Wednesday, October 30, 2013

The Far East

“It would have been a blessing for us if he had used it, say, in the sense that the assassination might not have taken place, if he had taken the passport and gone to the China as he may have contemplated.”

Allen Dulles, Volume 5, page 318.

Researcher Jones Harris pointed out to me the above quote by Allen Dulles.  Needless to say, Dulles’ statement to Secret Service agent Chayes at the Warren Commission hearings in regards to Lee Oswald’s passport and Oswald thinking of traveling to China is so far out of left field, one has a hard time sussing it out.  What was he referring to exactly?  Nowhere in any testimony or files released at the time, or since, has it been logged that Oswald had a mission to get to China.  He had no background in China studies or the languages. Of course he started his Marine career in Asia, first in the Japan and for while in Taiwan.  In 1963, during his mysterious and ill-fated trip to Mexico City, his stated purpose was in returning to the Soviet Union, not China.  Dulles may have been thinking out loud regarding operations that were of a concern to him as Director of the CIA and simply interjected Oswald into them. Who knows?  

Will history records that the Kennedy admin has it hands full with the Soviet Union, Cuba, and Vietnam, China was lurking behind the scenes.  The main concern was the Chinese nuclear plants.  Neither the U.S. nor the Soviets wanted China to have nuclear weapons.  The idea was floated of a Russian/American alliance to take them out but nothing ever came of that, since the Russians did not like the idea of harming a fellow communist state.  The Soviets however, would not supply China with the technology to produce nukes.  China was on its own but did succeed in setting off its first nuclear detention in October of 1964.

While the U2 spying flights over the Soviet Union are well known, with one pilot, Francis Gary Powers being shot down, captured and put on public trial, there were many flights also conducted over the Chinese mainland throughout the 1950's and 1960's by CIA trained Chinese pilots.  Most were flown out of Taiwan.  We know of at least 5 U2's shot down over China.  There may have been more.  
Here is the list:

September 9, 1962.  Pilot, Chen Huai-sheng.  Killed.

November 1, 1963.  Pilot, Yeh Chang-di. Captured.

July 7, 1964.  Pilot, Lee Nan-ping.  Killed.

January 10, 1965.  Pilot, Chang Li-yi.  Captured.

September 8, 1967.  Pilot, Huang Jung-Bei. Killed.

In a fascinating article translated from a Chinese news web site (link below), a detailed and largely hidden history emerges from this era of U2 flights over China.  The U2 squadron for China surveillance was based in Taiwan was called the Black Cats.  At first, the Chinese found it impossible to target and shoot down U2s.  But in time they learned there was an 18 second delay after the target was "painted."  They learned to fire their missiles under the 18 second window.  

Reconnaissance flights continued until 1972 when president Richard Nixon visited China and halted the flights.  The Black Cats flew a total of 102 missions when they were officially disbanded in the spring of 1974.

China and it's attempts to enter the nuclear club was of concern at the highest levels of government and military.  When president Kennedy was shown the plan for an all out nuclear strike, China was targeted as well.  Kennedy wanted to know why since at the time they had no active nuclear weapons and was told it was part of the overall strategic plan.  The generals knew that China was developing weapons.  

So what did Lee Oswald have with any of this?  The idea that Oswald was contemplating going to China is so far out there as to hamper proper analysis;   unless he was an operative with lots of missions on the schedule and Dulles got them mixed up. 

Is there something greater going on here?  There is always something greater going on here!  Needless to say, it’s a mystery and one collecting dust in the Warren Commission‘s 26 volumes.  

The Lost Black Cats

Profile of Power: Presdient Kennedy by Richard Reeves
The Missing Chapter by Jack R. Swike

The Meaning of the Best Man by Stewart Alsop, Saturday Evening Post, 9/29/63

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Book Review: With Malice - Lee Harvey Oswald and the Murder of Officer J.D. Tippit by Dale K. Myers

Updated edition with 140 extra pages, featuring new photos and documents.

