Superheroes and conspiracy theories

I need to stop wasting my time on bizarre, conspiracy-theory web sites. But, somehow, whenever I start looking into a Stanley Kubrick film, I keep on reading until I have gone down the rabbit hole of the-moon-landing-was-faked, or MK-ULTRA and Monarch, or something equally strange. For the record, Stanley Kubrick did not use the tricks he learned from making 2001 Space Odyssey to help NASA fake the moon landing. Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin really did walk on the moon forty-eight years ago. Any contrary evidence is merely proof that some people fail to understand science and technology.

On the other hand, during the Cold War the United States government really did experiment with mind-control in a program that was called (among other things) MK-ULTRA. In competition with the Soviet Union and its allies, the US military and the CIA wanted to explore every possible edge that could lead to victory. The CIA really did destroy most of its MK-ULTRA files in 1973. They did so to hide evidence that they had engaged in behavior that was immoral and criminal. At the same time, they wanted to hide evidence that the experiments had failed, that mind-control is not an effective way to battle the nation’s enemies.

Most of the CIA’s mind-control experiments were chemical in nature. They had two goals: to find a chemical that could be used to affect a person’s thinking and behavior, and to find a way of delivering that chemical surreptitiously. Although a number of chemicals can change a person’s thinking—the CIA had especially high hopes for LSD—delivery proved to be a greater problem. They could get Americans to experiment with drugs voluntarily. They could find ways to dose the food or beverage of a close associate, such as a family member or coworker. Getting the poison to the enemy was much harder. Notoriously, the CIA tried several times to disrupt Fidel Castro’s career chemically, but all of those efforts failed.

Secret societies exist (most of them openly), but they do not purchase or kidnap children to torture them into compliant slavery. Manchurian candidates, programed to assassinate upon a trigger command, exist only in fiction. Not every young woman who wears a tiger-print or leopard-print garment is a programmed sex slave; many people merely find those fabric patterns attractive. Not every use of a rainbow or a bluebird in visual art or cinema is a reference to mind-control; both symbols have a variety of meanings which have nothing to do with evil manipulation of the mind.

Perhaps some adult somewhere has used Alice in Wonderland or The Wizard of Oz or some Disney cartoon to mess with a child’s mind. All of these stories are entertaining, while at the same time they operate on several layers of meaning, conveying interesting messages about perception and reality. None of these stories was created with evil intent, and no secret society has used them to entrap thousands of children in a network of evil.

According to conspiracy theories, Monarch treatment tortures children to achieve in them a condition called Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID), formerly known as Multiple Personality Disorder. DID is a real disorder. Often it results from childhood abuse, causing the child to create several personalities to escape the reality of abuse. Tragically, many children have been horribly abused, not to train them for secret missions, but only at the whim of a monstrous adult. Formerly, child abuse was a taboo topic in polite society, but concern for the victims of abuse has made people more willing to talk about abuse.

In recent years American society has become aware of a culture of abuse within the entertainment industry. Various figures—some famous actors and directors, others more behind-the-scenes figures—have used their access to young and ambitious boys and girls to satisfy their own evil cravings. They are not Monarch trainers; they are simply bad people. Undoubtedly their predatory ways have damaged their victims. Some of these children are abused sexually or physically; all of them must cope with an abnormal life, a life high in stress and anxiety, a life with lofty goals but also a high probability of failure. When Justin Bieber and Miley Cyrus behave badly, they are not proving to be victims of Monarch programming. They are merely coping (poorly) with the transition from child star to adult, a change that is hard enough for the rest of us who were not child stars.

In their hunt for evidence of Monarch programing based on MK-ULTRA experiments, some conspiracy theorists have noted the prevalence of superhero stories in which a person carries two identities. One is an ordinary person living an ordinary life; the other has special powers and abilities, generally used to help others. Supposedly, this double life portrays DID, the splintering of a personality to create a willing but hidden servant to the powers that secretly rule the world. Diana Prince is Wonder Woman; Clark Kent is Superman. Yet, in this theory, these stories are parallel to the several identities created by Monarch programing.

