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The Twelve Who Built the Oswald Legend

Part 12: The Endgame

by Bill Simpich, Dec 31, 2014

Michael's Mother was a Forbes with ties to Allen Dulles - Michael's father was a socialist on the FBI Security Index

Last time, we looked at the backgrounds of Michael and Ruth Paine. Who were the guiding forces in their lives?

Ruth Forbes Young
Ruth Forbes Young

Michael's mother Ruth Forbes was part of the prominent Forbes family. Ruth Forbes was active with the Universal World Federalists during the period right after World War II that Legend Maker #2 Cord Meyer was the group's leader.

Although he remained an avowed liberal, Meyer hewed towards a hardcore anti-Communist approach after surviving a bruising security investigation conducted by the FBI in the mid-fifties. During the late fifties and the sixties, Meyer served in the CIA as its covert action chief. In 1963, Meyer and Des FitzGerald were Richard Helms' two right-hand men in planning covert actions in Cuba.

Michael's birth father George Lyman Paine had belonged for many years to a Trotskyist socialist splinter group known as the Johnson-Forest Faction. Although Lyman was on the FBI's Security Index, it didn't prevent Michael from getting a security clearance at Bell Helicopter.

Ruth Forbes and Lyman Paine were good friends and drinking buddies with the aforementioned Mary Bancroft discussed in Part 7, a well-connected spy and the paramour of CIA chief Allen Dulles. If Cord Meyer had not known about Ruth and Michael Paine, it wouldn't have taken Dulles thirty seconds to fill him in.

After the assassination, Fred and Nancy Osborn went to the FBI to vouch for the Paines' good character. Fred's father, Fred Osborn, Sr., had helped create Radio Free Europe, and later worked with Allen Dulles and Time/Life/Fortune officer C. D. Jackson to form the Crusade for Freedom (CFF), an early CIA project that was modeled after Radio Free Europe. CFF merged with Radio Free Europe in 1962.

Ruth's father Bill Hyde, her sister Sylvia Hoke, and Sylvia's husband John Hoke - all had Intelligence ties & a history of hunting Communists

FBI report of informant regarding Sylvia Hoke and Naval Intelligence
FBI report of informant regarding
Sylvia Hoke and Naval Intelligence

In a heavily redacted document, the FBI was informed that Ruth's sister Sylvia Hyde Hoke was Naval Intelligence and was trying to obtain a top secret clearance. As we will see, her family's relationship with an attorney allegedly involved with Soviet espionage killed that opportunity in 1958.

Hoke had clearances from AID for many years, and a CIA memorandum indicated that she was a CIA employee in 1961. Hoke had also worked with the Air Force as a personnel research technician in 1956-57 and had a final secret clearance.

Sylvia's husband John Hoke also worked with AID as a "communications resources specialist". His obituary states that he was fired in 1962 for building a solar-powered boat and attacked by a congressman not yet ready for the notion. Besides working with AID, Hoke provided services to the CIA on a yearly basis with a top secret clearance until at least mid-1963.

Ruth's father William Avery Hyde was AID's Regional Insurance Adviser for all of South America. His job was to provide technical assistance to insurance cooperatives being set up by the State Department. For many years, Bill Hyde was employed by the Nationwide Insurance Company, which was part of the Farm Bureau co-operative in Columbus, Ohio.

As mentioned in Chapter 7, it helps to take a look at two separate but closely linked entities. Bill Hyde's Nationwide Insurance Company was part of the International Cooperative Alliance (ICA), founded in 1922 and which still exists today. This is easily confused with the International Cooperation Administration (ICA), formed in 1954 and where Legend Maker #9 George de Mohrenschildt conducted petroleum intelligence in the fifties.

The International Cooperation Administration then merged with the Development Loan Fund and was re-named as the Agency for International Development (AID) as part of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961. The thing to remember is that these two organizations calling themselves "ICA" were very closely allied. The similarity of their names is not coincidental.

The Agency for International Development has been cited by Ohio governor and AID director John Gilligan as being filled with CIA agents "from top to bottom". The idea was to plant operatives in every kind of activity we had overseas, government, volunteer, religious, every kind."

The most famous example of a CIA man that used AID as cover was Dan Mitrione, who tortured the Tupamaros of Uraguay until he was kidnapped in a famous standoff that inspired Costa-Gavras' movie State of Siege.

Hyde was no Dan Mitrione. The CIA admitted on 12/3/63 that the International Organizations division of the CIA was considering using William Hyde for covert use in 1957; however, it claims that he didn't "receive a security clearance". This was the terrain of Cord Meyer, who was the IO chief for years and oversaw the division's name change to "Covert Action".

Based on information from the CIA's molehunting unit CI/SIG, the FBI wrote a telling report on William Hyde: "On December 4, 1963, CIA made available information to the Bureau Liaison that in 1957 CIA considered using this individual to operate a cooperative educational center in Vietnam but he was not used by the CIA. Investigation by CIA at that time concerning William Avery Hyde was favorable."

Ruth Paine commented: "The information about the CIA considering my father for Vietnam was a surprise. I doubt if he would have accepted such an invitation, if it was offered. He certainly didn't go. He went to Peru. He was working with the Agency for International Development. He helped to develop rural credit unions for the compasinos so that they could save enough money to make loans to themselves, instead of always paying the huge bank rates. He loved it. I know that USAID asked my father to appraise a situation in Georgetown, Guyana. He recommended against starting a project there, as he thought the local officials corrupt."

Bill Hyde was also a strong anti-communist. Dr. Richard Jenkins of the Psychiatric Evaluation Board in Washington DC went to Stanford with the Hydes, and said that "Bill Hyde had been active in the cooperative movement and therefore was aware of the attempts of the Communists to infililtrate the cooperative movement."

Like Hyde, the Hoke family was also involved in looking for communists. There is a 1955 memo to the CIA's Office of Security, discussing how William Avery Hyde was back in his hometown of Palo Alto visiting the Hokes. Brought into the circle was Dr. Jenkins and also Taylor Bielefeldt.

Bielefeldt was the CIA chief of the USSR Division of the Foreign Documents Division, who had spent a lot of time with Ruth's parents William and Carol Hyde in the 1920s and 1930s. Bielefeldt's division worked with the Joint Publications Research Service, a CIA unit that monitored public documents to study scientific and technical developments in the Soviet bloc.

Several people close to Oswald were also active in the Joint Publications Research Service. These people include Legend Maker #3 Priscilla Johnson, the NANA reporter in Moscow who befriended the Oswald family; Legend Maker #4 Richard Snyder, the American consul in Moscow; and the allegedly unwitting Spas Raikin, who greeted the Oswald family when they arrived in New York City from the USSR in 1962.

The 1955 memo mentions that Hoke, Bielefeldt and the aforementioned Dr. Richard Jenkins were all Stanford graduates. Hoke has been described as "a very brilliant person who is not very stable but who is very creative."

The focus of the 1955 meeting was about Paul and Violet Orr. Both were Communist Party members in the San Francisco Bay Area. Paul had just been harshly interrogated by HUAC earlier that year. Violet had worked in the 1930s in the CP-friendly American League Against War and Fascism, just as Harvey's informant Elizabeth Bentley had done. In more recent years, Violet had been part of the visible Communist Party leadership.

Two days after the memo, a wiretap revealed that former CP member Dorothy Wilson allegedly claimed that Ruth Paine's mother Carol Hyde - the aforementioned Unitarian minister - admitted to being a communist. Another neighbor later reported hearing this rumor.

Ruth's sister Sylvia admitted a year later that Dorothy Wilson worked at the publishing company run by her mother-in-law Helen Hoke Watts, and that Wilson had edited a book jointly written by her husband John Hoke and Mrs. Watts. Sylvia denied that her mother Carol Hyde was a communist, saying that her mother was suffering from a mental disorder.

At the time, Sylvia was supposedly working as a personnel research technician for the Air Force. However, a February 1957 memo revealed that Sylvia had been working in a semi-secret position for Naval Intelligence, and had lost her shot at a top secret position because of the Dorothy Wilson-Helen Hoke Watts relationship.

Ruth Paine
Ruth Paine

Ruth Paine made a point of telling FBI agent Jim Hosty in the weeks before the assassination that Oswald was a "Trotskyite communist". Although Oswald subscribed to both the Trotskyist newspaper and the Communist Party newspaper, he maintained that he was not a follower of either ideological persuasion.

It is reasonable to judge Ruth Paine by her family ties. Like Legend Maker #3 Priscilla Johnson and Legend Maker #9 George de Mohrenschildt, Ruth's family may have triggered too many security disapprovals for her to be put directly on the CIA payroll as an informant. Nonetheless, she had substantial ties to men such as Frederick Merrill and Fred Osborn at the State Department, and friends in common with Allen Dulles and Cord Meyer at the CIA.