Dale Myers has been around a while.  Besides his book on Tippit’s death, he is well known for his nationally broadcast computer animations trying to simulate the single bullet theory and has appeared on numerous television programs.  He’s deeply associated with the “lone nut” crowd and is noted for an online dust-up with researcher Pat Speer a few years ago.  You can read about that, here on Speer’s site.  My take on it is here.

The Book
With Malice is a huge, heavy hardcover book of 864 pages. About half the book is filled with documents, photographs, diagrams, endnotes, and appendixes.  It’s expertly printed with very high quality halftone reproduction of the photos and illustrations.  The large font  makes it a pleasure to read.  The photos are a real treasure in this book as many of them are not reproduced anyplace else in print or on the Web.

The Story
The account of J.D. Tippit’s brief life show him to be a good and decent man.  Born into poverty, he serves in the U.S. Army as a paratrooper with distinction being awarded the bronze star.  Upon leaving the service, he did what many men of that time, married his sweetheart and found a job.  In this instance, the job as a police officer would be his undoing. Since the publication of the first edition, Myers got further acquainted over the years with the Tippet family who kindly provided him with a host of photos of J.D. and his family which are included in the new addition.

Myers swiftly arrives at the heart of the story, the day of the assassination.  Here is the standard account one can find little fault with and is well laid out by the author.  

There are places where Myers appears to be uncomfortable with the narrative.  Such as when Tippet pulls into the Tip Top Record store just a few minutes before his death and make a call.  Seen by both the store owner and the clerk, Tippet lets it ring “7 or 8” times, hangs up and leaves.  Myers then imparts comments from one police officer and a dispatcher both of whom don’t think Tippet would do such a thing.  Finally, Myers comes around and admits that Tippet was in the record shop making the call but the reason why, is left a mystery.  He does this a lot.  We’ll see this again with the wallet.

Tippet had been seen in the shop purchasing records before but had never rushed in to use the phone.  Something very unusual was happening in this instance but it’s not a mystery if there are other factors in play.  For example, the story has been out for years that Tippet was involved in the plot and his role that day was to kill Oswald.  Just as it became Jack Ruby’s job a few days later.  But this leads us down the path of conspiracy, a place Lone Nutters such as Myers won’t tread.

Anyway, like an old movie, J.D. Tippit arrives at 10th and Patton, has his showdown with whomever gets the drop on him, and he is one with the ages.  It’s all rather straightforward with plenty of witnesses watching a lone gunman be the long gunman one more time, before another lone gunman silences him forever a few days hence.

Overall, Myers does a good job in documenting the various aspects of the case from Tippet’s murder, ballistics evidence, and witness testimony.  He does make the case that Oswald encountered Tippet and killed him.  There is no motive for Oswald to do so such as there is not notice for him to kill the President.  There are however, places where he falters and we’ll explore those next.  These issues are mainly the wallet, the pistol, and Myers overall bias in favor of the lone gunman theory.   

The Wallet...The Stumbling Block
All supporters of the Official Story have a hard time with the wallet discovered at the scene of Tippit’s murder.  It is the main out of place artifact.  It would normally be written off as a confused event from stressed out men, functioning on a bewildering and tragic day.  But, there is the WFAA-TV film crew at the Tippet murder scene with Dallas Policemen examining a billfold.  The event is recorded on 16mm film, in black and white, just two over minutes with no audio.

Myers struggles with this issue just as Bugliosi did in Reclaiming History, regulating the incident to his End Notes on the accompanying  CD-ROM.  Bugliosi wrongly concluded it was Tippet’s wallet.  Once again, finding something troubling that creates a conflict with his narrative, Myers shoots an air ball and states at the end of his examination, that the wallet is a mystery.  He clearly wants it to go away as it could represent an attempt to frame of Oswald for the crime.  