Poppycock! All of us wished, when we were children, to be special, to have powers beyond the ordinary, and to know that the world somehow depended upon us. Superhero stories build upon this common dream, pulling us into a story in which the heroes have extraordinary powers (but in which they must also defeat extraordinary villains). Perhaps the source of this dream is the messianic theme—the promise that a Savior would come on schedule to defeat evil and to rescue its victims. Not only is this promise delivered overtly in the Hebrew Bible and confirmed in the New Testament; it also has subtle roots in creation, which depicts the history of salvation in many ways, such as the conversion of caterpillar to butterfly.

Identifying secret societies that enslave thousands of children to do their will only places the problem of evil on a different level. It allows an us-v.-them mentality which diminishes the consequences of our sins by comparing those sins to greater, more pervasive evil. It replaces Satan with human plotters who still seem to have supernatural powers. Worse, it reduces the saving power of the cross of Jesus Christ by shifting attention from spiritual reality to political, social, and economic forces.

We enjoy superhero fiction. Some of us even enjoy conspiracy theories. A healthy dose of reality is necessary, though—awareness that the real enemy has been fought and has been defeated. Christ is risen! We need fear no power. J.

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Those secret groups that run the world

Imagine what could be done if someone could gather together the most influential people in the world—leaders of industry, finance, academia, government and politics, perhaps even entertainers and members of the media. Imagine what would happen if all these people would speak to one another and—more important—listen to one another. Imagine each of these important people gathering insight into other points of view, other approaches to leadership, and other goals for business and government.

You do not have to imagine. Meetings like this actually happen. In fact, there are three regular gatherings that meet this description. The oldest, founded in 1921, is called the Council on Foreign Affairs. It consists of American leaders, and it clearly was begun in an attempt to ward off the isolationism that was dominating American thought after the Great War was over. The next, founded in 1954, is called Bilderberg. It includes Americans and Europeans, and it dates to the aftermath of the Second World War and the beginning of the Cold War. Along with them is the Trilateral Commission, founded in 1973, and including Japan as well as North America and Europe. Recently other east Asian countries have been included in the Trilateral Commission along with Japan.

The three groups have common interests and goals. They share one other trait: all three are accused of being secret organizations plotting to control world events. Conspiracy theorists regularly invoke one or more of these groups when they try to explain how a hidden elite force is running the world, causing everything from terrorist attacks to the fluoridation of water.

Some years ago, the governor of a certain state was invited to join one of these three groups. After he accepted, he received dozens of letters from alarmed citizens—some from his state, and some from other states. They warned him that he was being sucked into an evil cabal, one bent upon one-world government and other nefarious plots. He was cautioned that known Communists had addressed meetings of this group. (This was while the Cold War was still happening.) The governor’s staff mailed a reply to these letters with his signature. The reply emphasized that the group existed only to listen to different points of view so people would understand one another. The group had no agenda apart from speaking and listening. In many cases, that reply induced a second letter scolding the governor for naivety and recommending a book to the governor, a recently-published book which claimed to reveal all the dark secrets of this particular group.

Conspiracy theorists focus upon these groups because they seem elitist and powerful. Accusing other people of conspiring to run the world reduces one’s own personal responsibility to the world. A person who believes that a secret elite controls the world and that the rest of us are helpless is a person who feels free to ignore the problems of others. Feed the hungry and shelter the homeless? Cut back on littering and on wasting fuel? Be kind to a stranger? Why bother? THEY are in control, and these small gestures cannot change anything. Moreover, doing any of these things might just be playing into THEIR hands.

