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Ron Lewis and his book, FLASHBACK: The Untold Story of Lee Harvey Oswald


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I guess some long-timers like me, including some well-known names on a list-bot, feel a need to be be highly skeptical of any late-arriving claimant to have been a witness. After such a long time, the onus is on them to prove their bonfides. By the same token, I think we feel a need to wave a caution flag when the bonafides don't inspire confidence. You're free to believe whomever you want, but there is some value in consulting the perspective and wisdom of those have been at this for a long time. I can't think of any respected researcher who endorses him.

I don't wish to get involved in a time-consuming, multi-post, multi-page debate over many weeks. I first saw Lewis on a program hosted by James Earl Jones. I bought Flashback, looking for anything to corroborate it. Nothing. Nada. Nobody had ever heard of him. Worse still (and this is subjective), I just got the feeling, like Henry Lee said, of "something wrong."

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It would take me a long time to list my exceptions to his story. There is no corroboration. Nobody I've interviewed ever met or heard of him. I can't believe that he kept silent for so long. Roscoe White - need I say more? There are lots of reasons, but one dealbuster for me is this:

"7. Once, at Guy Banister's offices, Lee showed Ron a cache of illegal arms and explosives that Banister and Ferrie were accumulating on behalf of Cuban Exile revolutionary groups in New Orleans."

In the summer of 1963? No way, did not happen. That's a gross misreading of the time sequence involving Banister and Ferrie.

I do have his book, BTW.

Thanks, Stephen, for your candid remarks.

You make a strong point, I believe, when you say that one of the claims of Ron Lewis can be proved to be false.

For those of us who take the "innocent until proven guilty" approach, we're willing to believe a full story until it cracks somewhere. That's when we raise our eyebrows.

Now -- you say that it was impossible for any cache of arms to be found in Guy Banister's office during the summer of 1963. I find that to be important, and I wonder what evidence you can share to support your position.

Where did Ron Lewis get the "memory" of this event, if it was indeed a false memory? I can only imagine that he got it from the Oliver Stone movie, JFK (1991) which showed an image of David Ferrie showing guns to Cuban Exiles right there in Guy Banister's office, with Lee Harvey Oswald upstairs printing off more FPCC leaflets, stamped with Guy Banister's address.

Did Ron Lewis get the image from Oliver Stone? Or was it Oliver Stone who got that image from Ron Lewis?

You say, Stephen, that "nobody" accepted Ron Lewis' story among the old guard. But Oliver Stone accepted it. What about that?

I guess some long-timers like me, including some well-known names on a list-bot, feel a need to be be highly skeptical of any late-arriving claimant to have been a witness. After such a long time, the onus is on them to prove their bonfides. By the same token, I think we feel a need to wave a caution flag when the bonafides don't inspire confidence. You're free to believe whomever you want, but there is some value in consulting the perspective and wisdom of those have been at this for a long time. I can't think of any respected researcher who endorses him.

I don't wish to get involved in a time-consuming, multi-post, multi-page debate over many weeks. I first saw Lewis on a program hosted by James Earl Jones. I bought Flashback, looking for anything to corroborate it. Nothing. Nada. Nobody had ever heard of him. Worse still (and this is subjective), I just got the feeling, like Henry Lee said, of "something wrong."

Well, Stephen, I do share your skepticism about late-comers. James Files, in my view, came too late, and repeated to many well-known stories already in print to allow me to accept his story at face value. His only addition was about himself -- that he was the chauffeur for Charles Nicoletti, who was a known associate of Johnny Roselli, who was a known associate of CIA Officer David Morales.

To the best of my knowledge, both David Morales and Johnny Roselli confessed (to some degree) to some role in the JFK murder. But there's less evidence linking Charles Nicoletti, and far less linking his chauffeur to the crime.

So -- late-comers have to bring something better to the table. I agree with you on that point.

Now -- you suggest something about Roscoe White -- and I'm not sure exactly what. I get the impression that you reject Ricky White's story immediately -- probably because he, too, was so late in coming out.

But remember that Ricky White was a baby when JFK was murdered. There was no way he could have come forward in the 1960's or even the 1970's. At the end of the 70's, when fans of the HSCA told Ricky that his dad was probably involved in the JFK murder, Ricky didn't believe it.

Also, his evidence was very sketchy, as he himself admitted. Yet the Oswald photo 133-C in his mother's possession is a red flag, in my book, and I don't know anybody who's explained that to my satisfaction.

Comments?

