Saturday, October 30, 2010

Was the FBI Searching for Oswald the Day Before the Assassination?

                                                   Dealey Plaza Echo, (2005), 8, 2, 46-52.

                        Was the FBI Searching for Oswald the Day Before the Assassination?

                                                          John Delane Williams

Perhaps one of the worst kept U.S. government secrects was the FBI's pre-assassination interest in Lee Harvey Oswald. Their efforts to keep this secret might be termed "Plausible Denial", to borrow the term from Mark Lane. [1] To admit to their pre-assassination interest would have brought a host of questions that might have proved embarrassing to the FBI, and might have brought viable conspiracy charges much earlier. If Oswald was a dangerous threat to President Kennedy, then why wouldn't the FBI have known this and prevented the assassination? Notice that a defense of the sort, "Well we knew he wasn't dangerous, and he was being used as a patsy", no matter how true, would have given the FBI even more problems and more things to explain. If the coverup was to succeed, the FBI wanted to be able to claim ignorance of the possible threat. An example of this is FBI agent James Hosty's destroying a threat from Oswald that was ignored. The threat, written out on a small piece of paper, was flushed down the toilet after the assassination, by Hosty after Hosty's being ordered to do so by his supervisor, Howard Shanklin, apparently on direct orders from J. Edgar Hoover. [2]

The FBI's duplicity regarding Oswald is further shown in their understating their repeated contacts with Oswald and his wife, Marina. According to the Washington Evening Star (11/24/1963, p. 5), "The FBI said its agents had interviewed Oswald only once... when he got into some trouble in New Orleans... FBI sources indicated Oswald came to Dallas from Fort Worth about two months ago, but said the suspect's presence here was not known to them." [emphasis added by North, 3] 

       The Teletype Received by New Orleans FBI

On Sunday, November 17, 1963, a teletype was received at the New Orleans FBI office. William Walter, a security code clerk at the
FBI office read the teletype:

URGENT    1:45 AM EST 11-17-63    HLF        1 PAGE





This teletype, in the form of a telegram, would normally be sent  by the FBI by air mail to save money. [4]

A copy of the teletype was made by Walter's wife, Josey, who was a clerical employee whose duties included making such copies (they were divorced in 1968). The FBI neither acknowledged nor denied that this teletype was sent/and or received, [5] but apparently originals of the teletype have not been made available. It can be noted that the teletype ostensibly was sent under the direction of the Director (J. Edgar Hoover). The author of the teletype apparently has never been positively identified. One rumor was that the author of the teletype later quit the FBI because the order to find Oswald was rescinded forty minutes after it was sent. This rumor has not been substantiated. [6]

       FBI Interest in Oswald: Mobile, Alabama

Naif Michael Moore, Jr. aka Junior Moore, was born January 1, 1929 in Birmingham, Alabama. His adult years had been spent as a "crossroader", or professional gambler. Junior has written a book about his life [7], carefully omitting the present story. In 1962, he bought Jimmy's Billiards in Mobile, Alabama. As was common at that time, the poolroom was as much a front for the bookmaking operations as anything else. Because bookmaking was illegal in most states at that time, bookmakers were seen as easy persons for the FBI to use as informants, however unwilling the bookmaker might be.  This was particularly true after 1960, when a federal stamp was required to continue bookmaking. Buying a stamp meant both paying a large portion of their profit to the federal government, and simultaneously admitting to a state crime. The de facto solution for bookmakers was not to buy a stamp. The de facto solution for the FBI was to develop bookmakers as Possible Criminal Informants (PCI's). Junior would be called to come down to the FBI office repeatedly. In the language of the FBI he was a PCI. If he didn't want the IRS breathing down his back, he could cooperate with the FBI.

On November 21, 1963, while playing pool for $200 a game with Ernie Sellers, a pool player from New Orleans, Junior was called by James Ambrose, a local FBI agent, to come to the office; Junior was told that if he didn't come to the FBI office immediately, they would come to pick him up. Moore put down his cue stick and told Sellers he had to go somewhere, but that they would continue the game when he came back. An observer of the pool game, B.K. "Red" Salter, asked what was going on; Salter was betting on Junior to win, and wondered what could have him leave the game so abruptly. Junior asked Salter to walk with him. The distance was four blocks. When Junior Moore said that he was going to the FBI office, Salter decided to go to a restaurant instead of to the FBI building.

Jim Ambrose escorted Junior to a room, and told him he had some pictures that he would like Junior to view. Moore was shown several pictures and asked if he had seen any of the persons in them in the poolroom. The only person he could identify was a local (Sonny Brazell).

Then Junior was shown a blown up photograph. It was of a young man handing out leaflets in New Orleans, as Junior recalls the picture. Junior told Ambrose that he had never seen this person. Ambrose then told Junior that the man's name was Lee Harvey Oswald (8); if he ever did show up at the poolroom, Junior was to call immediately. Junior asked, "What was this all about?" Ambrose related that President Kennedy was going to Dallas and the FBI had received orders to put anyone under surveillance who was considered a threat to President Kennedy's life. Junior knew a Leonard Oswalt, and Junior asked Ambrose if he might be kin to Lee Harvey Oswald. Ambrose related that Lee Oswald's name ended in a "d" rather than a "t". Oswalt was a gambler who frequented Junior's poolroom, so remembering the name Lee Harvey Oswald for a day was quite easy. 

After the interview, Moore stopped at the restaurant. Moore's friend "Red" Salter was quite curious about the interview; the circumstances seemed most unusual. Moore related what transpired. They went back to the poolroom where the pool game was resumed.

The next day, President Kennedy was assassinated. Three hours after the assassination, the name Lee Harvey Oswald was flashed on the television screen. Shortly, "Red" called and said, "That's the son of a bitch the FBI was asking you about!" Moore replied, "Big deal."
                   Questioning about Jack Ruby

On Sunday morning, November 24, Jack Ruby killed Lee Harvey Oswald in the basement of the Dallas Police Station. Moore was contacted by James Ambrose of the FBI two days later (November 26, 1963) regarding whether Moore had any personal knowledge of Jack Ruby, which Moore initially denied. Later that day, Moore contacted Ambrose and said that Sugar Kane (aka Joyce Phillips), a stripper at a local nightclub, told him that two individuals in Mobile thought Ruby had ten years previously been a strong arm man and thief in New Orleans, and that Ruby had purportedly run a nightclub in Phoenix City, Alabama. Moore states that these two individuals were Lamont Myers, a waiter at the Esquire Club in Mobile (the night club where Sugar Kane was a stripper), and George Speich, a one-time bouncer at the Esquire Club. The persons named by Moore all denied knowing Ruby in subsequent interviews. [9] The FBI further denied ever having had photographs of Lee Harvey Oswald in Mobile.

Moore knew of Jack Ruby, who had come to Mobile on occasion. He would come to Mobile to get strippers to take to his clubs in Dallas. One of Ruby's tasks in Mobile would often include taking a stripper, Shasta Starr, to Carlos Marcello in New Orleans. Apparently, Marcello was "sweet" on Miss Starr, and she would be brought to Marcello in New Orleans. [10]
               Ambrose Becomes Unavailable

Moore could not fathom that the FBI would deny that they were looking for Oswald. Moore assumed that there was an all out manhunt, and that many people were called in, like Moore, to help. Moore tried calling Jim Ambrose at the FBI office to talk to him. He'd called ten times, leaving his name and asking for Ambrose to call. In January 1964, Moore called the FBI office and was told that Ambrose was no longer at the Mobile FBI office. They further said they had no idea (or were not forthcoming) to where Ambrose might have been transferred.

James Ambrose was reassigned to Russian language school in December 1963. He was later transferred to the New York Division of the FBI. Ambrose later resigned and moved to Omaha, where he worked as a stockbroker. This information only became available to Moore after the release of the ARRB documents.

Moore then began talking to his associates who might have been called in as Moore was. One such person was a fellow bookmaker, "Bubba" McCoy. McCoy denied being called in by the FBI to identify Oswald. Only years later would McCoy admit to his being interviewed.
                    Move to Arkansas

In 1971, Moore moved back to Blythville, Arkansas to be with his ailing mother. While living at his mother's home in 1975, Moore viewed a CBS special, featuring Dan Rather, The American Assassins. This segment included an interview with William Walter, the FBI agent who received the teletype on November 17th at the New Orleans FBI office regarding a threat to President Kennedy in Dallas, November 22-23. The teletype was also sent to Dallas and Mobile, Alabama; Moore then surmised that this teletype was the reason he had been called in by Jim Ambrose of the Mobile FBI. [11]

Moore told his story to George Ford, Sheriff of Mississippi County, Arkansas. Ford in turn informed Ed Cunningham with the FBI office in Jonesboro, Arkansas. Cunningham had passed the story on to his superiors, who in turn asked Cunningham to get a statement from Moore. Moore was asked to document his story for the FBI, which Moore did. The FBI promised to check out his story. An eight page FBI summary was written on December 11, 1975. [12] The report reiterated Moore's story, also including that Ambrose denied the interview regarding Oswald took place.

