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Jon G. Tidd

Was Oswald an Intelligence Agent?

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If Oswald was being used as an agent by some intelligence agency, his actions to an outside observer would not appear to be unusual for him. His actions would be in keeping with the pattern he had established. That way, nothing would easily catch the eye of a counter-intelligence operative.

What catches my eye -- I was trained as an army counter-intel officer during the Viet Nam war -- is his fluency in Russian. How did a poor, relatively uneducated kid who moved around, acquire such fluency? The fluency needs explaining.

I know, because I was trained in a language at the Defense Language Institute (DLI), that he didn't teach himself to speak and read Russian. You don't learn a language, especially a Level 5 (on a scale of 5) language like Russian, that way. It's impossible, unless you're a baby learning from your parents (or others) how to talk. In that situation, the learning is effortless. As an adult, one becomes a fluent speaker in another language only by listening and speaking to a speaker of that language.

When I was at DLI in 1970, the teachers were native speakers. The instruction was methodical and rigorous. Russian, one of the many languages taught at DLI, was a 47-week course. That's 5 days a week, 6 hours per day, another 2 hours at night, for 47 weeks. No way Oswald received such instruction. Just no way.

So as a counter-intel officer I would ask, how did he gain fluency, even with a Baltic accent? The only explanation is that he was a native speaker; that he learned to speak Russian as a baby; that he acquired written knowledge of Russian somehow and somewhere along the line, likely beginning in childhood.

Now as a counter-intel officer I'd ask, why did Oswald never admit he learned Russian from birth? Why did he keep this fact secret. Why did he lie about how he acquired facility with the Russian language? Big red flag here. Something important here.

Next, if it were 1963 and I was trying to figure out Oswald, I'd take a look at his defection to Russia. That might make sense to me. A speaker of a language naturally wants to be among people and in a culture where the language is spoken. It wouldn't puzzle me that he'd taken up with a Russian woman. Nor would it puzzle me that he didn't give up his U.S. citizenship. All of this would make sense to me.

If I somehow knew, as John Armstrong learned years later, that Oswald didn't go around speaking Russian in the Soviet Union but did converse with Marina in Russian, I would have wanted to know why. Was he some sort of controlling person? Was he encouraged by Russians to get along in English? Maybe so that they could sharpen their English speaking skills. Was there some extrinsic reason? Another red flag here, but not as big a flag.

Next, I'd want to check out his family situation and talk with some of the people who knew him. Standard counter-intel stuff. Here's where I'd get a shock: none of his family spoke Russian. Uh, oh. That big red flag has just become the overriding matter in my investigation of Oswald. Something's seriously incongruent. That's a signal Oswald is being used by some intelligence agency, His cover's just been blown.

More to come if readers here want more of the story.

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If Oswald was being used as an agent by some intelligence agency, his actions to an outside observer would not appear to be unusual for him. His actions would be in keeping with the pattern he had established. That way, nothing would easily catch the eye of a counter-intelligence operative.

What catches my eye -- I was trained as an army counter-intel officer during the Viet Nam war -- is his fluency in Russian. How did a poor, relatively uneducated kid who moved around, acquire such fluency? The fluency needs explaining.

I know, because I was trained in a language at the Defense Language Institute (DLI), that he didn't teach himself to speak and read Russian. You don't learn a language, especially a Level 5 (on a scale of 5) language like Russian, that way. It's impossible, unless you're a baby learning from your parents (or others) how to talk. In that situation, the learning is effortless. As an adult, one becomes a fluent speaker in another language only by listening and speaking to a speaker of that language.

When I was at DLI in 1970, the teachers were native speakers. The instruction was methodical and rigorous. Russian, one of the many languages taught at DLI, was a 47-week course. That's 5 days a week, 6 hours per day, another 2 hours at night, for 47 weeks. No way Oswald received such instruction. Just no way.

So as a counter-intel officer I would ask, how did he gain fluency, even with a Baltic accent? The only explanation is that he was a native speaker; that he learned to speak Russian as a baby; that he acquired written knowledge of Russian somehow and somewhere along the line, likely beginning in childhood.

