Things you never knew about Lee Harvey Oswald
I come into this topic with a confession to make. Having been at this game of connecting the dots since I was 13 years old, I have precise memories of the time when I heard President Kennedy had been assassinated. I was in a 9th grade Civics class that Friday afternoon, not feeling well due to a sore throat. The teacher sent me to the school office to be disciplined for wise cracking while he was speaking. When I got down the long hall to the school office, I found that nobody was there, which was unusual for the noon hour on a Friday.
I remember that the PA system console was on, with a radio announcer’s voice speaking in somber tones saying that President Kennedy had been shot. Without a moment’s pause, I ran back to my classroom to relay the news. Bursting in, out of breath, I interrupted the teacher yet again, this time to say that President Kennedy had been gunned down.
Of course, the teacher thought that this was an excuse to get out of being punished for my previous antics. As he was dressing me down for my insolence, the PA speaker on the wall came alive with confirmation of my claim. Principal John Hosmanek informed us of the sad event, after which he asked everyone to stand and put their hands over their hearts while he played our national anthem.
We were then dismissed for the day, even though it was just one o’clock in the afternoon. I proceeded to walk the mile to my home, chewing my Aspergum and wondering if the newspapers I was to deliver that day would have the news in them. Indeed they did. Since the shooting had taken place mid-day, the evening edition of the Milwaukee Journal announced the tragedy.
The headline “President assassinated” filled most of the front page above the fold in big block letters. There was a black border around the whole front page. Still chewing the aspirin gum for relief of my sore throat, I delivered the papers with a heavy heart, feeling it was my solemn duty to do so, even though by then I also had a fever. I delivered Saturday’s and Sunday’s papers as well.
As I recall, school remained canceled on Monday, the day of JFK’s state funeral. I continued my job of delivering the Milwaukee Journal for about 6 months after the assassination, collecting every newspaper I could get that had any mention of the tragic event. I was just terribly intrigued by the reason for it all. But, that faded as I grew older and embarked on my journey to the new world of high school.
It was, of course, a tumultuous time. The 1960s, you know? The Vietnam War, hippies, Beatles, civil rights….and the killings of ostensible assassin Lee Harvey Oswald, NAACP leader Medgar Evers, black Muslim leader Malcolm X, nazi George Lincoln Rockwell, civil rights icon Martin Luther King Jr., Attorney General Robert Kennedy, and Deputy Chair of the Chicago chapter of the Black Panther Party Fred Hampton.
In the decades that followed notable assassinations included Alberta Williams King (mother of Martin Luther King Jr.), Mi’kmaq Indian activist from Nova Scotia Annie Mae Aquash, Chilean ambassador to the United States Orlando Letelier, peace activist and musician John Lennon, Jewish liberal radio host Alan Berg, the Black Panther Party’s founder, Huey Newton, Zionist Meir David Kahane, and abortion providers John Britton and George Tiller.
Too many questions, not enough answers
In a speech 20 years ago, analyst Michael Parenti said “Look closely at the JFK assassination, and the gangster nature of the state will be revealed.” This is why for 50 years the findings about the JFK death have been dismissed and discredited.
The mainstream press hasn’t provided even a fraction of the information available to the public. Respected investigative journalists have published a plethora of facts that never make it into the public forum. Why should we be surprised to find out that some of the best investigative journalists of our time have delved into these murky waters, which are often deliberately clouded by the national security state?
Their numbers include Peter Dale Scott, Harold Weisberg, Carl Ogelsby, Mark Lane, Anthony Summers, Philip Melanson, Jim Garrison, Cyril Wecht and many more. Yet the popular media goes gaga over a whitewash like Gerald Posner’s Case Closed. And they spread far and wide their revulsion of Oliver Stone’s movie JFK, beginning more than six months prior to its release, and for over a year after its release…even until this very day.
