The Intelligence Career of Lee Harvey Oswald

Agent Oswald

Dark Journalist (2013)

Film Review

This documentary, filmed for the 50th anniversary of the JFK assassination, starts with a brief summary of the physical evidence indicating that Lee Harvey Oswald played no role whatsoever in Kennedy’s murder.

It then reviews the major evidence that Oswald was a long time CIA operative at the time of his arrest. This includes archival interviews of New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison (who investigated and prosecuted one of the actual co-conspirators), Oswald’s New Orleans paramour Judyth Vary Baker, the late L. Fletcher Prouty (who served with Oswald in Japan at a top secret U2 spy base), late CIA asset George DeMohrenschildt (Oswald’s CIA babysitter in Dallas), and Cuban exile Antonio Veciano (a CIA operative in the Alpha 66 paramilitary group) and the recorded deathbed confessions of David Atlee Phillips (who ran all CIA western hemisphere operations in 1963) and E Howard Hunt (who was chief of CIA covert operations in 1963).

Lee Harvey Oswald: US Intelligence Operative

From Dallas to Raleigh: Lee Harvey Oswald and the Fingerprints of Intelligence

Allen City TV (2015)

Film Review

This presentation, featuring assassination researchers Grover Proctor and Jim Marrs, focuses on a fascinating chain of evidence shedding new light on “lone assassin” Lee Harvey Oswald’s role as a US intelligence operative. The new evidence revolves around the mysterious Raleigh North Caroline “cutout” named John Hurd, who Oswald attempted to call from the Dallas jail. Hurd first came to the attention of assassination researchers during the extensive 1978 investigation by the House Committee on Assassinations.

Proctor, who interviewed Hurd prior to his death, has assembled strong circumstantial evidence that Hurd was linked to the Naval Intelligence Unit in Nagshead North Carolina that trained recruits in the fifties and sixties to “defect” to the Soviet Union as double agents. Following his enlistment in the Marines at 17, Oswald underwent training at Nagshead and was initially deployed to Japan, where he had top secret clearance to monitor U2 spy plane flights over the Soviet Union. In 1959, he would “defect” to the Soviet Union in an attempt to fool the Russians into offering him a sensitive intelligence role. After the Russians failed to take the bait, the US repatriated him in 1961.

The second hour of the documentary, in which Jim Marrs comments on Proctor’s work, is the most illuminating. Marrs briefly sums up other compelling evidence linking Oswald to Naval Intelligence and the CIA, including his CIA 201 (employment) file and the Minox spy camera he had on his person at the time of his arrest. Marrs also refers to important evidence regarding Oswald’s intelligence activities in New Orleans – uncovered by New Orleans district attorney Jim Garrison ** and corroborated by Oswald’s former mistress Judyth Baker in  Lee and Me


*A “cutout” is an intermediary a undercover operative can safely contact in emergency situations without exposing the identity of their control (ie the official operative directing their intelligence activities).

**Jim Garrison was the only prosecutor to indict and try (in 1967) a prominent assassination co-conspirator named Clay Shaw. Shaw was ultimately acquitted owing to the CIA’s refusal to release records documenting his extensive history in intelligence (which would be released to the House Committee on Assassinations in 1978).

The CIA’s Medical Manhattan Project

dr mary's monkey

Dr. Mary’s Monkey

Edward T. Haslam (2007 TrineDay)

Book Review

How the unsolved murder of a doctor, a secret laboratory in New Orleans and cancer-causing monkey viruses are linked to Lee Harvey Oswald, the JFK assassination and an emerging cancer epidemic

Dr Mary’s Monkey provides a detailed history of how the Salk and Sabin polio vaccines administered to three million baby boomers were accidentally contaminated with a cancer causing monkey virus known as Simian Virus 40 (SV-40). It also describes the massive cover-up initiated by the American Cancer Society and National Institutes of Health (NIH), which encouraged doctors to continue administering the contaminated vaccine.

