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The Assassination Story (Part 4)

Now to summarize the basic themes of this collection of news clippings entitled, The Assassination Story (1963). It includes about 300 news clippings from two Dallas newspapers, the Dallas Morning News and the Dallas Times Herald from about 11/22/1963 until about 12/15/1963. About 90% of these articles would be familiar to most Americans of that era watching TV and reading newspapers about Lee Harvey Oswald (LHO).

However – about 10% of these articles focus on General Walker and the Dallas Right Wing. Our last three posts have summarized these 10% along with the back cover. This post offers a summary of all of it in six broad categories:

  1. General Walker’s Personal Agenda

  2. Communist Collaborators in Washington DC

  3. Lee Harvey Oswald as a Communist Spy

  4. Cases of Mistaken Identity

  5. Spinning Historical Facts

  6. The Problem of US Classified Materials

Let's see what we've got here.

1. General Walker’s Personal Agenda

The German Newspaper

In this collection of Dallas news clippings about the JFK Assassination, General Walker included special excepts from the December 6, 1963 edition of the Dallas Morning News. The source was an English translation of excerpts from an interview that Walker gave to a German newspaper (Deutsche Nationalzeitung) only 18 hours after the JFK Assassination.

In the first excerpt, UPI had quoted Walker from this interview saying that he was “not at all surprised” that JFK was assassinated – because, after all, the Communists are certainly low enough to kill one of their own. That Jack Ruby shot LHO is obvious proof of a conspiracy. Was Ruby right-wing or left-wing? Ruby was certainly not in the Dallas right-wing, so logically, Ruby must have acted as part of the left-wing.

In the second excerpt, Walker included his life’s slogan from now on – the headline of that German article: if the Dallas Police had been permitted to arrest LHO properly on April 10, 1963, then JFK would still be alive today. I suggest that these clippings were the central theme of The Assassination Story.

The December 6th date of Walker’s leak of this news to the Dallas press is significant – it comes immediately after Marina Oswald had told the Secret Service that Lee had been Walker’s April shooter.

Walker’s Personal Business

In this collection of news clippings about JFK, General Walker included clippings about his own political career. For example, a hotel in Long Island, New York had canceled his speaking engagement because of protesters. What does that have to do with the JFK Assassination? Nothing! Yet Walker– deliberately or not – linked his personal business with news clippings of the JFK Assassination.

This collection also includes an article about Walker contemplating another gubernatorial campaign in Texas. Walker claimed that he was “approached constantly” about the possibility (by his sycophants no doubt). What does that have to do with a collection of news clippings on the JFK Assassination? Nothing! Walker here had linked his political ambitions with news clippings of the JFK Assassination.

Another news clipping here quotes Walker as saying that the JFK Assassination was “not as surprising as it was tragic.” Did Walker call the JFK Assassination tragic? Walker explained himself – all soldiers tragically killed in our Cold War against Communism were equal to JFK. Walker then warned us to never underestimate the Communists – they were crazy enough to kill their own.

Finally, Surrey’s printed remark in the Sunday 24 November 1963 edition of the Dallas Times Herald, that LHO also being General Walker’s April shooter “had occurred to us,” is probably the first time that any American newspaper had printed such a thing. Yet it obviously repeated the theme of that German newspaper interview of Walker from the morning after the JFK Assassination.

Adlai Stevenson’s Lingering Saga

This collection also included editorials critical of Adlai Stevenson. For example, one editorial denounced anybody who called Adlai a “martyr” because of his humiliation in Dallas on Saturday 24 October 1963. What does that have to do with a collection of news clippings on the JFK Assassination? Nothing, right? Yet Walker – with this news clipping – had just linked-in the Adlai Stevenson incident.

As we’ve seen (Craven, 1993), General Walker was the grand organizer of that public humiliation of UN Ambassador Adlai Stevenson in Dallas on October 24, 1963. Another editorial in this collection cited Adlai Stevenson’s UN Day rally in the Dallas Memorial Auditorium, contrasting it with Walker’s US Day rally on Friday 23 October 1963 in the same auditorium. Walker was a Christian while Adlai was allegedly an Atheist. Walker promoted Free Enterprise while Adlai allegedly promoted Communism.

