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Lee Harvey Oswald, biography of

Guest James H. Fetzer

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Guest James H. Fetzer


The Lee Harvey Oswald Fact-Check Committee (which I understand to have been organized by Judyth Vary Baker with assistance from several others.)

LHO Wikipedia Biography Project

The Wikipedia biography for LHO is filled with misinformation and bias. It needs to be rewritten to reflect the Truth.

The follwing biography serves to take the place of the official line, which has misled people for years.

Lee Harvey Oswald Biography

NOTE: This biography offers an alternative to the “official version” that presents Oswald not as the accused assassin, but as if he were already guilty. This biography presents additional information excluded for some reason from other biographies. For example, the Wikipedia biography fails to mention that Lee Oswald obtained his GED while in the Marines, only saying he never obtained his high school diploma and was a high school dropout. The Wikipedia biography does not mention that Oswald left high school to join the Marines a few days after he was able to qualify by age. This biography contains both official version facts and new evidence about Oswald which not necessarily available in ‘official’ biographies. All information has been verified, but this biography has been created to serve as a guide to reach information that otherwise would go unknown and unread. There are good reasons why the American people have doubted the official theory. You can find a few of those reasons here, alongside all the official information found elsewhere. After reading this biography, you will be better equipped to answer the question, yourself, as to Oswald’s true character. And you will be able to surf the internet more widely, rather than being directed only to websites supporting the official version.

Lee Harvey Oswald

Also known as:

A.J. Hidell, Alek Oswald, Lee Oswald,

O. H. Lee,

Harvey Oswald

Lee Harvey Oswald (October 18, 1939 – November 24, 1963). Father: Robert Edward Lee Oswald, Sr.; Mother: Marguerite Claverie Oswald; Brothers: John Edward Pic (half brother - born 1931), Robert Edward Lee Oswald, Jr.; Wife: Marina (Nikolayevna Prusakova) Oswald; Children: June Lee Oswald (born Feb. 15, 1961), Audrey Marina Rachel Oswald (born Oct. 20, 1963).

Oswald was the officially accused assassin of President John F. Kennedy, who was shot on November 22, 1963. Oswald was presumed guilty shortly after his arrest, and no hunt for any other gunman took place. Oswald was also presumed guilty of shooting Dallas police officer J. D. Tippit the same day. Two subsequent government investigations of Oswald's life and actions minimized concerns about a conspiracy, despite certain troubling witness statements, planted evidence in the case, and allegations by CIA and FBI agents that Oswald had worked in some capacity for the CIA and FBI. A majority of Americans have always believed Oswald was innocent, or at least, not the sole assassin, despite consistent media efforts to convince the public otherwise. The persistence of the public's opinion should be respected. Therefore, this site seeks to present a truly balanced and unbiased biography of Oswald, based not only on information provided by the two official government investigations (The Warren Commission, and later, The House Special Committee on Assassinations) but also on additional verified evidence, much of it released decades after the official investigations were concluded due to an outcry of the people after the 1991 Oliver Stone film, JFK, showcased how much the case, and Oswald, had been mishandled.


In 1959, Lee Harvey Oswald, a former United States Marine, defected to the Soviet Union at the height of the Cold War, arriving in Moscow just before his 20th birthday. He returned nearly three years later to the United States with a Russian wife and baby without being arrested. Less than two years later, Oswald, age 24, was arrested an hour and a half after Kennedy was shot, on suspicion of killing Dallas police officer J. D. Tippit (shot and killed thirty-four minutes after Kennedy's assassination). Within 24 hours, Oswald was arraigned for both murders. Subsequent government investigations ruled Oswald was the sole assassin but, as Dallas author and reporter Jim Marrs testified before the ARRB (Assassinations Records Review Board -- assembled after the Oliver Stone movie "JFK" forced the release of hundreds of thousands of secret documents related to Oswald):

"...consider yourselves detectives. You arrive on the crime scene and here is the victim's body.

The uniformed police present you with four suspects. By the way, they tell you, we caught Suspect

Number 4 destroying evidence, withholding evidence, altering evidence, fabricating evidence and

intimidating witnesses. Now who are you going to believe committed the crime? Suspect Number

4. In this case Suspect Number 4 represents persons within the Federal Government of the United

States. The crimes mentioned have been documented. So the government that we turn to for

information on this case includes some of the very suspects in the case."

Marrs' statement exemplifies the problems encountered in assigning "guilty" or "innocent" to Oswald regarding his role in the death of Kennedy, and why "conspiracy theorists" find the Kennedy assassination case so intriguing. If the fox killed the chicken, can he be trusted to guard the henhouse?

To briefly present a few salient examples of questionable evidence used to present Oswald as guilty, there are at least two "killer rifles" involved, both identified as "the" rifle owned by Oswald that killed Kennedy. One "killer rifle" -- an Italian carbine -- is on display at The National Archives. It measures 36" long. But the famed "backyard photos" purport to show Oswald with the "same" rifle, but that Italian carbine measures 40" long. The two rifles even have different sling attachments. The "backyard photos" also show Oswald's chin as square -- clearly not his chin. Oswald himself protested, when shown one of these photographs, that his head had been pasted onto someone else's body (see photo, sidebar). In another example, Oswald, unshaven, beaten, and wearing torn clothing, was placed in lineups with three well-dressed office workers wearing ties and jackets. Oswald's request to at least be allowed a shower, and to be given a jacket to wear, was denied. A third example of mishandling the suspect and the evidence is that, stunningly, no written or recorded records of anything Oswald said during over 12 hours of interrogation were ever made, though a pool of stenographers worked for the Dallas police department, and tape recorders were available. The Warren Commission had to rely on what the Dallas police, the FBI and the CIA interrogating officers reported, but even so, everyone agreed Oswald never confessed to the crime, despite relentless pressure to do so. Decades later, FBI agent James Hosty, who interrogated Oswald part of that time, presented a few scribbled notes for examination.

"I emphatically deny these charges," Oswald told reporters. "I'm just a patsy!" Within forty-eight hours —before he could be brought to trial, while being transferred under heavy police custody from the city jail to the county jail—Oswald was shot, mortally wounded by nightclub owner, police-fixer and mafia associate Jack Ruby. The murder was the first ever on live television and was viewed by millions. As Oswald lay dying, having been taken to a small room in the garage where the shooting took place, police urged him to speak some final words of confession. Oswald shook his head, then lapsed into unconsciousness. He was taken by ambulance to Parkland Hospital a few minutes later -- the same hospital where President Kennedy had died two days earlier. There Oswald expired, during a frantic operation to repair massive internal injuries from the bullet.

In 1964 the Warren Commission, whose members were appointed by President Lyndon Johnson, published The Warren Commission Report on September 24, 1964, with 26 volumes of investigative material and interviews. It concluded that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone in the killing of Kennedy and the wounding of Texas Governor John Connally, who was in the same car with Kennedy. The findings have since proven controversial and have been both challenged and reaffirmed.

Because such evidence has been suppressed, or ignored, by defenders of the official version, and because many records still withheld will not be released until almost every witness will be deceased, and in consideration of the suspicious deaths of a number of witnesses who were speaking out, or might have done so, conspiracy theorists, noting how frequently the murders of leaders have occurred elsewhere in the world, have concluded that a Coup d' Etat may have taken place, with government officials cooperating with those responsible to keep the country from falling into chaos. With the knowledge that an Official Version of Oswald's biography has been widely circulated as the "only" trustworthy version, when it is well known that much new evidence, and the statements of new emerging witnesses, have not been adequately addressed, or that such have even been suppressed or distorted by proponents of the Official Version, Oswald's biography will be presented here using a balanced viewpoint, taking into consideration both the Official Version and newer sources of information that have emerged in the decades since Oswald died.



Birthdate: October 18, 1939,

Birthplace: The Old French Hospital in New Orleans, Louisiana, USA.

Family members: Lee Oswald was the third child and third son of New Orleans native Marguerite Claverie, by her second marriage, to Robert Edward Lee Oswald (married 20 July, 1933). Lee Oswald's full brother, Robert, was born April 7, 1934. Lee's oldest sibling, a half-brother (John Edward Pic) was born January 17, 1932, after Marguerite's previous marriage to Edward John Pic, Jr ended in divorce. Marguerite described her marriage to Robert E. Lee Oswald as a happy one, but he died on August 19th, 1939, two months before Lee Oswald was born. He was named Lee after his father; Harvey was his paternal grandmother's maiden name.

After two years, Marguerite, financially and emotionally stressed, placed her sons in a Lutheran orphanage, Bethlehem Children's Home, Lee at first being kept by his affectionate Aunt Lillian (Marguerite's sister) and his Uncle Charles Murret until he was old enough to enter the orphanage, where he remained with his brothers for about a year. Their mother visited them on weekends. Then Marguerite's third marriage, to Edwin A. Ekdahl, an electrical engineer, allowed Lee to return home, to Dallas, TX. where he was treated as a son by Ekdahl, while Lee's brothers were sent to Chamberlain-Hunt Military Academy at Port Gibson, Miss, their tuition there paid by their mother. After they moved to Fort Worth, TX, the marriage deteriorated when Ekdahl committed infidelities, and the couple had a bitter divorce in June, 1948.