The book skillfully interweaves the history of SV-40 with new information about Lee Harvey Oswald’s intelligence career released under the 1992 JFK Records Collection Act. Haslam focuses considerable attention on David Ferrie, a CIA pilot and Oswald’s long time friend and mentor. It’s believed that Ferrie first recruited Oswald to the CIA when he joined Ferrie’s Civil Air Patrol troop as a high school student.

Why Did Ferrie Keep Hundreds of Mice?

Haslam’s memoir clears up a mystery that has troubled assassination researchers for nearly 40 years – namely the discovery, by New Orleans district attorney Jim Garrison, that Ferrie was performing medical research on hundreds of mice in his apartment

Dr Mary’s Monkey also relies on police reports, Freedom of Information Act records and the secret files of ex-FBI agent Guy Bannister (who played a key role with Oswald and Ferrie in a secret CIA program involving anti-Castro emigres), as well interviews with scientific and medical experts and acquaintances of orthopedist Dr Mary Sherman*, who was conducting secret SV-40 research at Tulane at the time of her apparent murder.

SV-40**  and the Current Cancer Epidemic

SV-40, the monkey virus Dr. Mary Sherman and Ferrie were experimenting with, was first discovered in 1957. Originally known as “polyoma virus” (referring to its ability to cause multiple of tumors in mice), it was first identified by Drs Bernice Eddy and Sarah Stuart at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). In 1960 Eddy discovered that the monkey kidney cells used to prepare the Salk and Sabin polio vaccines were contaminated with SV-40.

Instead of withdrawing the vaccine, the NIH destroyed Eddy’s career. A year later two other virologists replicated Eddy’s findings, and two polio vaccine manufacturers voluntarily withdrew their vaccine. Although NIH reportedly took steps to ensure that batches coming to market after 1963 were SV-40-free, they allowed doctors to inoculate a million more children (worldwide) with contaminated vaccine.

The New Orleans Medical “Manhattan Project”

Haslam believes the top secret experiments Sherman, Ferrie and Baker conducted in 1963 involved irradiating SV-40 virus with a linear accelerator, with the intention of a creating a biological warfare agent. Their hope was to create a mutated virus that would cause a “galloping cancer” that would kill its victim within weeks. It was Ferrie’s job to sacrifice the mice, dissect the tumors and identify and extract viruses that seemed the most virulent.

Sherman was working under the direction of Dr Alton Ochsner, a staunch anticommunist and known FBI and CIA asset. Freedom of Information act records reveal the FBI released him in 1959 to take a “sensitive position” at Tulane. The position, Haslam believes, involved running a kind of medical Manhattan Project to create cancer causing viruses. Ochsner’s stated mission was to find a vaccine against SV-40, presumably to prevent an epidemic of soft tissue cancers in children exposed to SV-40 via the polio vaccine. Numerous documents and witness statements suggest the true intention was to create a cancer causing virus for use in the assassination of Fidel Castro.

Oswald (on both the CIA and FBI payroll in 1963) comes into the story as a chaperone for Judyth Baker, a 19 year old girl genius who was assisting Sherman and Ferrie in their experiments. According to Haslam, Oswald was also the courier assigned to smuggle the fatal virus into Cuba. This meant Baker had to train him to look after the special culture medium that kept it alive.

Although Haslam’s original intention was to identify Dr Mary Sherman’s killer, in the end he concludes she most likely died from accidental electrocution while operating the high voltage linear accelerator. The top secret nature of her biological warfare research made it essential to conceal the circumstances of her death. Thus her body was massively mutilated (to make it look like a sex crime) secretly removed to her apartment.

*A Farewell to Justice by Joan Mellen confirms Sherman’s role in secretive experiments at Tulane, in which viruses were bombarded with a linear accelerator.

**Haslam devotes an entire chapter to the likely role SV-40 exposure, via the polio vaccine, has likely played in the current epidemic of soft tissue cancers. He cites National Cancer Institute Data showing a 50% increase between 1973 and 1988 in skin, lymphoma, prostate and breast cancer.