The found wallet was largely unknown till retired FBI agent James Hosty mentioned it in his 1995 book, Assignment Oswald.  He says he was told of the wallet with Oswald’s ID in it by fellow agent Robert Barrett.  In turn, Barrett said he learned of it from Dallas police captain W. R. Westbrook at the Tippet murder location.  Westbrook is seen in the TV film footage examining a wallet in the company of several other Dallas police officers.  Barrett says he was asked by Westbrook if he knew a Lee Oswald or an Alek Hidell.  He did not.  This was due to the number if ID's in the wallet.

One troubling issue is where did this wallet come from?  It was seen by no one at the murder scene, either police officers, reporters, or the ambulance crew.  The source is apparently an anonymous bystander that handed it over to reserve sergeant Kenneth Croy.  Eventually it made its way to captain Westbrook.  Myers states that Croy is the only police officer on the scene that can corroborate Barrett.  He further states that in a 2009 interview, Croy told him that there were seven ID’s but not one had Oswald’s name on them.  However, long-time researcher Jones Harris, who interviewed Croy in 1990, told me that Croy never made such a statement to him, and Croy said he never examined the contents of the wallet.  Never the less, this odd comment by Kenneth Croy appears to be a flimsy attempt to discredit Robert Barrett’s account of what happened.  Which in itself is hard to do since Barrett has proven himself over time to be an honest individual whose story never changed.  

It is worrisome however, that captain Westbrook, other police officers at the scene, and agent Barrett left out the wallet in all of their collective reports.  In his interview with Barrett, Jones Harris told me he had queried why he did not mentioned the wallet episode in his report.  Barrett replied, “What was the point Mr. Harris, after all, the man [Oswald] is dead.”  Harris did not press the point, understanding the constraints that Barrett was under at the time and was still under as a government agent. Harris had felt for a long time that things went wrong with the game plan at 10th and Patton.

Myers alleged to have interviewed Robert Barrett in 1996.  If so, why didn’t he ask Barrett why he didn’t document the wallet in his official report?  Or, why he stood by the report as accurate when testifying to the Church Committee in 1975?  We don’t know because Myers never tells the reader why.  Also, Myers hints that Westbrook didn’t tell Barrett about the Oswald/Hidell ID’s till latter that day in headquarters. But that is not what Barrett told researcher Jones Harris about this incident (nor his fellow agent Hosty).  Barrett told Harris that it occurred right there at the murder scene that day.  Later, Harris related this in a conversation with Myers, who after a long pause, expressed shock that Harris had interviewed Barrett.  According to Harris, he felt certain at the time that Myers had not interviewed Barrett.  Harris always felt it was important to talk directly to the people involved rather than depend on government documents, because documents can be manipulated.  

Myers includes a detailed macro shot of the wallet (from the National Archives) taken from Oswald upon his arrest and a frame from the WFAA-TV footage.  Myers attempts to tell the reader how different both wallets are.  That’s a quite a stretch since the frame from the footage is badly blurred.  He goes on to say the TV footage wallet doesn’t show enough wear, has square corners as opposed to rounded, and other differences that are really hard to see because of the blur.  It is apparent however, that the coin zipper is visible in both images.  

Eventually, Myers’ Jedi mind tricks fail to be convincing.  He will admit that Tippit’s wallet is black and found with his things at the Methodist hospital as is documented in police reports–the TV footage wallet is a light color (brown, as seen in Myers' photo and documented) as is Oswald’s arrest wallet.  He will admit a wallet is being examined at 10th and Patton by numerous Dallas police officers.  Ultimately, Myers abandons any hope of resolving the issue.  The wallet completely and utterly disappears from the point of documentation and the mind of man.

The only good thing about this episode is there will always be the film footage to show that wallet being examined in the hands of police officers at 10th and Patton.  

The  Smith and Wesson .38 Special
Myers’ accounting of Oswald buying the .38 pistol is probably the weakest part of the book because so much is left out or totally wrong.  Being a true believer in the official story such as Bugliosi, McAdams, Posner, and others, Dale Myers has to omit the suspicious or the more controversial facts and events in the case. Myers is no exception to this common pattern.

