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Guest Rich Pope

Watts Line to Judyth Vary Baker

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Guest Rich Pope

One of the reasons I'm on this forum is to provide information my father learned as the chief engineer for the telephone company while listening into telephone conversations of LBJ at his ranch in Johnson City, Texas.  I've been extremely hesitant to do so because I feel the general atmosphere of this forum to be unhealthy, riddled with personal attacks and outright bullying.  It doesn't seem to me the admins of this site are interested in addressing this issue but I will keep my end of the bargain of providing things from my father's notes.  

The government, asked my father for a watts line phone number so that Lee Oswald and Judyth Baker could speak to each other without long distance charges accruing.  My father provided the number to the government official who then made sure that number made it to David Ferrie.  Ferrie then passed the number to Oswald and Baker to use to speak to each other at no cost.  It's my understanding Judyth used a pay phone at the race track to conduct her phone conversations with Lee Oswald. 

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Wouldn’t it have just been easier to slip one of them a few hundred and tell them to use it for their phone bill, rather than requesting an additional party to provide a number to an official, to give to Ferrie, to then give to Baker and Oswald? I mean, if the major concern was the call costs, why not slip them some money for the call costs, instead of dragging three additional people into it?

Nothing personal Rich but I think every single Baker story I’ve heard to date has either raised a guffaw or just stunk in general, and this new one feels of a similar standard.

 

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5 hours ago, Rich Pope said:

One of the reasons I'm on this forum is to provide information my father learned as the chief engineer for the telephone company while listening into telephone conversations of LBJ at his ranch in Johnson City, Texas.  I've been extremely hesitant to do so because I feel the general atmosphere of this forum to be unhealthy, riddled with personal attacks and outright bullying.  It doesn't seem to me the admins of this site are interested in addressing this issue but I will keep my end of the bargain of providing things from my father's notes.  

The government, asked my father for a watts line phone number so that Lee Oswald and Judyth Baker could speak to each other without long distance charges accruing.  My father provided the number to the government official who then made sure that number made it to David Ferrie.  Ferrie then passed the number to Oswald and Baker to use to speak to each other at no cost.  It's my understanding Judyth used a pay phone at the race track to conduct her phone conversations with Lee Oswald. 

Because of the nature of the underlying issue, these kind of claims require substantiation in some form. Even diary entries or contemporaneous notes or some such thing is better than nothing. Remember there have been inumerable frauds, charlatans and misinformed people on this forum and in the JFKA area for decades. Posting here and making claims that can't be substantiated over and over again will raise red flags. On the other hand providing proof for a previously unknown piece of information that passes muster will be appreciated by everyone and you'd probably see less offensive responses.

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Oh please.  If Judyth had a watts line she would have been blabbing about it for years.  Has she?  I don't keep up with her.

Maybe I don't remember watts lines correctly.  First when was this supposed to have happened?  In the few months after LHO left New Orleans in the fall of 1963.   I thought a watts line at the time was a number at a fixed location you could call out to anywhere in the US.  You couldn't call it free from another phone outside the area code or some places within it (owned by a different telephone company).  That's the way I thought it worked as a young teenager in the early 70's.  I went to the Zale's building in Dallas where my mother worked a couple of times on weekends with her and used a watts line to call a girlfriend that had moved to Paducha.

If that 's the way it worked where was the phone located that Lee used to call Judyth or vice versa?  From New Orleans where did she call him in Dallas, the rooming house.  Or was that where his located he called her from? 

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Posted (edited)
On 10/5/2019 at 4:12 PM, Rich Pope said:

One of the reasons I'm on this forum is to provide information my father learned as the chief engineer for the telephone company while listening into telephone conversations of LBJ at his ranch in Johnson City, Texas.  I've been extremely hesitant to do so because I feel the general atmosphere of this forum to be unhealthy, riddled with personal attacks and outright bullying.  It doesn't seem to me the admins of this site are interested in addressing this issue but I will keep my end of the bargain of providing things from my father's notes.  