The question, as Parenti puts it, is institutional legitimacy. “A full revelation about the murder would be a serious attack upon the dominant institutions of state and class…The movie JFK pointed the finger at the national security state itself as the murderer.” [The rest of this essay is partly framed by that speech he made on the 30th anniversary of the assassination titled The JFK Assassination and the Gangster Nature of the State. Parts one and two of the full speech can be downloaded in Mp3 format HERE and HERE.
Back in 1978 the House Select Committee on Assassinations concluded that there was more than one assassin. Ask a thousand people here in 2013 if Lee Harvey Oswald was the lone assassin, and you will get the view that to believe otherwise is to be a crazy conspiracy theorist. Yet, there it is. The U.S. House of Representatives official body entrusted with investigating the murders of JFK and Martin Luther King found that there were provable covert operations at work on both cases. As a point of interest, there was a civil trial in which a jury unanimously concluded that MLK was killed as a result of a “high level” conspiracy.
By the way, the word conspiracy is an ordinary legal term. Here is the definition: 18USC371. CONSPIRACY – a separate Federal crime for anyone to conspire or agree with someone else to do something which, if actually carried out, would amount to another Federal crime.
Harold Weisberg’s book Whitewash and Mark Lane’s book Rush to Judgment, according to Parenti, “demolished the Warren Commission.” The common perception of Lee Harvey Oswald is that he was a loner, an incompetent, kind of slow in the head. Posner, not very bright himself, turned amateur psychologist and pronounced that Oswald was “passive aggressive.” Right…a passive aggressive assassin. Doesn’t make much sense, does it? Parenti quipped “That explains why he used a rifle that couldn’t shoot straight.
Oswald is portrayed as a leftist in the popular media. The fact is that he was very much associated with ultra-right wing, anti-communist persons deep in the national security apparatus.
Things you haven’t been told about Lee Harvey Oswald:
- He was actually a quick learner.
- Historical records of his IQ tests show him to be of above average intelligence.
- Far from being a lonely drifter, Oswald was directly linked to the US intelligence community for most of his adult life. According to Melanson, he had “one of the longest government paper trails of any person his age in the entire country”. [pdf Spy Saga]
- When he was 18 he had secret security clearance while he worked in aircraft control at the naval air base in Atsugi, Japan. Atsugi was a top secret base where the U.S. controlled U2 spy plane flights. His knowledge included “all radio frequencies for all squadrons, all tactical call signs, the relative strengths of all squadrons, number and type of aircraft in a squadron…the authentication code for entering and exiting [the air defense zone]…the range of surrounding units’ radio and radar”, according to his commander, Marine Lt. John Donovan, who testified to these facts before the Warren Commission.
- The next year, at age 19, he was stationed at El Toro air station in California, with security clearance to work radar.
- While there he became obsessed with Russia, talking often about Soviet communism, playing Russian language records loudly in his barracks, addressing his fellow Marines as “comrade” and otherwise speaking Russian. He read Russian books and proclaimed Soviet-style communism as the “best system in the world”. This was pretty unusual behavior to be practicing while in the U.S. Marine Corps in 1958, and such acts in any other corpsman it would have lead to an investigation followed by stern treatment. Despite all of this, he kept his security clearance, continuing to log radar records of flights coming and going.
- In February 1959 he failed a Marine Corps proficiency test in Russian. Six months later he was fluent in the language. Only later in 1974 did it become known through a Warren Commission document that he had attended the U.S. Army Monterey School of Languages. (Note: the only way for a service person to attend that program was to be assigned to do so by the military for very specific reasons.)
- Oswald was given an early discharge from the Marines because his mother had injured her foot. Although such a dependency discharge is difficult to obtain, he got it in one week. It turns out that the injury in which she had dropped a jar on her toe happened a year earlier. Immediately after his discharge he applied for a passport, which he got six days later. He then left for Fort Worth on the 10th, arriving there on the 14th.
