Here's a round-up of some of the conspiracies surrounding JFK's assassination
Conspiracies surrounding the assassination of President John F Kennedy abound even now, 54 years after his death.
The US president was shot while travelling in a topless limo through Dallas on November 22, 1963, with Lee Harvey Oswald deemed responsible.
The House Select Committee on Assassinations decided in the late 1970s Kennedy “was probably assassinated as a result of a conspiracy” and that there was a “high probability that two gunmen fired” – but never identified anyone involved.
And whether it’s the number of shots fired, where the shots were fired from, Oswald’s involvement or the involvement of other parties, the American public are still sceptical about the official story.
The main conspiracy theory
Many of the conspiracy strands, which often interweave and cross over, revolve around those who stood to lose out as a result of Kennedy’s stance on Cuba, Vietnam and the Soviet Union.
These include big business, mafia men and former FBI agents, as well as anti-Castro Cuban exiles and CIA elements, who are alleged by conspiracy theorists to have had reason to want Kennedy gone.
Kennedy’s attempts to secure a peace deal in Vietnam and normalise relations with Fidel Castro’s Cuba and the Soviet Union, thus winding down the Cold War, supposedly angered the so-called military-industrial complex, an alliance between the military, security services and arms industry.
With Kennedy proving bad business for defence contractors, some theorise a “shadow government” of powerful businessmen, politicians and generals helped facilitate Kennedy’s death.
Also in opposition to Kennedy were organised crime and anti-Castro activists.
Pulitzer prize finalist and author Anthony Summers said in 1991: “Sometimes people sort of glaze over about the notion that the Mafia and US intelligence and the anti-Castro activists were involved together in the assassination of President Kennedy. In fact, there’s no contradiction there.
“Those three groups were all in bed together at the time and had been for several years in the fight to topple Fidel Castro.”
Organised crime syndicates apparently wanted Castro gone because of the money they were losing out on in Cuba, while the CIA had attempted to assassinate Castro hoping it would lead to a more US-friendly government.
JFK was blamed by these groups for the failed Bay of Pigs invasion in 1961, which angered many anti-Castro Cuban exiles.
The CIA’s director Allen Dulles was fired by Kennedy as a result of the invasion, and some people theorise that all these things played into Kennedy’s death.
Was this theory ever investigated?
New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison believed that a number of people, ranging from the city’s mobsters and businessmen to FBI agents turned private investigators, were in on the plot to kill Kennedy.
His 1966 investigation led to the only trial surrounding the former president’s death – when businessman Clay Shaw was found not guilty on charges of conspiring to assassinate Kennedy.
Garrison believed a complicated web involving investigators Guy Banister and David Ferrie, as well as elements of the CIA, were responsible for Kennedy’s death – and that they also conspired to set up Oswold for the crime.
Other people believe the Secret Service was responsible
There are theories surrounding the Secret Service, which were investigated by the HSCA, who found that despite being “deficient in the performance of its duties”, they were not involved.
Some people believe that the Secret Service was complicit by simply not doing enough to protect him, with the HSCA naming one specific agent who didn’t do enough to cover Kennedy with his body.
The book Mortal Error took the Secret Service’s involvement a step further, alleging that an agent accidentally fired the fatal shot. George Hickey, the man accused by author Bonar Menninger, sued because of the claims and settled on undisclosed terms.
Other detectives and authors, looking at data from the Warren Report as well as numerous claims that shots were fired from ground level rather than up high, have backed this theory.
Kennedy’s second in command has been accused
A number of people think then Vice President Lyndon B Johnson was the real mastermind behind the assassination, mostly for fear of being dropped from the 1964 Democratic ticket.
This theory has lived on since the 1960s, and has had many books and documentaries written about it, although following a History Channel show the network was forced to apologise and say the claims were without merit.
There’s a theory about the Cuban government
Apparently angered by the numerous attempts by the US to take his life, Castro decided it was time to enact revenge. That’s how the theory goes, and was reportedly something Lyndon Johnson is said to have believed.
Castro, whose autobiography has fond words for Kennedy, reportedly said about any Cuban involvement: “It would have been absolute insanity by Cuba… It would have been a provocation. Needless to say, it would have been to run the risk that our country would have been destroyed by the United States.”
Other theories that surround the deceased Cuban leader are that people acting on his behalf, who believed it was in his and the country’s best interests, killed Kennedy – while Oswald himself was a huge admirer of Castro, and some people believe he killed Kennedy to win his admiration.
That the Federal Reserve was behind it, because Kennedy was trying to reduce their power, is another theory.
This seems to be contradicted by the fact that Kennedy had signed a bill giving the Fed authority to issue small denomination notes – actively giving it more power.
Thousands of books have been written about JFK’s assassination, and other theories include that it was an Israeli government conspiracy or a Soviet conspiracy, while there’s even a theory that Oswald killed Kennedy because of an addiction to sugar.