Lee Harvey Oswald

Note: The material in this section is comprised of abstracts made available at the COPA conference, fortified (so to speak) by the approximately twelve hours of tape recordings made by Fair Play at various presentations over the weekend.

Indented material is from the abstract of a presenter. Quotations within, unless indicated otherwise, are the presenter's comments made at the COPA conference.


Lee Harvey Oswald---a U.S. Intelligence Agent: The Evidence

Presentation by Hal Verb

"Let me begin by first making a couple of quotations," Hal Verb began, adding that collecting quotations was something of a hobby for him. "There are two: 'We see what we see because we miss all the finer details,'...and 'There is only one thing that moves government on any level, and that is utter, stark fear.'" The first quotation was attributed to someone who was unintelligible on my tape recording, unfortunately---although Mr. Verb added that the man was the founder of general semantics. The second is by the late William Kunstler.

"I'm talking about the fear when they see the people mobilized, who have truth on their side, and then do something about it," Verb continued. "That's why I'm here [at COPA], and I hope that's why you're here."

Verb said, before getting to the body of his talk, that he did not know Lee Harvey Oswald, but Oswald knew of him, at least indirectly. Verb said in the early sixties, he---Verb---participated in distributing a Fair Play for Cuba Committee pamphlet, "Cuban Counter-revolutionaries in the United States," that Oswald ordered through the mail. Verb added that he used to write for The Militant and was a member and organizer of the New Jersey chapter of the FPCC.

"Many of the theories that are bandied about say that [Oswald] was an agent of the FBI or the CIA...but I say he was an agent of the ONI...Office of Naval Intelligence...Since the Marine Corps is under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Navy, and since his Marine Corps discharge was handled by the Navy, there's no way that you can have this discharge, and his conduct---before, during and after---unless the ONI started it."

This association of Oswald, however, with ONI, does not by any means prove or disprove that if there were a conspiracy in the murder of President Kennedy it follows that ONI is directly involved in that conspiracy. It can be argued, however, that a failure to completely uncover and thoroughly understand this Oswald-ONI relationship would, without doubt, prevent us from reaching any final conclusions as to the nature of the conspiracy: no other avenue of pursuit is possible unless this fact is recognized.

Why is ONI singled out rather than the traditional and usual "spy" agencies (such as the CIA or FBI) when Oswald's intelligence links are cited? ...The argument can be offered that drawing attention to such agencies as the CIA and FBI provides an exercise in futility where these agencies become mere "whipping boys" frustrating serious attempts to unravel the truth of Oswald's ONI association, in a real sense, then, a cover-up of a cover-up.

There are three distinct and substantive reasons to conclude that Oswald was an ONI agent. Of these three the first is logical and quite apparent and the other two relate to my own personal and direct experiences in tracking down, examining and analyzing the data in Oswald's short-lived career as an intelligence agent.

The first of these reasons is, in my view, an obvious one. I would cite here what the American philosopher Alfred Whitehead's observation that "it takes an unusual mind to see the obvious." What is "obvious" here applies to the necessary fact that while Oswald was in the Marine Corps if there were any questions arising during his tour of duty about his "conduct" during (and after) his Marine Corps service it would come automatically to the attention of the ONI. That is because [as noted] the Marine Corps is under the jurisdiction of the Navy Department. Oswald's "discharge" status, thus, involved ONI vis-a-vis the Marine Corps and US Navy branches.

The other two reasons involving my own experiences occurred in 1965 and 1966. The latter date I will cite here as it relates more directly to the first reason discussed above: Oswald's ONI links principally those immediately before his release from the Marine Corps.

In December 1966 I appeared on a radio interview program in Oakland, California together with Harold Weisberg, the noted author of many books on the JFK case. At the very end of the show a caller, who would not identify himself, phoned in and wanted to speak with Weisberg. By happenstance I was able to hear what the caller had to say. Some of what the caller discussed is mentioned in Weisberg's Oswald in New Orleans (p. 87) [p. 85 in the Canyon Books edition---Ed.] but not all...