There was nothing illegal about the Paines acting as an intelligence source about Soviet-related activities during the Cold War; or, at a minimum, being used as a witting or unwitting asset. That's why Hoover and the CIA treated Ruth and Michael with kid gloves, despite the Hyde family's deep left-wing background and the high-profile history of Lyman Paine in the Trotskyist movement.

The CIA made it its business to get to know people on the Left. Many of them provided the Agency with little gems about their Cold War enemies.

How Ruth's machinations got Oswald the job at the Texas School Book Depository

Let's return to the story of what Oswald was doing in the weeks immediately leading up to 11/22/63.

When Lee needed a job in Dallas during October, 1963, the Warren Commission says that it was Ruth who set him up working the boxes on the sixth floor of the Texas Book Depository, thanks to a tip from neighbor Buell Wesley Frazier's sister Linnie Mae Randle. The Book Depository was an ideal spot along the motorcade route for a sniper to take a shot at the President.

Ruth said she bitterly regretted her role in finding Oswald the Book Depository job. I believe that is true, but the Commission ignored Randle's statement that she did not know of any jobs available at the depository during that time.

Furthermore, the Warren Commission suppressed the information that Paine hid from Oswald that Robert Adams from the Texas Employment Commission had left a message at her home in an effort to tell Oswald that a job was available with Trans Texas Airways which would have paid much more money than the Depository job. Paine would not admit receiving that message.

Adams remembered the details of this story in August 1964, after he had for some strange reasons denied telephoning for Oswald when originally quizzed by the Warren Commission in April.

There is a phone number in Oswald's phone book that should be Robert Adams' number, but it reads as "Robert Odum". This is beyond Oswald's normal misspellings. Is it possible that the name Robert Adams was sometimes used by FBI agent Bardwell Odum, referred to by the Paines as Bob Odum? After all, according to Oswald's phone book, the two men shared the same phone number.

Adams testified to the Warren Commission that although the records state he referred a couple of different jobs to Oswald, he had no personal recollection of Oswald. Adams' employer, the Texas Employment Commission, would have been a valuable source of information for the FBI.

Michael Paine testified to the Warren Commission that he had met Bob Odum prior to November 22 - but he never explained the circumstances of their meeting.

After November 22, Odum interviewed Paine a number of times. I will discuss more of Odum's post-11/22 actions in the epilogue.

By the end, even the general counsel of the Warren Commission realized something was deeply wrong with the Oswald story

Sep. 1964 letter from WC Chief Counsel Rankin to FBI Director Hoover
Sep. 1964 letter from WC Chief Counsel Rankin to
FBI Director Hoover

What is particularly interesting to me is how even J. Lee Rankin, the general counsel of the Warren Commission, was forced to conclude in the last month of the investigation that something in the Oswald story was deeply wrong.

Deadlines had come and gone. LBJ had made it clear that the report had to be done by the end of September, well before the 1964 presidential election.

At the beginning of September, counsel Rankin wrote a four-page memo to Hoover, telling him that the Commission needed to review the evidence around several individuals: The grocer Leonard Hutchison, the barber Cliff Shasteen, the auto salesman Albert Bogard, and the gun owner Garland Slack. The backstory involving all four of these men led right back to the Paines. It would have been hard for Rankin to ignore it.

Special Agent Richard Rogge observed that these events are based on stories that "generally do not adhere to facts developed by us", and claimed that the re-investigation of these witnesses only further supported the FBI's version of the facts. Rogge testified that the reason that the FBI had jurisdiction in the JFK case was because of "presidential directive" from LBJ himself.

Rankin's concern was well-founded. The evidence involving these four men didn't add up.

Leonard Hutchison, the Irving grocer

The Irving grocer, Leonard Hutchison, remembered refusing "Harvey Oswald's" request trying to cash a $189 two-party check. It was not a payroll check. Oswald got paid $1.25 an hour at the book depository. That kind of money was beyond his means.

Hutchison also said that Oswald always bought a gallon of milk and cinnamon rolls, and only on weekdays in the early morning. Not only did no one remember seeing Oswald bring home those items, but Oswald was only in Irving on the weekends.

Hutchison identified Oswald as weighing 155-160 pounds, and indicated that he had plenty of hair. He was intrigued by how Oswald never said a word to him - not even hello or goodbye - except for the time he tried to cash that big check.

Given all the anomalies, including those that don't match Oswald's appearance as a 130-pound balding man, one has to wonder just who Hutchison saw. No matter who it was, "Harvey Oswald" wanted to be a memorable figure in Hutchison's eyes. Whether or not it was an impersonation, it was clearly a provocation.

Cliff Shasteen, the Irving barber

The barber Cliff Shasteen was also an important witness. Like many barbers, he knew many of the people in the neighborhood and was a good observer. Shasteen had been an FBI informant in the past. Shasteen went on to be a member of the Irving city council. Shasteen reported that he regularly gave haircuts to both Bob Odum and Oswald, although there's no proof they ever crossed paths. Shasteen saw the Oswald figure go into Hutchison's grocery on at least one occasion - corroborating Hutchison's story about Oswald. It would appear that Shasteen and Hutchison saw the same Oswald.

Shasteen reported that Oswald drove Ruth Paine's car to the barber shop. He correctly identified Ruth Paine's car to the Warren Commission. "I'm sure it's a 1955 Chevrolet station wagon...either blue and white or green and white."

At first, I thought it was impossible that Shasteen had seen an Oswald impersonator. After all, Shasteen had seen Oswald close up. Shasteen said his brother-in-law lived right across the street from Ruth Paine.

But problems quickly pop up. Ruth Paine knew nothing about Oswald getting any haircuts, and denied ever lending Oswald her car. Whether or not Oswald had obtained a driver's license --and there is dispute on that subject -- it would be unlike Ruth to loan her car to a rookie driver - and she denied it when she was asked.

One time, Oswald showed up for a haircut wearing distinctive yellow shoes. He also regularly showed up at the barbershop wearing khaki-colored coveralls. To my knowledge, no one else ever reported Oswald wearing or owning these clothes.

Shasteen was very certain that he and his fellow barbers saw Oswald for at least five haircuts, every two weeks, and thought that the visits might go back into the summer. That would be an impossible fit, given the undisputed facts. Oswald had been in New Orleans all summer, didn't return to New Orleans until the first week of October, and his last supposed haircut was on about November 8.

The barbers' memories did not corroborate Shasteen very well. Barber Bert Glover described Oswald as "ruddy", about 35 years old, and that he had seen him three times. You have to wonder whether Glover had seen the real Oswald. Another barber, Buddy Law, didn't remember Oswald at all.

Shasteen also said when he slipped out the night of November 8 to go to a football game, "Oswald really was inquisitive as to where I went. He wanted to know where I was going and what I was going to do "he asked this guy cutting his hair." Not only is this uncharacteristic of Oswald, but it was the polar opposite of the silent Oswald encountered by Hutchison.

This next part of the story is eerie - and it knits together the stories of Oswald and Ruth Paine once again. Is it real - or faux?

Shasteen was clear that a 14 year old boy came to his shop on at least three occasions: twice with Oswald, and once by himself. The solo visit was three or four days before November 22. When with Oswald, the boy talked about how this country needed to give black people the same rights as whites, and how the country needed a communist-type system.

When the lad came in for his last haircut, he was attacking the country, its greed, and even how Shasteen didn't share the profits at his barber shop. Shasteen said he wanted to take the razor strap to him.

Another barber, Bert Glover, supported Shasteen's story. Glover also saw this boy in action with Oswald. Glover was also very offended by the way this boy talked. I don't think Shasteen and Glover made these stories up.

Shasteen looked all over Irving for this boy and couldn't find him - he thought the boy was "warped in his thinking" and needed help. This 14 year old boy was described as having dark blond (Shasteen said "a lot would call it brown") hair, tight fitting jeans, husky, broad shoulders, and a wide face. A good looking teenager.

Greg Parker, the author of the Lee Harvey Oswald's Cold War book series, believes that Shasteen provided an airtight description of Ruth's only Russian student, Bill Hootkins. Hootkins went on to become an actor. He can be seen in movies like Raiders of the Lost Ark and Star Wars.

Was the young boy the real Hootkins - or imitating him? Was the Oswald who drove the Chevrolet station wagon to the barber shop the real Oswald? Ruth Paine is adamant. "He wasn't driving my car."

Albert Bogard, Jack Lawrence, and what happened under the Triple Underpass

Before I turn to the most significant aspect of Rankin's request for an FBI "second look" at the problematic evidence, I resist the notion that Oswald was impersonated on a regular basis. When in doubt about a particular situation, I lean to the side of "no impersonation". Even though the intelligence agencies specialize in that sort of thing, care has to be taken or the operation will be blown.

