Tuesday, December 27, 2011

End Note Follies

To me, the most interesting part of Vincent Bugliosi's 1600-page Reclaiming History isn't in the reams of text but in the End Notes he has on the CD-ROM which accompanies the book. Some have said that this where where Bugliosi places the more difficult aspects of the Kennedy assassination in hope that the reader won't pay enough attention to go back there and look into what he has to say about it. Maybe so. I have a theory, and general feeling, that Bugliosi started out with the End Notes first and the rest of his book was fleshed out from them, or used as a guide for the various ghost writers he employed. Sometimes the End Notes offer additional information on a subject covered in the main text and in other places it's the same information with little elaboration. Or, even information that seems out of place such as the mini-bio on Che Guevara.

Never the less, Bugliosi's writing style is evident throughout the End Notes, filled with sarcasm, straw man arguments, vicious personal attacks on conspiracy oriented researchers and the hypocrisy of accusing others of what he routinely does, which mainly, is omitting facts to make his arguments work.

What follows is a look into some of Bugliosi’s commentary and theory in the End Notes and what lengths (i.e., skating on thin ice) he goes to in his defense of the Warren Commission.

A So Very Comprehensive Investigation
(End Notes, p.579, Note 1037)

"Because the Warren Commission’s investigation of the assassination was so very comprehensive, it even included a 'limited background investigation' of Officer J. D. Tippit and found nothing suspicious (CE 2985, 26 H 483–492)."

This of course is hilarious. The declarations that Bugliosi makes like this make wonder about the esteemed prosecutor's judgement. Or if he actually believes some this nonsense he comes up with.

The fact of the matter is, what the Warren Commission did was hardly what one would call a legitimate investigation. After all, they had no independent investors on staff and instead had to rely mainly on Hoover's FBI for the facts in the case. They were supplied with only the evidence that verified the lone gunman theory as espoused by Hoover, the early author of the lone assassin story and the man behind the curtain pulling the levers. So what the Commission did was an evaluation of what they were provided and the FBI did not provide them everything. Meanwhile, the staff lawyers established six major areas of inquiry and four were on Lee Oswald. The actual investigation of JFK's death was conducted by the FBI, with narrow latitudes (no conspiracy) and totally overseen by J. Edgar Hoover.

There many good books on the machinations of the Warren Commission and one of the best is Gerald McKnight’s Breach of Trust.

The Minox Camera
(End Notes, p.394, Note 793)

Lots of controversy surrounds this piece of evidence. In a nutshell: Dallas police discover a Minox camera in Oswald's belongings. It’s a popular tool among intelligence operatives. The FBI gets wind of it and asks the Dallas police detective to change the description of it from a camera to a light meter. He refuses. Later, the FBI will rename it a light meter anyway in their evidence inventory. It will remain so for many years.

As Bugliosi notes, researcher John Armstrong made a trip to the National Archives to examine and photograph Oswald's Minox camera. There, he found the camera was sealed up so it couldn't be opened and that there was no way of observing the Dallas Police officer that initialed it or examine the camera's serial number. Armstrong rightly thought this suspicious and as usual, Bugliosi does not. And instead of figuring out why this camera had obviously been tampered with, Bugliosi resorts to his tried and true method of mockery against John Armstrong, who admits owning a Minox camera and asking him, "By the way, John, where were you at 12:30 p.m. on November 22, 1963? What did you say, John? Tulsa, Oklahoma? Can you prove it?"

What an ass.

At least John Armstrong actually made the effort to travel to the National Archives and examine the thing and report what he found. Something Bugliosi obviously didn't bother with as he practices research from the confines of the California state border.

Also, the serial number for the camera is listed as 27259 by the FBI. However, a Minox Corporation spokesman said that only six digit serial numbers were used for cameras sold in the United States. It is not a valid number as spokesman Kurt Lohn said. Once again, Bugliosi does not comment on this discrepancy or seek to resolve the issue.

Howard Brennan's Oswald Standing And Shooting
(End Notes, p.531, Note 956)

Howard Brennan is one of those star witnesses that the lone nut crowd hang their hats on. Here is one of the few people that actually (or claimed to) see the rifle out the window. Brennan is not without controversy for not only his failure in being able to pick Oswald out of the line-up (claiming fears of personal safety) even after seeing him on TV, but one of his other claims is that he saw Oswald standing up while shooting. However, the window is so low to the floor that Oswald would have been shooting through the upper window glass if that were the case. This is of course, ridiculous. Bugliosi solves this by having Brennan's position on the ground looking up to the sixth floor giving him an altered perspective for a mistaken impression of a shooter standing at the window. How convenient.

His highly accurate assessment of Oswald’s height at 5’10” is another matter.

Bugliosi ponders: “I don’t believe Brennan was asked this question but we can assume that he estimated Oswald’s height by extrapolation from what he could see of Oswald’s upper body.”

The subject of an early description of Oswald’s height is an ongoing controversy as the source of this information is confusing. Bugliosi is saying that Brennan could accurately judge Oswald's height by seeing him from the waist up–only. I don't see how this is even remotely possible or how Bugliosi could make such a claim and expect it to be taken seriously. If Oswald is leaning on the box at the window shooting, he’s not even going to be seen from the waist up–more like the shoulder up. So it’s impossible to make such a determination from Brennan’s viewing angle.

Typical of Bugliosi to give Brennan a pass. If he were a witness contradicting the official story, Bugliosi would tear him or her to shreds for getting off script, such as he did to Acquilla Clemons who he calls a "kook" twice, with no citation, once in main text and again in the End Notes (p.52, Note 78). (Clemons claimed to have seen two men involved in the Tippet slaying, where most witnesses see only one suspect.)

So here is a witness who said he saw Oswald shooting from the six floor of the TSBD, saw no flash or recoil, couldn’t ID Oswald from the police line-up then later changed his mind and said it really was Oswald when under oath to the Warren Commission. It’s funny to read Bugliosi’s explanations for witnesses as weak as Howard Brennan and what lengths he has flay about to work out the kinks.

Mr. Bugliosi, you make a fine contortionist if you ever took up the trade.

Judyth Vary Baker Character Assassination
(End Notes, p.539, Note 978)

Bugliosi saves some of his best (or worst) drive-by character assassination for Judyth Vary Baker. Baker's story of being Lee Oswald's lover in the summer of 1963 is not without controversy. She is one of those figures in JFK research that polarizes the community into camps of true believers and true disbelievers. I have given her a book Me and Lee, a good review here, as she does seem to have a good grasp of the JFK case, and seems to fill in a lot holes in the story of Oswald’s life in the summer of 1963. But even I have my doubts about some elements of her story. She claims to be involved with important events yet nobody documents her being there. One such event is the Oswald scuffle with anti Castro Cubans when he was handing out FPFC pamphlets. She claims to have been there on the street as a witness but nobody else reports this and the TV film footage does not reveal her. Her story is a long and convoluted tale that goes off into all kinds of tangents and Bugliosi does give a good accounting of the various winding threads.

The basic story is, Judyth, a whiz-kid science geek and Lee become star-crossed lovers and along the way Judyth becomes aware that Lee is an undercover agent (CIA and FBI) and gets wrapped up in a plot to assassinate the president. His goal according to Judyth is not to back out but to stay in and hopefully defeat the plot. He obviously fails and is framed as the patsy.

Her accounting of Lee Oswald makes him appear as a heroic figure, one seldom seen in the annals of JFK assassination research. Though it seems strange for this unsung hero to enter a movie theater with a loaded .38, resist arrest, assault a police officer, and attempt to shoot said police officer in the face.

Bugliosi can't help himself with her. He saves some of his best/worst invectives for driving his nails into her coffin. He starts out calling her, "Judyth Vary (as in very silly) Baker. " He further states, "Judyth’s story is so absurd that it is not worthy of citations to sources..." So unworthy he then precedes to ramble on for 21 paragraphs about her.

I think it is well established and she and Oswald both worked at the same time at William B. Reily and Company, Inc., a coffee company. But not for Bugliosi who doubts she worked there and says in this Note that she never establishes this face, and his gives as proof, no check stubs with her name on it. However, in her latest book, Me and Lee, she does feature a Reily coffee company W2 form with her name on it. So she is there as an employee the same time Oswald is.

Never the less, Bugliosi can't just disagree with somebody with a story to tell, and in this case, an off-script story from the one the Warren Report relates. No, he has to be as ugly as possible about it. In this Note, he ridicules Judyth Baker with the same relish a twisted mind does when pulling the wings off a fly.

[Note: Currently Judyth Vary Baker has her own page and forum on Facebook. It’s basically queen Judyth holding court with her loving followers doting on her every word. I hate to say it but there is a preponderance of ignorance expressed by many of the posters there as well lack of maturity. Poor Martin Shackelford is trying to set the record straight and is being told, literally, to blow it “out of his ass.” It’s an uphill battle against an army of cultists and I don’t how he keeps it up. It’s like trying to herd cats. To his credit, he remains very civil. Keep up the good fight Martin!]