Now as a counter-intel officer I'd ask, why did Oswald never admit he learned Russian from birth? Why did he keep this fact secret. Why did he lie about how he acquired facility with the Russian language? Big red flag here. Something important here.

Next, if it were 1963 and I was trying to figure out Oswald, I'd take a look at his defection to Russia. That might make sense to me. A speaker of a language naturally wants to be among people and in a culture where the language is spoken. It wouldn't puzzle me that he'd taken up with a Russian woman. Nor would it puzzle me that he didn't give up his U.S. citizenship. All of this would make sense to me.

If I somehow knew, as John Armstrong learned years later, that Oswald didn't go around speaking Russian in the Soviet Union but did converse with Marina in Russian, I would have wanted to know why. Was he some sort of controlling person? Was he encouraged by Russians to get along in English? Maybe so that they could sharpen their English speaking skills. Was there some extrinsic reason? Another red flag here, but not as big a flag.

Next, I'd want to check out his family situation and talk with some of the people who knew him. Standard counter-intel stuff. Here's where I'd get a shock: none of his family spoke Russian. Uh, oh. That big red flag has just become the overriding matter in my investigation of Oswald. Something's seriously incongruent. That's a signal Oswald is being used by some intelligence agency, His cover's just been blown.

More to come if readers here want more of the story.

Jon,

If it's true that Oswald spoke only English in Russia (except for speaking only Russian with Marina), it's logical to assume that he was eavesdropping on Russians' conversations, possibly for intelligence reasons.

It looks like he might have learned Russian at the Monterey School of the Army.

http://jfkcountercoup.blogspot.com/2011/09/monterey-language-institute-presidio.html

http://educationforum.ipbhost.com/index.php?showtopic=7527&pid=235423&st=0entry235423

Ironically, it's been said that Marina spoke much better English than she let on.

One of my girlfriends in the Czech Republic was like that...

LOL

--Tommy :sun

PS I seem to remember that Oswald didn't do very well on a Russian language test a couple of years before he went to Russia. Maybe he intentionally did poorly on it?

Edited by Thomas Graves

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If Oswald was being used as an agent by some intelligence agency, his actions to an outside observer would not appear to be unusual for him. His actions would be in keeping with the pattern he had established. That way, nothing would easily catch the eye of a counter-intelligence operative.

What catches my eye -- I was trained as an army counter-intel officer during the Viet Nam war -- is his fluency in Russian. How did a poor, relatively uneducated kid who moved around, acquire such fluency? The fluency needs explaining.

I know, because I was trained in a language at the Defense Language Institute (DLI), that he didn't teach himself to speak and read Russian. You don't learn a language, especially a Level 5 (on a scale of 5) language like Russian, that way. It's impossible, unless you're a baby learning from your parents (or others) how to talk. In that situation, the learning is effortless. As an adult, one becomes a fluent speaker in another language only by listening and speaking to a speaker of that language.

When I was at DLI in 1970, the teachers were native speakers. The instruction was methodical and rigorous. Russian, one of the many languages taught at DLI, was a 47-week course. That's 5 days a week, 6 hours per day, another 2 hours at night, for 47 weeks. No way Oswald received such instruction. Just no way.

So as a counter-intel officer I would ask, how did he gain fluency, even with a Baltic accent? The only explanation is that he was a native speaker; that he learned to speak Russian as a baby; that he acquired written knowledge of Russian somehow and somewhere along the line, likely beginning in childhood.

Now as a counter-intel officer I'd ask, why did Oswald never admit he learned Russian from birth? Why did he keep this fact secret. Why did he lie about how he acquired facility with the Russian language? Big red flag here. Something important here.

Next, if it were 1963 and I was trying to figure out Oswald, I'd take a look at his defection to Russia. That might make sense to me. A speaker of a language naturally wants to be among people and in a culture where the language is spoken. It wouldn't puzzle me that he'd taken up with a Russian woman. Nor would it puzzle me that he didn't give up his U.S. citizenship. All of this would make sense to me.

If I somehow knew, as John Armstrong learned years later, that Oswald didn't go around speaking Russian in the Soviet Union but did converse with Marina in Russian, I would have wanted to know why. Was he some sort of controlling person? Was he encouraged by Russians to get along in English? Maybe so that they could sharpen their English speaking skills. Was there some extrinsic reason? Another red flag here, but not as big a flag.

