Marina Oswald
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Marina Oswald Today, 18 October, is Lee Harvey Oswald's birthday. He would have been 74 today (JFK would be 96). At the time of his 24th birthday, in 1963, his wife Marina and their 20-month-old daughter June were living outside Dallas in Irving, in the house of Ruth Paine. During weekdays, Lee stayed in the Dallas suburb of Oak Cliff. His activities in New Orleans and Mexico were behind him now. He had been working in the Texas School Book Depository since the 16th. On the 20th, their second daughter, Rachel, would be born. On his birthday, Marina and Ruth 'made quite an occasion of it. Ruth brought wine, decorated the table, and baked a cake. When the cake was carried in, glittering with candles, everybody sang, "Happy Birthday, Lee." Lee was visibly moved, and his eyes filled with tears' (Summers, The Kennedy Conspiracy, p.282). In the 3 December 2001...

Lee-Harvey-Oswald-backyard
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Continuing directly from the last entry, we examine more of John Newman's trawl through the declassified files in his book Oswald and the CIA (2008 edition). Government interest in Lee Harvey Oswald began with his defection in October 1959 and continued until '63. It's time to look now at his controversial 'redefection' from the USSR back to the USA in June '62. Oswald's 'redefection' It has often seemed curious to the conspiracy theorists, and indeed many others, that Oswald, who defected to the USSR, was allowed to defect back to the US without being punished by the American authorities, causing some people to think he was a secret agent. But we dealt with the issue of Oswald being a 'dangle' in the last entry and it is highly unlikely he was a spook. One of the main factors that it was so easy for Oswald to come back is that...

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There are many mysteries about Oswald, beyond the JFK assassination - his defection, redefection, New Orleans, Mexico, etc. - and no-one seems to clear up mysteries like these better than John Newman, a professor of history and a former military intelligence officer. He trawled through the material released by the JFK Records Act 1992 with a real knowledge of how clandestine systems work, the result being the rewarding tome Oswald and the CIA (1995). I examine here the 2008 edition, with its startling 'epilogue, 2008'. Understandably, as a defector to the USSR in 1959, Oswald was of great official interest to the US authorities from that point onwards. Newman follows 'the trails in Oswald's CIA, FBI, DOD, Navy, Army... American Embassy... State Department... Immigration and Naturalization Service' files (p.xix). His book does 'not address the assassination of President Kennedy. We will not discuss Dealey Plaza. This book is content to...

Mystery Man
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Oswald in Mexico! Directly continuing from the last entry in this series, the reference book to hand is still Deep Politics II The New Revelations in U.S. Government Files 1994-1995 Essays on Oswald, Mexico and Cuba, and all page references are to that, unless otherwise stated. The reader may recall that Nicaraguan intelligence agent Gilberto Alvarado gave up on his story that (a) Oswald was associated with the Cuban consulate in Mexico City and its official Luisa Calderon, and (b) Oswald was paid by the Cuban consulate to assassinate JFK. Alvarado retracted finally on 5 December '63 (and it is unlikely that the story was true: Calderon shows surprise upon being told of JFK's death in the 'transcripts from Cuban embassy and Cubana Airlines conversations on 22 Nov 1963' p.22). But in the meantime, while the Alvarado story was still in play, there were consequences for Silvia Durán, the only...

deep-politics-ii
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There are mind-bending Oswald mysteries in Mexico! Peter Dale Scott's Deep Politics II The New Revelations in U.S. Government Files 1994-1995 Essays on Oswald, Mexico, and Cuba (1995) (3rd edn. 2003) is a short book with a narrower focus than Deep Politics and the Death of JFK (aka Deep Politics I - page references will be to Deep Politics II unless otherwise stated). It deals with my 'favourite' mystery of the JFK saga: Oswald in Mexico. By that I mean it's the most likely thing to make me go 'WHAT!?' repeatedly. Oswald supposedly spent 26 Sep. - 3 Oct. '63 in Mexico City, to obtain a visa to visit Cuba (which had severed diplomatic ties with the US in '61). Win Scott, CIA station chief in Mexico, sent a cable to CIA Director John McCone on 8 Oct. (Deep Politics I, p.39; cable reproduced in John Newman, Oswald and the...