The Attack on Saundra Spencer's Credibility
(End Notes, pp. 264-268)

As Bugliosi states on p.268:
"We know she’s wrong when she says the photographs she saw show a 'blown-out chunk' in the center of the back of the president’s head. Why? Because apart from the observations of all three autopsy surgeons, the official autopsy photographs and X-rays conclusively, and without question, depict the body of President Kennedy at the time of the autopsy and show none of what Spencer described."

A strange response. Navy Photographic technician Saundra Spencer was responsible for processing the autopsy films. She said she saw a massive blow-out at the back of Kennedy's head in one of the processed images. However, the important point here, is that she is not the only witness to see this wound. In fact, it's one of the biggest, ongoing controversies in the annals of JFK assassination. Just about everybody that has close contact with John Kennedy's body saw the large rear head wound from all of the Parkland doctors and nurses, to the two FBI Special Agents, Sibert and O'Neil observing and taking notes, the two autopsy techs, Jenner and O'Conner, the many Dealey Plaza witnesses, to even the mortician who prepared Kennedy's body. And this is just a partial list of witnesses.

It comes down to this–the people with the responsibility to document the massive head wound, the three pathologists, Drs Humes, Boswell and Finck did not. This evokes a central mystery of the case. They were all military, so were they pressured to conform to the lone gunman theory early on? Some people think so. Basically, we are left with two camps of eminently qualified experts that don't agree. And frankly, there are more expert witnesses that saw the large wound to the back of Kennedy’s head than did not.

As far as autopsy photographs go, there is a lot monkey business going on there. Photographer John Stringer, when examining his photographs in the National Archives noted numerous problems. For example, he says the negatives he saw were not of the same brand-name film he used–which was Kodak. The film in the Archives is Ansco. Apparently, the negatives he was looking at are copies of the originals. And who would do that? My guess is the Kennedy family. After the autopsy they got their hands on all autopsy materials such as all film and tissue samples–yes the brain too. After negations, the returned back the films to the government as a deed gift but were allowed to keep the tissue samples I think they are the people who made the copies and have the originals locked away.

And on top of that, Stringer says there are photographs he took that are missing. Also, there other photographs he says he didn't take, such as the bottom of the brain. Who was the other photographer? At any rate, Stringer's experiences are just the beginning of the tampering of the photographic evidence in the case. Dr. David Mantik has a very good essay, "20 Conclusions After 9 Visits" where he uncovers the tampering of the X-ray films in the National Archives. Bugliosi has read it and knows what the implications are and does nothing about it. (Get the PDF HERE.)

Saundra Spencer is a highly credible witness to there being a large blow-out to the right rear of Kennedy's head. Bugliosi attempts to discredit her are weak and speaks of the desperate path he walks in defending the sloppy job that the Warren Commission did. Does he really believe what he writes?

Che Guevara Biography
(End Notes, p.998, Note 1345)
And what did the romanic communist revolutionary have to do with the JFK assassination? Answer: Absolutely nothing! This note is entitled "CIA’s attempt to murder Castro," though there is little written on that. Instead it ends up being a mini-biography of Che Guevara. This Bugliosi intellect works in mysterious ways that mere mortals can not begin to fathom.

For Now...
There are places where he doesn't expand on any knew information and repeats what is in the main text. Also, Bugliosi appears to have left the hard to suss out issues for the End Notes. Such as the controversy regarding Oswald's two wallets where he struggles with the issue and then concludes it was all a confusing mistake and the second wallet actually belonged to policemen Tippit. Or the lack of documentation for the bullet, the famous CE-399. Bugliosi thinks Special Agent Barnwell Odom simply forgot (a contention he denied to researchers when asked).

More End Notes follies coming. Stay tuned...

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Book Review: Last Word, My Indictment Of The CIA In The Murder of JFK by Mark Lane

The grizzled veteran of many a battle with the Status Quo, attorney Mark Lane has authored a new book, Last Word, My Indictment Of The CIA In The Murder of JFK. In it he covers familiar ground from his personal interviews with witnesses to his trials in getting his first book, Rush to Judgement published, the first popular book to question the Warren Report's findings. From there on, he battles with government and the media, where he suffers many nasty personal attacks but also wins a few victories along the way.

Mark Lane has a tendency to interject himself in the case. This is not without merit. Lane knew John Kennedy personally, was involved with council to Marguerite Oswald, attempted to represent Lee Oswald's case before the Warren Commission, provided testimony to the Commission, and in 1966 published the first popular book critical of the Warren Report, Rush to Judgement. Probably Lane's most noted achievement was successfully defending Spotlight magazine's slander lawsuit filed by E. Howard Hunt, when the magazine accused Hunt of being involved in the Kennedy assassination.

Ultimately, Lane concludes the CIA is the main culprit in the assassination of John Kennedy and the purpose of this book is to build the case.

Only The Pioneers Get The Arrows
Mark Lane takes a break along the way to relate some personal experiences of his years researching the Kennedy assassination. One standout incident he relates is the time he was pillared by New York Times icon Anthony Lewis. The long time liberal intellectual for the Times, attacked Lane in an op-ed piece calling him a ghoul, a pitchman, a creature and unethical among other things. And it didn't end there. According to Lane, Lewis accused him of selling JFK assassination bumper stickers; charing outrageous fees for lecturing; and forecast evil omens of civil cases and potential charges pressed against Lane at his state’s Bar.

As Lane remarked, "Everything that Lewis said was untruthful and none of his fanciful predictions were realized."

Lewis acts as if he was on the Commission and got his labors criticized by Lane. It's such a nasty, slanderous personal attack--so extreme in vitriol--I fail to understand the hostility. But this much hate and insults belies that a nerve was struck; a nerve nobody knew was there. Sent in like a raging pit bull, Anthony Lewis may have overplayed his hand to a hidden master he is serving. As CIA Director William Colby told the Church Committee, every major figure in the press is owned. It's an open secret that the mainstream media is littered with government shills.

Obviously these evil words wounded. Lane notes the irony of Lewis going on a rampage, demanding editors not publish anything Mark Lane writes, or talk show hosts to block his appearances to speak, while at the same time, Lewis wins awards for his alleged commitment to free speech and support of the First Amendment, holding the prestigious James Madison chair at Columbia University's School of Journalism. Indeed, the hypocrisy is glaring and these institutions seem to care little about it. The Big Man of free speech is fine with it till he runs into free speech he doesn't like and then the rules change. All Lane did was have the guts to say he didn't believe the government's story on how John Kennedy was killed. And all of this erupts.

One thing I do admire about Mark Lane--he does not respond back in kind when injured with verbal slings and arrows.

There are other slurs along the way, but one catches enough wind with Anthony Lewis' remarks. Basically all of these attacks ultimately fail. Lane is still writing and publishing books. The majority of the people don't believe the official story. Neither side is ever going away as the battleground shifts to the Internet and beyond.

The Bugliosi Rebuttal
One of my favorite parts of Mark Lane's book is a much needed rebuttal to Vince Bugliosi's slanderous attacks in his book, Reclaiming History. Actually, Lane's rebuttal has been on the Web in an essay he wrote a few years ago. This chapter in Last Word is almost word for word of that essay.

Bugliosi's approach to critics of the Warren Commission is akin to an angry lab monkey slinging feces at anyone who draws near his cage. Every critic great and small gets insulted or else labeled a "conspiracy theorist"–even those people such as Dr. David Mantik, who do not craft theories. As with the Anthony Lewis attacks, I fail to see the rage. Simply saying the "Emperor has no clothes," supported with the facts, is not a cause for such nastiness. Unless of recourse, you are on the Emperor's staff (such as Max Holland is).

According to Mark Lane, everything Vince Bugliosi says of him is false. From being called a "fraud" to the most egregious–Bugliosi's false claim that Lane misrepresented himself as a police officer to get an interview with an important witness. That last issue is easily debunked by Lane since there is in existence, the original recording which was given to the Warren Commission in 1964. In the recording Lane clearly does not represent Capt. Fitz and only identifies himself in questioning Helen Markham's witnessing of the murder of Dallas police officer J. D. Tippet.

It's a strange blunder on Bugliosi's part, not to mention highly ill responsible. It's also odd that the publisher should have had a team of fact checkers employed to catch mistakes like this. Bugliosi's criticisms of Lane, besides being apparently erroneous, are also slanderous as impersonating a police office is a crime. But, it won't be the first time Bugliosi slandered someone. He was sued for slander by Herbert H. Weisel, his milkman, in the early 1970's and settled the case by agreeing to a $12,500 payment.

Mark Lane answered a question I have long wondered--why didn't he sue Bugliosi for character assassination? Lane's answer is that he didn't want to bring any greater publicity to Bugliosi and his book that flopped in the marketplace. I can understand that but winning a suit could also make a public disgrace of Bugliosi's faulty research and show who the real fraud is.

On the other hand, Lane has sent fair warning of a lawsuit to Tom Hanks and the producers are working with Bugliosi on a 10-part TV series for HBO to be broadcast for the 50th anniversary in 2013 should Bugliosi repeat his attacks on Lane for that show.

