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Marines Described Alleged JFK Assassin Oswald as 'A rather poor shot'Tim King Salem-News.com
Alleged assassin's former girlfriend, Judyth Vary Baker, sheds light on one very misunderstood man.
(SALEM, Ore.) -
It represents a pivotal moment in the development of the character and nature of the United States. Author Judyth Vary Baker, the former girlfriend of Lee Harvey Oswald, who the majority of Americans believe shot and killed JFK, says this president's loss set into motion a pattern of corruption that is only now, in 2011, being addressed by the Occupy Wall Street movement.
Texas and Louisiana are both key states in the mystery. One is synonymous with big oil profits, the other with long standing political corruption; Baker says each played a significant role in the plan to assassinate President Kennedy and blame the crime on Oswald, who would then die conveniently at the hand of Jack Ruby. Ruby then died from the sudden onset of cancer and Baker has a bit to say about that untimely death that was in fact very timely for those who wished to see key people silenced.
Me and Lee
Her new book, Me & Lee - How I Came to Know, Love and Lose Lee Harvey Oswald, tells a sordid tale of shadowy figures, gritty streets, and unsavory characters who would spend evenings in group discussions about the best way or ways to kill John Kennedy. This she says, was common in several upper class circles in this historic city, and those are the talks that led to unspeakable disaster..
In our interview today, I asked Judyth Vary Baker, who has spent most of her life in hiding outside of the U.S., about how she came to be connected to Lee Oswald.
"I was invited to New Orleans by Dr. Alton Ochsner, to work on a cancer research project. I had arrived two weeks ahead of schedule because school got early. I went there with very little money because they offered a stipend and free room and board and all this, but they weren't there and they wouldn't let me do that."
She suddenly found herself having to live at the YWCA where she moved in with an aspiring Playboy bunny, two strippers and a waitress, all crowded in one room.
"You had to pay a bribe to one of the girls so that nobody else would steal your clothes, so that is the kind of introduction I had to New Orleans, plus being followed the minute I got off the bus by a couple of seedy looking men. I had to turn back and get a cab, even though it wasn't that far to the 'Y', that was the middle of the night."
It was in New Orleans that she would have her chance meeting with a young Marine named Lee Oswald - who may be the most misunderstood American in history. She certainly isn't the first to use evidence in demonstrating this claim, that Oswald was perhaps the last person on earth who would have killed his own country's president.
Baker brings forward this and other material that casts longer shadows than ever on the official story that many have believed for years, portrayed Oswald in the role of government patsy. Baker says that in retrospect, looking back at those days in New Orleans when she met Lee, many things that then were unclear, now make sense.
"It's a rough tough city and I was in with the wrong crowd right away, and I hear about Carlos Marcello and there was a raid, even that night, and one of the strippers came in early around 5:00 in the morning, with newspapers wrapped around her, she was stark naked except for her pasties and 'g' string, because she'd been in the raid, she had managed to escape before they caught her, and she had to sneak home and wrap herself in newspapers to get back into the 'Y'."
Baker says it was a different world from her rather sheltered one, doing cancer research and working at a university in Florida, and she also believes she was expected arrive early, even though the doctors wouldn't be in for a week or so.
"We no longer think it was an accident or a coincidence that Lee Oswald suddenly appears behind me at the post office, when I'm sending a letter off to my intended fiance," Baker told me today during our extremely interesting Skype conversation.
She explains how very quickly, she found herself drawn to this man. "I dropped a newspaper and he picked it up. I was always practicing my Russian, so I said 'thank you' in Russian to him, or actually I said, "Well done comrade", and he said, "It's not wise to speak Russian in New Orleans,'"
She says Oswald's words in Russian immediately established a common bond.
"I looked at him; he's clean cut, he looked so nice, he stood with a military stance, and he had such kind eyes. So when he asked if he could walk me home, I said yes. He told me he was at the YMCA, and that he was waiting for his wife to come, so he told me right away at that point. But there was chemistry between us immediately, it was absolutely love at first site for both of us."
The Toilet Bowl Award
The spy business was very serious at this point in time, at what could be considered the peak of the Cold War, and this certainly establishes the climate that this young man worked under. There is no disputing that Oswald was highly trained by the Marines, that he possessed Russian language skills, and had accomplished and excelled in other types of training that were consistent with his role as an international spy.