The Rockefellers and the Rothschilds are wealthy families. They are regarded with suspicion by many conspiracy theorists. But the Rothschild fortune and the Rockefeller fortune were acquired in the same fashion that Bill Gates and Sam Walton became wealthy more recently. Such wealth begins with an idea—a thought about how to give other people what they want and get paid for doing it. Having that idea, the entrepreneur advertises the product or the service. As profits build, they are reinvested in the company. Further investigation of what people want and how to provide it, and continued advertising, bring about a growing business that eventually produces a family fortune. This procedure requires effort, determination, and a little bit of luck. Competition and economic downturns might stifle the company for a while. In the end, the Rockefellers and the Waltons are wealthy today because of a predecessor in the family who worked very hard over a period of time to succeed.

With privilege comes responsibility. Rockefellers and Rothschilds sponsor efforts to improve the world for everyone. They contribute to schools, hospitals, libraries, concert halls, art museums, and other social benefits. They create foundations to continue helping other people. They fund and participate in gatherings (such as the three mentioned above) because they agree that powerful people should speak to one another and listen to one another. Far from conspiring to control the world for their own benefit, they are giving back to a world that made them rich by wanting what their predecessors sold.

Yet these wealthy and powerful people are like everyone else. They are sometimes thoughtful and considerate. They are sometimes petty and self-centered. They can be suspicious of one another. They are neither interested in combining forces to rule the world nor capable of doing so. And, I suspect, they are both puzzled and amused by the countless theories that claim that they are doing such things right now. J.

An ancient Persian puzzle

From ancient Persia comes a historic mystery that is as compelling as questions about who planned Watergate or who shot President Kennedy. This Persian account contains conspiracies, lies, murder, and—best of all—more than one plausible interpretation of the facts. Historians still debate one another about what really happened.

Persia is located in the mountains and plains of modern Iran. It was a small kingdom for centuries before Cyrus made Persia great. He expanded in various directions, eventually capturing the wealthy kingdom of Lydia in Anatolia, where Turkey exists today. With new wealth to hire and equip soldiers, Cyrus then turned south, sacking the city Babylon (which is also a fascinating story) and claiming the Babylonian Empire for the Persian government. He had to continue to fight to maintain control of the various nations conquered by the Babylonians. Cyrus died on the battlefield July 530 B.C. at the approximate age of seventy.

Cambyses, the son of Cyrus, inherited the empire. He also inherited the struggle to keep all the pieces together as one empire. The biggest prize was Egypt, that ancient civilization in the northeast corner of Africa that had been conquered by the Babylonians. After Babylon fell, Egypt declared its independence. Cambyses took his Persian armies to Egypt to show the Egyptians that they still belonged to the Persian Empire.

After much fighting, the Persians were successful. While they were still mopping up the campaign, though, word came from Persia that Bardiya—the younger brother of Cambyses—had seized power. Reportedly, when Cambyses heard this news, he exclaimed, “That’s impossible! I had Bardiya killed before I left home to keep this kind of thing from happening!” Cambyses began to return to Persia with his army, minus those troops left in Egypt to keep law and order in Persian hands. But Cambyses did not return home alive. Injured in the leg by his own sword, he developed gangrene and died of the infection.

One of the generals who had fought with Cambyses in Egypt was a cousin to the royal family, a man named Darius. When he had returned to the Persian homeland, Darius announced that Bardiya was fake. Darius even named names. He declared that the phony Bardiya was actually a mage named Gaumata, and Darius also named the six magi who had conspired with Gaumata to seize the government. (Magi were scholarly experts in all important matters: biology, chemistry, astronomy and astrology, history, religion, languages, and more. They were advisors to royalty. The Magi were like a combination of a university faculty of professors and the American President’s Cabinet.) With the support of the army, Darius revolted against the new emperor. In his inscriptions Darius merely says that he slew Gaumata; later historians told an exciting tale of hand-to-hand combat between Gaumata and Gobyras, a mage who was loyal to Darius and was, in fact one of his friends. Darius had to choose whether to interfere, risking the life of his friend, or to let them fight. With a lucky stroke of his sword, Darius managed to kill Gaumata without harming Gobyras.

