What has been learned about the JFK story in recent years?

In this balanced, if breathless, 1998 History Channel video entitled “Missing Files,”  we learn what the government sought to hide from public view. The approach is skeptical without crazy conspiracy mongering.

Judge John Tunheim, Professor John Newman and others explain some of important records uncovered by the Assassination Records Review Board (ARRB) in the late 1990s.

The finds include unseen film footage from November 22, 1963; a long-suppressed congressional report on the possibility that Oswald was impersonated in Mexico City six weeks before JFK’s assassination, and the diary of Clay Shaw, the only man ever charged in connection with the assassination.

The narrators concludes, “Finding answers may not be easy but the simple democratic principles of openness and accountability demand that we try.”



21 thoughts on “What has been learned about the JFK story in recent years?”

  1. I think the Hosty interview is the most telling in this piece and makes me wonder how anyone can listen to what he has to say and dismiss conspiracy.

    In the video Hosty describes how he was told by his FBI superiors to no longer engage with Oswald and to not mention Oswald’s visit to the embassies in Mexico City to Dallas PD. Incredible on its face.

    What’s even more incredible to me is that Hosty says he discovered later that Oswald had met with the head of assassinations for the KGB in Mexico City and his superiors knew this. That’s when Hosty calls “the benign coverup” began.

    Not so benign if its covering the tracks of the true killers of JFK. And his interview aligns perfectly with James Douglass’s point that the plotters inserted this “WWIII virus” following the assassination to thwart any real investigation by the govt.


    Oswald signed the visa application in Duran´s presence. Both the incoming (Mirabal) and outgoing (Azcue) Cuban consuls saw the applicant. Only Azcue didn’t identied him with the Oswald on the news, but the signature on the application was consistent with Oswald’s. Two other eyewitnesses at the Cuban Consulate (they were officials from the Commercial Office, located upstairs), Guillermo Ruiz and Antonio Garcia-Lara, who saw the dispute between Oswald and Azcue, identified the former as the Oswald on the news. Furthermore, the American-born Mexican artist Elizabeth Mora told FBI informants that Cuban Cultural Attaché Teresa Proenza had told her that she saw Oswald at the Embassy (where he actually voiced the threat against Kennedy’s live, according to Fidel Castro).
    But undoubtely, there was an impersonation by phone and the post-facto development of this conspiracy fact involved both the CIA and the FBI.

  3. Let’s ask some basic questions on this subject. Who claimed initially that LHO was in Mexico City? The CIA?
    Now, here we are, 50 years after the fact, and not one individual or Agency has been able to prove LHO actually was in Mexico City? Why?
    The simple answer would be, because he never was, as he claimed.
    A case can be proven with 100 percent certainty that the CIA tried to make it appear as LHO was in Mexico City, whether by accident or design.
    There have been countless lies told about events of the JFK assassination, and LHO’s involvement. I don’t think that “hearsay” evidence out weighs indirect or direct physical evidence in the best of situtations.
    Why would the CIA initially try to make LHO appear as being in Mexico City….and then much later hide or destroy the evidence to cover that up?
    Again, the simple answer…..to lay the seeds of the frame-up, LHO and Cuba.
    The CIA absolutely would have been aware that investigators were hot on the trail of the Mexico City-LHO-CIA debacle. What are the principles of “Smoke and Mirrors”? The CIA didn’t want to supply any more evidence that they were caught red handed in falsifying LHO’s presence in Mexico City.
    In reality, the only one that can be proven to be in Mexico City and directly involved with the entire affair IS the CIA.

  4. Was it proven he was impersonated ? Could Oswald have had some one impersonate him, wasn’t who ever was down there using terrible Russian ? That’s the only part of the Assasination that is a mystery to me, Mexico.
    I remember when I was really interested in the case I read The Torbitt Document, I thought that was what we are all still seeking, the truth.

    I have a question for Jeff Morley and the group, but first some background: Sometime back, I read that CIA had not completely destroyed the audio tapes from the Mexico City station in which a man posing as “Oswald” was recorded. This voice recording didn’t match that of Lee H. Oswald, the man taken into custody in Dallas on November 22, and assassinated on the 24th.

    So my question is this: Does anyone know where this audio tape is, or has it been lost again? How come the public hasn’t been able to hear this recording? Or have they? I would love to hear it.

    1. JSA: The short answer is that the CIA probably destroyed the tape in 1986 but the whole story is worth telling.
      I will answer more fully in a post that will run next Tuesday, January 8.

    1. Good point D Jon. I have always found the testimony of the bus passengers and the testimony of Sylvia Duran to be convincing evidence that Oswald did go to Mexico City. What do you think of that testimony Mark?

      I agree with Mark that the evidence indicates that Oswald was impersonated in Mexico City. What do you think abou that proposition, D jon?

      The evidence, as summarized at MaryFerrell.org, can be found here.

      The most convincing and detailed argument that Oswald was impersonated is found in John Newman’s 1995 book, “Oswald and the CIA.” (Dismissing Newman’s groundbreaking work as “CT” isn’t going to cut it in this discussion.)

