Norman Mailer on ‘Oswald’s Tale’ 96 Comments / Assassination, Video / By Jefferson Morley Share this:Tweet
96 thoughts on “Norman Mailer on ‘Oswald’s Tale’”
Vanessa – Trail BC Canada its the reason why i became interested in Col Pash because of its connection to Manhattan Project, I have found nothing in my research that changed my mind that he played major roll in setting up Assassinasion and LHO as patsy
Thanks Gerry. In Canada people were making jokes about JFK? I thought Canadians were more liberal than the States? Can I ask why he was unpopular there?
I think Kennedy was very popular at least from non religious bigets There was one big issue between PM Diefenbaker and Kennedy over nuclear armed bomarc missiles.
Thanks Gerry. So were your co-workers making jokes because they were anti-Catholic? Just trying to understand what could have motivated that sort of response.
At the very least JFK was a youngish man with two young children. How could anyone make a joke in those circumstances unless there was some real animus towards JFK?
I remember going to work on night shift of 11/22/63 entering the lunch room the boys where cracking jokes about assassination and how discussed i was with them.
Thanks for telling me that. It does sound disgusting. Can I ask you where that was?
Seems to me Mailer is genuine when he says he made a joke about the assassination and that he was angry with JFK at the time of his death. But I find it almost impossible to believe that he can’t remember why he was so angry with him. Sounds like he wasn’t actually a supporter of JFK at all.
Now I’ve finally had time to watch this interview I have to say this is the first time I’ve heard anyone publicly saying they responded to the news of JFK’s shooting with a joke.
And his inability to remember why he was angry at JFK just at that moment is very strange. The reasons he gives are bizarre to say the least.
Basically, he was so angry with JFK about something so trivial that he can’t remember it, that he made a joke on hearing that the President had been shot.
He’s a writer, a documenter of the American condition and he cannot remember why he was so angry at the President on the day he was shot that he made a joke about it?
I find that very hard to believe.
Question: If Oswald loved Castro so much and was a politically aware person, wouldnt he know killing JFK for his hero would risk a US invasion of his beloved communist land?
Of course he would.
Patsy, patsy, patsy….
The American novels that have Oswald guilty of JFK’s murder are confusing because they have to deal with MOTIVE. LHO was the last white man in Dallas with a reason to shoot President Kennedy. Now, John Connally is another matter, IMHO.
Mailer deals with it as “the logic of his (LHO’s) life,” which is to say NO logic, folderol. In the last chapter, NM writes, “He (JFK) was too good a president.” (!!!!) Again crazy reasoning, which befits a lunatic. So they had to make Oswald literally insane, which he was anything but. Non compos mentis does not go all over the world slick as a whistle, or even excel at the very foreign tongue (for a southerner) of Russian.
The first big NY Times book review in 1995 is titled “The Loser’s Loser.” Oh, so that’s why he shot JFK! Because LHO was a schlub! Then every public person should not be able to make it to the second day.
The ‘lone’ part of The Lone Nut is the hardest to swallow. Few men enjoyed chewing the fat with all kinds of folks more than Lee Oswald. Just because he didn’t like hearing the same stupid joke from the same stupid redneck, day in and day out, we have to hate him(why,that snob!), and assassinate his memory after assassinating his body. (Hey, what are the odds of that second historic Lone Nut, J Ruby? In less than 48 hours!)
I believe there is a lot of reliable documentation about Oswald’s tendency to be a “lone” person, on the antisocial side. From his early years there is medical evidence, medical records that researchers agree on. Oswald himself said that he didn’t really like people and didn’t need them, didn’t need any help. There is testimony from family members like his half brother, John Pic, who was concerned about him and tried at first to help him. Instead of getting out with friends from school, he would stay by himself reading and listening to music. Several people tried to change him in this matter. In the Marines he didn’t go out with the other guys. That was the one thing they noted about him.
A quote from Oswald himself as told to a psychiatrist, “I don’t want a friend and I don’t like to talk to people.” When asked if he preferred the company of boys or girls, he responded, “I dislike everyone.” He also admitted that he occasionally hit his mother when she made him very angry. A little anti-social probably from making so many moves, not being able to settle down enough to feel secure. But these are his words spoken to medical personnel who have a responsibility to treat troubled youth.
gemini, if you continue looking, you may begin to read between the lines. You will eventually encounter opposing versions of these stories about Lee’s personality. Also, Russian was the language of choice for US military intelligence training.
Yes, Leslie, thank you. I found there was an officer stationed with LHO who was also studying Russian. It does make sense. Thanks for pointing this out so nicely.
I meant to say, Leslie, that it certainly makes sense that they would be learning Russian for US military intelligence training especially at that time.
Why Anti-Authoritarians are Diagnosed as Mentally Ill
By BRUCE LEVINE, PH.D.
In my career as a psychologist, I have talked with hundreds of people previously diagnosed by other professionals with oppositional defiant disorder, attention deficit hyperactive disorder, anxiety disorder and other psychiatric illnesses, and I am struck by (1) how many of those diagnosed are essentially anti-authoritarians, and (2) how those professionals who have diagnosed them are not.
Anti-authoritarians question whether an authority is a legitimate one before taking that authority seriously. Evaluating the legitimacy of authorities includes assessing whether or not authorities actually know what they are talking about, are honest, and care about those people who are respecting their authority. And when anti-authoritarians assess an authority to be illegitimate, they challenge and resist that authority—sometimes aggressively and sometimes passive-aggressively, sometimes wisely and sometimes not.
