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Who Was Lee Harvey Oswald - by Joan Mellen
#1
Updated 12-16-08
http://www.joanmellen.com/oswald.html
WHO WAS LEE HARVEY OSWALD?
THE WECHT INSTITUTE, DUQUESNE UNIVERSITY, PITTSBURGH, PA.
OCTOBER 5, 2008

By

Joan Mellen

I’ve devoted my writing life since the early 1970’s to the subject of this conference, “Making Sense of the Sixties.” My first book was about the 1962 Algerian war of independence from France. So I am especially grateful for the opportunity to say a few words about where we are in assessing the events of the sixties. For me, we’re far beyond searching for one more “smoking gun.” The Kennedy assassination at this moment in our history is about linking the events of the sixties with the crises facing the Republic today. I’ll begin with an anecdote about the detective story writer Dashiell Hammett, the subject of one of my biographies.


Hammett was editor of the base newspaper in the Aleutian Islands during World War Two. One of his writers, a soldier named Eliot Asinof, later to write a book called “Eight Men Out” about the Chicago Black Sox, wrote an article for the paper exposing the corruption of officers smuggling booze. Expecting Hammett’s approval, Asinof instead received this advice, advice for this field of research no less than for any writer: “Lieutenant, everyone knows ‘what.’ Why don’t you try to find out ‘why.’” That, in my view, is where we go from here.

My particular subject this morning is Lee Harvey Oswald, that figure whose identity seems ever to recede beyond the reach of conventional historical research. The Warren Commission decided, with breathtaking defiance of the reality, that he was a sociopath, a person who “does not appear to have been able to establish meaningful relationships with other people…a man whose view of the world has been twisted…[a] troubled American citizen..[an] unstable character whose actions are highly unpredictable.” Moreover, this man murdered President Kennedy without the assistance of confederates, clearly in contrast to reality.Oswald as we examine his life was, for one thing, never alone.

At the other extreme is the view that Oswald was a “legend” created within U.S. Intelligence, a composite of two people, one born in the USA with that name, and another, of Eastern European origin, trained from an early age as an agent. That there happens to be a CIA CCD (Central Cover Division) fuels this scenario, along with inconsistencies, such as that Oswald boasted two report cards for the fall term of 1954, one from the Bronx, the other from Louisiana.

Drawing on what we know as certain, the Oswald who is recognizable to us was born in New Orleans, and seems rarely to have been deprived of the company of others. Certainly, he was not a loner in Dallas where he was offered the friendship of CIA asset and so-called oil geologist (he had no degree in the subject) George de Mohrenschildt. De Mohrenschildt reported to the Domestic Contact Service (00) in Dallas on Haitian matters, the existing record shows. The quintessential unreliable narrator, a year before his death, de Mohrenschildt targeted Haroldson Lafayette Hunt as the sponsor of the Kennedy assassination. Coincidentally, H. L. Hunt was unique among Texas oil men in being a lifelong antagonist of the CIA, as has been his son, Nelson Bunker Hunt. It was, perhaps, de Mohrenschildt’s final Agency assignment.

Nor was Oswald particularly solitary in New Orleans during the summer of 1963 where his presence was noted at anti-Castro training camps north of Lake Pontchartrain.

Almost from the moment of his arrival in New Orleans from Texas in April 1963, Oswald sought the acquaintance of CIA and FBI assets. He attempted to infiltrate anti-Castro groups. By the time he was arrested on Canal Street in August, he was so well acquainted with the FBI field office that he told the officer interviewing him, Lieutenant Francis Martello of New Orleans police intelligence, “Call the FBI. Tell them you have Lee Oswald in custody.” It was a moment that Martello neglected to describe to the Warren Commission which he held in utter contempt until the end of his life, as former police intelligence officer Robert Buras, working for the House Select Committee, and a long-time Martello acquaintance, told me.

Supporting the conclusion that the CIA was behind the Kennedy assassination is the fact that in New Orleans Oswald associated only with people with intelligence connections, beginning with Arnesto Rodriguez, an FBI informant with family members rooted in the CIA’s clandestine services. Rodriguez was one of FBI Special Agent Warren de Brueys’ informants. One day Oswald appeared at Rodriguez’s office at the International Trade Mart building at 124 Camp Street. He wanted to help the Cubans, Oswald said. He wanted to be part of the training camps. Rodriguez was suspicious. Who had sent Oswald to him? he wondered. How did Oswald know that there was “a training camp across the lake from us, north of Lake Pontchartrain?” It was top secret at the time, yet Oswald knew about it.


Pilot David Ferrie was a CIA asset whom Oswald knew from his youth in the Civil Air Patrol and with whom he renewed his acquaintance that summer. They were joined in their travels by Clay Shaw, a CIA operative whose activities were charted by at least five CIA components. The sources who observed Oswald with Shaw and Ferrie in those hamlets north of Baton Rouge are unimpeachable, and include Dr. Frank Silva, the medical director of the East Louisiana State Hospital at Jackson where Oswald applied for a job.


Dr. Silva himself observed at the hospital, chatting with some orderlies, a sloppy, unruly figure in an T-shirt bragging about how he had learned to shoot in the Marines and planned to go to Cuba to kill Fidel Castro. This man invoked his Marine Corps manual, exactly what Oswald had done when he visited Carlos Bringuier’s New Orleans store in an effort to join the DRE. (Of course, if he really wanted to join the Directorate, he would have been in Miami, and not in New Orleans that summer. Oswald did visit Miami, only for the anti-Castro people training there, as Ed Arthur told me, to be instructed by their CIA handlers to “stay away from him”).


A digression about sources. From about fifty hours of taped interviews, I could not use any of what a New Orleans figure named Gordon Novel told me. With a soldier of fortune named Gerald Patrick Hemming, the percentage of the truth to fabrication was 50-50. Knowing of my interest in Colombia, Gerry told he he had been imprisoned on Gorgona. (This was an island off the western coast of Colombia, named because of the preponderance of poisonous snakes wandering there. I didn’t believe him. This seemed like bragging. No, it turned out to be true. Smuggling drugs and not paying off the right people in Medellin, Gerry found himself on Gorgona.


Gerry told me that Robert Kennedy had addressed a group of Cuban exiles at Homestead Air Force Base in Florida in the summer of 1963. I needed corroborating witnesses; Gerry promised to name some, but couldn’t, and I broke off all contact with him. I forgot about this matter until a researcher named William Pepper told me the same story. His source, Pepper said, was an aging, very ill documentary filmmaker who had been a close friend of Robert Kennedy’s. He had won eight Emmys! Pepper said. And no, he couldn’t give me this dying man’s name.


As a film historian, I could reach any documentary filmmaker, and I called about ten people. None had ever heard the Homestead story. Then I contacted people close to Bobby Kennedy: Peter Edelman; John Seigenthaler; one of Robert Kennedy’s daughters; Ed. Guthman; Frank Mankiewicz; George Stevens; and Joey Gargan, a Kennedy cousin; the list goes on. None had ever heard of the Homestead story. Seigenthaler suggested I call the Kennedy library and ask to see the appointment book of Bobby’s secretary, Angie Novello. I did. They searched. 1963 was missing!


I went back to Pepper and insisted that he name his source – and it turned out that the source was…Gerald Patrick Hemming! In the course of the same conversation, Pepper told me that Bobby had flown to Dallas on the evening Oswald was arrested, and talked to Oswald in his cell! But I must not use this revelation! So historians must be wary, especially in this field.


Back to Oswald in Louisiana: Under heavy discipline, Oswald was following orders: hence, his not knowing that the East Louisiana State Hospital happened to be a MENTAL hospital. Dr. Silva spoiled the CIA’s scenario by determining that there was no way that this man would ever be employed at his hospital.
Among the most telling details about Oswald emerged in the testimony of William Wulff, who had been head of the Astronomy Club of New Orleans. One day Oswald showed up, wanting to be a member, although it was clear he had no interest in astronomy. Wulff asked him why he wanted to join the Astronomy Club.


“I like to infiltrate,” Oswald the teenager said, even then a person who preferred the company of others to being alone. At the same time, he cultivated invisibility, as if he were transparent. Infiltrating, he could follow the path laid out by that favorite of his fictional characters, FBI informant Herbert Philbrick, hero of “I Led Three Lives.” A caveat: it was Oswald’s brother Robert alone who gave out that Lee watched obsessively “I Led Three Lives,” while, as John Armstrong points in his book, “Harvey & Lee,” Robert is less than credible.


In his book “Lee,” Robert Oswald wrote that when he left home to join the Marines, Lee was still watching the reruns of “I Led Three Lives.” In fact, Robert joined the Marines on July 15, 1952, and the re-runs were not aired until after the series ended, in mid-1956. Oswald may have watched “I Led Three Lives,” but it wasn’t as his brother said. The program was first aired in September 1953.


The mainstream press persists in describing Oswald as a “Marxist” or a “Communist,” the diametrical opposite of what he was. Didn’t he express sympathy for the Soviet Union on New Orleans radio that August of 1963? Didn’t he pass out pro-Castro leaflets on behalf of the Fair Play For Cuba committee, a group created by the Socialist Workers Party?
And hadn’t he, as a Marxist, defected to the Soviet Union? Being a Marxist or a Communist was his cover, one that he cast off with regularity, as if it were all a game, a charade, like his defection itself.


Let’s turn for a moment to why CIA Counter Intelligence Chief James Jesus Angleton was so anxious to discount the testimony of Soviet defector, the late, ill-fated Yuri Nosenko. Having read KGB’s files on Oswald, Mr. Nosenko reported that the KGB had never used Oswald; and that, by the way, the Soviet Union did not sponsor the Kennedy assassination. Yet a caveat is in order here too since in 1964 Nosenko said there was only one thin file. By 1977, when Nosenko talked to the HSCA, the file had grown to “eight bulky volumes.”
Oswald’s appearance in the Soviet Union was as a participant in the Agency’s “false defector” program, in which he was joined by several other young men, whose files can be found at the National Archives. There is no document that names a “false defector program,” but that does not mean such a program did not exist, and there are copious files about various of the participants. James Angleton ran that program. By putting the lie to the possibility that the Soviet Union had sponsored the assassination, Nosenko’s statements implicitly threatened to expose for whom Oswald was acting. Nosenko’s life became a living hell after that.