Lee and his mother moved often in the ensuing years, each move making it more difficult for Lee, who suffered from dyslexia, to catch up on his studies and make friends. Nevertheless, Lee managed to pass his classes and did not fail any grades, and his general behavior was not considered erratic or violent, though there is no doubt that he was a thoughtful and quiet child, whose deep interest in reading, despite his disability, along with a lifelong interest in politics, classical music and chess, would serve to set him apart.

Incidents of concern in his early teens included truancy while living in the Bronx, New York, where he and his mother moved in 1952, to the extent that he was remanded to Youth House, a reform school, which was a brutalizing experience. A psychiatrist there concluded Lee had emotional problems. There is a report from John Pic that Lee threatened his wife with a knife. But Lee may have found an anchor in his troubled seas: he reported to his lover, Judyth Vary Baker, in 1963 that he found a 'cause to live for' when he viewed TV episodes of "I Led Three Lives" featuring the true, secret life of Herbert Philbrick, a double agent for the FBI who had penetrated a Communist cell in New York. New evidence comes from the Charles Thomas family, that Charles Thomas, a Customs agent in Buffalo, New York, who later moved to Miami, befriended Lee and may have influenced him. Thomas, a decade later, was described as meeting Lee Oswald in New Orleans after his return from the Soviet Union, for the purpose of expediting the processing of Lee Oswald's passport, which he received, though a 'defector' to communism, and with a passport application that presented an intent to return to the Soviet Union and other suspect countries, in only 24 hours.


Lee Oswald told at least two other persons (his mother and his older brother) that Philbrick became a hero in his eyes. At this time, at age 13, it is known that he began studying both communism and capitalism intensely, reading Marx, Lenin, Hobbes, Hume, Huxley, and the works of American founding fathers, with the intention, Baker said, of becoming a double agent himself. Lee's family reported that Lee memorized his older brother Robert's Marine Manual, and that he wore his brother's Marine ring (the ring was removed from Oswald's left hand when he was arrested in Dallas on November 22, 1963).

Fearing her son would be returned to Youth House after a brief reprieve, during which Lee Oswald seemed to be doing well in school, Marguerite returned to New Orleans with Lee in 1954. Notably, Lee then took on a paper route and earned money for a Civil Air Patrol uniform. He attended CAP meetings in New Orleans, which stressed patriotism and pre-military training, especially flight training. A photo of Lee in the company of notorious CAP Commander and professional pilot David W. Ferrie was discovered in 1993 and published on PBS Frontline. Ferrie was later be implicated in the Kennedy assassination by New Orleans D.A. Jim Garrison, but died only days after he protested he would now be killed: the official autopsy said death occurred via natural causes, but two unsigned suicide notes and other difficulties obscure a final decision on the matter; Ferrie was unveiled as an Oswald associate, CIA asset and cancer researcher in the book "Dr. Mary's Monkey" (by Edward T. Haslam).


In New Orleans, and later in Fort Worth, Texas, Lee would attend five different schools in the next few years, finally dropping out a few days after his 17th birthday to join the Marines (both his siblings had already joined military organizations), his longtime dream. After finishing Boot Camp, Lee next obtained a GED in the Marines, a matter rarely mentioned. He was also trained in marksmanship, but scored in the lower levels. Between October 1956 and October 1959, Lee was trained at Jacksonville, Biloxi, and El Toro. He then served on the U.S. S. Bexar, during which time friends noticed he was studying Russian. He was sent to Atsugi, Japan (an MK-ULTRA and U2 spy station); he later saw duty in the Pacific, and in the South China Sea. By September, 1959, Lee had taken a test in Russian and had a thorough knowledge of Russian culture, music, and literature. Fellow Marines called him "Oswaldovitch." That they tolerated his apparent proclivity for all things Russian remains an unexplained paradox.

Reports from officers and peers at this time vary as to Lee's character, whether he received covert training, and if he was a good Marine: some officers praised him, while others thought him lazy or derelict. Lee was court-martialed twice during this time, and other incidents of concern also occurred, but researchers, who argue over what remains of Lee's military record (many files were destroyed or 'lost,') haggle over evidence that Lee might have been specially trained to enter Russia as a fake defector. To be convincing as a disgruntled former Marine, he may have had to be 'dirtied up.' It is known that Lee consorted with expensive and beautiful Japanese courtesans at the Queen Bee lounge, who were suspected of being involved in espionage activities. His small Marine income would have made such activities financially impossible, and is in conflict with official statements that Lee was able to save plenty of money for his later trip to the Soviet Union from America.

By September 20, 1959, Lee Oswald came and left Texas after a visit to his mother lasting only a few days, proceeding to New Orleans. He had removed himself from active duty, using the excuse that his mother needed him due to an injury (which was only to her nose), becoming a Reserve Marine with an honorable discharge from active duty (the discharge would later be changed to 'undesirable': though Marine records supposedly cannot be altered after discharge, Oswald's were).


By October 10, Lee was in London, and by Oct. 16, 1959, at the height of the Cold War, Lee Oswald became America's youngest and most enigmatic defector, not yet 20 years old. How he paid for the trip, the letters he sent to universities, and his utilization of a little-known military route to Moscow (through Helsinki), with precise timing for visas, suggest a well-planned scenario.

Close scrutiny of Lee's life in the USSR, beginning with his taking an expensive suite at the luxurious Metropole Hotel in Moscow, and his actions there, which included cutting his left wrist in a "suicide" attempt that required four stitches to close, when he was first denied entry as a defector, as well as copious accounts from eyewitnesses, reveal many troubling factors, beginning with his actions at the US Embassy in Moscow.

Lee Oswald supposedly 'tried to renounce his citizenship' and actually handed over his US passport at the Embassy, stating he planned to reveal classified information learned as a radar operator at the U2 base at Atsugi. So important was this information that testimony exists showing the codes concerning the U2 spy planes were immediately changed. That Lee Oswald was then allowed to leave the US Embassy, to go mingle with the Russians, defies explanation, despite defensive comments later made that Lee was just a young fellow who didn't really mean what he threatened. Lee Oswald should have been detained, not allowed egress from the Embassy.

Further, at the end of nearly three years, Lee Oswald returned to the US Embassy and picked up his passport, still kept at the Embassy; he also received a loan to pay for his and his family's expeditious return to the US (Oswald repaid the loan quickly), and with comparatively little difficulty, he returned to the US, even though he had a Russian wife and baby in tow. How Lee Oswald convinced both the Russians and the Americans to allow this unusual event to occur, with the Iron Curtain a stark reality, remains a mystery that neither government has adequately explained. Lee had spent most of his time in the USSR in Belarus (White Russia), at Minsk, where he had lived in relative comfort with his own private apartment-with-a-view, a good job, and a generous salary. He was known to be under constant surveillance by the Russians.

Photos taken in the Soviet Union prove Lee Oswald was a sociable and gregarious individual during this time period, actively pursuing lively romantic interests, attending Party dances, and needing only six weeks to court (mostly from a hospital bed, when he fell ill with adenoiditis and otitis) a young, pretty Russian girl, 20-year-old Marina Nikolayevna Prusakova, who had been living in Minsk as an orphan with her aunt and uncle, an official in the Communist Party: the pair met March 17, 1961 and were wed in a State ceremony on April 30, 1961. It would not be a happy marriage.


A year later, the couple arrived in Fort Worth, Texas after a saga that included quick travel from behind the Iron Curtain through Poland and thence to The Netherlands, where they continued their journey by steamship from Rotterdam to New York, after which they flew to Texas. Remarkably, debriefing was reported as cursory: there was little overt interest in Lee Oswald's return from the USSR. There is evidence that Lee Oswald left baggage behind at one stop before reaching Texas. At this time, McCarthyism and anti-communism was rampant. Persons merely suspected of communist sympathies were fired, and Xenophobia reigned. Lee Oswald's photo had been in the papers when he 'defected' -- yet he returned without fanfare and immediately slipped into a 'normal' life, first in Fort Worth, then in Dallas, finding work through immediate friendly connections.

Lee and Marina first lived briefly with Lee's married brother, Robert, and then with Marguerite, Lee's mother; soon, this arrangement proved impossible due to Marguerite's controlling ways, but the culture-shocked Marina was befriended by members of the White Russian Community in Dallas, who bewailed the way Lee was treating her. The main complaint was that Lee insisted on sequestering Marina and their baby (June Lee) and resented any material aid, though they struggled financially; Marina bitterly complained of being mistreated, though the suave Baron George deMohrenschildt, a CIA asset, friend of Jackie Kennedy's family, petroleum geologist and Russian instructor (born in Minsk), stated in his memoirs "I Am a Patsy" (HSCA document, unpublished manuscript) that Marina constantly insulted and demeaned her husband both in private and public. After Lee beat his wife on at least two occasions, they separated, but despite her new friends' reproaches, Marina returned to Lee, and soon became pregnant again.

Lee Oswald's job history is only briefly mentioned here: his whereabouts were sometimes unknown for days at a time when he was not employed. The official versions concur that he was a poor and sullen worker, and was let go by one employer (Jaggers-Chiles-Stovall) known to be printing maps and classified materials about Cuba --to which Lee Oswald had no certifiable access. But there is the puzzling matter of Lee's meticulous work record there, showing careful and consistent labor, and a strong work ethic. He put in many overtime hours, including Saturdays, which would not have been allowed if he were really a poor worker. Therefore the official version does not conform to work records, for he was invariably on time, did not miss a day of work, and apparently worked hard. Some biographers contend Lee was let go from this job to make him appear just as later described (as part of his 'cover') -- a disaffected worker who could then be able to re-enter the Soviet Union again, or, alternately, enter Cuba, where Fidel Castro had set up a communist regime that was threatening to spread throughout Mexico, South America, and Central America.