"He [the caller] engaged in a recreational activity which I'm not going to mention, because it gives a clue as to who he is," Verb told his rapt COPA audience. "At least who I think he---who I've tracked down---think he is. In fact I tracked him down. I refused to give his name to any individual, and I finally gave his name to Harold Weisberg yesterday [October 21, 1995, presumably---Ed.] in a handwritten note. I did not want to put this in the form of a letter, or even mention his name. When Harold saw it, he said, 'That name seems familiar.' Now, I don't know what he's going to do with it. But, I have tracked this person down."

Essentially, the caller, who was stationed at El Toro Marine Corps base when Oswald was there, knew Oswald and was a barracks roommate of his. Oswald, he asserted, had a "crypto clearance" and during Oswald's remaining two weeks before receiving his "hardship" discharge was constantly in the base's "C.I.D." (Criminal Investigation Division) HQ being "briefed" for a "mission." As we all know, Oswald went to Russia [right after his discharge]. The caller maintained that Oswald was "set up with a specific discharge" and that the "crypto" work involved "black box" stuff. According to the caller, Oswald worked in decoding "IFF" (Identification of Friend of Foe) aircraft. The caller said there were about 180 individual assigned to the unit and five were classified. Thus, Oswald had to be one of these five.

"Now, the obvious implication is that Oswald was on a mission," Verb stated, "as an agent of the ONI. Now, like I say, I tracked down that person---and that's one of the reasons---that's my personal experience with showing that he is an agent."

In testimony before the ARRB (the presidential Assassination Records and Review Board) in Dallas, November 1994, I cited this particular 1966 call and urged the Board to review this matter and interview not only those in the CID but also the ONI as well. I pointed out that if Oswald were briefed by the CID it could not escape the notice and attention of the ONI. To date (July 1995) there is no indication or prospect that the ARRB has or will look into this but, at least, now it is a matter of historical record. [Note: The ARRB is not an investigative body---Ed.]

The second (personal) reason noted above deals with an event in 1965. A friend, knowing of my deep interest in the JFK case, gave me a record he found at a record store. This record, which I still own, is extremely rare (I've seen only one other copy) and was made around 1964. It is called The President's Assassin Speaks, and has Oswald's actual voice during a radio debate he had with Ed Butler (and others) in New Orleans, August 21, 1963. Produced by "Key Records" in Los Angeles, it is an anti-communist propaganda production of Dr. Billy James Hargis, founder and director of "The Christian Crusade." Naming Oswald as the assassin, the record strives mightily to link Owald with an (implied) communist conspiracy. If you listen to this record, the back of the record assures us, "you will be able to decide for yourself who gave the orders to Oswald to take the life of President Kennedy."

My interest in this record, however, was not the propaganda content but rather in a discovery I made of a "slip" Oswald made on that tape while defending his stay in Russia as a "defector." Oswald "slipped" and stated he "was under the protection of the American government," quickly recovering from his "slip" and then saying he was "not under" that protection.

"When I heard that record, I went ballistic. Of course, in those days you didn't use the term 'ballistic.' But I did go ballistic. I said, my God! The guy has slipped and made an admission---to me---which represents that he is representing the U.S. Government!...

"So I immediately went to the [Warren Commission] volumes...and they left out the part where he says 'I was under the protection of---' and they leave in the 'I was not under the protection of.'

"I just spoke recently to John Newman and I said, 'You know, John, why did you publish in your book, Oswald and the CIA---I'm a stickler for details. I mean, I probably find errors in virtually all the books, it's just something I do because I want to get the record straight---I said, 'Why did you publish that?' And he said, 'Hal, I just didn't know about that.' Of course, he's learned about it. So, all he did was reprint what's in the volumes. But the volumes didn't get it straight. You start questioning, why didn't the volumes publish it? That's another story."