Both sons of Cyrus were dead, and Darius had the support of the Persian army. Since he was of royal blood, he was crowned emperor of Persia. No one at the time questioned his identification of the supposed Bardiya as the mage Gaumata. At the same time, apparently no one but Darius had heard the claim of Cambyses that he had killed his brother.

Was Darius a hero who rescued the empire from conspiracy? Or was he a liar who struck down the true son of Cyrus to claim the throne? During his lifetime, no one challenged his claims. No one would have dared. Today historians are not so sure. For some, the official version of the story as told by Darius (and carved into rock in Persia) is as believable as any other possibility. To others, the official version is highly suspicious. No one expects to find a signed confession from Darius countering his original version of the story. More than likely, we will never know the truth. J.

Back from Dresden

The participants of the Bilderberg Conference for 2016 have returned to their homes around the world from Dresden. We can now enjoy the various conspiracy theories regarding this annual, invitation-only gathering of some of the world’s richest and most influential people.

From their own press releases, we know that they talked about the United States election, China, Russia, migration and refugees, and the “precariat” and the middle class. (Precariat describes workers who are struggling in the modern economy and have no long-term wage security.) Participants are allowed to share information they gained from the sessions, but not to quote any speaker directly.

Is this the New World Order at work? Did Bilderberg decide the outcome of this November’s presidential election? Are they managing the wars in north Africa and west Asia? Are they deciding on salaries and prices for the world’s economy? Are they conspiring to make themselves richer at the expense of everyone else?

Conspiracy theories are fun, so long as one does not take them too seriously. When a person loses optimism about the future because of conspiracy theories, that’s a bad thing. When a person stops trying to make the world better because of conspiracy theories, that’s a bad thing. When a person loses faith in God’s ability to rule creation and care for his people, that’s a very bad thing.

Conspiracies rarely succeed in changing history for two reasons. First, people who are greedy are not going to trust other greedy people to cooperate on a massive campaign of world dominance. Each conspirator is in it for himself or herself. They will battle each other and betray each other out of self-interest. Second, people are incompetent, and groups of people only pool incompetence. The fiasco known as Watergate shows how conspiracies really (fail to) work.

Only publicly-known conspiracies have any chance of success. The cartel known as OPEC managed to inflate the cost of oil artificially for about forty years, beginning in 1973. Everyone who was paying attention knew what they were doing. Finally greed and incompetence have robbed OPEC of its power: Saudi Arabia and Iran and Iraq want to continue producing more oil, even though that keeps the price low and hurts the economies of Venezuela and Mexico. American oil companies flourished during the reign of OPEC, and their production also increased over the last several years, drawing the price of oil lower. Now they are cutting back on more expensive mining for oil and laying off workers. The American oil companies are not struggling, but Russia and Venezuela—competitors of the United States—are facing hard times because of this economic change.

Back, though, to Bilderberg. Do they control OPEC or the American oil companies? No, they do not, but you can be sure that the conference discussed the economics of oil and the effect those economics have on politics, employment, and other areas. Can they control the election in November? No, they cannot, but you can be sure that the conference discussed the policies and personalities of the two major candidates and the effects either of them will have on world politics and the economy in the coming years.

So why did these rich and powerful people meet in secret? Would you believe that it was just to talk to one another and to listen to each other? Most professional workers are expected to be involved in continuing education, and the Bilderberg Conference is an example of continuing education at the highest level of society. Yes, the rich and powerful would like to keep what they have and, if possible, increase their profit. They realize, though, that war and rumors of war are bad for business. Economic recession is bad for business. Unemployment is bad for business. They are against all these things. Being unable to control them, they want to understand them. Being unable to control the future, they want at least to increase their chances of predicting the future.

For those reasons, they invite diverse people in politics and business to attend the conference and to speak to the conference. They exclude reporters and require participants not to quote one another directly—not because they have secrets to hide from the world, but because they want to speak openly to each other. They come, not merely to be heard, but to hear each other. They understand that their lives will only improve as conditions in the world improve.