Myers steadfastly remarks there is no doubt that Oswald bought the .38 Smith and Wesson pistol that was used to kill officer Tippet with.  According to Myers, he ordered it under his A. J. Hidell alias and paid for it COD where it arrived at his post office box.  Therein lies the mess Myers creates for himself, a mess which he could have avoided given the time he had.  In fact, this section on the pistol reads like a quickly dashed off summary of what happened.  

The pistol, which was allegedly ordered COD from Seaport Traders was not shipped to Oswald’s P.O. Box.  It was instead sent to the Railway Express Agency for final payment and pickup.  Myers must have a good reason not to mention a word of this.  So it did not arrive at any post office as he says.  Check the order–there is no charge for postage.  Because it’s not being sent that way.  It’s being shipped via rail, Seaport Traders preferred method of shipment.  Not only that, but pickup at a post office would require the recipient to fill out a 5024 postal form for the receiving of a handgun in the mail.  This document has never been found and Myers makes no note of it.  

(Incidentally, Myers features a scan of a Railway Express Agency invoice on his web site.  But he can’t mention anything about this in his book, does not show the scanned receipt, or that the pistol was shipped via rail.)

Also, Texas law at the time required that anyone ordering a handgun would need a “certificate of good citizenship” signed by a local judge for ordering a pistol via mail order.  There is no evidence this was ever done by Oswald and would be difficult since he was ordering the pistol under his Hidell alias, which was lacking any kind of background other than forged ID cards.  He would then have to present this certificate the Railway Express Agency to pick up the gun.  

And to make matters more intriguing, the gun in Oswald’s possession when arrested in the movie theater was a different model than what he allegedly ordered.  It was the more expensive $39.95, .38 Special model which is listed on the order coupon, reproduced in the book.  Oswald ordered the .38 St. W. 2” priced at $29.95 which he allegedly made a $10.00 downpayment.  Myers makes no mention of any of these facts.  It should be pointed out that he never refers to Oswald’s pistol is a “Special” model either.  

The Bullets and Ballstics
The ballistics reporting in this book is very straight forward with plenty of close-up shots of spent hulls and the bullets the entered Tippit’s body.  Myers correctly noted that it’s not possible to connect the recovered bullets with spent cartridges.  

What I take issue with is on page 312 when Myers states the following:

“Oswald’s revolver was originally designed to fire .38 Smith&Wesson cartridges, which have a slightly larger diameter than .38 Special cartridges.”

And then again on page 335:

“The bullets pulled from Tippit’s body are consistence with having been fired from a .38 caliber revolver that had been rechambered to fire .38 Specials.”

He states that Oswald’s pistol was rechambered to fit the Specials since they are smaller in diameter than a standard .38 round.  However, if you have a .38 Special pistol, it only shoots the .38 Special rounds.  So what is the rechambering about?  He is implying that the pistol is being modified to fire the Specials.  But if it’s a .38 Special revolver then no modifications are needed.  As I reference above, Myers never refers to the Oswald gun as a .38 as a “Special” model revolver.  He wants the reader to think that Oswald is using a modified pistol to shoot the smaller diameter ammo.  Because, as stated above, Oswald didn’t order the Smith and Wesson “Special” model pistol.  Yet there he is with one in his hand when arrested in the movie theater.

[Would be interested in hearing from owners of .38 Specials to resolve any of the matters mentioned above.]

Additionally, Myers makes no attempt to discover where Oswald purchased the bullets from.  There is no record of him ever purchasing any ammo wherever he lived from Dallas to New Orleans.  The same applies to the rifle bullets.  It’s an important issue and overlooked by many researchers, especially those in the lone nut crowd.  Most gun owners I know are loaded with ammo, not to mention accessories to go along with their firearms.  None of these things were found in Oswald’s belongings.  What was his source of bullets?

