Real historical research is like following not a string, but rather a dozen tangled strings, to see where they might lead. In the case of the assassination of John F. Kennedy, that research has been done by historians who present a mostly false and bland portrait of the man, and a “research community” comprised of various characters, enough of them honest, intelligent and intensely dedicated. It is always left to inquisitive minds to decide who is real, who is a charlatan. I have decided to proceed on the assumption that John Armstrong is the real deal.
Armstrong wrote the book Harvey and Lee, How the CIA Framed Oswald. It is hard to come by, costs $90, and was printed in China. Due to budget constraints, the book comes with a CD rather than slick photos sections. That makes it hard reading. It is 983 pages, and I am on page 170. It is not a narrative, but rather a compendium of evidence that Armstrong wanted to make public for historical purposes, and also to provide resources for other researchers to build on.
The JFK murder case was solved decades ago. Evidence points to disgruntled Cuban émigrés, Mafioso, the Dallas Police Department and elements of the US military and Secret Service, but those suspects together had to be organized from an even higher source. The CIA and FBI left fingerprints all over, CIA in both execution and cover-up, FBI mostly in cover-up. But again, the “A” in CIA is “Agency,” meaning that the order to murder JFK in public came from an even higher source. It gets murky at that point, and anyone who thinks they know the vital center of the decision-making apparatus that pushed the button is deluded. Deniability is built in to the operations, and the higher one goes up the food chain, the greater the deniability.
I write to highlight one tiny matter here, just to demonstrate John Armstrong’s dogged pursuit of truth. The Warren Report states that Oswald attended Arlington Heights High School in New Orleans in 1952. However, among evidence strewn about the Commission report’s 26 volumes of evidence was testimony from his older brother Robert that he had attended W.C. Stripling Junior High School in Fort Worth at that time. The Warren Commission Report ignored Robert’s testimony, and probably only included it by accident.
Armstrong pursued the matter to the source, getting hold of the list of teachers at Stripling in 1952 to see any remembered Oswald there at that time. Such work is grueling and often unrewarding, but in this case not. After long pursuit, he finally located Frank Kudlaty. This was not just a man who remember Oswald in attendance, but one who had more to offer. On the morning of November 23, 1963, hours after the assassination, he got a phone call from FBI agents who demanded that he meet them at Stripling and turn over any records of Oswald’s attendance. He did so, and those records vanished into history. (FBI, as any who have read in depth about the assassination know, is a black hole for evidence.)
So what we are left with is something Armstrong has found in many other places – evidence of two “Lee Harvey Oswald’s.” They lived parallel lives. They had two mothers, Lee’s a tall and attractive woman, and Harvey’s a short and dumpy impostor (and the one the public came to know as the real mother). The one who called himself “Lee” was a boisterous, pugnacious and none-too-bright lad who grew up in Texas and New Orleans, while the other, “Harvey,” was an eastern European emigrant who was bookish and who spoke fluent Russian. The two identities were merged in the 1950’s. Both joined the marines under the LHO name.
The purpose of the merged identities – who can say for sure – but it appears to me to be mere spycraft. The placement of agents in foreign countries is a tough business, as places like the U.S., Russia, China, Turkey, Israel – any country with intelligence agencies – are on the lookout. They check backgrounds. The Russian language can be learned, but we can all spot those for whom American English is a second language, and the same with any other. So a native-speaking emigrant would be ideal, and supplying him with an American background would facilitate his placement abroad.
So we all know that Lee Harvey Oswald defected to the Soviet Union. That defector, a U.S. spy, was “Harvey.” It was also “Harvey” who was murdered in Dallas on November 24, 1963. But Lee was present in Dallas as well. As Harvey was escorted out the front door of the Texas Theater that Friday, another Oswald was escorted out the back. I’ve got many pages left to read, but assume that it was Lee who exited the scene via the back door.
I regard the entire matter of two Oswald’s as innocent and normal, probably done all over the globe in the spycraft business. But it takes a lot of shepherding to keep the identities merged, to monitor both lives. So imagine the shrieks and howls of alarm in FBI offices on 11/22/63 when certain people with inside knowledge realized that the man charged with assassinating JFK was someone they had been monitoring and shepherding for years. If it came to light there were two of them, and that both were U.S. government agents, a major scandal would erupt.
So agents were dispatched everywhere to confiscate records. Stripling Junior High School was evidence of two people, as Harvey, in jail in Dallas, was never there. So FBI agents got hold of the Stripling records and destroyed them. John Armstrong, more a historian than any who are prominent in Barnes and Noble, academia and professional societies, stumbled over that evidence, and did not ignore it. Now we have some real history and much, much more to learn.
I hope someday that the real historians of our time, men like John Armstrong, are featured on postage stamps, while the charlatans, the William Manchesters, Bill O’Reilly’s, and yes, Vincent Bugliosis, fade into richly deserved obscurity.