Best regards,

--Paul Trejo

Edited by Paul Trejo
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Paul:

Again, I won't get into point by point debate. Feel free to disagree with me and move on.

It's not impossible that there was a Banister/Ferrie cache of arms in 1963, but it just didn't happen. 1961, yes. 1963, no.

I used the term respected researcher. Stone was a fine filmmaker, but he didn't garner much respect as a researcher, in this or in subsequent works. Let me be more blunt: Most respected researchers I've asked about Lewis (including most New Orleans experts) don't buy his account. At all.

Let's drop it for now.

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Paul:

Again, I won't get into point by point debate. Feel free to disagree with me and move on.

It's not impossible that there was a Banister/Ferrie cache of arms in 1963, but it just didn't happen. 1961, yes. 1963, no.

I used the term respected researcher. Stone was a fine filmmaker, but he didn't garner much respect as a researcher, in this or in subsequent works. Let me be more blunt: Most respected researchers I've asked about Lewis (including most New Orleans experts) don't buy his account. At all.

Let's drop it for now.

Sure, Stephen, I didn't mean to challenge you. I was only fishing for information.

So, it's a democratic decision for you -- most of your favorite JFK researchers that you've asked about Lewis don't accept his account "at all." That's enough for you. Fair enough.

As for Oliver Stone, however, Gerry Patrick Hemming said he respected Oliver Stone as a JFK researcher.

Granted, Oliver Stone didn't get everything right -- but he did make some important points. For one thing, Stone's movie (1991) should never have been called, JFK, because JFK appears in only the first few seconds of the film. The film should have been called The Jim Garrison Story, because actually Oliver Stone used Jim Garrison's memoirs to write his screenplay.

If there's anybody out there who hasn't seen JFK yet, I recommend that you FIRST read Jim Garrison's book, On the Trail of the Assassins (1988). As with most book/film relationships, the book is better than the movie. Still, Oliver Stone remained fairly close to the book.

Because of Garrison/Stone the JFK research community has a fair grasp of the key players along with Lee Harvey Oswald in New Orleans in the summer of 1963, namely, Guy Banister, David Ferrie, Clay Shaw and Carlos Bringuier.

At first, I thought Ron Lewis' book, FLASHBACK, was simply a confirmation of Oliver Stone's movie, because Ron Lewis said that he saw Lee Harvey Oswald on the streets of New Orleans (which is plausible by itself) but then he added that he also saw and talked about Guy Banister and David Ferrie with Lee Oswald, and was recruited to work for Guy Banister.

One could argue that Ron Lewis was simply insinuating himself into Oliver Stone's movie. But that doesn't work out perfectly, because Oliver Stone omitted any mention of resigned General Edwin Walker, who plays a pivotal part in the personality change of Lee Harvey Oswald, according to Ron Lewis.

My point is that Ron Lewis' book is plausible -- it's not impossible that it happened as he said. Yes, like many accounts of the JFK murder, Ron seems to overstate his case by adding his opinions, beyond his eye-witness claims. So I do take Ron Lewis' book with a grain of salt.

It seems plausible that Ron Lewis did know Lee Harvey Oswald in New Orleans during the summer of 1963, but I do discount as hyperbole Ron's claim that he was Oswald's "best friend" for that summer. One gets the idea, on the contrary, that Lee Harvey Oswald led a life that was mostly invisible to Ron Lewis.

It is plausible that Lee Oswald liked having a former Marine to talk with on occasion, one with whom he could commiserate about his discharge status. It's also plausible that Lee liked having an ordinary guy to talk with, instead of all his "commanding officers" in New Orleans.

I find Ron Lewis' story to be plausible for the most part -- not in its exaggerations and opinions, but in its general narrative. There wasn't much drama in the story, frankly -- which makes it more believable. It was a humdrum life -- although Ron does portray a change in Lee Oswald's behavior from the start of the summer, as a happy-go-lucky guy, to the end of the summer, as a gloomy guy.

Yet even that isn't outside the normal.

As for the democratic approach to accepting eye-witness claims, it's not my preferred approach. Most respected JFK researchers have been trying to solve the JFK murder for a half-century now, and are still struggling with it. They also tend to omit any focus on resigned General Edwin Walker.

Regards,

--Paul Trejo

<edit typos>

Edited by Paul Trejo
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I'm not buying into Lewis, but if Oswald's mission was to dangle to the left and dangle to the right in order to collect information, what would prevent him from claiming that he shot at Walker?