Oswald in Russia
According to Melanson, he then defected to Russia, which required that the U.S. government begin to act toward him in a very unusual, very favorable way. This is the timeline:
On September 4,  the day on which he was transferred out of MACS-9 [Marine Air Control Squadron] in preparation for his discharge, Oswald had already applied for a passport at the Superior Court of Santa Ana, Calif. His application stated that he planned to leave the United States on September 21 to attend the Albert Schweitzer College and the University of Turku in Finland, and to travel in Cuba, the Dominican Republic, England, France, Germany, and Russia. The passport was routinely issued 6 days later. 
Information meticulously researched and compiled by Melanson  shows the following: In 1959 the entire cost of the trip to Russia was $1,500 yet Oswald’s bank records indicate a balance of only $203. Friends and relatives who were interviewed claim to have given him no money during this time.
He booked passage from New Orleans to Le Havre, France, on a freighter, the SS Marion Lykes, scheduled to sail on September 18, for which he paid $220.75. On the evening of September 17, he registered at the Liberty Hotel. The Marion Lykes did not sail until the early morning of September 20.
Oswald disembarked at Le Havre, France on October 8. He left for England that same day, and arrived on October 9, then left for Finland on the 10th. He arrived in Helsinki on the 11th. There were no commercial flights that day, so he had to have had either a private flight that he paid for (unlikely) or a military flight. He had told English customs officials in Southampton that he had $700 and planned to remain in the United Kingdom for one week before proceeding to a school in Switzerland. This was obviously a falsehood, one of many that he fabricated in order to achieve his goal.
Once he was in Russia he renounced his U.S. citizenship. He went to the U.S. embassy there and announced that he had “lots of secrets” he wished to impart to the Soviets. They never took him up on his offer. When they ordered him to leave the U.S.S.R he responded by slitting his left wrist. He was rushed to a psychiatric hospital and confined there, still waiting for the Soviets to take him seriously. He was then released.
From Melanson’s “Spy Saga”.
After waiting several days for the soviets to make up their mind, Oswald decided to take action. He went to the American Embassy in Moscow where he denounced the U.S., praised the U.S.S.R., and stated that he wanted to renounce his U.S. citizenship. He also made another, very dramatic announcement: he stated that he had offered to give the Soviets radar secrets that he had learned in the Marines from his time in Atsugi, where he was privy to U2 flights information. In addition to U2 data, Oswald had access to a wealth of secrets concerning radio communications codes, radar installations and aircraft deployment in the western United States. He did all of this, likely knowing that the U.S. Embassy was bugged by the Soviets and every word he said would be recorded and analyzed.
He worked in a factory, where he joined the gun club. Their chief activity was rabbit hunting, during which he was never able to even hit one. He was a miserable marksman, as he had been in the U.S. Marines, where he was flagged a number of times for completely missing his targets.
In March 1961, Oswald met Marina Nikolayevna Prusakova, a 19-year-old pharmacology student; they married less than six weeks later in April. The Oswalds’ first child, June, was born on February 15, 1962. On May 24, 1962, Oswald and Marina applied at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow for documents enabling her to immigrate to the U.S. and, on June 1, the U.S. Embassy gave Oswald a repatriation loan of $435.71. Oswald, Marina, and their infant daughter left for the United States, where they received no attention from the press, much to Oswald’s disappointment.
Oswald’s defection was never assessed by the U.S. intelligence community, a fact that came out during the Warren Commission’s investigation. What is usually done with all defections, especially those of government and military people, is that a damage assessment is done. Not in his case, though.
After 2 ½ years he had returned to the U.S. This was after renouncing his U.S. citizenship, and announcing that he was going to give away secrets. Instead of locking him up as a traitor, the U.S. gladly accepted him back. He was debriefed in The Netherlands, but the CIA has no record of that…or so they told the Warren Commission. They told the commission that he was just another tourist, with nothing special to attract their attention. This seems more than a little suspicious. Defecting? Giving away secrets? What would he have to have done, put up a billboard?