Our question should be, however, whether any of that has anything to do with a collection of news clippings on the JFK Assassination. By including these specific news articles in this specific collection, Walker made an effort to link the Dallas humiliation of Adlai Stevenson with the JFK Assassination.

Clearing the Dallas Legacy

Several articles in this collection struggle to absolve Dallas of any blame for the JFK Assassination. One article quotes Walker himself as he proclaims that Communists could have killed JFK in any American city, and so Dallas need feel no special shame.

Another article explained that the US Secret Service and the FBI had researched threats to JFK coming out of Houston, Texas. Many US cities had Communist enemies of the US President. (In reality, however, the deceptive field investigation led by Dallas Secret Service agent, Forrest Sorrels, deliberately pointed the Washington Secret Service everywhere else except Dallas – e.g. Houston.)

2. Communist Collaborators in Washington DC

Washington DC Colluding with Communists

JFK was killed by Communists, claimed Walker’s followers in Dallas. Washington DC basically laughed at Walker and his Dallas crew, but Walker replied in effect, ‘that only showed that Washington DC was in league with the Communists!’

According to the former Senator Eugene McCarthy (an idol of Walker's) Washington DC had been supporting Communism for many years. Another one of Walker’s anti-Communist mentors, Senator John Tower of Texas, defended any rumor about a Communist plot to kill JFK – despite President LBJ and his cabinet consistently denying such a plot.

But Walker now had proof! The FBI and US Secret Service had known all about LHO, that dangerous Communist Dallas, but they kept this a secret from the Dallas Police who had been sworn to protect JFK! If the FBI had told the truth to the Dallas Police, then they could have restrained LHO and JFK would still be alive!

Notice the common thread here with the German article, i.e. Washington DC authorities had blind-sighted Dallas Police about LHO, and this resulted in JFK’s death.

Lieutenant Revill’s Report

At the root of this news article about the FBI fooling the Dallas Police was a written report by DPD Lieutenant Jack Revill to his boss, Captain Gannaway only hours after the JFK Assassination (CE 709). Revill charged that FBI agent James Hosty had told him in a DPD elevator that the FBI knew that LHO was a dangerous Communist long before that tragic day. Revill’s complaint was that Hosty failed to warn the Dallas Police.

This article is tricky because it makes Hosty (an ally of Walker) look like a stooge of FBI headquarters in Washington DC. Walker despised the FBI’s official Lone Nut portrait of LHO. Walker demanded that a Communist portrait of LHO must be the official American opinion. According to Walker and the Dallas Radical Right, we must blame Washington DC here – including J. Edgar Hoover and his minions – for defending the International Communists from Walker’s politics!

I suppose that many in the Dallas Radical Right who didn’t know that General Walker had a secret political relationship with James Hosty might see Hosty as sitting too close to FBI in Washington DC. DPD Lieutenant Jack Revill was apparently one of those.

The Blundering Kremlin

The fact that the Kremlin (the Communist Enemy) had publicly blamed the Dallas Radical Right for the JFK Assassination was good news for Walker, because any accusation by the Kremlin was always considered a lie in America. Walker could now claim that anybody who blames the Dallas Radical Right for the JFK Assassination must be a Communist because that is the Kremlin’s line!

In another news clipping, the Kremlin published a silly CIA-did-it theory of the JFK Assassination only two after the tragedy. (This may be its first appearance in history.) Now then, General Walker and the John Birch Society had often called the CIA a bunch of Communists. Yet when the Kremlin bashed the CIA, Walker jumped to the CIA’s defense! Walker seems to exclaim: ‘How dare the Kremlin slur our beloved CIA? This justifies our claim that LHO must have been working for the Kremlin!’

The Back Cover

Robert Alan Surrey wrote the cover letter on the back cover of The Assassination Story. His cover letter exploited the Southern suspicion of the Yankee Establishment in Washington DC.