Forgetting for the moment [that] the Warren Commission "transcript" did not print Oswald's "slip," for myself, it again offered a clear and strong indication that Oswald was, indeed, a U.S. intelligence agent whose assignment was his stay in Russia. In summary for the three main reasons cited above the evidence is sufficient, compelling and substantive: Lee Harvey Oswald was a U.S. intelligence agent engaged in various activities at home (the U.S.) and abroad beginning with his Marine Corps discharge and ending with his death at the hands of Jack Ruby.

As to the final question of the nature of the conspiracy: Unravelling Oswald's intelligence connections provides the key. The answer or answers lie staring us in the face if only we would truly look! As the noted philiosopher Wittgenstein so well counseled us, "Look---and then think!"


Oswald and the CIA

Presentation by John Newman, Ph.D.

"I'm going to try to deal not just what's in the book," Dr. Newman began, referring to his Oswald and the CIA, "but what's been released since the book, in particular in the last few weeks."

Before he got into the body of his presentation, Newman drew attention to an empty chair on the speaker's platform, which he said was for Norman Mailer. Mailer had been announced as a confirmed participant in the Oswald panel but, for reasons not entirely clear, cancelled. "I think it's a travesty that the American Tolstoy would write a book subtitled 'An American Tale' but not have consulted any American material," Newman said, referring to a charge that Mailer did not consult new files on Lee Oswald even though they had been made public by the time Mailer was working on his manuscript.

"There are three main conclusions in my work, but I'm really only going to deal with the third, which is the most provacative---that Oswald became involved in operations---but let me just briefly tell you the first two.

"Number one, that the CIA became operationally interested in Oswald. Number two, that they used very sensitive sources and methods to monitor him and collect intelligence on him, and that finally, sooner or later, perhaps as early as the Russian period, he became involved in operations.

"I did in fact find most of the evidence for this, in several chapters, early in the book...that is, the paradigm I looked at was that perhaps James Angleton dangled him in some sort of counter-intelligence action, perhaps looking for a mole in the U-2 program, or the Soviet Russian division. My conclusion: in the end, having marshalled all that evidence, was that it was not conclusive. It was suggestive, but not convincing. And so I left it that way.

"I think that the evidence is now overwhelming that Oswald, in the New Orleans period and the Mexico City period, had contact with CIA assets---Carlos Bringuier is just one example." Newman said that others include all of the participants in a notorious WDSU radio debate, who he said were either FBI or CIA assets: "We now know that."

Newman focused on Mexico City. "Clearly, this is one of the deepest conundrums of the case," he said. At this point, the lights in the room were dimmed, and a series of slides were shown; it is unfortunate, but Fair Play is unable to recreate those documents here.

The first slide, Newman said, "Connects two people---David Atlee Phillips and James McCord, working way back in 1961, running an illegal anti-Cuban operation inside the United States without informing the FBI. The CIA was very interested in running this type of operation, because as of early 1960 there was a plan to murder Castro and invade Cuba. So when individuals like Lee Harvey Oswald [join?] a pro-Castro organization, naturally the CIA would be interested in this operationally."

Operational Interest isn't Newman's term---the CIA, according to Newman, had an "operational interest" in Oswald in the early 1960s. "They're interested in him because he'd worked in the Soviet Union, and also because he married a Soviet national. In short, there were many different reasons for being interested in Oswald."

Still projecting slides of documents, Newman said, "In the Soviet Russian division at least eight or nine different branches maintained files on Oswald in the CIA; in the Security Office, at least two that we know of---two different offices, that is. In the counter-intelligence arena, the staff had their file, the operations guys had their file, and the mole-hunters...are going to be all over Oswald's files from cradle to grave.

"The Special Affairs in 1963---there's a couple of different places there that had files on Oswald. In the FBI, Headquarters alone, the Intelligence division of the Espionage branch, the Nationalities branch, all had separate files, and more---actually there are two separate files in the Intelligence division, and you'll find the same thing in Dallas---there are five different field offices in the FBI that are watching Oswald, some from the time of the defection, all of them until the murder of John Kennedy. That included New Orleans and Dallas and Newark...the Washington field office, because he corresponded with the Soviet Embassy. And they were opening his mail in the New York field office because of the FPCC headquarters...