What did the State Department do? They gave him money to travel back to the U.S. and once more make himself at home. They paid all of his travel and moving expenses, including those of his Russian wife Marina Prusakova, and their baby daughter June. He was given back his passport with no restrictions on his future travels. His wife was exempted from the usual immigration quotas.
Back in the U.S.A.
Once back in Dallas, he became cozy with his new mentor, George de Mohrenschildt, a right wing Russian with CIA ties, and a long association with the family of Jackie (Bouvier) Kennedy. She used to call him “Uncle George” as she sat on his knee as a child.
This was the start of Oswald’s new modus operandus, making himself very public in Dallas and New Orleans as a leftist. This was in spite of all of his future associations with right wing interests. First he started a one-man “Fair Play for Cuba” front operation in New Orleans…one that, in fact, never operated and never had another member. In all of his time in the two cities, he never made contact with anyone from the Communist Party, or any other left organization. However he did write lots of letters to the Communist Party and the Socialist Worker’s Party.
Parenti says “He blazed a trail…fist fights, inflammatory incidents, leaflets.” One of the leaflets shows that his organization was in the very same building that FBI agent Guy Bannister had his office, 544 Camp Street. Other Cuban organizations were also there. Oswald’s personal relations were, in fact, with right wing, anti-communist Cubans and with others of that same ilk that were linked to the CIA and intelligence community. He only portrayed himself as a leftist.
In Dallas he worked at a welding company, then at a graphic arts firm where he worked as a photoprint technician. In the latter capacity he had the opportunity to forge identity documents. He was fired in April, 1963 because of a bad temper with fellow employees, some of whom were suspicious of his reading Russian language literature.
In March 1963, Oswald purchased a 6.5 mm caliber Carcano rifle by mail-order, using the alias “A. Hidell” as well as a .38 caliber revolver by the same method. The Warren Commission concluded that on April 10, 1963, Oswald attempted to kill retired U.S. Major General Edwin Walker, firing his rifle at Walker through a window, from less than 100 feet (30 m) away, as Walker sat at a desk in his home; the bullet struck the window-frame and Walker’s only injuries were bullet fragments to the forearm.This incident is further evidence that Oswald was a lousey shot…or that he only intended to further his “leftist” cover by attempting to kill a very right wing person.
He next returned to New Orleans, then spent some time in Mexico. On October 2, 1963, Oswald left Mexico City by bus and arrived in Dallas the next day. On October 14, a neighbor told Ruth Paine that there was a job opening at the Texas School Book Depository. He was interviewed at the Depository and was hired there on October 16. Oswald’s supervisor, Roy Truly said that Oswald “did a good day’s work” and was an above average employee. During the week, Oswald stayed in a Dallas rooming house (under the name “O.H. Lee”),, but he spent his weekends with Marina in Irving. Oswald did not drive, but commuted to and from Dallas on Mondays and Fridays with his friend and co-worker, Wesley Frazier. On October 20, the Oswalds’ second daughter was born.
Oswald visited the Dallas FBI office about 2 to 3 weeks before the assassination, asking to see Special Agent James Hosty; told Hosty was unavailable, Oswald left a note that, according to the receptionist, read: “Let this be a warning. I will blow up the FBI and the Dallas Police Department if you don’t stop bothering my wife” [signed] “Lee Harvey Oswald.”
In the days before Kennedy’s arrival, several newspapers described the route of the presidential motorcade as passing the Book Depository. On November 21 (a Thursday) Oswald asked Frazier for an unusual mid-week lift back to Irving, saying he had to pick up some curtain rods. The next morning (Friday) he returned to Dallas with Frazier; he left behind $170 and his wedding ring, but took with him a paper bag. Frazier reported that Oswald told him the bag contained curtain rods. The evidence demonstrated that the package actually contained the rifle used by Oswald in the assassination.
