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Oswald the Impostor

* . . . It was inconceivable to us that someone would have been impersonating Oswald -- for what purpose, you see?*

-- CIA's *John Scelso* to Michael Goldsmith of the HSCA

In any event, when we consider the possibility of a second Oswald or of Oswald's having been impersonated in these southern Texas sightings in early October, we need to note that whoever this was did not appear to have been behaving in an especially suspicious or violent manner -- unlike a number of multiple Oswald sightings in and around Dallas in the days and weeks immediately preceding the assassination. Virtually all of the sightings involving potential Oswalds and, for that matter, potential Marinas discussed in this paper -- with the exception of the Irving Furniture Mart's being confused for a gun shop -- do not appear to have been directly involved in the plot to implicate Oswald as the lone nut assassin. In fact, the *Oswald* seen in Alice and neighboring cities and towns appears to have been doing nothing more than what he would have been expected to be doing had he not already caught a bus back to Dallas: looking for a job. So it is important to recognize that the Oswald *family* sightings appear to be in a second category of possible attempts to impersonate Oswald which may NOT be directly related to the assassination.

A third type of Oswald impersonation efforts dates back as far as 1961, when Oswald was in the Soviet Union and his identity was being *sheep-dipped* in absentia in the United States. We know that for whatever reason, someone tried to link Oswald's name with the purchase trucks from a New Orleans Ford dealer on behalf of an anti-Castro group, the Friends of Democratic Cuba, prior to the Bay of Pigs in early 1961. (46) We also know that a former Dallas radio station executive, Ray Carnay, told the FBI three days after the assassination that he had been contacted repeatedly by Oswald in Dallas during the summer of 1961 -- both in person and on the telephone -- and that this particular Oswald, a self-described Castro sympathizer, had tried to convince him to cease and desist anti-Castro activities and to turn over a list of names of pilots seeking to be involved in a post Bay-of-Pigs invasion of Cuba. The real Oswald, of course, supposedly was working at a radio factory in Minsk at the time. (47)

With the release of primary-source documents pursuant to the 1992 law, the evidence that Oswald may in fact have been impersonated over a period of years for a variety of reasons and in a number of locations just keeps piling up. For example, one release from *96 which provides additional fodder for proof of imposture in Mexico City is a November 27, 1963, memo from Winston Scott to Legal Attache Clark D. Anderson which says that the final one in a series of phone calls to the Soviet embassy in Mexico City regarding Oswald's visa request came from a man who was suspected NOT to be Oswald because of the broken Spanish and English spoken (rather than Russian). The call also came in at 1539 hours on October 3rd -- after Oswald is supposed to have been back in Dallas. (48)

Each one of the expanding number of categories of possible Oswald impersonation efforts points to new layers of mystery and complexity surrounding Oswald and his identity. (Hoover, of course, was concerned as far back as 1960 about the possibility of an impostor's using Oswald's birth certificate.) And more recently, some of John Armstrong's fascinating and disturbing work seems to suggest at least two different historical paper trails for both Oswald and his mother dating back as far as 1948! (49)) As additional documents continue to be declassified and analyzed, much more remains to be developed with respect the number and type of categories into which the Oswald sightings may be disaggregated. It is my belief that these categories are indicative of deep intelligence connections, only some of which may relate directly to the assassination.

 

New Orleans - Mexico City - Dallas?

Finally, I think that the following should be considered when attempting to evaluate that part of the official dogma which holds that the same the man gunned down by Ruby in Dallas on November 24 is also the same man who supposedly leaves New Orleans, rides a bus to Mexico City, visits both embassies, and hops a bus back to Dallas before surfacing on October 3.

  • The FBI and the Warren Commission had an exceedingly difficult time pinning down the initial leg of Oswald's bus trip back from Mexico City until Marina supposedly stumbled across a treasure trove of evidence in AUGUST of 1964 (!) concerning her late husband's alleged activities and travels. (50)
  • As mentioned earlier, Mexican immigration records relating to the cancellation of his tourist permit at Nuevo Laredo on October 3, indicate that his method of travel was in an auto (and that his destination was New Orleans, not Dallas).
  • In wondering what possible REASON the man going to Mexico City could have had to stop off in Alice, Texas of all places -- either prior to or perhaps even in lieu of a return trip to Dallas -- I have found a potential explanation. For whatever it is worth, one FBI document I have located describes Oswald's peripatetic seat-mate on the bus down to Mexico City, everyone's favorite itinerant preacher Albert Osborne (a.k.a. John Howard Bowen), as a "frequent visitor" to the home of the Reverend Joe Amarine of the Southern Baptist Church in "of all places" Alice, Texas. (51)

 

"There certainly were a lot of reasons why someone might want to impersonate Oswald. Oswald could have been the patsy he claimed to be; someone may have just been setting him up."

