I wish I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard Lee Harvey Oswald described as the assassin of JFK.
For example, the current Wikipedia article says,
“Oswald shot and killed Kennedy on November 22, 1963, from the sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository as the President traveled by motorcade through Dealey Plaza in Dallas.
No, it doesn’t say Oswald is alleged to have shot JFK, which is what it should say. The truth is bypassed right from the start. This is not confined to Wikipedia of course, which I find usually more accurate than most sources. Never mind that Oswald said he was innocent and was never convicted in court. If you argue with anyone reasonably well-read in the massive literature surrounding the assassination, they often respond to you scornfully with – “His own wife said he did it!”
Well, she did say that. It has never surprised me that a young immigrant woman, not particularly sophisticated, suddenly plunged into the vortex of the investigation of the most famous murder mystery/conspiracy of the twentieth century, with much to fear herself, would fall in line with the official conclusion of the Warren Commission Report.
But recently I was standing in a supermarket line when I saw this blurb on the front of one of the tabloid newspapers – “Marina Oswald says she has proof that Lee didn’t do it!”
Well, well, I thought, maybe she read Lamar Waldron’s book, The Hidden History of the JFK Assassination.
Read that book and you’ll see just how weak the case against Oswald was.
There is so much about him that we were not told in 1963. We were told that he had ‘defected’ to the Soviet Union where he lived for a couple of years, so he was obviously an undemocratic communist-sympathizing traitor. We were not told that since he was a boy Oswald had longed to be a spy, or that while he was still in the marines he was recruited into Naval Intelligence, when he began to study Russian.
When he was a boy Oswald had the usual experiences of a non-social individual in a social world, so much so that you might wonder if he wasn’t on the spectrum. Arrested in grade seven for truancy [missing classes] he was put in ‘reform school’ where psychiatrist Dr Hartogs said this of him:
Lee has to be diagnosed as “personality pattern disturbance with schizoid features and passive-aggressive tendencies”. Lee has to be seen as an emotionally quite disturbed youngster who suffers under the impact of really existing emotional isolation and deprivation, lack of affection, absence of family life and rejection by a self involved and conflicted mother.
Does that tell you why he was like? The psychiatric jargon doesn’t help me much. When I read ’emotional isolation and deprivation’ I immediately ask myself – loner? His ‘self involved’ mother sounds very negative, but if you read a full biography of Oswald, she was a fairly typical mother and did care about him. After all, self-involved people are not in short supply.
The detached attitude of Dr Hartog might suggest that he is being realistic, but look at this from social worker Evelyn Siege, who said there was:
“a rather pleasant, appealing quality about this emotionally starved, affectionless youngster which grows as one speaks to him”,….. [she] found that he had detached himself from the world around him because “no one in it ever met any of his needs for love”.
Sometimes a little empathy gets you closer to the truth. But this was going on in the early 1950s, when the idea of autism was barely getting off the ground, so it’s no surprise that neither mentions that possibility. At that time autistic children were often being diagnosed as schizophrenic, so Dr. Hartogs’ “schizoid features” are no surprise either. From what I’ve read to date, I think Oswald would have easily qualified for a diagnosis of Asperger’s, that is, if they hadn’t shot him first.
At the time Oswald left for Russia, Waldron says there were about 50 ‘infiltrations’ of mostly young men attempted by Western intelligence networks after the new government of Nikita Khrushchev sought to open the Soviet Union to foreigners. Apparently none of them had much success.
The KGB weren’t fooled. In Oswald’s case they arranged a factory job for him in the remote city of Minsk, far away from anything sensitive. However, if he was a spy, his two years in the Soviet Union were not necessarily a failure. Marina had an uncle who was high up in one of the Soviet intelligence agencies. It is not hard to imagine that Lee might have been asked to return to the USA so that Marina could be interrogated.
Waldron proposes that when Oswald returned to the USA he was still hoping to continue in intelligence work. Officially he was discharged from the marines, but who was put in charge of monitoring this suspicious communist sympathizer? Not the FBI, who you would have expected, but Naval Intelligence, his old employer.
And what was Oswald doing sitting at a table in Jack Ruby’s nightclub with Ruby and the local Mafia boss? That you see in a photo that we did not see in 1963. Waldron thinks this was related to the partnership that developed during the Eisenhower administration between the CIA and the Florida and New Orleans Mafia, where the Mafia had been recruited to assassinate Fidel Castro. President Kennedy was furious when he found out about it, and demanded that it stop. But, according to Waldron, their efforts didn’t stop.
During this time Oswald did some small jobs for the CIA, something else we didn’t hear about in 1963. When he was arrested while handing out pamphlets promoting friendship with Cuba, the printing of those pamphlets was paid for through a CIA slush fund.
Waldron believes Oswald was trying to get to Cuba to work for the CIA there. Why would he be helpful in Cuba when (as far as I know), he didn’t speak Spanish? Because he was fluent in Russian. Cuba was awash in Russian military, construction and intelligence people.
Some readers here will get impatient with me and refer to the ‘proof’ that Oswald’s famous mail-order Carcano rifle fired the three shots, two of which killed JFK.
In fact, only one bullet that matched up with Oswald’s rifle was ever found, and where was it found? It appeared mysteriously in the hospital on a stretcher carrying the dead JFK, supposedly/conveniently falling out of his body to be discovered there.
Experts who have studied the shots have said that they were the work of a highly skilled shooter. While much has been made of Oswald’s score of ‘marksman’ in his marine shooting tests, it turns out that that score was the lowest you could get without failing. Oswald had experience with guns, but he was no skilled expert. If you were organizing the most important assassination in a century, he would be an unlikely choice for the shooter. But a good scapegoat.
In The Hidden History you read about a French assassin for hire (Waldron names him but I’ve lost my notes) one of the top hired guns in the world, a man who acquired this expertise shooting Nazi officers and officials for the French resistance during World War II. Waldron says later investigation determined that this man entered the USA shortly before the JFK assassination, and left immediately after.
Finally, those who insist that Oswald was guilty will refer you to the woman who is said to have witnessed him shoot police officer Tippet 45 minutes after JFK was killed.
Let me tell you something about witnesses. In the decades of accident investigation I did, I used to joke that the more witnesses you have the farther you get from the truth.
For example, in one intersection accident, I had five witnesses who said my driver entered the intersection on a green light. Were we home free? No, because the other side had four witnesses who said the light was red. Witnesses, even third party witnesses who have no bias, are notorious for seeing things that aren’t there.
If I knew I had nothing to do with a murder, but the police were including me in a ‘line-up’ for a witness to choose which of us most resembled the murderer, I would be very nervous.
When Oswald was put in the line-up for the Tippett murder, he discovered that the other members in the line were all teenagers, and he protested angrily. Not surprisingly, the woman chose him.
What never seems to be talked about in this debate is the prejudice against solitary people, especially men. If a murder is committed and there is a male loner nearby, you can count on it that he will be a prime suspect. The whole human race seems eager to convict any loner.
I’m not saying that anyone on the spectrum has any claim to innocence – Hitler fit Asperger’s very well – but they should at least get the normal presumption of “innocent until proven guilty”. Oswald never got that.
If he didn’t do shoot JFK, just think of the injustice that was done, not just to him, but to everyone in his family from that time on, and to the understanding of people all over the world – what a huge corruption of history occurred if Lee Harvey Oswald didn’t do it.
That’s something else I had to get off my chest.