With that said, let me make it clear that the weight of the evidence leads me to conclude that Oswald was impersonated on several occasions during November of 1963. Otherwise, I would have to conclude that the Paines were not unwitting assets - but rather fully empowered agents of Allen Dulles that would lie on command - and I am not convinced of that.

Some readers might protest that the question is not simply one of Oswald impersonation vs. Ruth's credibility. There is a third possibility - which is that the perpetrators of the story are mistaken or making it up. We will be covering the drifter Jack Lawrence, his creative relationship with the truth, and a host of his bad connections. But when you hear the reports of Albert Bogard and the other principals about the remarkable visit by a man named Lee Oswald, it is clear that something important happened at the Downtown Lincoln-Mercury Dealership in the days before Kennedy's assassination.

Rather than address the evidence that they were cruelly used by outside forces, the Paines have spent their lives trying to convince themselves and everyone else that they are the truth-tellers in this tragedy. You can get in trouble when you think you are the smartest person in the room. People like Allen Dulles could play the Paines like a violin.

From watching her presentation in Irving in 2019, you can see Ruth withholding big parts of the whole truth - such as her November interactions with Jim Hosty of the FBI. She also fails to mention her decision to read - then copy - then keep - a copy of Oswald's draft letter to the Soviet embassy that he left on her secretary. The center of the action in the last two weeks before 11/22 is no longer Michael. It's Ruth.

Ruth's predisposition against Oswald and favoritism towards the FBI is well-documented, as seen in the discussion below regarding Oswald's Soviet letter. She is a complex personality. When pressed, her tendency is to shade the truth rather than to tell whoppers, which would go against her Unitarian and Quaker instincts.

Ruth Paine testified to the Warren Commission that it was not possible for Oswald to have visited the Lincoln-Mercury dealership on November 9, as she was with Oswald all day long that entire Veterans' Day weekend - including their failed trip from Irving to get Oswald a learner's permit at the driver's license bureau in Oak Cliff.

Oswald did not visit the Paine residence during the following weekend of November 16-17. Oswald called Marina on the 16th and said that he went out again that morning, but the lines were too long and he was advised to leave before the noon closing. At this point, Ruth had given him three driving lessons and thought he had made "considerable progress". At a time when an assassin needed to be intensely practicing with his rifle, Oswald was focused on learning how to drive.

Some evidence indicates that Oswald was interested in buying a car. His workmate Buell Frazier testified that Oswald told him he wanted to buy a car. Edward Brand, an insurance man with his office across from Oswald's rooming house, told the FBI how "O. H. Lee" showed him a Texas driver's license and told him he wanted to get a quote for insurance. Brand told him to come back after he actually bought the car - and said that the man looked like Oswald to him. I can't find any record of any FBI follow-up with Brand.

Ruth's testimony is central to these events under the triple underpass - right in the heart of the most notorious crime scene of the 20th Century. On either November 9th or the 16th, a man calling himself "Lee Oswald" came to the Lincoln-Mercury dealership to test drive a car and went for a spin with salesman Albert Bogard. Bogard and the three other salesmen that saw Lee - Oran Brown, Frank Pizzo and Eugene Wilson - all agreed that the encounter happened sometime in November, and more likely within two weeks of the assassination.

When the news broke about the assassination, all the auto salesmen at the Lincoln-Mercury dealership started talking. Their office at 118 East Commerce was just blocks from the Texas Book Depository Building - "right under the triple underpass".

Bogard told his colleagues that a man named "Lee Oswald" went with him on a wild test drive of a new Lincoln Continental for several miles, going between 75-85 mph. After talking about it for a while, Bogard decided not to go public with his story.

Jack Lawrence, another salesman, overheard Bogard and took matters into his own hands, saying the Oswald sighting "should be reported". On the morning of November 23, Lawrence called the FBI and told them what Bogard had said. Warren de Brueys - who was the FBI's expert in New Orleans on anti-Castro activists and Oswald - came to the dealership to interview Bogard and everyone else. As researcher Sylvia Meagher wrote in Accessories After the Fact (p. 356), de Brueys didn't take the logical steps of bringing Bogard to a line-up to confront Oswald, or tipping off Fritz about the alleged $3000 payoff to Oswald. Months later, a memo confirms FBI HQ's allegiance to the idea that Bogard got it right.

Bogard said that the man introduced himself as "Lee Oswald", but wouldn't tell him his address or his phone number. In his 11/23/63 interview, Bogard reported that the man told Bogard he had been looking at Ramblers and Plymouths. As discussed in Part 11, Ruth drove a Chevrolet that looked very similar to the Rambler that Oswald was reported to have jumped into in the moments after the assassination. The Epilogue will discuss the Plymouth that another witness alleged that Ruth was driving around that time.

After looking at every car in the showroom and the lot, the man told Bogard that he was about to come into some big money, and told Wilson that "maybe I'm going to have to go back to Russia" to buy a car. Whoever conducted this performance was putting on a Broadway-class performance.

It is worthy of note that Bogard told NBC's Tom Petit on November 27 that Jack Lawrence knew a "lot more" about the Oswald visit. The FBI also reported that Bogard told Henry Kokojan of NBC that "Lawrence had been 'picked up' for subversive activities the evening of 11/22/63 as a subversive, and that Lawrence then advised NBC regarding Bogard." There are no records of Lawrence being arrested that day.

Whether or not Lawrence was actually picked up, it appears Bogard was very deliberate in dealing with Lawrence. Months later, Bogard testified to the Warren Commission that it was not he - but another employee - who tipped off the FBI, but he could not remember Lawrence's name. After Lawrence exposed Bogard to the world and changed Bogard's life forever - how could Bogard forget Lawrence's name?

Curtis Crafard
Curtis Crafard

When asked how tall Oswald was, Bogard said that he did not know. Pizzo testified that he thought the man was Oswald (Exhibit 453A-C) but admitted doubts, and that Jack Ruby's friend Curtis Crafard (Exhibit 451 and Exhibit 453) was not the man but that there was a resemblance. Wilson estimated that the Oswald character was only five feet tall. Bogard stated he was "positive" that the man was Oswald, but even the Warren Commission had doubt about Bogard's accuracy.

Both Bogard and employee Oran Brown said that they wrote down the name "Lee Oswald" after his visit. Even Brown's wife remembered seeing his name written down. Neither man could find their notes after the assassination.

Let's turn back to Jack Allan Carroll Lawrence, who had been driving from Florida to California on October 6 when his car broke down - he had to sell the car - and he decided to get a room at the YMCA and work in Dallas for a while in car sales - a job he never had never done before and never did again. All this three days after Oswald's return to Dallas and stay at the YMCA - reporter Seth Kantor wrote that Oswald picked up his mail at the Y for weeks afterwards (Kantor, The Ruby Cover-Up, pp. 208-209). Lawrence claimed that he had previously had a clearance with Project Mercury and had worked on JFK's primary campaign - curiously, his references didn't check out.

Lawrence was at the office for an early morning sales meeting on 11/22/63. Lawrence said he left the office at 9 am to catch up on his sleep after a night "out on the town", and returned at 1 pm. Office employee James Rozzell said that Lawrence was extremely pale and nervous, and headed to the restroom upon his return. (corroborated by other workers, see Gary Shaw, Cover-Up, p. 90)

By his own account, Lawrence had to return to Dealey Plaza later that day to retrieve the car. Rozzell said he telephoned the FBI that day and reported Lawrence's strange behavior. There are stories that Lawrence was arrested and held overnight - but there is no proof.

What we do know is that Lawrence claimed he had been caught up in a traffic jam when the police stopped all traffic after the shooting. Lawrence's story doesn't check out. There is no good proof of a significant traffic jam in the plaza in the half hour after the shooting, or such police action, as documented by several films and photographs. It appears Lawrence may have been drawn to the plaza to see what would happen that day - and wasn't ready for what he saw.

What is documented is that Lawrence called the FBI on November 23 that Oswald was seen at the Lincoln-Mercury dealership. Lawrence was fired that very day. The reason given by "the big boss" William Feller was because Lawrence had already given notice that he was leaving town on November 30. In fact, Lawrence originally had given notice that he was leaving for California on November 23. Lawrence claimed he was fired because he said he was going to call the FBI - and he did it. I believe that Lawrence was determined to make sure that the story of Oswald's visit to the car dealership was told to the world.

Assistant sales manager Bob Teter said the firing was because he found out that Lawrence had a bad conduct discharge from the military for aiding Fidel Castro during his revolt against Batista. (Lawrence had served with the Air Force.) Elsewhere, Teter referred to Lawrence as "a political fanatic" who seemed to be "just drifting around the country" and "following him at night".