Closing Comments...
Dale Myers bias in favor of the government’s flawed conclusion of a lone nut with no conspiracy involved, clouds his judgement in analyzing the case.  To be fair, overall, he does a good job in researching this tragic event and does makes a good case that Lee Oswald killed officer Tippet.  He is clearly ill at ease with the more problematic areas of the Tippet murder, with the wallet being the number one obstacle.  (The framing of Oswald works here but Myers can’t go there.  As stated on his blog: "However, looking at the evidence, I could not in good faith sign off on something so contrary to the official record without definitive proof – no matter how good it sounded."  How about how good it looks?)

Basically, Warren Commission defenders are all in a precarious position to begin with.  They are defending an incomplete investigation that suffers from being politicized from the start, and features a lack of full disclosure (admitted to by both Warren and McCloy) and behind the scenes machinations.  Little details like those listed here just can’t be mentioned–it’s too conspiratorial and muddies up a simple lone gunman story.  And that is a No Man’s Land for this bunch.

While this book is quite pricy, it’s target market is better suited for researchers of the case rather than the causal reader with a basic knowledge of the assassination.  I hate to say it but the best part of the book is the pictures, illustrations, and scanned documents. Most serious researchers should enjoy having access to that material which makes up half of the book.  

Finally, it remains disappointing that a researcher of Dale Myers' skills never resolves the wallet being seen handled at the Tippet murder scene.  

Addendum #1 
Myers has a short section on Roscoe White.  His story on White involves his son Ricky’s account of Tippet’s murder being done by by his father, Roscoe.  Being an omitter of facts, especially anything suspicious or even remotely curious, Myers leaves out the most controversial thing about Roscoe White on the day of assassination.  Namely, that he was walking around Dealey Plaza wearing a Dallas police officer's uniform.  But he wasn’t officially a police officer.  He wouldn’t attend police training till early December of 1963. He was working for them as a clerk.  As told to me by Jones Harris, only those people that had completed training would be allowed to wear the uniform of a Dallas Police officer.  

So what was Roscoe White doing in a uniform (complete with badge and gun) when he was only a clerk at this point? Some believe he was one of the shooters and the uniform made a good cover.  Anybody else have a better explanation?

Addendum #2
Tippet’s widow Marie allows WFAA News to examine her husband’s wallet.  It is black as is known, but does not feature the zippered pouch as seen in the WFAA film footage wallet. So we know for certain that the wallet seen in the footage is not Tippet's.  Read all about it here:  LINK

Addendum #3
AT, Hasan Yusuf has posted his review of With Malice.  It covers a lot of ground but has some curious statements.  First off he states the following:

“Although this reviewer discusses evidence further on in this review which casts doubt on Harris's credibility as far as the wallet containing identification for Oswald and Hidell is concerned, Postal's own testimony as described above suggests that she did in fact sell Oswald a ticket.”

Harris in this case is researcher Jones Harris, mentioned above in my review.  Harris has discussed with me many times his interview with Julia Postal, the ticket seller at the movie theater Oswald entered.  I don’t get what is “alleged” about it.  There is some doubt that this interview happened and Harris accurately recorded her reaction?    

Yusuf then says there is evidence that, “casts doubt on Harris's credibility as far as the wallet containing identification for Oswald and Hidell is concerned...”  No telling what that would be as Yusuf never tells it.  Maybe in part two.  

Overall though, a good review of Myers' With Malice for what is there.


Addendum #4 - 3.10.14
Once again, Dale Myers must be feeling insecure about his place in the Tippet murder investigation because he’s got a new piece on his blog regarding the wallet.  It’s basically a huge cut’n’paste from an earlier article on his blog.  Same old stuff but he makes an odd goof.  He says that researcher Jones Harris interviewed witness Kenneth H. Croy, the first police officer to come in contact with the wallet, in 2005.  

However, Harris told me the he interviewed Croy in 1990, 8 years before Myers published With Malice.  I think this was intentional as Myers does this to establish some doubt about the credibility of Croy and old memories involving his acquiring the wallet.  Myers knows better but it’s in his arsenal of tricks to insure Lee Oswald’s guilt in the Tippet slaying.


Addendum #5 - 3.31.14
Part 2 is up now for  Hasan Yusuf has posted his review of With Malice.