 The FBI refused to interview Red Salter, perhaps feeling that doing so might lend credibility to Moore. [13] A Department of Justice follow-up document, a letter from FBI Director Clarence Kelley to the Department of Justice, [14] essentially re-iterated the previous agency communication; by this time, they contacted former agent Ambrose, who denied any discussion with Moore about Lee Harvey Oswald.

                  Meeting with Red Salter

Red Salter called Junior Moore in February 1992. Salter said that he had terminal cancer and that he wanted to document his story regarding going to the FBI office with Moore on November 21, 1963 (15).  Actually, Salter only went part way to the FBI office; he stopped at a restaurant on the way. Also invited to the meeting was Cathy Donelson, a reporter for the Mobile Press Register. Donelson contacted former FBI agent James Ambrose in Omaha. Ambrose saw Moore as a person without veracity (So why did the FBI continue to question him?) Donelson then called Ed Cunningham, the NE Arkansas FBI agent with whom Moore spoke in 1975. Cunningham denied talking to Moore about the Kennedy assassination. This is curious, given the files released under the ARRB. However, in 1992, that was still a couple of years in the future. [16]

          Article in the Mobile Press Register

Cathy Donelson had an article [17] published on February 22, 1992 in the Mobile (AL) Press Register. The three page article reviewed
Junior Moore's story, with Donelson also interviewing FBI agents James Ambrose and Ed Cunningham, and Moore's friend Red Salter. Only Salter corraborated Moore's story. Within days after the story appeared, Donelson was fired by the newspaper, and Moore began over four years of hell for Moore and his family. First came the IRS audit, which ensued a few months after the article ran. When the audit was completed a year later, Moore was $44,000 lighter. Moore did not associate the audit with the article, and Moore called William Walter, the former FBI agent who received the November 17, 1963 teletype regarding the warning of the possible assassination of President Kennedy in Dallas November 22-23. They got together in New Orleans, where Moore's wife videotaped Moore and Walter discuss their respective stories regarding their personal brush with the assassination. This taping took place December 21, 1993. [18] Moore and Walter later found out that their telephone conversations were wiretapped by the FBI.  This led first to nine homes being raided by the Mobile FBI. This raid occurred on January 23, 1994. Moore had it explained to him by the FBI that these events were part of the past best left uncovered. Moore and his son Tony were then indicted on bookmaking charges. Both Moore and his son Tony plea bargained the charges. Both were fined $5000 and had a six month sentence to a half-way house and five years of supervised probation.

 Shortly after the raid, Moore was called by Bubba McCoy who was on his deathbed. Bubba admitted to being interviewed by the FBI, being shown a picture of Lee Harvey Oswald just prior to the assassination. Moore asked why Bubba denied it for so long. Bubba replied, "It was one of those situations where I had a lot to lose and nothing to gain." Bubba further advised Moore to "lose his curiosity."

[1] Lane, M. (1993). Plausible Denial. New York: Thunder's Mouth       Press.
[2] North, M. (1991). Act of Treason: The Role of J. Edgar Hoover      in the Assassination of President Kennedy. New York: Carroll     & Graf.
[3] ibid, p. 422.

[4] Groden, R.J. & Livingstone, E. (1989). High Treason: The           Assassination of President John F. Kennedy: What Really            Happened. New York: The Conservatory Press (between pp.        180 & 181).
[5] Armstrong, J. (2003). Harvey & Lee: How the CIA Framed        Oswald. Arlington, TX: Quasar Ltd.
[6] Donelson, C. (1992). Did FBI ask him about Oswald day before      JFK killed? Mobile (AL) Press Register, February 23, 1A +.       Walter downplayed the role of the "author" of the                teletype in the video interview with Junior Moore, December      21, 1993. Moore has made a copy of that video available to       me.
[7] Moore, N.M. & Darring, W. (1992). The Crossroader: Memoirs of      a Professional Gambler. Mobile, AL: Regency Press. One           interesting note about Moore's book is that the best known       crossroader who he was personally acquainted with was            Rudodolph Wonderone, or "New York Fats". In the movie, The       Hustler, the role of "Minnesota Fats", played by Jackie          Gleason was based on the life of Wonderone. After viewing        the movie, Wonderone was so impressed with the accuracy of       the movie that he changed his moniker to "Minnesota Fats".  [8] On trying to refresh Moore's memory, I thought I would get a      copy of the photograph of Oswald passing out leaflets in        New Orleans. To my surprise there were at least nine             different photographs of Oswald passing out leaflets in New      Orleans. James Richards posted a montage of 8 LHO pictures       passing out leaflets in New Orleans on the JFK                   Assassination Forum site, January 28, 2004. I also became        aware that one or more video clips were made of LHO passing      out the leaflets. Thus any number of photographs could have      been made from video clips. One such clip was shown on the       Oprah Show on November 22, 1996. Junior Moore made a copy        of that program and sent it to me.
[9] In fact Moore was acquainted with Ruby, and knew that Ruby        would take a particular stripper (whose stage name was           Shasta) on occasion, to Carlos Marcello in New Orleans.          Marcello had a particular fondness for Shasta.
[10] Moore couldn’t originally remember Shasta's last name. Paul      Bell, who had been a vice squad detective in Mobile during       the 1960's, told Moore her last name was Starr; both Moore       and Bell confirmed this story with the present writer by         telephone, May 18, 2004. Bell recalled that Starr seemed to      be attracted to him; Bell claims that he rebuffed those          attractions. Bell related that the then Mobile police chief      apparently did not rebuff Miss Starr. Marcello apparently        thought that Starr was involved with Bell, leading to a          threat from Marcello through one of Marcello's henchmen. At      the time of the assassination, Shasta would perform at           Marie's Lounge when she was in Mobile; a few years later,        her Mobile stop was at The Esquire Club. On at least two         occasions, Moore has referred to this person as Sereen;          however, Moore insists that her name is actually Shasta.         She may have appeared under both names at different times,       which would add to the confusion.
[11] One possible reason for Mobile to be of interest is that Lee       Harvey Oswald had presented lectures on Marxism at Spring        Hill College in Mobile. Apparently Oswald had a cousin on        his mother's side (a Murret) who was attending Spring Hill       College at the time. Interview videotaped between Junior         Moore and William Walter, December 21, 1993.
[12] FBI file number 62-109060-741; ARRB record number 124-10056-       10063.
[13] FBI file number 62-109060-741; ARRB record number 124-10056-       10063.
[14] DOJ record number 179-20003-10380.
[15] Moore and Salter had a videotape made from this session. To      this point, I have only heard the audio portion.
[16] Moore, N.M. (1999). My Song. Unpublished Notes.
[17] Donelson, C. (1992). Did FBI ask him about Oswald day before       JFK killed? Mobile Press Register, p. 1A+.
[18] William Walter also appeared on the Oprah Show, November 22,      1996. He related that the original of the teleype regarding      a possible assassination attempt in Dallas was on the desk       of the Special Agent in Charge's office in New Orleans.          Walter also said that he had seen a file on Lee Harvey           Oswald, who was an FBI informant. It was Walter's opinion        that Oswald was the probable source of the warning               regarding the threat to President Kennedy.

