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Over the past several months Antti Hynonen and I have been collecting and digesting information about Oswald's trip from London to Helsinki. Without "tipping our hand" to the surprizing information that has been uncovered I thought I would start with a small tidbit and ask for your imput.

Let me begin by saying that Chris Mills has agreed to allow us to use his "Flight of Fancy" as a starting point for expanding the fine research that he did in 1993.

http://www.manuscriptservice.com/DPQ/mills~1.htm

Antti was able to obtain flight information from the source (in Helsinki) on Finn Air operations in 1959 as opposed to the information that Chris used from London (now Heathrow) Airport archivists.

One of the many facts that we have uncovered is that if Oswald had traveled to Paris on October 8, 1959 instead of going to England on an overnight ferry (think about this, a FRUGAL Oswald spending a great deal of money when he did not need to if he knew where he was going) his airline ticket would have cost about the same to fly into Helsinki (based upon 1959 exchange rates about $4 difference in price).

Perhaps even more surpizing is the fact that he would have had three choices of flights from Paris to Helsinki. Here is the kicker.......The three choices would have him arriving on the same exact planes that he could have arrived on by leaving London: The 17:05 Flight, the 17:35 Flight or the 23:35 Flight.

Why then did Oswald need to go to London, spending additional precious limited funds, to get to Helsinki when there was a less expensive way to accomplish the exact same goal?

Jim Root

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if Oswald had traveled to Paris on October 8, 1959 instead of going to England on an overnight ferry

I thought of saying something about Oswald liking overnight Ferries, but have decided against it.

Ron

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Tim

In reply to your question: "Bad travel agent?"

I believe the opposite, I think Oswald had a great travel agent. Let me explain, drawing first from what Chris Mills said in 1993:

"In conclusion, it would seem that is more likely than not that Oswald took an ordinary commercial flight from London to Helsinki. The real questions that need to be answered seem to be:

a) Why take this route at all?

:ice How was this trip financed?"

Mills was not aware of the different flights that came together to arrive in Helsinki on those three commercial flights that served that city daily. His question, "Why take this route at all?" may be answered with enough research (more on this later). Mills' question, "How was this trip financed?" must be asked again now that we know for a fact that there were less expensive routes that could have been taken by Oswald. I might add that this "fact" contridicts the Warren Reports conclusions about how Oswald handled his finances in a most frugal manner.

But back to your question, "Bad travel agent?"

The day that Oswald "spends" traveling to London is October 9, 1959. His passport is then stamped October 10, 1959 when leaving England and October 10, 1959 when entering Finland.

As was disclosed during the HSCA hearings, on October 9, 1959 John D. Hickerson, the American Ambassador to Helsinki, sent a followup message to the State Department that discribed the exact procedure that an individual could use to receive an entry visa from the Soviet Embassy in Helsinki. Oswald would follow these directions in the days following his arrival in Helsinki on October 10th when he applied for his visa from the Soviet Embassy. (Hickerson's first message was sent on September 4, 1959, the same day that Oswald applied for his passport in Santa Ana, California)

It seems that we have two possibilities. Either Oswald's "travel agent" was US Intelligence agencies who would be aware of all this information, or that Oswald decided to spend his limited travel funds in a less than frugal manner but then stumbled into the only Soviet Embassy in the world (by chance fully prepared) that could issue him a travel visa in 24 hours.

What is the standard for "proof" of a US Intelligence involvement in the movements of Oswald. I find this evidence compelling. Wouldn't you agree?

Jim Root

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Jim Root wrote: "It seems that we have two possibilities. Either Oswald's "travel agent" was US Intelligence agencies who would be aware of all this information, or that Oswald decided to spend his limited travel funds in a less than frugal manner but then stumbled into the only Soviet Embassy in the world (by chance fully prepared) that could issue him a travel visa in 24 hours.

What is the standard for "proof" of a US Intelligence involvement in the movements of Oswald. I find this evidence compelling. Wouldn't you agree?