It seems that Yusuf doubts the veracity of Jones Harris’ statements to me in my review.  I fail to see the proper context of why his statements would be false or untrustworthy.  I double-check what he says to me, where I can, and I have found nothing false in his reporting of his interviews with witnesses in the case to me.


Dallas Police files on Tippit

Chapter 12c: Animania by Pat Speer

My take

Dale Myers Propaganda Cartoon (Courtesy of Bob Harris)

Hardcover: 864 pages
Publisher: Oak Cliff Press, Inc.; 2nd ed. edition (2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0966270983
ISBN-13: 978-0966270983
Product Dimensions: 10.3 x 7.4 x 2 inches

Shipping Weight: 4.2 pounds

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Book Review: The Interloper: Lee Harvey Oswald Inside the Soviet Union by Peter Savodnik

An over-hyped book of little substance...

As soon as I discovered that a book was being published on Lee Oswald’s Russian period I started to speculate how the author might handle the notion of Oswald defecting to be operative there.  The book blurbs on Amazon showed it was going to be yet another, lone nut book.  True enough, author Peter Savodnik states in the introduction says that Oswald acted alone and we can see how he did so by studying his life in Soviet Russia.  As he stated on page xi:

“It is the facts of his life (Oswald’s), and especially his life in the Soviet Union, that tell us what we need to know to conclude that he alone was responsible for killing President Kennedy.”

Good!  No need for an investigation then.  Towards the end of the page he follows up with this whopper:

The Interloper is an attempt, at long last, to make sense of this person we have we have never known.”

At long last?  As if nobody else ever tried?  As if Peter Savodnik knows him by interviewing his friends.  At this point I’m wondering if Savodnik is having an attack of advanced hubris to spit this line out or the marketing department jammed it in.  Of course, there are plenty of researchers have delved into Lee Oswald, his character, and exploits before the guns went off.  Authors such as Norman Mailer, Oswald’s Tale (1995); John Armstrong, Harvey and Lee (2003); John Newman, Oswald and the CIA (2008), and space does not permit a listing of many others. 

The course is set from here and what evaluation we will find of Oswald’s character and actions could just as well come out of the well-worn pages of the Warren Report.  

Time Spent in Russia
Peter Savodnik credentials including writing for the New York Times, Harper’s, Time, Atlantic Monthly and other northeastern liberal yankee publications.  He was based in Moscow for a number of years and wrote extensively about Russian issues.  Since Savodnik spent a lot time living and working in Russia he at some point–never explained–developed an interest in Lee Oswald’s life and was able to interview a lot of people that knew Lee Oswald during his time there. The picture Savodnik paints of Oswald is a one of a sad, pathetic, and often angry figure; an out of place young man that isn't very bright, struggles with the native tongue of his newfound homeland, and is ignorant of the culture he has just landed in.

Probably most surprising, is Savodnik's assertion that Oswald was a poor Russian speaker.  In fact, I know of no other book written on Oswald that ever doubted his ability to speak, read, and write the Russian language competently.  Even the Warren Report with its faults admits to his Russian speaking abilities which he supposedly learned from a Marine officer.  According to Savodnik, Oswald needs tips and lessons from co-workers and an interpreter at some phases of his work at the Minsk TV factory.  This fits in with Savodnik's angle of Oswald being a guy that isn't very clever, troubled in mind and intellect–only it’s not true.  The author is not being honest with his readers at this point.

Why? Because there is a lot of evidence that Oswald was a very good Russia speaker, good enough for his future wife Marina to comment that upon their first meeting she thought he was a local because he spoke with a Baltic accent.  While it is true that Oswald rarely spoke in Russian while there, the idea that this could have been a cover for his true identity is contrary to Savodnik's narrative.  Arriving back in America in 1962, Lee and Marina were befriended by the White Russian community there, and George De Mohrenschildt in particular.  De Mohrenschildt testified to Lee speaking Russian competently and reading Russian literature written in Russian.  Another Russian speaker who know Oswald said that his language skills were good enough to be a translator.  But Savodnik never tells his readers this.

