Friday, March 31, 2017

James Norwood on Harvey & Lee

James Norwood, a Ph.D. at Berkeley, has written an article promoting the John Armstrong “Harvey & Lee” theory.

As a credentialed academic, Mr. Norwood should know better. This article will discuss some of his assertions, even though most have been previously refuted.

Jim Wilcott was a CIA finance officer in the 1950s, who testified before the House Select Committee on Assassinations in the late 1970s of his knowledge of the funding of the so-called Oswald Project.

The HSCA conducted a full investigation into the matter and found his allegations were “not worthy of belief.” The document shown represents notes made by an unknown person. If Wilcott made the notes, it should be said that he did not testify under oath to most of what is asserted there. Wilcott, who was an embittered former employee who became a left-wing extremist, is discussed here:

For the capital crime of the assassination of a president, the typical investigative and judicial machinery in America was suspended and replaced by a state-sponsored inquest.

This is a silly argument that I see made again and again. LHO’s unfortunate murder by Ruby, which guaranteed he would not be tried since you can’t put a dead man on trial, was the reason the commission was created. Nothing was “suspended”, and a professor should know better.

"there are details in Mr. Ely's memoranda which will require material alteration and, in some instances, omission."

Simply a case of unfortunate language that allows the H&L people to run wild. Jenner just meant that he didn’t agree with everything Ely had come up with. In other words, some things would have to be changed and some taken out.

Imagine if the FBI had given the Warren Commission (WC) Oswald's Stripling JHS records from 1954 to compare with his Beauregard JHS file

The only evidence of Stripling records that show LHO’s attendance there is the recollections of Frank Kudlaty, who “remembered” the FBI coming to confiscate the records after Armstrong influenced him with loaded questions. There is also evidence that Armstrong mentor Jack White was a friend of Kudlaty and this no doubt clouded his judgement. Kudlaty apparently didn’t think anything sinister was going before speaking to Armstrong since he never reported the alleged “confiscation.” Kudlaty told Armstrong "I went into the school and located Oswald's records. In fact I found both Lee Harvey and Robert Oswald's records for Stripling." What probably happened is that Kudlaty found Robert's records and thought he also saw LHO's records. Kudlaty was recalling events from over 30 years before when talking to Armstrong.

Robert thought LHO attended Stripling in 1951-52. From his testimony:

Mr. JENNER. And, at that time, I take it your brother Lee was attending Arlington Heights High School? That would be 1952?

Mr. OSWALD. Just a minute, please.

In 1952 Lee was 13 years old. He would be attending W. C. Stripling Junior High School then.

Mr. JENNER. I see. For the school year 1951-52?

Mr. OSWALD. Yes, sir. Junior high school there was from the seventh to the ninth grades. And as soon as he was through with his sixth year, he started attending W. C. Stripling Junior High School.

But Robert was mistaken. LHO attended Ridgelea Elementary as a sixth grader in the 1951 to 1952 school year. He WOULD HAVE attended Stripling if they had stayed in Fort Worth but LHO and Marguerite moved to NYC in August, 1952 so that never happened. When Robert was at Stripling in 1948-49 (the last year he was there) LHO was in third grade and he could not have “remembered” him at Stripling since he was too young to be in Junior High which, as Robert pointed out, was from seventh to ninth grades. Robert was simply wrong.

The careful student of this case will recognize that there was no plausible reason for Marguerite to move from New Orleans to New York

Marguerite stated more than once that her reason for the move was to be near John Pic.

Imagine if the FBI had given the WC HARVEY Oswald and LEE Oswald's Beauregard School records to compare for the 8th grade in the Spring of 1954

Greg Parker discusses the Beauregard school records here:

Imagine if the FBI had given the WC Tarrant County tax records which showed Marguerite Ekdahl's purchase of 101 San Saba on July 7, 1947

First, to my knowledge, Armstrong has refused to provide the records, so it is hypocritical of him to do the same thing he frequently accuses others of. And Armstrong has shown in the past that he cannot necessarily be trusted to provide accurate information since his book is riddled with missing and inaccurate citations and outright misrepresentations. But assuming Armstrong is honestly reporting what these records show, the fact that Marguerite bought a house at this time does not indicate 2 Oswalds. One explanation is that the alleged purchase occurred after several arguments with her husband Edwin Ekdahl and she may have bought the house as a backup plan of sorts and then rented it after she and Ekdahl reconciled.

Greg Parker discusses 101 San Saba here:

Imagine if the WC had interviewed Palmer McBride, Walter Gehrke, members of the New Orleans Amateur Astronomy Association re: meeting Oswald in New Orleans in 1957-58.

Palmer McBride was interviewed by the FBI, nobody tried to avoid him. If he had testified before the WC, he would have been presented with the documentation that showed he was wrong. This is exactly what happened when David Lifton interviewed him pre-Armstrong. All of this is discussed in detail here:

Imagine if the WC had subpoenaed employment records of the Pfisterer Dental Lab which showed HARVEY Oswald's dates of employment in 1957-58.

We can imagine that, but it serves no purpose since LHO’s tax documents ARE available and show no such thing-as discussed at the link above. When the documents were released, Armstrong predictably said they were forgeries.

Imagine if the WC had brought the Marguerite Oswald impostor face to face with Edward John Pic (husband of Marguerite Claverie) during his WC testimony. Imagine if the WC had brought the Marguerite Oswald impostor face to face with Julian and Myrtle Evans during their WC testimony.

This is one of the weakest arguments made by H&L theorists and one that can be turned around and used as evidence of just the opposite. Unless Pic and the Evans’ had no access to TV or magazines or newspapers, they did come “face to face” with his Marguerite in a manner of speaking. And Pic or the Evans’ or any number of individuals who knew the “real” Marguerite could have come forward at any time to say the Marguerite they saw was not the Marguerite they knew. In fact, common sense tells us they would have, but no one ever did.

Imagine if the WC had properly examined the Marine Corps Unit diaries (HARVEY in Taiwan) and LEE Oswald's numerous hospital visits in September, 1958.

LHO was in Taiwan. The HSCA did much good work, but was wrong when they said he wasn’t. Some of the discrepancies in the record can be explained by the fact that LHO’s medical records probably moved with him. However, not all discrepancies are explainable beyond simple mistakes.

Imagine if the WC asked Ed Voebel about his friendship with HARVEY Oswald in the spring of 1954, and later with LEE Oswald in the 1954-55 school year.