There are reasons for challenging Nosenko’s credibility that we needn’t get into here. That Nosenko settled on the “lone nut” theory of the assassination is odd. To quote Lee Oswald’s mentor, David Ferrie, “people are no damn good,” and the “true” motives of defectors are too opaque to penetrate. That he suffered does not elevate Nosenko to credibility. That Nosenko failed two polygraphs gives one pause. (These polygraphs stood up when re-examined by HSCA experts, agreeing on the areas of deception).


Yet evidence suggests that Oswald was indeed in the Soviet Union on behalf of the CIA. I received a telephone call last November from one Donald Deneselya, who had worked for the CIA as a Russian language translator in the Soviet Russia section at the time of Oswald’s return to the United States from the Soviet Union.


As we know, the CIA, from John McCone on down, denied that CIA had ever debriefed Oswald upon his return. Had Oswald been debriefed by the Agency, we would have had further confirmation that he was, indeed, as were a whole list of people, a participant in the “secret defector” program run by CIA counter intelligence. CIA’s debriefing Oswald in itself did not mean that he was theirs. But the curious nature of his defection, with all its contradictions, combined with this debriefing, at least points to the existence of Angleton’s program.


I was not the first person to whom Mr. Deneselya revealed his proof that Oswald had been debriefed by the CIA. Deneselya had come forward first to Senator Richard Schweiker (they met together twice), to the House Select Committee, and later to the television program “Frontline.” What Mr. Deneselya did for me was to provide more details of what he had seen.


What Mr. Deneselya witnessed was a document detailing how a man, a defector, (his name was not mentioned), but who had been working at a radio factory in Minsk, had,upon his return to the United States, been debriefed by one “Anderson,” a CIA employee with an 00 designation. Deneselya did not remember the given name of Anderson, which has created a certain amount of confusion.


A Commander Anderson indeed was “seconded” to the CIA NYC field office by the Office of Naval Intelligence. The Commander Anderson of the United States Navy who was assigned to CIA’s covert office in New York was the original contact for Alexander Rorke, who accompanied Geoffrey Sullivan, the pilot who flew in and out of Cuba for the CIA along with Frank Fiorini (Frank Sturgis). Commander Anderson’s name appears in a CIA document dated June 28, 1962, to the Director of Central Intelligence from John Edgar Hoover, Director of the FBI, in connection with Rorke and Fiorini. (Commander Anderson knew his CIA commanding officer at Headquarters as “Norman Kiggins”). Commander Anderson was assigned to Cuban matters, and would not have been a person to debrief Oswald for the Soviet Russia Division. Shortly he would be serving the Agency at JMWAVE where the matters at hand were, indeed, strictly Cuban.


“Commander Anderson,” was not the person who debriefed Oswald. Nor was the debriefer one “ANDY Anderson,” as Donald Deneselya assumed after conversations with author John Newman. There was yet another “Anderson,” operating out of the Soviet Russia 6 Division, who was responsible for debriefings. “Anderson” was a pseudonym used by a woman named Eleanor Reed, a deputy chief of the Section 6 Soviet Russia research branch who was near the age of retirement. (Reed joined SR6 in 1956 and transferred out in 1964; she retired in 1970). “Anderson” turns out to have been a woman!


What was SR6? Thomas Casasin became Chief of the Soviet Russia, SR6 Branch in 1960. Casasin told the HSCA in an interview conducted on August 17, 1978, that “the function of Section 6 was operations in support of the Soviet Russia Division of the CIA,” including “classical espionage work.”


The “Anderson” who debriefed Oswald was, strictly speaking not working directly for Robert T. Crowley, who headed up the CIA Contact Division, Support Branch, the primary function of which was Counter Intelligence. But she may have acted on his behalf in the debriefing. I recount this information in my new little book, the prequel to “A Farewell To Justice,” which I called “Jim Garrison: His Life and Times.” (Published by JFK Lancer).


Who ordered Eleanor Reed to debrief Oswald has emerged in a piece of investigative work worthy of Sherlock Holmes himself. A CIA document, number 287-690, Memo for Record, 3 December 1963, by Birch D. O’Neal, Chief, CI/SIG, Subject: Lee Harvey Oswald, deals with Mexico City and Gilberto Alvarado Ugarte. Urgarte had walked into the U.S. Embassy on November 25, 1963 and said he had witnessed Oswald at the Cuban Embassy on September 18th accepting $5,000 from a “red-haired Negro” to kill President Kennedy. Alvarado later failed a CIA polygraph and retracted the whole story.
This document was perused by historian, John Newman. Newman looked at a signature on the upper right hand corner, a signature that apparently had leaked off or burned off from another document, because it’s in reverse, as if it were viewed through a mirror. Newman concluded that the signature belonged to “Andy Anderson” because “00 Oswald” was written beneath it. The 00 Oswald were clear, but the signature was not that of Andy Anderson!


This signature, revealing who ordered the debriefing of Oswald, in fact belongs to one E.M. Ashcraft, Chief of the Contact Division. He and Robert Crowley, OSB/CI, Operational Support Branch, Counter Intelligence, were on the same level. Eleanor Reed’s overall boss would have been David Murphy, Chief of the Soviet Russia Division. Robert Crowley may have just about left 00/OSB (Operational Support Branch) where he was replaced by George S. Musulin by the time Oswald returned from the Soviet Union in June of 1962.


This is how it might have worked. Ashcraft would have called Thomas Casasin or Richard L. Winch or Donald E. Poole at SR6. This person in turn would have talked to Rudy Balaban (SR6 Research). Balaban, code name “Valentino,” would have consulted with Reed, who then called OS, the Office of Security, requesting permission to debrief Oswald. OS would pass the request on to Personnel Security Division, who would give a green light or a red light. On occasion Balaban and Reed would do debriefings together.


In the meantime, OS would liaise with CIA/SIG (Special Investigations Group), probably Anne (CIA nickname “Betty”) Egerter, then with the Counterintelligence Staff or with Paul Hartmann, who was Birch O’Neal’s “gofer.” The Special Investigations Group was a secret, small elite unit consisting of eight of James Angleton’s most trusted and closed-mouthed people. Among them in addition to Egerter were Newton (Scotty) Miler, Birch O’Neal, and others. SIG’s original brief was to investigate possibilities that CIA might have been penetrated by KGB. Soon after the inception of Counterintelligence, James Angleton expanded and established such components as R & A (Research and Analysis), Ops, and others. Each of the branch chiefs and deputies reported directly to Angleton. The Special Investigations Group was a closed book and most Agency people were denied access to it.


Further corroboration that the CIA Soviet Russia Division, Soviet Realities, SR6, in the person of Eleanor Reed, debriefed false defectors is contained in a document that I have just discovered that that CIA released “as sanitized” in 1998. The document resides in Robert Webster’s file, is dated 17 August 1962, and is telling for several reasons; the cases of Oswald and Webster are so similar that we can await, with reasonable expectation, that a parallel document of Oswald’s debriefing by Reed (with, perhaps, her frequent debriefing partner, Rudy (“Valentino”) Balaban, may well surface. This document demonstrates beyond doubt that Reed (“Anderson”) was an SR6 debriefer. I copy it here in full:


TO: Eleanor Reed
FROM: [03] IR/CR
SUBJECT: Appraisal of Interrogation


1. The eagerness of the subject to help and his repeated expressions of regret for having neglected opportunities for more detailed observations left me with mixed reactions. In my opinion this attitude detracted from his otherwise seemingly genuine manner and at least for me it “watered down” his attempt to generate a repentant impression.


2. The subject readily answered questions and was extremely friendly during both periods of interrogation. Plottings and data, however, by the subject on a blank town plan left him for homework later proved disoriented. [sic]. The subject discovered his error during our second meeting and volunteered corrections.


3. As far as substantive intelligence gained is concerned, the interrogation provided data on a plant previously described as possibly in the electronics business as a probable radar storage and repair area. A hitherto unknown naval installation was also identified and located in an area other than the one previously assumed.

4. It can be said that if the subject’s bona fides are definitely established, positive intelligence gathered from him is of real value.
[03]

GROUP 1
Excluded from automatic downgrading and declassification.

Sometimes Soviet Russia Counter Intelligence was called in at the briefings. So the mystery of Oswald in the Soviet Union unravels. The above trajectory offers further evidence that Oswald was a creature of the CIA, worked for the CIA, and, quite understandably, was debriefed by them upon his return.
Additional evidence that CIA debriefed Oswald after his return from the Soviet Union resides in the unredacted version CIA document 435-173A, dated 25 November 1963, by the same Thomas B. Casasin.


This document is familiar because we have long had a redacted version of Casasin’s 25 November 1963 memo to Walter P. Haltigan, whom Casasin subsequently revealed to be one “Jim Flint.” Flint was part of SR9, the operations part of the Soviet Division and was Casasin’s “normal contact” in Paris where Casasin arrived in September 1962.


In this memo, Casasin writes that “Oswald’s unusual behavior in the USSR” made him look “odd,” leading Casasin not to use him in operations in the REDWOOD target area. REDWOOD was an action indicator for the SE Division. (SED was a CIA geographic designator for the Soviet Union and the Soviet Bloc countries of Eastern Europe). It seems now a case of one hand not knowing what the other was doing, a not infrequent CIA situation.