Moreover, a multitude of Military Intelligence offices maintained files on Oswald in the early 1960s. "The list goes on," Newman said. "In other words, ladies and gentlemen, from one side of our government to the other, people were interested in Lee Harvey Oswald. That's not what we were told---this is not the fruit loop, nutty guy that no one was interested in. I just thought I would tell you who was interested in Oswald. It would take me much longer---all day, to go through each one office and tell you why they would be legitimately interested in him.

"And I don't have a problem with that---they should be [interested in Oswald]. Of course they should be. This is a Marine, who at the height of the Cold War made a beeline for the enemy capital, walked into our Consular office and told [Consul] Richard Snyder, 'I'm going to give up military secrets.' They should have been interested in him. Too bad they didn't tell the American public the truth about that."

Newman said that "very sensitive" sources and methods were used to monitor Oswald. "One example of that is the very illegal mail intercept program...let me tell you how illegal this was. When Congress found out about it, Angleton, whose program it was, was fired, in the mid-1970s. It was so sensitive that only three hundred people in the entire planet at that time had the privilege of having the CIA open their mail. Oswald made the hit parade...

"It's operational---Oswald somehow is being wrapped up inside of operations that are---there are things going on about him, and in his files, that are related to CIA operations."

[Newman spoke for another fifteen minutes or so. Unfortunately, due to a tape malfunction, our recording stopped at this point. If Newman submitted an abstract, it was not published. Fair Play regrets that we are unable to provide the rest of Newman's presentation. --Ed.]


The Candy Box "Fabrication" and the Hardship Discharge of Lee Harvey Oswald

by Martin Shackelford

"Lee Harvey Oswald wanted to get away from his mother. That's probably why he joined the Marines in the first place," said researcher Martin Shackleford at the beginning of his presentation. "By 1959 he also wanted to get away from the Marines. So that year he and his mother worked with a common purpose toward conflicting goals.

"In 1975 Senator Richard Schweiker publically argued that Oswald had ties to U.S. Intelligence. In a book, Peter Model and Robert Groden soon offered the unusual speed of Oswald's hardship discharge as evidence of such intelligence ties. What was the usual speed? They didn't say. They implied that Oswald initiated the process, said that he provided no supporting medical evidence, and was discharged with, 'no questions asked.'

"In 1985, Henry Hurt added that Marguerite's disability story was 'a false claim.' In 1989 Jim Marrs added additional claims: that a single candy box hit Marguerite's nose, and that she hadn't gone to a doctor until two weeks later." These and other claims, Shackelford stated, which purport to show Intelligence intervention on Oswald's behalf, do not stand up to scrutiny when compared to documentation in Oswald's Marine service records.

Those records were released in full in 1992, Shackelford said. Marguerite Oswald worked for the Cane Candy Company, managing the candy department at a Fort Worth department store for $200.00 a month. In December she was injured in an on-the-job accident. Company doctors said she could work, but she was unable to do so due to injury-related sinus problems. She began receiving disability payments in January 1959, which continued through the following May. The payments stopped when company doctors said she was fit to work. When another doctor disagreed, Marguerite hired a lawyer and filed a suit for Workman's Compensation.

The case was not heard for many months, and Marguerite was forced to sell many belongings just so she could pay her rent and buy groceries. She worked briefly as a housekeeper. "Beginning in June [1960], a small Marine allotment was approved," Shackelford said. "The first of the checks didn't arrive until August. On July 20, Lee applied for a larger allotment for her. Ironically, the final approval didn't come until the very day he was discharged from the Marines. She got one of the larger checks.

"Meanwhile, she obtained two supporting affidavits. A neighbor, Melba Chiles [?], verified Marguerite's poor health, as well as her desparate financial situation. Probably inspired by Marguerite, whose name was crossed out of the affidavit, Miss Chiles said Mrs. Oswald needed her son at home with her. This is the first hint of the idea of a discharge, rather than an allotment.