This is actually an interesting concept and something to keep in mind. Have seen this in action especially with kids who are going through a rebellious phase. In simple language, they try this out on their parents. Oswald could have been going through this phase as he had no father figure and a mother with problems of her own.It seems he was challenging his mother’s authority and probably didn’t find her a reliable authority figure, someone he could respect and trust. His life and environment lacked security so he had to “feel” his way around. It might even be said that he was reacting in a normal way to his circumstances.
Am glad that Willy was nice enough to post the article.
Its amazing how Mailer et al overlook the fact that Lee Oswald loved his daughters, especially his newborn. Very unlikely a father devoted to his children would risk seeing them for the rest of his life and stigmatizing them by assassinating a president……
Yeah, another one of those head-twisters in the propaganda that was pushed after the “I killed for Castro” meme died on the vine.
How is a lone nut married with children?
It’s been written that on the ride in to the TSBD for what would be his last day of employment there (11-22-63), LHO talked lovingly about his daughter and the child he and Marina would have shortly. Some killer, I’d say.
Lee especially loved first daughter, June. I heard how he would pull her crib up to the side of his bed and just watch her. He certainly could be sensitive and caring at times.
I would encourage all who are interested in comprehending and assessing Oswald’s political philosophies to examine, closely, Dr. Ernst Titovets account of his friendship with the young American during the Russian period which they shared.
“With Norman Mailer, it was sort of unfortunate. He wanted to find black things to represent ‘his’ Oswald. Unfortunately, we didn’t see eye to eye… and I just didn’t want to figure to give evidence against Oswald in that negative way because it wasn’t true, you know? Never for a moment I believed that he was capable of pulling a trigger at a president whom he loved, admired.” Dr. Ernst Titovets, author of Oswald: Russian Episode
Lee Harvey Oswald’s closest English-speaking friend when Oswald lived in Minsk, then part of the Soviet Union, from 1959-1962. “Erich [Ernst Titovets]…is my oldest existing acquaintance…a friend of mine who speaks English very well…” as Oswald would put it in his Historic Diary. In his book Oswald: Russian Episode, Dr. Ernst Titovets investigates the Russian period of life and activity of Lee Harvey Oswald, the alleged assassin of JFK. The book is based mainly on the author’s first-hand experience of knowing Oswald. It also includes the author’s interviews with many Russians who met Oswald, there are documents with Oswald’s longhand never published before, unique transcripts of the audio recordings of Oswald and Titovets reading stories, enacting plays, giving mock interviews to one another. The book presents a culmination of the Author’s painstaking research conducted over many years to reveal the true character of Oswald, a close-up of this still largely misunderstood man.
Alan Dale, it’s so great to see you here. Anyone who knows your contribution should sit up and take notice of any subject that has brought you back.
“With Norman Mailer, it was sort of unfortunate. He wanted to find black things to represent ‘his’ Oswald. Unfortunately, we didn’t see eye to eye… and I just didn’t want to figure to give evidence against Oswald in that negative way because it wasn’t true, you know?” – E. Titovets
This reinforces my suspicion that Norman Mailer went in search of interviews in Russia to support the thesis he and Schiller left America with. And I go further to suggest a degree of collaboration between Mailer as early conspiracist, Mailer as skeptic, Mailer as endorser (however qualified) of Jean Davison’s “Oswald’s Game,” and Mailer’s statement in this interview to the effect that “it was the logic of Lee’s life” that convinced me “- a theme posited in Davison’s 20th anniversary publication.
Then we get into Mailer’s relationship with Richard Goodwin, speechwriter for JFK with a history of service to the OAS and Adof Berle, and Goodwin’s late night disclosure of Kennedy’s Cuban Strategy during the heated presidential campaign against Nixon – the only announcement that had ever been made on the campaign trail without Kennedy’s signature, and Goodwin and Mailer’s relationship with a certain now former drug mule who flew in and out of Texas in the early ’70’s. I’m not so certain that any of these characters, however fascinating they may be in the American psyche, were all that concerned with uncovering the conspiracy behind the assassination of President Kennedy. Perhaps in fact there may have been a degree of jealousy.
Really enjoyed reading this comment. I also enjoyed reading Ernst Titovets recollection of his friendship with LHO and just finished looking through it again. Took it to heart when I first read what Titovets had to say. Then I read that in 1993 Titovets said in a PBS documentary that he was “paid to befriend LHO and make the recordings”. I tried to find out who paid him but only found “suggestions” that he was working with the KGB. It really leaves you wondering what everyone was up to.
I see that Dr Titovets is expert in Mind and Brain along with been same age as LHO. Dennis Hyman Ofstein now known as Dr. Dovid Ofstein behavioral psychologist is the same age as LHO This make two person that where Freinds with Oswald and looks to me been babysitters at critacal time in his life. Professor Ernst Titovets, M.D., Ph.D. Born: 5/6/1939, … 1984–Doctor of Science Dissertation: Biochemical Action Mechanism and Application.
i see no evadence that Oswald was not a Artichoke/ MKULTRA guinea pig sent to USSR.It may sound preposterous that Soviets would collaborate on this project but they did by giving LHO super cheep hotel rate and grant from Soviet Red Cross of 5000 rubles along with a match to his wages so Marina did not need to work.
Accordingly, in 1956, Sid Gottlieb approved a $74,000 project to have the Human
Ecology Society study the factors that caused men to defect from their countries and
cooperate with foreign governments. MKULTRA officials reasoned that if they could
understand what made old turncoats tick, it might help them entice new ones. While
good case officers instinctively seemed to know how to handle a potential agent—or
thought they did—the MKULTRA men hoped to come up with systematic, even
scientific improvements. Overtly, Harold Wolff designed the program to look like a
follow-up study to the Society’s earlier programs, noting to the Agency that it was
“feasible to study foreign nationals under the cover of a medical-sociological study.”