In that unredacted version of Thomas B. Casasin’s memo to Walter P. Haltigan, Casasin writes: “as chief of the 6 Branch I had discussed – sometime in Summer 1960 (he later corrected that date to “1962”) with the then Chief and Deputy Chief of the 6 Research Section the laying on of interview(s) [with Oswald] through KUJUMP [the operations division] or other suitable channels.” KUJUMP had a contacts division for debriefing persons. KUJUMP was synonymous with 00 (Contacts Division).


Casasin closes his addendum to the memo with this line, indicating that was not aware of Angleton’s program: “It was partly out of curiosity to learn if Oswald’s wife would actually accompany him to our country, partly out of interest in Oswald’s own experiences in the USSR, that we showed operational intelligence interest in the Harvey story.” Casasin was looking for links between Soviet women marrying foreigners and the KGB. Casasin also refers in his 25 November 1963 memo to a program called AEOCEAN 3, then run out of SR10, and referring to Oswald in particular: this was the legal travelers program, i. e. the intelligence use of legal travelers to the Soviet Union. It seems apparent that Casasin, a pseudonym, was not in the loop, and is struggling to make sense of Oswald and his defection.


In his HSCA interview, while speculating, without any real evidence, that Oswald might have been a “lay-low Soviet operative,” Casasin fills in some gaps in our knowledge about what Oswald was doing in the Soviet Union. He reveals that “there were some type of special design plants in Minsk which were of interest to the CIA.” Casasin adds that CIA “had some type of encyclopedic information at the agency on the radio factory in Minsk where Oswald worked.” He is talking about a component of CIA called the “Industrial Registry.” Casasin was instructed by CIA not to reveal to HSCA information about a tourist guide he ran in the Soviet Union under a program called REDSKIN, and who, like Oswald, married a Soviet woman.


In passing, let us note that the Warren Commission never contacted Casasin about his Oswald memo.


Casasin’s HSCA interview, released in 2000, reminds us of how heavily compartmentalized, how much on a need to know basis, counterintelligence operated: Casasin told the HSCA that “he does not recall any discussions concerning the possible use of American defectors to penetrate the Soviets.” Casasin does admit: “Counterintelligence did have their own closely held operations…and “it was possible or even probable that Counterintelligence ran operations in his own geographical target.”


Back to Donald Deneselya, who worked at a far lower rung of the Soviet Russia Division than Casasin, not to mention Crowley and Ashcraft. When Deneselya asked his Agency confreres about the document, he was told that the subject was Robert Webster, although Webster was located not in Minsk, but at a plant in Leningrad, and there was a parallel document mentioning Webster by name.
Mr. Deneselya was convincing. Among the details he added was that some time after he witnessed the Oswald debriefing document, he asked James Angleton where he might find a copy so that he could peruse it again.


“You’ll never find that document,” Angleton said. The bad faith of the House Select Committee is reflected in the “Outside Contact Report,” dated September 26, 1978, in which the Oswald revelation is barely mentioned, and Deneselya’s information is almost completely confined to his work with a KGB defector named Golitsin. Ken Klein should have been excited by the appearance of proof that Oswald had been debriefed by the CIA. Instead, in his report he affects disinterest. You can see him yawning ostentatiously over what should have been an astonishing revelation. Klein behaves no differently than the specious “Frontline” program which allows Deneselya a few words, then rapidly brings on Richard Helms and Robert Oswald, the brother whose bona fides I have already called into question, to discount the information that Oswald had been debriefed by CIA.


I’ve always believed that many documents have been destroyed and been wary of the notion that somehow once ALL the files were opened, we would gain the truth. I know of mounds of materials that were removed from libraries by “men in suits,” never to be seen again, despite FOIA requests. (In one case the men lied outright and said that they had been sent by the University where the papers had been willed: they hadn’t been).


So I doubt whether the debriefing report witnessed by Mr. Deneselya, will emerge. Yet it is also true that new information is always appearing: for example, I was telephoned after the publication of “A Farewell to Justice” by a witness who observed the Gurvich brothers in New Orleans at Saturn Aviation, a company run by one Al Crouch, and for whom David Ferrie flew. The Gurviches took away with them, never to be seen again, the flight record showing Ferrie’s movements. These included a flight Ferrie made to Dallas the week of the assassination.


After the assassination, knowing how sensitive they were, Crouch had put Ferrie’s log books in a floor safe, and they survived even a break-in.
Crouch was threatened, getting an anonymous phone call, saying, “Do you have a little girl about three years old who rides a tricycle?” Then he turned the log books over to the brothers Gurvich, one of whom, William Gurvich, had ingratiated himself into the Garrison investigation. Gurvich claimed he would deliver these records to Jim Garrison. Of course, Garrison never saw Ferrie’s log books.


Another lead that has emerged, this time from a newly released document, has a figure named Hugh Williams, released from the East Louisiana State Hospital on one of many writs of habeas corpus, meeting Oswald and Ferrie. On one occasion they went into the Gulf on a boat for target practice with World War II M-1 rifles. They talked about going to Cuba and assassinating Fidel Castro. This information matches Oswald’s rant at the hospital, overheard by Dr. Frank Silva.
Donald Deneselya’s having witnessed a document describing CIA debriefing of Oswald alone places Oswald as a participant in U.S. intelligence. That Oswald was a CIA asset, is this news? At a meeting of the National Board of the Communist Party, USA, held on December 4, 1963, the party’s National Secretary,” Benjamin J. Davis, rejecting the idea that Oswald was one of their own, commented, “Oswald was with the Central Intelligence Agency.” (This comes from a 12/11/63 FBI confidential document).


What else? I was fortunate enough to have been given by police lieutenant Francis Martello’s son a copy of the original note that Oswald handed to him. It is not what the Warren Commission saw. Oswald uses the term “AMEP” at one point, which refers to American Express. Apparently, Oswald was communicating from Russia back to the CIA through a CIA asset at American express named Michael Jelisavcic, who ran the American Express office in Moscow. The Oswald document contains the words Amer Ep (American Express) and the word “pouch.”


Now let us turn to an FBI document, dated 12/17/68, to Director, from SAC, New York, dealing with the investigation of Michael Jelisavcic, (spelling as it appears on CIA 104-10006-10130, NAME TRACE, JELISAVCIC, M.) and placed in an Oswald 105 file, indicating a relationship between Oswald and Jelisavcic. The document relates to the Bureau’s attempting to, quote, “resolve all facts concerning possible compromise of Jelisavcic by Soviet intelligence during his employment within the USSR.” The Bureau knew that Oswald possessed Jelisavcic’s name and room number, and were doing the usual damage control.
What is interesting, and encourages us to look at every document released that we can, is a number written on the right side of the document: 65-69127-13. Whether it belonged to Jelisavcic or to American Express, it suggests Oswald’s contact with Jelisavcic or with American Express or with both. Perhaps American Express was the conduit for funding, for Oswald’s orders, or simply provided the “pouch” for intelligence information from Oswald going back to Headquarters. What we know, as that consummate researcher on these subjects Malcolm Blunt explained to me, is that “65 serial is FBI filing system-speak for espionage. The number running along the margin refers to an “Espionage File.”
So now we can connect the following elements: the words American Express, and pouch on Oswald’s handwritten note, along with the American Express Co. representative in Moscow possessing an espionage number. But to recognize the value of the document, and its explosive quality, you have to know that the 65- designation points to an espionage number. (Apparently Western Union performed a similar function for the CIA within the United States.


There is also a CIA document, undated, with a single handwritten line: “See AmEmb Phone book trace on Michael Jelisavcic, AmExCo head in Moscow.” It’s titled “FILE NOTE RE TRACE ON MICHAEL JELISAVCIC.” Traces and how they are run are at the core of the CIA indexing and filing system; from traces, all identifiable information on an individual could be gleaned.


So we have two documentary pieces of evidence pointing to Oswald as a tool of the CIA placed in Moscow. This evidence matches the fact that the opening document in Oswald’s 201 file reflected Oswald as still being in the Marine Corps as of December 1960, even after his defection to the Soviet Union, suggesting that his “defection” did not bother them. The CIA index card indicated that “as of 1960” he was still in the Marines.


In the spring of 1960, Oswald’s name appears on a CIA mail opening list, meaning he was one of the two hundred most important people to them. CIA had yet to open a 201 file on him, although he did have a file and an AIN (Agency Identification Number), courtesy of the OS (Office of Security). Other evidence that CIA was monitoring Oswald closely includes an Oswald May 31st, 1960 cover sheet signed off on by a Jerry Prehn at Soviet Russia 9, which was the Operations component of the Soviet Russia Division. There were only six to eight people in this office and they kept their activities very close.


We also have the strange incident of Oswald’s name appearing on a list of people whom State Department security was asked to investigate: He appears as “Lee Oswald, tourist.” The responsibility for this investigation fell to one Otto Otepka, and what I wrote about Otepka and Oswald can be found on my website and on Rex Bradford’s Mary Ferrell website. Suffice it to say that the document naming Oswald, along with all the documents Mr. Otepka had collected, and including the results of Mr. Otepka’s investigation, were stolen from his private safe.


What makes this story so beguiling is that the likely suspect for the robbery of his safe and the demotion of Mr. Otepka from his position of responsibility in State Department security is Robert Kennedy himself, on whose behalf Walter Sheridan was acting in the Otepka matter.


I won’t go into Robert Kennedy’s fingerprints in the Oswald story, but I would like to reiterate; I have no reason to doubt the anti-Castro activist Angelo Murgado (Kennedy) in his statement to me that Robert Kennedy was aware of Oswald during the summer of 1963, found out that he was an FBI informant, and concluded that, if the FBI was controlling him, Oswald was no one to worry about. As John Volz, former US attorney in New Orleans, speaking about a witness named Vernon Bundy, said to me, “I know when someone is shucking me!”