Top CIA Man Drops A Huge One
One of greatest admissions in the book is the one made by David Atlee Philips who is a legend in the CIA. He had his fingers in all the pies and knew where a lot of the bodies were buried from operations in Guatemala to Chile and beyond. He eventually rose to become the head of all CIA operations in the Western Hemisphere. Lane documents two incidents David Philips. One, is during the House Select Committee hearings on assassinations when Philips was caught red-handed lying about tape recordings of Oswald speaking which Philips said were erased. They had not been--Lane had gotten an FBI document via a FIOA request. Philips could have been indicted for contempt of Congress and perjury but the funding was cut and Philips skated free.

Secondly, at a USC debate a student asked Philips about Oswald in Mexico City and amazingly, the veteran intelligence officer volunteered that Oswald was never in Mexico City. It's an amazing admission and is documented by virtually no other researcher. Lane comments on how one Warren Commission supporter Bugliosi, who wrote a 1,600 book and never mentioned this fact in all of those pages. (And I should add, the book comes with 958 pages of End Notes on CD-ROM and it's not mentioned there either. At any rate Bugliosi can't because it contradicts the story he is telling.)

Lanes uses this information on Phillips to build his case that the CIA is behind JFK's murder.

Finishing Up
Towards the end of his book, Mark Lane builds a case for CIA wrongdoing. There are assassinations, overthrown governments, media manipulation, CIA run military operations (which still go on today) and wacky mind control experiments. No doubt a nefarious and Machiavellian organization. However, I don't see where Lane really pins down the CIA for John Kennedy's death. Yes, plenty of sins here to be sure. But there is still much that is not known, records still classified for reasons of "National Security" for a full case to be presented. Ultimately, big themes such as this must go conjectural in many respects.

Never the less, Mark Lane's, Last Word, is a lively and fast paced read with plenty of points to show that the Warren Report doesn't pass the smell test and more needs to be done. His response to Anthony Lewis and Vincent Bugliosi's ad hominem attacks makes for a satisfying rebuttal to bullies. Lane displays no bitterness, just an even keeled need to set the record straight.

Last Word, My Indictment Of The CIA In The Murder of JFK by Mark Lane
is available here: Link

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Vinnie and the Doubles

I decided to do something I hadn't in a long time. Crack open Vince Bugliosi's Reclaiming History, his massive 1600-page tome and see what he had to say on record about the Lee Oswald impersonations. Of course, I knew it was going to be a debunking of the whole thing but I wanted to see at what lengths he would go to quash it. As usual, that chapter is filled with his usual doses of invective, sarcasm, unfair dismissals, omissions and specious arguments.

Bugliosi Rips On Armstrong
Bugliosi starts out defining researcher John Armstrong as the leading proponent of the Oswald doppelganger theory. In Armstrong’s book, Harvey and Lee, he proposes that Oswald was being impersonated as young as the age of 13 and the CIA found a boy resembling him of Eastern European decent that spoke Russian well and blended the two personalities or boys into one identity. I know, a farfetched idea. Not only that, but if Oswald is being impersonated as a teenager then he has to have a mother impersonated as well. With Bugliosi’s keen legal mind and sharp wit, this appears to be easy pickings for him to debunk.

Bugliosi from his End Notes (CD-ROM), page 565:

"John Armstrong actually went on to publish a 983-page book in 2003 called Harvey and Lee: How the CIA Framed Oswald, in which he carries his fantasy about a double Oswald to such absurd lengths that not only doesn’t it deserve to be dignified in the main text of my book, but I resent even having to waste a word on it in this endnote."

Ironically, while Bugliosi states that Armstrong's book and theory doesn't "deserve" to get mentioned in his book, while in fact, he does mention John Armstrong's name and work numerous on pages 1021-1022 at the start of his
“The Second Oswald” chapter.

Hey Vinnie, next time check with your ghost writers so you know what is being written down and where!

Bugliosi does bring up a lot of good points showing gaping holes in Armstrong's doppelganger theory. Indeed, there are lots of loose ends with it. But just as Bug constantly vamps on conspiracy researchers for omitting facts to make their plots work out, Bug does exactly the same thing when dealing with just about every controversial issue and the Oswald doubles is no exception. (It's also funny how he harps on researchers for making dumb, embarrassing mistakes. Bugliosi has his fair amount as well. On page 239, he mentions Chet Huntley broadcasting JFK info on ABC–not! It's NBC. And this is just one of dozens of goofy errors he makes. Apparently, he has no shame.)

A case in point is Palmer McBride, who claimed to be fiends with Lee Oswald when they worked at Pfisterer Dental Laboratory in 1957-1958. From the official Warren Report account, during this time, Oswald is supposed to be in the Marines in Japan and later in Taiwan. Bugliosi pulls every trick out of his bag to make McBride look like an unreliable witness. And, most importantly, define him as the only witness. Actually, he is not and Armstrong documents other people that knew a Lee Oswald in New Orleans in this 1957-58 time period. These include numerous employees, members of the local amateur astronomy club and the president of Pfisterer (Armstrong, pg. 172-174, 184-186 and 188-189).

North Dakota Incident
Part of the Oswald dopplegagner legend is the mysterious account of him appearing as a teenager in a Stanley, ND trailer park (Armstrong, pg. 69-72) in the summer of 1953. Grungy looking, riding a beat-up bike, going by the name of Harvey and talking up Marxist ideology, this character tells a young William Timmer who befriends him, that he going to kill the President one day. It's a strange tale to say the least. If you don't believe it, I can understand. I don't know what to think about this story with its strange undercurrents. Under the official account, Oswald is living with his mother in New York as she works retail.

However, after Lee defects in 1959 he gives an interview with Aline Mosby for the UPI where in her article, he mentions living briefly in North Dakota. Bugliosi dismisses John Armstrong's account of this in Harvey and Lee (the definitive book on Oswald impersonations–see my review HERE) accusing him of not seeing that it's a typo in the published article and claiming Mosby has New Orleans, "N O" in her original notes.

Here is where Bugliosi launches into a full deception on this issue. What he omits, and what John Armstrong documents, is there are two sets of notes. One set is handwritten and one set is typewritten. The handwritten notes of which the article derives from has "N D" for North Dakota in them. The typewritten notes were made five years later upon request for the Warren Commission. They contain "N O" is in them. See how Bugliosi confuses the issue? The actual typo is in the newer, typed version, not in the published article or the handwritten notes.

I could say this is an example of Bugliosi at his worse, but he is far from done.

We are still left with the strange account of a teenaged Oswald peddling his bike around in a dusty, oil boom town trailer park. What would be the point of his impersonation at this point? To build a legend of Ozzie the Commie? Who knows...

The Hoover Memo
Here is the famous quote from FBI Director Hoover's June 3, 1960 memorandum:

"Since there is a possibility that an impostor is using Oswald's birth certificate, any current information the Department of State may have concerning subject will be appreciated."

This quote has really made the rounds over the years. It places the source of Oswald being impersonated in the bowels of the government itself, by Hoover's acknowledgment of the possibility. Bugliosi counters the conspiracy advocates by pointing out that they are ignoring the preceding paragraph were Hoover quotes some of Marguerite Oswald's concerns about her son's whereabouts. Bugliosi implies that Hoover gets the idea of Oswald being impersonated from his mother's worries (pg. 1025).

However, at no point in that paragraph does Marguerite state or imply that her son is being impersonated. Indeed, she is worried for his safety, saying he took his birth certificate with him, enrolled at a college in Switzerland and expresses concern about her letters to him being returned.

Bugliosi could dislocate his shoulder with this wacky stretch! I do not see how Hoover could have assumed impersonation from Oswald's mother's anxiety. Bugliosi backtracks a bit when he admits, "...it would appear that Hoover used rather loose language in speculating about the possibility of an impostor."

Whatever. I think it's quite possible that Hoover had learned of the impersonation of Oswald from other sources. In fact, I think that is what is implied in Hoover's statement. He is also asking for more information from the DOS–but does he ever get it? However, it's absurd that he could have gotten the idea from Oswald's mother not getting her letters to her son, or Lee's enrollment at Albert Schweitzer College in Switzerland where he never appears.

Her main concern is a mother’s concern–where is my son at?

The Furniture Store Incident
In another notorious event in the Oswald impersonator saga is when Lee, wife and daughters, show up for a visit to the Furniture Mart in Irving, Texas. According to store owner Mrs. Edith Whitworth, they entered because of a gun repair sign still in the window left there from the previous owner. Lee with rifle in hand is looking to have a part replaced. He is told about the misleading sign and eventually they leave (pg. 1029-1030).

The issue here is that this event occurs during a day in early November when Lee is at work. Once he starts on October 16 at the Texas School Book Depository, he never takes a day off. The clock is ticking down. This serves as the benchmark for the numerous Oswald sightings (outside of work) that will occur from then on till the day of the assassination.

This will give cause for Bugliosi to write off not only Mrs. Whitworth's account but also that of her friend Mrs. Gertrude Hunter, also a witness to Oswald and family appearing in the store that day. He will confidently state, "The likelihood of these women's story being true is practically nil."

Well, not if Oswald is being impersonated! And if it's happening, these two women are witnesses to the fact.