The SV-49 Foundation maintains a website devoted to the collation of SV-40 research. Except for a rare cancer known mesothelioma and a type of brain cancer, the official position of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is “more research is needed” to establish a definitive link between SV-40 and human cancers.

 

New Evidence in JFK Assassination

farewell to justice

A Farewell to Justice: Jim Garrison, JFK’s Assassination, and the Case that Should Have Changed History

by Joan Mellen (2013 Skyhorse Publishing)

Book Review

 A Farewell to Justice is an exhaustive review of the only arrest and trial stemming from the 1963 murder of President John F Kennedy. The late New Orleans district attorney Jim Garrison describes the 1967 grand jury investigation and prosecution of long time CIA officer Clay Shaw in his 1988 bestseller On the Trail of the Assassins. In 1992, the public outcry prompted by JFK, Oliver Stone’s screen version, led Congress to pass the JFK Records Collection Act. A Farewell to Justice uses classified documents released under this Act to update Garrison’s original case against Shaw and other CIA co-conspirators.

A revised version of the 2005 edition, the new 647 page A Farewell to Justice is a virtual encyclopedia of the JFK assassination. The book leaves no doubt that high level CIA officials authorized the murder and provides a complete list of the cast of characters who played roles in the assassination and/or cover up.

The new edition makes use of documents Mellen obtainedvia a 2011 Freedom of Information (FOIA) request and personal  interviews with surviving assassination witnesses. The most startling new evidence relates to Robert Kennedy’s systematic efforts to obstruct both the Warren Commission investigation and Jim Garrison’s efforts to identify the real culprits behind his brother’s murder.

Oswald’s FBI Pay Slips

According to Mellen, it was Warren Commission member Hale Boggs who first encouraged Garrison to investigate the assassination. Boggs himself first became concerned about government involvement in the conspiracy when the Warren Commission examined Oswald’s FBI pay slips in January 1964.

As well as providing a detailed outline of the entire grand jury investigation, Mellen also explores the role the FBI, CIA and Robert Kennedy played in sabotaging it. In addition to murdering and threatening assassination witnesses, the FBI/CIA wiretapped Garrison’s office, infiltrated his investigation team, stole files, fabricated witness statements, blocked subpoenas and the extradition of witnesses from other states and used CIA moles at the TV networks and major newspapers and magazines to portray Garrison as a self-centered, publicity mad lunatic.

Garrison initially intended to try Dave Ferrie, who he believed recruited Oswald to US intelligence as a high school student when he belonged to Ferrie’s Civil Air Patrol squadron. Garrison had witness testimony linking Ferrie, a known CIA pilot, to both Oswald and anti-Castro Cubans the CIA was training at a secret camp north of Lake Pontchartrain. Many of the same Cubans, training for roles in a CIA plot to assassinate Fidel Castro, would play parallel roles in Kennedy’s murder. When Ferrie suddenly turned up dead, Garrison moved to arrest Clay Shaw, based on witness statements linking Shaw to Oswald, Ferrie and the secret training facility.

Jurors Believe Government Played Some Role

Although Shaw was ultimately acquitted, Garrison succeeded in convincing the jury that the government played some role in the assassination. As they later told assassination researcher Mark Lane, without proof Shaw worked for the CIA, they felt there was reasonable doubt that he participated. His CIA personnel records wouldn’t be released until the mid-seventies.

Garrison would continue investigating the JFK assassination until his death. He made his findings available to the Church Committee (which concluded in 1976 that Oswald was a CIA operative engaged in counterintelligence) and the 1978 House Select Committee on Assassinations (which concluded there was more than one shooter and that Shaw was one of the high level planners).

According to Mellen, the CIA decided in the early 1970s to sacrifice Shaw (who would die in 1974 of lung cancer) as a limited hangout* by releasing his CIA employment records to HSCA. They reveal that Shaw worked for both the Domestic Operations Division and Clandestine Services between 1949 and 1972 and had strong links to PERMINDEX a shadowy CIA front that financed assassination attempts against French president Charles De Gaulle, as well as Kennedy.

