On December 17, 1963, a lawyer from New York named Mark Lane wrote to Chief Justice Warren to “respectfully request that your Commission give consideration to the appointment of defense counsel” for the accused presidential assassin Lee Harvey Oswald. He enclosed an article he had written.
The article was published two days later in the National Guardian, a weekly publication of leftist politics.
On Tuesday the 26th, President Johnson met with many of the heads of state who had come to Washington for Kennedy’s funeral. The idea of a Presidential commission to address the assassination was not yet settled.
Meanwhile, in Mexico City another allegation of Communist conspiracy involving Oswald emerged, adding to the earlier CIA reporting that Oswald had met with a KGB officer associated with “Department 13″ – sabotage and assassinations.
On the Monday following the tragic and astonishing events in Dallas, President Kennedy’s body was laid to rest in Arlington cemetery. A host of foreign dignitaries took part, including British Prime Minister Home, French President Charles de Gaulle, and many others.
Meanwhile the federal government’s response to the assassination was taking shape. Read more
On November 23, members of the Cuban Student Directorate, a CIA-funded organization based in Miami, published a special edition of their monthly magazine, Trinchera (Trenches), in which they linked the accused assassin Lee Oswald to Cuban president Fidel Castro.
This was the first JFK conspiracy scenario to reach public print.
According to declassified CIA records, it was paid for by undercover officer, George Joannides.
“13 days before that dark day in Dallas, Somersett elicited a chilling, police tape-recorded threat from a right-wing racist who talked of how the President would soon be shot ‘from an office building with a high-powered rifle’ and how ‘they’ll pick up somebody within hours after … just to throw the public off.’”
On November 5, 1963, President Kennedy was exploring the idea. You can hear JFK talking about it with aides on this White House tape recording. (The substantive conversation starts at :25 in the recording.)
The tape, first made public by the non-profit National Security Archive in 2003, was found by Peter Kornbluh, a Cuba scholar whose research makes clear that JFK came closer to normalizing relations with Cuba than any American president since the 1970s.
“The five months that Oswald spent in New Orleans during the spring and summer of ’63 played a critical role in the assassination,” explains historian Michael L. Kurtz in the October issue of New Orleans Magazine.