Marina says she never visited the store with Lee and kids. Bugliosi, as usual, treats Marina as a reliable source, above reproach, as he does all witnesses that follow the lone nut scenario. Only those that are at odds with the official story are put under the Bugliosi anal exam. He won't question her character or truthfulness as she lies her way through her Commission testimony. Actually, Marina contradicted herself so many times one of the staff lawyers wanted to put her under cross-examination. Too bad it wasn't done. And Marina today, has totally flipped and believes her late husband to be innocent.

Another important point here in this episode is that these two women are both witnesses to Oswald driving a car. That's a big no-no among the Defenders of the Faith. This gives another tidbit for Bugliosi to dismiss in their account because the Warren Report states that Oswald can't drive. There are however, numerous sightings of Oswald driving (Armstrong, pg. 752 ).

However, both women give their testimony to the Warren Commission and get a chance to meet Marina and the girls in person. They both easily identified. Marina stood out to them anyway, because she never spoke a word when they allege she was in the store. They apparently felt this odd.

Bugliosi, when he finds a witness he doesn't like tries to discredit them with any little thing. The best he could do here was dig up a sister-in-law of Mrs. Hunter that accused her of being prone to telling “tale tales.” Lame. Vinnie, I'm sure we can find somebody in your family that would say the same thing about you.

Mexico City
Nothing quite like "Oswald's Magical Mystery Tour" to Mexico City in the fall of 1963 to muddy the waters of the JFK assassination. Needless to say, it remains one of the more enigmatic events of Lee Oswald's short life. Too involved to go into here, Jeff Morley does a good job in his book, Our Man in Mexico. Check out John Newman’s Oswald and the CIA as well. If you want an even higher level of detail that ramps up the high strangeness, then check out John Armstrong's Harvey and Lee. There is also the Lopez Report, HERE.

In short, Oswald gets the bug to go back to Russia (unexplained) and for some odd reason needs to travel via Cuba to get there. (Interesting that he didn't have to do this the first time.) Many have speculated that his real mission was to be sent on an assassination attempt on Castro, but we'll never know for sure. Bugliosi never defines Oswald's purpose in Mexico either. At any rate, his attempts to get travel visas to either country fail and he soon returns to Texas.

Mexico City, I think, is the most easily proven of all of the Oswald impersonation accounts. Not for Vincent Bugliosi of course because if Oswald is being impersonated that means other people are aware of his movements and actions. He’s supposed to be a nobody. The lone nut supporters have to maintain Oswald's loner status at all costs. Never mind that the likes of J. Edgar Hoover and the Mexico City CIA station chief, Win Scott, both believed that Oswald was being impersonated.

There is a lot going on here, but basically, somebody calls the Russian embassy claiming to be Lee Oswald and speaks broken Russian asking questions about things that Oswald should already know the answers to. Oswald is known to be a very good Russian speaker so this is probably somebody else. A Lee Oswald calls the Cuban embassy asking questions speaking in good Spanish. Oswald is not known to speak Spanish at all. Both embassies are bugged and later, FBI agents will listen to the tapes and determine that it is not Oswald's voice they hear. Hoover is so convinced he tells Lyndon Johnson and he uses it as an argument to convince Chief Justice Earl Warren to chair the Commission. (Bugliosi wants us believe the tapes were destroyed in October of 1963. But Morley in his book says that Station Chief Scott kept a copy in his safe. Basically, for insurance. Mr. B is incorrect. The tapes were around long after the assassination, long enough for FBI agents to give them a listen.)

The Silvia Odio Incident
Yet another legendary story in the JFK assassination. In brief, a Cuban immigrant was staying with her sister when one day in September 26, three men came to the door–two Hispanic men (probably Cubans) and one caucasian, who was introduced as Leon Oswald. They were seeking financial help to fund a take-down of Castro as they knew her father was once a (former) wealthy Cuban businessman. Suspicious, she turned them away and a few months later recognized Lee Oswald on TV as the accused assassin, the same man who had appeared at her door as “Leon.” Her story was fluffed off by the Warren Commission but later accepted by the House Select Committee on Assassinations in the late 1970s.

Her account of meeting Oswald is widely accepted among researchers and even Bugliosi begrudgingly accepts her story. Though he is clearly uncomfortable delving into it. His troubled mind rambles on for scads of pages. He issues numerous speculations, looks at moving dates around and all kinds of malarkey to ease his torment. The last straw, trying to find way to trash Odio’s character fails him so the esteemed prosecutor ultimately concludes she most likely was visited by Oswald and his Cuban friends.

And like most investigators, he totally ignores the fact that there is more than one witness here–Silvia’s sister Annie. It was her apartment, she opened the door to these men, saw them closely, and overheard the conversation. Bugliosi pretends she doesn’t exist, a serious omission of fact. Of course, a second witness gives more legitimacy to the story. (It should be pointed out that Annie Odio was never interviewed by the FBI, the Warren Commission, or the HSCA.)

The issue here is, that the same time that Oswald is at the Odio’s door the day of September 26, he is supposed to be on the bus in Mexico heading towards Mexico City. Of course Bugliosi is having nothing of this doppelganger business, fluffing that off as a wad of conspiracy theorist gaga.

The Warren Commission when dealing with issues like this usually resorts to ignorance. They state in the Report that Oswald’s bearings that day can, “...not strictly accounted for.” How’s that for an easy way out?

But no matter what, Lee Oswald visiting Silvia Odio with Cubans is not evidence of a conspiracy! Or so says Mr. B.

In Summary
Vincent Bugliosi, in Reclaiming History is an example of a bull in the China shop style of investigation. Most of the book is ghost written. Other researchers have pointed out it flaws. It’s funny and a tad embarrassing to see what Bugliosi puts himself through in order to prove the Government’s lone gunman theory. I guess when one is paid a million dollar cash advance, a guy’s gotta do what guy’s gotta do. The more he goes on, kicking over the straw men he props up to seemingly win his arguments, slicing and dicing conspiracy aligned researchers for nasty fun, the more he shows how shallow the Warren Commission’s case on Lee Oswald is.

Whether there was a double of Lee Oswald running about lose in the American landscape is a separate issue open to endless speculation and debate. I think Bugliosi is wrong to place the genesis of such theories in the minds of kooks and amateur investigators. As written previously, the impersonation issue is very familiar to powerful people in the FBI and the CIA who believe it possible, at least with the Mexico City episode.

A final point. The Warren Commission’s 26 volumes of collected evidence has two separate sets of educational records on Lee Oswald from the fall of 1953 with Oswald attending both schools at the same time–one set in New York and one set in New Orleans. He can’t be in two places simultaneously so he’s either being impersonated or else somebody is creating phony documents, the latter being a felony. These records not only contradict the Warren Report but the documents contradict themselves. The main point being, these records are coming from the government’s own investigation. Something is not right here and we can’t count on Vincent Bugliosi's closed mind to objectively find out what is going on.

Bugliosi, Vincent, Reclaiming History; Armstrong, John, Harvey and Lee; Morley, Jeff, Our Man In Mexico; Newman, John, Oswald and the CIA

The Lopez Report

Monday, October 31, 2011

Brad Meltzer's Humbug

“‘Decoded’ is likable, but goofy. There are interesting facts and factoids here, but they are largely smothered under layers of pseudo-drama and faux research.”
PopMatters Staff

I've been watching Brad Meltzer's Decoded on the History Channel since it first aired in December of 2010. An entertaining show with best selling author Brad Meltzer sending out a team of experts to explore and solve mysteries. The show has a lively "you were there" style as the viewer follows the three experts from location to location taking witness testimony and solving puzzles. Conspiracy is going to be a constant theme especially in dealing with such diverse subject matter involving Free Masons, wealthy men cavorting at Bohemian Grove, and John Wilkes Booth possibly escaping death by using a stand-in. But there is always a hint that a conspiracy, no matter how reasonable or plausible, will be shot down. In other words, let no conspiracy take root and none does in any of the shows I've watched so far.

While presented as a serious investigative show there are moments where the research and methodology appears questionable. Some experiments done to test theories are hardly scientifically based and the testing conditions are skewed. Thing aren't helped much when the team of experts question witnesses, and then react to a comment with mock shock as they roll their eyes and give each other appalled looks.

I assume eventually, they will get to the JFK assassination or some odd angle on it. I would bet–if I were a betting man–that whatever the theory is, it won't hold water. It will be debunked.

The Experts
Brad Meltzer's three roving investigators are author/historian Buddy Levy, attorney/former prosecutor Scott Rolle, and mechanical engineer Christine Mckinley. There seems to be little to complain about here in regards to the abilities and career paths of the experts with the exception of McKinley, who apparently does little work as an engineer and has a career more oriented towards being a singer/songwriter. A Google search pulls up her web site where she promotes here CD and concert appearances (besides Decoded air dates). Besides that, does one really need an engineer to uncover if Booth survived the tobacco barn fire?

It is a bit amusing that on The History Channel's web site there is currently a picture of Levy, Rolle, and McKinley together (see above) and they are all the same height. The picture below is an earlier one that is no longer on the site. One can see that Rolle is the shortest member of the team with Levy being the tallest and McKinley in the middle. One could say this is a pictorial metaphor for the fakery this show can produce.