A strange reference in one of investigator Anne Dischler’s notebooks dated 3/13/67, from a page I did not review for “A Farewell To Justice,” refers to a Billie White answering service in Lafayette, Louisiana, which received a telephone call from an aide to Bobby Kennedy, suggesting, perhaps, Bobby Kennedy’s interest in the Garrison investigation. This lead cries out to be followed up.


Nor is there any evidence to contradict Mr. Murgado’s very reluctant testimony that he was present with Oswald and Bernardo de Torres at the home of Sylvia Odio in late September 1963. Mr. Murgado and Mr. de Torres were both people with heavy government connections: there is even a document from J. Edgar Hoover telling his people no longer to use Mr. de Torres because of the nature of his CIA relationships. In the murky waters of U.S. intelligence during those years, Oswald swam with approved government contacts. Once more he was in the company of others, and intelligence operatives at that.


Others have studied CIA’s awareness of Oswald prior to the assassination, information disseminated to the FBI by Pete Bagley regarding Oswald’s movements in September 1963. (See the FBI document to: Mr. W.C. Sullivan, from: Mr. D.J. Brennan, 105-82555-183. The date of the document is 11/23/63).
When we return to Oswald’s activities in New Orleans, we find the Church committee investigating an Oswald arrest on April 10, 1963 reported by Customs Officers. This was the same day that Oswald supposedly or did shoot at General Walker….the Immigration and Naturalization Service wanted to know as well whether they were any other arrest records in New Orleans on Oswald. The Church committee investigator, Paul Wallach, was told to contact the Intelligence Unit of the New Orleans police.


Wallach discovered an apparent August 9, 1963 arrest of Oswald. We don’t have the records which include a memorandum by one Lt. August Lang, and an August 12, 1963 “Inter-office memo” to a Major Prossens. I outline Oswald’s shared connections to U.S. Customs, connections enjoyed by other CIA assets like Cesario Diosdado in Key West in “A Farewell To Justice.”


Just as I was perplexed about the research community’s silence about the Odio visit, I was equally bewildered when historians of the Kennedy assassination did not seize upon that material about Oswald and customs, attempt to investigate it further, or simply add it to what we know about Oswald. Oswald was close to customs officers in New Orleans: he was not invisible. Just as he was seen up in Clinton and Jackson with David Ferrie and Clay Shaw, just as he spouted off about killing Fidel Castro at the East Louisiana State Hospital at Jackson, so too in New Orleans customs officials knew him. He was seen by someone with some acquaintance with intelligence himself, Warren de Brueys’ informant, Orestes Pena.


Was Customs involved in the Louisiana events surrounding Oswald and the assassination? We see a rare mention of Customs in connection with the July 31, 1963 raid on the McLaney house in Lacombe, Louisiana, reported in August by Warren De Brueys, who sent copies of his report to US Customs, both in New Orleans and in Miami. Customs was called in to seize the explosives obtained.
Many witnesses came forward to reveal that Oswald knew Ruby, and Shaw and David Ferrie. One, revealed in an August 1977 Dallas Police Department Intelligence Division document, was one “Max Long” a former boxer, who operated a motel-bar in New Orleans. A document reports Long to have had in his possession a photograph of Ruby and Oswald together. Dick Russell, who, in his biography of Richard Case Nagell, has accomplished very significant work in uncovering the CIA’s and other agencies’ involvement in the Kennedy assassination, reports in his revised edition to “The Man Who Knew Too Much” how the 112th Military Intelligence Group files showed Oswald under surveillance by CIA’s Richard Case Nagell in the fall of 1962.

A man named Jim Southwood corroborated that Oswald had been an intelligence operative. The custodian of the file room assigned to the 502nd Military Intelligence Battalion, near Seoul, South Korea reported that the 112th requested files on Oswald and Nagell both. My favorite line about military intelligence comes from Gerald Patrick Hemming, previously mentioned. Asked what role military intelligence played in the assassination of President Kennedy, Gerry said, “what did they ever do except sit around all day sucking on jelly donuts?”


When we look at all the established evidence, Oswald and Customs officials in New Orleans; Oswald as an intimate of the chief suspect in the murder of Mary Sherman, a man who called himself Juan Valdes, and who worked at the Customs House; Oswald in Clinton and Jackson with David Ferrie and Clay Shaw; we realize that there has been to date virtually no credible official investigation of Oswald.


To students, I would ask that you educate yourselves in the history of the socialist and Communist movement, the better for you to perceive why Lee Harvey Oswald could not have been a Marxist, and in his actions bore no relationship to any member of any socialist movement, Stalinist or anti-Stalinist, (Trotskyist). That photograph where Oswald holds both “The Worker” (the Communist Party newspaper) and “The Militant,” the paper of the Trotskyist Socialist Workers Party, reveals a mischievous Oswald signaling to those in the know that he did not subscribe to the views of either, since in those times you had to be one or the other. Stalinists and Trotskyists were blood enemies, as witness, of course, the Stalin-sponsored murder of Leon Trotsky in Mexico as well as Stalin’s betrayal of the Loyalists in Spain.


Oswald in New Orleans sometimes let the façade drop, as in his assertions that he planned to kill Fidel Castro, and in that fact that he made no contact with any known socialist or Marxist. This at once signaled to the Tulane student left, as several student radicals of the day told me, that he was a fraud. I interviewed Hugh Murray, several times, and Bob Heller. They had been arrested for attempting to integrate Woolworth’s and other places in New Orleans. At Tulane, they found Oswald’s “Fair Play For Cuba” leaflet. At once they knew that Oswald was no leftist.


What leftist made no contact with other leftists? Oswald ignored the Southern Conference Education Fund, led by James Dombrowski (discussed in “Jim Garrison, His Life and Times”), CORE, and even the pale Council on Peaceful Alternatives. What leftist hired people to hand out leaflets with them, as Oswald did? The answer, as CORE activist Bob Heller put it to me, was “none in history.”


Tulane graduate student Hugh Murray and his roommate Oliver St. Pe looked at the leaflet that had been stuck onto their friend Harold Alderman’s door. They considered, fleetingly, replying to the Post Office Box of “Hidell.” Then, Murray told me, they decided it must be some kind of trap and steered clear. (The Tulane student radicals drew this conclusion without knowing that Oswald and his leaflets were perched on the second floor of the detective agency of Guy Banister, former FBI Special Agent in Charge in Chicago, a virulent anti-Communist and CIA bagman to anti-Castro training camps. As I’m sure everyone here knows, one leaflet bore the address “544 Camp Street,” the side entrance of Banister’s office, until Banister saw it. After that there were no more “544 Camp Street” leaflets.


Oswald, arrested in Dallas, and asking, famously to be represented by a Communist Party lawyer named John Abt was Oswald signaling to his handlers that he intended to maintain his cover, that he would not tell the truth. It didn’t, of course, do him any good. Oswald was murdered on assignment by his old acquaintance Jack Ruby anyway.


Meanwhile, since “A Farewell To Justice” was published, I have received confirmations of the CIA connections of Oswald-connected figures like Fred Lee Crisman, the handler of Oswald’s acquaintance Thomas Edward Beckham, and Jack Martin, whose name, CIA admits (see the Appendix to “Jim Garrison, His Life and Times”) was a “generic.” A fragmentary report of Crisman as what is termed an “Internal Security Section” agent emerged from a FOIA inquiry I initiated. The document, dated September 13, 1969, its attachment missing, refers to Crisman as a 4250 agent.


Its author is a CIA agent himself, who takes the risk and exposes Crisman’s CIA connection, because Crisman’s behavior as what he calls a “disruption agent” appalls him. The author finds people like Crisman “dangerous to the democratic way of life and they should be halted. These men bear no love for the USA,” he writes. “They serve the CIA, and, what is more, they serve only a part of the CIA, for they would kill a fellow agent as fast as they would arrange your death….” The author, whose name is redacted, was angry enough to provide information to an outsider.


This document is what CIA would call a “trace.” It reveals that not everyone connected with the Agency was nefarious and evil. The author of this document exposes Crisman because he “is a man that is dangerous to the future of America.” Hunter Leake was second in command at the New Orleans CIA field office in 1963. His son Robert has talked about how his father told him he knew Oswald in New Orleans well.


There is further confirmation of Ruby and Oswald knowing each other in a piece of paper found by a woman in Martinsburg, Pa. with both Ruby and Oswald mentioned on it. The FBI was called. When the woman offered to take a lie detector test, the FBI refused to give it to her.


The woman was foraging in the trash can she shared with her neighbors, a Cuban family, because she was searching for evidence of her husband’s infidelity. The father of that family was named Julio Cesar Fernandez. She picked up the paper because she saw the name “Ruby” and thought she had caught her husband out! The word “Silver Slipper” was on the paper as well. Ultimately Gaeton Fonzi interviewed Fernandez, but the story petered out. As we know, Ruby owned the Silver Slipper lounge in Clinton, Louisiana. You can talk to Professor Gary Schoener up in Minnesota about this lead.


Today the Oswald story is relevant because it connects directly to the erosion of an independent press, and to its acquiescence in the government’s abrupt weakening of the rule of law. Once the CIA was able to get away with the murder of President Kennedy, it was a short step to the torture performed in Vietnam and then at Bagram and Abu Ghraib by CIA operatives; the official sanctioning of torture; and the casual dismissal of the principle of habeas corpus. Barack Obama has promised to support “open government.” If he fulfills that promise by, for example, opening the Church committee testimonies of the New Orleans customs officers and their relationship with Lee Harvey Oswald, he will win over many of us skeptics.


Much of what I have recounted about Oswald is familiar material to many members of this audience. I have been disappointed that few have been willing to draw the apparent, obvious and necessary conclusion about who sponsored the assassination of President Kennedy, a conclusion that emerges inescapably from what we know about Oswald. The place we go from here, the topic of this afternoon’s panel discussion, is, in my opinion, not to plead with government agencies, from inside courthouses or outside, to help us locate more minutiae. We know enough.


