<Photo: Lee Harvey Oswald – the patsy – as a schoolboy circa 1949 in New Orleans>
Saturday June 24, 2023: Well, well, well. . . NEXT FRIDAY will be June 30, 2023, the date that the Administration of President Biden has scheduled to finally release the very last of the Top-Secret documents regarding the JFK Assassination – documents that the US government has kept secret for nearly 60 years.
We expect that the Biden Administration will meet their schedule and that the JFK Assassination Mystery will finally – at long last – be completely solved. No surprise, Jason and I expect that the solution to the JFK Assassination will finally identify prominent Dallas citizens who led the plot.
Watch this space.
I continue from notes of my interviews of Harry Dean in 2012 and later years. We pick up Harry’s story in late October 1963. After talking with the FBI in September 1963, Harry expected that the silly Walker-Rousselot-Gabaldon plot to silence JFK at the Dallas Trade Mart on November 22 was an amateur production that would fizzle in a comedy of errors. Harry had a front row seat.
WAITING FOR A FIZZLE IN OCTOBER 1963
As Halloween 1963 approached, Harry Dean happily anticipated JFK’s visit to Dallas in less than 30 days. Harry believed that Walker-Rousselot-Gabaldon would cancel their plot, or else they would foolishly attempt to carry out their Keystone Kops plot at the Dallas Trade Mart, fail, and all get arrested.
If they were arrested, Harry expected to be called as a witness in court – not a suspect – because of the information about the plot that he had volunteered to the Los Angeles FBI in September 1963.
During these same days, Guy Gabaldon (Gabby) was more irritable than usual. He was lost in thought – perhaps planning, perhaps worrying, always mysterious.
For example, on the Friday before Halloween, Gabby invited Harry to dinner – alone – at a Japanese restaurant in Los Angeles. Millie was a little upset because she had become accustomed to visiting the Gabaldon family at their home, with Harry and Gabby retiring to Gabby’s private office, and the ladies retiring to do the dishes and gossip. But Gabby insisted, Millie relented, and Harry went downtown with Gabby for some tempura and sake.
When Harry arrived at the restaurant, he saw Gabby at a table – with lovely Japanese ladies – strangers to Harry. Gabby introduced everyone and told Harry that both ladies were also airplane pilots. That was unusual. So, Harry wondered what was going on. The ladies greeted Harry politely in English, although in general they spoke only Japanese to each other and to Gabby. Harry spoke no Japanese.
When their waitress came to their table to take their order, Gabby even spoke to her in Japanese. The four of them laughed together, speaking Japanese, and all three Japanese ladies teased Gabby in Japanese. Harry could tell that this pleased Gabby, so Harry smiled politely though he didn’t get a single word – and everybody knew it. Suddenly, Gabby handed the waitress a camera and asked her to take photographs of the party.
Harry was perturbed – photos of him with young stranger beauties? Millie might see these pictures and imagine the worst! Matters became more confusing when Gabby spoke to the waitress in Japanese, and she suddenly focused only on Harry’s face from different angles. What was going on? Then she took photographs of Harry with one Japanese lady, and then with the other, and then with both.
Throughout all this, Harry asked Gabby what was going on, yet Gabby never answered – he just kept speaking in Japanese to everybody else. Just as suddenly, the photographs were done, the waitress handed the camera back to Gabby, left the table, then the two ladies arose, politely excused themselves, left the table and left the restaurant. Now Gabby and Harry were alone.
Harry was really confused. Why all these photographs? He asked Gabby to explain what just happened. Why so many of Harry himself? Why photos of Harry and the ladies? Why did the ladies suddenly leave after the photos were taken?
Gabby told Harry to remain calm, but Harry was worried about his marriage – because if Millie ever saw one of those photographs, she would take the kids and move back with her mother (which she had done before).
Gabby calmly asked Harry to remember their discussions about being Gabby’s co-pilot to Mexico City sometime. Harry remembered. “Well,” said Gabby, “it’s going to happen tomorrow, Saturday!” Gabby had already made all the arrangements!
Well – nobody made any arrangements with Harry. Harry smiled meekly because it was clear that Gabby was disconnected from normality. Harry said nothing further and drove home.
At home, Harry worried about Gabby’s evasions. Gabby had never acted like that before. Anyway, when Saturday rolled around, Harry deliberately stood him up. Served him right, Harry thought. Later, Harry Dean would look back upon this night and tremble. Yet at the time, Gabby’s behavior was merely a minor annoyance.
THE JFK ASSASSINATION
On Friday, November 22, 1963, Harry was on a crew plastering walls in Los Angeles at a home construction site. Suddenly, on his coffee break, the radio waves were filled with the news that JFK had been shot. At first Harry thought, “Wow, maybe JFK will rethink his Cuba policy after he gets out of the hospital. Maybe now the US will invade Cuba, depose Fidel, and the whole world could get back to normal!”
So, Harry wasn’t worried about JFK at first. However – about an hour later, Walter Cronkite made it official – JFK was dead! Harry was stunned. The mood all over America seemed somber as the majority of citizens went into mourning. Another hour later, the radio announced that Dallas police had arrested a suspected shooter – and his name was Lee Harvey Oswald.