-- Goldsmith's response to "Scelso"

 

"Since there is a possibility that an imposter is using Oswald's birth certificate, any current information the Department of State may have concerning subject will be appreciated."

-- J. Edgar Hoover memo to State Department, 6/3/60

 


APPENDIX

Other Alice Assasination Documents

Whether or not the real Oswald or someone using his name stopped in the city during early October, 1963, a number of additional documents do reflect the fact that his ALLEGED presence became somewhat imbedded in the cultural history of the city -- and that the local population believed that his presence may have been indicative of the involvement of local political boss George Parr in the assassination:

*** The first of these documents is a report the FBI received regarding a number of men who were deer hunting near Alice late in 1967. One of them apparently claimed that Oswald had visited the ranch where they were hunting before the assassination. Parr, the local boss and a longtime supporter of LBJ's, supposedly masterminded the assassination at this 1963 meeting, according to the allegation made during the *67 hunting trip. (52)

*** In another report, three days after the assassination, FBI informant John C. Askew (A-S-K-E-W) called the Bureau from Pensacola, Florida and told them that he had been a previous resident of Alice, TX. Askew said that Boss Parr had helped steal the controversial 1948 U.S. Senate election for LBJ and had in the past had at least two men killed -- the former editor of the Alice newspaper and the owner of an Alice radio station. He also said that he thought that Parr could have been involved in helping to plot JFK's demise. The FBI declined to follow-up on the suggestion to investigate Parr and the political infrastucture of Alice and of Jim Wells County after Askew's brother, future Florida Governor Ruben Askew (at that time a Florida state senator), subsequently told the Bureau that his brother, John, was an alcoholic. (53)

*** A third document reveals that a Pat Luby told the FBI in 1967 that former Alice District Attorney Sam Burris and the then-current Alice District Attorney, a man named Lester, were being held at a local hospital against their will and drugged to prevent them from telling what they knew about the assassination. Boss Parr was said to have been paying the doctors. (54)

*** Finally, a man named Ronald Smith told the FBI in 1977 that he had seen a recent press clipping indicating that some teenagers who were stopped in Waco, Texas, with nearly half a million dollars in their car said that they had got the money at a ranch in Alice. Smith also told the FBI that he had heard through the grapevine while he was living in Odessa, Texas, that Oswald had spent the first night after returning from Mexico in Alice. Smith suggested that if the dates on the bills were pre-assassination, the money could have been somehow related to the assassination. The FBI did run down this particular theory and determined that the majority the bills found in the car in 1977 were from either the 1969 or 1974 series. (55)

 

Note: The assistance and encouragement of Ian Griggs and John Armstrong is gratefully acknowledged..

***** An earlier version of this paper appeared in the Spring 1997 Kennedy Assassination Chronicles, and a subsequent version was presented to the Coalition on Political Assassinations conference in Washington, DC, in June 1997.

 


Footnotes

(1) New York Times, November 30, 1963.

(2) AP story appearing in a number of newspapers, including Dallas Morning News, on 11/28/63.

FBI Record Number 124-10178-10458, Agency File Number 89-67-173, 11/27/63.

(3) *Alice, Texas,* William Weston, The Fourth Decade, September 1997; sources cited include

Alice Echo News and Corpus Christi Caller-Times articles.

(4) HSCA Record Number 1801003110278, FBI Agency File Number 105-82555-165, 11/25/63;

FBI Record Number 124-10018-10241, Agency File Number 62-109060-1543, 11/27/63;

FBI Record Number 124-10178-10419, Agency File Number 89-67-131, 11/26/63;

AP interview with Stewart cited above.

(5) Alice Echo News, November 27, and Corpus Christi Caller-Times, November 28.

(6) FBI Record Number 124-10241-10364, Agency File Number 62-2115-248, 12/05/63.

(7) *Alice, Texas,* William Weston, The Fourth Decade, September 1997.

(8) FBI Record Number 124-10018-10240, Agency File Number 62-109060-1542, 11/26/63;

FBI Record Number 124-10009-10236, Agency File Number 62-109060-800, 11/26/63.

(9) FBI Record Number 124-10257-10473, Agency File Number 89-75-215, 12/10/63.

(10) FBI Record Number 124-10229-10425, Agency File Number 62-2115-170, 11/29/63;

FBI Record Number 124-10229-10426, Agency File Number 62-2115-169, 11/28/63.

(11) FBI Record Number 124-10229-10424, Agency File Number 62-2115-171, 11/29/63.

(12) FBI Record Number 124-10178-10282, Agency File Number 89-67A-7, 8, 11/27/63.

