Impostor-ReplaCIAment, Lee Harvey Oswald
Tina Foster, Esq.
After Lee Harvey Oswald was arrested for the assassination of President John F. Kennedy and the murder of Officer J. D. Tippit on November 22, 1963, he yelled out, “I am only a patsy!” Robert Blakey pointed to the apparently doctored backyard photographs of Oswald as possible evidence “that [someone] conspired not only to kill the President, but to make Oswald a patsy.” Federal Bureau of Investigations Director, J. Edgar Hoover, expressed his suspicions that an impostor was using Oswald's birth certificate in a memo to the State Department dated June 3, 1960. CIA official, “John Scelso,” admitted to the House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA) that the CIA did not disclose a photograph from November 1963 of what may have been an Oswald impersonator to the Warren Commission. Since the Warren Commission never saw the picture that did not look like Oswald accompanied by the cable reporting Oswald’s contact with the Soviet Embassy (in Mexico City), they never investigated the impostor theory. In 1981, a medical examiner exhumed Oswald’s body and concluded that it was the same Oswald as had been in the Marines prior to defecting to Russia. However, this conclusion has not laid suspicions of imposture to rest. Could it be possible that Oswald was set up as a patsy and then killed before he could reveal anything?
Conflicting eyewitness accounts of Oswald's whereabouts and apparent use of aliases, such as “0. H. Lee” and “Alek Hidell,” have led to suspicions that an Oswald double may have been in play. Prior to the Kennedy assassination, there had been many unusual sightings of Oswald all over Dallas. As Scelso put it: “[d]ozens of people were claiming that they had seen Oswald here, there, and everywhere ... from the North Pole to the Congo.” In one case, a used car salesman reported that “Lee Oswald” had test driven a Cadillac at speeds of up to 70 miles per hour, but Oswald did not know how to drive and was at home at the time. Other witnesses were certain they had seen Oswald at a barber shop, a furniture store, a gun shop, and a grocery store, but Oswald was known to have been somewhere else in all of those cases.
Oswald was also known to have used different aliases. For example, when he started his own chapter of the pro-Castro Fair Play for Cuba Committee (FPCC) in New Orleans in April 1963, he gave the name “A. J. Hidell” as president and only member of the chapter. Marina Oswald and A. J. Hidell were listed as people entitled to receive mail through Oswald’s FPCC box. After his arrest, Oswald was carrying a Selective Service Registration Cards with “Alek Hidell” on it (along with his own). Oswald refused to explain why he was carrying both cards, saying “I will not tell you the purpose of carrying the card or the use I made of it.”
During a Frontline interview, James Leavelle of the Dallas Police, recollected that Oswald
was asked if he had ever used the name of A. Hidell. He said no. And he was asked if he knew anybody by the name of A. Hidell and he said no. And then he was asked, “Isn't it true that when you was arrested, you had a picture I.D. on there with A. Hidell on it?” He said, “I believe that's correct.” And he was asked, “Well, how do you explain that?” and he says, “I don't.” He just cut it off like that.
Differences in physical traits have been pointed to as evidence of an Oswald double. Oswald claimed during interrogation by Dallas police that he had no permanent scars, but Marine records indicated he had mastoidectomy scars and scars on his left upper-arm.
John Armstrong, author of Harvey and Lee: How the CIA Framed Oswald, compared photographs of Oswald that appeared to betray differences in facial features. In some photos, Oswald appeared to be “scrawny with narrow features,” while in others, he appeared to be “thickset and broad.” In a photograph of Oswald from the November 1, 1959 issue of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Oswald looked like a football player, with a large, “bull neck,” and a “large, wide nose.” Photographs taken of Oswald while he lived in Minsk depicted a man with a “thicker face, thicker hair, and a broader chin.” The photos did not seem to resemble the “small, thin, frail-looking man” who was arrested in November 1963 for assassinating the president.
Discrepancies in official records of Oswald’s height are also troubling. On Oswald’s Marines physical examination and the autopsy report, his height fluctuated from 5’ 8” in 1956, to 5’ 11” in 1959, to 5‘ 9” in 1963. Oswald appears to be only slightly taller than his 5’ 3” wife in one picture that shows him standing next to her.
Oswald’s visit to the Cuban and Soviet embassies in Mexico City in October 1963 has led to much speculation as to whether it was really Oswald or an impostor. During interrogation by Dallas police, Oswald initially denied being in Mexico City, but then he said he was trying “to get ... permission to go to Russia by way of Cuba...” Despite this admission, some researchers remain skeptical that the real Oswald went to Mexico City.