Target Patton
This episode caught my attention as it is a good example of how
anti-conspiratorial Decoded can get it as they pretend to conduct an objective investigation. The Patton episode aired on October 25 involves the conspiracy theory that General George S. Patton, instead of dying as a result of injuries sustained in an auto accident after the close of the war, was instead assassinated by a auto crash combined with a sniper. This idea has been floating around a long time and started soon after the legendary General's death. Like anything involving conspiracy, the Decoded team will in the end, drive a stake through it.

Numerous experts were interviewed for the show and the lead-off was author Robert K. Wilcox who wrote Target: Patton. This is probably the premier work on the subject. I decided to get this book as I had the feeling there is more to it than the TV show made note of. I was right. I found the book to be well researched and footnoted. Wilcox claims that a former OSS (Office of Strategic Services) officer, Douglas Bazata of whom he met and interviewed, admitted to being involved with the death of Patton and granted him open access to his numerous diaries and letters, to back up an incredible story of intrigue and high treason. (Decoded makes no mention of this level of documentation or that Bazata passed a polygraph examination in regards to his claims.)

Like JFK, General Patton had cultivated a large group of enemies and also like JFK, he was the odd man out with the other power brokers. The allies had decided to carve up Europe and let the Russians have their half. Patton was the only post-war leader who opposed this and wanted to wage war to send them back to their original borders. He was not one for politics, nor was he a man that cared about the Big Picture as the allied governments and top military leaders such as Eisenhower and Marshall had thrown together.  He also was appalled at the treatment of the defeated German soldiers and the surviving German citizens.

Douglas Bazata’s Background
Joining the Marines in the 1930's, Douglas Bazata worked his way up to eventually be sent out on secret assassination missions. These missions started before the WWII and according to Bazata, extended well after it. His missions didn't only include taking out enemies but also friendlies as well. Anybody that was suspected of being a spy or just some guy who talked to much. A nasty business that left him haunted with moral questions for the rest of his days.

Bazata claimed to have direct contact with the OSS director William Donovan where he says he was given the kill order directly from Donavan. Of course, this allegation will most likely never be proven but author Robert K. Wilcox found a declassified file, an order from Donovan, calling for a meeting with agents that Bazata did attend (pg. 92). Since he was being designated as an independent operator, he was given the freedom to set up a kill, or "weeding" as he called it, as he saw fit.

Once again, Decoded makes no mention of these details and offers little background on Bazata–a curious development because if his story is true, he is one of the major players to a plot.  So there is no context in the story by ignoring a major player in it.  They marginalize his role. Perhaps there was too much here to deal with, too much to dig through. Bazata has a great deal to his story that rings true and many events he notes are accurate.

The Set Up And The Fall
According to Douglas Bazata, his plan was to set up a seemingly impossible set of events, arranging an automobile crash coupled with a rifle shot to Patton as his car drove by. The rifle was to be a special-made air rifle that was capable of firing anything–which included rocks or metal fragments of odd shapes and sizes. Being air powered it was silent and left no standard ballistics evidence behind. On the other hand, it was a one-shot deal and at a moving target, the most difficult thing to accomplish with a firearm.

Bazata also laid claim to another act, probably the most difficult and improbable, of tampering with the car's passenger window to it would remain partially open a few inches to have a clean shot Patton. The admission could almost discredit his story except that a lot of it backed up by a polygraph exam of which he passed. It's unusual that Decoded passed on mentioning this claim in its debunking as it is something that could have stuck.

Ultimately, it all went down as plan except for Patton dying in the accident. Days later Patton would die from a lung embolism, something he had experienced earlier in his life. It should be noted that Patton suffered, besides a fractured vertebra which left him partially paralyzed, a severe Y-shaped cut to his face from the bridge of the nose to his forehead, which was never fully explained. Bazata claimed his shot hit Patton in the face but considered it a botched job–since it he didn't get a kill. It should also be noted that the other passengers, driver Horace Woodring and General Gay, seated by Patton in the rear seat, were not injured.

The Decoded Shooting Experiment
One of the most absurd parts of Decoded happened when Scott Rolle was tasked with seeing if a sniper with an air rifle could take a shot at a moving car, striking the occupant. The trouble with the test is there nothing scientific about it nor does it replicate anything about the alleged event. Rolle's experience with firearms and ballistics testing is unknown. I take it, not much in either. In the test, he does not use an original version, nor a copy, of a military air rifle from that period–a modern rifle is used instead; there is no accounting for weather, windage, range, temperature or recreating the alleged shooter's environment; no examination of shooting angles or positioning; and lastly, no accurate accounting for the speed of Patton's car in the moving part of the shooting test. (The target is hand-pulled on a small cart.)

Not only all of this, but Bazata claims to have used a small square piece of metal for a projectile (pg. 62 ). For the test, Rolle uses what appears to be a rubber object. To be fair, they had to use a rubber projectile since the weapon used for the test couldn't fire anything made of different materials or odd shapes as described by Bazata. They painted themselves in a corner even before the test takes place.

All of this together makes the Decoded ballistics test a joke. If there is an assassin firing at Patton, the experiment simulates nothing that could have been occurring in the actual event from the environmental conditions to the weapon used. This is an example of TV investigative fraud. Nothing about the test is accurate. Even Bazata told Wilcox he was aiming for Patton’s head but the Decoded team insisted he was shooting at the neck. Based on what? Nothing.

In this case, they got the result they wanted, which was to disprove an air powered rifle could be an effective weapon for assassination. And then settle it all by concluding the assassination attempt using an air rifle is now debunked.

What cheek!

In The End (thankfully...)
The Decoded team will wrap up the General Patton assassination affair as a neat and tidy event of a car accident coupled with a lethal lung embolism. Nothing suspicious here, just move along please! The Kennedy assassination is a model of similar events. The Warren Commission swoops in to give the public a similarly clean and uncluttered account of a presidential assassination that was anything but well-ordered. (And ironically, Patton’s car was rushed off to the junkyard as quickly as JFK’s limo was shipped off to Detroit for a rapid make-over. Also, Wilcox discovered that the Cadillac in the Patton museum is not the original vehicle. Decoded makes no mention of this or looks into the mystery.)

The many missing records, conflicting testimony of those involved, Patton's odd head injury, and a host of strange events and disappearing witnesses are never investigated in the show. I know there are time limitations in a one hour (40 minutes without ads) format network program such as this, but the focus is so hell-bent on shrugging off a conspiracy that many important facts are paid no attention to.

As mentioned earlier, the testimony and documentation of Douglas Bazata, a significant player in the book, Target: Patton, is largely ignored and made into a marginalized figure. Even worse, they totally ignored army Intelligence officer Stephen Skubik’s investigation of Patton’s death where Skubik found evidence from reliable Soviet sources of a plot to assassinate Patton. He also believed that Bazata was involved. If Patton were murdered by a plot, Decoded takes the wrong path in determining the truth, if they were even in the hunt for it to begin with. I don’t think they were.

As always I find it amazing that a man can have such a large host of enemies as George S. Patton did, both foreign (Russian, NKVD) and domestic (you-know-who) and can just happen to die in an automobile accident–his enemies are left to celebrate their luck! By denying a possible assassination plot in the death of General Patton it shows how difficult it is for organizations like TV networks to deal with such an event. After all, we are the exceptional People with our Constitution and our Bill of Rights. We don't do "I, Claudius." Or do we?

Brad Meltzer's Decoded is an entertaining show for what it is. Just don’t take its investigations as seriously as the producers want you to. It's entertainment masquerading as investigation.

I can’t wait for the JFK show! What a hoot that will be.

UPDATE: DECODED - Did they read my book?” Robert K. Wilcox’s rebuttal to Decoded’s phony investigation regarding Patton’s death. Read his enlightening and full rebuttal HERE.

Wilcox, Robert K., Target: Patton - The Plot to Assassinate General George S. Patton.

Robert K. Wilcox

Scott Rolle

Christine McKinley

Buddy Levy


Friday, October 14, 2011

Book Review: Harvey and Lee - How the CIA framed Oswald by John Armstrong

"We do know Oswald had intelligence connections. Everywhere you look with him, there are fingerprints of intelligence." -Republican Senator Richard Schweiker, member of the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (Village Voice: 12/15/75)

For a long time I considered the idea of Lee Oswald having a double to be out there in Fringe Land.  I’m still wondering if it could really be true that he was being impersonated.  The book, “Harvey and Lee - How the CIA framed Oswald” by John Armstrong is the definitive book on the subject.  Armstrong’s research is solid and exhaustive in detail since he made his fortune in the oil business and thereafter had the time and money to the pursue the research.  If you don’t agree with the book’s main theme, that Lee Oswald was impersonated from the age of 14 on and was used as a CIA project, it remains a tremendous source book for JFK researchers.  There are facts in this book you will not find anyplace else.  I have over 30 JFK books in my ever growing collection and not a single one of them mentions such details as the second paper bag, the issues with the money order used to purchase the rifle, or Marina Oswald’s suspicious financial dealings with Tex-Italia Films, or any number of obscure facts on the case that point towards conspiracy.  Facts that many in the pro-conspiracy JFK community could and should use in their books and presentations and for whatever reason, do not.