Not to go off topic, but I still wonder if Oswald was instructed to view De Mohrenschildt as a handler, or as a mark to be played and reported on. Under those conditions, if G De M. was instructed to bring up involvement in the Walker shooting, Oswald might have made a field decision to encourage his inquiries, or might have been instructed to encourage all such inquiries. Intelligence legends are created through such manipulations.

Factor in that Oswald was compelled to work for FBI, a rival service to military intelligence, and you've got an operative who might conceivably cop to anything in conversation.

Has Walker's post-assassination claim that Oswald was picked up for the Walker shooting and then released by DOJ order ever been researched?

David, these are the usual sorts of questions I confront when trying to build the case that (1) Lee Harvey Oswald was framed and was in no way the Lone Shooter in the JFK murder; and (2) Lee Oswald actually did try to murder General Walker earlier in 1963.

The typical argument -- stemming from Jim Garrison (1968) I believe -- is that if we insist that Lee Oswald was framed for the murder of JFK, then we must also insist that Lee Oswald was framed for the shooting at General Walker.

In other words -- EITHER Lee Oswald was a shooter, OR ELSE Lee Oswald wasn't a shooter -- and there's NO MIDDLE GROUND.

It generally does me no good to point out that Lee Oswald could be innocent of shooting at JFK, yet ALSO guilty of shooting at Walker. For some reason, that fact is poorly accepted.

At least you're willing at this point to consider that Lee Harvey Oswald might have claimed to shoot at resigned General Edwin Walker on 10 April 1963. I appreciate that.

In your view, then, a CIA dangle might make such a claim to see who might be interested in this sort of extremism.

If that's the case, then you're right to also ask about Oswald's relationship with George De Mohrenschildt, an informer for the CIA, a rich playboy and oil company specialist, who "accidentally" befriended Lee Harvey Oswald in 1962.

The standard story is that the CIA asked George to monitor Lee Oswald, in exchange for connections to a lucrative oil development contract in Haiti. George's story is that he and his wife just "felt sorry" for Lee Harvey Oswald. Your new theory is that Lee Harvey Oswald was really handling George De Mohrenschildt, and not the reverse. If so, then Oswald might have lied to George, leading him on that he shot at Walker, when he really didn't.

It's interesting to think about -- but it's a shot in the dark. The evidence that we have in sworn testimony from multiple sources doesn't lead toward that. Here's the evidence:

(1) Oswald didn't tell George DM that he shot at Walker; nor did he hint at it or allude to it.

(2) George DM says he "guessed" it based on Oswald's stunned reaction when George made a joke about the Walker shooting in connection with Oswald's scoped rifle which Jeanne found in their closet while she was snooping around.

(3) Jeanne agrees with that story.

(4) Marina agrees with that story.

As for Lee's alleged story to Marina about the Walker shooting -- that he was on foot, that he was alone, and that he buried his rifle -- I disbelieve all of it. Not that Marina was lying -- I believe Marina told the truth when she was under oath. Rather, I believe Lee Oswald lied to Marina Oswald on a continual basis.

I think Lee Oswald really did try to kill Edwin Walker, as motivated by Dallas Liberals led by George DM, Volkmar Schmidt and Michael Paine. (I also believe Oswald rode to the shooting site in a car with one other shooter.)

I see no reason whatsoever for Volkmar Schmidt to admit to having "hypnotized" Lee Harvey Oswald to hate General Walker. Schmidt was never called by the Warren Commission, or by the FBI. He just admitted this to JFK researchers like our own Bill Kelley.

I see no reason whatsoever for Volkmar Schmidt to lie about it, either.

When George DM was asked to re-appear before the HSCA, he wrote a book, "I'm A Patsy" and then he committed suicide. Some say he was murdered -- but that's unproven at best.

In fact, George DM was depressed about many things. He lost his lucrative contract in Haiti, and never got another good contract. His wife and children left him, and avoided him. He asked Volkmar Schmidt to please let him come and stay with the Schmidt family -- but Schmidt's wife didn't want George around their children.

George had been suicidal before the HSCA called him, and he was so broke, he thought he might make some money by writing his own JFK tell-all book. That's how "I'm A Patsy" began.

In that book, George DM also tells about the engineer's party in Dallas in which Volkmar Schmidt used psychological techniques on Lee Harvey Oswald, to get him to hate General Walker. However, George DM also lies here -- he says he can't remember the name of the person who worked on Oswald "for hours" in that way. That was a lie, because George had telephoned Volkmar only the week before. Instead, George said in his book that the amateur psychologist "might have been Jewish." (There we see fading shades of George's early work with the Third Reich.)