Armstrong thinks Voebel knew both “Harvey” and “Lee” but he never indicated he knew 2 Oswalds.

Imagine if the WC asked New Orleans Realty for the 1954-56 rental records for 126 Exchange Place, where both Oswald families had lived.

The Oswald’s time at 126 Exchange is well documented. There is no evidence of any funny business other than mistaken witnesses.

Imagine if the WC questioned Mrs. Logan Magruder or Mrs. Oris Duane about their contact with Marguerite Oswald in 1960-61 in New Orleans.

They didn’t need to question them, they were on record. If the WC was aware that people such as Armstrong would someday be pushing a 2 Oswald theory, they might have shown the women documentary evidence that would have proved they were simply mistaken about when they saw Marguerite. But few people could imagine such nonsense would persist into the 21st century. The HSCA sought to refute double Oswald allegations and some of their work applies to Armstrong:

Imagine if the WC asked for records from the Hotel Senator (New Orleans) in 1957 and 1958 for "Marguerite Oswald."

The Hotel Senator theory is again based on the mistaken recollections of McBride.

Imagine if the WC, or John Hart Ely, had seen the photograph of Marguerite Claverie Oswald at Paul's Shoe Store at Christmas, 1957.

They would have seen a woman who looked just like the woman in other photos from about the same time except she often wore glasses.

Imagine if the WC took testimony from Frank Kudlaty, Fran Schubert, Doug Gann, Jackie/Bobby Pitts regarding LHO at Stripling in 1954.

In that case, they would have been shown evidence that their respective recollections were in error and they would have promptly recanted as McBride did when confronted by Lifton. McBride quickly recanted even though, of course, he was not under oath when he spoke to Lifton.

Imagine if the WC asked the Texas Dept of Public Safety for a copy of LHO's drivers license.

That would have been a waste of time since LHO had only a learner’s permit.

On the day after Christmas, 1942, Marguerite Oswald chose to place her three-year-old son Lee in an orphanage. Inexplicably, in the years immediately following World War II, Marguerite had sufficient discretionary income to purchase properties.

Armstrong wants to believe that Marguerite was getting CIA money and that was the only way she could survive. Marguerite chose to place LHO in an orphanage to save money and for her own convenience. For an analysis of Marguerite's finances see: Marguerite's Finances

On November 15, 1951, Marguerite Oswald purchased a small home at 4833 Birchman in Fort Worth ...  Was the purchase of the new home, which was located within walking distance of Stripling Junior High, intended to once again create confusion in changing schools and school districts?  It turned out that Marguerite never occupied the Birchman home, packing up and moving to New York in 1952.  If anything is clear about the purchase of Birchman, it is that this was not intended as an investment property for Marguerite.  The tiny, 664-square-foot home was purchased for $4,190, a staggering sum for such a small home in 1951.

Norwood fails to mention that someone else paid this "staggering sum." That would be Robert Powell who bought the house from Marguerite in April, 1953 assuming the $4190 mortgage and paying her $1250 down.

But it turns out that there are too many instances when the occupancy of 2220 Thomas Place by a woman named Marguerite Oswald conflicts with documented residences of Marguerite Oswald at other locations.

Marguerite lived at this address at the time of the assassination. All of Armstrong’s evidence that she lived there previously is based on eyewitness statements, many of which were given 30 plus years after the fact. Armstrong thinks witnesses trump documentary evidence but they don’t.

The best way to study Harvey and Lee is to read the book in conjunction with documents from the Warren Commission's twenty-six volumes of hearings and exhibits. By examining entire documents and testimony from the Warren Commission, the diligent reader will see John Armstrong's findings corroborated by primary source materials.

The best way to study H&L is with the knowledge of the scientific evidence that shows the premise is false:

Professional investigators such as police, FBI etc., as well as attorneys and private investigators know that during any investigation there will be conflicting evidence found. John Armstrong and Professor Norwood want you to think that every discrepancy is evidence of two separate individuals. But who would have to be involved for such a plot to exist?

Considering the mountain of documentary evidence in this case it is not surprising to find discrepancies. Especially when Marguerite lived in more than 50 different places by the time of the assassination:

Researchers from both sides of the JFK debate such as myself, Greg Parker, Jeremy Bojczuk and David Lifton have spoken out against this nonsensical concept and provided much research that refutes it (see “Resources” section). While every discrepancy cannot be resolved to the satisfaction of all, most of the Armstrong assertions have been disproven and scientific evidence has shown the theory to be without merit.

Friday, March 17, 2017

LHO Spoke No Russian in Russia?

One of the most easily refuted claims in John Armstrong’s book Harvey & Lee is that Lee Harvey Oswald (“Harvey” per Armstrong) spoke no Russian in the Soviet Union. One purpose of this silly allegation is to prove that Marina spoke English while in Russia and she was therefore a spy. The following excerpt is from page 334.

NOTE: When Oswald and Marina met, danced, and agreed to a date the following Friday they spoke a common language. Was it Russian or English? The HSCA asked Marina, "At this time you were speaking in Russian together?" She answered, "Yes. He spoke with an accent so I assumed he was from another state. " Oswald came in contact with hundreds of people in Russia, but Marina is the only person-THE ONLY PERSON [emphasis in original] who said that Oswald spoke Russian while in Russia. Ana Ziger, who saw Oswald three or four times a week during the 2 1 /2 years he lived in Minsk, said he never spoke a single word of Russian. All of Oswald's male friends spoke English and he associated with girls from the foreign language institute who spoke English. Oswald, as a cold war spy in a hostile country, would never dare to speak Russian to Marina or anyone. Therefore when Oswald and Marina met it is almost certain she spoke English with Oswald.

But Armstrong’s own witness, Ana Ziger, does not confirm his allegation. In 1995, Ziger told an Argentinian publication that “Nobody could say anything [about lies LHO told] because he spoke Russian poorly Dad would translate ...” So, LHO certainly did speak Russian, albeit poorly at the time, and Alexander Ziger translated as a matter of convenience.

There is, of course, a mountain of additional evidence refuting the assertion. The definitive article debunking the claim was written by John Delane Williams.