Rather, it’s long overdue for this research community to confront not just the fact, but the meaning of who planned this assassination, and why. The Agency that sponsored the assassination of President Kennedy has revealed itself in multiple ways, not least in exposing how it used Lee Oswald as its scapegoat and, indeed, as its “patsy.” It seems past the hour for coyness in naming that sponsor, and time to consider the political consequences of a government agency’s having murdered a President. I think it’s time to draw a line from the Kennedy assassination to the present historical moment where we have been faced with a systematic undermining of the US Constitution and an agenda demanding permanent war, a policy from which neither presidential candidate has dissociated himself.

If you grant that Lee Oswald was a creature of the CIA, and that the Agency’s fingerprints are everywhere in this case, what do you plan to say about these facts in your books and articles and speeches? How do you connect these details with the current plight of the Republic, and what can we do about it?

Copyright Joan Mellen 2008 All Rights Reserved
"Let me issue and control a nation's money and I care not who writes the laws. - Mayer Rothschild
"Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience! People are obedient in the face of poverty, starvation, stupidity, war, and cruelty. Our problem is that grand thieves are running the country. That's our problem!" - Howard Zinn
"If there is no struggle there is no progress. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and never will" - Frederick Douglass
Reply
#2
Great piece, Joan. Thanks Peter for posting it. I had seen it before, I think on the site Cyril and Ben Wecht put up after their conference. Alwasy a good one to re-read. The LHO road is one of the most fascinating and complicated. Also one so filled with disinformation by those who would have us believe that LHO killed JFK, or, cover story two, that Castro did, or the mob. Joan has clearly shown us that Garrison was right from the start. I am grateful that she picked up the trail where he left off.

Dawn
Reply
#3
It happened going on forty-four years ago, and yet the murder of President Kennedy remains simultaneously a subject of fascination and yet is still taboo within mainstream discourse. You will not find a free exchange of views on the Kennedy assassination in the “New York Times” nor, to date, an acknowledgement of the unanswered questions arising from 9/11. This past November, I spoke at a Jewish Senior Center on the Upper West Side [in New York] where the director, Sara Tornay, remarked that the “Times” had listed the lecture the week before mine, and the lecture the week after. My talk on the Kennedy assassination had slipped down the memory hole. How come? she wondered.

So I’m grateful to the 92nd Street Y for the liberalism of outlook and independence of mind that made this evening possible. The Kennedy assassination will not go away, and I’ll try to explain why, heartened as I am by the fact that the former governor of Minnesota, Arne Carlson, gave a speech in November entitled “The JFK Assassination: Its Impact on America’s History.” That’s my subject as well: How the Kennedy assassination illuminates the present political moment.

The Kennedy assassination is present even in its absence in the recent film, “The Good Shepherd,” a movie about the CIA. Its central character, played by Matt Damon, is based largely on the late head of CIA Counter Intelligence, James Jesus Angleton. The distortions of “The Good Shepherd” return us to the meaning of the Kennedy assassination. James Angleton in real life was the mastermind not, as the film suggests, of the Bay of Pigs (that was Richard Bissell), but of a false defector program that sent spies into the Soviet Union. Among them was one Lee Harvey Oswald. I am basing this talk either on interviews I conducted for “A Farewell to Justice,” or on new interviews I’ve done since its publication a year or so ago. I am referring as well to some of the more than four million documents released under the JFK Records Collection Act and now residing in Maryland at the National Archives.

It was actually an FBI document that demonstrates that Oswald, indeed one of Angleton’s assets in the Soviet Union, communicated back to the CIA through a CIA asset at American Express named Michael Jelisavcic. One of my discoveries for “A Farewell to Justice” was the original of a note that Oswald, arrested in New Orleans for a street fight, handed to the police lieutenant who was questioning him, Francis Martello. On the margin of that piece of paper was Michael Jelisavcic’s espionage number, inadvertently unredacted when CIA declassified the document.

This number clearly directs CIA to an espionage file. Oswald also had Jelisavcic’s name and room number in his possession. Angleton’s false defector program, not mentioned in “The Good Shepherd,” remains among CIA’s most closely guarded secrets, a secret necessary to preserve the fiction of the Warren Report.

The figure of Lee Harvey Oswald, and his peculiar biography as a low-level intelligence agent, continues to haunt those whose paths he crossed. After “A Farewell to Justice” was published, this was last April, I drove down Alligator Highway in Central Florida to interview a very interesting nonagenarian named Otto Otepka. Mr. Otepka was high up in State Department security under the Eisenhower administration and into the 1960s. Routinely, he came upon the names of people who had defected, and whom it was his job to investigate for security purposes.

Highly commended for his diligence, Mr. Otepka displayed to me, proudly, a wall filled with a display of framed commendations, including one signed by Secretary of State John Foster Dulles on behalf of President Eisenhower. (Certainly in these times President Eisenhower seems to be a bonafide liberal, not only for his prescient remark about the military industrial complex, but for another of his observations, that most of America has accepted the idea of the New Deal, but for a few oil millionaires in Texas).

Otepka saw at once that there was something unusual about Lee Oswald, “tourist.” As he placed this list of defectors into his security safe, Mr. Otepka planned to request that the CIA look into this individual, “Oswald.” A nighttime burglary, obviously an inside job, resulted in this file vanishing. Soon Otto Otepka was demoted to an inconsequential post, writing summaries of documents. Oswald’s “defection” was not to be scrutinized. Later I’ll explain whom Mr. Otepka believes was responsible for the burglary and the destruction of his career.

This all took place in the early sixties. In the year 2006, “The Good Shepherd” still could not mention Angleton’s false defector program which would have driven the film to the door of the Kennedy assassination. Instead the film conveniently closes in 1961 at the time of the Bay of Pigs.

That Oswald was an employee of the CIA I demonstrate in my book, a fact recently re-confirmed by a historian named Michael Kurtz. Professor Kurtz reports on an interview he did in 1981 with Hunter Leake, second in command at the New Orleans field office. Leake admitted that CIA used Oswald as a courier and that Oswald came to New Orleans in April 1963 because the CIA office there intended to use him for certain operations. Leake either was disaffected from the Agency, or, perhaps, was just an honest man. He admitted that he personally paid Oswald various sums of cash for his services. Oswald was on the CIA payroll, Leake knew. He himself paid Oswald’s CIA salary.

Leake also explained in this telephone interview with Professor Kurtz why there was no documentation on Oswald’s employment with CIA in New Orleans. After President Kennedy’s assassination, he drove the files personally to Langley, Virginia. They were so voluminous that he had to rent a trailer to transport them. Shouldn’t revelations from so credible a source have made the newspapers or CNN? I don’t know why Hunter Leake, who figures prominently in “A Farewell to Justice,” talked to Professor Kurtz, but I discovered that the original Hunter Leake family estate, in 1927, was sold to purchase Hammond Junior College, which became Southeastern Louisiana University – where Professor Kurtz teaches.

In “A Farewell to Justice,” I write for the first time that Oswald had also been enlisted by U.S. Customs in New Orleans, information I gleaned from the documents deposited at the National Archives by the Church Committee. Not a single newspaper or magazine or television program chose to notice this astonishing revelation. I show how the framing of Oswald in Louisiana by the CIA began even before the shooting in Dallas. I shall return to that subject.

As you study the aftermath of the Kennedy assassination, you discover repeatedly had the press relinquished its own freedom more than forty years ago. The latest document I was sent came from the LBJ library in Austin. Dated 1967, it was a telegram from the “Newsweek” columnist, Hugh Aynesworth, to George Christian, Lyndon Johnson’s press secretary. Aynesworth was announcing that he was sending the President, in advance of publication, his latest attack on New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison, the better for the President to take steps against Garrison’s investigation.

CIA releases, once marked “Secret,” are filled with revelations of how reporters, another was Al Burt, the Latin America editor of the “Miami Herald,” visited the CIA to be instructed on what was and was not in the Agency’s interest that he print. There are precedents for our present co-opted press, from FOX to CNN, its twin. Even Keith Olbermann on MSNBC seems unduly cautious.

In his forthcoming memoir, “American Spy: My Secret History in the CIA, Watergate & Beyond,” long time CIA operative, E. Howard Hunt, who died last Tuesday – as with Richard Helms, with his secrets intact – suggests that Lyndon Johnson should be viewed as the prime suspect in “having Kennedy liquidated.” It seems clear that Hunt, age 88, was still engaged in the business of drawing attention away from the massive evidence connecting CIA to the assassination. Lyndon Johnson, the direct beneficiary of the assassination, seemed to Hunt a likely target.

Hunt was far too clever to regurgitate J. Edgar Hoover’s disinformation that the Mafia planned and then covered up this crime. His obvious intention was to provide a false sponsor, someone other than the Agency. Even Hunt didn’t bother to revive the fantasy that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone, or acted at all, in the assassination.

The young Warren Commission lawyers could find no motive for Oswald’s shooting of President Kennedy, even as they blamed him. You might well ask, what, then, was the CIA’s motive? Return to 1963 and the pressure by both the CIA’s clandestine service and the Pentagon for a full-scale invasion of Cuba. President Kennedy opposed an American invasion of Cuba as not in the national interest, just as he had no intention of embedding us in the quagmire of a ground war in Vietnam. That was the first Texas President who profited from John F. Kennedy’s murder, and who did the bidding of those forces John Kennedy opposed.

Look at Richard Reeves’ biography quoting President Kennedy’s fury at the sabotage of his presidency by the CIA. In the one true political moment in “The Good Shepherd,” Kennedy threatens to splinter the CIA into a thousand pieces and cast them to the winds. “I’ll get those CIA bastards if it’s the last thing I do,” Kennedy said, famously, underestimating his adversaries. The CIA’s “Executive Action” (read murder) capability was in place by 1963. CIA had already been involved in the murder and/or attempted murders of various heads of state, efforts outlined in detail in the papers of the Church Committee.