Why Robert Kennedy Obstructed the Investigation

The classified documents released in Mellen’s FOIA suit establish that Attorney General Robert Kennedy was personally running the CIA operation to assassinate Castro and well aware of Oswald’s links to the operation. In 1961 Kennedy was directly responsible for the demotion, harassment and persecution of a State Department security officer named Otto Otepka for investigating Oswald’s potential security risk as a former Soviet defector. Kennedy also ordered Oswald’s release following his arrest for firing shots at General Edwin Walker in April 1963.

In the summer of 1963 several Cuban exiles, who were deeply devoted to Bobby, informed him of Oswald’s involvement in a plot to assassinate his brother. According to Mellen, who interviewed one of them, Kennedy claimed that Oswald wasn’t a threat because he was on the payroll of the New Orleans FBI field office and they were monitoring him.

According to Mellen, the younger Kennedy played a direct role, through his investigator Walter Sheridan, in sabotaging Kennedy’s autopsy, the Warren Commission investigation and Garrison’s investigation. Following Bobby’s assassination in 1968, Sheridan continued to protect his  interests by obstructing the release of documents for the 1978 HSCA investigation.

Mellen’s hypothesizes that Bobby’s interest and intervention on behalf of Oswald indirectly implicated him in the assassination conspiracy. It would have destroyed his political career for any of his prior links to Oswald to become public.

*Limited hangout is intelligence jargon for a form of propaganda in which a selected portion of a criminal conspiracy is revealed to protect the main perpetrators.

Lee Harvey Oswald: Career CIA Operative

oswaldJFK: The Second Plot

Matthew Smith (1992)

Book Review

Lee Harvey Oswald worked for the CIA (and FBI and Army and most likely Naval Intelligence) from the late fifties when the CIA recruited him from the Marine Corps until his murder on November 24, 1963 by Dallas nightclub owner Jack Ruby. A clear appreciation of Lee Harvey Oswald’s role as an intelligence operative is key to understanding the JFK assassination conspiracy and cover-up. Although more than 20 years old, in my opinion Matthew Smith’s JFK: The Second Plot offers the most comprehensive account of Oswald’s CIA career. The first account of Lee Harvey Oswald’s CIA connections appeared in a 1968 book originally published by French intelligence entitled Farewell America. French president Charles DeGaulle had a keen interest in identifying the conspirators behind Kennedy’s assassination, as the same group had also made three assassination attempts against DeGaulle. Farewell America reveals how the CIA recruited Oswald when he was stationed at Atsugi Marine Air Base in Japan and sent him to the Soviet Union. These historical details were corroborated by testimony a former CIA officer provided the House Committee on Assassinations in 1978.

The Soviets, recognizing Oswald as a likely double agent, never fully trusted him, and in 1961 the CIA returned him to the US. According to government archives, his handlers went on to give him assignments intended to create a kooky leftist alter ego, which would later be used to frame him for Kennedy’s murder. Given that Oswald had foreknowledge of Kennedy’s assassination, the obvious question is why he allowed himself to be set up. The answer Smith offers seems totally plausible: Oswald believed the CIA was returning him to the Soviet Union (via Cuba) to become a double agent. His handlers, in turn, intended to use his flight to Cuba to blame the President’s assassination on Fidel Castro.

Oswald’s Visit to Red Bird Airport

Smith first got the idea for his book after obtaining FBI documents under the Freedom of Information Act revealing that Oswald, together with two other federal agents, paid a visit to the American Aviation Company (AAC) at Red Bird Airport trying to charter an aircraft for November 22, 1963. Smith subsequently interviewed Wayne January, the AAC employee they dealt with, and discovered the FBI had falsified the date. The FBI gives the date of their encounter as July, 1963, while it was actually November 20, only two days before the assassination.