For his part, Lawrence said that he was glad that he had been released from the military after Batista's overthrow, as he would no longer assist Fidel "under any circumstances".

Years later, Lawrence went so far as to declare that he had been totally "apolitical" until he read the anticommunist classic None Dare Call It Treason in mid-1964 - which in my mind destroys his credibility, given the above reports by his co-workers.

Lawrence left town soon after the assassination, and claimed to have a meticulous memory thirty years later in responding to researchers accusing him of playing a prominent role in the assassination. His story, however, was a rat's nest of anomalies.

Applying Occam's razor, there is a strong argument that Lawrence was involved in the events of November 22 - but we don't know who he was working with. We do know that his vantage point at the YMCA gave him the opportunity to keep an eye on Oswald and his mail.

This whole story was designed to cast Oswald as a big-mouthed assassin that wanted to kill the President in exchange for big money.

Reports from the Sports Drome Rifle Range

Johnny King, the editor of the Dallas Morning News, reported that Michael Paine drove Oswald to a rifle range a few days before the assassination. When asked about the story, the editor refused to reveal his source, describing him as "an investigator".

Bob Odum asked Paine if it was true. Paine denied it. The story never went any further.

Robert Oswald
Robert Oswald

Lee's brother Robert Oswald said shortly after the assassination that "I still do not know why or how, but Mr. and Mrs. Paine are somehow involved in this affair." When asked to explain, Robert told the Warren Commission that he had read in the paper about a man passing a rifle to Oswald over a fence where he was standing inside the rifle range. "As I read this description in the newspaper, I reached the conclusion from that description that it was Mr. Paine." Robert recalled Paine as about 6 feet tall and weighing 160-165 pounds.

After Lee's arrest, Robert says that he told his brother at the jail house that "I don't think they're any friends of yours." According to Robert, Lee told him, "Yes, they are."

The incident under discussion appears to be at the Sports Drome in Grand Prairie, Texas, where Oswald supposedly engaged in target practice on November 9, 10 and 17, with someone handing Oswald his rifle over the fence on at least one occasion. Ruth signed a statement that she was with Oswald all day long on not just November 9, but November 10 and 11 as well. Grand Prairie is the town where Michael Paine moved to after his break-up with Ruth.

What I find so intriguing about the reports by Johnny King and Robert Oswald is that a gun owner named Garland Slack reported that on November 17, 1963, a man who looked like Oswald was firing at his target at the Sports Drome. Slack reported that accompanying Oswald was a man identified as "Frazier, from Irving, Texas".

Buell Wesley Frazier
Buell Wesley Frazier

Buell Wesley Frazier was a co-worker of Oswald's at the depository, and lived a few doors down from the Paine residence. Frazier testified that he drove Oswald to the Paine residence virtually every weekend, right up until the day before the assassination where the pattern was shifted by Oswald coming out on the evening of Thursday, November 21. Buell said that he saw Oswald carry a large brown bag to work the day of the assassination, although he denied that it was big enough to carry a rifle.

Buell was backed up by his sister Linnie Randle - the same one who tipped off Ruth that there might be a job available for Lee at the book depository. This time, Linnie walked right into Ruth's home in the midst of the investigation, introduced herself to the detectives, and their report claims that Linnie said that she was "suspicious" because she saw Oswald walk to Buell's car with a paper bag in his hand.

The problem with Linnie's story? Linnie said that from the kitchen she could see the car parked outside the carport - if you review Exhibits 444-447, you will see it is impossible to see through the carport to Buell's car, which was parked outside of the carport altogether - this is where Linnie claims she saw Oswald enter the car. Exhibit 444 also makes it clear that Linnie certainly couldn't see Oswald approach Buell's car.

The problem with the police version of Linnie's story? Linnie said that Buell told her that Oswald came to visit on a Thursday night in order to pick up curtain rods from Mrs. Paine - and why is Linnie busting into Ruth's home uninvited in the middle of a police investigation to tell her story? Linnie and Ruth just barely knew each other. Linnie was pretty eager not only to tell her story as soon as possible, but also to buy some extra time for Buell by telling the police that Buell was with their stepfather at Parkland Hospital in Dallas instead of his actual location right there in Irving.

Rather, both Linnie and Buell were insistent that Oswald was carrying a package that was 24 to 28 inches long - seven inches too short to be even a disassembled rifle. Given that story, why in the world was Linnie suspicious about the paper bag? Or did the police make that up for their report?

Ruth did have curtain rods stored in her garage. They were a little less than 28 inches long - just about an exact match the description of Frazier (27 inches) and Randle (27-28 inches). Both Ruth and Oswald denied knowing anything about this curtain rod story. Ruth denied that the Dallas police ever confronted her with it. Who came up first with this curtain rod story - Linnie or Ruth?

It's a toss-up, but my bet is on Linnie. She wanted to keep her brother Buell Frazier out of jail, and she needed a good story that wouldn't fatally incriminate Oswald. If you saw an Enfield 303 described on NBC at 2 pm on 11/22 as the murder weapon found on the sixth floor, along with Enfield 303 shells - and your brother owned an Enfield 303 - you too might be tempted to make up a story to protect your brother. I don't think any man would ever dream this up. I don't know many men who know that curtain rods even exist.

As a result of this observation, Frazier was taken into custody during the evening of November 22 and accused by homicide captain Will Fritz of being an accomplice of Oswald. There had been reports of two men at the sixth floor window, and the authorities spent much of the first day trying to determine if there was an Oswald accomplice.

These alleged sightings of Oswald with Frazier and Oswald with Paine provide one of the most telling events in the days preceding the assassination. Was someone impersonating Oswald? Was someone impersonating Frazier as Oswald's sidekick? Was someone impersonating Michael Paine as the man who handed the rifle over the fence at the rifle range?

Jack Lawrence
Jack Lawrence

A theory has been floated that Jack Lawrence, the missing man at the auto dealership, was the "Second Frazier". Lawrence is hardly a match for Buell Frazier, but a comparison of the ages and faces of the two men illustrates that Lawrence might be able to pass on paper as a double for Frazier.

Did the anti-Castro Lawrence agree to engage in some low-level espionage against the pro-Castro Oswald -- and was then sickened when he realized that he had been used as a fall guy? I think the answer is that Lawrence was part of the plan to kill the President - which means that he had to make sure that Bogard and his co-workers did not bottle up the story of the Oswald sighting. Lawrence's job was to cause confusion - and he did a good job of it.

Whether or not editor Johnny King had his story right, Michael Paine is somehow caught up in this web of deception.

The aforementioned anomalies of the Oswald story were ignored by the Warren Commission. Instead, the month of September 1964 was used to ensure that these stories and others like it were smoothed over prior to publication. The man who had ordered this review of these stories, J. Lee Rankin, had a shot at being a hero. Rankin didn't take it.

In the years before his death, Rankin encouraged researchers in the JFK case to keep digging. During the late 70s, Rankin asked an HSCA researcher: "Are you looking into the plots on the basis of whether they were covered up by the CIA because some of the very people involved in them could have been involved in the President's assassination?" When told that was an area of investigation, Rankin replied, "Good. Good. You have to look at it that way."

Ruth Paine, the Oswald letter, and the question of provocation

The most remarkable story about Ruth Paine is what happened after she found a rough draft of a letter that Oswald wrote to the Soviet embassy in Washington DC. This letter was the culmination of his year-long request for visas to Cuba and the Soviet Union - but the question I keep asking is this: Did Oswald really think that sending a provocative letter to the Soviets would get him a visa?

Ruth's story is that on November 9, she saw Oswald typing a letter in a furtive fashion, as if he didn't want anyone to see what he was typing. The odd thing was that Oswald then proceeded to leave the rough draft out on top of the secretary desk in the living room, as if he wanted everyone to see it.

Ruth's curiosity was aroused by his behavior, and she glanced at the paper in the early morning hours of November 10, as she was the first one up. The words on the fold read: "The FBI is not now interested in my activities."

She read this letter and said that she saw a number of things in it that were untrue. Jim Hosty of the FBI had just been to her home twice in the past week, and made it clear that he was very interested in Oswald. She said she made a handwritten copy of her own with the intention of turning it over to Hosty.

Ruth was particularly incensed by Oswald's claim that Hosty had encouraged Marina to defect to the United States. Ruth said that she was in the room during both encounters and that no such statement was ever made. Looking at the Marina-Hosty relationship from another viewpoint, Lee's brother Robert Oswald was furious at Hosty and his partner on 11/26/63 for making remarks designed to intimidate Marina into talking with them or facing deportation.

I believe that leaving the rough draft out in the open just might have been Oswald's cry for help. He hoped Ruth would see it. There is no sign that he was upset about its disappearance. He knew the Russians would see it. He may have even hoped that the FBI would intercept it - which they did, days before the assassination.