(He told his CIA funders that “while some information of general value to science
should be produced, this in itself will not be a sufficient justification for carrying out a
study of this nature.”) Covertly, he declared the purpose of the research was to
assess defectors’ social and cultural background, their life experience, and their
personality structure, in order to understand their motivations, value systems, and
probable future reactions.
gerald campeau, excellent summation of the HES. I hope this topic continues to surface periodically. The program went all the way to the top, with senior statesman Adolf Berle providing his personal and professional bona fides for legitimacy of the program. However, as I’ve posted before, behind the scenes he expressed grave concern that if it worked, men could be as ants (paraphrasing). In some ways that exonerates him personally, but he still did nothing to stop the experiments. His wife enjoyed funding for her own research at Columbia University in the field of social and behavioral science. In a bit of dot connecting and three degrees of separation, Ruth Paine’s father William Avery Hyde was an agent for Nationwide Insurance when he was seconded to the aid program in Latin America and Adolf Berle was director of Nationwide AND served as the head of the Organization of American States – premier forum for US interests in Latin America.
Yes, I can follow the point you are making and agree it is plausible, would fit with a good conspiracy theory. I’m having problems fitting Oswald into the picture. A highly intelligent, unique man but would he fit into this sort of intelligence work? He was really young when he entered the Marines, with beliefs and ideas already firmly established in his life and personality. I could be wrong but he seemed very sincere. Before he entered the Marines it is well documented that he was a troubled young man, considered antisocial, having what they considered violent outbursts, moving from place to place and having problems in school. They had to get to him at a very early age and would the intelligence community be looking for such a troubled person? I guess it is possible-no sarcasm meant here. That he would have to play a part, no problem there and I agree. It just seems so complicated. And that he would have to fool so many people close to him.
One small thing here, not really important. When anyone asked Oswald about his Marxist beliefs, he always wanted them to know that he was pure Marxist, not a Leninist.
The CIA will work with ANYBODY, and I mean ANYBODY, to attain an objective – liar, psychotic, drug addict, you name it. They don’t have to be fully on-board or even aware of the ultimate objective. They just need to be useful at the time.A few months ago CNN had this great story of this Scandanavian kid who happened to have an email relationship with one of the top Al Qaida operatives. CIA promised him all sorts of money
if he helped them kill the operative. They did finally get him but never paid the informant. So he went public with his story.
And it still begs the question if Oswald was a sincere, outspoken Marxist, why did the Marines keep him and how did he get security clearances at Atsugi?
I’ve wondered about these things too. It all looks a bit obvious now. Just didn’t get the full idea of how the CIA operated. But you are right about the CNN story. It does bring everything up front concerning the CIA. Always thought LHO’s actions a bit too obvious, a real stumbling block to the lone gunman theory. That’s why I could never say, “case closed” in my own mind. Oswald’s actions always seemed too obvious, especially when he went to Russia and kept emphasizing to his brother and mother that he was starting a new life and didn’t want contact with them any longer. The change came too fast and was too obvious.
Talked to someone yesterday who served in the military about this very issue, as it bothered me. He claims that Oswald could not have been tossed out of the marine corp. for just talking about Communism or Marxism. He would have to have done something “subversive” or something considered to be threatening in order for a charge against him to stick. For just “talking” a lawyer could have won his case. Oswald would have had to have been at least attending Communist meetings and I guess he wasn’t.
Found more info as to why Oswald was not tossed out of the Marines for being outspoken about his communist/Marxist beliefs. Found it mentioned in several research books but will use what I found in , “Case Closed” by Posner. This is as to why the Marines tolerated his study of Russian and subscription to Russian language newspapers as well as leftest publications. ‘None of his fellow Marines reported that he proselytized communism during basic training or during his fourteen months in Japan. He complained about the Marines, but that was not thought to be unique.Oswald did study the Russian langusge…….Even one of his commanding officers in Japan studied the language. While he may have been considered a Russophile, he gave the Marines no reason to believe he might be a security threat.”
‘Only one officer is known to have taken him seriously. When an ElTTorro mailroom clerk informed his operations chief, Captain Robert E Block, that Oswald was receiving leftist literature, Block confronted him. Oswald dissembled that he was merely trying to indoctrinate himself in the enemies’ philosophy, according to Marine Corps policy. Although skeptical, Block dropped the matter. Except for Block, others viewed Oswald as peculiar but harmless.”
No offense but I’ve heard that story but don’t believe that story,
These were highly reactionary and paranoid times. Pete Seeger was blacklisted, others were blacklisted for family members who had at point affiated with communists.
I believe Oswald would’ve been thrown out of the Corps or at the very least been evaluated by a psychiatrist. Not given a security clearance at secret CIA U2 base.
The JFK case is filled with this BS we’re supposed to swallow, like autopsy doctors who don’t track the path of a bullet or bodies that jolt violently toward the impact of a bullet. Not buying it.
Am not offended Bogmanoc. I respect your ideas but have to respect where I got my info also. The man who told me about the workings of the Marine Corp. was an officer in the Marines in 1963. He is a friend of the family and not with CIA. He had troops in Viet Nam and had to lock the weapons up every night because a few men under him had “strange ideas”. He just had to keep an eye on them. You had to be an actual threat. Talk wouldn’t do it.