As Williams points out, there were dozens, if not hundreds, of individuals in Russia who could testify to the fact that LHO spoke Russian. Ernst Titovets knew LHO well in Russia and stated that he spoke Russian. Upon learning of Armstrong’s claims, Titovets interviewed the following people who knew LHO and confirmed that he spoke Russian:

· Vyacheslav Stelmakh

· Vladimir Zhidovich

· Dr. Alexander Mastykin

To sum up, another bold assertion by Armstrong is completely without merit.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Dr. Milton Kurian

After a highly publicized event, there is a tendency for people to want to become a part of the event and therefore a part of history. Wilt Chamberlain once noted “As I've traveled the world, I've probably had 10,000 people tell me that they saw my 100 point game …” although the actual number of people in attendance was 4124.

Such is apparently the case with Dr. Milton Kurian who wrote a letter to Jackie Kennedy in 1964. Kurian, a psychiatrist, told Mrs. Kennedy that he had examined Lee Harvey Oswald in March of 1964. Double Oswald theorist John Armstrong uses Dr. Kurian’s remembrances as proof of “Harvey” Oswald. This article will show that Dr. Kurian could not have seen LHO and that “Harvey” does not exist.

Dr. Kurian says he remembers the time of his experience with LHO because he was leaving his job as a psychiatrist for domestic relations court in New York and places it as March, 1953. But Kurian could not have seen Lee Harvey Oswald for several reasons. Warren Commission staff member John Ely explained the first problem with Kurian’s account in a staff memo:

He [Kurian] states that the interview occurred toward the end of March, 1953; however, in view of the fact that he refers to a report from Youth House which had been prepared prior to his meeting the boy, it must have been later in that year.

Ely is being charitable toward Kurian here, but the latter is adamant about the date he saw LHO who never entered Youth House until April 16, 1953 and there is no doubt that Kurian did not see LHO under the scenario he described. In the same memo, Ely touched on the second reason to disbelieve Kurian:

The Kurian letter was of course prepared after the assassination and I suspect its contents were influenced by the events of November 22, 1963. If, however, Dr. Kurian’s records contain the father figure analysis, they would be of great interest indeed.

The problem is, Kurian has no documentation proving that he interviewed LHO. Ely knew that without a report, Kurian’s assertions were essentially worthless. The Warren Commission would have wanted to use Kurian's diagnosis that LHO was mentally unstable but could not without confirming documentation. Other details from Kurian’s combined account (which includes the original letter to Mrs. Kennedy, a letter to Armstrong and a taped interview) reinforce the fact that the boy he saw was not LHO. Kurian said that Marguerite was married five times and spoke of LHO’s “stepfathers.” But Marguerite was married three times and LHO had only one stepfather. Kurian also thought that LHO’s brothers went to school in his place during his truancy but even Armstrong admits this never happened since John and Robert were much too old to pose as children and would have no reason to do so.

Instead of accepting the obvious, that Kurian was a well-meaning individual who was simply wrong, Armstrong uses the incident as proof of “Harvey” who he believes was around 4’8” tall while “Lee” was 5’4”. But as I show in the following article, the Bronx Zoo photo that ostensibly shows the small, emaciated “Harvey”, is actually the one and only Lee Harvey Oswald who was indeed around 5’4” tall at the time.

In conclusion, Dr. Kurian was a well-meaning man who was probably a fine physician. He was simply mistaken in his observations and perhaps motivated by a desire for 15 minutes of fame. To see the documents referenced in this article, go to:

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Leander D'Avy

The story Leander D’Avy told investigators for Jim Garrison and the HSCA is one of the least believable tales in JFK assassination literature. Predictably, John Armstrong chose to use it in his 2003 book Harvey and Lee as an example of a sighting of “Lee”. The fact is, he must use stories like this because “Lee” must turn up in places where “Harvey” isn’t to make his two Oswald theory plausible.

Fortunately for Armstrong, after any publicized event such as the assassination, eyewitnesses will come forward and swear they have seen people in places where it was impossible for them to have been for various reasons (see John McAdams, Assassination Logic, p. 42-43). Let’s look at Armstrong’s assertions regarding D’Avy starting with pages 401-402 of Harvey and Lee:

Leander D’Avy was the doorman at the Court of Two Sisters and had worked there for two years after retiring from 20 years service in the US Air Force. In June 1962 a young man walked in and asked D’Avy if Clay Bertrand worked at the restaurant (Clay Bertrand was an alias used by New Orleans businessman Clay Shaw). The night manager, Gene Davis, overheard the conversation and told D’Avy that he wanted to talk to the young man.

After the young man left D’Avy overheard Gene Davis tell a waitress that the young man had been behind the Iron Curtain. D’Avy remembered the young man resided in the apartment/storeroom over the restaurant on two occasions-in July 1962 and again in November 1963 (on both occasions Harvey Oswald was living in Dallas). D ‘Avy described the young man as light complexioned with a scar over one eye, about 5’9,” in his mid-twenties, well built, and wore yellow pants. After the assassination D’Avy saw photographs of Lee Harvey Oswald in the newspaper and was positive he was the same man that he saw at the restaurant. But the man accused of assassinating the President, Harvey Oswald, was living with his family and working in Dallas in the summer of 1962. The man who D’Avy saw was Lee Oswald.

NOTE: Eugene Claire Davis, aka Gene Davis, worked at the Court of Two Sisters Restaurant for 12 years and in 1962-63 was the night manager. Davis was an active FBI informant who had reported to the Bureau since 1960. He was given FBI informant number “NO 1189-C” on October 11, 1961.

Lee Oswald was the young man seen by D ‘Avy wearing yellow pants. Following the assassination there were no yellow pants found by the Dallas Police among Harvey Oswald’s possessions.

One evening D’Avy visited the Show Bar and noticed Lee Oswald sitting at one of the tables. He also looked across the room and saw Jim Ivey (“Tiger Jim”) talking to Clay Bertrand (Clay Shaw). Ivey, a former professional boxer who worked at the El Morocco Bar in the French Quarter, confronted D’Avy and began punching him. A Cuban refugee named “Pepe” intervened and asked Ivey what had happened. Ivey replied, “He (D’Avy ) knows about us.” Ivey was concerned that D’Avy had overheard a conversation between himself and his CIA contact, Clay Bertrand (Clay Shaw). The significance of Leander D’avy’s testimony is that it places Lee Oswald in New Orleans in the summer of 1962 while Harvey Oswald was in Fort Worth.