Day of the assassination
According to Wikepedia, Oswald’s co-worker, Charles Givens, testified to the Commission that he last saw Oswald on the sixth floor of the Depository with a clipboard in his hand, and that Oswald asked him to close the elevator gate and to send the elevator back up to him. He believed that his encounter with Oswald took place at 11:55 a.m.—35 minutes before the assassination. The Commission report stated that Oswald was not seen again “until after the shooting.” However, in an FBI report taken the day after the assassination, Givens said that the encounter took place at 11:30 a.m. and that he later saw Oswald reading a newspaper on the first floor at 11:50 a.m. Oswald’s boss, William Shelley, also testified that he saw Oswald on the first floor between 11:45 and 11:50 a.m. Janitor Eddie Piper also testified to seeing Oswald on the first floor at 12:00 p.m. Another co-worker, Bonnie Ray Williams was on the sixth floor of the Depository eating his lunch and was there until at least 12:10 p.m. He said that during that time he did not see Oswald, or anyone else, on the sixth floor and felt he was the only one up there.
We are asked to believe that the fatal shot was not fired when the Kennedy motorcade was coming down Houston Street, straight at the Texas School Book Depository when Oswald would have had a full view of Kennedy’s torso, chest and head. It is claimed that he instead waited until the motorcade had made a 110 degree turn up Elm Street when he only had a shot at the back of the president’s head and a bit of his one shoulder, and this was obscured by a tree (which was later cut down).
Then, firing through the branches of a tree he rapidly got off three shots in 4.5 seconds. Again, this was with a bolt action rifle carbine. Cycling the bolt on such a rifle and restoring his grip with his finger on the trigger in such a short time was a feat only able to be duplicated by experienced marksmen after much practice.
Even then, it is known that the scope on Oswald’s rifle was badly out of line and had to be corrected before the experts could hit anything with it.Connally testified that when his head was facing about 20 degrees left of center, he was hit in his upper right back by a bullet he did not hear fired.
We are asked to believe that the fatal bullet went through Kennedy, paused in mid-air for two seconds (as indicated by an analysis of the Zapruder film) and then wounded John Connally in two places. It then supposedly fell out of Connally and came to rest in the stretcher on which was laying after the incident.
While we are delving into questionable aspects of the assassination investigation, it must be said that 21 witnesses and others with relevant information died violent deaths without testifying to the Warren Commission. Then in 1978, the second round, 16 more violent killings took place, including the murder of George deMohrenschildt himself . He was killed by a gun blast to the head three hours after a House assassination committee investigator had tried to contact him to set up an interview. Incidentally, he was a close friend of George H. W. Bush, who was in his address book that was on his person at the time of the murder.
These are the salient points in any consideration of the facts of the case. The most important potential criminal investigation of the Twentieth Century was not pursued with the vigor and determination that an ordinary bank heist would have warranted. To this very day, all we will hear in the popular media are nostalgic memories of the Kennedy era, well known recounts of the assassination, and dismissals of any reference to the most blatantly unprosecuted murder of any world leader ever known.
In my mind, it seems obvious that Oswald was a mere patsy, a red herring used to divert attention from a State Crime Against Democracy. I’ll leave the discussion of reasons why Kennedy was murdered, and who did the deed to the well known, nationally syndicated radio talk show host Thom Hartman. View a video of him discussing the “whodunnit” aspect HERE.
1. Philip Melanson Spy Saga – Melanson was University of Massachusetts Chancellor Professor of Policy Studies http://www.ctka.net/melanson.html
2. Lee Harvey Oswald in Russia; Peter Vronsky 1991 – is a Canadian author, filmmaker and investigative historian. first Westerner ever to interview Oswald’s friends, lovers and acquaintances in Russia. He holds a Ph. D in criminal justice history and espionage in international relations from the University of Toronto. http://www.russianbooks.org/cv.htm
3. JFK assassination Mp3 downloads at http://www.tucradio.org/parenti.html