(13) FBI Record Number 124-10267-10387, Agency File Number 89-67-243, 11/30/63; CD 71, p.22.

(14) Fair Play, January-February, 1997, http://rmii.com/~jkelin/fp.html; see also April 1997 JFK/Deep Politics Quarterly.

(15) HSCA copy of WC memo, Record Number 180-10108-10339, Agency File Number 002962, 03/20/64. (Marina, for her part, during both major investigations and to this day has steadfastly continued to insist that her husband simply could not drive -- see, for example, November, 1988 interview in Ladies' Home Journal.)

(16) WR, p. 736; CE 2121; CE 2459; CE 2460; CE 2532.

(17) WR, p. 736; CE 2456.

(18) CE 2129, p. 3

(19) CIA Record Number 104-10002-10100; Agency File Number 201-289248; 4/17/64.

(20) CIA Record Number 104-10002-10052; Agency File Number 201-289248; 4/30/64 (Robison). CIA Record Number 104-10004-10060; Agency File Number 201-289248; 5/28/64 (Julian).

(21) CE 2456, p. 6

(22) Ibid, p. 5

(23) FBI 105-82555-4447, 7/14/64.

(24) FBI Record Number 124-10023-10050, Agency File Number 105-82555-2105, 2/27/64.

(25) Burcham DE 1; Cunningham DE 1-A; 11 H 478; Hulen DE 7, 11; 10 H 281-283; 10 H 285-290; 1 H 27

(26) Gangl DE 1; 11 H 479; 10 H 170-171.

(27) CD 107, FBI *Supplemental Report*, 1/13/64. FBI lab concluded signature was Oswald's.

(28) 3 H 26-29; 1 H 27

(29) FBI Record Number 124-10167-10004, Agency File Number 89-43-2479, 12/4/63;

FBI Record Number 124-10018-10295, Agency File Number 62-109060-1422, 12/4/63.

(30) *Budreau's Music and Appliance Store,* William Weston, The Fourth Decade, July 1996.

(31) Ibid.

(32) October 6, 1997 letter from John Armstrong to William Weston.

(33) CIA Record Number 104-10002-10012, Agency File Number 201-289248, 5/28/64.

(34) Carol Hewett indicated in the March-April 1997 issue of Probe that she has identified a third vehicle owned by the Paines which matches this description. She gave a talk on this topic at the 1995 COPA conference and is preparing a more in-depth article for an upcoming issue of Probe.

(35) 11 H 253-290; FBI Record Number 124-10008-10095, Agency File Number 105-82555-271, 12/6/63; *The Furniture Mart,* William Weston, The Fourth Decade, January 1994.

(36) Crossfire: The Plot that Killed Kennedy, Jim Marrs, Carroll and Graf Publishers, New York, 1989, pp. 541-542.

(37) Garrison Letter dated November 17, 1967 re motel operator Earl Edwards.

(38) FBI 89-69-167.

(39) FBI 89-67-115.

(40) FBI 62-109060-1640

(41) FBI 105-1291-298

(42) Crossfire, pp. 409-410.

(43) FBI 62-109060-1373 and 62-109060-624.

(44) Crossfire, p. 545

(45) Ibid., p. 396; The Man Who Knew Too Much, Dick Russell, Carroll and Graf, 1992, p. 431-32

(46) *Bolton Ford Dealership Clues,* Steve Bochan, available on Lisa Pease's *Real History* web page at http://www.webcom.com/~lpease/bolton.html. Article originally published in The Fourth Decade.

(47) *The Strange Allegations of Raymond Carnay,* Chris W. Courtwright, Kennedy Assassination Chronicles, Fall 1996, pp. 19-23.

(48) Record Number 104-10015-10428, 11/27/63.

(49) *Marguerite's Addresses,* John Armstrong, Probe, July-August 1996.

(50) 26H667; See also *The Trip That Never Was,* Jerry Rose, The Third Decade, July 1985.

(51) FBI 124-10227-10433, Agency File 105-1291-147, February 20, 1964.

(52) FBI Record Number 124-10046-10486, Agency File Number 62-109060-6162, 2/7/68.

(53) FBI Record Number 124-10012-10237, Agency File Number 62-109060-1190, 11/25/63.

For corroboration of the story that the votes stolen by Parr were decisive for LBJ in 1948, see Summer Stock: Behind the Scenes with LBJ in *48, Joe Phipps, Texas Christian University Press, 1992.

(54) FBI Record Number 124-10180-10139, Agency File Number 89-67-737, 7/31/67.

(55) FBI Record Number 124-10180-10167, Agency File Number 89-67-801 thru 804, 2/4/77.

 

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