A photograph alleged to be of Oswald in Mexico City has been questioned. Scelso maintained he had never heard that the Mexico City station had obtained any photographs of Oswald. Scelso asserted that the CIA simply “looked at the photographs that they had for the period... [and] conjectured, concluded that if” they had a photograph of Oswald, that was it. However, the description of Oswald in CIA cables 177 (dated October 9, 1963) and 179 (dated October 10, 1963) sent from the Mexico City Station did not contain accurate descriptions of Oswald, according to Scelso, because the description was too old, the build was wrong and the height was wrong. CIA 177 was inaccurate because Oswald was not that old, did not have an athletic build, was not six feet tall, and did not have a receding hairline. The description of Oswald in CIA 179 was incorrect because Oswald did not weigh 165 pounds (according to Scelso).
A phone call made by a person identifying himself as Oswald to the Soviet Embassy in Mexico City is also problematic. CIA transcript number 13, dated October 1, 1963, indicated that the caller spoke in broken Russian. However, Winston Scott wrote in a memo to Legal Attaché, Clark D. Anderson, that the man who made the final phone call in a series of calls only spoke English and broken Spanish, and not Russian. The CIA determined that it was Oswald based solely on the “fact that he said he was Oswald,” but the “FBI established that Oswald had not been in Mexico on that day, but in New Orleans.” Oswald was in Dallas on October 3, 1963.
Eyewitness testimony from the Warren Commission's final report put Oswald in different places at the same time. The Warren Commission determined Oswald had served in the Marine Corps in Japan in 1957 and 1958. Oswald worked with fellow Marines, Zack Stout, Bobby Warren, and George Wilkins, while stationed in Atsugi, Japan from September 1957 through May 1958. However, according to Palmer E. McBride's testimony and Marine Corps records, Oswald worked with McBride in New Orleans from October 1957 through May 1958.
The people who knew Oswald in New Orleans and Japan remembered him quite differently. The Marines in Japan remembered Oswald as a regular guy from Texas who got drunk on occasion, liked Japanese women, got into a number of fights, and occasionally talked about his family, but never discussed politics. On the other hand, McBride said Oswald frequently discussed communism. Oswald displayed other differences in New Orleans. He did not drink, never talked about his family or background, never got into fights, and threatened to kill President Eisenhower, but the Oswald in Japan never did.
Oswald was later stationed at the Marine Corps Air Facility in Santa Ana, California (beginning in December 1958), where he constantly discussed politics, favored communism, supported Castro, spoke fluent Russian, read Russian literature, read Russian newspapers, listened to Russian records, and was interested in everything Russian.
Oswald's sudden and near perfect command of the Russian language is a conundrum. He apparently taught himself to speak Russian well enough to pass a military language exam in a matter of months. However, no one, not even the Warren Commission, could determine how or where he learned Russian.
According to John Armstrong, author of Harvey and Lee: How the CIA Framed Oswald, there was no time Oswald could have taken Russian classes in boot camp (1956), ITR training (early 1957), aviation training in Jacksonville, Florida (March-April 1957), or radar school in Biloxi, Mississippi (May-June 1957). The Marines in Japan said Oswald never spoke Russian, never read Russian books, and never listened to Russian records. Stout said:
I know Oswald didn’t attend any Russian classes or read any Russian books or listen to any Russian records. He didn't have anywhere to get such materials and if he had them we would have known about it... The idea that Oswald studied Russian in Japan is ridiculous - it just didn't happen.
According to Warren Commission testimony by people who knew Oswald in Dallas in 1962 and 1963, his command of Russian was exceptional. One witness said that Oswald actually preferred speaking Russian, and could discuss classical Russian literature in Russian. During interrogation after his arrest in November 1963, Oswald said, “I speak Russian, correspond with people in Russia, and receive newspapers from Russia...” One might think it unusual for someone to attain such a high level of language proficiency without any formal training.
In October 1959, Oswald defected to the USSR and renounced his U.S. citizenship. Suspicions abound that his defection may have been staged, because the CIA and military intelligence were constantly trying to plant “defector” operatives inside the USSR in the early 1960’s. Soviet authorities initially rejected his request to settle there (perhaps suspecting a spy), but eventually gave him a job in a radio factory in Minsk. There, he married Marina and had a child. In 1962, Oswald returned to the United States.
Several authors have suggested that Oswald was replaced by an impostor. Robert Cutler claimed in Alias Oswald that a Russian-speaking person had taken Oswald’s place during Oswald’s stint in the Marines. According to Cutler, the Russian-speaking “Oswald,” who was actually working for the CIA, had “defected” to Russia and was the one accused of assassinating President Kennedy. Anthony Summers reached the conclusion that Oswald was not a Russian, but an American intelligence operative. John Armstrong speculated in his book, Harvey and Lee: How the CIA Framed Oswald (2004), that the Russian-speaking Oswald (possibly the one who worked in New Orleans) was the Oswald who defected to Moscow.