Coming in at 983 pages, Harvey and Lee is almost as heavy of tome as Vince Bugliosi’s Reclaiming History (over 1600 pages). But unlike that book, it’s more manageable to hold and read. It includes a CD full of photos and declassified documents and is well sourced with chapter notes and index. Unlike Bugliosi’s work, it’s hard to find for a book that is not out of print and prices can be as high as $100 or more. I paid $77 for mine and consider myself lucky!

The Tangled Web
Untangling the tangled web of Lee Oswald’s life is a bewildering task. Do not think you can sally forth and easily figure this guy out. And it all starts early on in his life. His ways are mysterious but if one filters his actions through Cold War espionage one gets a glimpse of who he was and what his mission was. I can see why the Warren Commission chose early on to downplay that part of the investigation and quickly come to a conclusion of a lone shooter not affiliated with anybody in a plot. If they dug too deeply they knew they would blow open a hornet’s nest of behind the scene government and military operations (see Breach of Trust, Gerald McKnight).

Two Ozzies, Two Mommies
The Oswald-as-doppelganger theory has been around a long time. Jim Mars made note of it in his book, Cross Fire. Surprisingly, this is not an idea issued from kooky conspiracy buffs as the lone nut crowd may suggest, but directly from the government. The first instance is a June, 1960 memo from FBI Director, J. Edgar Hoover to the Dept. of State warning them that somebody has accessed Oswald’s birth certificate and may be impersonating him. Hoover, the King of the FBI, never states his sources or evidence for this. But the ship is launched.

What John Armstrong brings to the table is his contention that Lee Oswald is being impersonated as young as 14 years old. There is a lot he brings forth on this, but the most telling comes from the Warren Commission’s 26 volumes of collected evidence. There are in those volumes, two sets of educational records from the fall of 1953. One set has Oswald enrolled in PS #44 in New York. The other set has him enrolled in Beauregard Junior High in New Orleans also in the fall of 1953.

Rapidly apparent is that obviously, Oswald can’t be in two places at the same time. He could be impersonated, or some of these records could be false. Armstrong rarely raises the issue of these documents being forged as an explanation for this curious development. Of course, that raises other questions as well, such as, if Oswald is just a lone gunman then why make up phony records to add to his perceived guilt? This is supposed to be a clear-cut case, right? (I call this the framing of the guilty man. A recurring theme if you watch for the pattern.)

Another factor to consider: With Lee being impersonated at this young age, there would need to be a second mother as well for the other boy. Things have suddenly gotten complicated and the theory is to the breaking point. I can’t imagine a more difficult situation to work out if this is supposed to be part of a clandestine operation. However, this doesn’t seem to concern the author in the slightest, and he makes no mention of how freaky this situation has become. Basically, for this to work, one would need one woman and her son, another woman and her child and everybody has to resemble each other. Amazing! And don’t forget, one of the moms has two sons from a pervious marriage. Imagine what a mess the holidays could become!

Intertwined with this is how both pairs look and act. According to various records, photographs, and witness accounts collected by Armstrong, some people experienced a tall Lee and a short Lee (who wanted to be called by his middle name, Harvey). With the mothers some people knew a tall Marguerite and some knew a short Marguerite. The resulting theme then is a tall son and mother and a short son and mother. And it carries down to their personalities as well. The tall pair are attractive, social, and well liked; the short pair are just the opposite. All too convenient it seems and it’s the element of this story that is tidy.

Oswald Here, There, And Everywhere
Probably the most striking thing about John Armstrong’s research is the numerous sightings of Lee Oswald at times and places that he shouldn’t be. The most striking account is that of Palmer McBride, who claims to have worked with Oswald at the Pfisterer Dental Lab. More than just coworkers, they hung out at each other’s homes, double dated, and Oswald was a member the local astronomy club where he impressed everybody by touting the abilities of the communist system in the launch of the Sputnik. McBride said he knew Lee Oswald during the years of 1957 through early 1958 when Oswald is supposed to have been stationed at the U2 base in Atsugi, Japan. Conversely, his best friend in the Marines stationed with him there was Zack Stout. Stout describes Oswald as regular guy that never discussed politics or had an interest in communism or the Russian language and didn’t mind having a beer with the boys.

So in Armstrong’s narrative one Lee is in Japan the other Lee is in New Orleans. Then, as the Lee in Japan boards a ship with his fellow Marines to head off to Taiwan, the Louisiana bound Lee travels to Japan to reside at the Atsugi base. Armstrong bases this on medical records showing Oswald being treated for various infections at Atsugi. This is a bit of stretch and Armstrong once again does not mention the possibility of false documents being rendered to provide a fabricated trail for enemies (or future investigators) to pursue.

The main part of Harvey and Lee precedes along this theme of Oswald being two places, or more, at once. There is such a huge selection of sightings and encounters it’s almost as if there is a whole clone army of Oswalds rummaging about the countryside. It seems to build expansively towards the last few months leading up the assassination with Oswald encounters becoming almost frenetic in pace. It gets to the point where Armstrong implies that both are together at the same place, such as both being in the same school (building) at the same time, both in the Marines simultaneously or both in the School Book Depository Building at the moment of the assassination. And nobody is going to notice? That's quite a stretch and I think Armstrong starts losing control of the narrative at these junctures. It adds a degree of kookiness to something that could otherwise be feasible.

Another thing I take issue with is how the doubles are utilized. Armstrong details over and over again that while one Lee is at work the other is out and about and in some situations, drawing attention to himself. A case in point–the Dobbs House Restaurant incident on the morning of November 20, two days before the assassination (pg. 781). This Oswald is having a hissy fit over his eggs not being cooked right and making such a fuss, that many there took note it. This is supposed to have occurred at 10:00 A.M., the same time Oswald, according to his work records, is filling out book orders. Shouldn’t the other Oswald be keeping a low profile? Or maybe it’s the proper thing so as to create confusion and cover later on down the road, in the advent that someone raises the doppelganger issue? Then the investigator gets called a crackpot for daring to broach the subject.

(Also intriguing with this incident is Dallas police officer J. D. Tippet is in the restaurant the same time Oswald is noticing the fuss taking place. Was he there to observe Oswald?  Who knows...)

Despite my misgivings, there is enough interesting stuff here to certainly make a strong case for Lee Oswald being a impersonated. There is a huge amount of witness testimony that does makes sense. Not everybody can be lying or mistaken. One can also see the hand of the authorities (i.e., FBI, CIA, WC) to manage this testimony so the truth does not air.

A case in point is the famous Silvia Odio incident (pg. 623). In brief, a Cuban immigrant was staying with her sister when three men came to the door–two hispanic men and one caucasian, who was introduced as Leon Oswald. They were seeking financial help to fund a take-down of Castro as they knew her father was once a wealthy Cuban businessman. Suspicious, she turned them away and a few months later recognized Lee Oswald, the accused assassin, as the same man who had appeared at her door as “Leon.” Her story was fluffed off by the Warren Commission but later accepted by the House Select Committee on Assassinations in the late 1970s. Her account of meeting Oswald is widely accepted among researchers, even some lone nut supporters. (It should be pointed out that Odio is not the only witness to seeing Oswald–so was her sister Annie who first answered the knock at the door and overheard the conversation. She was never interviewed by FBI or the Warren Commission.)

However, at the time Oswald appears at the Odio apartment in late September of 1963 he is also supposed to be on the bus in Mexico in route to Mexico City. Oops! And interestingly, I've seen few researchers, even pro-conspiracy ones, point this fact out. I can partially see why, as it leads one to some rough patches on the rabbit trail. Not everybody wants to deal with it. Armstrong documents this, and many other instances of reliable and multiple witness encounters with Oswald at places and times only an impostor could appear at.

Where Does Everybody Go?
It's the main unfinished business of Harvey and Lee. We know what happens the real Lee Oswald, but what happens to his double, if he has one? Or for that matter, his doppelganger mother? Armstrong simply doesn't tell us. The trail has grown cold and he seems not to care. I would think this is an important thing to resolve, but to be fair, I don't know how this part of the story could be resolved. There are few witnesses to Oswald impersonators after the assassination and basically no records of any kind that have been released on the subject.

There has been a book published in recent years called, “Flight from Dallas: New Evidence of CIA Involvement in the Murder of President John F. Kennedy”. It relates the story of an Air Force Sergeant, Robert G. Vinson and his flight home on the day of the assassination. He claims the transport plane he took that day makes an unannounced stop at an airstrip outside of Dallas and two men emplane in yellow coveralls and one of the men resembles Oswald. You can see this man's account told on YouTube. The final designation is the airbase at Roswell, New Mexico where the yellow clad Oswald departs never to be seen again. An interesting story but we still don’t know what happens to this other Oswald providing this account is even true.

Harvey and Lee stands as probably the most meticulously detailed account of Lee Oswald's life written to date. Not even Norman Mailer's Oswald's Tale comes close to John Armstrong's research and pales in comparison. I have sympathy for any future biographer of Lee Oswald because he or she will have to wade through all of this doppelganger business with the many conflicting witnesses and documents and the "fingerprints of intelligence" as Senator Schweiker remarked, ever present. It'll be interesting to see if they will want to go this deep into it. I bet many won't.