Mistakes in the Narrative
For a writer good enough to be published in noted literary journals and travels the world doing research, Peter Savodnik can sure makes some goofs.  

One of the biggest involves the early days of Oswald’s life and the constant moving around he and his siblings endured.  Savodnik states that the shortest time the Oswald’s spent at a residence was six weeks in Manhattan.  Well, they never lived in Manhattan!  They lived in the Bronx.  Even the address Savodnik lists, E. 179th St., implying Manhattan, is a Bronx location (Google maps).  In actually, after getting kicked out of older brother John Pic’s apartment after Lee threatened Mrs. Pic with a penknife, they moved to 1455 Sheridan, Apt F.  They later moved to their final residence in New York at 325 E. 179th St.  Both residences are in the Bronx.  John Pic and family lived in the Bronx as well.  Marguerite Oswald did work odd jobs in Manhattan and Lee briefly attended PS117 in Manhattan, but they never lived there.  

Do publishing houses hire fact checkers anymore?

The length of time in New York is wrong too.  Lee and his mother arrived there in August of 1952 and Savodnik contradicts his tale by having them returning to New Orleans in January of 1954.  Obviously a lot more than six weeks passed here.

Of course herein lies one of the problems with the narrative.  Under the official account Lee is supposed to be attending PS44 in the Bronx in fall of 1953.  However, there is another set of educational records showing Lee attending part-time at Beauregard Junior High School in the fall of 1953 as well!  Researcher John Armstrong (see links) found this oddity in volume 22 of the collected Warren Commission hearings.  And there are more than just documents, there are a host of important events going on as well in 1953.  For example, Lee going truant, being evaluated by two psychologists, being sent to a youth home for a while, and his mother being interviewed by probation officer John Carro.  By the fall of 1953 things heat up with Carro attempting to get Marguerite and Lee in family court for counseling services and other issues, but he is checkmated every step of the way.  All of these events are happening in New York while another Lee Oswald is in school in another state in New Orleans.  Strange, huh?

As you can see, by taking the conservative approach with a simple narrative from the Warren Report, and staying out of those pesky 26 volumes of collected hearings and evidence, one can eliminate great difficulties in exploring the case.  One can direct the flow away from conspiracy very easily.  Especially if somebody doesn’t want that reported.  Logically, Savodnik can’t discuss it anyway because it disrupts his “Lee is a nobody” story.

The False Defector Program
A major omission by the author is the False Defector Program being run out of Nag’s Head, North Carolina with the sole purpose of placing operatives behind the Iron Curtain.  It’s too hot to handle because Peter Savodnik makes no mention of it.  One would think this issue should be properly explored if one were doing an honest investigation into Oswald’s Russian period.  But if you are a hack, then by all means, ignore it and type away!

Senator Richard Schweiker who had seen the classified files said,  “We don’t know what happened (in Dallas), but we do know Oswald had intelligence connections. Everywhere you look with him, there are the fingerprints of intelligence.” He further stated to author David Talbot that Oswald–“...was the product of a fake defector program run by the CIA.”  Former CIA officer Victor Marchetti stated this as well (Peter Janney, Mary’s Mosaic). 

Otto Otepka, Deputy Director of the United States State Department's Office of Security, uncovered the false defector program soon after JFK’s election. A security file listed Lee Oswald as a “tourist.” to the Soviet Union.  And while in the Soviet Union Oswald came into contact with Michael Jelisavcic, a known CIA operative at American Express.  A declassified document lists Jelisavcic as a CIA asset. 

Notwithstanding, if Oswald were a false defector this would greatly add to what his real motivations were during his Russian phase.  There is a great deal of bias for the official story that blinds the author to any other alternatives.  Oswald as false defector is an important part of the story if true, and the author finds it not worth mentioning or looking into.  He has to avoid the subject or else it messes up a nice tale.  