The government, asked my father for a watts line phone number so that Lee Oswald and Judyth Baker could speak to each other without long distance charges accruing.  My father provided the number to the government official who then made sure that number made it to David Ferrie.  Ferrie then passed the number to Oswald and Baker to use to speak to each other at no cost.  It's my understanding Judyth used a pay phone at the race track to conduct her phone conversations with Lee Oswald. 

Deleted. I did not represent myself or the membership well here..

Edited by Michael Clark

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For a little more background, circa 1963 a WATS line would have been a connection between two businesses - each with the equipment to serve as a local exchange for the telephones attached to it i.e. a PBX or private business exchange.  Those went into long buildings and a WATS connection would have been accessed only though the phones connected to it.  There was not dial up WATS service until some years later.  In 1963 pay phone access to WATS was not happening.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wide_Area_Telephone_Service

 

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Posted (edited)

FYI, a thread several years ago discussed a JVB claim that she and Oswald communicated through a secret telephone exchange used for horse betting by the Mob.  Check back.

As for me, I am waiting for the revelation that Judyth Vary Baker was Bobby Baker's sister, and that Oz and LBJ were in communication through the Baker siblings.  "You just get me the presidency, and I'll get you your damned honorable discharge!"

Edited by David Andrews

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Posted (edited)
  • IMO there's just enough stuff that Baker relates in her writings and interviews regards her New Orleans time and Oswald story that I find it hard to dismiss her completely.

Her teen year academic story checks out.

Her being sent to New Orleans and actually having at least some contact with Oschner's clinic and Mary Sherman checks out.

Oshner did turn out to be as personally mean and radically extreme politically as she describes ( no exaggeration needed there on Baker's part ) and Mary Sherman's work was secretly covert and her murder about as diabolically brutal as one can imagine and suggestive of something much more sinister than a random killing.

JVB knew of Anna Lewis and her husband although the Lewis's were so opposite of her and Oswald in intellectual demeanor and pursuits their socializing seems ludicrous.

Baker knew of and described Oswald's flip flops ( did she know of these by reading the most obscure mention of them in one place only - the Warren Report?) which suggest something closer than no friendship at all.

She lived on the same bus line as Oswald who we know took the bus often as she did.

She and Oswald did start work at Reilly's on the same day and left their jobs there just a few days apart.

Oswald was no prude when it came to the ladies and his attraction to them obvious in his earliest Russia diaries and obviously in his Japan and maybe Philippines military R&R activities.

Didn't Oswald need antibiotics for a VD episode over there?

My point being, that Oswald's female attraction inclination history along with being a virile 24 year old in New Orleans for months alone or maybe even during a reportedly less than great sexual relationship with Marina when she was there, makes the proposition of a brief affair on his part not strongly unlikely. And Baker wasn't unattractive both physically and intellectually.

Now if Anna Lewis claimed an affair with Oswald it would be easy to write off that scenario with a spontaneous cringing laugh.

Oswald liked the cute ones. Marina was a looker and again, Baker was quite hot herself.

Judyth's sister Debbie has always stood by some of Judyth's claims about some intriguing involvement in New Orleans that she shared with her starting much earlier than Judyth's almost 40 years later ones. And this sister Debbie has never been exposed as some money or fame seeking whacko as far as I have ever read.

There's more, but even so the crazy thing about the JVB story however is how often she has been caught exaggerating or making up impossible scenarios and her personal belief theories juxtaposed with the true facts of her real activity and possible Oswald association life in New Orleans that are hard ( again in my opinion ) to dismiss as "all coincidental or totally made up."

 

Edited by Joe Bauer

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Maybe I'm putting my foot in my mouth again but if I remember right...  Jim Marrs was open to Judyth initially like he was with James Files, willing to consider all possibilities.  Then, like Files he quit discussing either of them.  Just dismissed them from his itinerary so to speak.  A good litmus test or me.  Then I've read another critique or two of Judyth over the years that weren't kind by people I find credible, so my view is jaded.    

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 I remember this WATS thing from Google groups years ago:This was sent to John McAdams, who, after the first email (lower),  asked for supporting documents. I don't know if he ever got them.  1st email is on the bottom. Rich's emails are in  bold.  Here's the full thread  : 

https://tinyurl.com/y25n3arv      

 

 

"John McAdams
image.png
5/16/16
 
A fellow wrote me about this, and with his permission I'm putting what
he wrote on the newsgroup.