Whether this is a conspiracy or not, the JFK assassination is loaded with cover-ups. Perhaps Oswald being impersonated is the biggest cover-up of them all, possibly bigger than a conspiracy for a presidential assassination. As a result, Oswald appears even more of a mysterious figure. We still don't get close to who he was or why he would be a part of this, or if he even knew he was a part of something this huge. He was most likely played and he seems far too intelligent and self-aware for that kind of game. He remains a true International Man of Mystery who passed his secrets on to no one. Oh, what a fascinating trial this would have made!

Even if you don't go for the doppelganger theory in Harvey and Lee, there is a tremendous amount of facts on the Kennedy assassination that you won't find anywhere else. I peruse this book often and find something new every time. It makes a great source book for JFK researchers.

Although John Armstrong is meticulous in his research he does err in some places.  One place is the Carro Report, which was issued by Lee Oswald’s probation officer John Carro. It was written because of Lee going truant at PS #44 in 1953 during his New York phase and consists entirely of an interview with Lee’s mother Marguerite. In the interview Marguerite gets just about every fact regarding her life and family background wrong.  For example she lists her marriage to Lee’s father, Robert Sr. as the first marriage for both.  She is wrongit’s the second marriage for both.  She gets Lee’s birthday off by a day; gets Robert’s age at time of death wrong; had the wrong number of years they were married; states that all three songs come from this marriagenot trueoldest son John Pic from first marriage; lists the wrong church that Lee was baptized in and so on.

Where  Armstrong errs is in listing issues which are not in the Carro Report.  Two examples are the claim that Marguerite lists family property in Corning Texas, a town that does not exist in the state and Marguerite not knowing what her married sister’s surname.  Neither of these issues is listed in the report.  I don’t know if Armstrong read a different report in the National Archives but does list in the chapter notes several interviews with John Carro in other publications.  Perhaps Carro stated those things in other interviews and did not include them in his report.  At any rate, Marguerite Oswald’s discrepancies are strange enough without adding to it and I fail to understand how Armstrong messed this up as his overall research is quite accurate.

Carro Report:  http://mcadams.posc.mu.edu/russ/jfkinfo3/exhibits/carro1.htm

http://www.amazon.com. At this writing, one copy of Harvey and Lee priced at $195.00.

Flight from Dallas: New Evidence of CIA Involvement in the Murder of President John F. Kennedy by James P. Johnston and Jon Roe.


Also see: W. Tracy Parnell’s lame attempt to debunk Armstrong’s work. (Which by the way does not reference the book, only Armstrong’s published reports.)


Monday, October 10, 2011

JFK and UFOs

At last, a good piece of reporting on the issue of JFK and what, if ever, he had to do with UFOs has been completed by Seamus Coogan at CTKA.net. Called, “JFK and the Majestic Papers: The History of a Hoax”, Coogan creates a comprehensive set of essays exploring the subject and exposing the mythology and history of ufology and what President John Kennedy’s interaction was with the phenomena. Not to spoil it for readers, but let’s just say JFK had other pressing matters as Head of State. The essay(s) made up of an Introduction, two Preambles, six Parts and a Conclusion, leave no stone left unturned.

A great read. Check out out HERE.


Friday, September 30, 2011

No Black Helicopters Spotted Yet!

Maybe they’ll get me, maybe they won’t. But whatever...it won’t be tonight.
Bob Dylan
Dreamin’ of You

"90% of the American people believe there was a conspiracy to assassinate John F. Kennedy. The other 10% work for the government or the media.”
Richard Belzer

Ever since I stated this blog in 2008 in order to share my thoughts on the assassination John F. Kennedy I was hoping it would not flounder and I would not become a voice crying in the wilderness. Readership has steadily grown over the intervening years and I have you kind folks out there to thank for that. My goal is to make it interesting for people and not just rehash the same facts over and over. I am a pattern hunter and there is lots of that to explore with so many intertwining connections. There is also a lot of strangeness that seems permeate everything associated with JFK’s death. Some of it is borderline supernatural but of course isn’t–but it’s all over the place and makes for an interesting investigation.

Of interest is the type of viewers that are showing up. Once I got tracking software installed on my page I could trace where everybody was coming from and some of the data is not just IP’s but web sites and search terms. It seems everybody is using Google and if not for them, then I guess I would have very few readers at all. So my thanks to them as well.

I don’t view myself as anybody important in the JFK research community. I’m just a regular guy cranking out essays and book reviews on the subject. Having said that, the tracking software after a while began compiling visits from government web sites. Then I noticed military web sites and government contractors as well. Numerous other corporations fill in the empty slots. In effect, this little blog has attracted the attention of the full phalanx of the Military-Industrial Complex and the various elements of the National Security State.

And I can do all of this from home!

About The Visitors
When I first started compiling my list of visitors I found only a few .gov sites. I thought at first maybe it was bored government employees or people doing their lunch breaks in their cubicles surfing the web on the side. I did it when I worked i worked in a cubical! But then I noticed a trend and over the past three years more and more government web sites appearing. Then came the military sites along with the web sites of government contractors. Of course there are plenty of educational sites and miscellaneous companies in the mix as well.

The list below may look unbelievable but it is all true. That many agencies of both the government and corporate America did stop by for a read. As I said above, it may just be employees killing time. On the other hand, a sign that people who question the government, its claims and policies, or catch it in a lie, get watched. Or in some of these cases, monitored. The DHS and DOJ visited my blog five times each, in 2010. They have visited several times this year as well but I haven’t counted up the tally as obviously, this year is not over yet. (Will update 1/2012.)

Having the CIA drop by was a surprise as they were so open about it. I remember it well, in last week of June as that was the week my mother passed away. I figured if they ever showed up it would be under an anonymous IP address, not so up front. I get a lot of hits from IP addresses located in Reston and Herndon, both towns in northern Virginia and loaded with CIA offices so I thought I might be getting a look-see. By being so open maybe they wanted me to know?

And speaking of anonymous IP address’s I have one that shows up on average three times a week, every week. The IP is and it is located in Washington, DC. It or they are the most frequent visitor for my blog. Apparently some kind bot that is programed to monitor for new postings. Even if I do one post a month this IP bot will be checking–every week.

One agency that does use bots is the National Security Agency. They appeared one day under the ULR, www.ncsc.mil. The site is inaccessible. I did some checking and found out they had visited other web sites in this same manner. One was John Young’s Cryptome.org (linked here), a great site for listing recently declassified government documents. An article posted there detailed research which uncovered that ncsc.mil was in fact, an NSA bot. (For the geeks, www.ncsc.mil is actually an alias for romulus.ncsc.mil.)

Like I said jokingly above no black helicopter flyovers yet. And if you boys show up, try not to fly too low, okay? I don’t want you freaking out the cats. No I’m not concerned about any of this nor have I been a victim of any harassment. Well, there is that fact that every year since I started the blog, I’ve had my checked luggage searched by TSA when I fly. I know they do it as they leave a 3x5 card in my bag informing me of the search. No reason is stated. The Fourth Amendment apparently offers little protection here in the dying days of the National Security State’s security mania.

The Visitors


NSA (via NSA bot - ncsc.mil)
LANL (Los Alamos National Laboratory)

stratcom.mil (Strategic Command)
uscg.mil (US Coast Guard)
centcom.mil (Central Command Iraq)
eucom.mil (U.S. European Command)

Government Contractors
cna.com (Insurance provider for .GOV contractors)
lmco.com (Lockhead-Martin)
arvaindustries.com (Canadian .mil contractor)

db.com (Germany’s central bank)
jnj.com (Johnson&Johnson)
cwico.com (Country-Wide Insurance Company)
bart.gov (Bay Area Rapid Transport)
dpw.com (Law firm)
lswlaw.com (Law firm)
runyonandrunyon.com (Law firm)
brewsterlaw.com (Law firm)
bsjpc.com (Law firm)
sandlerandrosen.com (Law firm)
pjmlaw.net (Law firm)
akingump.com (Law firm)
nbcuni.com (NBC Universal)
trb.com (Tribune Media)
belo.com (Media owner)

Thursday, September 15, 2011

A Tale Of Two Presidents

“But many other more telling facts indicate that Obama is but a figurehead of an unelected government in the US. This unelected power of corporate elites – commercial, financial, military – governs with the same core policies regardless of who is sitting in the White House. Whether these policies are on social, economic or foreign matters, the elected president must obey the direction ordained by the unelected elite. That kind of untrammeled power structure conforms more closely in practice to dictatorship, not democracy.”
Finian Cunningham

“A supposedly transformative president normalizes the criminal perversions of his predecessor and appears to have the fight in him only to beat the legacy of FDR into an unrecognizable pulp.”
Jeff Wells

When one starts studying the political and corporate forces that John F. Kennedy skirmished with behind the scenes in the alley ways of government, one can get a sense of how great this silent and hidden struggle was. Kennedy’s battles are only now coming to light and add more credibility that there were many that would not mind seeing him dead. Just follow the trail and see who all benefited. Everybody has a motive here except the man credited with the crime.