Lee Harvey Oswald?!
Now Harry’s knees felt weak, and he could not stand up. Reality began to spin. Everything that had happened in the past 12 weeks came rushing back into his mind. He could hear echoes of the voices of Gabby and the resigned General Walker last September, ranting that JFK must be shot and mentioning “Lee Harvey Oswald” (hereafter, LHO) in that conversation!
Harry could put 2 and 2 together – they equaled a nightmare.
Soon LHO’s face and name were broadcast on every TV station, radio and newsstand in Los Angeles day and night. One could go into any coffee shop and would hear multiple conversations about LHO. Harry felt miserable wondering whether he had witnessed a plot for assassination that was carried out in treason.
Did his Minutemen pals deliberately murder JFK – lying in wait? Harry felt miserable, yet he was certain that he himself would not be a suspect because he’d warned FBI agent Wesley Grapp well in advance. Yet Grapp hadn’t believed Harry. Grapp regarded Walker, Rousselot, and Gabaldon as amateurs without power. But what
if they weren’t?
Harry thought (as he reported to me in 2012) that an FBI investigation was certainly appropriate. It was possible, thought Harry, that the Walker-Rousselot-Gabaldon plot was no populist ploy to embarrass JFK – it was just as likely a genuine plot to assassinate JFK. Harry might have known all the main players in this crime – he had heard it with his own ears.
Harry told himself repeatedly throughout 1963 that all that Minutemen and JBS name-calling was just a political strategy. The JBS called Liberals ‘communist sympathizers’ only to convince the public to vote Conservative. So Harry had told himself.
Now, however, Harry could not shake the feeling that his friends had committed this terrible crime. He could not shake his guilt of association with that crime. Harry now feared his friends – they weren’t really Americans. Those who commit murder for political power have forfeited their Constitutional rights to freedom.
Harry worried – were Walker-Rousselot-Gabaldon trying to seize America by force like common dictators? Harry worried endlessly over this terrible situation. He could hardly sleep at night as he kept recalling all the events. Or – maybe JFK had so many enemies that anybody could have shot him! Besides, Harry had heard Gabby designing his plot for the Dallas Trade Mart, not Dealey Plaza! .
So, maybe somebody else killed JFK, not Walker-Rousselot-Gabaldon. That was a comforting idea, but his doubts kept rising. Why would any group use LHO as their scapegoat? No, the odds were too long. The name of LHO was good evidence that Walker-Rousselot-Gabaldon owned this plot.
Their plot had specifically named LHO. It was a unique plot. It was an ultra-secret plot known only to a handful of select, trusted people. Harry had been at that very planning meeting. Harry no longer cared that he had laughed at the plot 12 weeks ago. He no longer cared that he had reported it in detail to the FBI only days later. All that mattered today was the plot was carried out on the world stage – and Harry believed that he knew the assassins – his bosom buddies!
LEE HARVEY OSWALD IS MURDERED ON TV
Nobody in the world expected the next shock. Only two days after the JFK Assassination, the world watched their televisions in horror as Jack Ruby used his 38-caliber pistol to shoot a handcuffed LHO in the stomach.
But perhaps Harry Dean was the most stunned of all. He remembered it clearly. Walker specifically named LHO because he was a defector to Russia, an officer in Castro’s FPCC and Walker intended to punish LHO severely for his public support of Castro.
Could the killing of LHO have been part of Walker’s plan, too? Hold your horses. It was possible that because Jack Ruby was a Dallas gangster, and Harry saw no connections between Walker and the Mafia, that the whole thing was a Mafia plot. Why did Ruby do it? To spare the feelings of Jackie Kennedy, as he claimed? A spur of the moment impulse? Harry saw no connection with Ruby.
But maybe there was a connection.
Harry could not shake his doubts and suspicions. The events he saw in the past 12 weeks now seemed to directly implicate the Dallas Minutemen for the JFK Assassination, as well as the silencing of LHO two days later. Harry expected a call from the FBI soon. He was right; within the week, FBI agent Wesley Grapp called.
WESLEY GRAPP: “Harry, we need to review what you told me last month, so when are you free?”
HARRY DEAN: “How about today?”
WESLEY GRAPP: “No, the FBI is swamped today. Here’s the plan; don’t call me; I’ll call you; just wait for me, Harry, OK?”
HARRY DEAN: “Absolutely, Wes. You know where to find me.”
It was going to be a long wait.
WHILE WAITING FOR THE FBI
Like most adults in America, Harry gulped down every news article about JFK and LHO that he could find. He consumed news and rumors from NBC, CBS, ABC, the Los Angeles Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, the New York Times, the Washington Post, Newsweek, Time, Life, the National Enquirer – everything. Millie noticed Harry’s new obsession, but he never told her a word about what he was living through.
Gabby and Loran had stopped calling Harry. Larry called Harry once; a ramble of complaints. Harry cut off all his connections with the Minutemen and JBS. His world had suddenly shrunk down to the size of his home and his job. His life was like a surrealistic movie.