The way I read it? He decided to take provocative action, hoping to increase his leverage in the world of espionage as he saw it. His family didn't need visas any more. If he was in a tight situation, a provocative letter might change the rules of the game. He had sent provocative letters to the FPCC and various left-wing groups all year long - why not the Soviets?

I think his plans were more focused on making more money and finding a way to obtain his military benefits. At the same time, he wanted the FBI to know that he was an independent actor and could not be pushed around. The legend of the "curtain rods" may have been based on his actual need for curtain rods for his now-expanded family. An October letter from Ruth to her mother makes it plain that the Oswalds wanted to get their own apartment after the Christmas holidays.

The letter focused on Oswald's contacts with the Soviet and Cuban embassies in Mexico City. The Soviet embassy said that it received the letter on November 18th. It was also intercepted by the FBI and on Hoover's desk by the 19th.

This letter enabled the higher-ups in the FBI to learn three days before the assassination that Oswald visited the Cuban compound in Mexico City. This particular information was being concealed by the CIA's Mexico City station from its own headquarters - at least in official documents. (For more, see State Secret, Chapter 5)

Here's the text of the letter, which shows that events were moving into an endgame:

Typed copy of
Typed copy of "Kostin" letter to Soviet Embassy

This is to inform you of recent events since my meetings with comrade Kostin in the Embassy of the Soviet Union, Mexico City, Mexico.

I was unable to remain in Mexico indefinily because of my Mexican visa restrictions which was for 15 days only. I could not take a chance on reqesting a new visa unless I used my real name, so I retured to the United States.

I had not planned to contact the Soviet embassy in Mexico so they were unprepared, had I been able to reach the Soviet Embassy in Havana as planned, there would have been time to complete our business.

Of corse the Soviet embassy was not at fault, they were, as I say unprepared, the Cuban consulate was guilty of a gross breach of regulations, I an glad he has since been replced.

The Federal Bureu of Investigation is not now interested in my activities in the progressive organization "Fair Play for Cuba Committee", of which I was secretary in New Orleans (state Louisiana) since I no longer reside in that state. However, the F.B.I. has visited us here in Dallas, Texas, on November 1st. Agent James P. Hasty warned me that if I engaged in F.P.C.C. activities in Texas the F.B.I. will again take an "interrest" in me.

This agent also "suggested" to Marina Nichilayova that she could remain in the United States under F.B.I. "protection", that is, she could defect from the Soviet Uion, of couse, I and my wife strongly protested these tactics by the notorious F.B.I.

Please inform us of the arrival of our Soviet entrance visa's as soon as they come.

Also, this is to inform you of the birth, on October 20, 1963, of a DAUGHTER, AUDREY MARINA OSWALD, in DALLAS, TEXAS, to my wife.

Handwritten version of
Handwritten version of "Kostin" letter to Soviet Embassy

Professor Jerry Rose, a long-time researcher in the JFK case, points out that the Oswald's handwritten draft copy has few of Oswald's characteristic errors, while the typed version is filled with them.

Professor Rose also points out that not only did Ruth's handwritten copy disappear, but that Ruth was given by the Warren Commission the original of Oswald's handwritten draft which should have rightly been given to Oswald's wife Marina.

The original of Oswald's handwritten draft (see 1a and 1b) and what appears to be two handwritten copies of the draft (see 2a and 2b, as well as 3a and 3b) have now been found in the Swarthmore University archives. The filmmaker Max Good unearthed them, and provided me with copies that are being reproduced here.

Rose opines that the handwritten draft was created to convince the reader that Oswald had written the letter by himself. The two versions can be viewed by clicking on the images above.

An easy way to see that the handwritten draft is superior to the typed final version is to use the transcript of Ruth's testimony, where she read the handwritten draft aloud to the Warren Commission. I used to agree with Professor Rose - but I have changed my mind. Marina pointed out that it took Oswald ten times to type the envelope. I think that many typing errors crept into the final version of the letter.

Ruth didn't give the original note to Hosty until November 23 - she held onto it until the day after November 22. Ruth agreed it was a "rather provocative document". In a manuscript published by the Warren Commission, Ruth wrote that "I have not been able to look in the face the idea that if I had led my life differently President Kennedy might be alive. if only, quite by accident, I had done or had not done a dozen things, the country might have been spared the tragedy..."

Ruth also told the Commission that she "came close" to confronting Oswald with it. But she didn't. She claims that she already decided to give it to the FBI the next time she saw them. If she had done that - Oswald would have been on the Security Index. Based on her belief system, the assassination would not have happened.

What Ruth - or somebody - did was make handwritten copies. There are actually three copies of the typed letter. One copy has both pages (see 2a and 2b), which is virtually identical to the handwritten draft that is referred to as "Oswald's rough draft". (see 1a and 1b).

The other copy has the same wording as versions 1 or 2, but I see it as having different handwriting than either one - (see 3a and 3b). It may simply be different ink.

I believe what happened is this: On November 23, Ruth turned over 1a & 1b to Hosty, because she wasn't willing to give it to the Dallas police. Photocopying was not readily available in 1963, and she wanted to make her own copy.

By November 23, Ruth had made a copy - I feel confident that 2a and 2b is in Ruth's handwriting. She turned over Oswald's handwritten draft over to Jim Hosty.

By November 24, I believe Ruth made yet another copy (3a and 3b), and then turned over this copy to Odum. Ruth told the Warren Commission that she waited another day, and then she turned over her copy to the Warren Commission. Ruth's version is much easier to read than Oswald's handwritten draft, and the Commission relied on it.

The Soviet embassy always sent Marina letters with the salutation "Dear Marina Nicolaevna". The November 9 letter has Oswald referring to her as "Marina Nichilayeva".

This phrase, coupled with the hints of espionage sprinkled throughout, indicated to the Soviets that this letter was a "provocation" - just as the Soviet ambassador Dobrynin later said.

During 1962, Oswald spelled Marina's patronym as "Nikilievna". This was her middle name after she married Oswald. Oswald knew her name - he knew she was the daughter of Nikolay - he knew that was her traditional middle name.

This 1962 note illustrates that Oswald did not know how to spell his wife's patronymic name, but he knew that "evna" was the proper suffix for her patronym. Patronyms are traditionally used by women as their middle name. It's elementary for any feminine patronym in Eastern Slavic regions such as Minsk and Leningrad. In 1961, when Marina applied for a visa to the United States, her name was translated by the State Department as Nicholavena.

Now we get to the center of the problem. In the 11/9/63 letter, the writer spells it on two occasions as Nichilayeva. It's even worse than the handwritten versions which spell it as Nicholyeva or Nicholayeva. The suffix "eva" or "yeva" is a feminized surname, not a feminized patronym.

That's a very basic mistake that Oswald simply wouldn't make. His Russian was better than that. A patronym is an honorific that citizens fought for in recent centuries - it used to be that only the nobles had patronyms. I believe Oswald knew how a patronym was created - and so did Ruth Piane.

Marguerite Oswald affirmed in her testimony that Oswald referred to Marina's name as "Nikolaevna". Again, his dylexia got in the way of spelling her patronym correctly, but he got the suffix right.

This State Department document affirms that she signed her name as "Nikolayevna".

Most importantly, the Soviet embassy greeted her in every letter with the salutation, "Dear Marina Nicolaevna!"

When the Oswald letter arrived at the embassy in mid-November, even a casual observer would know something was very wrong when a husband mangled the spelling of his wife's name.

The problem is that a patronym is formed by a combination of the father's name and the suffix "ovich" for a son and "ovna" for a daughter. When the father's last name ends in "y", it becomes "evich" or "evna". Since Marina's father's name was Nikolay, her patronym is Nikolayevna.

In the handwritten version, the writer spells her name as "Nicholiyeva" - but note that the "y" is clumsily laid on top of the word, blotting out the original spelling - which could have been "Nicholievna". It is one of the very few superimpositions within the document.

This doctor who wrote about Oswald's "language disability" is the only person I could find who treated Nichilayeva as a real word. He got it wrong.

If the doctor - or, for that matter, the author of the November 9 letter - had studied Slavic culture, he would know that "eva" or "yeva" as a ferminine suffix is common for a surname, but not for a patronym. The custom in the USSR at that time was when a woman married, she would exchange her surname for her husband's surname, but maintain her patronym as a middle name.

This letter was designed to cement Oswald's ties to the USSR and Cuba prior to the assassination of JFK. The FBI found the letter was written on Ruth Paine's typewriter.

I don't think the typed letter was a forgery. Besides serving as a handy way to poke the Soviets and maybe even the FBI, the letter is highly significant for several other reasons.