To add on to my above comment, I believe I was meaning to say that the Marine officer I knew had to make a judgment call concerning the man or men in question. There was no drastic action taken and all turned out okay. In the same way, Captain Block had to make the same judgment call concerning Oswald. None of the men serving with Oswald were alarmed with Lee’s behavior so it couldn’t have been that bad. They just thought him a little strange.
This story is interesting:
It supports your friend’s and Posner’s assertion that the Corps tolerated Oswald’s communist talk.
However, my two questions are 1) Why would they give a true communist a security clearance to work at Atsugi? 2) If Oswald was so casual and comical about his communism, doesn’t that alter the image of the committed, sociopathic Marxist?
Also, what Posner I’m sure does NOT mention is that Oswald’s Marine Captain for a full year has this to say:
“Everybody was talking about Oswald. Everybody’s first thought was, ‘No way,’ ” Block said. “It was a disbelief that he would have been able to accomplish something like that and even further disbelief when the mechanics of it were broadcast. I don’t care what kind of rifle he had. I don’t think it would have been within his capability.”
Many argue the fatal shots were well within Oswald’s capabilities, but Block disagrees. “You’ve got a moving target there, and when you’re talking about hitting somebody in the head from that distance and that angle, it just boggles my mind that he would even have that capability. I don’t know where he could have practiced, whether in the woods or remote areas or in Russia, but you’ve got to come up with some pretty good marksmanship to carry off something like that.”
“I don’t tell people about Oswald unless it’s brought up, unless they talk about the assassination and blame Oswald,” he says. “Then I say, ‘Hey, I don’t think Oswald did it.’ They ask why I think that, and I say, ‘Well, because, because and because.’ Then they’re in doubt. Immediately I place them in doubt that he had the ability to do it.”
I don’t completely disagree with you and I’ll mention that later.
Oswald did lose that security clearance and was busted to buck private. He took a pretty hard fall. He had two court-martials and a nervous breakdown while on guard duty. He ended up not doing so well. The marines serving with him started to notice that he was on the frail side. Obviously Captain Block noticed it too. And here is where I agree with you. At this point I don’t see how he would have been fit enough to hit Kennedy either. I’m trying to find out more about the carcano rifle he had. Sometimes with a rifle he scored high, hitting both sharp shooter and marksman but at other times he didn’t hit the target as much. They had a funny name for that in the marines I forgot what it was…….someone’s bloomers or something like that. He was inconsistent it seems.
People say that if he was a Marxist or communist, why didn’t he fraternize with them. It was while he served in Japan that he did, saying they taught him a lot and increased his desire to go to Russia. He tried to contact them when he returned to the U.S. but wasn’t successful.
Yes, he did eventually flaunt his Marxism but only after arriving at El Toro, being court martialed etc. And at that time his fellow marines noted he no longer tried to fit in and became antisocial.I guess this all could fit into either a conspiracy theory or with those who believe in the lone gunman.
gemini, I’ll use this statement from your series of comments as an opportunity to ask if you could cite the sources that seem to influence your thinking:
“Oswald’s behavior in MC showed no support for his revolution…….I agree. Could only find a few instances where Oswald even mentioned support for Castro in MC. It was a Kerry Thornley who said Oswald considered Castro a big hero but at this point I’m not sure I trust Thornley. That leaves the words from Marina…..she claims he really loved Castro. And he distributed pamphlets. Not a big deal at all as it made no difference.”
Screw-up, screwed up or whatever, Jeff Morley who leads this site has shown the CIA had a “keen interest” in this loser/nobody. Which makes it all even more strange and suspicious.
Also, everything Oswald “did for Castro” really didn’t help Castro and actually worked against him, ie. FPCC leafleting to US sailors, going against advice of FPCC HQ, the Russia defector reveal on radio, etc.
As Castro said, Oswald’s behavior in MC doesn’t show a supporter of his revolution.
And the killing JFK while telling the police five times he ran the FPCC chapter in NO?
EXTREMELY STRANGE and dangerous for Cuba.
I believe some general had scrambled jet fighters to the island when Oswald’s background was publicized. Someone luckily pulled them back.
Oswald — not a friend to Cuba or Castro in any way, shape or form.
That the CIA had a keen interest in Oswald…..I agree!
That whatever Oswald did for Castro didn’t help Castro…..definitely agree!
Oswald’s behavior in MC showed no support for his revolution…….I agree. Could only find a few instances where Oswald even mentioned support for Castro in MC. It was a Kerry Thornley who said Oswald considered Castro a big hero but at this point I’m not sure I trust Thornley. That leaves the words from Marina…..she claims he really loved Castro. And he distributed pamphlets. Not a big deal at all as it made no difference.
‘Screw up” ……could be.
But I think I missed something here. What kind of a background did Oswald have at that time that a General would scramble jet fighters to Cuba because of it? Yes, thankfully they were called back. As far as I know he became important only after the assassination. Unless someone was extra alert, can’t see where he attracted much attention before defecting to Russia. Also learned that at that time other Americans had moved to Russia. I think “hindsight” really took over in a big way after the assassination. Some probably even changed their mind and memory. But can’t see how many outside of local area knew of him before the assassination. My parents worked in the Pentagon and with NATO…..never heard of him before assassination.
Which leaves some interesting questions.
If he didn’t kill for Castro
Didn’t kill because he hated JFK
Didn’t kill for regime change (loved LBJ)
Didn’t kill for Russia
Didn’t kill for fame (he denied the crime to his death)
Didn’t kill for suicide by cop (he left the premises to get a gun)
Then what’s left?
