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Creating the Oswald Legend: Part 3

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This is Part three to Vasilios Vazakas' fascinating reconstruction of the Oswald story using ARRB documents. 

It differs in significant ways from Bill S. 

In the next part will be his summary and this will include the routing mail pattern on the Oswald file at CIA which drove Betsy Wolf to  pulling out her hair, trying to figure  it out. We got it from Malcolm Blunt.


Edited by James DiEugenio
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As I write in INTO THE NIGHTMARE, "Among the mail-order weapons suppliers

Dodd's subcommittee and Treasury had under investigation were Klein's

Sporting Goods of Chicago and Seaport Traders of Los Angeles. The Warren Commission alleged that

Oswald used the alias of 'A. J. Hidell' or 'A. Hidell' to purchase, by mail order,

a Mannlicher-Carcano rifle (from Klein's) and a Smith & Wesson .38 revolver

(from Seaport Traders). The documents involved in these purchases are among

the primary items of 'so-called evidence' [Oswald's words] used to link Oswald

with the assassination. But as Armstrong's HARVEY & LEE exhaustively demonstrates,

the document trail introduced by the commission to demonstrate Oswald's supposed

purchases of the handgun allegedly used to kill Tippit and the rifle allegedly used

to kill Kennedy is so faulty that it tends to show the opposite, i.e., that Oswald

could not have purchased or received those weapons."  And we know that the rifle in the TSBD was switched.

And the ballistics evidence in the Tippit case exonerates Oswald. And yet this article linked above states that Oswald ordered

the pistol used to kill Tippit, even if the article hedges by saying Oswald "allegedly" used it to kill Tippit. The article states, "He also ordered a Smith & Wesson .38 gun from Seaport Traders of Los Angeles on January 27th, 1963, under the name A. J. Hidell. This was the same gun that Oswald allegedly used to kill Officer Tippit." 



Edited by Joseph McBride
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He is using the Peter Scott meme about the Dodd Committee and the idea that Oswald may have been a pawn in that whole thing. (Evica used it also.)

I think he is pretty clear about that.  Scott is a guy you quote several times in your book.

I do not agree with that thesis about Dodd.  But I am not going to make VV toe the line on what I think  happened.  If I recall correctly, you yourself entertained that thesis in your book but then you switched after consideration and said you thought that Armstrong's idea was better, that LHO did not actually order the weapons. And you did use Scott's ideas elsewhere.

If I made every author who writes for K and K agree with what I think is the case, then I would be editing how  the NY Times does.

Edited by James DiEugenio
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I spent a good part of yesterday working on this...hope you don't mind me offering it here.  The sticky part is the handwriting, which does look like Oswald's...feedback requested...

Here's the investigator's argument - and the lawyer's argument, too.