Imagine if more people in the world would gather for these purposes. Imagine American politics if more speaking and listening happened in town hall meetings and caucuses rather than in media-driven events. Imagine if the Donald supporters, the Donald haters, the Hillary supporters, and the Hillary haters could all gather in a convention hall to speak to each other—and to listen to each other—with respect for one another and a genuine desire to understand each other. Imagine conversations about creation and evolution which were not debates with speakers trying to score points, but discussions with a genuine curiosity motivating all the participants.

The Trilateral Commission—which is very similar to the Bilderberg Conference in purpose and in structure—has tried to have their cake and eat it too. They assure the public that they have no hidden agenda, no plans to control the world, and no nefarious schemes being hatched at their meetings. They have also expressed both hope and confidence that their gatherings are helping to shape a brighter future because of the education and learning that takes place there. Conspiracy theorists are eager to ignore the assurances and to twist the hope and confidence into something far more sinister than what really happens at their meetings.

Friends, no massive conspiracy is trying to rob you of your freedom and your property. When the rich and powerful gather, they are seeking a rising tide that will lift all the boats. When they go home, they are still asking themselves, “What’s in it for me?” They have no way of cooperating with one another at the expense of the rest of the world, because they are ordinary human beings, just like you and me. Trust not in the rich and powerful, in politicians and business leaders, but do not fear them either. What power they have is brief and fleeting. J.

The Grand Conspiracy of All Evil

From time to time, I cross paths with people who believe in a Grand Conspiracy of All Evil. They sincerely believe that a network of sinister organizations is behind everything wrong with society today, from the assassination of President Kennedy to the latest viral epidemic in Africa or South America.

Candidates for members of this conspiracy include (but are not limited to) the following: the Illuminati, the Masonic Lodge, the Roman Catholic Church, the Tri-Lateral Commission, the Girl Scouts of America, Donald Trump, Jews, Communists, Hollywood, big business (or some select corporations), Mormons, Satanists, the liberal media, certain federal agencies (particularly the CIA), and organized crime. Often selections from the list include pairings that are unlikely bedfellows—Jews and Communists, for example. (Jewish people did not fare well under the Soviet government.)The response to any suggestion that two such groups would never work together is that the two groups only pretend to be enemies; they want to throw the rest of us off the scent of their cooperation in the service of evil.

A few powerful people are thought to make all the decisions that guide the modern world. Elections are a fraud; they only produce predetermined results of the powerful ones. News and entertainment exist only to distract people from the truth, or perhaps even to brainwash people into believing lies. Those in power want the citizens of the world to be oblivious to their existence, and they want the few who discover their existence to be too frightened to resist them. They want a world of sheep, people blindly following one another without asking questions, without searching for truth, and without challenging the way things are being done.

In much fantasy literature, a group of good characters must gather to resist and overthrow a powerful evil foe. The good guys generally win after great struggle and mighty adventures. Often their victory is assured by the nature of evil—the bad guys are too selfish and chaotic to work together, so the cooperation of the good characters is stronger than the massed but ineffective evil. I believe there is truth in this theme. I believe that evil conspiracies are unlikely, if not impossible, because those who are evil will be too selfish to share their power and their wealth with peers.

Powerful people want more power, but they fight other powerful people to get it. Corporations, including the news industry and the entertainment industries, want to make money, so they offer the public what the public appears to want. Each group of people that gathers with a common interest pursues that interest, whether it is religious, charitable, educational, or political. They do not lie to the public about their interest, though, because they want to draw more people into their group.

One current issue which concerns many people is the trend of Satanist groups to demand the right to place statues depicting their beliefs alongside other artwork on public property that reflects a Christian view. If the Capitol grounds or courthouse has a manger scene at Christmas or a monument containing the Ten Commandments, the Satanist group wants equal representation. While I understand why this trend concerns people, I cannot consider it part of a conspiracy. Those who call themselves Satanists do not take their religion seriously. Like the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster or the Church of the Sub-Genius, Satanists practice a parody religion. Their intention is not to claim supernatural power; their intention is to bother people who take religion seriously.