Our mainstream press manages to avoid confronting those documents, writing about CIA as if it had no history, but was born in the aftermath of 9/11. They are particularly unwilling to connect our present political morass to past events. Foreign reporters have not been similarly restrained. On a recent fifteen minute magazine segment on BBC-2 this past November, came an extraordinary photograph connecting the assassination of John and Robert Kennedy. (You won’t find this information in that other Kennedy movie of this season, “Bobby”).

That press photograph was taken at the Ambassador Hotel on the evening of the assassination of Robert Kennedy where a crowd had gathered to celebrate his victory in the California primary. Pictured standing together were three high level CIA operatives. One was Gordon Campbell, the second in command at JMWAVE, the big CIA station in Miami, from which emanated plans for the sabotage of Cuba and the assassination of Fidel Castro.

With Campbell was a long-time CIA operative named David Sanchez Morales, who worked with CIA propaganda expert David Atlee Phillips, a figure I discuss at length in “A Farewell To Justice.” Morales had assisted Phillips in the 1954 coup against President Arbenz in Guatemala. Morales’ lawyer, Robert J. Walton, had quoted his client to the government investigator in Miami, Gaeton Fonzi: “I was in Dallas when we got the son of a bitch, and I was in Los Angeles when we got the little bastard.”

Morales was also close to a CIA operative named Felix Rodriguez, famously present at the murder of Che Guevara in Bolivia, so that he came away with Guevara’s wristwatch. Rodriguez was so close to George H. W. Bush that he included photographs with the Bushes in his autobiography. (Present in Dallas that November morning of the 22nd were not only George H. W. Bush, shortly to depart for Tyler, then return that afternoon to Dallas, but also Richard Nixon. Neither Bush nor Nixon, of course, staged the shooting itself. But it does seem odd that they were in Dallas along with David Atlee Phillips.

The third unlikely well-wisher of Robert Kennedy in this trio was CIA psychological warfare specialist, George Joannides. Joannides was CIA handler in Miami for an anti-Castro group called DRE (Directorio Revolucionario Estudantil). Lee Oswald’s adversary in his street scuffle in New Orleans was a man named Carlos Bringuier, who claimed to be the DRE representative in New Orleans. Both were arrested. All trails lead to Lee Harvey Oswald.

That street fight was clearly staged, as I show in my book. I also discovered what Oswald actually said to Lieutenant Francis Martello, and which Martello chose not to share with the Warren Commission: “Call the FBI. Tell them you have Lee Oswald in custody.” Yet another recently declassified FBI document, again, once marked “Secret,” reveals information given to the Bureau by a CIA officer. Dated 11/23/63, it confirms that Oswald was indeed a shared agent of both agencies.

It may be (here I’ll speculate, I hope for the last time), that the street fight on Canal Street that established Oswald as pro-Castro, purveyor of leaflets for “Fair Play For Cuba,” was a propaganda victory by Joannides, whose specialty was psychological warfare. Five years later, there Joannides apparently stands, awaiting the impending murder of Robert F. Kennedy. The BBC documentarian, Shane O’Sullivan, tells me that he plans to release a full-length film on the anniversary of Robert Kennedy’s assassination in June. I hope he has added further identifications to that photograph. I’ll just add that there was a complete blackout in the U.S. media of O’Sullivan’s BBC segment. On the website of the London GUARDIAN newspaper, you can find a report entitled, “Did The CIA Kill Bobby Kennedy?”

I’m sure many in this audience are aware of the third recent moment at which the Kennedy assassination has surfaced. There are a few scant degrees of separation between:

1. the two Bush presidents
2. the role of the CIA in the Kennedy assassination
3. Lee Harvey Oswald, the CIA asset.

This surprising invocation of the Kennedy assassination occurred on January 2nd at the funeral of President Gerald Ford, the last surviving member of the Warren Commission. I’ll read this extraordinary revealing paragraph from George H. W. Bush’s eulogy for those who missed it:

“After a deluded gunman assassinated President Kennedy, our nation turned to Gerald Ford and a select handful of others to make sense of that madness – and a conspiracy theorist can say what they will – but the Warren Commission report will always have the final definitive say on this matter. Why? Because Gerry Ford put his name on it and Gerry Ford’s word was always good.”

Allow me to add that when amendments were offered to the Freedom of Information Act, enlarging public access to affairs of state, Gerald Ford vetoed the bill, only for Congress to override his veto. Ford was no more a supporter of the truth than Mr. Bush’s son. George H. W. Bush’s own word was not always so good either. There are powerful reasons why George H. W. Bush was motivated to invoke the Warren Report, even, amazingly, to refer to a “conspiracy theorist,” as if that designation would at once banish some truths he does not want available. Only two degrees of separation separate George H. W. Bush from Oswald himself.

At his 1976 confirmation hearings for the post of Director of Central Intelligence, a post into which he was elevated by Gerald Ford, Bush denied that he had any prior connection to the CIA. This was a falsehood. At the National Archives, and on the Internet, is a CIA document directed to its clandestine service (Record Number 104-10310-10271) that reveals that when, in the 1950s, Bush founded Zapata Oil, his partner was one Thomas J. Devine, who was not only an oil wildcatter, but a long-time CIA staff employee. Thomas Devine’s name does not appear in the original papers of Zapata, but it does in the company Bush created shortly thereafter as “Zapata Offshore.”

This CIA document reveals that Thomas Devine had informed George Bush of a CIA project with the cryptonym WUBRINY/LPDICTUM. It involved CIA proprietary commercial operations in foreign countries. By 1963, Devine had become not a former CIA employee, but ‘a cleared and witting contact” in the investment banking firm which managed the proprietary corporation WUSLINE. WUBRINY involved Haitian operations, in which, the documents reveal, a participant was George de Mohrenshildt, the Dallas CIA hander of – Lee Oswald.

In late April 1963, in Haiti, de Mohrenshildt appeared to discuss investment possibilities. The CIA officer, the author of the document, named only as WUBRINY/1, had no idea of de Mohrenshildt’s already long-standing CIA connections, and in particular his role in shepherding Oswald in Dallas. De Mohrenshildt could safely pursue CIA interests in Haiti because it was that month, April 1963, that Lee Oswald, his charge, moved from Texas to New Orleans, on the orders of the CIA, with Oswald reporting to – Hunter Leake.

A May 22, 1963 CIA document has de Mohrenshildt admitting he had “obtained some Texas financial backing” and had visited interested people In Washington regarding the candidacy of one M. Clemard Joseph Charles for President of Haiti, “as soon as Duvalier can be gotten out.” So we are reminded of CIA’s efforts to influence the political configurations of other countries – an obvious example is CIA’s obliging British Petroleum – for a price – and overthrowing Mohammed Mossadegh in Iran, replacing him with the Shah.

To summarize: George Bush is linked in April 1963, seven months before the Kennedy assassination, to a CIA project involving Lee Oswald’s handler, Count Sergei Georges de Mohrenshildt through his own CIA partner, Thomas Devine. Bush and Devine later traveled to Vietnam together, a trip for which the Department of Defense issued Devine an interim “Top Secret” clearance. No surprise there: Devine obviously had never left the Agency.

On the day Gaeton Fonzi was to interview de Mohrenshildt for the House Select Committee on Assassinations, de Mohrenshildt was shot, his death ruled a suicide. Fonzi’s card was in his pocket. Let me refer you as well to Joseph McBride’s “Nation” magazine article where he exposed how George H. W. Bush was debriefed by the FBI about the Kennedy assassination on November 23rd. The inadvertently released document refers to “Mr. George Bush of the Central Intelligence Agency.” It was a different George Bush, George William Bush, who worked for the Agency, Bush claimed. But it wasn’t so. George William came forward to say he was never debriefed by anyone.

Every road leads to the assassination of President Kennedy. What should also give us pause is that these documents about Zapata Offshore, which had offices on several continents, but never did much business, as the CENTRO MONDIALE COMERCIALE in Rome, on whose board of director’s Garrison suspect Clay Shaw served, did little trade, and George Bush’s CIA partner, were released under the JFK Act as Kennedy assassination documents. So it is the Agency itself, not the dreaded “conspiracy theorists,” that links George H. W. Bush with the Kennedy assassination. Or: it’s the government that is the ultimate “conspiracy theorist.”

It is the task of the historian to examine on whose behalf the CIA murdered President Kennedy. Although President Kennedy threatened the very existence of the Agency, and had begun to reduce its powers, and to restrict the authority of the Director of Central Intelligence, the motive goes beyond that. When we examine who benefited from the assassination, whose interests were served, despite the latest puff of smoke blown by E. Howard Hunt, we also go beyond the first Texas president, Lyndon Johnson, to the second and third Texas Presidents. Certain Texas businesses, among them Halliburton, of course, and then independent Brown and Root, were not doing particularly well in 1962 and 1963.

Among those who benefited immediately from the removal of President Kennedy and the ascendancy of Lyndon Johnson was a fabulously successful wildcatter named David Harold, also known as D.H. for “dry hole” Byrd. (Not all the holes, of course, were dry). Byrd’s company LTV was about to go under. In early November, 1963, Byrd and a partner, James Ling, bought a sizable amount of outstanding LTV stock. Then LTV received the first defense contract from the Pentagon – for a fighter plane – accompanying the escalation of the war in Vietnam that was the direct result of the Kennedy assassination. Although that airplane was not ultimately built, LTV stock soared. As Byrd writes in his autobiography, “I’ve run fifty-two companies, many of them in no way connected with oil.” The man who brought George H. W. Bush west from Connecticut to Texas was named Neil Mallon, another of Byrd’s partners.