                     John Delane Williams
                     34704 J Place
                     Box 357
                     Ocean Park, Washington 98640

Judyth and Lee in New Orleans

Adapted from an article published in The Dealey Plaza Echo

Judyth and Lee in New Orleans

John Delane Williams and Kelly Thomas Cousins
With Comments by Judyth Vary Baker

In an earlier article, it was shown that the chances of Judyth Vary Baker and Lee Harvey Oswald both obtaining employment at the same firm on the same day in New Orleans were just over one in a million. [1] We did not make a lengthy interpretation at that time, but were showing that their employment was something other than chance. It is our contention that their employment was prearranged by “a group of planners” who were in control of the course of events. The present article attempts an interpretation of that outcome; we have invited Judyth Vary Baker to comment on aspects of the article. First, the backgrounds of both Judyth and Lee are reviewed in terms of their likely usefulness to the project, said to be the elimination of Fidel Castro through the use of deadly human cancers.
Judyth’s Background

Judyth had been an exceptional science student at Manatee High School in Bradenton, Florida, where she graduated in 1961. [2] While in high school, she won a National Science Fair-International award in Indianapolis for a project that modified a method to extract magnesium from seawater more efficiently. She also won honors in the national Westinghouse Science Talent Search and Florida Academy of Science contests with a project involving inducing lung cancer with cigarette smoke product in white mice. Her work with anti-radioactive steroids and x-irradiation to impede metastasis of soft tissue carcinomas in mice was guided in part by scientists at the Walter Reed Institute. During high school, she had a laboratory set up for her by Col. Philip Doyle to conduct cancer research under the guidance of local doctors and the American Cancer Society. Her work was personally inspected by Dr. Harold Diehl, Vice President of Research for the American Cancer Society. Dr. Canute Michaelson, a geneticist and radiobiologist, and said to be a CIA asset, helped obtain financial support for Judyth and other promising science students; because of Sputnik, there was a particularly strong interest in developing promising science students. [3] {Note from Judyth: Dr. Michaelson was a former espionage agent who worked in the anti-Hitler underground in Europe. Though his visit was for only a few days, his impact on me, as a hero in clandestine activities against Hitler, and as a scientist devoted to biochemistry, was profound.}

Judyth spent the summer after high school graduation working at the Roswell Park Institute in Buffalo, New York, with a National Science Foundation grant. Dr. George Moore was the Institute’s Director, and Judyth was assigned to his personal laboratory, where she did research in mass cancer cell techniques (then a new field) and in melanogenesis. She also helped test variations of the (now-famous) RPMI formula for the growth of human cancer cells. When she entered St. Francis College that Fall, she continued working on cancer research. She and/or the college received grants under the National Institutes of Health, The American Cancer Society, Eli Lilly, and  The National Cancer Institute, to do work with malignant melanoma. [4] She presented a research paper on melanogenesis to The Indiana Biological Association at that time. [5] By the spring of 1962, she was working with human cancer cells, blood cells, and radiation under a special licensure arrangement arranged by the University of Florida. [6] That she had come to the attention of Alton Ochsner, M.D. and Director of a renowned cancer clinic in New Orleans, is no stretch. {Note from Judyth: Dr. Ochsner learned of my work at the high school level two years earlier as the friend of both Dr. Moore of Roswell Park Institute, and of Dr. Harold Diehl. All three doctors testified as anti-smoking crusaders for The American Cancer Society, and Judyth’s first important cancer project had involved mice and lung cancer from cigarette products.}  

Lee’s Background     

On the other hand, Lee Harvey Oswald’s background is in stark contrast to Judyth’s. He was a high school dropout, entering the Marines at 17. He earned his GED while in the Marines, but had a checkered career in the service. He applied for an early discharge from the Marines to “help his mother”, but instead defected to the Soviet Union. While there, he met and married Marina Prusakova and repatriated to the United States with his wife and child in 1962 after nearly three years of residence in the Soviet Union.  He at some point learned the Russian language to a remarkable degree. After returning to the United States, he held several low paying jobs. That, in the main, is what was “officially” known about him during his lifetime. Arguably, there is nothing in this “official” background that could be remotely useful to Dr. Ochsner. But after his death, we learned that he was a likely FBI informant [7] and had CIA connections as well. [8]

The latter may have been the more likely reason for interest by Ochsner; indeed, the CIA may have sent Oswald to Ochsner, but for reasons far different than Ochsner may have thought (see the section on the interview of Ed Haslam). Presumably, from Ochsner’s point of view, they were going to need a courier to take a container of the cancer cells to a drop off point in Mexico. Oswald’s likely undercover work might have been seen as useful for this task.

Judyth’s Choice

Judyth was invited to New Orleans for the summer of 1963. At her initial meeting with Dr. Alton Ochsner, Judyth was promised early admission to the Tulane Medical School,

and she was told she could have an internship with Dr. Mary Sherman, or she could be involved with another project where she would work with Dr. Sherman, Dr. Ochsner, David Ferrie, and Lee Harvey Oswald, whom she had spent some time with prior to the meeting with Dr. Ochsner. However, Ochsner was extolling the virtues of the latter assignment. “He’s telling me it’s up to me to choose. I can have a plain internship with Mary Sherman, or I can work with Mary Sherman, and with David Ferrie and a go between [with] them, and I can facilitate that, and I can see Lee all the time and help him; and that’s what intrigued me, and I can see him a lot...There were elements that wanted to kill our president. It can be blamed on Fidel Castro if he is still alive. If this happened we can very well enter World War III and we could have nuclear warfare...The idea is that we have to get rid of Castro so that people will get off Kennedy’s case. It was worded to me as, ‘Lady, actually you can be helping to prevent World War III!’... Ochsner was recruiting me into an assassination plot to kill Castro.” [9] The project that Ochsner  wanted Judyth to work on was Project Freedom. {Note from Judyth: When I came to New Orleans two weeks early, both Ochsner and Sherman were out of town, and I found myself temporarily stranded. My fiancĂ© had offered to come to New Orleans to marry me if he could convince his parents to allow him to work away from their real estate office. Therefore, the impending marriage was kept a secret. At this time, I was met by Lee Harvey Oswald.  He knew about Dr. Sherman because Lee had just met with “Dr” David Ferrie the night before. Ferrie claimed to be Dr. Sherman’s assistant in a very special, but clandestine, cancer research project. Ferrie was expecting a young assistant to help him because he had a very busy schedule set up for the summer. He erroneously believed I was the person who was to be involved. By the time he discovered his error, I had learned more than I should have about the clandestine project. It makes you think hard about what a young patriot might be able to do to help make a difference. And Lee was there, telling me about all he’d done as a low-level spy in Russia. He was going to be involved against Castro, too. I thought about Dr. Canute Michaelson and his underground activities. And I was hooked.}
The Likely Planners

The persons most likely to be involved with planning Judyth’s and Lee’s employment at Reily’s Coffee would probably include Alton Ochsner, M.D., William Reily, William Monaghan, and to a lesser extent, Guy Banister. Ochsner was the focal person, and the person responsible for inviting Judyth to work on the secret project in New Orleans. Ochsner, Reily and Monaghan were members of the Information Council of the Americas, an anti-communist group with particular dislike for Fidel Castro. Reily was also the owner of Reily’s Coffee. Monaghan was a temporary Vice-President of Reily’s Coffee, ex-FBI, and a former officer with Standard Fruit with expertise in industrial security. [10] Banister would likely have been  a liaison to the planners, and would probably have reported on his conversations with Oswald. [11]

Ochsner (right) at Watson Clinic dedication
Project Freedom: Ochsner’s Anti-Castro Project

Project Freedom was a project presumably run out of Robert Kennedy’s office. More likely, those who ran the project would imply that the authorization was through the Attorney General’s Office. This project was one of several approaches for removing Fidel Castro from power. [12] The plan was to produce a cancer virus that would make it appear that Castro died of natural causes. Judyth was both an accomplished person in cultivating fast acting cancers, and avowedly anti-Castro, making her an ideal candidate for her task. What Judyth hadn’t fully comprehended was that if she was successful, were this secret ever revealed, she would likely be banished from science. On the other hand, Ochsner would have much more to lose, and thus needed the protection of plausible denial.
Dr. Mary Sherman in Alaska, at left

Along with Judyth, the anti-Castro group also included Mary Sherman, M.D., the noted cancer specialist, and David Ferrie, whose doctoral coursework in psychology and science was completed by correspondence with an un-accredited university in Italy. [13] Judyth and Lee would work at small medical laboratories in the homes of Dr. Sherman and Ferrie. The lab animals were kept in a separate house nearby, where preliminary work – including the development of tumors -- was carried out by unknown others. (See Haslam’s book Mary, Ferrie, and the Monkey Virus.) { Note from Judyth: Lee brought us materials from Eli Lilly, located only a block from Reily’s and easy for him to access. He also transported materials to a medical office on Prytania Street located near his apartment, as well as to and from the U.S. Public Health Service’s laboratories, also located close to his apartment and mine. Because he was merely a lowly worker, nobody suspected that Lee was a trusted courier of biological materials and chemicals for the project. And because he was intelligent, Lee eventually became the perfect choice to transport the bio-weapon to Mexico City, which required special training to keep the cancer cells alive.}    

East Louisiana State Hospital at Jackson, main building
Clay Shaw also was to be involved in an aspect of the project, as were undoubtedly others. [14] Judyth’s work proceeded, taking longer than first expected. Her job was to culture “the strongest possible strains of lung cancer for eventual transport to medical contacts in Cuba who could arrange for their injection into Castro through a  ‘routine inoculation.’ ” [15] The cancerous material was ready in late August. Someone, perhaps Ochsner, decided to try the material out on a person or persons similar to Castro (similar in a biological sense). The trips to Clinton, LA and to Jackson, LA appear to be to test the cancerous material on a live subject. [16] A former prisoner at the Angola Prison, William Livesay, reported that he was sent as a volunteer by bus with other prisoners to East Louisiana State Hospital for experiments–within months of the experiment ordered by Ochsner. [17]
Judyth objected to using one or more prisoners for cancer research experiments without their being aware of the deadly potential of the experiment for which they had volunteered (if in fact they had volunteered). Judyth wrote a note, thereby creating a potential paper trail that could lead directly to Ochsner. It is for this that Ochsner became angry with Judyth, and ended her chances for entry into Tulane Medical School. [18] It is known that at least one patient-volunteer was inoculated. Several days later, Judyth, with Shaw’s approval, inspected the blood work. Radical changes began quickly. The man, a Cuban, died within weeks.