Since the 1970s, groups of young people have dabbled in the occult without taking it seriously. Although a few continued to study ancient pagan teachings, the majority merely played at being partners with evil. They conducted secret ceremonies to frighten their parents and their neighbors, and they were delighted when local authorities took note of their actions and feared what they were doing. Books and movies—all works of fiction—enhanced their reputation. The truth is that they have no magical power. They consider what they are doing to be a joke, and they are increasingly amused when other people take them seriously.

The government of the United States endorses no religion. Many places in the United States have allowed religious displays on government property because those displays represented the beliefs of most citizens in that area. Other groups have sought and received permission to have their symbols added to the religious displays. Now, groups that mock and scorn religion are demanding equal representation. In my opinion, the best response would be to follow the intent of the Bill of Rights in the Constitution and remove all religious displays from government property. In response to this action, every church and every Christian should show signs of their faith on their own property. When the city of Zion, Illinois, painted over the cross on its water tower, hundreds of Christians began displaying the cross on their homes. The loss of one cross led to the appearance of many crosses.

Satanists mock religion; they do not practice it seriously. I consider religion a very serious matter. Satanists do not regard evil as powerful. I do regard evil as powerful, but I see evil in greed, selfishness, cold-heartedness, envy, hatred, and crime. A statue that portrays Satan may be ugly and disturbing, but it is not the tool or symbol of some vast evil conspiracy. It is nothing more than a macabre joke. Rather than fighting the joke—which only reinforces the point of the joke—Christians can best respond to such mockery with kindness, compassion, helpfulness to others, and respect for others. When we succeed in a vast conspiracy to imitate Jesus, we can be sure that we will prevail against the enemies of Jesus. After all, Jesus has already won the war against evil. We are secure in his victory, today and always. J.

 

The assassination of President Kennedy–Conclusion

I have two reasons to doubt that President John F. Kennedy was killed in Dallas as the result of a conspiracy. The first reason is the nature of conspiracies in general, and the second reason is the nature of Lee Harvey Oswald.

A conspiracy can succeed if it involves a small number of people with a limited objective on which they all agree. As more people become involved and more steps need to be accomplished, the chance for the conspiracy to succeed dwindles rapidly. To see how conspiracies within American government actually work, study the Watergate scandal. From that one can observe how the twin powers of self-interest and incompetence doom any major conspiracy.

To murder President Kennedy through a conspiracy, the conspirators would have needed to arrange for Lee Harvey Oswald to be hired at the Book Depository, and then to arrange for the President’s motorcade to take a route that passed by the Depository. The conspirators would have needed to obtain in advance a bullet fired from Oswald’s rifle, and then to have that bullet planted on a stretcher in Parkland Hospital. The conspirators would have needed a plan to remove the President’s body from Dallas and have it examined by a chosen team of doctors in Washington DC. The conspirators would have needed to script the arrest of Oswald in a movie theater and then to make him available to be shot by Jack Ruby on Dallas police property that same weekend.

After accomplishing all this, the conspirators would have needed to keep their work hidden from the FBI, the Warren Commission, and any later investigating agency. The failure of investigators to find even one person who can convincingly claim to have been involved in planning any of the many steps of such a conspiracy is resounding evidence that such a conspiracy never existed.

If that were not enough, one must consider the nature of Lee Harvey Oswald. From the time he was in the United States Marines through the time he worked various jobs in Minsk, New Orleans, and Dallas, Oswald exhibited a pattern of unreliable behavior. At no time did he stick to any job with concentration and determination. Any group of conspirators who chose to trust Oswald as a member of their team would have been guilty of poor judgment, to say the least. Even if a group of conspirators were using Oswald as a patsy without his advance knowledge, his pattern of unpredictable behavior would have made Oswald unsuitable for their plans.

How could the planners have arranged to have Oswald to bring his rifle to work on November 22 (or to have him carry a package of curtain rods wrapped in brown paper, causing people to suspect he had a rifle that morning)? How could they have kept Oswald in the second floor lunchroom of the Depository while the motorcade of the President of the United States passed by the building? How could they have been sure that Oswald’s behavior, both before and after the shooting, would draw suspicion of the Dallas police toward him that same afternoon?