Other Texas companies saved by the Vietnam War were Halliburton and Brown and Root, which Halliburton had purchased in – 1962. The Browns, even Herman, who began by hating Lyndon’s New Deal tendencies, were Johnson’s primary financial benefactors, as Robert Caro has shown. It was through my own research into Jim Garrison’s New Orleans investigation that I found a 1967 CIA document revealing that George Brown was a CIA asset, and none of the historians have noticed that.

Other CIA documents list the executives of Texas petroleum companies who were CIA assets. The list is considerable. Although these documents were made available under the JFK Act, as with the story of George H. W. Bush and his CIA partner, the Kennedy assassination is not mentioned.

From the government’s own records, we find connected: (1) the CIA angry about the Bay of Pigs, that CIA-sponsored invasion of Cuba whose code name, “Zapata,” returns us to George H. W. Bush and his CIA partner, Devine (2) the military with its Vietnam defense contracts, and (3) the Texas Presidents.

“Dry Hole” Byrd just happened to own the Texas School Book Depository, from which someone, not Lee Oswald, but someone, fired at the President on November 22nd. Years later, when Byrd wanted a souvenir of this historical building, he chose the South Westernmost window of the sixth floor, not the window from which Oswald purportedly fired with his creaky rifle with its loose telescopic sight, that was the Southeast. No, Byrd took the window from which a Dealey Plaza witness and his wife told the Warren Commission they saw a man with a gun. It seems D. H. Byrd knew exactly which window was the souvenir, and, by inference, that Oswald was no shooter.

To contemplate the political context of the assassination, as Governor Carlson of Minnesota suggested that we do, we note that the President was shot down in front of a building owned by a Texas defense contractor who won the first defense contract of the escalated Vietnam War, an escalation possible only with the removal of President Kennedy. D. H. Byrd was a founding member of the Civil Air Patrol, that group which boasted a group in New Orleans led by one David Ferrie, Jim Garrison’s chief suspect, in which Lee Oswald participated as a teenager. Chronicling the CIA’s cover-up of the assassination, we must acknowledge that the Agency did not act in the assassination entirely on its own behalf.

I believe we can trace to that November day in 1963 an anarchism not visible in American society since the 19th century when, rebelling against Mexico, for a time Texas operated without a government. It was that chaotic lawless moment in Texan history that seems to have been revisited upon us. Following the Patriot Act, and the Military Commissions Act, eroding the right to habeas corpus, 2006 closed with a Postal Reform Bill. This bill, passed by Congress, insisted that the government needed a warrant to open people’s mail. President Bush’s “signing statement,” asserting his personal interpretation of the law, insisted that under “exigent circumstances,” the President can, in fact, open mail “otherwise sealed against inspection” without a warrant.

This particular engorgement of Presidential power recalls to us once more “The Good Shepherd” and James Angleton. A particular Angleton project was the CIA’s opening of the mail of American citizens. During the first half of 1960, at least two hundred people were on the CIA’s list world-wide to have their mail opened. Lee Harvey Oswald’s name was among them.

“A Farewell to Justice” was published a year ago. In the intervening time, new documents have emerged that corroborate my view that the Central Intelligence Agency planned, supervised and implemented the assassination of President Kennedy. Those who claim that we will never know what happened to President Kennedy would do well to spend some time at the National Archives.

Among the lessons Philip Zelikow, former Executive Director of the 9/11 Commission learned, he admitted on National Public Radio, was that he would not make the same mistake the Warren Commission did. He would not make the papers of the 9/11 Commission available to the public. In this era of authoritarian government secrecy – witness today’s “New York Times” editorial on how the Department of Justice, against the Constitution is refusing to make public its briefs in the case involving illegal government surveillance – we owe also a debt of gratitude to the Congress of the early 1990s for passing the JFK Act. My op ed piece, “9/11 and 11/22,” remains on my web site, http://www.joanmellen.net. Zelikow, who resigned this past November from the staff of Condeleeza Rice, was the person assigned to supervise the transcription of President Kennedy’s office tapes, suggesting we had better cast a critical eye on those transcriptions.

CIA’s Counter Intelligence component always claimed that Oswald was never debriefed after his return from the Soviet Union. Yet in a CIA document released in December 2005 a person who fits the precise description of Oswald – it could be no on else – was debriefed in New York, where Oswald on his return from the Soviet Union did disembark. This man had reported to the CIA details about the radio factory where he worked in Minsk.

“A Farewell to Justice” chronicles how “Fair Play For Cuba,” for which Oswald handed out leaflets in New Orleans, was heavily infiltrated by CIA through its master propagandist, David Atlee Phillips. New documents confirm CIA’s involvement. The co-director of Fair Play, Richard Gibson, it turns out, had a PRQ number from the CIA, indicating his employment with them.

Also released was a July 1962 letter where Gibson requests that the CIA employ him. Another “Secret” CIA document lists five CIA cables from “sensitive source” in Operations, regarding Gibson’s connections with Lee Harvey Oswald, whom Gibson refers to, coyly, as “Lee Bowmont.” When the Swiss Federal Police wiretapped Gibson’s hotel room, and provided the FBI with transcripts of these “overhears,” Gibson was not so coy. He referred to “Oswald” as “Oswald.”

As I wrote “A Farewell to Justice,” I had to decide not only what documents like these meant, but which witnesses were credible. I borrowed from lawyers: a witness gained in credibility to the degree that he spoke against his own interest. If he would gain nothing from talking to me, but might even damage himself, I took him seriously. If notoriety was anathema to the person, and he had demonstrated that, I took him more seriously.

I chose to believe a man named Thomas Edward Beckham, whom I discuss in the book as an alternative patsy. Beckham told me that Oliver Stone’s staff had managed to find his cell phone number and call him. He denied his identity. “I don’t know anyone by that name, ma’am,” Beckham told the caller. Stone paid his witnesses and consultants, so Beckham could have enjoyed both fame and fortune should he have signed on to the film, “JFK.”

Beckham also took the risk of my discovering that not only had he been a con man over the years – it was what saved his life because his scams rendered him impeachable – but he continued in certain dubious practices while he was talking to me. Con men are no more or less likely to tell the truth than white collar ENRON types. As I learned during the process of writing a biography of Lillian Hellman, liars don’t always lie.

In 1963 in New Orleans, Beckham was a young man tapped by the CIA to be trained at a Virginia facility. He was to be an alternative patsy and take the blame for the assassination should Oswald vanish into the night.

Tom Beckham was not informed of the purpose of his CIA training that spring of 1963. The same was true for Lee Oswald, who was instructed by his New Orleans CIA handlers, David Ferrie, and a CIA operative named Clay Shaw, the managing director of the International Trade Mart. Oswald was ordered to apply for a job at the East Louisiana State Hospital at Jackson. Ferrie and Shaw drove Oswald up to Jackson from New Orleans.

The hospital application form inquired whether you were a registered voter in East Feliciana Parish. Ferrie and Shaw then drove Oswald to Clinton, the county seat, to register Oswald to vote in order to facilitate his being hired by a mental hospital, a good place from which a crazed lone assassin might escape only to wind up arrested in Dallas. No operation is without glitches. How could Ferrie and Shaw imagine that on the very day they were taking Oswald to register, the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) would be holding a huge voter registration drive?

The whole town became witnesses to Oswald being in the company of those two CIA operatives. A good number of people, both African American and Caucasian, came forward to tell what they had seen. Oswald, in fact, did register. Jim Garrison’s investigators, Anne Dischler and Francis Fruge, got to Clinton and discovered that fact. The following day the entire registration book at Clinton had disappeared without a trace.

Arrested by Jim Garrison, Clay Shaw denied he knew David Ferrie, no matter that the whole town saw them together – he counted on the CIA to protect him. Yet I was able to find a witness to a loan document Ferrie had taken out so that he could rent an airplane to fly to Dallas the week before the assassination. Ferrie later told both the FBI and the Secret Service that he hadn’t been in Dallas for eight to ten years, clearly a lie. The co-signer of that note was…Clay Shaw! Jim Garrison, defamed over the years, was prescient and right and is owed a posthumous apology.

Thomas Edward Beckham also handed me the original of a government document describing his CIA training and why CIA had concluded he could be useful to them. This document had been given to him years earlier by his CIA handler, a man named Fred Lee Crisman, as an explanation of how CIA had utilized him. Its letterhead is not “CIA,” but “UNITED STATES ARMY AIR DEFENSE COMMAND” out of Colorado Springs, and, yes, such an outfit does exist.

Beckham told me that his original handler in New Orleans was a strange character named Jack Martin. You don’t find identity cards confirming that someone is CIA, just as you didn’t find Communist Party membership cards. Jim Garrison’s investigation inspired CIA to conduct a trace search on Jack Martin, only for them to decide that their employee “Joseph John Martin” was not the New Orleans Jack Martin, although the documents reveal a bushel of similarities between the two. One CIA document refers to the name “Jack Martin” as “generic,” suggesting that as such the name “Jack Martin” was in use by CIA.

What does all this mean? This past fall, I hired an attorney to request of the CIA all its records on this New Orleans Jack Martin, particularly his Security file, a suit that is still in progress. We requested all records related to Jack S. Martin, aka Jack Martin, aka John J. Martin, aka Jack M. Martin, aka Lawrence J. Martin, aka John M. Martin, aka Edward Suggs, as well as Joseph James Martin. For good measure, we threw in Beckham’s other CIA handler, Fred Lee Crisman.

CIA acknowledged that they had three separate “Jack Martin” files, representing three different people, all with different middle initials. Each bore an AINS or “Agency Identification Number,” which is used when you want to claim later that the person never “worked” for the Agency. According to CIA, there was no significance to an AIN, unlike EINs, which are rock -solid employees or contractors.

Jack Martin in New Orleans in one document describes as CIA assets people who “were either crazy, ex-convicts, jail-birds, or even worse.” These categories apply both to himself and to Beckham. Of the three Martins the Agency acknowledges, CIA omits its openly acknowledged Joseph James as its former employee. Meanwhile Jack Martin of New Orleans used terminology like “operational penetration of these groups” and “legitimate front, such as an intelligence unit, for its cover,” clearly suggesting his intelligence background.