Surrey said that readers from all over America would write to him asking for more information about the JFK Assassination. They were dissatisfied with reports by the national media. Surrey replied that Washington DC controlled the “national news media system,” and would always “muzzle” any reporter who sought to tell the truth about the Communist plot to kill JFK. Surrey insisted that local reporters in local newspapers are a much better source of the whole truth, because they resist such “muzzling.”

Surrey said that Dallas newspapers would give the reader a better coverage of that JFK tragedy which had occurred on the streets of Dallas, before the eyes of Dallas reporters. Surrey suggested that this collection of news clippings might raise some questions that the Warren Commission itself would dodge, implying a WC agenda to hide the facts about a Communist plot to kill JFK.

3. Lee Harvey Oswald as a Communist Spy

LHO the Communist

The lynchpin of Walker’s claim of a Communist plot against JFK was the personality of Lee Harvey Oswald – the nearly universally recognized assassin. LHO was a Communist, pure and simple. This was Walker’s drumbeat from the start.

To this end, Walker included a rumor in this collection of news clippings, that LHO had been fired by a Dallas printing company because of “Communist tendencies.” The WC found the Dallas printer in 1963 that had discharged LHO, namely, Jaggars-Chiles-Stovall. At his six-month performance review in March 1963, LHO was told that his work was unsatisfactory, and he was discharged. The WC subpoenaed the owners of Jaggars-Chiles-Stovall for details. They testified that LHO had to redo jobs, costing them time and money. Co-workers were also subpoenaed. and none testified that LHO was let go because of “Communist tendencies.”

It seems to me that the rumor started as follows. Robert Alan Surrey, a professional printer, knew all of the printers in Dallas and he heard all of the gossip. Surrey likely heard the honest gossip that LHO had brazenly flaunted Russian newspapers at work. Surrey took that gossip to General Walker, who added a little more drama and leaked it to the press.

Oswald's alleged Communist Salute

In this collection of news clippings there’s a famous photo of LHO in handcuffs, mugging for the camera by raising his right clenched fist. One journalist interpreted this as a “Communist salute,” so Walker rushed to print this as further proof of LHO’s Communism. Yet the ‘clenched fist salute’ had been used by both right-wing and left-wing groups throughout history, and it only means ‘defiance.’ Further, this famous photo was retouched to erase LHO’s large, US Marine Corps “Semper Fi” signet ring! With that signet ring, LHO’s gesture could have equally meant, “This is how Dallas treats US Marines!”

FPCC as Proof of Oswald's Communism

The official FPCC (Fair Play for Cuba Committee) was widely recognized in Washington DC as a Communist front group. Yet J. Edgar Hoover himself told the Warren Commission that the FPCC branch in New Orleans wasn’t official – it was a personal hobby of LHO. For example, when he landed in a New Orleans jail because of his FPCC hobby, LHO called the local FBI for assistance!

General Walker counted on the fact that most Americans didn’t know that. Walker’s effort to tie together LHO, the JFK murder rifle (purchased March 1963) and the FPCC in New Orleans (August 1963) was obviously reaching to portray a Communist plot to kill JFK.

The entire US Right Wing knew about LHO’s appearance on New Orleans radio and TV, boasting that he was a secretary of the FPCC in New Orleans. Walker had requested the radio transcript of that NBC program on the week that it aired. Here was tangible proof, Walker had told his own followers, that LHO was a deadly Communist. His followers believed him. Yet Walker knew, just as Hoover knew, that the New Orleans FPCC branch was bogus – and that Guy Banister had set it up as a right-wing front.

LHO was happy to continue playing the game during October 1963 with his application for a Dallas P.O. Box, in which he claimed that his ‘firm’ was the FPCC. Just a few days before, LHO had tried to pass for an FPCC official in various consulates in Mexico City. The Mexican consulates just kicked him out. J. Edgar Hoover was right -- LHO's New Orleans FPCC meant nearly nothing.