On another occasion, when D’Avy was working as doorman at the Court of Two Sisters, a car from Texas carrying several passengers stopped at the loading zone in front of the restaurant. When D’Avy asked the driver of the car to move, a man, whom D’Avy later recognized as Jack Ruby, reached his arm out the window of the car and slapped him. A woman in the car said rather loudly, “Jack, what did you do that for?”

On page 730, Armstrong again mentions the D’Avy story:

On a Saturday morning in late October or early November the doorman at the Court of Two Sisters Restaurant, Leander D’Avy, was looking for his boss, Gene Davis, to collect his paycheck. One of the waiters told D’Avy that Davis was in the storeroom above the restaurant. When D’ Avy entered the storeroom he was surprised to learn that it had been converted into an apartment with tables, chairs, a bed, and a kitchenette. He asked Gene Davis for his paycheck and noticed that Lee Oswald, David Ferrie, and four unidentified men were nearby.

Both D’ Avy and Davis had met Lee Oswald in June 1962 at the Court of Two Sisters Restaurant after Oswald visited the bar and asked for Clay Bertrand. After D’Avy collected his paycheck from Davis, he left and returned to the restaurant.

NOTE: Gene Davis had been an active FBI informant since October 11, 1961. This means that an FBI informant was aware of Lee Oswald prior to the assassination.

We will revisit the Armstrong allegations per D’Avy, but first it is important to study the evolution of D’Avy’s story over the years to judge the believability of his assertions. D’Avy called New Orleans Assistant District Attorney Andrew Sciambra, with whom he was acquainted, in August of 1967. D’Avy told Sciambra, who was working with Jim Garrison in his re-investigation of the JFK case, that the man he had seen “looked very much like Lee Harvey Oswald.” He also stated “since he saw a picture of Oswald he has been trying to place the face.” D’Avy almost certainly saw Oswald’s photo when everyone else in America first did – immediately after the assassination. I have to assume that not only did D’Avy not believe his information was important enough to report to authorities in 1963, it also took him nearly four years to “place the face” to Oswald. So D’Avy’s initial description of “Oswald” is far from a rock-solid identification.

D’Avy next spoke to Sciambra in November of 1967, and it seems in the ensuing months, his memory had somehow improved. He now said the man in the yellow pants was “identical” to Oswald. He provided new details about Shaw as well, stating that Shaw was at a gay hangout called the Court of Two Sisters Restaurant several times and spoke to Gene Davis on at least some of these occasions. D’Avy also added Attorney Dean Andrews, a key player in the Garrison saga, to the mix, although he would not tie Andrews to any of the others in his tale. He added several colorful characters to his story including a Texas millionaire who looked like Alan Ludden of “Password” fame. Finally, D’Avy added the detail about “the iron curtain” to this version of his assertions.

In December of 1967, Sciambra interviewed D’Avy at his home where he added the curious detail that “Clay Bertrand” had worked at the Court of Two Sisters. It is, of course, beyond belief that a prominent individual such as Shaw, who ran the International Trade Mart in New Orleans, would be working part time at a restaurant. Sciambra also showed D’Avy photographs of suspects in Garrison’s investigation including David Ferrie, Sergio Arcacha Smith and Loren Hall. Although he identified Smith, D’Avy said only that Ferrie “looks familiar but he cannot place him exactly as to time and place.”

As we have seen, the story D’Avy told Sciambra gradually expanded to include more characters and detail and although the Garrison probe ended with the acquittal of Clay Shaw in 1969, D’Avy wasn’t finished spinning his yarn. In 1977, D’Avy was interviewed by HSCA Staff Counsel Belford Lawson and investigator Jack Moriarty but now expanded his story to include new allegations. D’Avy said that in November, 1963, he went to the Court of Two Sisters to find Gene Davis to pick up his paycheck and was told by a waiter that Davis was in an upstairs storeroom. D’Avy entered the storeroom, which had been converted to an apartment complete with a bed, table and chairs and a kitchenette. There, he claimed to have seen a total of eight men:

· Lee Harvey Oswald, who was lying on the bed.

· David Ferrie, who D’Avy could not identify “exactly as to time and place” ten years before.

· A Cuban known to be an acquaintance of Ferrie.

· Gene Davis.

· An unidentified man in the back of the room.

· And most notably, the Three Tramps of conspiracy fame, one of whom had whiskers and sported a sailor suit complete with khaki pants.

What did the HSCA investigator’s think of D’Avy’s story? Lawson wrote:

The potentially crucial significance of the information disclosed makes investigation of the witness’s leads virtually compulsory.

But under a section titled “Evaluation of the Witness’ Credibility” Lawson stated:

The witness’s frequent contradictions raise serious questions about his credibility. For example, the witness changed the number of persons present at the storeroom meeting, changed from saying that he was paid by check to saying that he was paid in cash, changed from saying (a) that after testifying for Garrison he moved from New Orleans to Jackson to saying (b) that he moved to a different part of Jackson, and even changed the date of the storeroom meeting from November ’63 to summer ’62, then to summer ’63.

So, it seems that the HSCA investigators didn’t find D’Avy’s story very believable at all. However, they felt they had to pursue it, just as the FBI chased down dozens of leads following the assassination that proved to be dead ends.

Leander D’Avy’s story is clearly not believable for many reasons. But what motive would D’Avy have for telling such a yarn? A careful reading of his statements reveals the possibility of bad blood between D’Avy and Davis. D’Avy did not come forward with his story until August, 1967 and then only after reading in the media that his boss Gene Davis was “involved” in the assassination. In his November, 1967 account to Sciambra, D’Avy said that Davis and several other men including the club owner’s son “formed a little clique”, a fact which he apparently was not happy about. D’Avy also gave Sciambra a photograph of a friend of Davis’ who had gotten very drunk one night. Since D’Avy knew Garrison was investigating Davis, it is reasonable to assume that he didn’t think the photo would help Davis’ cause. Similarly, in his December, 1967 interview, D’Avy mentions Clay Shaw, Sergio Arcacha Smith and Oswald, all of whom were subjects of Garrison’s investigation, as individuals he saw talking to Davis. Finally, when referring to the “iron curtain” allegation D’Avy stated he would “confront Gene Davis and prove what (I am) saying is true.”

Having looked at D’Avy’s story and possible motives in detail, let’s revisit John Armstrong’s assertions regarding D’Avy:

Clay Bertrand was an alias used by New Orleans businessman Clay Shaw.