      1. Jeff,

        the FBI found that only one ticket was sold in the very narrow time frame they gave themselves (forced on them by an unemployment check being cashed in NO one day later than they originly believed he departed). They then traced the seller of that ticket. Because the seller sold very few such tickets, he was able to recall the person and gave a description, including clothing. He could not positiverly ID Oswald from a photo. The FBI then went to Marina, who denied Oswald owned any clothing like that described – so the FBI went back to the ticket seller with their Oswald photos and this time made sure they left with a positive ID and ignored the clothing problem. One of the two British-Fijian girls (AKA the Australian girls) stated that “Oswald” ate huge amounts of Mexican food at every stop. That does not sound like Oswald to me. However, everyone’s favorite villain, Albert Osborne, told the FBI the person sitting next to was a Mexican. For some time, the FBI tried to track down a Tex-Mex who crossed the border at the same time as Oswald. They gave up. A few years down the track and a NM State police informant became embroiled in a major case involving what looks like a COINTELPRO operation against Latino “subversives”. He had the same name as the Tex-Mex character who the FBI “tried” to find in ’64.

        I’m with Mark. Oswald did not go to MC.

    2. D Jon (with apologies for getting your name wrong previously), there was not a bus load of witnesses. The authorities only questioned the 5 white people. Of those, 4 ID’d Oswald as sitting next to Albert Osborne. Osborne claimed the person next to him was a Mexican. There were many others on the bus – but none of those Mexicans were ever asked about Oswald, so saying he was Id’d by a “bus load” of witnesses is, at best, a wild exaggeration.

      Yes, Duran id’d Oswald — but she had been tortured. Azcue, who had not been tortured, gave a description not matching Oswald.

      Oswald told his wife and Ruth Paine that he was going to go to either Houston or head east (Philadelphia being one place mentioned) to look for work. His note book had a number of Philadelphia addresses in it. I traced those addresses. One was a Russian Orthodox Church and another was a language institute. Those are the types of places Oswald would go to in seeking help in finding work. In any event, it looks like he went to Houston where he told Marina and Ruth he had a friend who would help him. We do know he tried to contact someone there by phone, and there is an FBI report of Oswald attending an employment agency in Houston. The evidence placing him in MC is smoke and mirrors. No one at the hotel could ID him… the travel records were a mess and even had him leaving by car. And we all know about the embassy photos. All you have are the 4 white bus witnesses, a guest register at the hotel, and a torture victim in Duran. That’s it. That is all the evidence there is for him being there. Ever wonder why those 4 bus witnesses have kept such a low profile ever since that time and have refused to speak to anyone?

      1. This is a complicated issue and the evidence is conflicting.

        Oswald: He both admitted and denied that he went to Mexico City according to this useful compilation. from Mae Brussell.

        The bus passengers: the fact that the Australians stopped answering questions may be due to understandable desire to avoid repetitive conversations with strangers. I wouldn’t assume it is because their story is dubious.

        Duran and Azcue: Yes, Duran was beaten up by Mexicans but she told the same story to Tony Summers years later. She spent much more time with Oswald than did Azcue who only observed the end of their interaction when Oswald got angry. She changed her story when she spoke to the HSCA and Tony Summers. D & A statements that the American visitor was “blond” are not necessarily anomalous. In Mexico blond can mean refer to any fair skinned person. They also said the visitor was shorter than the real Oswald. The American visitor’s visa application had a photo that is of the real Oswald. Of course, it would be possible to fake such photos.

        Oleg Nechiperenko, the Soviet consul who described a long interaction with Oswald on Sept. 28, 1963. He’s a self-interested witness but he clearly was there. He might have made the story up but he’s not an obvious candidate for collaborating in a CIA coverup scheme.

        Other Oswald sitings: Elena Garro said she thought he was at a “twist party” though her dating of the party was vague and other witnesses from the alleged party never surfaced. Oscar Contreras, Mexican journalist, is a more credible witness. His description of the person he thought was Oswald was also shorter than the real Oswald.

        I would say the evidence that Oswald is impersonated in Mexico City is stronger than the evidence that he was never in Mexico City. As John Newman documented in “Oswald in the CIA,” undercover officers the Mexico City station engaged in impersonation operations using real existing visitors to advance their schemes