However it looks like he might not have been able to hit the broad side of a barn with a rifle from the inside. A review of his Marine Corps records shows that Lee Harvey Oswald barely qualified with his rifle on the firing range, and that is not the mark of an assassin capable of firing a rifle faster than the particular type could ever be fired accurately.
Oswald was stationed at MCAS El Toro, a Marine Corps air base in Southern California where I too was stationed as a Marine, about twenty years later. All Marines have to qualify annually on the firing range and in order to pass. Then and now, a Marine needs to score at least 190, and that earns what is known as the Marksman Award, which is displayed on the dress alpha uniform and also dress blues.
It is a square design with the rings of a target, that very much resembles a toilet bowl if you let your mind go just a littler. The next achievement above this is the Sharpshooter Award, and above that the Rifle Expert Award. These are earned initially in boot camp and are awards, not actual medals. At any rate, the Marksman (sorry guys) is pretty sad and takes wearing the more formal uniform way less fun.
For Oswald to have pulled off the rapid-fire long distance shooting death of President John Fitzgerald Kennedy, he would have had to have been a great shot. I've never heard of a Marine intentionally reducing his score on the range. It sounds like this was not the specialty of Lee Oswald.
Oswald's Physical Portrayal
Judyth Baker says people need to get past the idea that Lee Oswald was a smaller than average man. I can say from having been in the Marines, that most aren't hulking muscle heads, but lean mean machines capable of endurance, and they seldom if ever have an ounce of extra weight.
"They place the tallest people next to him all of the time to make him look like a shrimp. I went to actuarial tables and statistics, Lee Oswald was 5'9" which is the complete average height of an American male at that time. Anyway it was a common height and he was no shrimp,"
She says Oswald was also strong and wiry. A good way to look at this is that he went into boot camp in the Marines at the age of 17, obviously he can't have been some tiny shrimp lacking stamina or anything like that, he had steely determination and a passion for our country."
I led three lives
A photo of Judyth Baker taken at Roswell Park in Buffalo, New York, showing her with three other young aspiring scientists, was part of a feature article that was published in a magazine in the early 1960's. She explains that one day she showed the magazine and the related photograph to Oswald.
He commented on the fact that Judyth's hair and his wife's hair were done in the same style. This part was a little uncanny, as she shared a number of things in common with Oswald's wife Marina. Oswald then said something that revealed a great deal about his character.
She says that as he was looking at the picture, Oswald flipped the magazine over to the 'radio and TV' section. He then made the comment that she would never forget. Oswald said, "I'm wondering if they still play I led three lives".
I led three lives was Herbert Philbrick's true life stories adapted for TV, where he was used by the FBI as an informant to penetrate so-called Communist cells in the United States. The character playing the part of Philbrick in the TV episodes, was Richard Carlson. A quick view of the program shows you how and why McCarthyism was able to dig its claws into the American psyche.
"Lee saw these when he was in New York," Baker said. A controversy over his having actually seen the program ensued after the initial claim, and it seems hard to understand how a person who liked this program and found it inspiring, would be a fan of Communism.
"His brothers thought he had seen the shows in Texas and it was proven that it wasn't showing at that time. Of course I've looked it up, I know what he saw, I was able to find what he had talked about, so I knew he had seen them of course. This inspired him so much, he wanted to be like Herbert Philbrick. He said he even cried during one segment, he was a teenager, he was inspired by that show, and he decided to become a U.S. spy at a very early age."
Seasoned for the Occasion?
Call me a controversy hound if you must, but there are really huge holes in this story of a Marine named Lee Oswald supposedly shooting his own national leader to death while he rode in a parade with his wife, in charge of a country from a position that challenged organized crime and things that were truly wrong with the United States. Because dead men tell no tales there is so much we can't be sure of, and television shows that claim to have proven new theories, Judyth reminds us, are just that... claims.
Baker says the stories about Oswald being unwilling to salute the flag, were actually attempts of his to see if such antics would or could attract supporters, who would thus be identified as problematic and surely could be the next Communist cell members which were reportedly all over the U.S.
"He tried to join the Socialists before going into the Marines," Judyth Baker said. "He wanted to find contacts and knew that joining before becoming a Marine would be a lot less suspicious than trying to do it after having joined." Simply said, she says he was trying to take every opportunity, use every advantage, and timing is everything. She says he was analytical and careful.