Armstrong makes this statement as if it were a fact. Actually, Shaw denied using the alias and it has never been proven that he did. For a complete discussion, see:

After the assassination D’Avy saw photographs of Lee Harvey Oswald in the newspaper and was positive he was the same man that he saw at the restaurant.

As mentioned previously, D’Avy was less certain that he had seen Oswald in his initial statement. D’Avy’s story of seeing no less than eleven assassination related figures also compromises his credibility. Armstrong neglects to mention D’Avy’s original statement and many of his more colorful recollections.

… the man accused of assassinating the President, Harvey Oswald, was living with his family and working in Dallas in the summer of 1962. The man who D’Avy saw was Lee Oswald.

This is a logical fallacy that Armstrong makes throughout his book-a person sees someone or something and therefore his two Oswald theory is proven. It apparently never occurred to him that in some cases people honestly believe they have seen someone who they did not. In other cases, for various reasons, they simply lie.

Gene Davis had been an active FBI informant since October 11, 1961. This means that an FBI informant was aware of Lee Oswald prior to the assassination.

Gene Davis apparently was an FBI informant. In the real world, people such as Davis, who was the manager at a restaurant with an interesting clientele, are paid to provide the FBI with useful information. In Armstrong’s world, anyone associated with the FBI or CIA is someone to be mistrusted and who has ulterior motives. If Gene Davis had been aware of “Lee”, that would be news, but since the only evidence of this is Armstrong’s interpretation of D’Avy’s shaky assertions, it is safe to say it didn’t happen.

Lee Oswald was the young man seen by D’Avy wearing yellow pants. Following the assassination there were no yellow pants found by the Dallas Police among Harvey Oswald’s possessions.

Another Armstrong fallacy-there were no yellow pants found at “Harvey’s” so this proves that there were two Oswalds and that “Lee” owned the pants.

Ivey was concerned that D’Avy had overheard a conversation between himself and his CIA contact, Clay Bertrand (Clay Shaw).

Of course, there is no definitive proof that Shaw worked for the CIA or was Ivey’s contact and the source Armstrong gives (Lawson HSCA Memo) provides none.

He (D’Avy) asked Gene Davis for his paycheck and noticed that Lee Oswald, David Ferrie, and four unidentified men were nearby.

In this case, Armstrong has misrepresented what D’Avy said to make his point. The source he cites is the same July 8, 1977 HSCA memo written by Belford Lawson that I have used for this article. Lawson clearly states that D’Avy saw eight men and only characterized one man as “unidentified”. Armstrong has conveniently added the Three Tramps to the list of those men who were unidentified and hoped that the reader would not bother to check the source, which necessitates using the CD he provides with the book.

In conclusion, John Armstrong uses the story of Leander D’Avy as proof of a sighting of “Lee”. Armstrong employs a “hit and run” technique with D’Avy as he does throughout his book. That is, he makes an assertion that is either unsupported by the evidence, a complete misrepresentation or something “cherry picked” from witness testimony and then moves on to the next assertion. This methodology, which is illustrated very well by his treatment of D’Avy, should be of great concern to Armstrong’s adherents.

Margaret Keating

One of John Armstrong’s favorite investigative techniques is to suggest that since there are records that contain discrepancies, something sinister may be going on. But when others point out that mistakes and differences in records are a normal occurrence, Armstrong’s associates ridicule this idea and claim that so many unexplained discrepancies could not exist. But such inconsistencies can and do exist in the real world for varying reasons.

It turns out that Armstrong developed a theory as to the identity of the Marguerite “impostor” which he wisely chose not to pursue but does mention on page 133 in his book under a section titled “an unexplained curiosity.”

Margaret Keating Oswald was the first wife of Robert E. L. Oswald (father of Robert and Lee Harvey Oswald), whom she divorced in 1933. The court restored her last name to Keating, her maiden name, which she kept for the remainder of her life (she apparently never remarried). The name Margaret Keating and her address, 120 N. Telemachus Street, appear in New Orleans City Directories, telephone books, voter registration records, etc., from 1933 thru the early 1960's.

In the 1956 New Orleans City Directory, which records listings for the last half of 1955, the directory listed her as "Margt. Oswald," 120 N. Telemachus Street, New Orleans. This is the only occasion where the name "Margaret Keating" appears as Margt. Oswald-a name she had not used for the past 23 years. Perhaps this was a mistake, but perhaps not. These two listings appear during the time that both the short, dumpy heavy-set "Marguerite Oswald" imposter (whose true identity remains unknown) and the tall, nice-looking Marguerite Oswald lived in New Orleans. NOTE: Margaret Keating, who was 58 years old in 1954 and 67 years old in 1963, could have been the "Marguerite Oswald" imposter, but that possibility will not be explored or discussed in this book. For serious researchers, a telephone number and address were listed for Margaret Keating as late as 1996 in Baton Rogue (she was 100 in 1996).

So, for “serious researchers” only, Armstrong has provided a lead that he didn’t have enough faith in to pursue himself. Hopefully, no one wasted any time on this since Margaret Keating was born in 1892, not 1896 as Armstrong maintains and died in 1972.

She was four years older than Oswald and that is the obvious explanation for her fibbing about her age which he discusses on page 13. And it is obvious from her photo on Find-a-Grave that she is not the “impostor” Marguerite. Another H&L mystery solved.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

The Bronx Zoo Photo

One of the tenets of the John Armstrong Harvey & Lee theory is the difference in appearance between the two boys in 1952-53. “Lee” was tall and had a dominant personality, while “Harvey” was shorter and more slight in build.

Three witnesses are used by Armstrong and his supporters to bolster their case. In March, 1953, Dr. Milton Kurian allegedly interviewed “Harvey” at Youth House in New York. Kurian described “Harvey” as “thin and very quiet” and estimated his height at 4’8”. Dr. Renatus Hartogs interviewed “Harvey” at Youth House in April, 1953. Although Hartogs offered no height estimate, he described “Harvey” as “thin, malnourished, and reminiscent of children he had seen in concentration camps in Europe.” According to the theory, “Harvey” enrolled at Beauregard School in New Orleans in September, 1953. His homeroom teacher was Myra DaRouse and she remembered “Harvey” as being 4’6” to 4’8” tall. These witness accounts are the only evidence for Armstrong’s statement that “Harvey” was about 4’8” tall during this period.