The CIA was actively countering this threat with now well-known covert and overt operations. As a 'fake' defector, an argument exists explaining other puzzling developments in Lee Oswald's life that were about to take place. The official explanations concerning Lee Oswald's true life story are becoming progressively obsolete as new evidence, much of it released by government entities since the movie 'JFK' created the outcry that spurred the creation of the Assassination Records Review Board (ARRB), fleshes out previous conspiracy theories with hard facts. New witnesses have also emerged to support the new evidence, whose statements need to be considered: the old encyclopedia entries rarely include new evidence, and witnesses who have emerged after 1991.


The Warren Commission concluded that on April 10, 1963, ten days after being fired, Oswald attempted to assassinate retired Major General Edwin Walker, probably using the rifle shown in his backyard pose photos of March 31 (The HSCA stated that the "evidence strongly suggested" that Oswald did the shooting.). General Walker, a John Birch Society member and segregationist, was commanding officer of the Army's 24th Infantry Division before he was relieved of his command in 1961 by President Kennedy for distributing radical right-wing literature to his troops. Walker resigned, but upon his return to Texas, he was arrested (but not indicted) for insurrection, seditious conspiracy, and other charges related to anti-integration and civil rights. Oswald, who was known to support civil rights, regarded Walker as a fascist.

But in 1963, Marina was questioned – and re-questioned—until she finally conceded point after point. For example, at first, she said her husband had no rifle. Later, she said she saw it from time to time. Finally, she was testifying that she saw Oswald dry-firing the rifle night after night in New Orleans, though she described that he cleaned the rifle using pipe cleaners -- clearly improbable – and despite the fact that neighbors reported seeing Oswald only reading on the porch, night after night.

Marina later said she was sequestered by the Secret Service, and felt intimidated.

General Walker's brush with death was reported nationwide. The Dallas police had no suspects in the shooting. Oswald's involvement in the attempt on Walker's life was suspected within hours of his arrest on November 22, 1963, following the Kennedy assassination. The official version is that the bullet was too badly damaged to run conclusive ballistics studies on it, but neutron activation studies indicated it was "extremely likely" that the Walker bullet was related by manufacture and composition to the two bullets which struck Kennedy. But in May, 2007, new evidence emerged: Science Daily and The Washington Post reported that a Texas A & M University research team concluded that the neutron activation study was obsolete, and that new tests confirmed that the so-called "matching" fragments could have come from three or more separate bullets and, therefore, from more than one shooter.


Controversy rages over what really happened next in Lee Oswald's brief but intriguing life. The 'official version' paints the portrait of a mentally disturbed young man, a wife beater and ne'er-do-well who could find no happiness in America or in the USSR. Official versions stress that Lee Oswald is surrounded by masses of evidence overwhelming any other consideration except that he had to be a cold, calculating murderer of two people on the same dark day --November 22, 1963. They suggest that Lee Oswald, convinced that he was nothing but a "loser" (at age 24), descended into a winter of discontent so deep and persistent that only by murdering President Kennedy could he feel important, for no actual motive for Kennedy's murder has actually evolved to explain Oswald's supposed actions, except that he may have felt rejected by his wife, had a dead-end job, and did not feel important. Against this vague set of excuses for murder by a young father of two babies he was known to adore, of a man he was said to have "admired," one must remember that Oswald insisted he had shot "nobody."

Clearly, Lee Oswald was not seeking fame or attention for the heinous act. In New Orleans, Oswald was interviewed on August 10, 1963 by a New Orleans police investigative officer after Oswald was arrested in what Martello described as a "staged event" between Oswald and three anti-Castro DRE members (described below). Martello stated to the Warren Commission that "when the incident occurred he remained absolutely peaceful and gentle...as far as being capable of an act [of violence]....as far as ever dreaming or thinking that Oswald would do what it is alleged that he has done, I would bet my head on a chopping block that he wouldn't do it."


To properly understand Lee Oswald, and what might have prompted his actions, we must return to New Orleans, as did he in April of 1963, when he separated from his wife temporarily, leaving her, pregnant, and with a toddler, in the hands of Ruth Paine, a woman of Quaker beliefs with small children of her own who was going through a divorce. Paine, who lived in Irving, Texas, near Dallas, was connected by several close family members to the CIA. We must carefully inspect what occurred in New Orleans before Lee Oswald's precipitous return to Dallas after his purported trip, by summer's end in 1963, to Mexico City, because so much new evidence has emerged there between 1991 and the present.

Oswald told Baker he did this to protect his wife and child from violent anti-Castroites.

On August 5 and 6, according to anti-Castro asset Carlos Bringuier, Lee Oswald visited him at a clothing store he owned in New Orleans, known as an anti-Castro protest center. Bringuier was the New Orleans delegate for the anti-Castro Cuban Student Directorate (the CIA's Joannides, who had hidden information from the HSCA, oversaw the activities of this organization). Bringuier told the Warren Commission that he believed Oswald's visits were an attempt by Oswald to infiltrate his anti-Castro group, but Baker said Oswald was planning the "fight" incident with Bringuier's foreknowledge, and staged the visit to create an excuse for Bringuier's display of anger on August 9th, when he saw Oswald distributing pro-Castro literature on Canal St. in New Orleans. If this is true, we can understand how Bringuier obtained, and got to keep, Lee Oswald's Marine manual, which Baker and Oswald's mother, Marguerite, both said Oswald 'treasured." On August 9, Bringuier confronted Oswald, claiming he was tipped off about Oswald's leafleting by a friend. After Bringuier knocked Oswald's materials from his hands and threatened him (Oswald crossed his hands across his chest and dared Bringuier to hit him). Bringuier and two of his friends, along with Oswald, were arrested and charged with disturbing the peace. The arresting officer later stated he believed the event was staged.

While under arrest, Lee asked to be interviewed by the FBI, and though it was Saturday, and the FBI office was understaffed, Lee received a lengthy interview before he was released on bail provided by a Mafia lawyer friendly with Lee's uncle Charles "Dutz" Murret, who worked for Carlos Marcello. The arrest got news media attention and Oswald was interviewed afterwards. He was next filmed passing out flyers in front of the International Trade Mart with two 'volunteers' he had hired, but Oswald's FPCC activities in New Orleans came to an abrupt end after a WDSU radio "debate" between Bringuier and Oswald, arranged by journalist and INCA director Bill Stuckey, outed information that Lee was a returned defector. Up to this time, such information had not been known. Baker has pointed out that Congressman Edwin Willis' office was across the street from Reily Coffee, and Willis, the Director of HUAC -- an arm of Congress that went actively after communists and tracked all defectors-- was aware of Oswald's true identity. Therefore, Oswald was protected at Reily's until it was time for him to leave that job and begin posing as a pro-Castro supporter, which Baker says was to make him look pro-Cuban so he could be used to courier the bioweapon to Mexico City without suspicion. No meetings were ever held by Oswald's FPCC.

The Reily family, who owned Wm. B. Reily Coffee, were charter members of Dr. Alton Ochsner's INCA organization -- The Information Council of the Americas (an anti-communist propaganda arm encouraged by the CIA). Many researchers believe Reily's would never have hired a returned defector, a former Marine with an 'undesirable' discharge and a Russian wife, had Oswald not actually been known to them to be a double agent, as they screened all employees carefully.

But after Oswald left Reily, his cover could be 'blown' to give him the 'sheep-dipping' he needed to be acceptable as pro-Castro. The fact that Oswald handed out flyers promoting his new branch of the Fair Play for Cuba Committee, yet never held a meeting, collected dues, or provided his true address at any time, suggests this activity was indeed a ploy to add "pro-Castro" credentials to Oswald's "pro-communist" image. It is interesting that in July, 1963, Oswald was asked to speak to college graduates who were seminarians, along with priests and professors at Spring Hill College, in Mobile, Alabama, where he delivered speech for an hour and ten minutes about life in the USSR. The speech was critical of the Soviet Union.

A different Oswald presented to the WDSU debate, however: Oswald defended Castro's Cuba, stressing that the FPCC was not on the FBI's list of subversive organizations. But then he was confronted with accusations about his past in the Soviet Union. Clearly unprepared, Oswald let it slip that while he was in the Soviet Union, he was "under the protection" of the U. S. government -- then quickly corrected his statement to say that he was "not" under U. S. government protection. Transcripts of the program as released on the Internet by "Official Version" writers leave out the original slip of the tongue: one wonders why the phrase was removed. but in this article, the uncensored statement is presented (see notes).

Ron Lewis claimed that he briefly met David Ferrie and Guy Banister, and Lewis could have substantiated many claims proposed by Jim Garrison, but decided not to risk personal danger by coming forward with his testimony during the trial of Clay Shaw.