It struck us that the Ochsner group most likely already had cancer cells that could be injected into a subject prior to Judyth’s arrival. Under such a situation, they would see if, in fact, Judyth could improve the toxicity of their product. More importantly, a “patsy” could be invoked to take the heat off Ochsner. A paper trail would be fatal to such a plan. Of course Ochsner would become enraged. It would interfere with his plausible denial if the activities of the group ever became public.

Edward T. Haslam
The Ed Haslam Interview

Ed Haslam is not among the best known authors regarding aspects of the JFK assassination (though he should be). He is the author of Mary, Ferrie & the Monkey Virus. [19] This book is perhaps the most interestingly written work that addresses issues in New Orleans related to the assassination. Haslam was the son of a physician (also Ed Haslam) who was a well-known professor at the University of Tulane Medical School. Happenstance seemed to follow Haslam. In 1972, he enrolled in Tulane University. He was interested in taking a course in anthropology, and went to their table at registration. There, he met a young woman (fn. Barbara) whom he dated for a period of time. He visited her apartment, for which she paid a very low rent. The apartment, at 3225 Louisiana Avenue Parkway, had been unoccupied for several years: the owners were trying to eradicate the smell apparently derived from housing a laboratory of mice and other animals. It turns out that her apartment was the primary site of David Ferrie’s underground research laboratory. In March 1980, Haslam began working for Fitzgerald Advertising in New Orleans. In 1982, he was sent by the advertising agency “to check out” whether the agency should get involved with a particular business. While at the business, he was shown Guy Banister’s files (yes, in 1982!). The book has many other interesting tidbits.

In an interview [20], Haslam begins by mentioning the medical project run by Dr. Alton Ochsner, which Haslam refers to as the Medical Manhattan Project. It involved research on monkeys, ostensibly in relation to finding the cancer-causing virus, SV40, on the early polio vaccines (a contaminated polio vaccine had previously killed Ochsner’s first grandson,  probably accounting for his interest in the SV40 contamination problem). Dr. Mary Sherman was somehow exposed to a nuclear accelerator’s rays (used in working with the virus), burning off much of one side of her body and her right arm. She was then murdered (perhaps a mercy killing) and her body taken to her apartment. A fire was started to cover up the evidence.

A connection between Lee Harvey Oswald is made to Dr. Ochsner. Ochsner  was present at the debate between Oswald and the anti-Castroite, Carlos Bringuier. A phonograph recording of the debate was produced by Ochsner’s INCA. On the jacket of the record, Ochsner is said to be the only person present at the debate who knew Oswald defected to the Soviet Union. The CIA originally sent Oswald to New Orleans to identify the training camp set up to assassinate Castro. He was also to infiltrate Ochsner’s medical research to the extent he could, and inform the CIA of the goings on. 

In the Fall of 1972, Haslam first heard the name Judyth Vary Baker. Haslam was invited with his girlfriend (Barbara) to a party because he had got into an argument regarding David Ferrie’s cancer laboratory. Haslam was asked by his girlfriend to refrain from talking about Lee Harvey Oswald or David Ferrie or related issues. Haslam was introduced to the host, who said her name was Judyth Vary Baker. “Baker” said she was from Florida, and was at the Tulane medical school doing “esoteric experiments with exotic chemicals,” but would not talk about it any further. She indicated knowing Lee Harvey Oswald, and wished to pump Haslam for what he knew. Haslam had warning lights go on in relation to this woman. For one, if she was working at the Tulane medical school, then why didn’t she recognize the name Ed Haslam, also his father’s name, and a prominent researcher at the school?  Haslam left the party and refused a future invitation from “Baker”.

In the Fall of 2000, a national news organization investigating Judyth Vary Baker contacted him. The news organization sent Haslam background information on Baker, and he eventually called her. He mentioned to Baker that he had dinner at her house in New Orleans in 1972. Baker told him she didn’t live in New Orleans in 1972; she left in 1963 and never came back. It was then Haslam knew that the person he met in 1972 was an imposter. Haslam had been in contact with the real Judyth Vary Baker for a couple of years at the time of the interview (2003). He has read newspaper documents from the 1960's, and has seen some of her documents. They support the claim that she knew Oswald. Her descriptions of Ferrie’s labs are consistent with his own. As it happened, Judyth and Haslam used the same bank in New Orleans. Haslam concludes that Judyth is an unusual person, and very bright; “I think she is the real article.” [21]

The Update of Mary, Ferrie, the Monkey Virus

Haslam has updated Mary, Ferrie & the Monkey Virus. [22] After the original version was published, Carol Hewitt, an attorney who helped him in his original research , pointed out that, according to the Warren Report, Vol. 19, the FBI was looking for evidence regarding either Lee Harvey Oswald or A. J. Hidell on the Monday and Tuesday following the assassination, at the U.S. Public Service Hospital in New Orleans (where Haslam determined that the linear particle accelerator was housed). Haslam asks , “Had Lee Harvey Oswald been sent to New Orleans to spy on secret experiments of the U.S.  Public Service Hospital?” [23] Dr. Mary Sherman’s death occurred while the Warren Commission was still in operation.

Haslam conjectures that the laboratory was sabotaged to blow the cover off the secret laboratory and call attention to Oswald. Had this connection been pursued, the lone-nut theory would have been in jeopardy.  Also at risk was the secret about the mutating monkey viruses in an effort to solve the problem of the contaminated polio vaccines before knowledge of the spoiled vaccines became public knowledge. If the plan to expose the secret laboratory had been successful, American history would likely have turned out differently. [24]

What was Oswald’s role with the Ochsner group?

Oswald’s role with Ochsner would seem to be directly related to the role that he apparently performed in the military and with intelligence organizations since his discharge from the Marines. He surely had no background with “deadly cancers”, such as was Judyth’s forte. Having Oswald “work” with Judyth and Ferrie would serve the purpose of validating his presence with them. They would clearly notice his initial novice abilities in a research laboratory, even if he were a quick learner. His final mission (taking the materials to Mexico to the liaison person, who would in turn move the materials on their way to Cuba, to be used against Castro) would also help validate his presence with them. Of course, his having been sent there through the CIA would also validate his presence. On the other hand, from the point of view of the CIA, he was to keep the CIA informed as to anti-Castro activities in New Orleans. What may not be clear here is that the CIA was not a monolithic entity; the anti-Castro activities were also undoubtedly being funded/run by CIA entities that were operating outside the framework of the Director of the CIA, who was cooperating with Kennedy’s admonition to avoid further provocations regarding Castro. Thus the part of the CIA that Oswald was working with may have used the trip to Mexico to insure that the materials did not get into assassins’ hands. Other parts of the CIA may have caught wind of this and set up Oswald to be the patsy in the JFK assassination. Persons within the CIA may have deliberately mislead Oswald even though they were supposedly trying to save Castro from assassination.

Negative reaction to Judyth by some JFK researchers

It would be remiss of us to avoid the reactions to Judyth in the JFK research community. Those reactions are several; early on, she addressed technical issues on cancer to those who either were dealing with cancer themselves or who had loved ones who were. [25] However, writings such as those by McAdams [26] have seemed to carry the day among the more vocal members of the research community. Without repeating all of those criticisms, suffice to say that her believability was brought into question. Or more radically, some would argue that perhaps her entire story is a fabrication. Thus, the original article [27] was written to see if in fact Judyth and Oswald were at all likely to have by chance applied for jobs at Reily Coffee and were hired on the same day, and then both begin working on the next day. We showed that it was a most unlikely event that this hiring process was by chance.   

We also are trying to address the “love affair” as to whether or not it occurred. First, however, it seemed useful to look at time lines for both Judyth Vary Baker and Lee Harvey Oswald for their individual time in New Orleans for 1963.