I. - The evidence indicates it is at least likely that the rifle was never even shipped from Klein's.  We have the order blank from Klein's, but not the postal Form 2162 legally required to be filled out by the shipper and retained for four years, missing from the evidence for no good reason.
II - Even assuming the rifle was shipped to A. Hidell at Oswald's address, there are a number of reasons why it's fair to assume that the Post Office followed standard procedure and mailed the rifle back to Klein's - because it may have been misaddressed.
III - Even assuming the rifle was addressed OK, there are a number of reasons why it's fair to assume that it was never delivered to anyone.
IV - Even assuming the rifle was delivered to Oswald himself, all the available evidence indicates that it was not the same rifle.
When documents mandated by law are missing in a case like this, it's fair to assume that one of two things happened; either the event that mandated retaining such documents never happened; or that someone is covering something up.   It's not fair to assume incompetence without evidence of a custom of incompetence. 
In this case, both things happened.  
We know the rifle may have been mis-addressed, because:
1)   We know it was ordered by A. Hidell and his name was not on the box registration card. The post office could not produce the "part 3" of the box application form, which lists "persons entitled to receive mail" from the box
2)  Part 3 of the card was destroyed by the Dallas post office, which was mandated by 846.53a to be retained for two years, until 1965.  Holmes blatantly lied to the Warren Commission and told them that when someone "relinquishes the box, they tear off part 3 and they throw it away.  It has no other purpose. That is what happened to P.O. Box 2915. It is in the Post Office Manual for employees, yes sir.".  Neither Holmes nor anyone else has ever produced such a written procedure in the manual.
3)  If it was misaddressed - and we must assume it might have been because 'part 3' is missing - 355.111b(4) of the postal manual mandated "mail addressed to a person at a PO box who is not authorized to receive mail shall be endorsed 'addressee unknown' and returned to sender if possible'.  
4)  There is no evidence that Klein's was ever asked if they had such an "address unknown" package sitting in their offices.
5)  Conversely, no one has ever cited any duty to notify a post office boxholder when an item has been mis-addressed, except for Harry Holmes.  He testified:
a)  packages were treated differently than letters - that a notice was placed in the box regardless of whether the name on the package is listed on the application as a person entitled to receive mail through the box; 
b)  that anyone who had a key to Oswald's box could have received the box, and that person would receive the package with no need to show ID
c)  However, Holmes did not deny that any recipient of the firearm would still have to fill out a postal form 2162, which the post office had to retain for four years!  To our knowledge, no such form was ever sought by the investigators in Dallas!
6).  There is no reason to assume that Holmes was telling the truth about the right to violate 355.111b(4) and destroy Part 3   (New Orleans kept theirs!)
On the other hand, if the rifle package was properly addressed:
1)  postal regulation 846.53a requires both the shipper and recipient of a firearm to fill out and sign postal form 2162, which was to be retained for four years.  These are the documents routinely created to establish a custodial chain for the rifle.
2)  Klein's shipped thousands of rifles - but they were never asked by any authority to provide Form 2162 to prove it was actually shipped by parcel post - or, for that matter, that they received it when it was shipped back to them!  
3)  The Dallas post office was never asked by any authority to provide a signed copy by the recipient of Form 2162 to prove it was actually picked up at the post office.
4)  There is no reason to assume that the post office did not follow regulations 846.53a and mandate the use of Form 2162.
5)  We have no reason to assume that Klein's had any procedure for returned items, other than the legal mandate to retain a Form 2162.
6)  We also know that the 40 inch rifle with side swivels does not match what was ordered; a 36 inch rifle with bottom swivels.   The gunsmith explained that the deal was to package 36 inch rifles with a scope, not 40 inch rifles.  The President of Klein's did not believe the rifle in evidence came from Klein's.
In weighing the evidence, destroyed and missing documents would be construed in favor of Oswald's innocence - whether they were destroyed, or not obtained by investigators, it is reasonable to infer that these documents were unavailable in order to cover up evidence relevant to his guilt or innocence.
Holmes' testimony flies in the face of the existing regulations, is uncorroborated, and would be vigorously opposed at trial.
The most reasonable approach for a fact-finder is to assume the post office regulations were followed and that if the rifle was even shipped, or that it was not delivered to Oswald, and that a cover-up was conducted to ensure the relevant documents were not obtained by investigators.  There is no basis to assume incompetence.
There is also no reason to infer that the 36 inch rifle with bottom swivels was arbitrarily substituted by Klein's for a 40 inch rifle with side swivels, particularly when there is no evidence that a 40 inch rifle was even in stock prior to April 1963.
If this went to court, all the above four lines of argument should be convincing to any reasonable judge or jury - put together, it is overwhelming.
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9 hours ago, James DiEugenio said:

She would not appear on the  Oliver Stone 4 night special.

So we took her faceoff   with  Brokaw from  1993 and went with that. She was pretty spunky there,

Jim, I guess your talking about for your upcoming documentary with Stone here.  Any word on when it might be coming out?

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On 6/5/2020 at 11:23 PM, Matt Allison said:

Wouldn't believing that Oswald never had that rifle then also necessitate believing that the backyard photos are fake?

Not looking to offend anyone, as I know my views on Oswald are likely different than others, but just pointing it out.

No.  There's no good reason to assume that it's the same rifle.

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