Witnesses in Clinton, Louisiana testified at Garrison's trial of Clay Shaw that they saw Oswald, Clay Shaw and David Ferrie waiting, for an unknown reason, near the town's City Hall, where the three men remained together for nearly half a day, having arrived in a black Cadillac. The Cadillac was reported as having been registered to the International Trade Mart. For some reason, Oswald stood in line to register to vote, though not a resident of Feliciana Parish. Only Baker has come forward with a logical explanation for the event, and the subsequent sighting of Oswald (with a young woman) in nearby Jackson, Louisiana, later: she says that this event occurred the day after Martin Luther King's March on Washington, and that Oswald, tired of waiting for the telephone call at the phone booth which caused the delay, was standing in line to win a bet that he could be registered without ID's, while many blacks were being turned away.

He ultimately failed, but apparently did succeed in getting his name written down before it was erased. The wait for the call was necessary, Baker says, because the Cadillac was to join a convoy coming from Angola Prison with one or more prisoners. The convoy, she says, was delayed, forcing the three to wait. Oswald was present to observe the testing procedure on the prisoner(s) so he could later relay information to a contact in Mexico City, to whom the bioweapon was to be handed over, as only oral instructions were allowed, and Ferrie, known to have medical knowledge, was present to give medical instructions, having been trained to do so. Shaw provided the official-looking vehicle and money. (see notes)

And finally, a conflict between witnesses seeing Oswald with Shaw and Ferrie in a Cadillac, and then shortly after, with a woman in an old car, was unexplained until Baker revealed that with her specialized training, it was necessary for Oswald to drive her shortly afterwards back to Jackson to conduct blood tests on the treated prisoner(s). Critics note that Oswald had no driver's license and was unable to drive, but Warren Commission interviews mention Oswald borrowing a cousin's vehicle; a report of finding Oswald's Texas driver's license was made, but the license disappeared. Marina Oswald said Oswald took driving lessons from Ruth Paine and "did well" a month later. Baker stated that Oswald learned to drive in the Marines, but pretended to be unable to drive to keep his wife at home.


According to the Warren Commission, Lee Harvey Oswald traveled to Mexico City in the fall of 1963, in search of a visa for travel to Cuba and the Soviet Union. Failing in that effort, he returned to Dallas, where on Novemer 22, he killed President Kennedy.

Cuban or Soviet conspiracy theories proliferated due to the events and stories related to this visit after the assassination. The Mary Ferrell Foundation states: "They were apparently instrumental in the creation of the Warren Commission, and over the years more and more has trickled out regarding a trip which ultimately remains enigmatic. The record on Mexico City is wildly muddled and mysterious. Was Oswald impersonated there? Who is the "mystery man" caught by photo surveillance? Why are CIA records on the trip at sharp variance with participant's memories? Were the witnesses who reported events indicating a Communist conspiracy telling the truth, spinning false tales, or perhaps reporting on staged incidents? Did Oswald, or someone pretending to be him, threaten the life of JFK in the Cuban Embassy?

Despite the mysteries, one thing is certain. The events in Mexico City had a profound effect on the federal government's response to the assassination. President Johnson invoked fears of nuclear war in putting together the Warren Commission, finally enlisting a recalcitrant Earl Warren by telling him "what Hoover told me about a little incident in Mexico City."

Considerations regarding the trip to Mexico City:

The Fourteen Minute Gap - A short documentary about an erased Presidential phone call in which Johnson and Hoover a Mexico City impersonator.

Oswald's Visits to the Cuban and Soviet Embassies - Discusses the Oswald embassy visits and the resulting CIA cable traffic.

The Mexico City Tapes - Focuses on recorded telephone conversations of a man using Oswald's name, who was apparently not Oswald.

Valeriy Kostikov and Comrade Kostin - Examines the KGB Department 13 "wet affairs" connection and the curious letter written to a "Comrade Kostin."

Photo Surveillance and the Mystery Man - Looks at the man caught on surveillance cameras, apparently originally thought to be Oswald.

Stories of Communist Conspiracy in Mexico City - Discusses the arrest of Cuban Consulate worker Sylvia Duran, the allegations of Gilberto Alvarado Ugarte, Pedro Gutierrez Valencia, and Elena Garro de Paz, and another event involving suspected Cuban intelligence agent Luisa Calderon.

Baker says Oswald was unable to hand off the biological weapon to a contact in Mexico City because the approaching hurricane Flora was about to devastate Cuba, meaning the medical personnel would be too busy to cooperate in the effort to kill Castro, being sent to many parts of the threatened island nation. She says he then desperately attempted to find other ways to get the materials into Cuba, without success. The limited shelf life of the weapon meant that after a few days, it would be too late: Oswald then was ordered to return to Dallas. Interestingly, Oswald received his transit visa on his birthday, but ignored it. he never brought up wanting to go to Cuba again, which Baker says was simply because the mission there had failed and could not be repeated successfully by the same agent. By now, Baker said, Oswald was expendable as a former 'defector' and as a man who 'knew too much,' having penetrated an assassination ring that began in New Orleans.


Spartacus.com gives us this interpretation (modified here) of the events occuring when Lee Oswald returned to Dallas:

"In September, 1963, Marina Oswald moved to Dallas to have her second child. Oswald...arrived in Dallas in October, 1963. Marina and June were living with Ruth Paine. Oswald rented a room in Dallas, and with the help of Paine, found a job at the Texas School Book Depository.

Oswald, according to Marina's testimony before the Warren Commission, overslept the morning of the assassination. (18H638-39). He took a ride with a co-worker to get to work and carried a bag that he said contained curtain rods. Two witnesses later testified to the Warren Commission that the bag was too small to hold the rifle he was later accused of carrying. According to author Anthony Summers, there may well have been reason to believe the bag had curtain rods in it.

On 22nd November, 1963, President Kennedy arrived in Dallas. It was decided that Kennedy and his wife, Jacqueline Kennedy, and Governor John Connally and his wife Nellie would ride in the presidential limousine. Kennedy’s doctor usually rode in the limousine, but this time, was sent to a different car. Roy Kellerman, head of the Secret Service at the White House and the driver, William Greer, also Secret Service, were in the front seat. Ralph Yarborough and Vice President Lyndon Johnson rode in a light-colored car further back, part of a procession of cars that wended through the business district of Dallas. A pilot car and several motorcycles rode well ahead of the presidential limousine. The next car carried eight Secret Service Agents. This was followed by the car containing Lyndon Johnson and Ralph Yarborough. Behind that car was another car filled with secret service agents.

At about 12.30 p.m. the presidential limousine entered Elm Street, making a sharp turn that slowed down the cavalcade to below minimum speeds that were intended to help keep the President safe, a consideration because this area was not thick with crowds and a safer speed should have been maintained. Soon after, shots rang out.

The "magic bullet" theory, propounded by now-Senator Arlen Specter, was created to account for the fact that Oswald could not have fired off more than three bullets in the time frame indicated. Another bullet hit John Connally in the back, to which he testified, as a fourth bullet, but the "magic bullet" now accounts for his wounds, as well, though the bullet said to have done so much damage was fund on a stretcher in near-pristine condition. Ten seconds after the first shots had been fired the president's car accelerated off at high speed towards Parkland Memorial Hospital. Both men were carried into separate emergency rooms. Connally had wounds to his back, chest, wrist and thigh. Kennedy's injuries were far more serious. He had a massive wound to the head and at 1 p.m. he was declared dead.

Witnesses at the scene of the assassination claimed they had seen shots being fired from behind a wooden fence on the Grassy Knoll and from the Texas School Book Depository. The police investigated these claims and during a search of the Texas School Book Depository they discovered on the floor by one of the sixth floor windows, three empty cartridge cases, lined up in a row. They also found a Mauser and identified it (decorated Dallas police office Roger Craig testifies on YouTube about seeing a "Mauser" but within 24 hours, the rifle was described as a Mannlicher-Carcano. The rifle shown being removed from the buklding, however, does not match the rifle now on display in the National Archives as the killer rifle (for example, they differ in length by four inches). The rifle was found hidden beneath some boxes.

Oswald was seen in the Texas School Book Depository before (11.55 a.m.) and just after (12.31 p.m.). The shooting of Kennedy occurred at 12.30. Oswald was seen 90 seconds later on the ground floor. Despite reconstructions purporting to show Oswald could have fled down the stairs in time to have been seen only 90 seconds later, witnesses going down the stairs at the same time never saw Oswald descending. Oswald was seen leaving the building, however, and by 1.00 p.m arrived at his lodgings. His landlady, Earlene Roberts, later reported that soon afterwards a police car drew up outside the house and sounded the horn twice and moved on. Roberts claimed that Oswald now left the building. Roberts also later said that she saw a police number that closely resembled the number of Officer Tippit's car.

At 1.16 p.m. J. D. Tippit, a Dallas policeman, approached a man, identified as Oswald by some witnesses, but not as Oswald by others, walking along East 10th Street. A witness later testified that after a short conversation the gunman in question pulled out a hand gun and fired a number of shots at Tippet. Bullet casings found came form a semi-automatic, but this did not match the non-automatic revolver later associated with Oswald when he was arrested. Furthermore, the gun the police recovered from Oswald upon his arrest was most likely ineffective, as even the Warren Report Chapter IV acknowledges by noting that the arresting Officer McDonald "heard what sounded like the snap of the hammer." Oswald reportedly ran off, leaving the dying Tippit on the ground.