Time Lines for Judyth and Lee in New Orleans, 1963

Judyth Vary Baker in New Orleans, 1963

April 20: Judyth arrives in New Orleans.
April 26: Judyth meets Oswald in front of the post office when Judyth went there to get a letter from her fiancé, Robert Baker.
April 27: Oswald introduced Judyth to (Dr.) David Ferrie, who was said to be a colleague of Dr. Mary Sherman, a noted cancer researcher. [Later, Oswald introduced Judyth to Guy Banister, who confirmed that Oswald was working on the anti-Castro project. Oswald also took Judyth to meet Alton Ochsner, M.D., an internationally known physician working with cancer patients and cancer research. First Oswald went in by himself, and then he invited Judyth in.  There she met Dr. Ochsner.]
April 27-May 9: Both Judyth and Lee were instructed to read the advertisements for jobs in the New Orleans Times-Picayune, focusing on the jobs at 640 Magazine, with interviews with Mr. Alvin Prechter.
May 1: Robert Baker arrived; he wished to get married immediately, because he had to leave before midnight May 3rd to go to a summer job in the Gulf Coast area.

May 2: Because of a 2-day waiting period in Louisiana, Baker and Judyth eloped to Mobile, Alabama, where they were married. [28]
May 3: evening:  Robert Baker left for his summer employment.
May 3-4 Midnight: Judyth was evicted from her rented room due to a police raid and found herself on the streets. [Times-Picayune articles for May 4-5 describe these raids]
May 4: By afternoon, Lee helped Judyth move into an apartment at 1032 Marengo, within walking distance from an apartment he said he was going to take for himself soon thereafter.
Prior to May 9: Judyth worked at a fast food restaurant, Royal Castle. She worked a total of 24 hours at Royal Castle. She states that her stipend for her summer internship did not start with Ochsner for another two weeks (she’d come 2 weeks early to New Orleans due to the University  of Florida being on the trimester schedule, unbeknownst to Ochsner). Therefore, she had to earn some money to pay for her rent at the YWCA, where she initially stayed.
May 9: Judyth and Lee were interviewed by A.T. Prechter at 640 Magazine; they were both hired and began working for Standard Coffee (a small Reily Coffee subsidiary) the next day. Oswald was interviewed first. Judyth waited at the A-1 Employment Agency until she was contacted by Oswald. The person whom Judyth spoke to wanted to know if Judyth got a job at the coffee company, trying to extract a payment for the referral, in case that Judyth got a job. (29) 
May 10: Judyth’s first day at work. Judyth worked as the production floor secretary and credit research assistant for Mr. William Monaghan, Vice-President and Finance and Credit Manager of Reily’s Coffee.
May 17: Both Judyth and Lee were transferred to Reily Coffee. They were the only persons hired by Standard Coffee and the only persons transferred to Reily Coffee during that time frame.
July 19: The day Oswald was fired at Reily, an ad was ordered, which appeared the following day in The Times-Picayune, seeking to replace the secretary for Reily’s Vice President, William Monaghan. No one was hired until the ad was replaced later in the month by another ad with more attractive details.
August 9: Judyth was terminated by Reily Coffee, the day she was seen with Oswald as he was passing out pro-Castro leaflets. [30]
August 25: Shaw, Ferrie and Oswald go to Clinton and Jackson, LA. They waited in Clinton for hours and were observed by a number of witnesses there.{ Note from  Judyth: They were waiting to join the convoy that was taking the prisoner/prisoners from Angola to Jackson’s mental hospital. There was an unexpected delay. Shaw used a leased vehicle – a black Cadillac---owned by Ochsner’s International House (where Shaw had worked with Ochsner for several years until 1962) and leased to The Trade Mart.The presence of all three men, and the orderly with them, was required at this time. After reaching the mental hospital as part of the convoy, apparently at least one person of Cuban descent was administered the cancerous material.} Within 72 hours, Judyth was taken by Oswald in a different vehicle (an old car) to see the patient. Radical changes began quickly. The man was dead within weeks. [31]
September 1:{ Note from Judyth: I left New Orleans, but I did not enroll in school. Instead, I merely did some artwork at the Craft Shop there until arrangements were made for me to work at Peninsular ChemResearch Laboratories near the university, where in overtime hours I created materials useful in preserving live cancer cells in liquid nitrogen. I didn’t care that I hadn’t enrolled to continue my education, because Lee Oswald and I planned to meet in Mexico in a few months.}

Lee Harvey Oswald in New Orleans, 1963

April 24: Oswald arrived late at night by bus from Dallas; he had originally bought a ticket for Marina to accompany him, but Marina was invited to live with Ruth Paine in Irving while Oswald looked for a job in New Orleans. [32]
April 26: Oswald appeared at the unemployment claims office and was interviewed by John R. Rachal.
April 29: Oswald was interviewed at the unemployment claims office by Bob Hunley (an FBI confidential informant). [33]
Oswald moved in with his aunt and uncle, Dutz and Lillian Murret. [34]
April 30: Oswald telephoned Marina and told her he was staying with the Murret’s. [35]
May 5: Oswald visited the widow of his uncle William S. Oswald for 45 minutes. His cousin, William Oswald, son of William S. Oswald (whom LHO had never met) was then a route salesman for Reily Coffee. [36]
May 6: Oswald went to the A-1 Employment Agency, who referred him to Pelican Printing for a possible job as a photographer. He was not hired. [37]
May 7: Oswald reappeared at the unemployment claims office. He also filled out forms at the Commercial Employment Agency, who referred him to the Darrell DeMoss Company; Oswald never showed for an interview. [38]
May 6-7-8: Oswald and Judyth worked together to earn incidental money at Reverend James’ Souvenir Shop on Rampart St. (Judyth took a team of researchers to the site of this shop in Jan. 2000). Oswald told his Aunt Lilian Murret regarding applying for this job:

“Mrs. Murret: ...anyway, Lee looked in the paper and finally found this –I don’t know where it was, but it was up on Rampart Street, and they wanted someone to letter.
Mr. Jenner: To letter?
Mrs. Murret: To do lettering work, yes, and so he called this man and the man said to come on out, so he went on out there to see about this job. First, while he was waiting for the appointment time, he sat down and tried to letter, and well, it was a little sad, because he couldn’t letter as well as my neighbor’s 6-year old girl, but I didn’t say anything, so when he got back he said, “Well, I didn’t get the job.” He said, “They wanted someone who can letter, so I didn’t know how to do that.” [39]
May 9: Oswald was interviewed and hired for a job at Reily Coffee. He also found an apartment at 4905 Magazine. [40]
May 10: Oswald began work at Standard Coffee, a small subsidiary of Reily Coffee.
May 11: Marina and her daughter were driven to New Orleans by Ruth Paine, arriving at the Murret’s at 3:00 PM. The group then went to Oswald’s apartment. Ruth Paine stayed for three days with them at the apartment. [41]
May 14: Ruth Paine left for Dallas. In Paine’s and Marina’s correspondence, Marina noted that Lee’s love for her seemed to have disappeared after Mrs. Paine left. [42]
May 15: Oswald went to the A-1 Employment Agency for Judyth, trying to get them to not charge Judyth for the referral. Lee talked them into accepting half of her first week’s pay ($17), instead of the customary full week’s pay for the referral. Oswald paid the $17 himself. As this was Judyth’s birthday, she considered this payment by Lee as a birthday gift. (43)
May 26: Oswald wrote the Fair Play for Cuba Committee (FPCC) to obtain membership, a FPCC charter, and a photograph of Fidel Castro. Oswald stated his intentions were to form a FPCC branch in New Orleans. [44]  { Note from Judyth: He mentioned planning to rent an office for these activities, and that the cost would be $30 a month.}
May 27: {Note from Judyth: Lee asked me to buy an American Express money order for him to provide a record of having rented an office for FPCC activities, as he had no bank account and wanted evidence of the transaction. Judyth provided Oswald with a $30 American Express money order (it is dated May 27) from money she and Oswald had earned at Reverend James’ Souvenir Shop prior to being hired at Reily’s.}
May 28: Oswald repaid Judyth $30 in cash. Judyth deposited $30 into her bank account, which was recorded on her next bank statement. Judyth still has the American Express money order in her files.