One ray of hope appeared in the media on Thursday, December 5, 1963, when newspapers reported that Marina Oswald had just yesterday told the FBI and Secret Service that LHO was the one who had tried to kill the resigned General Walker in his Dallas home back on April 10, 1963.
So, Marina Oswald herself had just named General Walker in a special role in the JFK Assassination. It was time for the FBI to interview Walker directly – and maybe revisit Harry’s report, figure out everything and bring justice to Walker-Rousselot-Gabaldon. When the truth came out, Harry expected to be singled out as a whistle-blower – and then he would avoid radical politics from now on. Soon all the chaos would finally be behind him.
In the meantime, as everybody was mourning JFK, somebody had to mourn LHO – the scapegoat. After all, LHO had been a secretary of the FPCC, and Harry had been a secretary of the FPCC. If LHO could be betrayed for that fact, then Harry could also have been betrayed.
Harry thought back to that Japanese restaurant in Los Angeles last Halloween week. *He* could have been set-up, if he had played ball with Gabby that evening! So, Harry flew to Fort Worth, Texas to place flowers on LHO’s grave. He planned to do it every year on the day LHO was killed.
Harry waited for the FBI to act – but they didn’t. The major news media had merely used Marina’s revelation about LHO and Walker as more evidence that LHO was a homicidal maniac! Hoover must have been right all along – LHO was a lone nut who would assassinate anybody – an ultra-liberal President or an ultra-conservative General!
This was the opposite of what Harry had expected. Harry felt he had true information showing that LHO was innocent. LHO was not the plotter against JFK, but Harry knew who was. The FBI would soon look closer into the resigned General Walker, thought Harry, and the truth would come out.
The newly formed Warren Commission could put Walker under the spotlight. Harry himself expected to be called to testify before the Warren Commission. He looked forward to telling his side of the story. The words that the resigned General Walker had spoken at Rousselot’s office only three months ago rang endlessly in Harry’s ears like a prophecy.
THE JANUARY 1964 FBI INTERVIEW
Finally, in January 1964, Wesley Grapp called on Harry from his office in the Los Angeles FBI. Grapp wished to carefully review Harry’s volunteer reports of October 1963 regarding Minutemen activity in Southern California. Grapp drove out to Harry’s wooded home in Rowland Heights. Harry entered Grapp’s car and they drove away.
Grapp needed to know whether Harry had anything to add to the report that he had volunteered back in October. They drove to the locations that Harry had spoken about – verifying honesty, perhaps, and perhaps also to test whether Harry might change his story.
They visited the JBS meeting places in Pasadena, El Monte, and Monterey Park. They visited Minutemen rally locations in Riverside County, like Temecula and Hemet. They drove by Gabby’s house and by the homes of all the JBS members that Harry had spoken about. They drove for hours and stopped a couple times for coffee.
At the end of the ride, as Harry tells it, he and FBI agent Wesley Grapp had a conversation something like this:
HARRY DEAN: “What do you think, Wes?”
WESLEY GRAPP: “I’ll be frank, Harry – the Bureau has other leads that we like better than yours. Many agents see Oswald as a Fidel-lover who killed JFK because of all the mini-raids on Cuba. The Director leans this way, too. The facts we see suggest it. However, some FBI agents believe that Fidel wanted revenge on JFK for all the CIA attempts on his life. But all the material evidence we can see must mandate an open-and-shut case that Oswald was the lone shooter. Regardless of his motive, the ballistics pinpoint only Oswald.
HARRY DEAN: “What about Loran Hall or Larry Howard? Don’t you think that it’s possible that they were the JFK shooters?”
WESLEY GRAPP: “There’s no evidence, Harry. The Bureau says the shots came from the 6th floor of the Book Depository. The Bureau says that we’ve accounted for everybody in the building. So, there’s no room for your suspects, Harry. Anyway, I’ve already told you too much. Please keep all of this purely confidential.”
HARRY DEAN: “Of course, Wes, but what about Mexico City?”
WESLEY GRAPP: “Mexico Schmexico! We have no evidence! Nobody at the Bureau believes your story, Harry! My only job today was to confirm that you didn’t deliberately lie last October. You stuck to your story, and that’s good for you. But I find nothing today that would change anybody’s mind at the Bureau!”
HARRY DEAN: “OK, Wes. That’s a load off my mind.”
WESLEY GRAPP: “Sure, Harry. Anyway, if I need more from you, I’ll call you, don’t call me. OK? Call me only if you and your family move away, OK?”
HARRY DEAN: “Yes, OK.”
Harry saw plainly that the FBI would dig no deeper into a Walker-Rousselot-Gabaldon plot. Yet Harry could not shake his own convictions – he knew the JFK Assassins, and he felt confident that the newly formed Warren Commission would eventually get to the truth and expose it.
Although the FBI had rejected Harry’s story, Harry kept watching all the news and reading all the books and articles about JFK and LHO, all through 1964. He’d read that the Warren Commission had sped through 435 witnesses. Harry eagerly awaited the Warren Report.
In our next post, we’ll explore what happened after Harry read the Warren Report.
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