Twenty minutes later, Johnny Brewer, a manager of a shoe shop, saw a man (who looked like Oswald) who appeared to be hiding from passing police cars. He called the police after he saw the man enter a cinema. When the police arrived, Brewer accompanied the officers into the cinema where he pointed out the man he had seen acting in a suspicious manner. After a brief struggle Oswald was arrested. The crowd outside were yelling "Kill the President, will you?" Nobody knows how this information came to be known to the crowd.

The police soon found out that Oswald worked at the Texas Book Depository. They also discovered his palm print on the rifle that was found earlier that day, but only after Oswald was dead and his palm print had been taken from his dead body at the funeral parlor. The FBI had not found any palm print on the rifle at all, and they had closely inspected the rifle in every possible way before returning it to the Dallas Police. Other evidence emerged that suggested that Oswald had been involved in the killing of Kennedy. Oswald's hand prints were found on the book cartons -- but he worked there and handled the boxes. An unidentified fingerprint was found to belong to Malcolm Wallace, a convicted murderer. Nobody has been able to explain why the FBI took a year and a half to decide that the fingerprint, identified by a seasoned forensic expert, was then declared not to match Wallace's (see the banned History Channel documentary on YouTube--The men Who Killed Kennedy, Episode 9 of the three banned documentaries, for full information). Charles Givens, a fellow worker, testified that he saw Oswald on the sixth floor at 11.55 a.m. Another witness, Howard Brennan, claimed he saw Oswald holding a rifle at the sixth floor window.

The police also discovered that the Mannlicher-Carcano rifle was purchased under the name A. Hidell. When he was arrested, the police found that Oswald was carrying a forged identity card bearing the name Alek Hiddell. The rifle had been sent by the Klein mail order company from Chicago to P.O. Box 2915, Dallas, Texas. The Post Office box belonged to Oswald. However, witness Judyth Baker has stated that the order form was sloppy, mixing cursive with printed handwriting, noting that Oswald almost always printed everything on order forms very neatly, because he had dyslexia and was afraid of making an error: hence, she believes the order form was faked. In addition, researcher Martha Moyer has noted that the order form was received and the order filled only one day after Oswald supposedly airmailed it from Dallas, Texas -- improbable, at best.

While being interrogated by the Dallas Police, Oswald denied he had been involved in the killing of Kennedy. He claimed that he was a "patsy" (a term used by the Mafia to describe someone set up to take the punishment for a crime they did not commit). A voice stress analysis test of Oswald's voice indicates that he told the truth.

On 24th November, 1963, the Dallas Police made it known when they would transfer Oswald to the county jail. Interestingly, a phone call came in to the Dallas Sheriff's Office early that morning and was answered by Deputy C.C. McCoy. The man on the phone warned that he "represented a committee of around 100 people who have voted to kill the man who killed the President." (Warren Commission Exhibit 2018). The sheriffs and police apparently did not change plans for the transfer.

As Oswald was led through the basement of police headquarters, surrounded by a large crowd of reporters and armed police, a man well known to the Dallas police rushed forward and shot him in the upper abdomen. The gunman was quickly arrested by police officers. Oswald was dragged into a small anteroom, out of sight, where police asked if he had any last words to say, to which he shook his head. He was still alive when placed in an ambulance that arrived a few minutes later, but he died soon afterwards at Parkland Hospital, the same hospital where Kennedy also died. The man who killed him was later identified as Jack Ruby, a nightclub owner, FBI informant, and known mafia bagman for the New Orleans Mafia godfaher Carlos Marcello, who on November 22, the day Kennedy was shot, was acquitted after being prosecuted in New Orleans by Bobby Kennedy's Justice Department. Marcello held a celebration party that same afternoon.

After the assassination of Kennedy, Marina Oswald, her toddler June, and her six-week-old baby daughter, Rachel, were taken by the FBI and Secret Service to the Inn of the Six Flags Hotel. Threatened with deportation, she agreed to give the authorities all the information she had. Some of this information was later used by the Warren Commission to bolster the assumption that her husband was the lone assassin.


As more evidence is released, despite media support for the official version, the responsible student or citizen needs to be aware that there are good reasons why "conspiracy theorists" are concerned about the truth concerning the murder of President John F. Kennedy. Calls to have the case reopened have fallen on deaf ears: apparently, we must wait until all the witnesses are dead before the last files on Oswald will be released. Even then, nobody knows if what we see then will be the truth, or falsified. There is no doubt whatsoever that Oswald's case was mishandled: the tragedy is that President John F. Kennedy's death, for whatever reasons, was not properly investigated. This biography offers an alternative to the usual "Official Version."



Kennedy’s Bullet Wounds: One bullet penetrated Kennedy in the back. It was described as not exiting the body. The site of this wound was later moved upward a few inches by Warren Commission assistant Gerald Ford (he would later become the first appointed president in US history after Richard Nixon resigned from office). The wound was not probed at the autopsy, which allowed speculation that it may have exited the president, which could only have occurred if it traveled upward to exit at the neck. Such an exit would have created a large exit wound, a wound that “appeared” only after the autopsy, however.

The neck wound, had to have been made by a small caliber bullet or by a fleche/dart, due to its small size. It apparently struck Kennedy in the neck from the front, causing Kennedy to grab at his throat. Such a shot could have come from the Grassy Knoll, but because Kennedy’s car was obscured behind a sign when the shot occurred, there is no photographic record to help determine the angle or direction. This entry wound was described by Dr. Charles Crenshaw and others at Parkland Hospital, but later was obliterated by a tracheotomy cut into Kennedy’s throat to assist in efforts to get him to breathe. However, the tracheotomy was a small incision.

For unknown reasons, a massive probe occurred at Kennedy’s throat during his autopsy, resulting in a large disfigurement where the small tracheotomy had existed. Kennedy may have been hit by a bullet from the rear as well; in addition, Kennedy was hit by at least one bullet that struck in the right front side of the head, exiting to the rear and leaving a wide gaping wound described by over a dozen witnesses -- doctors and nurses -- at Parkland Hospital. A number of these doctors, years later shown x-rays they were told were of Kennedy’s skull, stated they must have all been mistaken, but researchers contend that the x-rays shown had been falsified, and indeed, there are unexplained difficulties and anomalies with the x-rays. For example, a large section of the skull shows a white area, but the brain had already been removed. In addition, Kennedy’s brain, which would have shown where the bullet(s) entered, was stolen.

The gaping wound in the back of Kennedy's head also vanished when official autopsy photos showed only a small entry wound in the rear of the head. Problems with the autopsy photos, the fact that two different coffins carrying the President’s body have both been described by reliable witnesses, and that one account says Kennedy was in a body bag, while another says Kennedy was not, adds great confusion to the matter. These incongruities have been dismissed or ignored by official version writers, but the consensus among honest investigators is that the autopsy photos were falsified. The autopsy itself was less thorough and detailed than the autopsy later conducted on Lee Harvey Oswald. Why the President’s autopsy was so limited has been a matter of speculation: some believe that because the president had Addison’s Disease, that his use of drugs to control the disease, and drug use to handle his back pain, were matters the Kennedy family did not wish to reveal to the public. However, the family did not indicate any special requests when they signed the autopsy form.

The Garrison Investigation: Oswald's activities in New Orleans in mid-1963 finally could not be ignored, and began to be investigated in 1967 by New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison, who decided to arrest Clay Shaw on March 1st, 1967. Garrison was originally interested in investigating David Ferrie's connections to Oswald, which Ferrie himself denied. Ferrie, protesting that now his life was in danger, died hours after he was released from protective custody and before he could be brought to trial, supposedly from a ruptured berry aneurysm, though two unsigned 'suicide letters" were found, there was a bruise inside Ferrie's mouth, and a bottle with a day-old prescription of 100 Proloid tablets was found almost empty. James Files, a known Mafia associate, has stated that he killed Ferrie using an ice pick thrust up through the roof of Ferrie’s mouth, making the bleeding that resulted seem to come from natural causes. It would be a wound difficult to notice in an autopsy.

In 1993, the PBS television program Frontline obtained a group photograph, taken eight years before the assassination, showing Oswald and Ferrie at a weekend training session enjoying a cookout with a few other Civil Air Patrol cadets and a second leader. There were barriers set up to thwart Garrison’s investigation: we now know that Garrison’s efforts were impeded by the CIA and FBI. A good rule-of-thumb to determine if a writer has honestly assessed information in the case, or might have an ulterior motive, is how that person writes about Garrison. Garrison seems to be the litmus test to determine the degree of prejudice. Oliver Stone’s film, JFK, is the story of Garrison’s attempt to find Kennedy’s killers. It is telling that before its release, the film’s script was smuggled out and the film itself was being dismissed as absurd and worthless.

Nevertheless, it became a blockbuster, resulting in a public outcry that created the ARRB –The Assassination Records Review Board—that has forced the release of millions of documents (though many Oswald records still remain censored -- redacted). When an editor attempted to add the existence of the ARRB to Wikipedia’s biography of Oswald, to alert readers that much new evidence now exists that cast doubt on Oswald as Kennedy’s assassin, it was removed within 24 hours (June, 2009). Clay Shaw was indicted by Garrison, but it was obvious he would never be convicted without key witnesses and cooperation from government agencies. Due to Garrison’s efforts, however, we were given access to the Zapruder film that shows Kennedy getting shot.