The simple fact is that well-adjusted people aren’t going to be attracted to the life of a spy. And intelligence agencies have frequently used unbalanced people in very important jobs. One need only look at individuals like Whittaker Chambers, Donald Maclean, Guy Burgess, and Aldrich Ames to see just how disturbed and neurotic these folks can be. And if they aren’t that way to begin with, the pressure of that sort of life can get to them, as it did to Kim Philby, who by the latter part of his life as a double agent was a broken-down, alcoholic wreck.
Very good point.
“Before he entered the Marines it is well documented that he was a troubled young man, considered antisocial, having what they considered violent outbursts, moving from place to place and having problems in school.”~gemini
Well documented? One run in with a school counselor with some psychology training? Oswald was no more troubled than many kids his age who were and are rebellious in regimented environments, when they really need to find who they are for themselves.
It has come so far that now there is a “official” psychological codex term, “Oppositional Defiant Disorder” or ODD.
It isn’t mental illness but rational to defy authoritarianism. The whole issue is Orwellian dystopian nonsense.
“It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society”~Krishnimurti
Nothing is wrong.
Leftist LHO at work in New Orleans, Dallas, and Mexico City has no leftist, but only rightist acquaintances.
The Cuban exiles did hate JFK because of Bay of Pigs (they wanted that a CIA cover-op includes several airstrikes after the first one was attributed by the CIA itself as Castro defectors)and moreover, the cancellation of Operation Mongoose at the peak of the Missile Crisis and the aftermath of feds coming to South Florida in order to clip the wings of the anti-Castro groups.
The picture is clear as LHO acting as some kind of FBI-CIA operative against the Fair Play for Cuba Committee (FPCC), and rouge CIA agents engaging in a a piggy-backed operation on top of the anti-FPCC operation for killing the U.S. President.
Completely agree. But what makes it all even curiouser is that the FPCC was completely infiltrated by the FBI at that point. The FPCC’s second in command was an FBI informer.
So they didn’t really need to “take down” the FPCC by the summer of 63. They might have been using the FPCC to test the allegiances of anti-Castro Cubans, military personnel and others or collect the names of new “subversives.”
But it does look like it was designed or at least hijacked as part of the conspiracy.
The seldom-told story is that Carlos Bringuier was accused by Orest Pena, a former friend in the anti-Castro movement, in the Warren Report of “hating Kennedy” and quoted him saying there was no difference between Russia and the US when it came to kicking Castro out.
So the accused assassin is never seen saying an unkind word about JFK but the CIA asset in NO “hates the U.S.” as is often said about Oswald. And that CIA asset is tied to all sorts of like-minded folks who portray Oswald as the irrational hater of all things America and apple pie.
What’s wrong with this picture?
Yes, but what is wrong with all of the direct quotes of what Oswald said concerning how he felt about Castro, Marxism etc. Testimony from family members, how Marina said Castro was his hero. Why ignore this? What about testimony from the marines he served with concerning his beliefs? I find it hard to believe they all lied. And for what purpose? Books by qualified researchers are filled with quotes from people who knew him like his brother, Robert. I guess everyone here is saying that we know far more today than people who knew Oswald personally, who heard the words directly from his mouth, who worked with him. Letters he wrote are reprinted in well researched books by people having no reason to lie. What good would it do them, their future and their integrity as researchers to lie? Actually you are even saying Oswald lied by denying him his beliefs, words from the man’s own mouth. Whether he did anything alone, as part of a conspiracy or nothing at all isn’t the issue here.
One thing is missing in your assessment here. That is the likelihood that Oswald was “sheep-dipped” by an intelligence agency, likely ONI; to appear to be a Marxist-Leninist”, for the very purpose he served in going into the Soviet Union as a mole.
If he was to play this part convincingly, he would have to act accordingly with both friends and relatives.
That he was then used as a patsy for the very organization that he was investigating – the Cuban Exile/Intelligence nexus, seems to me the answer to this “mystery of Who was Oswald?”
I’m not denying Oswald was a true believer in some sort of communist model for society. He could’ve been. But I don’t think anyone has determined his true allegiance (as seen by the folks he actually hung around with that Willy points out).
His brother said he was consumed by the TV show “I Led Three Lives” about a government informer posing as a communist.
Oswald was never seen in the presence of other American communists. Nor did he “fit the profile” according to the radio commentator who interviewed him and later had a beer with him, i.e. long hair, dirty pre-Hippie dope smoker
I’ve always felt that Ferrie took him under his wing early on during the Civil Air Patrol days and introduced him to some friends in intelligence. He certainly got the most tolerant treatment of any communist in the U.S. armed forces ever.
When all is said and done, Oswald looks like to me a like the proverbial spy left out in the cold.
“His brother said he was consumed by the TV show “I Led Three Lives”~Bogman
That is interesting. I thought of that program when I wrote my last comment here. When I was a kid I used to watch that too! I was fascinated by it, the complex intrigue of the game between the FBI and the Communist Party.
Willy. You forget “i was a communist for FBI” and if he was double agent it would show in his income.
And you have Oswald’s tax records, and can assure us that they like anything else under government control haven’t been sanitized?
If Oswald was “sheep dipped” and given a “legend” of a Marxist for Intelligence purposes, we can be pretty sure a good job was done of it.
The “incompetence card”, just like “blowback” and “limited modified hangouts” simply do not hold water for me anymore.