Jim Root "

Jim, I'm not following you. If he was being guided by an intelligence agency he could have reached Helsinki at less expense by flying out of Paris. Are you saying that the route he actually took is an indication that he was NOT guided by someone?

Ray

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Jim,

Do we know that going to Paris from LeHavre would have been cheaper than going to London, for the flight to Helsinki? Might not a boat ride to London have been as cheap or cheaper than a bus, train, or plane to Paris?

Ron

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Ron and J. Raymond

Oswald went from La Harve to Southampton then by rail to London. At the time, as is the case today, rail costs in Europe are somewhat standard and the trip from Southampton to London would be about the same as the trip from La Harve to Paris.

Going to London first provided the extra day (October 9th) that was needed to gather the information Oswald would need to enter the Soviet Union from John D. Hickerson in Helsinki (I will provide more information on this man soon). The point being, what appears to be a wasted day and additional expense in reality provides the possibility that Oswald would in fact enter Russia in the most efficient manner.

In other words if Oswald goes to Paris instead of London he would arrive in Helsinki on the 9th of October before the information had been collected by the State Department he would need to enter Russia easily. Did he know his Soviet entry point before he got to London? Before the 10th? Or was he given this information while in route to Helsinki from London?

Jim Root

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Oswald went from La Harve to Southampton then by rail to London. At the time, as is the case today, rail costs in Europe are somewhat standard and the trip from Southampton to London would be about the same as the trip from La Harve to Paris.[unquote]

Jim, If I understand, the difference in price then is the cost of the ferry ride. I imagine he could have stayed in a hotel in Paris for not much more than the cost of the ferry ride, and had a good night's sleep besides.

"Going to London first provided the extra day (October 9th) that was needed to gather the information Oswald would need to enter the Soviet Union from John D. Hickerson in Helsinki "

I am eager to hear more of Mr. Hickerson, but could he not have contacted Lee (or vice versa) just as easily from Paris?

"In other words if Oswald goes to Paris instead of London he would arrive in Helsinki on the 9th of October before the information had been collected by the State Department he would need to enter Russia easily. Did he know his Soviet entry point before he got to London? Before the 10th? Or was he given this information while in route to Helsinki from London?" Jim Root

Jim, Would not Helsinki have been a fairly logical entry point for any tourist wishing to enter the Soviet Union from Western Europe? What other entry points would have beckoned an ordinary traveller?

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Ray

"Jim, Would not Helsinki have been a fairly logical entry point for any tourist wishing to enter the Soviet Union from Western Europe? What other entry points would have beckoned an ordinary traveller?"

The answer to your question would be a very simple yes. But an examination of the record allows us to see other possibilities:

WARREN COMMISSION REPORT, Appendix XIII: Biography of Lee Harvey Oswald, SOVIET UNION, Oswald's journey from the USA to the Soviet Union went as follows through Helsinki Finland:

"On September 4, [1959] the day on which he was transferred out of MACS-9 [Marine Air Control Squadron] in preparation for his discharge, Oswald had applied for a passport at the Superior Court of Santa Ana, Calif. His application stated that he planned to leave the United States on September 21 to attend the Albert Schweitzer College (Switzerland) and the University of Turku in Finland, and to travel in Cuba, the Dominican Republic, England, France, Germany, and Russia. The passport was routinely issued 6 days later.

(Two notes, the Sept. 4 date same as the Hickerson note advising the State Dept. that a Soviet travel visa could be issued easily in Helsinki. The Soviets had an Embassy in Switzerland, in Finland, in Germany, in England and in France but only one would issue a visa in 24 hours. Access to the Soviet Union could be made by air from most of these countires)

"Oswald went directly home after his discharge, and arrived in Fort Worth by September 14....