Notice its date - November 9. Oswald expresses pleasure at Consul Eusebio Azcue's replacement as consul at the Cuban consulate in Mexico City. The Mexico City tapes indicated that Azcue had evicted a man calling himself "Lee Oswald" from the consulate two months earlier.

The replacement of Azcue had been planned since early September, before Oswald's arrival into Mexico City. The reference to Azcue's replacement in the letter indicates that the writer had deep knowledge into Cuban affairs.

Who knew that Azcue was about to be replaced? The people with access to the telephone taps and hidden microphones in the Cuban consulate -- Bill Harvey at Staff D, and David Phillips and other CIA officials at the Mexico City station.

The FBI went so far as to say that Oswald's source had to be a Cuban consulate informant, a KGB member, or the CIA itself.

version 1
("Oswald's rough draft")
version 2
("Ruth's" copy)
version 3
(2nd copy)

On another front, according to the letter, since Oswald wasn't able to get a Cuban visa, he was forced to take up "our business" with "Comrade Kostin" in Mexico City. This is clearly a reference to Valeriy Kostikov, who FBI chief Clarence Kelley claimed was "the officer-in-charge for Western Hemisphere terrorist activities -- including and especially assassination." However, the CIA and FBI in mid-1963 concluded that there was no evidence that Kostikov had anything to do with any assassination unit. The imaginary spectre of Kostikov leading a KGB-driven plot is raised once again.

Yet another observation is that the letter points out that Oswald did not use his "real name" when he went to Mexico City. Oswald used the name Harvey Oswald Lee. The authorities initially insisted that it was just an error involving a comma, as his visa states "Lee, Harvey Oswald", but by late December 1963 even CIA officer John Whitten thought that it was deliberately caused by Oswald.

The letter also states: "I had not planned to contact the Soviet embassy in Mexico so they were unprepared, had I been able to reach the Soviet embassy in Havana as planned, the embassy there would have had time to complete our business."

Again, I believe the provocative language was a declaration of independence. After all, the second baby was now born. Thanks to Ruth, there was no longer any pressing need for Marina to rely on her family in the Soviet Union. Oswald even made a last-minute addition to the letter by adding a mention of Rachel's birth. The letter seems calculated to end any need for favors from the Soviets, while managing to provoke both the Soviets and the Americans. Oswald wanted to be a player in the game of spies.

Another aspect of this letter is that Ruth Paine was clear that she was going to provide this letter to the FBI. Hosty had been out to the house twice in early November, and had not yet made contact with Lee. Ruth was confident that Hosty was going to come back. Ruth was wondering whether the letter was "the talk of an agent reporting in".

Even though Ruth claims that Oswald made furtive gestures to hide the contents of the letter from her, the fact remains that Oswald left the letter right there by the typewriter for Ruth to find.

Oswald also knew that letter was going to be seized by the FBI before it got to the Soviet embassy -- as indeed it was. As James Douglass suggests in a pithy analysis in his book JFK and the Unspeakable:

A melodramatic, CIA-monitored Oswald in Mexico City had tried to obtain an immediate Cuban visa. His letter arriving at the Soviet embassy in Washington on November 18 now attempts to document the presumed assassin's frustrated objective in Mexico City in September -- to travel to the much safer environment of Communist-controlled Havana in order "to complete our business" with the Soviets". As was true of all mail sent to the Soviet Embassy, the Oswald letter was intercepted, opened, and copied by the FBI before its eventual delivery to the embassy.

Translation of telegram from Soviet ambassador Anatoly Dobrynin to Moscow
Translation of telegram from Soviet ambassador
Anatoly Dobrynin to Moscow. This was part of the
set of documents given to President Clinton in 1998
by Russian President Boris Yeltsin.

On November 26, the Soviet ambassador Anatoly Dobrynin sent a message to Moscow saying that "this letter was clearly a provocation", and that he believed that this typed letter was a forgery because Oswald's previous letters were handwritten.

(Actually, Oswald typed a letter to the CIA-friendly International Rescue Committee in 1962 -- and the Committee commented that Oswald's letter matched the typeface of a related letter from the State Department!)

Dobrynin concluded that "one gets the definite impression that the letter was concocted by those who, judging from everything, are involved in the President's assassination. It is possible that Oswald himself wrote the letter as it was dictated to him, in exchange for some promises, and then, as we know, he was simply bumped off after his usefulness had ended. The competent U.S. authorities are undoubtedly aware of this letter, since the embassy's correspondence is under constant surveillance." (Italics added.)

I conclude Oswald was wittingly or unwittingly manipulated to write this letter, hoping to change his relations with both the Soviet and the American authorities. Ruth Paine said that Oswald was as "gay as I have ever seen him" on November 9, the date he wrote the letter. He was really happy after they went to the driver's license bureau and found out it was closed.

He probably was happy for a couple of reasons. One reason was probably because the letter was completed. It was sent from Irving, postmarked after the holiday weekend. It had additional misspellings, due to his unfamiliarity with the typewriter, but the work was done. He had made his move, using language designed to provoke. It had worked for him in the past.

The other reason was because he was sending a cryptic message by misspelling Marina's name as "Nichilayeva". It was certainly not the way to get a visa. What was Oswald's message? Was it some kind of code? That's what it looks like - true or not.

Look at version 3a - where someone is comparing the handwritten "Nicholeyeva" with the Soviet embassy's version - "Nicholaevna". It looks like Ruth is trying to demonstrate to the FBI how Marina's name should have been written.

I think the evidence points away from this letter as a forgery - and I'll tell you where it leads me. By misspelling his wife's name, by leaving his draft on Ruth's desk, and by mailing the letter to the Soviets, Oswald wanted Ruth, the FBI and the Soviets to believe that he was involved in espionage.

Oswald figured the FBI might intercept the letter - and Ruth would probably tell Hosty the next time he came to visit - which Hosty would almost certainly do - because Oswald went to Hosty's office and left a threatening note during the days after the letter was mailed! The note was unsealed and partially visible to the receptionist. Again, Oswald wanted everybody to see what he had written.

Oswald badly needed his military benefits. The G.I. Bill of that era could provide him and his family with the means to buy a home and the good life that goes with it. He was as poor as a man can be. Somehow, it got in his head. It might have been with the help of somebody. If he was seen as an espionage asset - it just might be the best way to get his benefits back.

The New York Times quoted Ruth on the day Oswald was killed as saying that his death was probably better for Marina because "it will mean less total strain." Months later, Ruth was even more direct with writer Jessamyn West about her reaction when she saw Ruby shoot Oswald on television: "I was glad." When West told her, "there goes your halo" and forcefully challenged her, Ruth said that "Lee's death this way would be so much easier for Marina...I wasn't glad Jack Ruby killed him. I was just glad it was over. I was glad he was dead."

Like Oswald, Michael and Ruth Paine were manipulated to do the bidding of certain intelligence operatives.

This series will come to a close by bringing together all twelve of Oswald's legend makers in the Epilogue. How did these intelligence assets respond to the fateful events of 11/22/63?

- Bill Simpich

A second big shout-out to Linda Minor and her 2014 multi-part series on the Paines. Also to Carol Hewett, Barbara Lamonica, Nancy Wertz, Steve Jones, Bill Kelly, the late George Michael Evica, Jim DiEugenio, Jim Douglass, and all the other "operations analysts" who have put in time to sort out the role of this enigmatic couple.

Bill Simpich is an Oakland civil rights attorney who knows that it doesn't have to be like this. He was part of the legal team chosen by Public Justice as Trial Lawyer of the Year in 2003 for winning a jury verdict of 4.4 million in Earth Firster Judi Bari's lawsuit against the FBI and the Oakland police. He works with the Mary Ferrell Foundation to decipher the cryptonyms and pseudonyms used by intelligence operatives in the JFK documents, and suggests that we will achieve historical resolution in this case more quickly than most people believe.


See all chaptersNext => Part Epilogue



ENDNOTES

Fred Osborn, Sr., worked with Allen Dulles to form the Crusade for Freedom (CFF), an early CIA project that was modeled after Radio Free Europe: CFF merged with Radio Free Europe in 1962: Steve Jones, "New Evidence Regarding Ruth and Michael Paine", Kennedy Assassination Chronicles, Winter 1998, pp. 18-20.

Also see George Michael Evica, A Certain Arrogance (Xlibris, 2006), p. 255-256.

Michael's mother Ruth Forbes Paine comes from the Forbes family and was active with the Universal World Federalists: George Michael Evica, A Certain Arrogance (Xlibris, 2006), p. 234.

Michael's birth father George Lyman Paine had belonged for many years to a Trotskyist socialist splinter group known as the Johnson Faction: Supplemental Report on the Assassination of John F. Kennedy, Warren Commission Document 107, p. 33.

