command did not fully understand the consequences of their actions, but did understand the implications of the end result. Secondly there is simply money, back then a million dollars was a serious amount. Enough to start a new life with no traces of the one you left. Thirdly there is fear, and fourthly there is the case that the CIA or Russians were able to use hypnosis and brain washing techniques to both motivate Oswald and to silence his handlers and possible on site accomplices.
Only that other explanations are also completely plausible. If you stop thinking of three layers of counter arguement as being decisive and start to pick at the last two then you may find that many points not 'evidence limb stubs' that in fact they could be open for new theories or as we may soon find out, corroborate or be corrobrated by new evidence and testimony brought to light. Why say this ? There are just a few too many threads which are untied from the bullet balistics of a single point of sniping, the probablility of Oswald actually being able to fire off so many shots wihtout a coordinated warning or singalling system, how his access and vantage point remained undiscovered, to the babooska woman and the now deceased Umbrella Man. It will take just one death bed testmony or secret service document to start the whole circus rolling again.