And it should be noted that Oswald was not the only defector.  Robert Webster (a dead ringer for Oswald in looks) was another who left the same year, 1962, that Oswald did (Lee knew him and Webster knew Marina, facts the reader isn’t told either).  There were in fact, a whole host of American defectors, many leaving that year as well.  

Another Important Point Omitted
However, what is commonly left out of the story is who exactly decided to allow Oswald to stay after his suicide attempt.  According to Joseph J. Trento in his book, The Secret History of the CIA, it was the most powerful woman in the Soviet Union, Yekaterina Furtseva.  The first female member of the Politburo, who took a personal interest in this hapless American defector and gave the order to let him stay.  According to Soviet defector Yuri Nosenko, it was Furtseva that ordered the KGB not to recruit Oswald as a possible KGB mole.

One would think this a very important point.  But Savodnik totally ignores Furtseva’s control of this issue.  It shows that Oswald’s entry as a defector into the Soviet Union was closely watched and made the hierarchy of Soviet government very suspicious.  The Russians have a long history of espionage and are very successful at it.  They probably spotted Oswald early on as an operative and someone not to be trusted.  

The idea that Savodnik would ignore this crucial fact is a serious lapse of judgement and good research.  He has to have an Oswald that is so unimportant, and such a failure in life, that nobody would have an interest in him.  But people of great import did.

The Real Interloper
The Interloper is the standard tale of the disgruntled loser with delusions of grandeur arriving at the Socialist Worker’s Paradise only to grow disillusioned there too.  Then later, the bad thing happens.  Hey, hasn’t Norman Mailer already written that book?  At last he gets a few mentions but Savodnik treats Mailer like a grumpy old uncle, capable of committing embarrassing disruptions, and whose insights are best ignored.  Might as well be, since Mailer wrote the better book on the subject of Lee Oswald and his time in Russia.  Mailer’s research includes KGB transcripts from the Oswald’s bugged apartment in Minsk, and while basically being the bickering of a young couple, it at least offers insights into their relationship.  The Interloper adds nothing to the mix.  Even the word “interloper,” used as a mantra in this book, is just a literary device Savodnik uses to propel along a well-trodden story.  

In the end, the real interloper in this book is the author himself.  His stuffy dismissal of conspiracy or its believers shows that his search for the truth is one reined in by the Gatekeepers that praise his book on the back cover blurbs.  Peter Savodnik’s portrayal of Lee Oswald as being out of place unstable misfit, unable to find a niche in wherever he travels, has been made so many times before it’s a yawn.  Some men seek the truth and other men just go along to get along.

Savodnik, like his subject, he has no sense of place either. He acts as if the Warren Report was the only investigation and nothing has happened since.  The House Select Committee on Assassinations concluded in their final report that there was a possibility of a conspiracy but they had not the time or finances to pursue any leads.  You will not see that mentioned in this book.  He considers Oswald's lack of motive as unimportant, dismisses conspiracy all too easily with a wave of a hand, travels the world for research only to restate old details, gets simple facts wrong or important ones omitted, he interviews only the people that will tell him what he wants to hear, and the author depends on the incomplete research and record of the Warren Report for his bedrock truth.

So what new revelations is the reader going to find?  Not much.  If you have an interest in biographies of Oswald’s friends and acquaintances in Minsk, or how long it took him to walk from his apartment to his job at the TV factory, then this book is for you.  
Otherwise, this tome features nothing new, much of which is rushed and summarized to begin with.

The Interloper serves as yet another vehicle for the Establishment to maintain their stranglehold on the mainstream media’s unyielding devotion to the long gunman myth.  Conspiracy...such a naughty word these days for this bunch of true-believing herd thinkers.

Hardcover: 288 pages
Publisher: Basic Books (October 8, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0465021816
ISBN-13: 978-0465021819
Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 9.2 inches

Addendum #1 
Although I didn’t give Norman Mailer’s Oswald’s Tale high marks, it is in retrospective a far better account of Lee Oswald’s life and search to find out the inner man, than The Interloper is.

Addendum #2 
Easy made it to my list of worst JFK Books.  LINK

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