One of the Youngs' closest friends, Mary Bancroft, was an OSS spy that slept with Allen Dulles: Mary Bancroft, Autobiography of a Spy (New York: William Morrow and Company, Inc., 1983); also see George Evica, A Certain Arrogance, p. 248.

The FBI was informed by a "reliable" source that Ruth's sister Sylvia Hyde Hoke was Naval Intelligence and was trying to obtain a top secret clearance: Commission Document 508 - FBI Mansfield Report of 06 Feb 1957 re: Hoke.

Hoke had clearances from AID for many years, and a CIA memorandum indicated that she was a CIA employee in 1961: Security File on Sylvia Hoke Hyde, HSCA Segregated CIA Collection, Box 43/NARA Record Number: 1993.07.24.08:39:37:560310.

Hoke had also worked with the Air Force as a personnel research technician in 1956: Report of SA John Joseph Mulhern, 9/19/56, p. 2, Warren Commission Document 502.

Sylvia's husband John Hoke also has a history of working with AID: Ruth Paine's testimony to the Orleans Grand Jury, 4/18/68, p. 57.

Washington Post obituary for John Hoke, 3/19/11.

Request for Approval of Liaison, 8/13/64, HSCA Segregated CIA Collection, Box 43/NARA Record Number: 104-10120-10303.

Request for Approval of Liaison, 8/21/62, HSCA Segregated CIA Collection, Box 43/NARA Record Number: 104-10120-10305.

Ruth's father William Avery Hyde was AID's Regional Insurance Adviser for all of South America": FBI McAvoy Report of 24 Sep 1956 re: Hoke, Warren Commission Document 505, p. 5.

Bill Hyde's Nationwide Insurance Company was part of the International Cooperative Alliance, founded in 1922 and which still exists today: The ICA has had an insurance sector for the last hundred years. http://www.icmif.org/who-we-are.

Ruth referred to it as the "International Cooperative Alliance", which her father worked with when he wasn't active with the insurance company "Nationwide" -- she claimed that she wasn't sure if ICA was a governmental operation or not. Ruth Paine testimony, Orleans Grand Jury, 4/14/68, p. 59.

There is also the International Cooperation Administration (ICA) formed in 1954, which then merged with the Development Loan Fund and was re-named as the Agency for International Development (AID) as part of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961: Wikipedia: International Cooperation Administration..

"where George de Mohrenschildt conducted petroleum intelligence in the fifties": Memo by SA James F. Morrissey, 2/28/64, p. 58, Reel 5, Folder N -- George de Mohrenschildt, NARA Record Number: 1994.04.25.14:02:25:940005.

The thing to remember is that these two organizations were very closely allied. The similarity of their names is not coincidental: A useful discussion explaining the relationships between these two organizations is in Barbara Lamonica's "William Avery Hyde", Fourth Decade, November 1997, p. 8.

The Agency for International Development has been cited by Ohio governor and AID director John Gilligan as being filled with CIA agents "from top to bottom" the idea was to plant operatives in every kind of activity we had overseas, government, volunteer, religious, every kind.": George Cotter, "Spies, Strings, and Missionaries", The Christian Century (Chicago), March 25, 1981, p. 321, cited in William Blum, Killing Hope, (2003), p. 235.

When Hyde made his end-of-tour report from Lima, Peru in 1967, his report went to the State Department and the CIA: James Douglass, JFK and the Unspeakable, p. 170; William A. Hyde, "End of Tour Report", 8/8/67, located by researcher Steve Jones in the AID Library, Washington, DC.

The CIA admitted on 12/3/63 that IO (Meyer's division) was considering using William Hyde for covert use in 1957; however, it claims that he didn't "receive a security clearance": 4/8/64 memo by Elizabeth Mendoza, Re: LHO Address Book (FBI Report 12/31/63) Oswald 201 File (201-289248)/NARA Record Number: 104-10300-10025.

Hyde's security file number was OSC-157435: DeMohrenschildt File Review by Beth Anne Lichtenfels, NARA Record Number: 180-10141-10454.

A good background article on Hyde was written by Barbara LaMonica, "William Avery Hyde", Fourth Decade, Volume 5, Issue 1, November 1997, p. 8.

The Agency had wanted to use Hyde in Vietnam, according to information provided earlier by CI/SIG: 12/5/63 memo by Chief, Research Branch/OS/SRS to Files, re William Avery Hyde, HSCA Segregated CIA Collection, Box 48/NARA Record Number: 104-10133-10435.

The FBI reported: "On December 4, 1963, CIA made available information to the Bureau Liaison that in 1957 CIA considered using this individual to operate a cooperative educational center in Vietnam but he was not used by the CIA. Investigation by CIA at that time concerning William Avery Hyde was favorable.": William Avery Hyde was a Stanford friend of Taylor Bielefeldt. The Hyde family and Bielefeldt were the subject of a security investigation in the 1920s and 1930s. In the days immediately after the assassination, Bielefeldt is referenced in handwritten notes as someone who is putting the Soviet accounts of the assassination together. Oswald 201 File, Vol. 27, p. 276.

On January 9, 1964, FDD (Foreign Documents Division) USSR division chief Taylor Bielefeldt was tasked to study Soviet press accounts re Oswald and any of his possible contacts. 1/9/64 memo entitled "Request for Analysis of Soviet Press Rection to the Assassination of President Kennedy", NARA Record Number: 104-10021-10127.

Bielefeldt's finding was negative. 3/11/64 memo entitled "FBID and FDD Coverage of Oswald Before the Assassination", NARA Record Number: 104-10434-10349.

Although unsigned, this article is what Bielefeldt was asked to write: Report entitled "Soviet Press Reaction to the Assassination of President Kennedy", Oswald 201 File, Vol. 27.

On the background of the Foreign Documents Division: Church Committee Book I - Foreign and Military Intelligence, p. 264.

The translator Boris Tarasoff had a history of working with FDD: Request for Clearance of FDD Personnell - Project U.S. JPRS, 4/24/1959, NARA Record Number: 104-10130-10351.

"Bill Hyde had been active in the cooperative movement and therefore was aware of the attempts of the Communists to infililtrate the cooperative movement": Memo of SA Delbert L. Lee, 9/20/56, p. 7.

There is a 1955 memo where William Avery Hyde was in town visiting the Hokes: Memo of SA Carl Graham, 12/16/63, FBI - Ruth and Michael Paine Files/NARA Record Number: 124-10130-10258.

Although Dr. Jenkins' name is redacted in the FBI memo, the notes of an HSCA staffer reveal his name: Notes of Surell Brady, CIA File Review, 6/30/78, HSCA Segregated CIA Collection (staff notes)/NARA Record Number: 180-10143-10196.

Hoke has been described as "a very brilliant person who is not very stable but who is very creative.": Commission Document 505 - FBI McAvoy Report of 24 Sep 1956 re: Hoke, p. 6.

The focus of the meeting was about Paul and Violet Orr, Communist party members in the San Francisco Bay Area: Memo from Taylor Bielefeldt to Bruce Solie, 12/21/55, HSCA Segregated CIA Collection, Box 43/NARA Record Number: 104-10120-10459.

Paul had just been harshly interrogated by HUAC earlier that year: Testimony of Paul Orr to HUAC, 6/27/55.

Also see Mike Thoele, 2/19/91, Eugene Register-Guard, "This Gentle Rebel Defies Stereotypes".

In previous years, Violet had been part of the visible Party leadership: Memo from Wilbert H. Kehe to Director, FBI, 12/13/46, FBI - HSCA Subject Files, O - P/FBI - HSCA Subject File: John Pittman/NARA Record Number: 124-10284-10121.

A wiretap revealed that former CP member Dorothy Wilson allegedly claimed that Ruth Paine's mother Carol Hyde admitted to being a communist: Commission Document 505 - FBI McAvoy Report of 24 Sep 1956 re: Hoke, p. 8.

Ruth's sister Sylvia admitted a year later that Dorothy Wilson worked at the publishing company run by her mother-in-law Helen Hoke Watts: Memo from William Branigan to William C. Sullivan, 12/12/63, pp. 4-5, FBI - Ruth and Michael Paine Files/NARA Record Number: 124-10137-10099.

Dorothy Wilson married Lou Seligson, and was thereafter known as Dorothy Seligson. Commission Document 506 - FBI Waddington Jr. Report of 24 Sep 1956 re: Hoke.

At the time, Sylvia was supposedly working as a personnel research technician for the Air Force: Report of SA Paul W. Nolan, 9/18/56, Commission Document 501 - FBI Nolan Report of 18 Sep 1956 re: Hoke.

A February 1957 memo revealed that Sylvia had been working in a semi-secret position for Naval Intelligence, and had lost her shot at a top secret position because of the Dorothy Wilson-Helen Hoke Watts relationship: Commission Document 508 - FBI Mansfield Report of 06 Feb 1957 re: Hoke, p. 1.

