Sunday, July 27, 2008

Lee Oswald: The Pamphleteer

Traveling down the rabbit trial again I keep crossing paths with Oswald handing out the Free Play for Cuba pamphlets on Canal Street in New Orleans. There are a lot of things at play here and many other things that remain a mystery to this day. As I trek down this trail I see there is a lot more going on here than just a guy handing out flyers; this story travels far and wide from New Orleans to Montreal.

First of all, Lee H. Oswald is the only member (and president) of the FPFC committee in New Orleans. An organization for the support of Castro and communist Cuba, that was established in 1960 and went out of operation soon after the assassination. Even after all of the publicity Oswald gets on local TV showing him handling out the pamphlets, has his altercation with anti Castro Cubans, gets arrested, does his TV interview and radio debate—he’s still the only member. Nobody ever joins. After he later moves to Dallas, he never hooks up with the FPFC committee there.

The pamphlets he is handing out are stamped with “554 Camp Street” address. Warren Commission apologists maintain that Oswald had no rented office at the address. Guy Banister, the conservative, anti communist former FBI agent, turned private eye, did maintain an office there. Under the official story, Oswald did no work for Banister, nor did they know each other. Independent researchers maintain they did, based on numerous eyewitness reports, including Banister’s secretary who said she saw Oswald passing through the office on more than one occasion.

It is all self-defeating. Because if Oswald does not maintain any connections to the Camp street address, then nobody can get in touch with him after he passes out the pamphlets. Isn’t that one of the purposes? Besides spreading the word? And apparently, nobody ever does.

Even more curious is Oswald’s letter to the FPFC headquarters in New York describing the altercation on Canal Street. The letter is postmarked 5 days before the incident occurs! This doesn’t make any sense, other than assuming the scuffle was a set-up, a covert undertaking, to craft a public image of Oswald as a Marxist. Or, a method to flush out Cubans with communist sympathies. If the scuffle was a prearranged event, then Oswald apparently mailed the letter on the day he thought the operation was to take place and for some reason, it was altered. Perhaps not enough Cubans on Canal Street that day to get into a quarrel with?

A side issue, but one of interest, is the printing of the leaflets themselves. It has been documented that they were printed at the Jones Printing Company of New Orleans. In the National Archives is the crude drawing Oswald did of the leaflet copy. The folks at the print shop recalled doing business with a man identifying himself as “Lee Osborne.” Neither the owner Douglass Jones, nor the secretary Myra Silver, could identify photos of Oswald as being the same man named Lee Osborne that ordered the pamphlets printed. Jones specifically said the man he dealt with had a huskier build, that of a laborer. So who was this guy? Another cog in the operation?

Osborne is a reoccurring surname. Oswald met a man named Osborne on his bus trip to Mexico City in September of 1963. And Osborne was from Montreal. (The significance of Montreal will be discussed below.)

After a while, the story starts to take a different turn. Oswald begins to show up handing out pamphlets in different places. He is spotted handing out leaflets at the port where the USS Wasp was docked. Here Oswald got in a heated debate with a port security official and was asked to leave, since he had no permission to be there. After a bit of arguing he did depart. There are surviving samples of the pamphlets he handed out at the dock and none were stamped with a return address. So once again, nobody is going to be getting in touch with Oswald.

It gets really strange when Oswald turns up again passing out pamphlets in Montreal, Canada! This suppressed story was never presented to the Warren Commission or later to the House Select Committee on Assassinations. It was chased down by research Gary Shaw who waged a long FOIA battle with the FBI, which resulted in a stalemate in 1984. Finally, the JFK Records act of 1993 forced the FBI to open their files and release photos and other documents about a possible Oswald trip to Montreal.

What we now know about this account of Oswald in Canada comes from a reputable source—Jean Paul Tremblay, a U.S. Customs and Excise agent doing casework on Cuba in Montreal in the summer of 1963. In his documented report, he states that in August of 1963, he learned there was a fellow handing out leaflets for Cuba on St. Jacques and McGill Streets and walked up to the young man and got one, making note of his looks. He would later positively identify the man as Lee Oswald. He also took note that Oswald was not alone but accompanied by three individuals; two men and a woman. Two of three people, a blonde, freckle faced man and a short, heavyset woman, agent Tremblay would later identify from a photograph of participants in the Quebec-Washington-Guantanamo Walk for Peace, which had occurred in June of 1963. Both of these individuals would later be identified as Fred Moore and Erika Enzer. It is unknown if there were follow up interviews with these people. If so, we would have two more witnesses to Oswald being in Montreal.

Under the government-approved narrative, Oswald can’t be in Canada. He’s dirt poor, his wife does not acknowledge any trips during this period and if he does travel there, where does he get the money? How does he go via bus, train, or plane? However, as John Newman points out in his book Oswald and the CIA, the FBI acknowledges missing Oswald’s whereabouts from April to June in 1963. Oswald is supposed to be working at the William Reily Coffe Company during this time, being terminated for theft, on July 19.

More importantly, Tremblay’s report made it to the upper channels of the government. In one released document (link) , an Airgram that was sent to the Department of State by the United States Consul General in Canada. Two sources are listed. Agent Tremblay, and an unnamed police officer quoted as a source in a Montreal Star newspaper article dated from November 27. At first they discount the affair, but then add: "However, there may be something to the story."

We may never know what led them to this conclusion and what they followed up on.

I respect Jean Paul Tremblay’s account of what happened. He’s no Johnny off the street, someone with years of changing statements for the Bugliosi’s of the world to chew up and spit out. In fact, he is virtually unknown in assassination investigation chronicles. Tremblay was a trained investigator, a professional in the examination of people and situations. His account stands. Too bad we don’t have his copy of the FPFC flyer he retrieved. It may exist in some file somewhere in the bowels of the beast.

Once again we have a story with evidence of a cover-up (FBI withholding documents and fighting to keep them withheld) and circumstantial evidence of Lee Oswald on covert operations. This is an event known to the FBI and kept from the public and all investigative agencies of the government for over 20 years. Once again, if there is nothing to it then why not release this information?

If we just had a photograph of him on the streets of Montreal as we do on the streets of New Orleans.

Sources:; Google; Newman, Oswald and the CIA, Bugliosi, Reclaiming History;