The film has been doctored, however, as a number of frames are obviously missing: anyone who has used the same kind of camera knows that it runs on a wind-up mechanism that cannot start and stop ‘just before’ and ‘just after’ Kennedy emerges from behind the sign. Some frames are missing. Further, the explosion that seems to show a shower of blood bursting forward (indicating a shot from behind) nevertheless left no blood on Jacqueline Kennedy’s hat and face, despite her bending so close to her husband that she would have been covered with this spray of blood. Instead, we see the violent “back and to the left” motion that all hunters and soldiers who have shot people will tell you is a result of Newton’s laws of physics, and a motorcycle policeman being hit so hard by fragments of bone from Kennedy’s head that he thought he, too, had been shot . Further information is available on the Internet.

Two Important “Official Version” Books: Vincent Bugliosi and Gerald Posner have both written very similar books that forcefully present the official version of Oswald's life and activities in such a manner as to convince most persons who read these books that Oswald must have been guilty of shooting President John F. Kennedy. There seems to be an overwhelming amount of evidence assembled against Oswald, leading to the obvious conclusion that he was the sole assassin. But while the statements and records, as assembled by both Bugliosi and Posner, are convincing to anyone who has not closely investigated the case, difficulties arise when the quality of the evidence is considered, versus quantity: the massive amount of evidence offered by the Dallas Police, for example, is not impressive as it first seems when more closely examined: chain-of-possession of bullets, the planting of evidence, the morphing of a Mauser rifle into a Mannlicher-carcano, then to "an Italian carbine," -- and the description of the rifle Oswald supposedly used to kill Kennedy as an 'accurate" weapon, when it had been described broadly as "the humane rifle" for its poor performance -- such considerations are dismissed, those who worry about "conspiracy" are called fools, and troubling matters such as showing one of the famed backyard photos to Oswald before the official record says the photos were actually 'found' or telling the public that a paraffin test 'proved' "Oswald shot a gun" when the test was, in fact, negative for same -- such problems are ignored, denied, or trivialized.

Clinton and Jackson Incidents: Baker’s explanation has provided a logical sequence of reasons for the long delay, the persons involved, the voter registration attempt, and the trip to the mental hospital, but researcher Joan Mellen has stated she believed Oswald was asked to register to vote to help him obtain a job in the Jackson mental hospital, though with his wife and child living over a hundred miles away in New Orleans, and with the attempt to register being foiled, since not even faked documents were offered, it seems unlikely that Oswald would cooperate with such a scheme and leave his pregnant wife totally alone in New Orleans, nor did it seem necessary to have a busy and important businessman such as Clay Shaw accompanying Oswald and the notorious Ferrie. Mellen proposed that placing Oswald at the mental hospital as a worker could later implicate him in the assassination as a mental case. She cites a doctor who worked there at the time, but Baker has indicated that this same doctor was involved in medical experiments on prisoners, since witnesses (including William Livesay) are on court records that they were sent from Angola Prison in 1963 to the mental hospital for medical experimentation –such matters the doctor Mellen interviewed would not admit had ever occurred.

Information about Judyth Vary Baker: Besides naming well-known "players" in New Orleans as involved with Oswald, such as Guy Banister (former FBI), and godfather Carlos Marcello, Baker also brought several new names to the fore, including Alton Ochsner, Anna Lewis (wife of Banister employee David Lewis), William Livesay, who stated he was a prisoner from Angola Prison experimented on in 1963 at the Southeast Louisiana Mental Hospital at Jackson (supporting Baker's statement that prisoners from Angola were used at the hospital for experimentation in 1963), William "Mac" McCullough, a musician and bodyguard-bouncer for Marcello, and from the family of Charles Thomas, who as a former Customs agent in New York had known Lee as a youth: he came from Miami to New Orleans on June 24th, 1963, to help expedite Oswald's new passport in only 24 hours.

Baker also adds many logical explanations for actions of Oswald that have hitherto been puzzling and shrouded in mystery. Her life story and testimony is recorded in Episode 8 in the banned History Channel documentary "The Love Affair" that aired in 2003, the 40th anniversary of the Kennedy assassination, along with "The Smoking Guns" and "The Guilty Men." Baker said she has been harmed, harassed and threatened since. Her book, Me & Lee (2009) relates the entire story. Baker's critics contend that she should have warned Kennedy if she really knew all she claimed to know, but Baker says that not only would she have not been believed, since persons such as Ochsner and Marcello had great power and influence, but Oswald, along with an "abort team" that was trying to save Kennedy, would have been exposed (as Oswald was the inside informant) and was himself sending warnings to the FBI about the impending assassination plot.

Books that Tell the Other Side of the Story:

Crossfire , by Jim Marrs.

Dead Men Talking: Consequences of Government Lies, by Dean Hartwell


Deep Politics and the Death of JFK by Peter Dale Scott

Dr. Mary’s Monkey , by Edward T. Haslam


High Treason , by Harrison Livingstone and Robert Groden

JFK and the Unspeakable: Why He Died and Why It matters, by James W. Douglass

Live by the Sword , by Gus Russo

Me & Lee , by Judyth Vary Baker


On the Trail of the JFK Assassins, by Dick Russell

The Search for Lee Harvey Oswald , by Robert Groden

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Guest James H. Fetzer

The notes about the neck/throat wound do not appear to provide an entirely adequate analysis, so I am appending this article as an addendum thereto. The photographs and diagrams that accompany the article are accessible via the link to INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF THE HUMANITIES 3 (2005/2006) at http://www.assassinationscience.com/ReasoningAboutAssassinations.pdf

Reasoning about Assassinations

Critical Thinking in Political Contexts

James Fetzer, University of Minnesota Duluth, United States of America

Abstract: The application of logic, critical thinking, and principles of scientific reasoning, involving collaboration between

physicians, scientists, photographic analysts, and philosophers has transformed our knowledge of the death of JFK. Since

1992, a research group I organized has discovered that the autopsy X-rays have been altered, that someone else's brain

has been substituted, that a home movie of the assassination has been recreated, and that the alleged assassin, Lee Oswald,

was framed using manufactured evidence. This approach, which may be called "assassination science", benefits from ap-

plying the pattern of reasoning known as "inference to the best explanation" to important and controversial deaths, where

political motivation may have contributing to bringing them about. By focusing on the "best evidence" — the autopsy X-

rays, the autopsy report and photographs, the physical evidence (including the alleged assassination weapon), and other

crucial evidence — we have undertaken a reconstruction of the case from the most basic evidence up, with special consid-

eration for separating the authentic from the inauthentic evidence. When that has been accomplished, it becomes relatively

straightforward to draw appropriate inferences, since the Mafia, for example, would not have been able to extend its reach

into Bethesda Naval Hospital to alter X-rays under control of the Secret Service, medical officers of the US Navy, or the

President's personal physician; neither pro- nor anti-Castro Cubans could have substituted someone else's brain for that

of JFK; even though the KGB might have had the same ability to recreate a film as the CIA, it could not have gained its

possession; nor could any of these things have been done by Lee Oswald, who was either incarcerated or already dead. As

a novel area of application that might be viewed as "applied philosophical research", assassination science is establishing

that the humanities in this new guise can make more than an incidental contribution to the solution of important mysteries

in history.

Keywords: logic, critical thinking, scientific reasoning, philosophy of science, applied philosophical research, the death of JFK,

resolving mysteries in history, historical research, "assassination science"

Historical Background

DURING 1992, in response to the controversy ignited

by the release of Oliver Stone's film, "JFK", I organized

a research group of physicians, physicists, photo-ana-

lysts, and attorneys to investigate the assassination

of President John F. Kennedy (Fetzer 1998). Some,

like Jack White, had been long-time students of the

case. Others, such as David W. Mantik, M.D., Ph.D.,

were, like myself, relatively new. Our objective was

to take rumor, speculation, and politics out of the

case and place its study on an objective and scientific

foundation. Eventually, this would lead to a recon-

struction of the case from the ground up, where the

medical evidence, especially, turned out to hold the

key to a meticulous cover-up that was intended to

conceal the true causes of the death of JFK. It would

include the fabrication and alteration of evidence of

several different kinds. Exposing the cover-up would

implicate elements of the U.S. government in the


It was surprising to me to discover that there was

a superabundance of evidence in this case, much of

which was inconsistent and contradictory (Fetzer

2000, 2003) The task would not be easy, since it

would require distinguishing the authentic from the

inauthentic evidence, something that even official

"reinvestigations" of the case, such as the inquiry by

the House Select Committee on Assassinations

(HSCA), held during 1977-78, had not adequately

undertaken. Indeed, confronted with inconsistencies

between the testimony of a massive blow-out to the

back of the head from more than forty eyewit-

nesses—from Dealey Plaza, where the shooting oc-

curred; from Parkland Hospital, where President was

first treated; and from Bethesda Naval Hospital,

where his autopsy was performed—and the govern-

ment's official account, the HSCA deferred to the

autopsy X-rays, which did not show one. It would

turn out, however, that the X-rays themselves had

been altered to conceal the blow-out to the head

(Fetzer 1998).

