WASHINGTON, October 15 (by Karin Zeitvogel for RIA Novosti) – A new book “blows apart” the conclusions of a 1970s' Congressional committee that US President John F. Kennedy’s assassination 50 years ago was a conspiracy involving gunmen other than former Soviet defector Lee Harvey Oswald, the book’s author said Tuesday.
Larry Sabato, a prominent US political analyst and author of “The Kennedy Half Century,” said he and a team of researchers “have proven beyond a shadow of a doubt for the first time” that the committee’s conclusion that four shots, not three, were fired when Kennedy was assassinated on Nov. 22, 1963 “is absolutely wrong.”
Sabato led a team of researchers who for five years analyzed audio recordings from a Dictabelt recorder mounted on a Dallas police officer’s motorcycle on the day Kennedy was shot as his motorcade drove through the Texas city.
The House Select Committee on Assassinations reopened a probe into the assassination in 1976 and three years later said its investigators heard four gunshots fired at the motorcade on the police recording, an impossible feat for a single gunman in the eight seconds in which the shots were fired.
The conclusion contradicted the 1964 Warren Commission, which pinned the blame for Kennedy’s death solely on Oswald, saying he fired three shots at the motorcade.
The committee also noted in its conclusions that it believed the police officer who had the Dictabelt recorder on his motorcycle was riding with the Kennedy motorcade, which means what he captured on the recorder would have been play-by-play audio of the assassination.
But Sabato said that he and his team have gathered evidence showing that the officer was two miles (3.2 kilometers) away from Kennedy’s limousine when the president was fatally shot, and that acoustic analysis using today’s technology has found that what House investigators thought was a fourth gunshot could have been motorcycle noise.
He added, however, that this conclusion is unlikely to quell popular belief of a conspiracy in the killing, saying the debate over the death of the youngest president in US history will “likely never end.”
“Doubts about the single gunman explanation are deeply engrained in the American public and indeed much of the world,” Sabato said. “People are unwilling to accept that the most powerful person on earth could be killed by an inconsequential individual.”
The Warren Commission investigation was also flawed, Sabato said.
Its probe was a “rush job” conducted in the midst of a “hot Cold War” that would have had Americans baying for a retaliatory strike if Kennedy’s assassination had been tied to Cuba or the Soviet Union, he said.
Kennedy locked horns with Moscow and Havana in October 1962, when a US spy plane photographed nuclear missile sites being built by the Soviet Union on Cuba.
To accompany the book, the University of Virginia, where Sabato heads the Center for Politics, will launch an app featuring several hours of audio recordings from the Dallas police before, during and after the assassination.
It also plans to hold the first session of a free Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) on Kennedy’s life, administration and legacy, in which anyone can enroll.
While Kennedy’s death is the focus of attention as the 50th anniversary of his assassination nears, Sabato said the tragedy makes up just a small part of the MOOC and the book because, “It’s wrong to focus solely on Kennedy’s death without looking at his impactful life.”