There was a reason for George DM to lie about Volkmar Schmidt -- Schmidt was George's last friend on this earth -- and even when he was near the end of his rope, he wouldn't hand his friend over to the HSCA.

But without the Full Truth, George DM's book was flat and no publisher wanted it. That's why, IMHO, George DM blew his own brains out.

Also, David, you say that "Oswald was compelled to work for FBI, a rival service to military intelligence, and you've got an operative who might conceivably cop to anything in conversation."

Yes, perhaps that's true, but there are nuances. First, Lee Harvey Oswald was a "piece" worker, not a full time employee for the FBI, CIA, ONI or any other intelligence outfit. He got $200 monthly, evidently, from the FBI for providing information on somebody -- we don't know who, yet.

In my theory, since the FBI Agent closest to Oswald was James Hosty, and since James Hosty was very slow in investigating Lee Harvey Oswald, I'm inclined to opine that when Oswald returned to Fort Worth from Russia in 1962, James Hosty and other FBI Agents interviewed him, and realized then that Oswald was no Communist, and that he could be useful to them. That's when the FBI offered him a low-level job as Informant -- so low-level that the paperwork on him might have been only local to the Dallas FBI (qua former FBI Agent, Wesley Swearingnen).

If I'm right, then my next question is this -- who was James Hosty spying on? He tells us in his book, Assignment Oswald (1996), that his job was to spy on the American Right-wing in Dallas. That would have included resigned Geneeral Edwin Walker. (That might explain why James Hosty was a Bridge partner for Robert Allen Surrey during that period, since Surrey's office was right inside Walker's home in Dallas, and besides, Surrey was a publisher for the American Nazi Party as well.)

If I'm right, then the FBI might have been using Lee Harvey Oswald to spy on resigned General Edwin Walker. We know, for example, that Michael Paine and Lee Oswald talked about General Walker with each other -- because Michael Paine admitted it in his WC testimony.

Finally, David, as for Walker's post-assassination claim that Oswald was picked up for the Walker shooting and then released by the DOJ, it has NEVER been researched to the best of my knowledge -- and I've looked for years.

Best regards,

--Paul Trejo

<edit typos>

Edited by Paul Trejo
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Was Michael Paine living with Volkmar Schmidt?

Well, Paul B., our own Bill Kelley interviewed Volkmar Schmidt on New Years Day 2008. Here's the URL:

http://jfkcountercoup.blogspot.com/2008/01/volkmar-schmidt-interview.html

To address your question, Volkmar Schmidt says that he didn't know the Paine family very much, but he liked them. He met Michael Paine through a circle of young professional oil engineers working at Magnolia Laboratories in Dallas (at that time owned by Mobil Oil).

The young Volkmar Schmidt joined Magnolia Labs in 1961, and stayed with them until 1976. Volkmar Schmidt adds that he was the one who organized the dinner party for the Paines to meet the Oswalds.

Also, here's a long video clip from PBS, Frontline, about Lee Harvey Oswald:

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/oswald/

It's very long, but SKIP all the way to 35:55, and watch through 37:15, and you'll see Volkmar Schmidt in person, explaining to PBS his interaction with Lee Harvey Oswald during that Dallas party.

In that article, too, Volkmar characterizes himself as a Christian gentleman, and although he liked George DM, he suggested that George was loose morally, and acted irresponsibly with regard to his family, his wife, and so on, and he couldn't approve of that.

Does this begin to address your question?

Regards,

--Paul Trejo

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Of course it does not answer my question. Why provide the link?

The link showing Volkmar Schmidt explaining himself regarding a party in which the Paines were present along with many other Dallas engineers, including George De Mohrenschildt, shows the social interaction of Lee Harvey Oswald, Volkmar Schmidt and Michael Paine.

In my opinion, this is one of the most important aspects of the JFK murder. It speaks to motivation.

Now, Paul B., your question was whether Volkmar Schmidt and Michael Paine lived together. I don't know where this question is coming from. I've seen no information anywhere that suggests that they ever lived together. The two links I provided above suggests that they barely knew each other, except professionally -- and at dinner parties of engineers like the one described in so much detail by Volkmar Schmidt.

George De Mohrenschildt and his wife joined Marina Oswald in the belief that Lee Harvey Oswald tried to murder resigned Major General Edwin Walker at his Dallas home on 10 April 1963.

Volkmar Schmidt, in this link, admits that he himself was a part of that conspiracy -- even though he plays innocent about it. George De Mohrenschildt, in his book, "I'm A Patsy!" (1978) admits that he also tried very hard to get Lee Harvey Oswald to hate Ex-General Edwin Walker.