The following photo of LHO was taken at the Bronx Zoo and represents “Harvey” in August, 1953 according to Armstrong and followers.

But a simple math formula proves that Kurian and DaRouse were mistaken in their remembrances. To find the height of an unknown object in a photograph, all that is necessary is to provide the known height of another object that is in about the same location in the photo. Armstrong associate David Josephs has provided the following information about the Bronx Zoo photo.

The rails at the Bronx zoo are 18" & 36" - yes I did call them to find out.


While it is obvious that the top of LHO’s head is the starting point for measurements at the top of the photo, finding the point to start measurements at the bottom of the photo is sometimes tricky. To overcome this problem, I decided to crop the photo at several points near the feet of LHO including the tip of his shoes and a point where I thought the rails started. Using the different lower crop points, I compared the known height of the 18-inch lower rail to the upper rail. After several attempts, I came up with 36.2 inches for the upper rail in comparison to the lower rail and decided that was close enough for this exercise. The rail slants slightly and rather than use photoshop to correct this and be accused of altering the photo, I consistently measured to the top of the rails on the right-hand side. This photo shows the top and bottom reference points used for calculations.

The height in inches of the known object is divided by the same object’s size in the photo. This gives a “ratio” by which the questioned object may be multiplied to find its true height. The following table displays the results.


Known Height

Height in Photo

Lower Rail



Upper Rail






LHO Calculated Height (18” Rail)

64.67 inches

5 feet 4.67 inches

LHO Calculated Height (36” Rail)

64.17 inches

5 feet 4.17 inches

Compared to the known heights of the two rails, LHO averages just over 5’4” tall in this photo. It should be noted that LHO was measured in 1952 and found to be 5’4” tall and the slightly over 5’4” figure that I arrived at would be consistent with his normal growth considering variables such as shoes and posture in the Zoo photo. Although my calculations here could be very slightly off, it would not be enough to make up the eight-inch difference between my results and the alleged height of “Harvey” Oswald. In conclusion, the remembrances of Dr. Kurian and Myra DaRouse are proven to be incorrect.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

The Hunter Photo

In 1967, Robert Oswald published his remembrances of LHO in the book, Lee: A Portrait of Lee Harvey Oswald by His Brother. In the book is a photo taken of LHO by Robert from a hunting trip at the Mercer farm owned by Robert's in-laws. The photo shows LHO with very short hair and a somewhat more muscular appearance than was usual for him.

Theorists have long commented on LHO’s appearance which they find suspicious and have sought to definitively date the photo. According to the official record, there were three leaves that LHO visited relatives in Fort Worth and therefore three time periods that the photo could have been taken; February-March 1957, June 1957 and November 1958. However, it is likely that the photo was taken during the February-March leave when LHO had just completed boot camp and was probably in the best shape of his life. He also sported a haircut known as a “high and tight” usually given to recruits where the sides are very closely shaved and the top somewhat longer. These facts would help to explain his somewhat unusual appearance.

Robert thought the photo was taken in February, 1958, but LHO was in the far east then and Robert probably meant to say February, 1957, which was when LHO’s leave began. But allowing for travel time and the fact that Robert stated the hunting trip occurred on a weekend in his book, it is likely the trip took place no sooner than March 2, 1957. Additionally, Robert’s wife Vada told the FBI (CE 2672, 26 H 28) that LHO visited during a leave from the Marines “about four or five months” after her marriage to Robert which took place in November, 1956 (1 H 365, WCT Robert Edward Lee Oswald).

Common Sense

Discussions of John Armstrong’s Harvey & Lee theory often involve scientific and other evidence. But what if we just look at the theory by asking some “common sense” questions?

Who Was Involved in the Plot?

How many individuals would have to be involved for the H&L plot to be true? It turns out the answer is dozens when you count the principals and the subordinates who would necessarily be involved. Some of the names on this list will not bother conspiracy theorists. James Angleton and David Phillips are well known suspects and universal villains with the CIA-did-it crowd. But some of the names on this list should give just about anyone pause, including LHO’s family members and friends. I invite anyone to think about the names here and honestly ask yourself how this could all come together.

The Behavior of the “Fake” Marguerite

The outlandish behavior of the woman who is supposed to be a CIA operative is one of the best common sense arguments against the theory. Jim Hargrove believes the fake Marguerite was a “spycatcher” whose job was to attract US intelligence agents who were aware of “Oswald’s” role as a spy and would then contact her. Marguerite would then report these agents to headquarters for elimination. But if she was a CIA operative, she had to be one of the world’s great actors since just about everyone that met her following the assassination thought she was crazy.

Why Didn’t People Who Knew the “Real” Marguerite Speak Out?

A simple question that Armstrong supporters can’t answer is why didn’t the “real” Marguerite’s friends from the early days come forward to say that the woman they saw on TV and in the newspapers (the impostor) was not the woman they knew? One weak argument is they were afraid. But they could have come forward at any time such as the seventies when the HSCA put the spotlight back on the case. Or they could have contacted an investigative journalist, such as Gaeton Fonzi, who was very sympathetic to the conspiracy cause and would have gladly listened to their story. None ever came forward and the people that testified or gave statements to the Warren Commission either recognized Marguerite or didn’t mention any problem.

LHO’s Military ID

Armstrong presents some contradictory records in his book to bolster his claim that of two Oswalds. But all of the records he presents show the same military id number. Exactly how did two men use the same ID at the same time and no one notice?


Armstrong says that both Oswalds attended Beauregard at the same time. He also says that LHO friend Ed Voebel knew both Oswalds. Armstrong has never claimed that “Harvey” and “Lee” were identical twins. Exactly how did this work and why did nobody notice?

James Wilcott

Update: May 3, 2020. Researcher Lance Payette brought the following information to my attention. To lend credibility to his story, promoters of the Wilcott affair have sometimes referred to his position in the CIA as “finance officer” (see, for example, Armstrong’s Harvey and Lee, page 262). But Payette told me in an email, “As far as I can tell, he was never a GS-9. He had been hired as a GS-5 and made a career employee at GS-7. A Resignation Interview Report dated April 15, 1966 shows him as still a GS-7 when he left the CIA. No matter how anyone tries to spin it, no one at GS-5 or GS-7 is an officer.”