Dallas County Assistant District Attorney Opinion

One article in this collection quoted Bill Alexander, Dallas County Assistant District Attorney, as an authority. Dallas officials friendly to General Walker continued to feed opinions to the Dallas press that LHO was a Communist in every way, in order to blame the Communists for the JFK Assassination (and to take heat off of Dallas). Alexander announced that he had obtained evidence that LHO wrote letters to the Communist Party in New York City. Also, LHO had FPCC letterhead among his possessions. That was enough for Bill Alexander who concluded publicly about LHO that, “he is a New Yorker and an active Communist!”

4. Cases of Mistaken Identity

Ruby Oswald Connection

One article in this collection claimed that Jack Ruby and LHO lived close by each other. General Walker pushed hard for anything to link Jack Ruby with LHO. If America could be convinced that Jack Ruby and LHO were partners in a Communist plot, then the Dallas Radical Right would be in the clear. Walker told the WC that LHO had lived in the same apartment house as Jack Ruby’s sister, although the WC attorneys disproved that. Walker was relentless with angles like this.

This collection also included an article claiming that LHO was a regular in Jack Ruby’s Carousel Club. The rumor was started by one of Ruby’s entertainers, Bill DeMar. Walker tried to convince the WC that this article tied LHO to Ruby. Or, Ruby might have been that second shooter at Walker back in April.

Obviously Ruby had killed LHO only to hide their true relationship. DeMar's “identification” was solid evidence, claimed Walker. The WC, however, dismissed it as a case of mistaken identity. Walker’s Friends would continue promote the DeMar “identification” for years. (The myth of a Ruby/LHO partnership would continue to grow, as we will later see.)

Western Union

Another news clipping in this collection claimed that LHO received regular money orders from a Western Union office in Dallas. This implied was that LHO was part of a secret conspiracy. The WC subpoenaed many witnesses to get to the bottom of this. The news reporter (Gene Fenley), the Western Union clerk who started the rumor (C.A. Hamblen), an associate clerk (Aubrey Lewis), the Western Union District Manager (Larry Wilcox) and the Western Union Vice President (W.W. Semingsen), all testified. The rumor had no basis in any fact. A full audit of Western Union records for all Dallas money orders from October through November 1963 showed none at all for LHO or any of his aliases. Fenley testified that Hamblen later recanted his story. It was another case of mistaken identity.

5. Spinning Historical Facts

The Walker Shooting

Marina Oswald herself confirmed what Walker had told the German press on the morning after the JFK Assassination – that LHO had been Walker’s shooter. Finally, Walker could say it officially. The question arose in Walker’s WC testimony – how did that German newspaper print it two weeks before Marina Oswald revealed it? Walker shrugged it off – ‘a good guess’ he replied.

Yet for years I’ve touted Dick Russell’s interviews of Igor and Natasha Voshinin (cf. 1991) about George De Mohrenschildt’s morning confession to them four days after the Walker shooting. George, LHO’s best friend, told the Voshinins that he suspected LHO of the shooting. Natasha told the Dallas FBI that very morning. I link Russell’s account to Walker’s own letter to Senator Frank Church in 1975, in which Walker claimed that he knew “within days” of the April shooting that LHO was his shooter.

With Marina Oswald’s open confession to the world, Walker was vindicated – his name would forever be linked with the JFK Assassination through LHO.

Another article falsely claimed that the FBI was busy collecting more evidence to prove that LHO was Walker’s April shooter. Wrong. After Marina Oswald had admitted what LHO told her, and revealed to the FBI the letter that LHO gave her that evening, the FBI needed no more evidence. The bullet fragment found at General Walker’s home in April was mutilated beyond recognition. The case was closed. The source of that article was most likely a fiction invented by Walker.

Another article in this collection falsely claimed that the FBI found written plans by LHO planning to shoot General Walker. Although the WC did have LHO’s photographs of Walker’s house, nothing written by LHO on the topic had ever surfaced. Walker insisted that the reason for the silence must be that the alleged letters are ‘top secret.’

In a strange twist, this article then announced that LHO’s alleged written plans to shoot Walker are undeniable proof of the innocence of the Dallas Radical Right in the JFK Assassination! An amazing non-sequitur! The conclusion gives away the obvious fiction writers, Walker and Surrey, since there’s no plausible connection between LHO’s April shot at Walker and the alleged innocence of the Dallas Radical Right in the JFK Assassination.