        1. Jeff, the only person who claimed Oswald admitted to going to MC was in the testimony of Harry Holmes.
          Mr. BELIN. Anything else about Russia? Did he ever say anything about going to Mexico? Was that ever covered?
          Mr. HOLMES. Yes. To the extent that mostly about–well–he didn’t spend, “Where did you get the money?” He didn’t have much money and he said it didn’t cost much money. He did say that where he stayed it cost $26 some odd, small ridiculous amount to eat, and another ridiculous small amount to stay all night, and that he went to the Mexican Embassy to try to get this permission to go to Russia by Cuba, but most of the talks that he wanted to talk about was how he got by with a little amount.
          They said, “Well, who furnished you the money to go to Mexico?”
          “Well, it didn’t take much money.” And it was along that angle, was the conversation.
          Mr. BELIN. Did he admit that he went to Mexico?
          Mr. HOLMES. Oh, yes.
          Mr. BELIN. Did he say what community in Mexico he went to?
          Mr. HOLMES. Mexico City.
          Mr. BELIN. Did he say what he did while he was there?
          Mr. HOLMES. He went to the Mexican consulate, I guess.
          (Discussion off the record.)
          Mr. BELIN. Now, with regard to this Mexican trip, did he say who he saw in Mexico?
          Mr. HOLMES. Only that he went to the Mexican consulate or Embassy or something and wanted to get permission, or whatever it took to get to Cuba. They refused him and he became angry and he said he burst out of there, and I don’t know. I don’t recall now why he went into the business about how mad it made him.
          He goes over to the Russian Embassy. He was already at the American. This was the Mexican–he wanted to go to Cuba.
          Then he went to the Russian Embassy and he said, because he said then he wanted to go to Russia by way of Cuba, still trying to get to Cuba and try that angle and they refused and said, “Come back in 30 days,” or something like that. And, he went out of there angry and disgusted.
          Mr. BELIN. Did he go to the Cuban Embassy, did he say or not?
          Mr. HOLMES. He may have gone there first, but the best of my recollection, it might have been Cuban and then the Russian, wherever he went at first, he wanted to get to Cuba, and then he went to the Russian to go by Cuba.
          Mr. BELIN. Did he say why he wanted to go to Cuba?
          Mr. HOLMES. No.
          Mr. BELIN. Did–this wasn’t reported in your interview in the memorandum that you wrote?
          Mr. HOLMES. No.
          Mr. BELIN. Is this something that you think you might have picked up from just reading the papers, or is this something you remember hearing?
          Mr. HOLMES. That is what he said in there.

          As you can see, Belin noted that Holmes hadn’t said anything about this in his interrogation report. It rang alarm bells. And so it should have because no one but no one else said anything about Oswald making such an admission. All any of the others say is that he DENIED going down there. That’s Fritz, and all the FBI and Secret Service people.

          Holmes was out of the loop on a lot of stuff which is how he come to let the cat out of the bag regarding Oswald being stopped at the TSBD entrance. But it seems someone got to him after he wrote his interrogation report, but prior to his WC testimony. Whoever it was was apparently keen for one of the interrogators to to say Oswald admitted being down there. In absence of any corroboration from other interrogators, the testimony is not credible.

          There is a photo of a very blonde “Oswald” that Azcue points to as the person he encountered. It can be found on the web.

          Garro is someone I haven’t looked at for a while, but my memory is that she described a “beatnik” type.

          The two “Australian” girls are not credible (do some background checks – particularly on their employeers in the US) and the McFarlane’s acted as if terrified.

          Above and beyond that, I find the Houston employment agency witness very credible because ( a ) she was a reluctant witness and ( b ) everything she told the FBI was public knowledge – with one exception. She had said that her man had said he had a friend in Houston. This was NOT in the public domain at that stage and the FBI knew it because that was the one thing that they got her to retract.

          Another point in her favor was that in all fake Oswald sightings, we have the fake Oswald making sure he gives his name and makes a memorable scene. This Oswald didn’t give his name and didn’t make a scene. She was a specialized agency and didn’t cater to transients – she therefore did not register him.

          1. Interesting Greg. Upon reading Holmes testimony, I agree it is not convincing. There is something suspect in the way Holmes tells the story. He doesn’t tell it like he is recounting what was told to him BY Oswald. It sounds like he is recounting a story told ABOUT Oswald.

            “They refused him and he became angry and he said he burst out of there, and I don’t know. I don’t recall now why he went into the business about how mad it made him.”

            “He became angry”….(Not “He said he became angry because…”)

            “I don’t recall now why he went into the business about how mad it made him” (Why would Oswald be talking about being mad, if not to explain why? And would you really forget why a presidential assassin got mad during a visit to communist embassies in a foreign country? What kind of cop would forget such a detail about such a suspect?)

            “He said he burst out of there”…(This seems like behavior observed by someone else. Would Oswald say “I burst out of there…” in the course of telling a story about himself? It seems off to me.

            Thanks for the perspective

      2. Yes, Duran id’d Oswald — but she had been tortured.

        Unfortunately for what you are implying, she was identifying Oswald to her relatives before she was arrested and questioned rather roughly by the Mexican security police.

        In fact, she thought her cousin who didn’t like her had “ratted her out.” In fact, that wasn’t the case.

        The rough treatment was apparently the result of the Mexican security police wanting her to confess to having been in cahoots with Oswald.

        This business is another of the zombie factoids surrounding the case, the product of people repeating stuff from conspiracy books without bothering to check the primary sources.

  6. Documentary is inaccurate. Despite what John Newman says, Oswald couldn’t have been in Mexico City. Too many witnesses saw/spoke to Oswald at the same time in Austin and Dallas. Mrs. Bledsoe his first landlady, then the next landlady at N. Beckley, then McCluskey at TEC in Dallas, then the woman at Austin Selective Service and if you really want to stretch it – Sylvia Odio. Far too many witnesses interacting with LHO in Texas at the time the CIA concocted phony audio tapes and phony pictures of him in Mexico City.

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