John F. Kennedy (JFK) was murdered while riding in the presidential limousine in Dallas, Texas in 1963. Lee Harvey Oswald, who was working as an order filler at the Texas School Book Depository – a building which the motorcade passed – was arrested and charged with the assassination. He consistently denied the allegations, insisting he was a “patsy” and had been framed.
A twist of events saw Oswald murdered just days later as he was escorted out of Dallas Police Headquarters.
Speculation, conspiracy and confusion has revolved around Oswald and the assassination ever since, with many maintaining that the case goes deeper- as Oswald reportedly had an unusual relationship with the CIA.
The 2013 documentary, ‘Killing Oswald’, explored the different avenues and connections with which Oswald had made in his short life.
Dick Russel, author of the book ‘The Man Who Knew Too Much’, explained the often bizarre cross-overs that Oswald and the CIA had, suggesting that he could well have been involved in a covert operation, or in fact being used for something much bigger than himself.
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Oswald: The accused pictured with his Russian wife Marina Nikolayevna Oswald Porter
He said: “Lee Harvey Oswald is one of history’s great enigmas, there are so many things about him that don’t add up.
“Here’s a guy who enlisted in the marines when he was younger after studying communist manuals before he enlists; he ends up at Japan at the Atsugi naval airbase monitoring U-2 spy craft; supposedly defects to Russia with secrets about the U-2.
“But then there are questions: what was that really all about? Was Oswald dispatched on some sort of mission by the CIA or military intelligence to turn over certain secrets to the Russians and then maybe see where that went? He then marries a Russian woman and comes back to the US in 1962; he’s befriended by a man named George de Mohrenschildt who’s another mysterious and shady character who’s connected to the oil industry and the CIA and most likely debriefed Oswald for the CIA.
“Oswald goes to work after he’s been a defector to Russia to a company called Jaggars-Chiles-Stoval which is involved in some sort of mapping during the Cuban missile crisis.
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“I mean, what’s going on with this guy?”
Oswald’s apparently erratic actions continue.
In the autumn of 1963, he showed up in Mexico City and went to the Cuban and Soviet embassies in order to secure a Cuban visa.
However, the photographs the CIA later published of Oswald entering the embassy were, in fact, not Oswald at all, and Mr Russel says the man pictured was most likely someone impersonating him – “so it gets weirder still”.
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Cold War: Oswald pictured before he enlisted in the marines
Mug shot Oswald’s mugshot following his being caught after the murder
At this point, what is for sure is that Oswald was being watched closely by the CIA as his movements became suspect, with counter intelligence officers known to have had several marked files on him, suggesting they were keeping tabs on Oswald’s movements.
As Mr Russel explained: “They were following him for some strange reason that we still don’t know the answer to.”
A report to determine the events was ordered by President Lyndon Johnson, dubbed the ‘Warren Commission’, finding that Oswald had acted alone in the assassination of JFK, supported by reams of evidence from previous investigations by the FBI and Secret Service.
Many people contested the outcome, claiming that Oswald had some sort of involvement with the FBI.
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Those who follow this line of reasoning point towards the Fair Play for Cuba Committee debacle.
Historian David Kaiser, during the documentary, claimed that Oswald’s work for the committee had in fact been subcontracted by the FBI, as had many subversive political entities in the US at the time.
He said: “This is a known communist front organisation and a major target of the FBI. And here’s a guy (Oswald) claiming to have started the chapter: and yet, they don’t seem to be very curious about the whole thing at all.”
It later turned out that Oswald had in fact been the only member of the New Orleans chapter and it had never been chartered by the national organisation.
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Mr Kaiser continued: “I certainly get the feeling looking at the paper record, the FBI knows that this guy Oswald was not someone to worry about as a genuine subversive. It is my belief that Oswald staged the whole Fair Play for Cuba Committee episode as part of a Counter Intelligence Program (cointelpro).”
Cointelpro was a series of covert and illegal projects carried out by the FBI, surveilling, infiltrating, discrediting and ultimately disrupting the opposition American political discourse.
Mr Kaiser said: “I don’t think he was working for the FBI directly. A lot of cointelpro was subcontracted to the American Legion and various other right-wing groups, including the one Ed Butler worked for, the Information Council of the Americas.”
Oswald went on to debate with Ed Butler on the radio about Cuba’s affairs shortly after he was spotted flyering.
In Mr Kaiser’s eyes, then, Oswald was in some way working on behalf of the FBI to discredit the organisation in which he purported to represent.