Robert Oswald’s quote about “I Led 3 Lives” needs to be taken with many grains of salt. He claimed that young Lee was obsessed with the program, watching repeat episodes over and over. But Robert left home to join the Marines in the summer of 1952. “IL3L” didn’t start it’s run on TV until the autumn of 1953, and didn’t go into syndicated repeats until (IIRC) the latter part of 1956, by which time Lee himself had joined the Marines. Since Robert could not have been around home much during the relevant period, his “recollection” of Lee’s TV viewing habits must have been based on something his mother told him, which was probably an exaggeration. BTW, Lone Nutters have often tried to use this supposed obsession as proof LHO was unbalanced, but never seem to consider what the show was about — someone pretending to be a Communist so as to help the FBI foil dastardly Commie plots (such as turning vacuum cleaners into bombs — an actual plot line from the program’s final season according to something I once read). This Phony Commie pose is exactly what a lot of WC skeptics think Oswald was doing, and in my opinion it makes a lot more sense than the Lone Nut Loser story the WC gave us.
“This Phony Commie pose is exactly what a lot of WC skeptics think Oswald was doing, and in my opinion it makes a lot more sense than the Lone Nut Loser story the WC gave us.”~Fearfaxer
And that is the whole discussion of the January 22, 1964 meeting of the Commissioners. The one that blew their minds to the point that they finally decided the minutes of that meeting should be destroyed.
They buried the whole idea of Oswald as an agent then and there. They did not want to find out any more about it. So they didn’t.
Mailer states in the last chapter of the book that “Everyone agrees as a whole that LHO liked John Kennedy.”
Yes we heard this before. Warren Commision stated as much.
Thank God we have lived to know of LHO’s connections to U S Intelligence.
Something hated JFK a whole lot to do what was done to him.
It was so bold and cruel what happened. Something put self interest ahead of love of their country.
Mailer tried to solve the mystery of 11/22/63 but he failed miserably.
I agree with Leslie Sharp the investigation begins at the scene of the crime.
I guess Mailer needed to make some bucks like O’Reilly.
Norman Mailer states that the Warren Commission Report is a “dead whale decomposing on the beach,” and during this 1995 interview on C-Span he says that he is only 75% certain that Oswald was the assassin, acknowledging that a good lawyer (maybe himself) could have argued Oswald’s defense successfully based solely on the absurdity of the magic bullet theory (paraphrasing).
To his credit, Mailer also defends Marina’s contradictory responses and reactions over the weekend of 11.22.63 and the months following while living in a starkly foreign environment under a system with which she was completely unfamiliar. But at approx. 37:00 min. into the interview, Mailer – 6 times married – tells about Marina’s revelation to him that she had been raped in Russia. He dismisses the trauma as relatively insignificant because it was an experience shared by hundreds of thousands of women; he arrogantly surmises this could not possibly have effected her mental or emotional stability let alone her trust in her place in the world or her faith in the integrity of her young husband.
This assessment in and of itself should disqualify Mailer, an otherwise skilled journalist / author from determining whether or not Marina was a devoted partner or a self preserving woman/child trapped in a spectacular conspiracy.
I think Mailer went on a quest to weave facts he and Schiller could gather within a social and political vacuum in Russia that would support the predominant theory at the time – Oswald as defector and later lone nut shot the leader of the free world in broad daylight on a city street in the southern United States. To their discredit, they failed to balance their interviews, their research, with a similar quest to determine whether or not there had been a conspiracy. Mailer and Schiller could have spent a similar amount of money and time interviewing characters – for example FBI Agent Bardwell Odum, MI Jack Crichton, CIA agent James Hardesty Critchfield, or deMohrenschildt’s great friend Sam Ballen -to perhaps open Pandora’s Box. Mailer himself acknowledges how much he enjoyed his 6 months or so in Russia, intimating the experience gave him and his career a kickstart; Dallas might not have been nearly as interesting and certainly not as great a dinner conversation, but their one sided search suggests to me a lack of objectivity.
Or to put it more succinctly, the investigation begins as the scene of the crime.
leslie sharp i disagree, the investigation of plot should begin long befor the scene of crime as Dallas and Texas where picked as all the pieces where in place JFK and LBJ together,The Patsy-programed assassin Oswald,Military Intelligence, FBI and Secret Service all compliant to do what was needed
leslie you can go back as early as 1942 where newly graduating Lawyer/FBI agent John Fain worked for Guy Banister in Oklahoma City, year latter worked with Boris Pash investigating communnist union members at Berkeley Radiation Laboratory. This is where Jeanne deM brother comes into the picher.
gerald campeau, if you have ever read any of my comments on the subject you will know that I believe the assassination was always intended for Dallas for a number of reasons including several of those you name. We may be discussing semantics here; the investigation certainly leads back at least to the beginning of the Cold War, but you wouldn’t know to look in those particular corners had the assassination occurred in Florida or Illinois … there would have been other players in the shadows. I couldn’t agree more that those directly involved on the ground in Dallas could be counted on for compliance and easy compartmentalization.
Leslie, was the Dallas location a kind of “Plan B”(or C or D I suppose, if the plots in Chicago, Miami, and Tampa failed, as they did?)
Paul, I’ve been convinced for some time that Dallas was always Plan A The climate was ideal for the perfect magic trick, compartmentalization, distraction and confusion. .
I find it difficult to imagine for instance Mayor Daily acting in a similar fashion as did Earle Cabell whose brother had just been fired from the CIA. I can’t see a bunch of Chicago Irish/American cops following a game plan to corrupt a crime scene with President Kennedy as the murder victim. I think Southern Florida is a non-starter; the Cuban angle was far too volatile, far too obvious, no place to hide.
Nope, I think Dallas, specifically Dealey Plaza was the quintessential kill zone.