Bill Harvey's agent Elizabeth Bentley reported that Needleman's colleague Frank Coe was a member of the "Communist Espionage group in the United States Government, and which was headed by Nathan Gregory Silvermaster." Coe, whose positions included secretary of the IMF as well as the monetary research director of the US Treasury Department, was also active in the Perlo Group involved in Soviet espionage during the 30s-40s which included John Abt and Alger Hiss. (See Part 11).

When Lee needed a job in October, 1963, even the Warren Commission admits that it was Ruth who set him up working the boxes on the sixth floor of the Texas Book Depository, thanks to a tip from neighbor Buell Wesley Frazier's sister Linnie Mae Randle: Testimony of Ruth Hyde Paine, Vol. 3, p. 34.

The Book Depository was an ideal spot along the motorcade route for a sniper to take a shot at the President. Ruth bitterly regretted her role in finding Oswald the Book Depository job: Warren Commission Hearings, Volume 17, p. 179, Exhibit 460, article by Ruth Paine on Lee Harvey Oswald, received by George Harris of Look Magazine.

Furthermore, the Warren Commission suppressed the information that Paine hid from Oswald that Robert Adams from the Texas Employment Commission had left a message at her home in an effort to tell Oswald that a job was available with Trans Texas Airways which would have paid much more money than the Depository job: Warren Commission Hearings, Volume 11, Affidavit of Robert Adams, pp. 480-481.

Ruth would not admit getting the message: James Douglass, JFK and the Unspeakable, (Orbis Books, 2008), pp. 171-173, quoting Affidavit of Robert L,. Adams, 8/4/63, Warren Commission Hearings, Volume 11, p. 481.

Testimony of Ruth Paine, Warren Commission Hearings, Volume 9, pp. 389-390.

Adams remembered the details of this story in August 1964, after he had for some strange reasons denied ever telephoning for Oswald when originally quizzed by the Warren Commission in April: Warren Commission Hearings, Volume 10, p. 139 (April).

Warren Commission Hearings, Volume 11, Affidavit of Robert Adams, pp. 480-481.

Robert Adams is listed in Oswald's phone book: See the Adams notation in Oswald's phone book, reproduced in R. F. Gallagher, "The Ubiquitous Bard", Fourth Decade, Vol. 5, Issue 5, July 1998, p. 22, with more information on SA Bardwell Odum.

Odum was all over this case before and after 11/22: R. F. Gallagher, "The Ubiquitous Bard", Fourth Decade, Volume 5, Issue 5, November 1998. Also see Hosty's Assignment Oswald, p. 63.

After the Oswald family explained to Odum on the 23rd that they wouldn't speak to him without legal counsel, Odum came back a few hours later and asked Marguerite if she recognized "the Mystery Man" as an Oswald associate: Declaration of Bardwell Odum, p. 2, 7/10/64, Oswald 201 File, Vol 51B/ NARA Record Number: 1993.08.02.14:02:42:150006.

Testimony of Marguerite Oswald, Warren Commission Hearings pp. 147-148,151-152.

Odum and Oswald even went to the same barber on a regular basis in the months before the assassination: The barber, Cliff Shasteen, also served on the Irving City Council. Testimony of Clifton M. Shasteen, Warren Commission Vol. 10, p. 325.

Shasteen correctly identified Ruth Paine's car to the Warren Commission. "I'm sure it's a 1955 Chevrolet station wagon" either blue and white or green and white.": Michael R Paine owned a 1956 Oldsmobile and a Citroen and his wife owned a station wagon (2H 413). A 3/2/64 memo by Bob Odum states that Ruth Paine drove a 1955 Chevrolet station wagon, two-tone green, with 1963 Texas license NK 4041. Another Odum memo shows that she had the same vehicle back in September 1963.

After Lee's arrest, Robert says that he told his brother at the jail house that "I don't think they're any friends of yours." According to Robert, Lee told him, "Yes, they are.": Robert L. Oswald, with Myrick and Barbara Land, "He Was My Brother", Look magazine, circa 1967, p. 2.

On either November 9th or the 16th, a man calling himself "Lee Oswald" came to the Lincoln-Mercury dealership to test drive a car and went for a spin with salesman Albert Bogard...

There is no consensus on a date, but November 9 and November 16 are the two most likely dates. Oswald worked on weekdays, but the shop was within walking distance from the book depository - the witness Eugene Wilson believed he came on a Saturday - and the shop was not open on Sundays. Bogard believed November 9 was the date, but he admitted to uncertainty. Salesman Harry McCall remembers Bogard telling him it happened a week before JFK's death.

Oswald tried again to take the driver's test on November 16 (WR 740). He even began filling out the application. (WC 426).

Given Ruth's testimony, the most likely date is Saturday, November 16 - if you assume that the prospective car buyer was the real Oswald. If you don't, almost any date is possible, but November 9 is the second best candidate.

Albert Bogard told his colleagues that a man named Lee Oswald went with him on a wild test drive...: Interview of Albert Bogard by SAs C. Ray Hall and Maurice White.

Garland Slack reported that on November 17, 1963, a man who looked like Oswald was firing at his target at the Sports Drome. Slack reported that accompanying Oswald was a man identified as "Frazier, from Irving, Texas": Interview of Lucille Slack by SA Alfred Neely, 9/8/64.

This letter is dated 11/9/63; arrived at the embassy on the 18th, and intercepted and on Hoover's desk by the 19th: National Archives, SSCIA 157-10004-10039, Airtel from SAC, WFO to Director, FBI 11/19/63.

Here is the 11/19/63 memo confirming the interception, from SAC-WFO to Director, FBI, FBI - HSCA Administrative Folders/NARA Record Number: 124-10369-10068.

Professor Jerry Rose points out that the Oswald's draft copy has virtually none of Oswald's characteristic errors, while the typed version is filled with them: Jerry D. Rose, "Gifts from Russia: Yeltsin and Mitrokhin", Fourth Decade, November 1999, p. 5.

Rose opines that the handwritten draft was created to create proof that Oswald had written the letter by generating a "draft" in his handwriting": Handwritten version: HSCA Volume VIII, pp. 351-352. Typed version: HSCA Volume VIII, p. 358.

The FBI found that the Soviet letter was written on Ruth Paine's typewriter: 2/13/64 insert by SA Robert P. Gemberling , re the FBI test, Warren Commission Document 735, p. 102.

This letter was written on November 9, and expressed satisfaction at Consul Eusebio Azcue's replacement as consul at the Cuban consulate in Mexico City. This replacement did not occur until November 18: WCH Vol. 26, p. 790, Exhibit 3126.

Also see Mann's letter to Alexis Johnson at State, 11/30/63.

The people with access to Azcue's pending replacement were those people with access to the telephone taps and hidden microphones in the Cuban consulate -- David Phillips and other CIA officials at the Mexico City station: Id. Notice how CIA Director Richard Helms is forced to argue that someone in the Cuban consulate must have told Oswald. Although highly unlikely that Oswald would have learned the November 18 date two months in advance from anybody, that's the only other possible theory.

The FBI went so far as to say that Oswald's source had to be a Cuban consulate informant, a KGB member, or the CIA itself: Robert S. Allen and Paul Scott, "Oswald Letter Still A Puzzle", 9/21/67, HSCA Segregated CIA Collection, Box 47/NARA Record Number: 1993.08.20.14:42:46:250028.

On another front, according to the letter, since Oswald wasn't able to get a Cuban visa, he was forced to take up "our business" with "Comrade Kostin" in Mexico City: Clarence M. Kelley and James Kirkpatrick Davis, Kelley: The Story of an FBI Director (Kansas City, Andrews, McMeel & Parker, 1987), p. 268.

The letter points out that Oswald did not use his "real name" when he went to Mexico City. Oswald used the name Harvey Oswald Lee. The authorities initially insisted that it was just an error involving a comma, as his visa states "Lee, Harvey Oswald", but by late December 1963 even CIA officer John Whitten thought that it was deliberately caused by Oswald: John Whitten, "Subject: Lee Oswald's Visit to Mexico City", 12/20/63, p. 10, Oswald 201 File (201-289248)/NARA Record Number: 104-10004-10211. (33 page version)

A melodramatic, CIA-monitored Oswald in Mexico City had tried to obtain an immediate Cuban visa": James Douglass, JFK and the Unspeakable, pp. 228-229.

"It is possible that Oswald himself wrote the letter as it was dictated to him, in exchange for some promises, and then, as we know, he was simply bumped off after his usefulness had ended. The competent U.S. authorities are undoubtedly aware of this letter, since the embassy's correspondence is under constant surveillance: Id., at p. 230, citing A. Dobrynin, Cipher Telegram, special no. 2005, November 26, 1963.

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