May 29: The FPCC sent Oswald a membership card, but discouraged him from starting a chapter in New Orleans, because “...Louisiana seems somewhat restricted for Fair Play activities.” This did not dissuade Oswald from his FPCC activities in New Orleans. [45]
June 4: Marina wrote the Russian Embassy in Washington, DC that she was homesick, had family problems, and wished to bring her daughter and have her baby in the Soviet Union. [46]
June 15-16: Someone, likely Oswald, passed out FPCC leaflets to naval personnel from the USS Wasp, just docked in New Orleans; earlier in June, someone, probably Oswald, passed out leaflets at the Tulane University campus. [47]
June 24: Oswald applied for a new passport in New Orleans. He received the passport the next day. [48] {Note from Judyth: A former Customs Agent was brought in from Miami, Florida to help expedite Lee Oswald’s passport. Other passports were also processed in the same short time period to protect Lee’s passport from close inspection. I met this former Customs Agent on June 25 on the steps of the Custom House in New Orleans, and have described him to his living family members as having a German accent, silvery hair, and tattoos on his fingers. The man was Charles Thomas, AKA Arthur Young. Both names were familiar to the members of his family who were still alive. I recognized his face and saw the tattoos on his fingers on photos provided to me by his family. They also had photos of Cubans who were friends of his, in their possession.}
July 19: Oswald’s last day of employment at Reily’s Coffee; he immediately applied for unemployment compensation. [49]
July 23- until Oswald left New Orleans; he would leave his apartment each day around 1:00 and return around 5:00, according to the report of Gladys Rogers, who lived in the apartment adjoining the Oswald’s. [50] {Note from Judyth: The Rogers’ testimonies need to be closely inspected. They reveal that Mr. and Mrs. Rogers were placed at 4907 Magazine St.—the address Oswald claimed was his—and took his mail for him. Oswald and his family actually lived in 4905, but Oswald paid for the Rogers’ rent and utilities at 4907.  Marina and Ruth Paine both wrote letters to each other using the 4907 address even though Mrs. Paine spent three days living at 4905. Mr. Rogers did not get a job until after Oswald left New Orleans. Lee told me that they were there to protect Marina, who was pregnant, from possible harassment by anti-Castroites, since Lee advertised his address as 4907 Magazine to the public.}
July 26: Oswald cashed his last Reily Coffee paycheck at a Winn-Dixie store at 4303 Magazine. The same day, someone visited the Atomic Energy Museum in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, giving their name and address as: Lee H. Oswald, USSR, Dallas Road, Dallas, Texas. [51]
July 27: The Murret’s picked up the Oswald’s and drove to Mobile, Alabama, where Oswald gave a talk on contemporary life in Russia at Spring Hill College; his cousin Eugene Murret was a student at the college and instrumental to Oswald’s invitation to speak there. [52] {Note from Judyth: “A contact, who was a priest well known to the Kennedy family, attended this important meeting, during which information important to Ochsner and the Samoza family was passed to Jesuit priests there, and information regarding Marxist-Leninist policies was discussed, along with Castro’s influence and increasing presence in Central and South America. Bobby Kennedy was personally advised of some of this information, and Lee courriered some information to this meeting.}
August 5: Oswald visited the Casa Roca Clothing Company and spoke with the owner, Carlos Bringuier, about his (Oswald’s) guerilla warfare expertise and his anti-Castro views. [53]
August 9: Oswald was handing out FPCC leaflets on the 700 block of Canal Street. Oswald got into a scuffle with three Cubans, including Bringuier. All four were arrested. Oswald spent the night in jail. [54]

August 10: Oswald asked for FBI SA John Lester Quigley to interview him. In a very unusual tactic for the FBI in such situations, Quigley did in fact go to the police station and interviewed Oswald. He was released later that day. [55] {Note from Judyth: A friend of Dutz Murret who was a lawyer associated with Mafia godfather Carlos Marcello bailed Lee out.}
August 12: Oswald pled guilty to disturbing the peace and paid a $10 fine. [56] {Note from Judyth: Marina didn’t call anybody to see why Lee never came home the night before. She knew he could have been arrested and hurt. Lee actually spent a small number of nights away from home. Marina has denied that he did so. By now, Lee and I were deeply in love and had stopped double-dating with Anne and David Lewis. David was a former private investigator for Guy Banister and did part-time work gathering anti-Castro information for the project. Anna is on film describing me as Lee Oswald’s “mistress”.}
August 16: Although unemployed, Oswald had the means to pay 19 year old Charles Hall Steele $2 for15-20 minutes of distributing leaflets. (This would be closer to $15 in today’s money.)  A cameraman from WDSU -TV was sent to film the event. [57]
August 17: Oswald had a 37 minute interview with William Kirk Stuckey of WDSU radio regarding Oswald’s activities with the FPCC. Excerpts of the interview were broadcast that evening. [58]
August 21: A 25 minute radio debate took place between Oswald and Bringuier on WDSU radio. After the debate, a 5 minute interview was conducted by personnel from WDSU-TV. [59]
late August or early September: Oswald met in Dallas with David Atlee Phillips. [60]
September: Oswald was at the Ryder Coffee House with Kerry Thornley (who later wrote a novel about Oswald), according to Barbara Reid. [61]
September 19:Oswald spoke with Assistant District Attorney Edward Gillian. [62]
September 20: Ruth Paine arrived at the Oswald’s apartment. [63]
September 22 or 23: Ruth Paine drove Marina and her daughter back to Dallas. [64]
September 25: Oswald left New Orleans. [65]

Was there a love affair between Judyth and Oswald? 

First, it should be clear to most readers that a definitive answer is out of the question. We simply have no information directly from Oswald. That does not preclude such an affair; it simply means a definitive statement will be lacking. We can address issues related to the possibility of such a relationship, however. We know that Judyth declares that such a relationship existed. But was it also a love affair for Oswald? At the time they met, Judyth was engaged and was to be married within a week. This did not appear to be a marriage made in heaven: “The elopement, its event so low in Robert’ s [Baker] and my memories that we did not have even a single photo from New Orleans, not a single souvenir–between his being a cheapskate (I had to buy my own wedding band) and my aversion to having married at all– originally to get birth control pills–we therefore had and kept NOTHING to commemorate our elopement whatsoever... I never brought up what I was doing in his absence... I have a postcard from my new husband mailed to me while he was in New Orleans, too busy to drop by on his new wife!” [66]

On Oswald’s point of view; arguably, he was unhappy with his wife. According to George DeMohrenschildt, Oswald was badly treated by Marina: “She [Marina] picked on him, annoyed him, as if she desired a separation, which she achieved through us. The letter from Marina’s ex-lover that Lee intercepted. What annoyed us also was that Marina tried to ridicule Lee. She called him a fool, a moron.” [67] Also noted in the May 14 time line for Lee, was that Marina felt that Lee’s love for her left the same time as Ruth Paine left New Orleans. Perhaps initially Oswald might have told himself that a relationship with Judyth was in the line of duty, much as was the case when his involvement with a Japanese girl, resulting in VD for Oswald. He contracted gonorrhea, which had its origin “In the line of duty, not due to his own misconduct.” [68] It would appear that, given the amount of time they spent together (according to Judyth), they had the opportunity for an involvement; both seemed to be in failed or failing marriages, which they might use as a justification. The time they spent together on May 4, when Lee helped Judyth move to a new apartment, may have been an impetus to provide an attraction between them. When, and if they acted upon that attraction (and for that matter, how often), almost all of the reporting of that is by Judyth. According to Judyth, though they fell in love almost immediately, they resisted becoming lovers until the summer. [69] At the end of August, Clay Shaw paid for the last of several hotel trysts for Judyth and Lee. Shaw was said to have felt sorry for them. [70] Anna Lewis and her husband David Lewis (who worked for Guy Banister) were said to be a foursome with Judyth and Lee, often at Thompson’s Restaurant, where Anna worked. They would often stay until 8:00 or 8:30 PM. Once Marina called the restaurant, wanting to know if Lee was there with another woman. [71] Judyth disputes Marina’s Warren Commission testimony regarding Oswald’s being home by 5 PM, except for the night of his arrest. Judyth states, for example, that one evening, Lee clocked out at Reily’s at 7:32 PM, then needed about half an hour to get home.        [Ref: May 31, 1963: 7:32 PM, WCE 1896]

Then there is the issue of whether the relationship was seen similarly by both Judyth and Lee. From Judyth’s report, Oswald gave her $400 before she left New Orleans. This gift has a double meaning; not only does it relate to a sense of caring by Oswald for Judyth, it also indicates that Oswald had a significant source of income beyond his wages at Reily Coffee, from which he had already been fired. Judyth explained away the $400 to her husband Robert by saying it fell out of an ironing board she bought at a yard sale. [72]  The proximate cause of Oswald being fired at Reily’s Coffee was his stealing a green glass Judyth admired but could not afford. These glasses were packed together with tea made by the company. Oswald refrained from packing a glass into a container, saving it for Judyth. Judyth still treasures this glass. [73]

At the same time Lee Oswald began working in Dallas after his return from Mexico City, Ferrie arranged for Judyth to take a job at Peninsular ChemResearch, in Florida, which produced highly toxic chemicals. She continued to contribute to the project by making custom chemicals for Ferrie. [74] Also, with Judyth in Florida and Lee in Dallas, Ferrie arranged for several back-channel phone calls through a cooperative operator in Covington.{Note from Judyth: This phone line was usually used by the Mafia regarding horse racing wagers.} Covington is directly across the Pontchartrain from New Orleans, about 30 miles North. The last call is on the record. The call came from “a lady with no accent” to Oswald on 11/20/1963 at the Texas School Book Depository. [75] Judyth’s remembrances of Lee Harvey Oswald gives a more human side to the Oswald character than has been typical of most writings about him. It also addresses largely hidden aspects to his clandestine activities in 1963 New Orleans.