"The first actual mention of discharge appears in the accompanying affidavit of Mrs. John B. Knight, which was sworn the same day. Mrs. Knight, who had known Marguerite since before the accident, was in a position to know its full effects. On July 28, Marguerite filled out a form fully documenting her financial situation, and formally requesting that Lee be granted a discharge. She said her sons Robert and John were unable to help, due to their own family responsibilities. The Marines checked with the Air Force, where John served, to determine if he was giving her an allotment. They also sent her another form to fill out and requested more documentation."

Lee Oswald formally requested a hardship discharge on August 17, Shackelford said, "saying he wanted to be with his mother and support her." The wheels of military bureaucracy rolled steadily onward with a series of approvals at various levels of command. Whether they moved at a speed one would expect on what must have been a routine discharge request, or with undo haste, Shackelford did not say. On August 27, a military board reviewed the documentation and interviewed Oswald. They determined that he met Marine requirements for a hardship dependency discharge, and this finding was endorsed three days later. "At that point, orders were given to arrange the discharge. Oswald was transferred September 3 to a separation section and given an exit physical exam. The following day, you may recall, was the day he applied for a passport." Marguerite continued to press for disability payments; Lee was discharged from the Marines on September 11, with no intention, Shackelford said, of returning to his mother. "In the matter of Lee Oswald's discharge, there is much more evidence of opportunism than there is of the Intelligence community," Shackelford concluded. "Lee Harvey Oswald remains a man of many mysteries. In my opinion, however, his hardship discharge is not one of them."


Lee Harvey Oswalds: Dual Identity Cover-Up

by John Armstrong

The Soviet Union planted a potential spy in the United States at age eleven. Gordon Lonsdale was sent to California to live with his aunt and after five years had learned the English language very well. He returned to the Soviet Union, was trained in espionage, and wound up in England, where he spied out British defense secrets. He was discovered, arrested, and convicted in London's Old Bailey Court. He was eventually exchanged for a British agent.

If the KGB can begin creating a spy at age eleven, complete with false identities, it is a certainty that the CIA could do the same. Considerable evidence shows there were two people using the name Lee Harvey Oswald years before the Kennedy assassination. Many people worked with, befriended, served in the Marines, orwent to school with Lee Harvey Oswald at times and places that conflict with the official Warren Commission chronology of his life.

The FBI became aware of multiple "Oswalds" in 1960. Warren Commission member Senator Richard Russell was advised by Army Intelligence Colonel Philip Corso of two Oswalds in early 1964. Senator Russell recognized the assassination as a conspiracy and stopped attended Warren Commission hearings.

Hours after the assassination, FBI agents were immediately [sic] sent out to certain schools that Oswald attended and certain businesses where he had worked to collect all records that pertained to him. The records they collected, if known to the public, could expose Lee Harvey Oswald's dual identity. Public attention would then forever be focused on the intelligence community. Collection and suppression of evidence proving Oswald's dual identity was their top priority.

Immediately after the assassination, items belonging to Lee Oswald were seized by the Dallas Police Department, inventoried, photographed, and turned over to the FBI. The FBI kept all evidence and original film. They returned to the Dallas Police photographs of less than half of the items in their possession. Chief Curry noticed the missing photographs and requested an explanation. No explanation was forthcoming. With the evidence and photographs the FBI was free to manipulate, suppress, and alter any of that evidence that was damaging to governmental agencies. By controlling the evidence, and later the investigation, the FBI helped to [keep] from the public the truth about the dual identity of Lee Harvey Oswald.

A review of FBI and Dallas Police documents clearly demonstrates the FBI's knowledge of two Oswalds and exposes their attempts to hide this fact from the public. A review of Warren Commission records demonstrates certain people within that Commission also had knowledge of Oswald's dual identity.

The implications of this scenario are far-reaching, and indict elements of the government in the Kennedy assassination and its cover-up both directly and indirectly. This could well be the reason for the past 32 years of cover-up.