Smith also answers puzzling questions about Officer J.D. Tippitt’s role in the assassination conspiracy. Smith believes that an ex-CIA friend named Roscoe White asked Tippitt to transport Oswald to the Red Bird Airport to catch a charter flight to Cuba. When they rendezvoused, Tippitt became suspicious after hearing Oswald’s description broadcast over the police radio. When he got out to question him, a man matching White’s description rushed out of the bushes and shot Tippitt. Following Tippitt’s murder, the plan to spirit Oswald off to Cuba had to be abandoned.

The Main-Tier Plot

Smith organizes his book into two halves. Book One is called “The Main-Tier Plot,” involving the assemblage of a group of snipers to ambush President Kennedy as his motorcade traveled through Dallas. Book Two is devoted to “The Second Plot,” a scheme to enable the true shooters and co-conspirators to escape prosecution by shifting the blame to a kooky leftist Castro-sympathizer.

Smith’s expose of the main-tier plot begins with official Warren Commission (WC) version of the assassination. He devotes an chapter to irregularities in gathering and recording WC testimony that would never be allowed in a court of law. Many of the witnesses reported seeing more than one gunmen and complained bitterly about their evidence being omitted or misreported. Smith is particularly critical of the WC for failing to investigate Officer Tippit’s background or obtain ballistic evidence linking Oswald’s handgun to his murder.

Smith also summarizes the detailed physical evidence pointing to the presence of three or four shooters in Dealey Plaza. He goes on to discuss the intelligence connections of a handful of suspects arrested in the Dal Tex building and elsewhere in Dealey Plaza. All were released after President Lyndon Johnson ordered the Dallas police to discontinue their investigation. Smith devotes an entire chapter to the photographic evidence, including the amateur film made by businessman Abraham Zapruder, which was altered to make the fatal shot appear to come came from the Book Depository behind the motorcade. Finally he discusses the acoustic recordings which led the House Assassinations Committee to make the determination that more than one shooter was involved in Kennedy’s murder.

The Second Plot

The second half of the book offers an in-depth portrait of Oswald’s early history and personality. It details his posting to the Atsugi Marine Air Base in Japan, where he held a “secret” level security clearance, and assisted in monitoring overflights of the Top Secret U2 Spy plane. Smith goes on to describe Oswald’s activities in the Soviet Union in exhaustive detail, as well as the assignments he was given on his return to the US. In one of his first jobs, he processed photos of a Soviet military facility, which again required a security clearance. Other assignments involved infiltrating leftist and pro-Castro groups as an informant. The fabrication of Oswald’s unstable loner persona was facilitated by an Oswald double, a second agent who created major public disturbances while posing as Oswald.

Smith believes that at the time of his arrest, Oswald had been given a new assignment – to attempt to return to the Soviet Union via Cuba. Strong evidence suggests there were plans to airlift him to Cuba the afternoon of November 22, 1963. The plans were suddenly disrupted when Officer J.D. Tippitt was shot and killed. Tippitt’s murder forced the plan to spirit Oswald away to Cuba to be abandoned. His subsequent arrest necessitated his murder by Jack Ruby, another minor co-conspirator. Allowing Oswald’s intelligence connections to come out at trial would have seriously endangered high level officials in the Kennedy administration who participated in the conspiracy.

The Conspirators Had Names

The book’s final chapter “The Conspirators Had Names” is disappointing because it offers no firm conclusions about the real culprits in the JFK assassination. Although Smith refers to New Orleans District Attorney’s Jim Garrison’s unsuccessful prosecution of one of the co-conspirators, he makes no mention whatsoever of the Swiss corporation Pemindex that financed the assassination. It was Clay Shaw’s membership in Permindex that formed the basis of Garrison’s case against him. Nor does it mention the shadowy Defense Industrial Security Command and the 50 or so intelligence and defense contractors with clearly established links to both the DISC and the assassination. The evidence linking Permindex and DISC to the JFK assassination is outlined most clearly in a 1970 book by William Torbitt called Nomenclature of an Assassination Cabal or Torbitt Document

Posted in honor of the 50th anniversary of the assassination of John F Kennedy.

photo credit: Lone Primate via photopin cc

Originally published in Veterans Today