Oswald’s ability in spoken Russian 

Still unanswered, at least to our satisfaction, is, just how did Oswald seemingly learn to converse so well in Russian? Armstrong [76] stated: “But in the case of Lee Harvey Oswald the CIA took a young Russian-speaking boy from Eastern Europe, and after living parallel lives for 7 years (age 12 to 19), successfully merged the identity of two people into one.  For reasons that may never be known, Lee Oswald was chosen, and sent to New York in the fall of 1952, to begin the process of loaning his identity to a Russian-speaking boy from Eastern Europe. Seven years later, this boy “defected” to Russia after assuming the Harvey Oswald’s identity and background.” It should be pointed out that this was Armstrong’s hypothesis, to be contrasted to the Warren Report version. Another hypothesis suggested here is that Oswald learned Russian under the auspices of the CIA. It would also explain why Oswald, who was fairly fluent in Russian, refrained from speaking Russian in Russia; he did not want to be suspected of being a CIA false defector. It was suggested that Oswald studied some language at the “Monterey School of the Army”, now the Defense Language Institute. [77] Oswald claimed not knowing a word of Russian on his defection to the Soviet Union on October 16, 1959. [78] While Judyth disputes that Oswald was anything other than American born, she recognized his facility in Russian;  she’d studied Russian herself. [79] . DeMohrenschildt [80] also marveled at Oswald’s ability in Russian compared to his (DeMohrenschildt’s) ability in English. However, even if Judyth were right (about Oswald being American born), the Armstrong hypothesis would not necessarily be invalidated, but could be modified to address emerging facts. As Judyth has pointed out, Oswald was unable to find his father’s grave at a cemetery in New Orleans. She remarked about her surprise in this regard. [81] We still have more to learn about Oswald. Could he have been involved in taking a crash course in Russian either in Monterey California at a governmental facility there, or somewhere else? The amount of secrecy involved in the many layers of the U.S. government is larger than most would imagine. [82]    

The trip to Mexico City

The trip to Mexico City also remains an enigma. If Oswald was to deploy the cancerous materials to the CIA, rather than meet the person at the drop off at a designated souvenir shop in Mexico City, it is unlikely we will ever know Oswald’s intentions. Oswald apparently tried to take the cancerous materials to Cuba himself (or perhaps not). Judyth’s account, which she says she heard from Lee in a phone call, is that Lee was supposed to meet a person at a souvenir shop and turn over the materials, with instructions on how to keep the cancer cells alive. The person never showed, leaving Oswald to try to take the materials to Cuba himself. This failed, and Oswald went to Dallas. He was instructed to check into the YMCA, rather than immediately reunite with Marina. There Oswald was shown reconnaissance photographs of the destruction in Cuba caused by Hurricane Flora. The hurricane caused the medical team assembled to administer the cancerous cells to Castro (and to use x-ray overdoses to bring down his immune system) to be scattered in response to the hurricane. A “Mr. B.” showed Oswald the photographs. Oswald had met “Mr. B” previously, “In Texas”, Judyth reports, “some weeks before he went to Mexico City. He took a private plane flight there and was back that night. He said he wasn’t even served lunch, and felt badly used thereby.” Oswald suspected that Mr. B. was David Atlee Phillips. [83] Fonzi [84] inferred that Maurice Bishop (Mr. B) and David Atlee Phillips were one and the same. If this portrayal of events is correct, Oswald would have a plausible explanation to persons in New Orleans. On the other hand, had Oswald intended to deliver to the drop off person, who did not materialize, Oswald also had a plausible believability for his CIA handlers.

There is one other anomalous event about Mexico City after Oswald’s death. A photograph was released that purportedly was taken (by the CIA) when Oswald visited the Cuban and Russian embassies in Mexico City. The man simply did not resemble Oswald. Could this have been a signal within the intelligence community? The man in the embassies’ photographs has been identified as Ralph Geb, a friend, classmate, and football teammate of Malcolm Wallace, long identified as a henchman for Lyndon Johnson. [85] Wallace has been identified as the person whose fingerprint was found on the sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository in Dallas. [86] Perhaps the CIA was also sending out a message to the public at large with the publication of Geb as Oswald in CE 237. Except within the critical research community, that message has been largely ignored.

Oswald as a Customs agent
Charles Thomas, AKA Arthur Young, Customs, Canadian border
Joan Mellen [87] reported that Oswald also had an affiliation with the US Customs Service. Apparently one of Oswald’s jobs with Customs was investigating David Ferrie. Oswald was a Potential Securities Informant (according to Mellen), who would report violations of the Neutrality Act, which in particular would involve any planning of activities to invade Cuba or harm Castro. {Note by Judyth: Long before Mellen’s book came out, I called Mellen and told her to investigate Lee’s connection with Customs, since his friend was Arthur Young, AKA Charles Thomas, whom I met, and whose family has been located in Louisiana. Lee first met Thomas/Young in Buffalo, New York, where he had gone, skipping school, to see Niagara Falls—quite a distance from the Bronx for a twelve-year-old to travel. He and Mr. Thomas struck up a friendship. I told this fact – about Thomas being posted in Buffalo, New York – to a person who turned out to be a family member Eventually, she found a photo of her grandfather, Charles Thomas, working at the Customs post in Buffalo, New York.}  [88]
In 1963, there were six anti-Castro camps operating north of Lake Pontchartrain. The FBI succeeded in closing down one of the camps on July 31, 1963. The closed camp was the only camp with ties to Bobby Kennedy. The five camps with CIA ties were left alone. [89] Oswald may have been involved in this bust, having ties with both the FBI and Customs.

Oswald had been involved with Ferrie at one of the CIA camps. [90] {Note by Judyth: Lee was maneuvered into providing a map to the camp. Later, with the help of David Ferrie, blame was placed onto pro-Castro camp infiltrator Fernando Fernandez. Manipulating Lee into looking like a traitor to the anti-Castro camp had placed Lee’s life in danger.} In the process of Bobby Kennedy’s anti-Castro planning, a picture of Oswald was shown at a meeting in Bobby’s presence. One of the persons present wanted to know who that person was; he’d appeared in several pictures. The person was identified as Oswald. Bobby never met Oswald. Mellen concludes, “In some circles, if not in Bobby’s, the impending assassination was a very open secret.” [91]

Was Judyth recruited to serve as a patsy, if necessary?

It is documented that Judyth did in fact work at Reily’s Coffee during the summer of 1963. Her past experience in scientific pursuits are far more suggestive of her clandestine cancer research than traveling all the way to New Orleans to be a clerk typist for the summer. Many such jobs would seem to have been open to her in Florida, if that were her interest. But why did Ochsner recruit her? As indicated earlier, it was most likely the case that Ochsner’s institute had already developed a product themselves. Judyth could have perhaps improved their product, but she could also be the patsy, were the research uncovered. Ochsner could claim that she was recruited for her abilities but her own anti-Castro thoughts were pursued on her own, against Ochsner’s wishes, giving him plausible denial. Perhaps Ochsner might have paved the way for her entrance into Tulane Medical School. But she would always be vulnerable to the anti-Castro research being found out. As it was, Ochsner worried about being indicted by Jim Garrison. [92] But as long as Judyth remained in science, she could potentially lose her standing due to being involved in a conspiracy to eliminate Castro. Even today, if the government pursued it, she might be vulnerable. That, of course, would be most unlikely, given all the skeletons that might be unearthed.