My background as philosopher of science who

was also a former commissioned officer in the Mar-

ine Corps may have placed me in an appropriate

position to pursue a case of this kind. My research

had led me to the elaboration of the principles of in-

ference to the best explanation as the most defensible

conception of scientific method, where an hypothesis

hi is preferable to an alternative hj, given the avail-

able evidence e, when hi affords "a better explana-

tion" for e than does hj. Likelihood measures are

used to evaluate explanatory power, where the likeli-

hood of an hypothesis, given evidence e, is equal to

the probability of e if h were true (Fetzer 1981, 1990,

2002a). Those that are inconsistent with the evidence

are tentatively excluded, with the understanding that

they may subsequently be revived with changes in

the available evidence. The preferable explanation

becomes acceptable as the evidence becomes stable

or "settles down". Our discoveries about the medical

evidence illustrate the application of this approach

and the importance of basing conclusions upon all

the available evidence.

The Official Account

According to the FBI and the Secret Service, JFK

was killed by three shots fired from above and behind

by a lone, demented gunman named Lee Harvey

Oswald. One shot hit JFK in the back, another hit

Governor John Connally in the back, and the third

hit JFK in the head and killed him. That scenario

was the government's official position until it turned

out that a distant bystander, James Tague, had been

hit by a fragment from a shot that had missed. Since

the evidence of Tague's injury was indisputable, the

investigative board that President Lyndon Johnson

had created, commonly called "The Warren Commis-

sion", had to account for all the wounds in JFK and

Connally on the basis of just two shots. A solution

to this problem was devised by Arlen Specter, a

commission staff member, which has come to be

known as the "magic bullet" theory.

JFK had a wound to the throat and another to his

back and at least one wound to his head. Connally

had an entry wound in his back, a broken rib, an exit

wound in his chest, a wound to his right wrist, and

a bullet fragment embedded in his left thigh. Accord-

ing to what would become "the official account",

most of these wounds were caused by a single bullet

that entered the base of the back of the President's

neck, transited his neck without hitting any bony

structures, exited his throat right at the knot of his

tie, entered John Connally's back, shattering a rib,

exiting from his chest, damaging his right wrist and

then entering his left thigh, where the bullet alleged

to have performed these feats was nevertheless found

in virtually pristine condition. The other shot that

found its mark was said to have hit JFK's head and

killed him.

When the official account, which is usually re-

ferred to as The Warren Report (1964), appeared,

many readers were fascinated to discover that, no

matter how implausible it might appear, the "magic

bullet" hypothesis was the core of the government's

case. And that has remained true through subsequent

reinvestigations of the assassination by the House

Select Committee on Assassinations during 1976-

78, and in more recent books, such as Gerald Posner,

Case Closed (1993). So if the "magic bullet" hypo-

thesis is false, then there had to be other shots and

other shooters and The Warren Report (1964), The

HSCA Final Report (1979), and Case Closed (1963)

cannot be true. One of our tasks would be to evaluate

evidence for and against the "magic bullet" hypothes-

is, some of which had been known from the very

early stages of investigation of the case but whose

logical force deserved further analysis and consider-

ation (Fetzer 2002b)

Figure 1: Warren Commission Diagrams of JFK's Wounds

The "Magic Bullet" Hypothesis

The Warren Report (1964) published diagrams of

the injuries that the President had purportedly sus-

tained, which displayed a hit to the base of the back

of the neck and a hit to the back of the head, which

is the wound that allegedly killed him (Figure 1).

The "magic bullet" theory would be false if the bullet

had not entered the base of the back of the President's

neck, if it had not transited his neck without hitting

any bony structures, or if it had not exited from his

neck at the level of the knot of his tie, as the official

account maintains. The Navy physicians who con-

ducted the autopsy at Bethesda did not actually dis-

sect the neck to determine the trajectory this bullet

is supposed to have taken but ascertained it as a

matter of "inference". Thus, page 4 of the autopsy

report includes following claim (Assassination Sci-

ence 1998, page 433):

The second wound presumably of entry is that

described above in the upper right posterior

thorax. . . . The missile path through the fascia

and musculature cannot be easily probed. The

wound presumably of exit was that described

by Dr. Malcolm Perry in the low anterior cer-

vical region.

Notice, in particular, that the entry and exit locations

were matters of "presumption", which Commander

James Humes, U.S. Navy Medical Corps, defended

on the basis of an "inference" drawn after the body

had been removed from the morgue for preparation

for burial and the official state funeral. Based upon

conversations with Parkland that allegedly only took

place on Saturday, after the body had been removed,

he (Humes) belatedly realized that the wound to the

back must have been the entry point for the wound

to the throat as its point of exit! Notice too that the

description of "the upper right posterior thorax",

which is the upper-right portion of the chest cavity,

does not quite place the wound where it has to be if

the "magic bullet" hypothesis were true. Posner's

diagram from Case Closed (Figure 2) likewise does

not accord with Figure 1.

Figure 2: Gerald Posner's Depiction of the "Magic Bullet" Theory

Contradictory Evidence

There turns out to be extensive evidence that bears

upon the question of where the bullet that hit JFK in

the back actually impacted with his body, including

damage to the shirt and the jacket he was wearing at

the time. Many books, including Josiah Thompson,

Six Seconds in Dallas (1967), and Gary Shaw and

Larry Harris, Cover-Up (1976/1992), have noted that

holes in the shirt and the jacket suggest that the entry

point was actually about 5 1/2 inches below the col-

lar. Photographs of the shirt and jacket may be found,

for example, in Thompson (1967), page 48, and in

Shaw and Harris (1976/ 1992), page 64, as well as

in other sources, including Stewart Galanor, Cover-

Up (1998), Documents 6 and 7 (Figure 3). That the

shirt and the jacket might have been "bunched" has

been proposed to explain away this anomaly. (See

Figure 6 below.)

Figure 3: Photographs of the President's Shirt and Jacket

That holes in his clothing at a location 5 1/2 inches

below the collar could have been caused by "bunch-

ing" becomes less and less plausible as more and

more evidence of the wound on the body becomes

available. Neither Humes himself, who conducted

the autopsy, nor Lt. Commander J. Thornton

Boswell, USNMC, who assisted him, had ever per-

formed an autopsy on a gunshot victim before.

Boswell, however, prepared a diagram of various

wounds they observed on the body during the

autopsy, which was subsequently verified by Admiral

George G. Burkley, USNMC, the President's person-

al physician. Copies of Boswell's diagram can be

found in Shaw and Harris (1976/1992), page 62, and

in Galanor (1998), Document 5, and Fetzer (2000),

page 230 (Figure 4).

Figure 4: Boswell's Autopsy Diagram, Verified by Burkley

A different diagram was prepared by FBI Agent

James W. Sibert, who observed the autopsy at Beth-

esda, which may be found in Noel Twyman, Bloody

Treason (1997), page 100. It plainly demonstrates

the difficulties confronted by the "magic bullet" hy-

pothesis, even in relation to its most elementary as-

sumptions, since the wound to the back is too low

to be the entry point for a wound that exited from

the throat, if the bullet was fired from above and be-

hind, as the official account claims (Figure 5).

Figure 5: Agent Sibert's Diagram of the Location of the Wounds

Evaluating the Evidence

The application of inference to the best explanation

tends to clarify and illuminate the significance of the

available evidence in relation to alternative hypo-

theses. According to the official account, h1, the

bullet hit the President at the base of the back of the

neck, as the "magic bullet" hypothesis requires. If

h1 were true, then probability of holes in the shirt

and jacket about 5 1/2 inches below the collar would

be low, but not impossible if, for example, they had

been "bunched". But the probability that the shirt

and jacket were "bunched", when diagrams of the

wounds on the body also show the wound about 5

1/2 inches below the collar, is extremely low. Inter-

estingly, the artist who prepared the official diagrams

(Figure 1) was not even allowed to actually view the

body. And the shirt and the jacket, which were re-

moved from the body at Parkland, were not transpor-

ted to Bethesda for the autopsy physicians to study


The probability that there would be holes in the

shirt and the jacket corresponding to the location of

the wounds described in the Boswell and the Sibert

diagrams would be very high, if the hypothesis, h2,

that JFK was hit about 5 1/2 inches below the collar,

were true. The bunching conjecture tends to be dis-

confirmed by these two diagrams. Indeed, as more

and more evidence is taken into account, support for

h1 diminishes and support for h2 increases. The

President's physician, Admiral Burkley, executed a

death certificate, which may be found in Shaw and

Harris (1976/1992), page 65, in Galanor (1998),

Document 8, and in Fetzer (1998), page 439. Accord-

ing to Burkley, he was killed by a shot to the head,

but "a second wound occurred in the posterior back

at about the level of the third thoracic vertebra." The

third thoracic vertebra turns out to be much too low

to have been the entry for any bullet fired from above

and behind that could possibly have exited from the

President's throat at the level of the knot of his tie,

as Shaw and Harris (1976/1992), page 65, have ex-

plained (Figure 6).

Figure 6: The Location of the Third Thoracic Vertebra

Moreover, Sibert attended the autopsy with a second

FBI agent, Francis X. O'Neill, subsequently submit-

ting a report of their observations at the time on 9

December 1963, which reads, in part, as follows:

"Medical examination of the President's body re-

vealed that one of the bullets had entered just below

his shoulder to the right of the spinal column at an

angle of 45 to 60 degrees downward, that there was

no point of exit, and that the bullet was not in the

body." An excerpt of their report, including this

passage, may be found in Mark Lane, Rush to Judg-

ment (1966), Appendix IV, and is also discussed by

Robert Groden, The Killing of a President (1993),

pages 78-79. Sibert and O'Neill substantiate that the

wound was at a downward angle, that there was no

point of exit, and that the bullet was not in the body,

which decreases the likelihood of the "magic bullet"

hypothesis, h1, and increases the likelihood of h2.