“I’ve been convinced for some time that Dallas was always Plan A The climate was ideal for the perfect magic trick, compartmentalization, distraction and confusion.”~Leslie
I am in agreement here. I think the Chicago and Miami plots, were in effect faints, to be found out and quelled, to give JFK a false sense of security and assurance that his Secret Service and law enforcement was on the ball.
Dallas was the number 1 kill zone. The predatory Texans would have been angry if they didn’t get the chance to do it themselves; for bragging rights.
Exactly. Why was Dealy Plaza not properly secured? The Army in San Antonio planned to attend and provide support. They were told by someone with authority to stand down. The commander protested vehemently, to no avail.
Why were the Dallas County Sheriff’s Deputy’s told not to participate in the security of the parade by Sheriff Bill Decker when they were on Main Street / on the corner of Houston facing the TSBD? From which they ran anyway to investigate at the sound of the shots?
Statement of Special Agent Winston G. Lawson, United States Secret Service
We were just approaching a railroad overpass and I checked to see if a police officer was in position there and that no one was directly over our path. I noticed a police officer but also noticed a few persons on the bridge and made motions to have these persons removed from over our path. As the Lead Car was passing under this bridge I heard the first loud, sharp report and in more rapid succession two more sounds like gunfire
Why didn’t advance car clear the overpass?
I think someone ordered Decker to tell his deputies to refrain from participating in protecting JFK. Decker, of course, went on to fire Roger Craig for not keeping quiet about what he(Craig) saw. Just who was this Decker, and was he involved in the assassination plot? I think a study of him is necessary here.
Please see statment 482 -484 and rest of statments
WC lack of interest in Decker is revealing
He’s been studied. He was the 65 year old Sheriff of Dallas County. Riding in the lead car in front of JFK. The Dallas County Jail and Sheriff’s Office were on the corner of Main and Houston where JFK turned right to face the TSBD before he turned left on Elm. The Deputies were standing out front and around the corner on Houston. Including Roger Craig, 1961 Deputy of the Year. Fired by Decker two or three years later for not keeping his mouth shut. After 3-4 attempts on his life he was found shot in the chest. Suicide.
“Or to put it more succinctly, the investigation begins as the scene of the crime.”Leslie Sharp
I agree here. And I would point out to Gerald Campau that the investigation beginning at the scene of the crime in no way precludes retracing the history of the participants in the crime, both the perpetrator(‘s) and the investigators.
We know about the pieces formerly in place for the very reason that the assassination did take place.
The history of the national security state in general, is a very good starting point to analyzing the coup d’etat in Dallas. But the coup itself is the fruition point of the cult of intelligence, not the genesis of the cult.
I think Norman Mailer’s membership of the Fair Play for Cuba Committee should also have disqualified him from writing this book. Or at least raised some eyebrows.
Vanessa, I had completely forgotten that fact “oid.” (actually didn’t Mailer coin that word?)
I think Mailer sort of invented himself and serves as an archetype for at least one generation of Americans but that doesn’t necessarily mean he was a great researcher or journalist but perhaps more a fascinating personality. Of course many think his writing is par excellence.
I think his close friendships with Richard Goodwin, former Kennedy speechwriter and husband of LBJ biographer Doris Kearns Goodwin and Richard Stratton, former drug runner turned writer director are intriguing. Oh the stories they could tell? nymag.com/nymetro/news/features/n_9033/
I’ve read that Jean Davison basically cold called Norman Mailer about Oswald, and he encouraged her to write her own book. The result was a focus on Lee Harvey Oswald’s motive to assassinate John Kennedy, and she purports to fill in that messy gap of “motive” that the Warren Commission failed to settle upon. Mailer however was an early skeptic of the WCR and leaned toward the likelihood of a conspiracy as late as 1983, yet he penned the foreword to Davison’s book, “Oswald’s Game.” A decade later he tackles the same subject, virtually the same theme and comes up with “Oswald’s Tale,” (two letters shy of Davison’s book title) and his conclusion, 75% certain Oswald was a lone assassin based on the “logic of his life” – a familiar theme in Davison’s book published on the 20th anniversary of the assassination. I’m not sayin’ …..
Great, another thing to blame him for. 🙂
I also tend to agree with you that Mailer went to Russia with pre-conceived views. Probably I won’t be allowed to say this but I think his membership of FPCC raises all sorts of questions about him. If FPCC was actually a front for CIA/FBI then what was Mailer’s relationship with these agencies and how did that play out later on including in his eventual writing of the book? I don’t know if anyone has done any research into this issue.
Vanessa, you might enjoy this: http://www.nytimes.com/1992/02/03/us/mailer-visits-cia-and-finds-he-s-in-friendly-territory-really.html
Thanks Leslie! Do you hear a Mockingbird too?
We still have hope for 2017. It could, or could not depend on who is elected. It could also depend on GHWB’s state of mind at the time with his ongoing right to delay release.
Making it an election issue would be an uphill battle against the MSM even with the O’Riley stuff keeping JFK somewhat in the news at the moment. Call it pie in the sky but it would be way beyond cool to see someone ask Jeb Bush on camera if he would stop the release of the files. Nobody in the MSM has the cojones to do that.
Just as cool would be Obama ordering their release as a parting act.
Mailer deserves credit for the LHO infomation he gathered especially in Russia. He didnt have as much as is now known. This investigation has actually made huge strides over the last 20 years in what is now known about LHO.
LHO’s motive in the book as analyzed by Mailer is very lame. Oswald found himself working at the Book Depository so he decided to change history.
We now know US Intelligence was very interested in this man.
Does anyone think even in 2017 we will know more than has already come out in the last 20 years.
Not a chance, MDG.