From the military industrial establishment lusting for war in Southeast Asia, to the contractors positioning themselves for a piece of the action, to the independent paramilitary operations being conducted by the CIA, to the host of other power brokers tucked away in their fiefdoms, John F. Kennedy stands now as the lone man standing in opposition to them. In many ways he is the last authentic President the United States. He attempted to govern as if the buck really did stop with him. These corporate and political powers are the ones with the greatest motive to stop him and have a far greater motive to assassinate the President than the man credited with the crime.

JFK may have understood that not only would these hidden power brokers rule the People from a distance but might also control any future President.

Strange Days Have Found Us
Which brings to the modern era with Barack H. Obama, the most mysterious man ever elected President of the United States. In the past, the public has not been privy to various personal details regarding the lives of their leaders. Franklin Roosevelt was never seen in a wheelchair and the press conspired with him in this regard. John Kennedy’s dalliances with numerous women, were unknown till years later as was his Addison's disease; a serious illness that nearly took his life as a young man. His successor, Lyndon Johnson we know was one of the most amoral and uncouth human beings that ever lived. Other Presidents had issues only lately coming to light.

With Barack Obama, even is less is known and to the point of being a total mystery, his autobiography, Dreams of My Father, not withstanding. He’s a man who seemingly walked out of a fog. Other than having a wife and two daughters his experience with women is unknown. (Where are the girlfriends? All of these politicos are haunted by them.) The controversy over his birth records aside, there are virtually no existent records available on him. All educational records from Kindergarten through law school are sealed or not available; thesis papers do not exist; no Harvard Law Review articles, a requirement to be the editor which Obama briefly was, have ever been released except for a questionable six-page unsigned summary; medical records, never released; Chicago law practice records, never released; appointment calendar for service in the Illinois State Senate, never released (Corsi, Appendix, 316-328). Even more telling is the legal expense in the millions to make sure all of these records are never made known.

Consider this–there is more witness testimony of shots coming from the grassy knoll than there are witnesses or documentation that Barack Obama attended or graduated from Columbia University. There are no released grade transcripts, photos, and only a few people have come forward to say they knew him during the Columbia period (a Sohale Siddiqi has come forward but was not attending classes with him. See USA Today link HERE).

(And it does not end with Obama but extends to his mother and her parents. No records exist of Ann Dunham’s two marriages, her passport records–since destroyed–or her hospital records at the time of Barack's birth. Speaking of Obama’s birth records, there are none of his mother, her parents and grandparents. Other things abound–researchers found numerous instances of Ann Dunham using aliases. Also, her father’s military service records are not available.)

Even Barak Obama’s list of professions is dubious. His tenure as a law “professor” is a myth–he was a mere instructor and never held a tenured position either as a professor or as an associate professor. His colleagues thought little of him, this man whose charisma would in the future, blossom on the world stage. The law license he once held is gone too. There are two stories on this. One, that he voluntarily given up since he no longer needs it while conducting the duties of President. And two, the story that he had lied on his Illinois Bar exam on a question of whether he had ever used an alias. He had–Barry Soetoro–his Indonesian name from his adoptive father which he used, along with his Indonesian passport to travel to Pakistan in the early 1980’s. (Please read my UPDATE on this below.)

Lastly, there is the issue of his Social Security number. The initial story was that researchers have discovered that Obama’s SSN belongs to that of a woman born in in 1890 in Connecticut. SSN are single use numbers, retired at the death of the person issued the number. However, a search of the Social Security Death Index shows this to be apparently false. See HERE for a complete explanation of Obama’s SSN being legitimate. Despite that, other Social Security numbers have been discovered for variants of Obama’s name. Probably more so for an uncommon name like this and so many owners of SSN’s for that name.

It’s not perplexing that mainstream media doesn’t cover any of this. They are more or else useless as a public watch dog. It’s more the Courts. Third party investigators have routinely had their challenges tossed out with rulings of “no standing”. Even the latest law suit over the Connecticut Social Security number was recently denied. It’s a legal hot potato alright, and only independent critics have an interest in the issue it seems. The important factor though, is that all legal challenges have been dismissed.

Tight Leash
David Talbot in Brothers, describes John Kennedy’s behind the scenes battles with the CIA, the Pentagon and its Generals. Where Kennedy was his own man standing up to strongmen such as the cigar chomping General Curtis Lemay, the duplicitous CIA Director Allen Dulles, or even the head of the Federal Reserve, William McChesney Martin, Jr., when he issued the silver certificate notes which ate into the central bank’s profits, Obama doesn’t seem to have the spine for such heroics. He seems content in his ever expanding role of a puppet to them, as he parades around as a Roman Emperor to the rest of the world. One can almost see the strings attached to him. He knows that if he steps too far out of line what will become of him. He made a lot of promises as they all do to get elected, but with Obama, I don’t think he lied by not fulfilling many of them. His interaction with the machinery of government is tightly managed and all of the centers of power Kennedy wrestled with are still there, more numerous and as powerful as ever.

I harken back to comedian Bill Hicks’ routine on how a new President is handled. He’s taken into a darkened room, a screen comes down and he’s shown a film of the Kennedy assassination but from an angle no one has seen before. It’s the angle from the grassy knoll. When it’s finished, the lights come on, the screen goes up and the men there, the real power brokers, say to him, “Any questions?” And the President elect says, “What’s my agenda going to be?” A wisecrack, but I wonder if it really happens that way. I’m sure the speculation of it lingers like an unwelcome guest in every new President’s mind. As we know from other sources, people close in have their doubts. Why else would Bill Clinton have his friend and Attorney General Webster Hubble look into the assassination? He wanted to know more. He may have feared for his own life from the Men behind the curtain. Naturally, Hubble got nowhere.

Manchurian Candidate?
Most likely not. That would be too easy, too expected. However, Barack Obama’s path to power is guided by the rich and powerful. There may be intelligence connections running all thorough this, there usually is, but the blend is such it’s hard to tell who is who. All presidential hopefuls are in need of powerful benefactors, and even John Kennedy with all his money, charm and charisma needed his father’s mob connections to affect the outcome of the 1960 election. With Barack Obama, his climb to the top was an amazing thing to watch. Here is a man who spent his life as a nobody with no distinguishing achievements except for being elected to public office twice and not spending much time not doing much in either roles as State Senator and then as a member of the Federal Senate. He expressed no leadership skills in either position. Nor authored any legislation.

When a President has 5 or more hours to play golf that is President with not much to do. And you would think that job would have enough tasks going on to keep one busy 24 hours a day. Apparently, the heavy hitters are doing the real work. President Obama is called in to do the scripted public appearances when a situation is called for. After all, it’s all theater–it’s when he ad libs he is at his worse. Check out the old film clips online to see how good Kennedy was at handling impromptu press conferences and off the cuff quips. He always portrayed a commanding presence and seems at liberty in purpose and action to his modern counterpart who drifts ambivalently from one affair to the next, as if his steps are ordered and the outcome matters not.

Somebody once said that Barack Obama’s greatest fear is being found out he is a phony. Maybe so. Perhaps he is more afraid of the Puppeteers.

Since posting this piece I’ve added some new links below and made a few corrections. Also, I’m a bit leery of using Snopes.com as a source. I have the feeling they are agenda driven. I have uncovered some strangeness with their version of the truth regarding Obama's law license.

For example, in their debunking the “myth” that Obama lost his license as a result of a disciplinary action through the Illinois State Supreme Court, on Snopes there is a page (HERE) supposedly showing a record from the IARDC showing that Obama voluntarily retired his law license. Interestingly enough, this page is mostly a graphics file. There is an iardc.org not link for this supposed page (HERE) so I went there. What loads are empty form fields. Curiously, there is a date of admission for an unnamed lawyer for 12/30/1899. And, the same thing appears for Michele Obama as well. Odd. So, the page on Obama (and his wife) as seen in the graphics file does not load the same information.

But there is a search so I typed in Obama’s full name. He is not listed as a licensed attorney for the state Illinois. As stated in the search results page: “Your search terms do not match the record of any lawyer licensed in Illinois.

So it’s all very strange and this didn’t increase my trust in Snopes. I think something fishy is going on here. Snopes is posting a link on a graphic for a page that does not exist. And, they do it twice. Nevertheless, no real evidence that Barack Obama lost his law license due to fibbing about his using an alias. But no evidence against it either.

Talbot, David, Brothers; Corsi, Jerome, PHd., Where’s The Birth Certificate?; Barack, Obama, Dreams Of My Father; Mars, Jim, Crossfire

Finian Cunningham quote: “The US Dictatorship and its White House Servant ‘President’”. Link: http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?aid=25853&context=va

Jeff Wells quote, “We Are The Monsters We've Been Waiting For”. Link: http://rigint.blogspot.com/

Barak Obama’s phony SSN debunked

E-Verify 'Flags' Obama's Social Security Number

Western Center for Journalism

Barack Obama Columbia essay, Sundial.

Sohale Siddiqi, one of the few people to know Barack Obama during the Occidental College and Columbia University years. Mentions other friends and roommates as well.