The dubious allegations of James Wilcott, a former CIA employee who testified before the HSCA in executive session, are still repeated by theorists promoting the idea that the CIA was involved in the JFK assassination. [1] Wilcott (born 9-27-31 in Cleveland, OH [2]) told the HSCA that he had been informed by a fellow CIA employee while posted in Tokyo that Lee Harvey Oswald (LHO) had received disbursements from the agency under a cryptonym. [3] Here is a summary of the HSCA investigation into the matter. [4]

· Although Wilcott stated that he was told by a CIA case officer that LHO was an agent, he was unable to remember the name of that officer. He was also unable to identify the alleged cryptonym associated with LHO.

· Wilcott stated that although he heard the allegation that LHO was an agent shortly after JFK was assassinated, he did not check agency disbursement records to verify the claim or report the information to any investigative agencies.

· The HSCA interviewed 18 Tokyo CIA employees named by Wilcott [5] including the chief and deputy chief of station and none were aware of any information indicating LHO was an agent or any information that would confirm Wilcott's allegations.

· An intelligence analyst who Wilcott had named as having been involved in a conversation about the LHO allegations stated that he not in Toyko at the time Wilcott said he spoke to him, a fact confirmed by the HSCA.

· Almost all the Toyko employees interviewed by the HSCA said that if LHO had been employed by the agency that they would have known it.

· Based on all the evidence, the HSCA found that Wilcott’s allegation was “not worthy of belief.”

CIA Problem Case

What could have been Wilcott's motivation for his allegations? Although he downplayed difficulties with the CIA during his HSCA testimony, it turns out that Wilcott was “a problem case” according to Bruce Solie of the CIA Office of Security. [6] And Wilcott admitted his dissatisfaction with the CIA began even before JFK was killed. [7]

It is rather surprising that Wilcott ended up at the CIA since his US Army service was also checkered. According to one report, Wilcott repeatedly “complained of backache, but medical examination revealed no organic cause.” The report went on to say that Wilcott “continually used his alleged medical disability in order to get out of work and built such a wal [sic] around himself that his company commander felt that he was of no use to his outfit." [8]

A CIA document created at the time of his employment shows that the CIA did have at least some reservations about Wilcott. “The first thing of note is the scattered work and educational history of this fellow,” the report began. “On paper, the case is all against him … but the guy has intelligence.” The report concluded “He’s had a tough life to say the least … I think he’ll do a competent job and perhaps with experience and training do a very good one.” [9] Despite the concerns noted by the Army and the CIA, Wilcott was accepted into the agency, perhaps in part because he and his wife Elsie applied jointly.

Wilcott’s problems with the agency began when he was arrested in November of 1964 for public drunkenness by the Washington DC police. At the time, Wilcott was “fighting” with a man named Ray Robinson, [10] who was an antiwar activist with a long criminal history. By July of 1965, Wilcott was under internal investigation by the CIA. [11] That investigation disclosed that Wilcott was associated with several left-wing activists with communist ties. [12]

On September 29, 1965, Wilcott was given a polygraph examination which he passed. [13] A pre-polygraph interview found Wilcott to be “very naive” and stated that he would “grin at odd times and chuckle at others” in a way that seemed inappropriate. [14] In July of that same year, a different interviewer had found Wilcott to be a “very na├»ve, gullible individual” and again reported inappropriate laughing. [15] Another report of Wilcott’s naivety was given by George Brun (this is probably George Breen, a CIA friend of Wilcott) who also said that Wilcott “aspires to be an intellectual” and “reads considerably in the field of economics and social studies.” [16]

Wilcott was interviewed by the CIA Deputy Director of Security, Harlan Westrell, who informed him that “he was very lucky that he had been transferred to Florida because this prevented him from becoming more deeply involved with the various [leftist] individuals." Westrell went on to say that the CIA’s concern was because “several of these individuals had long term communist connections and it appeared that a recruitment pitch had been directed toward the subject.” Furthermore, Wilcott was “given a warning that he must not associate with these individuals anymore” and advised that any “recurrence of his past conduct would be sufficient grounds for dismissal from the agency.” [17] No doubt due to his deteriorating relationship with the agency, Wilcott resigned effective April 15, 1966. [18]

Wilcott as Anti-War Activist and Conspiracy Theorist

Wilcott admitted during his HSCA testimony that he became involved with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, an anti-war group, while still employed by the CIA. [19] In 1965, the group's president stated that he wasn’t sure "how much longer we can stay non violent" and in 1969, the SNCC changed its name to the Student National Coordinating Committee to reflect this change in policy. [20]

In 1968, Wilcott began efforts to promote his JFK assassination theories and contacted Glad Day Press to recount his CIA experience. [21] In 1970, Wilcott joined the Peace and Freedom Party, a political party that promoted socialist and anti-war policies. A CIA report stated that Wilcott was “letting it be known to all members that he is a former CIA agent.” [22] Around this time while working in Utica, NY, Wilcott joined another anti-war group called the Vietnam Education Council and alleged that he was harassed by the CIA and FBI although he admitted he had no proof to back up his claims. [23]

In 1975, Wilcott’s LHO allegations were published in the college paper The Pelican and in 1977, he twice appeared on KPOO radio in San Francisco to discuss his LHO story. He also spoke to various private groups about his alleged experiences. [24]

Covert Action and the Cuban Youth Tribunal

In June 1978, Phillip Agee, a former CIA employee who wrote a book critical of the agency, William Schaap (who also served as Wilcott’s attorney during his HSCA testimony), James Wilcott and his wife Elsie founded Covert Action magazine. [25] The magazine continued Agee’s criticism of the CIA and featured a column called “Naming Names” which revealed the identities of undercover CIA officers. [26]

In 1982, the US Congress passed the Intelligence Identities Protection Act, which made it a federal crime to intentionally reveal the name of a covert agent. The law was a response to several incidents where CIA personal had their identities compromised. These incidents climaxed with the death of Athens CIA Station Chief Richard Welch in 1975 after a publication similar to Covert Action revealed Welch’s name. Covert Action was often mentioned as an impetus for the legislation and during a house debate, Congressman Bill Young said “What we're after today are the Philip Agees of the world.” [27]

In August 1978, Agee and both Wilcotts became willing propogandists for Castro’s communist government when they traveled to Cuba to participate in the World Youth Festival’s “Youth Tribunal.” The purpose of the invitation only “tribunal” was to absolve the island nation of any suggestion of guilt in the JFK assassination and promote the idea that the CIA killed JFK to prompt an invasion.