Next, I'd want to check out his family situation and talk with some of the people who knew him. Standard counter-intel stuff. Here's where I'd get a shock: none of his family spoke Russian. Uh, oh. That big red flag has just become the overriding matter in my investigation of Oswald. Something's seriously incongruent. That's a signal Oswald is being used by some intelligence agency, His cover's just been blown.

More to come if readers here want more of the story.

And Oswald's claims - from about age 15 until the day of his death - of being a leftist of varying sorts: How do we interpret that?

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Tom,

I agree about Marina. She's dissembled her entire life in the U.S., in my estimation. She has more to tell than she's revealed. She's not necessarily a bad person, but she is concealing information about herself.

As for Oswald's Russian proficiency exam, it was written as I understand. Written and spoken language proficiency tests are quite different. It's easy for me to believe he flubbed a written proficiency test. Most native-born Americans would flub a written English proficiency test that tested for grammar, sentence structure, word meaning, word usage, and spelling.

As for Oswald eavesdropping, that would have happened. Maybe he was eavesdropping to be in better control of his situation. Maybe he was listening in for the CIA. I wouldn't discount the possibility he had mixed reasons for eavesdropping.

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Steven Roy,

If Oswald as an adult was an intelligence agent, his observable and believable adult life would be coherent cover story that would be as true as possible.

I'd guess, just a guess, that he was a died-in-the-wool leftist of some persuasion. Being a leftist wouldn't make him un-useful as an intelligence agent, wouldn't make him a Communist, wouldn't make him an assassin, necessarily.

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On 12/14/2014 at 4:59 PM, Jon G. Tidd said:

Tom,

I agree about Marina. She's dissembled her entire life in the U.S., in my estimation. She has more to tell than she's revealed. She's not necessarily a bad person, but she is concealing information about herself.

As for Oswald's Russian proficiency exam, it was written as I understand. Written and spoken language proficiency tests are quite different. It's easy for me to believe he flubbed a written proficiency test. Most native-born Americans would flub a written English proficiency test that tested for grammar, sentence structure, word meaning, word usage, and spelling.

As for Oswald eavesdropping, that would have happened. Maybe he was eavesdropping to be in better control of his situation. Maybe he was listening in for the CIA. I wouldn't discount the possibility he had mixed reasons for eavesdropping.

Jon,

Excellent point about that exam's being a written test.

Oswald's poor score might have been due to the fact that Cyrillic is a difficult alphabet to learn, and he seems to have been a bit dyslexic, anyway. He spoke English very well and had a good vocabulary, so he seems to have had a high verbal intelligence in general.

I'm sure that learning how to speak Russian is a lot easier than learning how to read or write it...

--Tommy :sun

Edited by Thomas Graves

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Tom,

FWIW, in language school one gets grounded in speaking a language with another alphabet before tackling the written language.

Turned out for me I was so well grounded, as was the DLI goal, that connecting the visual aspects of the language to what I had digested as spoken aspects came naturally.

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Tom,

FWIW, in language school one gets grounded in speaking a language with another alphabet before tackling the written language.

Turned out for me I was so well grounded, as was the DLI goal, that connecting the visual aspects of the language to what I had digested as spoken aspects came naturally.

Jon,

I'm not sure if you're saying that Oswald would have learned how to speak Russian before reading or writing it, or vice versa.

If the former, OK.

If the latter, then all I can say is that maybe John Armstrong was right, and the Oswald who went to Russia was actually born in Hungary, where the people speak Hungarian, a non Indo-European language, and where the people used to have to learn Russian as a second language.

Question: Would a person who spoke Russian with a Hungarian dialect sound like they were from the Baltics (Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia) to a Russian like Marina, who allegedly thought Oswald was from there?

--Tommy :sun

Edited by Thomas Graves

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Stephen,

You ask what is my core theory.

My core belief is that the person married to Marina learned to speak Russian from birth. And that anyone who undertakes to study that person gets off track immediately without accepting and pursuing this fact.

You ask whether the person married to Marina was a leftist. I believe he was.