This is FWIW:

<quote on>

"John,

Sorry for the delay. At the time, the phone company had a feature for
it's executives called an LDX code.  So for example, if I wanted to
call my grandmother long distance to wish her a happy birthday, I
would punch in an LDX code, then the phone number and could talk to my
grandmother for as long as I wanted and the phone company would cover
the cost.  The best feature of the LDX code was that it was possible
to listen into phone conversations and the callers were unaware of it.
And it worked on pay phones as well.  So it made more sense for Judyth
and Lee to use and LDX code (provided by David Ferry) to speak to each
other because the phone company could get around a court order for a
wire tap and it the calls could be monitored no matter which phone Lee
and Judyth were using.  Everything was triggered by the LDX code.
There was no paperwork needed so none exists and you remember the
least amount of paper trail, the better.  My father was also in charge
of setting-up the telecommunications at LBJ's ranch in Johnson City,
Texas.  For fun, he would listen-in to telephone calls LBJ was making
to Hoover and other people involved in the cover-up of the
assassination.  It was all fun and games until my father realized he
had stumbled into a world of subterfuge and conspiracy.  It changed
his life.  He went from someone who was a talkative outgoing guy to
someone who kept his mouth shut and was very secretive.
"

On Mon, Feb 17, 2014 at 6:00 PM, John McAdams <jmca...@datasync.com>
wrote:

OK, you need to supply the documents.
 
And to explain how pay phone calls could be made at no charge.
 
.John

From: Rich Pope [redacted]
Sent: Friday, February 14, 2014 5:56 PM
To: XXX
Subject: Judyth Vary Baker
 
Hello.  My name is Richard Pope.  My late father was Robert Pope, Vice
Chairman and CEO of Southwestern Bell Telephone Company.  I can verify
that Lee Harvey Oswald did contact Judyth Vary Baker more than a
handful of times, through pay phones owned by Southwestern Bell and
those calls were indeed made at no charge to either party.  This
collaborates this portion of her story concerning her relationship
with Lee Harvey Oswald.
 
Sincerely,

 
Richard Pope

<end quote>"

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The only problem I have with Judith Baker is there are no photos of Oswald and her.  Both Oswalds were camera guys.  They took photos everywhere they went.  I'm not certain of this, but there may be photos of Marina in NO.  But, none of Judith. 

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Posted (edited)
14 hours ago, Larry Hancock said:

It might be good for anyone interested to read Walt Brown's new book on Judyth....

https://www.amazon.com/Judyth-Vary-Baker-Edited-Commentary-ebook/dp/B07RH9FXBG

 

 

 

I just accessed the Walt Brown link.

I admit, so many of JVB's claims sound ridiculous, even crazy.

Not giving her entire story "any" credibility seems the logical and rational thing to do.

It's just those damn little parts of it such as the Reilly work coincidence and the Oschner and Mary Sherman Castro cancer plan ( and Sherman's diabolical murder ) and some others that keep you pulling it out of the trash now and then and rereading those parts that don't sound crazy.

So many of the other stories about the eccentric characters in New Orleans at the time such as David Ferrie, Guy Bannister, Clay Shaw, Dean Andrews also present crazy contradictions though as well. So JVB's fits right in. 

New Orleans back then sounded surreal in it's mix of super odd character craziness including steamy sex perversion intrigue, widespread corruption and extreme hot-headed political fanaticism.

Oliver Stone captured this sweaty surreal extreme N.O. craziness well in his film JFK imo.

 

Edited by Joe Bauer

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13 hours ago, Kathy Beckett said:
 

 
And to explain how pay phone calls could be made at no charge.
 

FWIW I remember a friend of mine somehow got ahold of a Pacific NW Bell code that you could dial in prior to dialing the usual number and make free calls from a pay phone and I think free long distance calls with another prefix code. This was many years ago but I believe there were other codes for different functions also.  Linemen used them for repairs and other company employees had them too. I think they randomly changed them after everyone passed them around.

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