Michael Paine was also very much against Edwin Walker -- but nobody could get him to admit that he was a part of the conspiracy to murder Walker. In the link I provided, Volkmar Schmidt suggests that Michael Paine was part of a larger group of Dallas oil engineers who, with himself and George De Mohrenschildt, worked overtime to make Lee Harvey Oswald hate Edwin Walker.

It's my belief that resigned General Edwin Walker was the leader of the Dallas plot to murder JFK.

It's my belief that Edwin Walker tracked Lee Harvey Oswald from the weekend after the shooting all the way to the murder of JFK. (Edwin Walker himself admits as much in his personal papers, and in letters to people like Senator Frank Church.)

It's my belief that Edwin Walker killed JFK because he believed that RFK and JFK were trying to kill him by using Lee Harvey Oswald. That's why Edwin Walker used Lee Harvey Oswald (as a Patsy) to kill JFK.

It's my belief that Edwin Walker obtained help from many quarters for his mission -- from his JBS and Minuteman connections he obtained the help of Guy Banister. From his Cuban Exile connections he obtained the help of Carlos Bringuier. From his old Military connections he obtained the help of (at least) David Morales and Howard Hunt.

The JFK murder was organized like a carefully laid military ambush -- of which Edwin Walker was an expert. The JFK murder in Dallas had to be done by folks who knew Dallas like the back of their hand, and had some influence over City Hall by virtue of right-wing heroism. Edwin Walker had these qualities.

Volkmar Schmidt, George De Mohrenschildt and Michael Paine hated Edwin Walker. To this extent, they were partly responsible for both the shooting at Edwin Walker and the shooting at JFK.

All this relates back to Ron Lewis and his book, "Flashback" (1993), because without trying, Ron Lewis confirms a key relationship between Lee Harvey Oswald and Ex-General Edwin Walker during the summer of 1963.

Harry Dean -- also without trying, and completely independently -- also confirms a key relationship between Lee Harvey Oswald and Ex-General Edwin Walker during the summer of 1963.

Their stories might have some flaws of exaggeration on various points, but their general narratives are believable, plausible, and accidentally confirm recently discovered evidence found in Walker's personal papers.

Volkmar Schmidt and George De Mohrenschildt have passed away. Only Michael Paine still survives from that list of superstars at the Dallas engineers' dinner parties featuring Lee Harvey Oswald.

To the best of my knowledge, nobody has ever pressed Michael Paine with these important questions about Ex-General Edwin Walker. So, does anybody here know how to contact Michael Paine today?

Regards,

--Paul Trejo

Edited by Paul Trejo
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Paul - constant repetition of your thesis is really unnecessary. I bumped a thread on Michael Paine which you should look at. Malcolm Ward asserts that Michael Paine was living in the same house as Schmidt.

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Paul - constant repetition of your thesis is really unnecessary. I bumped a thread on Michael Paine which you should look at. Malcolm Ward asserts that Michael Paine was living in the same house as Schmidt.

Paul B., would you please provide a link to that thread?

Thanks,

--Paul T.

Edited by Paul Trejo
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Paul - constant repetition of your thesis is really unnecessary. I bumped a thread on Michael Paine which you should look at. Malcolm Ward asserts that Michael Paine was living in the same house as Schmidt.

Paul,

That's why I think of him as being "Pedantic as a Professor".

That and the fact that he's always reciting to us the well-known facts of the assassination.

--Tommy :sun

Edited by Thomas Graves
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Paul - constant repetition of your thesis is really unnecessary. I bumped a thread on Michael Paine which you should look at. Malcolm Ward asserts that Michael Paine was living in the same house as Schmidt.

Paul,

That's why I think of him as being "Pedantic as a Professor".

That and the fact that he's always reciting to us the well-known facts of the assassination.

--Tommy :sun

Not true, Tommy. First, most readers don't agree (or don't know) the facts about Ex-General Walker as I present them in the context of the JFK assassination.

Secondly, there has never been discussion on the FORUM regarding Ron Lewis' mention of Ex-General Walker.

Thirdly, the call for Michael Paine's knowledge about Ex-General Edwin Walker hasn't been made since 1964.

So, my points are NEW. You're just biased.

Regards,

--Paul Trejo

P.S. What about it, Paul B.; would you please provide a link to that thread you mentioned about Paine and Schmidt?

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There is a thread on the front page of this forum regarding Michael Paine that Paul bumped.

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