Addendum
The Dallas Police Department obtained 455 items of evidence belonging to Lee Oswald from 1026 North Beckley and 2313 West 5th in Irving, Texas on November 22-23, 1963. DPD Officer Paul McCaghren photographed those items on November 24-25, 1963, using five rolls of Kodak High Contrast Copy film. Special Agent Warren deBrueys took possession of the undeveloped film as well as physical possession of the 455 items on November 26, 1963. SA Warren deBrueys took the film and the 455 items to Washington, D.C. on November 27.

The FBI copied the film given to them by the DPD. On December 2, 1963, the FBI returned not five but two rolls of copied film to the DPD. Of the 455 items photographed by the DPD, only 167 items appeared on the film that was returned to the DPD by the FBI. There were 288 items missing from the developed film. The FBI had the physical evidence and the original film. The DPD was left with copies of two rolls of film containing less than half of the items they had photographed.

On December 3, 1963, DPD Chief Curry wrote to Gordon Shanklin informing him that "items #164 thru #360 did not record."

A comparison of the 455 items in question (Warren Commission Exhibit #20003) [sic] with the two rolls of film returned to the DPD by the FBI shows the following items missing from the film returned to the DPD: items #73, #91, #118, #135, #137, #142, #143, #146, #152, #153, items #164 thru #360, all but one piece of evidence from item #375, items #376, #378, #379, and all items #383 thru #455. A total of 288 items missing.

The first roll of film returned to the DPD is 58 feet, 5 inches long. It contains 8 feet, 9 inches of blank film (dark) at the beginning of the roll, 25 feet, 2 inches of film showing items #1 thru #163, and 4 feet, 6 inches of blank film (clear) at the end of the reel. The last 4 feet, 6 inches of film, which is blank (clear) had been spliced to the original film at the end of item #163. This blank film (clear) is not the same brand of film that contains items #1 thru #163.

The second roll of film is 35 feet, 2 inches long. It contains 6 feet, 10 inches of blank film (dark) at the beginning of the roll, 16 feet, 6 inches of film showing items #360 thru #382, and 11 feet, 10 inches of blank film (10 feet, 10 inches clear; 1 foot dark) at the end of the reel. There are no apparent splices in this film.

Chief Curry requested the FBI to photograph the missing items and furnish the DPD with copies of those items. It was several months before the FBI sent the DPD photographs of the missing items. When the photographs were returned to the DPD, some of the items photographed were found to be altered and/or fabricated (items #168, 169, #173). Item #168 was the first item mentioned in Chief Curry's letter to Shanklin as missing from their film.

Item #168 is Oswald's 1956 W-2 tax statement (see CE 20003) [sic]. The tax ID number listed on this 1956 Pfisterer W-2 tax statement, currently in the DPD archives, was not created until January, 1964. This 1956 tax form is clearly a forgery---created to show Oswald working at Pfisterer's in 1956. Therefore, the authenticity of all 288 items missing from the film returned to the DPD by the FBI is questionable.


Banister, Oswald and V.T. Lee: A Position Paper

by Frank DeBenedictis

Lee Harvey Oswald has long been reputed to be an intelligence operative. His August, 1963 Fair Play for Cuba Committee leafletting in the New Orleans area existed under the shadowing presence of local police, U.S. intelligence, and private detective Guy Banister, a man with connections to all three.

J. Edgar Hoover and the Warren Commission later concluded that Oswald was indeed a dedicated Marxist-Leninist. His pro-Castro leafletting attests to this. On the other hand, Oswald's FPCC leafletting, his knowledge of Carlos Bringuier's anti-Castro adtivities, and the appearance of the 544 Camp Street address on one of the leaflets suggests an intelligence connection of sorts since the address was that of Banister. Banister also kept numerous files on left wing organizations, one being the FairPlay for Cuba Committee...