In his account of the assassination before the tribunal as reported by the Cuban state newspaper Gramma, Wilcott’s statements took on a sensational quality. Wilcott now said that before the assassination, “certain changes” in the station routine led him to believe that “something was going to happen.” On November 22, he had left Tokyo and upon his return was informed of JFK’s death and told to report to the station. There, he “found a scene of great jubilation and excitement.” Wilcott opined “It was obvious that the majority of the personnel at the station, especially those who had to do with operations, were excited and overjoyed about Kennedy's assassination. This really bothered me because I supported Kennedy.”

According to Gramma, Wilcott said that during the next few days, “the substance of conversation among operations officers was that one shouldn't think that Kennedy's assassination was the work of a mad man. They gave specific details about high level, top secret meetings regarding the Bay of Pigs (Playa Giron) and how Kennedy was a traitor who deserved to die.”

The paper also reported that “Wilcott's colleagues told him the original plan involved passing Oswald off as a man solidly linked to the Cuban Government, so it would be possible to claim the assassination was the work of a Cuban agent. This then would provide the pretext for attacking Cuba. However, it was not possible to establish solid ties between Oswald and the Cuban Government, and this part of the plan was dropped.” [28] Wilcott’s story as told to the tribunal is greatly exaggerated when compared to what he told the HSCA in his sworn testimony.

In the HSCA files on Wilcott there is a reference to an alleged CIA cryptonym for the “Oswald Project” that apparently came from the notes of Wilcott's statements to an HSCA staffer. In the notes, Wilcott stated that the cryptonym was "RX-ZIM." However, when questioned under oath by the HSCA, Wilcott said he couldn't remember the cryptonym or the name of the CIA employee who allegedly told him about it (Wilcott HSCA Testimony page 12-13). He confirmed this in his manuscript titled “The Kennedy Assassination” which was published by the HSCA with his testimony and other evidence (see sources at the bottom of the page).

However, in a later statement before the Cuban “tribunal” Wilcott again commented on the cryptonym as well as the name of the employee that provided it. But even before the sympathetic Cubans, Wilcott could only say that the cryptonym was "something like RX-ZIM or a crypto of this kind with 2 consonants and 3 or 4 pronounceable letters." The name of the alleged employee is illegible in the copy I read which is at the John Armstrong Baylor archive. It is clear that Wilcott couldn’t remember either the cryptonym or the name of the employee with enough conviction to testify to these facts under oath. He probably feared that the HSCA would call the individual to testify and he would deny knowledge of the cryptonym and the "Oswald Project." It should be noted that The Mary Ferrell Foundation, which has an extensive list of cryptonyms, has labeled RX-ZIM as "speculative" since there is absolutely no corroborating evidence for Wilcott's claim and no other cryptonyms exist with the "RX" prefix.

The San Francisco Chronicle

Wilcott’s criticism of the CIA was “beyond the pale” in September, 1978, when he excoriated the agency during an interview he gave to liberal journalist Warren Hinckle for the San Francisco Chronicle. [29] Wilcott told Hinckle that the agency was "a perverse place of sexual blackmail, betraying friends, unleashing psychopaths, and hobnobbing with mobsters, of pseudonyms and cryptonyms, drunkards and ripoff artists, dirty money and dirty tricks and run-amok assassins, a place where error and folly were held sacred in the almighty name of secrecy."

The true source of the "shop talk" that the HSCA had charitably described and which led to Wilcott learning of the LHO "project" also became clear in this interview. Wilcott claimed that because the Toyko CIA station “controlled every aspect of Japanese society", they were able to offer scotch to employees at 75 cents a bottle and double martinis at a nickel. "At those prices" Wilcott quipped, "you almost couldn't afford not to drink." Hinckle reported "It was during these after-hours drinking sessions that Wilcott became aware of the nature of many secret CIA operations normally hidden by cryptonyms." Wilcott mentioned alcohol several times in the interview and CIA documents show that his superiors were at least somewhat concerned about his drinking. Given these facts, it is not surprising that Wilcott couldn't remember who told him about LHO.


It is obvious that Wilcott harbored bitterness toward the CIA for what he perceived as a bias against liberal minded employees and because of the agency's investigation and alleged harassment of him. It is likely that this attitude altered his perception of the events that he witnessed at the Tokyo station and resulted in him assigning sinister meaning to what was just scotch-soaked gossip. It is also clear that Wilcott crossed the line from activist to extremist with his later activities. This included being a co-founder of a magazine that potentially endangered the lives of CIA personal and traveling to Cuba at the invitation of Fidel Castro to bash America and promote the official Cuban view of the JFK case.

[1] See for example Harvey & Lee by John Armstrong, p. 890.

[2] Security File on James Bernard Wilcott Jr., p. 24.

[3] HSCA testimony of James B. Wilcott Jr., p. 12-13.

[4] All statements in the summary are taken from HSCA Final Report, p. 198-200 unless otherwise indicated.

[5] Security File on James Bernard Wilcott Jr., p. 17.

[6] Ibid., p. 11.

[7] HSCA testimony of James B. Wilcott Jr., p. 35.

[8] Security File on James Bernard Wilcott Jr., p. 153.

[9] Ibid., p. 159.

[10] Ibid., p. 77-79.

[11] Ibid., p. 96.

[12] Ibid., pp. 55-73.

[13] Ibid., p. 40.

[14] Ibid., p. 42.

[15] Ibid., p. 80, 93.

[16] Ibid., p. 38.

[17] Ibid., p. 36.

[18] Ibid., p. 27.

[19] HSCA testimony of James B. Wilcott Jr., p. 41.


[21] HSCA testimony of James B. Wilcott Jr., p. 42.

[22] Security File on James Bernard Wilcott Jr., p. 19.

[23] HSCA testimony of James B. Wilcott Jr., pp. 29-32.

[24] Ibid., 43-44.





[29] Warren Hinckle, "Couple Talks About Oswald and the CIA," San Francisco Chronicle, September 12, 1978.

Links to Sources

HSCA Final Report, pp. 198-200.

HSCA Testimony of James B. Wilcott, March 22, 1978.

Security File on James Bernard Wilcott Jr.

Unpublished and undated Manuscript, “The Kennedy Assassination.”

Wilcott Tokyo Employees List

San Francisco Chronicle Article

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