Acceptance and Rejection

That h2 is preferable to h1, given the available

evidence, does not imply that it is also acceptable.

That depends on whether the evidence available is

sufficient to support it, which requires that it has

"settled down". Other evidence supports the inference

that the evidence has settled down, including recon-

struction photographs that were taken during the re-

enactment conducted by the Warren Commission

staff. A photograph of the re-enactment, for example,

that may be found in Galanor (1997), as Document

4, shows a small round patch at the base of the back

of the head marking the location of the head shot and

a larger round white patch about 5 1/2 inches below

the collar to mark the back shot. A similar

photograph appears on the inside front cover of

The New York Times paperback (1964), that contra-

dicts the official account (Figure 7).

Figure 7: New York Times' Re-Enactment Photographs

Readers who are unfamiliar with this case may

wonder how in the world, given all of this evidence,

The Warren Report (1964) could have concluded

that JFK was hit at the base of the back of the neck.

Thanks to the good work of the Assassination Re-

cords Review Board (ARRB), a five-member civilian

board authorized to declassify records and documents

held by the CIA, the FBI, the Secret Service, and

other agencies, we know the answer to that question.

Gerald Ford, a member of the commission, had the

description of the wound changed from "his upper-

most back", which was already an exaggeration, to

"the back of his neck", a discovery that was among

the very first of the ARRB's important releases,

which came in time for me to include an article about

it from The New York Times (3 July 1997), page 8A,

in Fetzer (1998), on page 177.

Under these circumstances, it almost appears to

be "piling on" to note that David W. Mantik, M.D.,

Ph.D., has recently demonstrated that no bullet could

have entered the President's neck at the location al-

leged and exited at the location alleged without im-

pacting cervical vertebrae, as Galanor (1998), Docu-

ment 45, and as Fetzer (2000), pages 3-4, explain

(Figure 8). Nor does it even seem necessary to add

that Malcolm Perry, M.D., who performed a

tracheostomy in a vain attempt to save the President's

life, described the wound to the throat not as an exit

wound, but as an entry wound, three times during a

press conference at Parkland that began at 3:16 PM,

a report widely broadcast over radio and television

that day. No transcript would be given to the Warren

Commission on the ground that it was too difficult

to locate, but a copy of the complete press conference

transcript now appears in Fetzer (1998) as Appendix C.

Figure 8: Mantik Plotted the Trajectory on a CAT Scan

Logical Ramifications

It may come as some surprise that the seemingly

simple question, "Where did the bullet that hit the

President in the back enter?", should hold the key to

exposing the cover-up in the assassination of JFK.

Because if it was not at the base of the back of the

neck as the "magic bullet" hypothesis requires, then

The Warren Report (1964), The HSCA Report (1979),

Case Closed (1993), and every other work that takes

it for granted cannot possibly be true. The probability

of the evidence we have reviewed here—including

the holes in the shirt and jacket, the wounds depicted

in the Boswell and Sibert diagrams, Burkley's and

Sibert and O'Neill's descriptions of the wound, and

the reenactment photographs—has a value that is

approximately zero, relative to the official account.

Indeed, Mantik has proven that it is not even anatom-

ically possible. The probability of the same evidence,

assuming that JFK was hit about 5 1/2 inches below

the collar, by comparison, is very, very high. The

evidence has "settled down".

Given the discovery by the ARRB that Gerald Ford

had the wound redescribed in The Warren Report

(1964)—no doubt to make the "magic bullet" theory

more plausible— and that Mantik has determined

that no bullet could have taken such a trajectory, it

turns out that the core of the official account is not

only false but provably false and not even anatomic-

ally possible! It follows that JFK's throat wound and

the wounds to John Connally had to have been

caused by separate shots and separate shooters and

could not have been inflicted by a lone assassin firing

from above and behind. The truth would have been

glaring but for suppressing evidence by not sending

the shirt and jacket to Bethesda for the physicians to

study, by not providing transcripts of the Parkland

Press Conference to the Warren Commission and

using similar techniques. Indeed, the process of se-

lection and elimination—selecting evidence that

supports a predetermined conclusion and eliminating

the rest—is well-known to all of those who practice

propaganda and specialize in misleading the public in

the search for truth.

Figure 9: Mantik's Study of the Lateral Cranial Autopsy X-ray

Our research has not only falsified the "magic bullet"

hypothesis and thereby exposed the fraud at the

foundation of the government's official account but

has also led to the discovery of complementary de-

ceptions in the death of JFK. The most important are

that the autopsy X-rays have been fabricated (a) to

conceal the massive blow-out to the back of the head

that more than forty eyewitnesses reported and (B)

to add a 6.5 mm metallic slice in an apparent effort

to implicate an obscure World War II Italian Mann-

licher-Carcano as the weapon used (Figure 9). A

world authority on the human brain, Robert B. Liv-

ingston, M.D., has concluded that the brain shown

in diagrams and photographs held in the National

Archives cannot possibly be the brain of JFK. These

discoveries had already been made by 1993 (Fetzer

1998). In spite of our repeated efforts to bring these

findings to the attention of the American people

(through "ABC Nightly News" and "Nightline") and

the Department of Justice, we had slight success.

Where We Stand Today

On the basis of our extended research, we have estab-

lished that JFK was hit at least four times: once in

the throat from in front; once in the back from be-

hind; and twice in the head, once from the back and

once from in front; and that Connally was hit from

one to three times, where at least three shots seem

to have missed. A total of eight, nine, or ten shots

appear to have been fired from six different locations

(Fetzer 2000, 2003). As a striking example of how

official inquiries by the government have suppressed

or overlooked important evidence, Thomas Evan

Robinson, the mortician who prepared the body for

burial after the Bethesda autopsy, told Joe West, a

private investigator, that JFK had a large gaping hole

in the back of his head, a smaller wound in the right

temple (which was the entry wound for the blow-out

to the back of the head), and a wound to the back

about five to six inches below the shoulder and to

the right of the back bone. He provided this inform-

ation to West on 26 May 1992, but it obviously could

have been available to the Warren Commission if it

had wanted it (Figure 10).

Figure 10: Summary of Interview with Thomas Evan Robinson

In collaboration with other experts, including John

P. Costella, Ph.D., we have also discovered that the

home movie of the assassination, known as "the

Zapruder film", has been recreated using sophistic-

ated techniques of optical printing and special effects.

Because of "ghost images" that link successive

frames, it was necessary to reshoot the film in order

that the deception not be easily exposed (Fetzer

2003). We have also discovered more than fifteen

indications of Secret Service complicity in setting

JFK up for the hit, including failing to weld manhole

covers, failure to cover open windows, allowing the

crowd to spill over into the street, adopting an im-

proper motorcade route, ordering the vehicles in the

wrong sequence, keeping motorcycle patrolmen to

the rear of the limousine, bringing the limousine to

a halt after bullets began to be fired, washing blood

and brains from the limousine at Parkland, taking

the autopsy photographs and X-rays from the physi-

cians prior to completing their work, having the

limousine stripped down and completely rebuilt. The

probability that these things happened "by chance"

is vanishingly small (Fetzer 2000, 2002a).

The conclusions that can be drawn from the au-

thentic evidence are rather profound. The Mafia,

which may have put up some of the shooters for the

assassination, could not have extended its reach into

Bethesda Naval Hospital to alter X-rays under the

control of U.S. Navy medical officers, agents of the

Secret Service, or the President's personal physician.

Neither pro- nor anti-Castro Cubans could have

substituted the brain of someone else for that of JFK

during a supplemental autopsy. And even if the KGB,

like the CIA, had the ability to recreate a film, it

could not have obtained a copy of the Zapruder film

to alter it. Nor could any of these things have been

done by Lee Harvey Oswald, who was incarcerated

or already dead. Similar reasoning based upon the

application of inference to the best explanation, alas!,

leaves no reasonable doubt that setting up JFK for

the hit and altering the evidence to conceal the true

causes of his death must have involved elements at

the highest levels of the U.S. government.


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———. Philosophy of Science. New York, NY: Paragon House, 1993.

———, ed. Assassination Science: Experts Speak Out on the Death of JFK. Chicago, IL: Open Court, 1998.

———. Murder in Dealey Plaza: What we Know Now that we Didn't Know Then about the Death of JFK. Chicago, IL:

Open Court, 2000.

——— "Propensities and Frequencies: Inference to the Best Explanation". Synthese 132/1-2 (July/August 2002a), pp. 27-


———. "The 'Lone-Nutter' Refutation" (2002b). This electronic piece appears on-line at


——— The Great Zapruder Film Hoax: Deceit and Deception in the Death of JFK. Chicago, IL: Open Court, 2003.

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Kennedy. Thomas Investigative, 1976/2nd ed., 1992.

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Twyman, N. Bloody Treason: On Solving History's Greatest Murder Mystery. Rancho Santa Fe, CA: Laurel Publishing,


Warren, E., et al. Report of the President's Commission on the Death of President Kennedy. New York, NY: St. Martin's

Press, 1964.

Warren, E., et al. Report of the President's Commission on the Death of President Kennedy. New York, NY: New York

Times/Bantam Books, 1964.

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