In 1963, when Lee Harvey Oswald wrote national FPCC director V.T. Lee about starting a chapter in New Orleans, he was first discouraged. V.T. Lee told Oswald to contact the Tampa chapter. Before he became national director, V.T. Lee headed the Tampa FPCC. V.T. Lee's knowledge of Oswald, and Oswald's knowledge of him is to our own knowledge limited to the letters of correspondence between the two in the summer of 1963. But a look into surveillance activities by a variety of individuals and agencies suggests something quite different.

Six months before Oswald's New Orleans FPCC leafletting, the New Orleans Police Department intelligence unit sent an inquiry to its sister unit in Tampa about the very active Tampa FPCC chapter. Guy Banister, with his intelligence background and previous NOPD employment, may have helped organize the NOPD red squad.

Even more telling is the 531 Lafayette address of Banister and the fact that the CIA-infiltrated Cuban Revolutionary Council operated out of this office from late 1961 to early 1963. In October 1961 there was a near-riot in Tampa's Marti Park when members of the CRC, including Jose Miro Cardona, became involved in a scuffle with the Fair Play for Cuba Committee. Throughout the early 1960s, the pro- and anti-Castro Cubans had ideological battles in Tampa. In the Tampa Tribune one unnamed, self-described Cuban intelligence officer from Miami described Tampa nad Ybor City as an area with pockets of pro-Castro sentiment. In addition to this there is another example of NOPD surveillance of a radical Florida group years after the Kennedy assassination.

Sources
This information comes from Florida Johns Committee files, newspaper articles (1961), and the National Archives JFK Collection released files.


"Razbitoye Karito": The Ten-Minute Commentary Norman Mailer's "Oswald's Tale" Demands---and Deserves

by Walt Brown, Ph.D., COPA Governing Board, 1995 Program Chair

In his pointless but multi-lingual book vaguely related to the Kennedy assassination, award-winning author Norman Mailer tells his reader, "There was an expression, razbitoye karito. It means they were ready to eat, but had only a broken plate."

I believe it is no understatement that many people went to bookstores "ready to eat," but came home with Mailer's book feeling they "only had a broken plate." The only possible flaw in this argument would be the word "many" cited above. There is no evidence that Mailer's work, which received more harsh reviews than usually accorded to works which conclude something, was received by "many."

Razbitoye Karito.

The author claimed "the Warren Commission's work resembles a dead whale decomposing on the beach" (p. 351), yet he then uses the Warren Commission verbatium and endlessly, strongly suggesting that he---or whoever in fact wrote this book---ran out of ideas after they finished reading the Belorus KGB reports that make up the first half of the work. In fairness, however, it should be noted that the first half does add, in a way, to our knowledge of Oswald; it tells us, notwithstanding, nothing about the assassination. It goes no farther than to provide a portrait of Marina Oswald as a "Leningrad sidewalk prostitute" (p. 178).

More troubling perhaps are the constant references, often two paragraphs or longer, to three exclusive sources: the Commission, Priscilla McMillan, and Posner. It is hard to imagine something less objective than a work that swallows those three sources whole. Razbitoye karito indeed. These sources are necessary, of couse, as the second half of the work does not have the benefit of Belorus KGB sources, and drifts absolutely nowhere. This became evident in the author's many---should one be surprised?---media appearances, in which, among other things, he did not know JFK's age (C-span, 6-25-95), and his classic statement, in answer to how Oswald got down the stairs so quickly, that perhaps he was "transcendent." The author if this abstract appreciates wit; but it is administered best when followed by a real answer---and Mailer just did not have one.

He concluded many of his media interviews with the indication that he was "seventy-five percent sure" that Oswald did it. Translation: his findings are inconclusive, but a book deal isa book deal---especially if it is with Random House, who published the other other [sic] book that attempted to destroy the credibility of the critical community. Dick Russell, author of The Man Who Knew Too Much, withdrew a manuscript on "Mind Control and the JFK Assassination," as he was not convinced he proved his thesis. That is academic honesty. Mailer, however, published on a 75% hunch, and told us nothing---except for how many scenes where Oswald was either naked or dead.

Razbitoye karito.


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