"On September 17, Oswald spoke with a representative of Travel Consultants, Inc., a New Orleans travel bureau; he filled out a "Passenger Immigration Questionnaire," on which he gave his occupation as "shipping export agent" and said that he would be abroad for 2 months on a pleasure trip. He booked passage from New Orleans to Le Havre, France, on a freighter, the SS Marion Lykes, scheduled to sail on September 18, for which he paid $220.75. On the evening of September 17, he registered at the Liberty Hotel. The Marion Lykes did not sail until the early morning of September 20....

"The Marion Lykes carried only four passengers. Oswald shared his cabin with Billy Joe Lord, a young man who had just graduated from high school and was going to France to continue his education. Lord testified that he and Oswald did not discuss politics but did have a few amicable religious arguments, in which Oswald defended atheism.... No one on board suspected that he intended to defect to Russia.

"Oswald disembarked at Le Havre on October 8. He left for England that same day, and arrived on October 9. He told English customs officials in Southampton that he had $700 and planned to remain in the United Kingdom for 1 week before proceeding to a school in Switzerland. But on the same day, he flew to Helsinki, Finland, where he registered at the Torni Hotel; on the following day, he moved to the Klaus Kurki Hotel.

(Note: Oswald's marine buddy, Anthony Delgado, knew of his plans to go to Switzerland for school and thought that he might have gone to Berlin (another good point of entry into the Soviet Union).

"Oswald probably applied for a visa at the Russian consulate on October 12, his first business day in Helsinki. The visa was issued on October 14. It was valid until October 20 and permitted him to take one trip of not more than 6 days to the Soviet Union. He also purchased 10 Soviet "tourist vouchers" which cost $30 a piece. He left Helsinki by train on the following day, crossed the Finnish-Russian border at Vainikkala, and arrived in Moscow on October 16."

From the House Select Committee on Assassinations we learned the following information that was not declassified till it was presented to the HSCA!

""The second dispatch, dated October 9, 1959, 1 day prior to Oswald's arrival in Helsinki, illustrated that Golub did have the authority to issue visas without delay. The dispatch discussed a telephone contact between Golub and his consular counterpart at the American Embassy in Helsinki:

...Since that evening [september 4, 1959] Golub has only phoned [the U.S. consul] once and this was on a business matter. Two Americans were in the Soviet Consulate at the time and were applying for Soviet visas through Golub. They had previously been in the American consulate inquiring about the possibility of obtaining a Soviet visa in 1 or 2 days. [The U.S. Consul] advised them to go directly to Golub and make their request, which they did. Golub phoned [the U.S. Consul] to state that he would give them their visas as soon as they made advance Intourist reservations. When they did this, Golub immediately gave them their visas...."

Note: To me the key is the Intourist reservations. Without them Golub would not issue the Visa within 24 hours. Oswald, without entering the US Embassy in Helsinki, shows up at the Soviet Embassy with these Intourist reservations and receives his permit. Two documents, one classified until 1978 and the other created within months of the assassiantion confirm what was done and that the proceedure used was classified information that the State Department received on the "extra" travel day, Oct. 9, 1959. How else would Oswald have known to purchase his Intourist reservations first? From whom and where did he get this information?

To me this picture seems very clear. Am I blinded by my own research?

Jim Root

Edited by Jim Root
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Note: To me the key is the Intourist reservations.  Without them Golub would not issue the Visa within 24 hours.  Oswald, without entering the US Embassy in Helsinki, shows up at the Soviet Embassy with these Intourist reservations and receives his permit.  Two documents, one classified until 1978 and the other created within months of the assassiantion confirm what was done and that the proceedure used was classified information that the State Department received on the "extra" travel day, Oct. 9, 1959.  How else would Oswald have known to purchase his Intourist reservations first?  From whom and where did he get this information?

To me this picture seems very clear.  Am I blinded by my own research?

Jim Root

Jim, I have 2 questions at this stage:

1/ How do we know that Helsinki was the only Soviet Embassy authorized to issue tourist visas without consulting moscow? I ask this because I would expect that a centralized beauracracy like the USSR would tend to issue the same instructions to all its embassies.