Oswald yearned to explore the world, to see everything, and it began when he talked his way across the border one day at Niagara Falls, igniting a friendship with a myriad of people including notables like Arthur Young, a pacifist and also the inventor of the Bell Helicopter, who is said to have had strong ties with the Quaker community. Baker says Oswald explained to her that he had to learn to trust people, but he also knew that things were very awry when open talk continued in New Orleans about assassinating JFK. It is like a long form government set up to create the perfect person to wear the blame for a shameful crime.
Moral Structure of a Hit Man?
She said Oswald related his appreciation for Sir Lawrence, who displayed extreme qualities of dignity and honor, "One day he told me he had a confession; that he was very inspired by T.E. Lawrence, particularly with regard to his fasting".
Lawrence is known for having completed amazingly long and treacherous journeys through the Arab deserts in what was to him, totally mostly unknown territory. It was here that he helped bring about support that would lead to an end to a bloody war of attrition that claimed so many of Europe's youth.
For his part, Baker said of Oswald, "He was a knight in shining armor." She says he was funny, that he was quirky and loved animals, naming a cat 'Mr. Cat' and the same for a wild critter he befriended, naturally, 'Mr. Squirrel'.
Baker says Oswald told her he believed it was possible he would be killed. This is the point where you should just order the book, because I can't begin to tell you how compelling it is, and I believe that would hold true for someone who didn't have a prior interest.
Oswald told Baker, "They're going to kill me, I have too much information". She says that on the day JFK was shot, Oswald left his wedding ring off, and wore his Marine Corps ring.
Judyth Vary Baker says that like other things in this world, all you have to do is follow the money trail in this story, and she says that what so many really do believe, at least in their hearts, and that is that Lee Oswald did not shoot President Kennedy.
It isn't that the information isn't out there, it is protected however by a media today that has no idea what its soul ever looked like.
On that note I congratulate Trine Day Publishing for publishing and promoting her new book, Me & Lee How I Came to Know, Love and Lose Lee Harvey Oswald, and for helping this incredible woman maintain safety while visiting a place she has not seen in many years.
There is so much more to say, thoughts on Jack Ruby's onset of cancer, the 45-minute x-ray session he was put through, his quick exit.
"I'm a witness", she says, and Judyth Vary Baker is that and so much more.
Tim King: Salem-News.com Editor and Writer
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With almost 25 years of experience on the west coast and worldwide as a television news producer, photojournalist, reporter and assignment editor, Tim King is Salem-News.com's Executive News Editor. His background includes covering the war in Afghanistan in 2006 and 2007, and reporting from the Iraq war in 2008. Tim is a former U.S. Marine who follows stories of Marines and Marine Veterans; he's covered British Royal Marines and in Iraq, Tim embedded with the same unit he served with in the 1980's.
Tim holds awards for reporting, photography, writing and editing from traditional mainstream news agencies like The Associated Press and Electronic Media Association; he also holds awards from the National Coalition of Motorcyclists, the Oregon Confederation of Motorcycle Clubs; and was presented with a 'Good Neighbor Award' for his reporting, by the The Red Cross.
Tim's years as a Human Rights reporter have taken on many dimensions; he has rallied for a long list of cultures and populations and continues to every day, with a strong and direct concentration on the 2009 Genocide of Tamil Hindus and Christians in Sri Lanka. As a result of his long list of reports exposing war crimes against Tamil people, Tim was invited to be the keynote speaker at the FeTNA (Federation of Tamil Sangams of North America) Conference in Baltimore, in July 2012. This is the largest annual gathering of North American Tamils; Tim addressed more than 3000 people and was presented with a traditional Sri Lanka ‘blessed garland’ and a shawl as per the tradition and custom of Tamil Nadu
In a personal capacity, Tim has written 2,026 articles as of March 2012 for Salem-News.com since the new format designed by Matt Lintz was launched in December, 2005.
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Tim specializes in writing about political and military developments worldwide; and maintains that the label 'terrorist' is ill placed in many cases; specifically with the LTTE Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka, where it was used as an excuse to slaughter people by the tens of thousands; and in Gaza, where a trapped population lives at the mercy of Israel's destructive military war crime grinder. At the center of all of this, Tim pays extremely close attention to the safety and welfare of journalists worldwide.
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