Deep Politics
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'There is no danger of a deep state out of control in some way,' said William Hague, the UK's Foreign Secretary in June 2013, speaking about the Edward Snowden revelations. 'Which must be the first time a British minister has used the expression "deep state" in the House of Commons,' noted Robin Ramsay in Lobster #65. Hague's reference to the deep state points to the political writing of Peter Dale Scott and his concept of deep politics, first promulgated through Scott's 1993 book Deep Politics and the Death of JFK. 'Deep politics' (and you can see Scott introducing the topic in this video) is defined as 'all those political practises and arrangements, deliberate or not, which are usually repressed rather than acknowledged' (p.7). He goes on, in the preface to the paperback edition, to expand on this definition: 'A deep political system or process is one which habitually resorts to...

Who's Who in the JFK Assassination
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This wonderful idea for a book was realized in 1993, for the 30th anniversary: Who's Who in the JFK Assassination, An A-to-Z Encyclopedia, by Michael Benson, with the subtitle Information on More than 1,400 Suspects, Victims, Witnesses, Law Enforcement Officials and Investigators. Benson begins this reference work with an introduction that identifies the appeal of the assassination to be 'the sleazy slice of grotesque Americana, the labyrinth of characters and the deeply layered plot' (p.vii), which I often feel to be the story. He even refers to the case as 'hallucinatory' (p.viii). Benson's introduction is helpful, though. He directs the reader to entries appropriate for whichever assassin theory that they are interested in: for the Mafia theory, you're to look at Marcello, Trafficante, Hoffa, Giancana and Ruby; for the CIA theory, it's de Mohrenschildt, E. Howard Hunt and Marita Lorenz; for the pro-Vietnam War 'military-industrial complex' theory, it's Michael Paine,...

Reasonable Doubt
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Last week we were some way into showing how Henry Hurt's Reasonable Doubt shows that Oswald did not commit murder beyond a reasonable doubt. Let doubt be our guide as we proceed... Oswald and the rifle Hurt's first quibble with Oswald's rifle shooting is that in investigative re-creations of the scenario, marksmen for both the Warren Commission (WC) and the HSCA could not fire three shots from the 6th floor of the Texas School Book Depository within the time frame and hit the targets. Was Oswald better than any of these shooters, then? (p.101). There also had to be an ammunition clip for the gun to be fired that fast, i.e. otherwise 'the cartridges must be hand-loaded, one by one' (p.103), but Hurt points out there is no mention in testimony of an ammo clip being found. The ammo itself tells a strange story, but I'm confused about Hurt's logic....

Reasonable Doubt
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The other great general book about the JFK assassination is Reasonable Doubt by Henry Hurt. First published in 1986, this is the Owl Book Edition of '87. Unfortunately it's never been updated. It's more aggrieved in tone than The Kennedy Conspiracy, but then, Anthony Summers isn't American. 'Reasonable doubt' is 'the standard of evidence required to validate a criminal conviction in most adversarial legal systems' (Wikipedia). Under this standard, the defence doesn't have to provide an alternate explanation for how the crime happened, it only has to pick holes in the prosecution case. Hurt picks holes in the official (Warren Commission & HSCA) versions of the JFK assassination, and although his book isn't explicit about this, the first 7 chapters are enough to raise reasonable doubt and acquit Oswald of all charges. A second meaning to the title is that by raising so many questions and pointing out so many...

Kennedy Conspiracy
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This week, I present one of the best general books on the assassination, The Kennedy Conspiracy by Anthony Summers. The title does not 'reflect a set view by the author' (p. ix). It remains open-minded about the lone assassin and about conspiracy theories. It rigorously hunts for the 'true facts' (p.361), and although it produces 'no solutions' (p.378), it is a readable, fascinating and commendable work. Originally published in 1980, in the aftermath of the House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA) investigation, it has been published under various titles over the years (Conspiracy, Not in Your Lifetime), and this is the 'revised and updated' third edition, published in 1998, the year the Assassination Records Review Board (ARRB) released its final report. (If you haven't heard of the HSCA investigation and the ARRB trawl for documents, they took place because over the years the US citizenry believed less and less in...