Very interesting video. I love hearing stories about personal meetings with JFK. What the man was really like. As for the conclusions of the book, they must be taken with a pinch of salt. It relates to the early 90’s. I think we’ve seen a lot more info come to light since then. Nearly 52 years on and still the truth is suppressed by a nation.
Mailer feels the reason he thinks LHO killed JFK is “the logic of his(LHO)life”. Very brief answer, and I wish Brian Lamb had asked him to expand on it.
I enjoyed Mailer’ rambal on for hr. What i don’t understand is why CT and Lone Nutters don’t take LHO making of pipe bomb in Minsk and fact that a attempt to assassinate Khrushchev took place at resort where relatives of LHO friends worked seriously.
So Mailer thought it was a 75% chance Oswald did the crime alone but he would’ve been tough to convict with a good lawyer and all the reasonable doubt.
You wonder if that percentage got lower after all the AARB documents were released and especially the Joannides revelations.
I just go back to too much monkey government-related business before and after the crime to be a lone nut.
As Mailer found out, the KGB had constant surveillance on Oswald and Marina even using a new fiber optic camera in the apartment. Dont tell me our own intelligence services didnt have a similar level of interest.
“As Mailer found out, the KGB had constant surveillance on Oswald and Marina”~Bogman
Yes indeed, for a very good reason, Oswald has all the features of a double agent planted for nefarious reasons in their midst.
At least compared to Stephen King, Mailer has read a few more books on the subject.
In addition to Epstein and Posner, Mailer read Gaeton Fonzi, Priscilla McMillan, William Manchester, Robert Oswald and Anthony Summers. I’m not sure I would count Manchester’s book as adding anything fact-wise to the debate on who killed the President. So that leaves 4 more books than King read for his fiction effort.
A basic undergraduate essay would require more sources than this.
Ask bill O’Reilly. He probably thinks he was there.
“Why did LHO kill JFK?”, the tag line asks.
I confess, I have not read “Oswald’s Tale.” I have read “The Naked and the Dead” (very good), “The Gospel According to the Son” (weird), and Mailer’s last novel, “The Castle in the Forest” (at 477 pages, light for Mailer, but still impenetrable).
After 40 minutes of video, Mailer answers the question:
“He had to do it because it was the logic of his life.”
Not having read the book, I must ask those who have done so:
1. What does Mailer make of the summer of 1963, when LHO spent time at 544 Camp Street with “Colonel” Roselli?
2. How did LHO get home after shooting at Gen. Walker when he couldn’t drive a car? (bus? taxi? with a 6.5 Manlicher aboard?)
3. Does Mailer discuss the fact that U.S. intelligence was routinely sending fake “defectors” to the USSR in the early 1960’s to test the KGB’s reaction, and returning them to the US afterwards? (Henry Hurt, “Reasonable Doubt”; Dick Russell, “The Man who Knew Too Much.”
4. Mailer says he only met JFK twice and found him “two faced” (actually five-faced, as I recall). But I also recall an interview Mailer did with Sen. Kennedy during the 1960 primary, widely distributed then, in which he called him “Superman in the Supermarket” (it was a favorable piece).
Mailer also wrote, then, that JFK surprised him when, asked what Mailer book he liked best, replied “The Deer Park” (everyone else said “Naked and the Dead.”)
5. Why did Mailer praise Oliver Stone in 1990 as the first director with “stones enough” to tackle the assassination?
Mailer admits that much of his work is fiction, or facts juiced up with a little imagination. If that is the standard, I would much prefer Dom DeLillo, whose work is both sharper and shorter.
I had wanted to add that of course this doesn’t rule out a conspiracy or a “set up”. Perhaps those behind a shooter at the grassy knoll were as surprised to find an Oswald present as LHO was to find there was another shooter. Perhaps it became convenient for someone to use Oswald, taking attention away from themselves. Making a case for a lone shooter. It might have prompted LHO, realizing something was wrong, to say, “I’m a patsy”.
I think Oswald was “supported” without his knowledge by another shooter or shooters. This was to ensure the assassination would be successful, but Oswald would receive full blame because he was shooting.
I believe the same approach was used in the murder of RFK where the evidence also supports a second gunman doing the serious damage with Sirhan taking the full blame.
Did find several points I agreed with concerning Mailer’s thoughts on Oswald. I would agree that LHO was a sincere Marxist. Oswald used to emphasize, to make sure you understood, that he was a pure Marxist, not a believer in the communist manifesto, etc. He was pure Karl Marx and it was his religion. He had tried both systems, capitalism as well as communism, finding both disappointing. The communism being practiced in Russia at the time was not his Marxism. He once said it was choosing the lesser of two evils and for him communism seemed the lesser of two evils when compared to capitalism. He was interested in a new kind of world, a sort of revolution.
He was also known to lie. In fact Marina said she was sometimes alarmed at how it seemed so easy for him.
I also agreed with Mailer that perhaps there was another shooter present that Oswald wasn’t aware of at first. This could account for much of the confusion we are facing concerning the assassination today, the conflicting info, the grassy knoll, etc. Perhaps it prompted LHO to say he was a patsy.
Oswald wasn’t a sincere Marxist since he wrote a letter to the PCUSA asking for strategic advice with the key note that all his work in the Fair Play for Cuba Committee (FPCC) was aimed to promote Communism, after having said, in an open radio debate, that FPCC has nothing to do with Communism.
Thus, he denies in writing what he had told in the air, to leave a documented trial that would allow to link FPCC to PSUSA and Moscow. Such a link was the strategic advice for the joint FBI/CIA operation against FPCC: to discredit the latter as Communist front.
You make a good point here.