2/ "How else would Oswald have known to purchase his Intourist reservations first?" Could he have learned this by phoning the Soviet embassy in London or, by phoning the Soviet embassy in Helsinki upon his arrival there?

Ray

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Ron wrote:

I have certainly considered it. Evidence of Castro complicity has been given to us courtesy of the CIA, particularly the travel report on Policarpo, and Win Scott telling us "Escalante was here." But I don't recall ever getting an answer to this question: how did Castro manage a massive U.S. government coverup, beginning within minutes of the assassination, and how has he managed to continue doing so for 42 years? On the day of the assassination, after the deed was done, how many Castro agents were aboard AF1 or AF2, working on the body or getting it somewhere to work on? How many Castro agents were at Bethesda, botching a simple autopsy as only traitors or enemy agents could do? How many Castro agents sat on the Warren Commission, and how many later worked for the HSCA? How many were involved in murdering a dozen or so potential HSCA witnesses, virtually all of them with connections to the CIA or FBI? Why would Castro be so concerned to protect the CIA and FBI, and why does he continue to protect them with what must be countless Castro agents in the U.S. media?

Ron, in another thread Larry Hancock answers this question:

The cover-up was completely separate from the conspiracy and was conducted in order to avoid a conflict with the Russians.....and justified based on some of the immediate evidence that suggest contact by Oswald with the Russians and Cubans as well as by many of the indications that Oswald himself had contacts with lots of suspicious people and was in no way a "lone nut".

The simple answer is the cover-up had nothing to do with the assassination. I agree with Larry. Note it makes no difference if the planner was Morales, Phillips, Rosselli or Castro. But Larry's analysis does answer what is otherwise the cogent objection you raised to the "Fidel did it" scenario.

Edited by Tim Gratz
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Ray

Great questions! This is what I love about this forum....we require each to think and expound beyond our own simple thoughts.

"1/ How do we know that Helsinki was the only Soviet Embassy authorized to issue tourist visas without consulting moscow? I ask this because I would expect that a centralized beauracracy like the USSR would tend to issue the same instructions to all its embassies."

This is the contridiction....because the Warren Commission tells us that the average time necessary to issue a visa was 5-7 days and this was confirmed again in the HSCA Report with the caviat of the declassified information about the Helsinki Embassy.

HSCA Report Findings on the Issue of Oswald's Visa:

"The relative ease with which Oswald obtained his Soviet Union entry visa was more readily amenable to investigation. This issue is one that also had been of concern to the Warren Commission. In a letter to the CIA dated May 25, 1964, J. Lee Rankin inquired about the apparent speed with which Oswald's Soviet visa had been issued. Rankin noted that he had recently spoken with Abraham Chayes, legal adviser to the State Department, who maintained that at the time Oswald received his visa to enter Russia from the Soviet Embassy in Helsinki, normally at least 1 week would elapse between the time of a tourist's application and the issuance of a visa. Rankin contended that if Chayes' assessment was accurate, then Oswald's ability to obtain his tourist visa in 2 days might have been significant.

"The CIA responded to Rankin's request for information on July 31. 1964 (two full months later). Helms wrote to Rankin that the Soviet Consulate in Helsinki was able to issue a transit visa (valid for 24 hours) to U.S. businessmen within 5 minutes, but if a longer stay were intended, at least 1 week was needed to process a visa application and arrange lodging through Soviet Intourist. A second communication from Helms to Rankin, dated September 14, 1964 (almost four months after first being wuestioned by the commission, the man that we now know was monitoring Oswald's movements before the assassination), added that during the 1964 tourist season, Soviet consulates in at least some Western European cities issued Soviet tourist visas in from 5 to 7 days.

