Let’s just say it off the bat.

Elements of the U.S. defense and intelligence community conspired to assassinate President John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963. A straightforward examination of the facts surrounding the slaying, the cover-up (including the botched autopsy, the murder of patsy Lee Harvey Oswald, the fictitious Warren Commission report, etc.), as well as the motives that led to the assassination, would lead any honest observer to draw this conclusion.

I know that it is extremely controversial to say such a thing, but considering the amount of misinformation still swirling around this case, I feel it is important to just lay it out there.

The latest of the seemingly endless barrage of misrepresentations regarding the assassination is the current ruckus over statements made by Secretary of State John Kerry, who dared to publicly question the “official story” that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone, firing multiple gunshots from the Texas Book Depository including the so-called “magic bullet” that entered Kennedy’s back and exited through his neck, then passed through  Governor John Connally’s chest and wrist and embedded itself in the Governor’s thigh, and was later found in nearly pristine condition on a gurney in at the Parkland Memorial Hospital, in Dallas, after the assassination.

(Excuse me while I take a moment to stop laughing … okay, I’m done.)

Despite the fact that only 24 percent of the American people accept this theory, with 59 percent believing that there was a conspiracy involved, apparently it is still highly contentious for a U.S. official such as John Kerry to question this narrative. Since making his comments, Kerry has been vilified as a “conspiracy theorist” and even a “conspiracy nut,” simply for saying he has “serious doubts that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone.”

What’s interesting though is that while Kerry did indeed question the Warren Commission’s version of events, he still posited an account that it is highly deferential to the U.S. establishment, taking great pains to avoid implicating the most likely assassins in the CIA and casually pointing fingers at Moscow and Havana.

Kerry told NBC’s Tom Brokaw that he doesn’t believe in a conspiracy theory involving the CIA, but hinted that the Russians and the Cubans may have had a hand in it.

“I certainly have doubts that he was motivated by himself,” Kerry said. “I mean I’m not sure if anybody else was involved – I don’t go down that road with respect to the Grassy Knoll theory and all that – but I have serious questions about whether they got to the bottom of Lee Harvey Oswald’s time and influence from Cuba and Russia.”

The problem with Kerry’s conspiracy theory is not that he is questioning the absurd “lone gunman” story (and its associated single bullet theory), but rather that he is attempting to implicate two entities – Communist Cuba and the Soviet Union – that arguably had the most to lose from Kennedy being killed. Not only did these governments lack a motive in killing Kennedy, but in fact, they deeply regretted his death, knowing that it likely meant that the overtures JFK was making towards rapprochement in 1963 would be abandoned, which is precisely what happened.

Having just pulled the world back from the brink of nuclear war during the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962, Kennedy had a deep distrust of his military advisers, and started distancing himself from the Joint Chiefs of Staff. These moves followed earlier conflicts with the CIA stemming from the Bay of Pigs Invasion, which led Kennedy to fire CIA officials Allen Dulles, Richard Bissell, and Charles Cabell, and remark that he wanted “to splinter the CIA into a thousand pieces and scatter it to the winds.”

Further breaking with the defense establishment, in June 1963, Kennedy gave an impassioned speech at American University essentially calling for an end to the Cold War:

In short, both the United States and its allies, and the Soviet Union and its allies, have a mutually deep interest in a just and genuine peace and in halting the arms race. Agreements to this end are in the interests of the Soviet Union as well as ours – and even the most hostile nations can be relied upon to accept and keep those treaty obligations and only those treaty obligations which are in their own interest.

So let us not be blind to our differences, but let us also direct attention to our common interests and the means by which those differences can be resolved. And if we cannot end now our differences, at least we can help make the world safe for diversity. For, in the final analysis, our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this small planet. We all breathe the same air. We all cherish our children’s futures. And we are all mortal.

This is why Kennedy was assassinated, because he wanted peace while others did not. The generals were still reeling from the fact that Kennedy had wasted the opportunity to invade Cuba in ’62 and failed to directly take on the Soviet Union, which was seen as vulnerable but growing in strength. Hawkish cold warriors in the Pentagon and CIA felt betrayed by the president, considering him soft on communism and not up to the job. These same people had just a year earlier been advocating thermonuclear war which they knew would have killed tens of millions. Is there any doubt that they would have any qualms about taking out one man – even if he did happen to be president of the United States?

When taking into account all the other anomalies surrounding the JFK assassination, it’s puzzling that it’s not more common for people to point to the possibility of an inside job. For example, the Secret Service failed to provide adequate protection in Dallas because agents in the motorcade were inadequately prepared and had did not act upon relevant information. Then there was the whole travesty of the Warren Commission, which included former CIA director Allen Dulles as one of its members, despite his personal animosity toward Kennedy for firing him just a couple years earlier.

Despite the obvious conflicts of interest, the investigation into the assassination was immediately taken over by the very government agencies — the CIA, FBI and Secret Service — that had the most to hide, as detailed in the recent book A Cruel and Shocking Act by former New York Times investigative reporter Philip Shenon, based largely on interviews with former Warren Commission staff lawyers.

Dulles, in particular, seemed intent on pulling strings to ensure that certain facts were kept from the public, including the FBI’s relationship with Lee Harvey Oswald. “I think this record ought to be destroyed,” said Dulles during a Jan. 22, 1964, executive session at which the allegation that Lee Harvey Oswald was a paid informant for the FBI was discussed. (Although the transcript was destroyed as Dulles suggested, an original court reporter’s tape was later retrieved after a lengthy legal battle brought by a Capitol Hill staffer Harold Weisberg.)

There are many other important aspects of the Kennedy assassination that are still secret, including a 123-page CIA file on Bill Harvey who was in charge of a CIA assassination program code-named ZR-RIFLE until he was demoted by Kennedy for insubordination. Then there are the secret operational files of David Atlee Philips, who had been involved in the pre-assassination surveillance of Oswald and said late in his life that he thought JFK was killed by rogue CIA officers.

These are some of the mysteries that we should be exploring, but instead, the media is in a frenzy that John Kerry had the audacity to express doubt about the thoroughly discredited lone gunman story. The irony is that this is not even the current official story. In fact, a revised official story, published by the House Select Committee on Assassinations in 1978, ascertained that “Scientific acoustical evidence establishes a high probability that two gunmen fired at President John F. Kennedy.”

The House Committee determined, “on the basis of the evidence available to it, that President John F. Kennedy was probably assassinated as a result of a conspiracy.”

Regrettably, however, “the committee is unable to identify the other gunman or the extent of the conspiracy.” Or perhaps, it just didn’t want to.  Here’s a hint though: it was the CIA.

Cross-posted at Essential Opinion.