Other authors, such as Michael Eddowes and Edward Epstein, believe the real Oswald was replaced in the Soviet Union by a “Manchurian candidate” impostor. In Legend: the Secret World of Lee Harvey Oswald, Epstein suggested that the Russians substituted a look-alike for the real Oswald during his defection to the Soviet Union. Eddowes opined in The Oswald File that the Oswald who returned from the Soviet Union in 1962 was not the same Oswald who defected in 1959, but instead was a KGB impostor who used the name “Alek Hidell.”
According to Mark Lane, the CIA charade included employing an impostor for Oswald, and began no later than October 1, 1963. Lane said:
More than seven weeks before President Kennedy was murdered, the CIA was dramatically and falsely establishing a link between Lee Harvey Oswald and a Soviet diplomat, whom the CIA would later designate as the KGB authority on assassinations in the United States.
At about 46 minutes into this video, a mortician suggests that Oswald's head was moved to another coffin:
The Men Who Killed Kennedy: Part 4 The Patsy
The Men Who Killed Kennedy: Part 4 The Patsy
The day after the assassination, Mrs. Jack Tippit of Westport, Connecticut, whose husband, Jack Tippit, was a relative of J. D. Tippit, received a telephone call from a woman with a foreign accent who refused to identify herself. The mystery caller claimed she had gone to Westport to make the call, so that the call could not be traced back to her. She was in fear for her life, and begged Mrs. Tippit to not say anything to the press, as “they” would know who she was and would kill her. The woman said she had known Oswald's father and uncle while they were living at 77th and 2nd Avenue in Yorkville, New York City. She said they were Hungarians and Communists, and that while they lived there, they were unemployed, got their money from the Communists, and spent all their time on Communist activities.
If Oswald had been set up as a patsy, as he insisted, then he was killed before he could reveal the truth about his double. Jack Ruby shot him to death on November 24, 1963 - two days after Kennedy was assassinated.
John Armstrong, “JFK 101: An excerpt from ‘Harvey & Lee: How the CIA Framed Oswald,’” http://www.jfkresearch.com/jfk_101.html
The Last Words of Lee Harvey Oswald, Compiled by Mae Brussell, available at http://www.ratical.org/ratville/JFK/LHO.html.
Jim Fetzer and Jim Marrs, “JFK Assassination. False Flag Attacks: How 'Patsies' are Framed,” December 11, 2009, available at http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=16224
Frontline transcript: Who Was Lee Harvey Oswald? Air Date: November 16, 1993.
Holly Hildebrand, “The Mystery of Lee Harvey Oswald,” The Houston Chronicle, April 22, 2000, available at http://web.archive.org/web/20000422222051/http://www.chron.com/content/chronicle/special/jfk/theory/oswald.html
Interview with the Assassin: Suspects, available at http://web.archive.org/web/20021003185421/www.interviewwiththeassassin.com/suspects.html
Mark Lane. Plausible Denial. (New York: Thunder's Mouth 1991), p. 64
Michael Collins Piper, Final Judgment, America First Books, 6th Edition, 2005, available at http://amfirstbooks.com/IntroPages/ToolBarTopics/Articles/Featured_Authors/piper-michael_collins/piper_index_art/Final_Judgment20_deskPDFTest_NoSecurity.pdf
Record Number 104-10015-10428, 11/27/63, available at http://www.jfklancer.com/Page4.html
Ron Rosenbaum, “Still on the Case,” Texas Monthly, November 1983, 270, available at http://books.google.com/books?id=giwEAAAAMBAJ&pg=PA156&lpg=PA156&dq=there+is+a+possibility+that+an+impostor+is+using+Oswald's+birth+certificate&source=bl&ots=pzCUSSr61Y&sig=yzKYdN2SxgOKkV16PDQ3p3G6N_8&hl=en&ei=xNuVS-aCBZPgsQPz3bT4Bg&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=10&ved=0CCUQ6AEwCTgK#v=onepage&q=&f=false
Texas Monthly, November 1983, 262, available at http://books.google.com/books?id=giwEAAAAMBAJ&pg=PA156&lpg=PA156&dq=there+is+a+possibility+that+an+impostor+is+using+Oswald's+birth+certificate&source=bl&ots=pzCUSSr61Y&sig=yzKYdN2SxgOKkV16PDQ3p3G6N_8&hl=en&ei=xNuVS-aCBZPgsQPz3bT4Bg&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=10&ved=0CCUQ6AEwCTgK#v=onepage&q=&f=false
Tina Foster is the author of
Email Tina at faulconandsnowjob at hotmail dot com.
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