1. Williams, J.D. & Cousins, K.T. (2005). Judyth and Lee: Was their employment at Reily Coffee a chance event? Dealey Plaza Echo, 9,2, 37-43. This probability was found as follows: Using the want ads from the New Orleans Picayune for May 9, 1963, there were 193 different job advertisements that Oswald could have reasonably applied to; there were 165 advertisements that Judyth could have responded to. The product of (1/193) (1/165)=.0000314, or a little over 3 times in 100,000. It was estimated that Reily’s would hire about 1 applicant in 5. This would be true of both Judyth and Lee. Therefore, the probability is (1/193) (1/165) (1/5) (1/5)=.0000012,
or 1.2 times in a million. This, essentially, establishes that Lee and Judyth getting jobs at Reily on the same day was unlikely a chance event, but rather, in some way was planned, either by the two of them, or by someone else.
2. e-mail from Judyth regarding corrections to our original article (7/12/2005).
3. Phelps, J. (2005). The story of Judyth Vary Baker.
4. Ibid.
5.St. Petersburg Times, September 6, 1961.
6. e-mail from Judyth, (7/12/2005).
7. Weisberg, H. (1974). Whitewash IV: JFK assassination transcript. Frederick, MD: Weisberg.
8. Newman, J. (1995). Oswald and the CIA. New York: Carroll & Graf.
9. Video interview of Judyth Vary Baker, Title II. (2005). Amsterdam: Dankbaar.
10. Phelps.
11. The concept of a planning group is our inference to the available information, and not attributable to any other source.
12. “Project Freedom” may have been a local name , or one of several local names, to refer to the project whose purpose was to remove Fidel Castro from power. The name Project Freedom was used by Phelps (2005). There were other such projects. Richard Helms is purported to have told Henry Kissinger, “Robert Kennedy personally managed the operation on the assassination of Castro.” Russo, G. (1998). Live by the sword:The secret war against Castro and the death of JFK. Baltimore, MD: Bancroft Press, p. 424.
13. Haslam, E.T. (1995). Mary, Ferrie & the monkey virus: The story of an underground medical laboratory. Albuquerque, NM: Wordsworth Communications.
14. A “man in white” was seen by several witnesses emerge from a car with Oswald in Jackson on (probably) August 23. Baker, J.V. & Platzman, H.(n.d.). Deadly alliance. Unpublished manuscript.
15. Phelps, p. 24.
16. Ibid.
17. e-mail from William Livesay to Judyth (5/6/2004).
18. e-mail from Judyth (7/12/2005).
19. Haslam (1995).
20. Video interview of Ed Haslam, Title V. (2005). Amsterdam: Dankbaar.
21. Ibid.
22. Haslam, E.T. (2005). Mary Ferrie, & the Monkey Virus. Bradenton, FL: Woodsworth.
23. Ibid, p. 128.
24. Ibid, p. 128.
25. e.g., RE:RE: Posted for Judyth-by Lincoln Park. (11/29/2002). On the use of bacteriophages to combat melanoma.
26. McAdams, J. (1995-2004). Should we believe Judyth Baker?  John McAdams finds much to criticize among those who disagree with the Warren Commission findings.
27. Williams & Cousins.
28. e-mail from Judyth (7/12/2005).
29. Video interview of Judyth Vary Baker, Title II. (2005). Amsterdam: Dankbaar.
30. Phelps, p. 23.
31. Ibid, p. 29.                      

32. Armstrong, J. (2003). Harvey and Lee: How the CIA framed Oswald. Arlington, TX: Quasar. p. 528. Armstrong posited two different Oswalds, one he refers to as Lee, and one he refers to as Harvey; the person killed in the Dallas police station was referred to as Harvey.  When using Armstrong, the time line refers to the activities of Harvey.
33. Ibid, p. 532.
34. Ibid, p. 532.
35. Ibid, p. 532.
36. Ibid, pp. 533-534.
37. Ibid, p. 534.
38. Ibid, p. 534.
39. WC 8H 136.
40. Armstrong, p. 535. Actually, 4909 Magazine is first given as the address, but 4905 Magazine is the address given later.
41. Ibid, p. 538.
42. Ibid., p. 540.
43. Video of Judyth Vary Baker, Title II. (2005). Amsterdam: Dankbaar.
44. Armstrong, p. 542.
45. Ibid., p. 542.
46. Ibid, p. 545.
47. Ibid, p. 545.                 
48. Ibid, p. 547-548. The Customs agent, Thomas/Young was the grandfather of the second author, Kelly Thomas Cousins. Thomas/Young died in 1973. 
49. Ibid, p. 550.
50. Ibid, p. 550.
51. Ibid, p. 551.
52. Ibid, pp. 550-551.
53. Ibid, p. 562.
54. Ibid, p. 563-565.
55. Ibid, p. 568.
56. Ibid, p. 569.
57. Ibid, p. 571.
58. Ibid, p. 573.
59. Ibid, p. 574-575.
60. Waldron, L. & Hartman, T. (2005). Ultimate Sacrifice. New York: Carroll & Graf. p. 525.
61. Armstrong, p. 591.
62. Ibid, p. 597.
63. Ibid, p. 599.
64. Ibid, p. 600.
65. Ibid, p. 606.
66. e-mail posted for Judyth by Laura Hanning. Re: Why I have a ‘memory for details’- also a map of Lee’s 4905 Magazine & my 1032 Maringo. (12/1/2002) .
67. deMohrenschildt, G. (1977). I’m a Patsy! I’m a Patsy! p. 32. Manuscript published as an Appendix to the staff report of the House and Senate Committee on Assassinations (HSCA). Also available on some internet sites, including
68. Shackleford, M. (1995). Lee Harvey Oswald’s military records. Grand Prairie, TX: JFK Lancer Productions & Publications, p. 34.
69. Phelps, p. 28.
70. Ibid, p. 28.
71. Ibid, p. 28.
72. Ibid, p. 30.
73. Ibid, p. 23
74. Ibid, p. 30.
75. Ibid,  p. 31.

76. Armstrong,  p. 68.
77. Summers, A. (1980). Conspiracy. New York: McGraw-Hill. p. 155.
78. Armstrong, p. 262.
79. e-mail from Judyth to JDW, (2/16/2003).
80. deMohrenschildt, G.
81. Baker, J. (11/21/2002). RE: Did the family know? Judyth recounts : Lee couldn’t remember location of dad’s grave at cemetery. Post on jfkresearch .“ [Two Oswalds] would account for some of the unusual behavior of Lee concerning the Sunday tour of New Orleans Lee gave me the same day he visited his father’s grave...he did not know where it was and had to ask about it’s location...why would he never have visited it before, and why did he forget his father’s grave location? I was waiting wearing high heels, until the guy went back to the office after showing Lee, and wanted Lee to be by himself. Lee had to ask where the grave was. Why? I am trying to understand this and some equally interesting actions of his.”
82. Many years ago, JDW had a student who was collecting remote sensing data on weather. He was interested in studying weather changes at Chernobyl after the explosion there in 1986. He was invited to go to Washington, then to Reston to CIA headquarters. After informing the secretary of his reasons for being there, she made a few calls, and told him to wait in the hallway. A bit later a man showed up, handed the student several hundred pages of printout, and asked , ‘Is this what you need?’ After a brief perusal, the student realized this data was precisely the data he sought. The mysterious man ended with, “I wasn’t here, I didn’t give you this data, and we never met.” Then he walked off. A week later, the student brought his data to my office, still awed by the interchange. After seeing the data, I said, “Yeah, but how in the world will you ever document how you got the data, for your thesis?”
83. Video interview of Judyth Vary Baker, Title III. (2005) Amsterdam: Dankbaar.
84.Fonzi, G. (1993). The last investigation. New York: Thunder’s Mouth Press.
85. Sample, G. & Collom, M. (1997). The Men on the Sixth Floor. Garden Grove, CA: Sample Graphics.
86. See Brown, W. (1998). TSBD evidence places LBJ ‘hitman’ in sniper’s nest. Extra edition of JFK/Deep Politics Quarterly, 3, 3; Williams, J.D. (1999). Lyndon B. Johnson and the assassination conspiracies. JFK/Deep Politics Quarterly, 4,2,25-28; Brown, W. (2001). Malcolm Wallace fingerprint:”It’s him!!” JFK/Deep Politics Quarterly, 7,4-6; a 34 point match was made with Wallace and the previously unidentified fingerprint on the sixth floor of the TSBD.
87. Mellen, J. (2005). A Fairwell to Justice: Jim Garrison, JFK’s Assassination, and the Case that should have changed History. Dulles, VA: Potomac Books. p.47.
88. Thomas/Young’s granddaughter, as indicated earlier, is the co-author, Kelly Thomas Cousins. This early meeting of a Customs agent near the US-Canadian border (Oswald reported to Judyth that he crossed the border, unaccompanied by an adult) might be coincidental, or it may play into aspects of Armstrong’s Harvey-Lee theory. In either case, this is a fascinating tidbit.
89. Armstrong  p. 352.
90. Mellen, p. 70.
91. Ibid, p. 379.
92. Wilds, J. & Harkey, I. (1990). Alton Ochsner: Surgeon of the South. Baton Rouge, LA: Louisiana State University Press.