Nevertheless, American imaginations generally require a conspiracy to make sense of history. The thought that one man as insignificant as Lee Harvey Oswald could, with a highly impulsive act, change the course of history does not appeal to most people. Events of great significance require great causes, in the minds of many people. Here follows a description of a conspiracy plan that could have worked, involving a small number of people with the power to carry out their will, and with the scheming of significant people fulfilling a plan to shape the future. Consider, if you will, the following scenario:

In the summer of 1963, during a routine physical examination, doctors at the Bethesda Naval Hospital discover that President Kennedy has an incurable and fatal illness. Perhaps they find an inoperable tumor, or perhaps a complication with Addison’s disease or with some other health problem in Kennedy’s history. The doctors informed the President that he had about a year to live. The President immediately demanded that the doctors keep his condition secret, and they all swore that at no time would they ever divulge the information they had learned about President Kennedy’s health.

This bad news was particularly striking to President Kennedy, who was working to shape the policy of the government of the United States in several important areas. He expected reelection to a second term to complete the progress he had started. Failure to seek reelection would threaten every one of the President’s plans. He had no guarantee that any other prominent Democrat would continue along the same course, let alone that a Republican victory in November 1964 would not derail everything he had accomplished. President Kennedy realized that he could only ensure continuation of his plans by succumbing to a sudden, rapid, and unexpected death. To receive a martyr’s reward, he would have to die the death of a martyr.

The President could not order any member of the American government to kill him in public view. To arrange for his own murder, the President needed to contact a small, highly organized group of people that was not afraid of committing a crime. Although his brother, Attorney General Robert Kennedy, was working hard to battle organized crime in the United States, the President had a courier able to bring messages to leaders in organized crime and to carry messages from them to him. Her name was Judith Campbell (later Exner), and she had access to the President as well as to Sam Giancana and Johnny Roselli, two men in powerful positions within organized crime in the United States. Kennedy was confident that the Secret Service would not interfere with his meetings with Campbell. Through her he arranged a hit upon himself, guaranteeing Giancana and Roselli that they would not be caught and prosecuted for his assassination and that government investigations of organized crime would diminish after his death. Of course it was up to them to plan and execute the killing and to hide any evidence of their involvement.

The President was not told where and when his will would be accomplished, beyond that it would happen in the autumn of 1963 in a southern state. With that information, the President authorized a political swing through Florida and Texas, and he persuaded his wife Jacqueline to accompany him, telling her that her presence was needed for political purposes. At the same time, President Kennedy firmly instructed Jacqueline that, if anything fatal should happen to him, at any time and in any place, she should demand that his autopsy take place in Bethesda Naval Hospital, and that no other medical professionals be allowed to examine his body. This way, the President could be sure that his fatal disease remained unknown and that his legacy as a martyred President would be preserved.

Researchers have noted that Giancana and Roselli seemed to have advance knowledge of the President’s death, including the details that he would be shot with a high-powered rifle from an office building and that a communist sympathizer would be arrested and charged with the crime. The Secret Service reportedly received word of a plot against the President in Miami and arranged last-minute changes in his travel plans. In Dallas they were less successful. Given a very small plot, largely conceived by experienced criminal minds, the President’s desire for an elaborate suicide was accomplished on November 22, 1963.

Elements of the crime have been detected by various investigators, but until this time no one has identified the mastermind who began direction of the assassination. Many individuals and groups have been accused, including figures in organized crime, departments of the American government, rogue elements within some of those departments, anti-Castro Cubans, and forces from the Soviet Union, Cuba, China, or Vietnam. The sheer number of suspects, combined with the burden of far too much evidence to study, has kept the secret hidden until now.

And it was no mistake that my home computer broke down on Sunday, just as I was about to reveal this conspiracy to the world. J.