Tomorrow, October 26, 2017, the US government is scheduled to release the classified government documents about the assassination of President Kennedy. Congress mandated the release of these still-secret documents 25 years ago in 1992. (Some earlier headlines indicated “Trump to release JFK Files on Thursday.” Actually, he doesn’t need to do anything, but he can decide to block release of some or all documents.) Apparently some members of different US Intelligence agencies have urged President Trump to not release the files. Why?
Reportedly most historians believe these documents will not add significant light to the Kennedy assassination. But if this is true, then why was the release delayed for 25 years—54 years after the assassination?
Although President Kennedy was very popular among the majority of Americans, there were at least six distinct individuals or groups that had motives to carry out the assassination. The first suspect was Vice President Lyndon Johnson, who had a running battle with Kennedy during almost 3 years of their administration together. (Johnson was only added to help balance the ticket.) Obviously if Kennedy was killed, Johnson would become president. Johnson later indicated that he strongly believed that Fidel Castro was responsible for JFK’s death.
The American Mafia had several reasons to want Kennedy removed. Attorney General Bobby Kennedy went after the mob early in the new administration, in what appeared to be some type of double-cross. Joseph P. Kennedy Sr.—the father of the Kennedy brothers— reportedly had made arrangements for special considerations for the mob if they helped “get the vote out” in the presidential election of 1960 in targeted states that Jack Kennedy eventually won. The Mob believed they would be rewarded, not persecuted and prosecuted.
Central Intelligence Agency officials distrusted Kennedy. Its faulty intelligence reports led to the disastrous Bay of Pigs Invasion 3 months after Kennedy took office. President Kennedy reportedly said he wanted to “splinter the CIA into a thousand pieces and scatter it into the winds.”
The Joint Chiefs of Staff of the US Military also hated Kennedy. They recommended the Bay of Pigs Invasion, and later recommended and planned a full-scale invasion of Cuba before as well as during the Missile Crisis.
The Cuban Exile Community in Miami felt Kennedy betrayed them by not ordering a second bombing strike of Cuban aircraft just before the Bay of Pigs Invasion. After the first strike, Kennedy realized that the invasion was a disastrous mistake. The Cuban-Americans in Miami felt that if Kennedy had ordered the second strike, Cuba would have been freed of Castro and would once again be “free.” In reality, military historians believe that a second air strike would have only prolonged this 3-day “war” into a 4-day fiasco.
Finally, Fidel Castro probably had the most “justifiable” reasons to assassinate America’s president. He greatly admired the United States. Shortly after the Cuban Revolution succeeded, he asked the US for assistance. Instead, the US Navy and Air Force, using Cuban exiles, invaded Cuba at the infamous Bay of Pigs on the south coast. (The US believed they could convince the world that the US military was not involved, but this story fell apart as American aircraft were shot down and American ships were sunk.) This occurred just 3 months after Kennedy became president. After this embarrassing episode, the US drew up plans for a massive, D-Day style invasion by all branches of the military. It would have been terribly bloody—the US apparently had no idea of the level of support that Castro had at the time. Before this massive invasion could be launched, Castro asked the Soviet Union (Greater Russia) for protection, so nuclear-tipped missiles were shipped to Cuba to repel this invasion. After pre-invasion reconnaissance aircraft discovered these missiles, a tense 2-week period followed. This period was known as the Missile Crisis everywhere else in the world. But in the U.S. it was called the CUBAN Missile crisis, even though Cuba had no missiles of its own. There are several versions of the negotiations that followed, but 30 years later it was confirmed that (a) the U.S. indeed had planned a full-scale invasion and (b) the crisis was resolved when Kennedy simply pledged not to invade Cuba.
Since this massive invasion was no longer an option, a series of unsuccessful assassination attempts of Castro followed. Just before Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas on November 22, 1963, Lee Harvey Oswald visited the Cuban Embassy in Mexico City.
There are probably other individuals and groups that wanted Kennedy removed. Perhaps 2 or more of these elements conspired with, or assisted each other. There has been speculation that whomever was responsible would likely promote a variety of other theories to create mass confusion. There have been books, movies, articles, and other media produced which “prove” who was responsible for killing Kennedy. Each convinced various Americans that they were absolutely sure who did it.
In conclusion—it is very important to keep in mind that the US and the Soviet Union were engaged in a Cold War before and after the success of the Cuban Revolution. American leaders led themselves to believe that some smaller countries would unfortunately have to be sacrificed and suffer deeply and unfairly because of the ideological battle between these two super powers. Cuba has experienced far more than its share of suffering due to misinformation about its role in the world. Even today, many Americans still believe that the Russians almost started World War III by recklessly shipping nuclear-tipped missiles to Cuba for no reason. One possible scenario that we might have imagined after hearing from our leaders in the early 60’s is: “Yeah—those damned Commie Ruskies were just sitting around bored one day, eating borscht and drinking vodka. Somebody said, ‘Hey—just for the hell of it—let’s ship some nuclear-tipped missiles to Cuba and point them at the United States. THAT will really shake ‘em up.’ “
Of course, this scenario was preposterous. Soviet intelligence knew that America had a significant advantage in nuclear triad delivery systems—bombers, land-based missiles, and submarine-launched weapons. The intelligence agencies of most other countries knew why the missiles were deployed, but Americans were kept in the dark for over 30 years. If the Soviets did not defend Cuba with its missiles, America would have invaded Cuba, and the Soviet Block would have been exposed to some degree as a paper tiger—not equivalent to the military of the United States.
The Missile Crisis actually turned out to be a good thing. The missiles deployed in Cuba prevented a terrible, bloody invasion of a country where just about everybody loved American citizens, but learned to distrust and fear the US government. (This has continued to be true to this day.) The Crisis also gave birth to the red-telephone direct hotline between Moscow and Washington. (Before this time, intergovernmental messages were Telexed to each other’s capitals, decoded, translated, and hand-delivered to the leaders.) Also—the Soviets realized that they needed to implement top-down control over those missiles. (During the Crisis, individual commanders had the authority to launch individual nuclear-tipped missiles on their own).
So with all this in mind—read and watch the news reports tomorrow about the release of secret documents. Odds are that the files will confirm that Oswald acted alone. But since we now live in such a chaotic world highlighted by Fake News and Alternative Facts, anything is possible! Perhaps the release of these documents was delayed 25 years because Fidel Castro was not expected so live so long. He conveniently died in November of 2016 at the age of 90.