You ask whether he was co-opted by US intelligence. I believe he believed he was under the protection of and at the call of some intelligence service. I know however there were and are many intelligence services operating in the U.S.

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A bit hard to follow. I'm a believer in applying the same standards to alternate theories of Oswald. I'm looking for a theory of Oswald as agent which is supported by convincing evidence and internally consistent and logical.

I take it that your "person married to Marina" was not Oswald. Are you an Armstrong man?

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Stephen,

I start from what is known. Which is, that the person married to Marina is the person Jack Ruby killed. Not much else is known for sure about this person except that he spoke Russian as a native speaker. This person is called Lee Harvey Oswald. John Armstrong has established, I believe, that there were two lookalikes having such name.

If you are seeking a theory of Oswald as agent I think you have to pin down who is Oswald with some certainty. I can't do that. John Armstrong has done an admirable if incomplete job of it, IMO.

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On 12/15/2014 at 6:33 PM, Jon G. Tidd said:

Stephen,

I start from what is known. Which is, that the person married to Marina is the person Jack Ruby killed. Not much else is known for sure about this person except that he spoke Russian as a native speaker. This person is called Lee Harvey Oswald. John Armstrong has established, I believe, that there were two lookalikes having such name.

If you are seeking a theory of Oswald as agent I think you have to pin down who is Oswald with some certainty. I can't do that. John Armstrong has done an admirable if incomplete job of it, IMO.

[emphasis added by T. Graves]

Jon,

How much alike do you think the lookalikes looked?

1) A little.

2) A lot.

3) A whole lot.

4) Almost identical.

5) Identical.

If you say 2, 3, 4, or 5, how do you explain the CIA's being able to arrange, so far in advance, for that to happen? Genetic engineering? Plastic surgery on two boys they figured would end up being short and skinny? They were fraternal or identical twins born in Hungary and separated at birth, or just brothers, born in Hungary, and separated? The CIA just got lucky?

If you say 1, how do you explain the impostor's ability to fool so many people into thinking they'd encountered the man who married Marina Prusakova and was killed by Jack Ruby? Because he looked a little bit like him and identified himself as "Lee Harvey Oswald"?

Thanks,

--Tommy :sun

PS I think it would be more accurate to say that the Oswald who married Marina and was killed by Jack allegedly spoke Russian like a native speaker rather than was one.

Edited by Thomas Graves

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Thomas Graves,

It's all in one's perception and how pre-disposed one is to think the faces are the same.

For years I looked at the pictures uncritically thinking they were all of the same individual. There were differences, but I didn't perceive them. I wasn't disposed to see them. After reading "Harvey and Lee', when I look at two certain pictures, I say to myself they're of different individuals. Pretty obviously. But pretty obviously because I'm tuned toward looking for differences. My daughter, for example, who's not a student of the JFK assassination and thinks I'm a fool for being one pooh-poohs the idea the photos depict two different individuals. My brother on the other hand, a tinfioil hat specialist, sees differences as I do.

I'd say therefore my pre-"Harvey and Lee" answer would be 5, identical. My post-"Harvey and Lee" answer is 1-3, depending on the photos. But that's just me.

I don't believe the CIA had a hand in the childhood lives of the individuals we're discussing. There's nothing to indicate CIA did any such thing. I do believe some intelligence agency had a hand in fabricating an identity, a cover story, for John Armstrong's "Harvey" once "Harvey" became a young adult and joined the marines. I believe that cover story largely endures.

Re your postscript: I chose the word "as" based on my belief that as a baby, the person I'm calling "Harvey"was in close contact with one or more native Russian speakers and so learned to speak Russian as a native speaker.

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Jon and Thomas - you have both circled the difficulties of Armstrong's theory well I think. It doesnt make sense that there were two parallel lives from childhood on, yet that is what Armstrong suggests. But maybe there was an 'Oswald Project' run by an intelligence agency. I read about half or Armstrongs book, and just don't have the wherewithal to fact check all of the sightings of family members, multiple school records, etc. its either genius research or? But Thomas makes the point that I got stuck on too. Unless we are talking about some Boys from Brazil scenario it just seems too incredible. But an Oswald project seems completely plausible.

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