"In an effort to resolve this issue, the committee (HSCA) reviewed classified information pertaining to Gregory Golub, who was the Soviet Consul in Helsinki when Oswald was issued his tourist visa. This review revealed that, in addition to his consular activities, Golub was suspected of having been an officer of the Soviet KGB. Two American Embassy dispatches concerning Golub were of particular significance with regard to the time necessary for issuance of visas to Americans for travel into the Soviet Union. The first dispatch recorded that Golub disclosed during a luncheon conversation that:

MOSCOW had given him the authority to give Americans visas without prior approval from Moscow. He [Golub] stated that this would make his job much easier, and as long as he was convinced the American was "all right" he could give him a visa in a matter of minutes."

These two messages from our (US) Embassy begin Oswald's journey on Sept. 4, 1959 and accounts for the extra day of the journey October 9, 1959.

We now know that Oswald did not apply for his visa on the first working day that he was in Helsinki but waited till Tuesday to apply.

Peter Wronski has written:

"Since the beginning, everyone has been questioning the rapidity with which Oswald's visa was issued. It was generally held that Oswald requested his visa on Monday, October 12, the first business day after his arrival in Helsinki. His passport shows that his Soviet entry visa was issued on October 14, a mere forty-eight hours later. Normally, tourist visas took approximately five to seven days to be issued. This unusually rapid issue of Oswald's visa is sometimes cited as evidence of Soviet facilitation of his entry into the USSR.

In fact, the situation appears even worse that that: the visa was issued in twenty-four hours or less! Lee Harvey Oswald's 1959 visa application form is still held in Russian archives, but KGB Colonel Oleg Nechiporenko reproduced a photographic copy of it in his 1993 book, Passport to Assassination . In the photo it can be seen that the form is dated and signed by Oswald on October 13, one day later than previously thought. It is unlikely that the Soviet Consular bureaucracy would have allowed Oswald to make a mistake on the dating of the application form. He signed and submitted it on 13 October and within a mere twenty-four hours, the Soviet consulate approved and stamped Oswald's entry visa into his passport."

"2/ "How else would Oswald have known to purchase his Intourist reservations first?" Could he have learned this by phoning the Soviet embassy in London or, by phoning the Soviet embassy in Helsinki upon his arrival there?"

Another good question! What we do know, according to the official government record, is that the State Department kept this information classified until 1978, first reveiling it at the HSCA hearings. Would the State Department, or an Embassy official who had JUST passed this classified information on to the State Department, then reveal this same information to a young marine, who had knowledge of the U-2 aircraft, who was on his way to the Soviet Union? According to the Warren Commission the Helsinki Embassy had no contact with Oswald.

Imagine if this were a court case. On the one hand you know that the US government has the information that was needed by Oswald to enter the Soviet Union, they provieded it to the HSCA in 1978. The government has also said that there was no other embassy that could have issued Oswald a passport in the same quick manner. Now you ask the question.....from whom did Oswald obtain this information that he did in fact have and used?

While we must admit that he could have gotten the information from the Soviets we must also admit that he could have gotten the infromation from a US government agent as well. This is the key to this thread.

For myself attemptin to answer this question became important when I first noticed that at the same time that Oswald was traveling to Russia, the othre man (Maj. General Edwin Anderson Walker) that Oswald is accused of having shot at, was also traveling in Europe. The fact that the Warren Commission was unable to ascertain from the CIA percise information about how Oswald accomplished his trip to Helsinki has led me to consider the possibility that it may have been Walker that passed this infromation to Oswald, perhaps on an airplane, perhaps at an airport. The question for me has been could these two have met?

If Oswald and Walker did in fact meet, even for just a moment in time, the whole assassination story begins to take a different form than what has been seen in past reviews.

Jim Root

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I've deleted what I wrote here in reply to Tim and moved it to the thread where it belongs. I have no idea why Tim moved the exchange to this thread, but I didn't realize it was in the wrong thread until I had replied.

Ron

Edited by Ron Ecker
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These threads do tend to wander into different areas! But I don't think I moved anything; don't think I have the ability, for instance, to move someone else's post.

Edited by Tim Gratz
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