6. The Problem of US Classified Materials

James Hosty and Mexico City

Another Dallas Times Herald article in this collection of news clippings about the JFK Assassination reports that LHO visited the Embassies of Mexico City only eight weeks prior, seeking to return to the USSR. This news article is dated Monday 25 November 1963. However, on this early date, only US intelligence knew that LHO had been in Mexico City. We must ask how it got into a Dallas morning newspaper only three days after the JFK Assassination.

James Hosty is the likely source, since he wrote in his own book, Assignment Oswald (1996, pp. 14-16) that only two hours after the JFK Assassination, he had learned about LHO’s four-day visit to Mexico City in September/October 1963. Here’s how it happened.

At 1:25 PM Hosty’s boss ordered him to compile a list of all Dallas Radical Right suspects. Hosty rushed to do this, but at 2:15 PM, his co-worker, Ken Howe, told him that ‘Lee Oswald’ had just been arrested for the murder of JD Tippit. Suddenly, Hosty (who had been tracking LHO for most of 1963) “realized” that Lee Oswald must have been the killer of JFK, too!

So, Hosty and Howe ran to the active file cabinet to get LHO’s FBI folder. It was missing. So, they ran to the FBI mail room. There was the folder, paper-clipped to a copy of LHO’s letter of November 12th, addressed to the Soviet Embassy in New York City. Hosty claimed that this was when he first saw this letter, and when he first learned that LHO had visited Mexico City. This was approximately two hours after the JFK Assassination.

Hosty explained to us – evidently the New York FBI had intercepted the letter in New York City and made copies of it before sending it on to the Soviet Embassy. Let’s accept that at face value for now.

Now, an FBI agent is forbidden to leak anything to the press – but as an ally of General Walker, our agent Hosty just might share it with him. This satisfies me that the source of this leak of classified materials was Dallas FBI agent James Hosty, and the source of the specific wording of the article was General Walker. Walker’s portrait was something like this: ‘Here’s that Red LHO, trying to get back to Russia and making deals with the Reds – probably a deal to kill JFK!

Conclusion

This collection of news clippings, The Assassination Story (1963) presented about 270 run-of-the-mill news stories about the JFK Assassination. Yet it also included about 30 news stories with a deliberate focus on the political message of the resigned General Walker and the Dallas Radical Right.

This post has reviewed these ~30 with attention to the following:

  1. Blatant neglect of the JFK Assassination in order to extol General Walker

  2. Continuing the McCarthyism claim of Communist influence in Washington DC

  3. Portrait of Lee Harvey Oswald as a Communist spy rather than as a Lone Nut

  4. Legitimization of cases of mistaken identity in order to portray Oswald as a Soviet spy

  5. Pushing the April 1963 shooting at Walker as a crucial factor in the JFK Assassination

  6. Using classified materials about Mexico City in order to portray Oswald as a Soviet spy

To boil down the message of these 30-some articles (very likely fed to the Dallas press by Walker’s activist team) to one basic message, I would cite only one article. The English translation of the lead paragraph of the article, The Strange Case of Oswald, is the central message of these 30-some articles. This article reports an interview of General Walker given in the early morning hours on the day after the JFK Assassination. Let’s review this English translation from the Friday 29 November 1963 issue of the German newspaper, Deutsche Nationalzeitung,

"The murderer of Kennedy made an attempt on U.S. General Walker's life early in the summer when General Walker was sitting in his study. The bullet missed Walker's head by only inches. Oswald was seized, but the following investigation – as it was reported to us – was stopped by U.S. Attorney General Robert Kennedy. In the case that Oswald would have been imprisoned for many years, he would not have been able to commit the murder of John F. Kennedy, the brother of Robert Kennedy." (Deutsche Nationalzeitung, 29 Nov. 1963)

In my reading, that narrative sums up the obsession of General Walker and Robert Alan Surrey after the JFK Assassination.

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