In the batch of CIA documents came an interesting letter. It demonstrates, and is the only internal document to do so, that Fred Lee Crisman, Beckham’s lifetime handler, was, indeed CIA. This letter refers to “documents” identifying Crisman’s Agency connections obtained by the sender, whose name is obliterated. This anonymous individual worked for a section of the Agency different from Crisman’s. He managed to obtain Crisman’s file through his own internal connections.

Now he urges that it be made known that Crisman served “only a part of the CIA” and that Crisman’s Agency activities even be made public. The document is dated September 13, 1969. It reveals internal conflict within the CIA that matches President Kennedy’s own battle with the clandestine service. So not everyone knew about the utilization of Oswald, or Beckham; not every component was in on the plot to murder President Kennedy.

Without subpoena power, or the power to charge someone with perjury, this research is expensive and exhausting. Results, when they come, are often as fragmentary as this extraordinary letter about Fred Lee Crisman. Meanwhile every few years a CIA inspired book appears insisting that it was the Mafia that accomplished this murder, no matter that they could never have engineered the massive cover-up, the better that the public throw up its collective hands and conclude that we will never know the truth.

The Warren Commission chose not to investigate a visit to an anti-Castro Cuban activist named Sylvia Odio in late September 1963 in Dallas by Oswald and two Cubans. As her Warren Commission testimony reveals, a day or so later, one of those Cubans telephoned Mrs. Odio to say that “Leon Oswald” had talked about how someone should kill President Kennedy over how he betrayed the Bay of Pigs operation.

“A Farewell to Justice” identified those Cubans for the first time. One was Angelo Murgado, who worked closely with Bobby Kennedy in his anti-Castro operations on which he collaborated with General Edward Lansdale. The other was a fellow veteran of the Bay of Pigs, the aforementioned Bernardo de Torres, the man who telephoned Mrs. Odio implicating Lee Oswald.

My primary source was Mr. Murgado, who, when he became an American citizen, he told me, changed his name to “Angelo Kennedy” in homage to Bobby Kennedy, a person he continues to admire. After the President was assassinated, and their relationship came to a close, Robert Kennedy asked Mr. Murgado if he needed anything. Mr. Murgado said “no.” He did not want to profit from political work in which he believed. He came away poor.

This enhanced his credibility for me. I believed Angelo Kennedy because he sought no notoriety, had never talked about the Odio incident before, did not court “assassination buffs,” and spoke against his own interest. These were painful memories. On November 22nd, Mr. Murgado told me, he vomited when he realized that the murderer of President Kennedy, as far as he knew, was the man he met at Sylvia Odio’s. Ostensibly that man, called “Oswald,” was just another volunteer in their anti-Castro operations.

The implications of this evidence, which I published for the first time, are enormous. Bernardo de Torres, the CIA releases reveal, was a CIA operative. If he was involved in framing Oswald, it was on behalf of the CIA. A multitude of sources place de Torres as Oswald’s Dallas CIA hander, keeping Oswald under constant surveillance.

It was deeply moving to watch on CNN earlier this month Senator Edward Kennedy compare the Iraq War with Vietnam during his speech at the National Press Club. It was the day before George Bush’s Iraq troop acceleration, or “surge,” was announced. Kennedy read out quotations about “staying the course” and the need for “more people,” and then told the audience, no, this was not George Bush speaking. It was Lyndon Johnson, forty years ago. The spirit of John F. Kennedy hovered near.

It was a great disappointment to New Orleans district attorney Jim Garrison that Robert Kennedy did not assist him in his investigation. Instead, Robert Kennedy actively attempted to thwart his efforts. He sent Walter Sheridan, his “confidential assistant,” Sheridan’s job description, to New Orleans to discredit Garrison. As a historian of Jim Garrison’s investigation, I too have pondered why Bobby Kennedy remained aloof, and I have concluded that it could only have been because he did not want his own part in the assassination attempts on the life of Fidel Castro, during which Oswald came to his attention, to emerge.

I located a document from the CIA’s own Secret History, in which the CIA’s History Staff is interviewing a CIA officer named Sam Halpern. Halpern reveals his own incredulity that Bobby Kennedy should be working with the Mafia in attempts on the life of Castro at the very same time that he was trying to send other Mafia figures to jail. A CIA operative named Charley Ford, alias Charley Fiscalini, was assigned by Bobby Kennedy to make contact with Mafia types in this country and Canada for the purpose of murdering Castro.

To all this, Charley Ford testified under oath before the Church Committee. That Bobby Kennedy repeatedly attempted to enlist anti-Castro Cubans for these assassination attempts against Castro I learned first-hand from Isidro Borja, of the DRE. “I know Bobby Kennedy was behind it,” he told me indignantly, “because his people approached ME!” Borja told me Bobby’s people did succeed in recruiting his good friend Rafael Quintero Ibaria, also known as “Chi Chi.”

Even after “A Farewell to Justice” was published, I continued to attempt to confirm a lead I was given that Robert Kennedy gave a talk at Homestead Air Force base in Florida to a group of anti-Castro people, with Lee Oswald supposedly in the crowd. It was summer of 1963. I was able to confirm that Oswald was in Miami at the time. A fellow writer claimed he had a source, an aging documentary filmmaker, to whom Robert Kennedy personally revealed that when he spoke at Homestead Air Force base, Oswald in the audience. When I asked the writer to return to the source, he did, only for the source to become evasive.

To give you an idea of how difficult this work is, to confirm this information, if it was information, I interviewed a slew of documentary filmmakers. I located Robert Kennedy associates: John Nolan; Peter Edelman; John Seigenthaler; press secretaries Frank Mankiewicz and Ed Guthman; Robert Kennedy’s daughter, Kathleen; his cousin Joey Gargan; and George Stevens, Jr.

I moved on to soldiers of fortune like Ed Kolby, whose name appears in Lee Oswald’s address book; Mr. Borja; and a mercenary living among Cuban exiles in Australia named James Richards. Richards told me that a group of Cubans who feared they might be implicated in the assassination had migrated to Australia. Richards added that Bernardo de Torres admitted to him that he had been in Dallas on the day of the assassination. Perhaps the story about Homestead had been invented by someone who knew Robert Kennedy was aware of Oswald (this fact I confirmed with Angelo Kennedy), to underline the point.

John Seigenthaler suggested that I consult the appointment books of Robert Kennedy’s secretary, Angie Novello, for 1963. These reside at the Kennedy Library. When I did, I was informed that the appointment book for 1963 was missing. In no uncertain terms, I was told not to inquire again. “The curators have no idea as to its disposition,” the librarian told me.

There is another unanswered question that has bedeviled me. In April of 1963, Lee Oswald took shots at General Edwin Walker in Dallas. Walker believed to his dying day that the Department of Justice sent word to the Dallas police not to pursue Oswald “for reasons of state.” The relevant police file, #F48156, is missing from the Dallas police files, like the 1963 appointment book of Robert Kennedy.

By the mid 1970s, the FBI was still instructing Dallas police Chief Jesse Curry to remain silent about the “handling” of the Oswald evidence. Dutifully, Curry denied he had ever heard of Oswald before the assassination. The missing document purportedly connects Oswald with his own assassin, Jack Ruby, an association made to seem outlandish by the Warren Commission, except that I discovered for “A Farewell to Justice” that Ruby and Oswald were very well known to each other.

The seeming Justice Department directive, alternately described as a CIA order transmitted by the Justice Department, demanding that Oswald be left alone, returns us to the story of poor Otto Otepka, and his being fired from his high position in State Department security. Mr. Otepka told me he believed Walter Sheridan (he kept a huge file on Sheridan at his home) and Bobby Kennedy were behind his being hounded from his job, that Sheridan was behind that theft of the defector files from his office safe. Who, in a very high place, because it wasn’t easy to break into those high risk files, was protecting Oswald, and why?

What sounded alarms in all kinds of places was Mr. Otepka’s innocent request of the CIA that they check into Oswald, a routine request he made when the name of someone he was investigating raised questions. The fact that, before the assassination of President Kennedy, Oswald was known to Robert Kennedy, as he was to CIA, the FBI, and Customs, accounts in no small measure for why Robert Kennedy remained silent about who was responsible for his brother’s death. Kennedy loyalists, Ted Sorensen and Arthur Schlesinger, have been similarly silent. It has been an anomaly of the Kennedy assassination that, to borrow the terminology of Cormac McCarthy’s latest novel, “The Road,” both the “good guys” and the “bad guys” have conspired to keep the truth from us.

I’ll close with the quotation from Shakespeare’s “The Tempest” engraved on the National Archives building in Washington, D.C. It asks that we connect the murder of President Kennedy, and the motives for that crime, with the increasingly unrecognizable America in which we find ourselves living today: “The past is prologue.”

Copyright Joan Mellen
"Let me issue and control a nation's money and I care not who writes the laws. - Mayer Rothschild
"Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience! People are obedient in the face of poverty, starvation, stupidity, war, and cruelty. Our problem is that grand thieves are running the country. That's our problem!" - Howard Zinn
"If there is no struggle there is no progress. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and never will" - Frederick Douglass
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#4
Definitely needs a bump for the 50th! Joan gave me permission to put this up on the forum. Sorry about all the strange <?> symbols, usually where a comma would have been.
"Let me issue and control a nation's money and I care not who writes the laws. - Mayer Rothschild
"Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience! People are obedient in the face of poverty, starvation, stupidity, war, and cruelty. Our problem is that grand thieves are running the country. That's our problem!" - Howard Zinn
"If there is no struggle there is no progress. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and never will" - Frederick Douglass
Reply
#5
Looks like someone took the trouble to list all the deceptions in 'Who Was Lee Harvey Oswald?" Go Joan.
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