Sunday, 30 September 2018 18:14

Creating the Oswald Legend – Part 2

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In the second part of this multi-part series, Vasilios examines Oswald’s links to CIA-sponsored or CIA-connected anti-communist organizations and figures, and asks if it is possible that Oswald was being prepared from the outset to be an infiltrator.

I. Oswald’s Passport and Illegals

In part 2 we will continue our journey into Oswald’s wondrous world and discover that his USSR defection was only a part of the larger picture. Moscow and Minsk were only stops, but not the destination of his journey. These stops were to become part of his resume, to create a “Legend” who will return home pretending to be a Soviet spy in order to infiltrate suspected communists, subversives, and supporters of Castro. From the beginning that destination was Cuba; it has always been about Cuba.

Marguerite Oswald was in disbelief when she was informed that her son had defected to the Soviet Union. In September, her son visited his mother in Fort Worth after his discharge from the Marines and told her that he wanted to travel to Cuba. In February, an FBI agent, John Fain, interviewed Marguerite regarding the whereabouts of her missing son. He later stated in his report that “Mrs. Oswald stated he would not have been surprised to learn that Lee had gone to, say, South America or Cuba, but it never crossed her mind that he might go to Russia or that he might try to become a citizen there.”1

When Oswald tried to defect to the USSR, a wire service noted that his sister-in-law said “that he wanted to travel a lot and talked about going to Cuba.”2 Similarly, when he returned back to the States, a 1962 Fort Worth newspaper recalled what Oswald said to his family: “He talked optimistically about the future. Some of his plans had included going to college, writing a book, or joining Castro’s Cuban army.”3

Oswald’s travel destinations included Cuba, the Dominican Republic, England, Turku Finland, France, Germany, Russia and Switzerland. One has to wonder how the recently discharged Marine would have been able to fund a trip that involved so many countries that were far apart from each other, like Cuba and Russia. Before leaving the Marines, he applied for a passport on September 4, 1959 and received it on September 10, 1959. To apply for the passport he used for identification a Department of Defense (DOD) I.D. card, although he could have provided his birth certificate. As George Michael Evica noted, “Lee Harvey Oswald should never have had a DOD I.D. card on September 4, 1959, possibly on September 11th, but not on September 4th.”4 September 11 was the date that he was to be transferred to the Marine Corps Reserve, once his active duty was over.

The Marine Corps confirmed that it had issued the card before he was discharged, but this kind of practice ended as of July 1959, so he was probably issued the DOD I.D. card because he was going to fill a civilian position overseas that required it.5

Too many peculiarities surround the young ex-Marine, his DOD I.D. card, his passport application, the countries he was planning to visit and the expenses needed to support such a trip. All these were enough to sound the alarm bells in the intelligence community, but somehow this did not happen.

Oswald had also stated in his passport application that he intended to study in Europe, and he named two institutions. One was the Albert Schweitzer College (ASC) in Churwalden, Switzerland, and the second was the University of Turku in Finland.

Oswald sent his application to the ASC on March 19, 1959, informing them that he was going to attend the third (spring) term of the trimester schedule, from April 12, to June 27, 1960, followed by a registration fee payment of $25 on June 19. However, this time length posed a problem by itself. Oswald’s passport was valid for four months overseas, so if he wanted to attend its third trimester, then his passport should have been valid for nine months, an extra five months. According to his passport, he could have only made it to study the fall trimester of 1959, and then only if he was given an early discharge, which actually happened.6 Oswald was released from the Marines with a dependency discharge on September 11, 1959 to go to Fort Worth to take care of his injured mother. However, his mother had only a minor injury and Oswald left for New Orleans on September 17, 1959, to begin his trip to Europe. A year later, after his defection to the Soviet Union, he was given an undesirable discharge from the Marine Corps, something that was to haunt him to his final days.

In 1995 the Assassinations Records Review Board (ARRB) revealed the communication between the FBI Legat at the Paris Embassy and FBI Director Hoover. The FBI Legat had sent Hoover five memoranda regarding Oswald’s intentions to study the ASC.

The first memorandum was dated October 12, 1960. It was based on information from the Swiss Federal Police and stated that Oswald was planning to attend the fall trimester of 1959. The second memorandum was a strange one, since it stated that Oswald “had originally written a letter from Moscow indicating his intention to attend there (at Churwalden).”7

This was an extraordinary turn of events, as the second memorandum implied that Oswald was planning to attend the third trimester, similar to his college application and the Warren Commission’s conclusion.

The fourth and fifth memoranda were even more peculiar. They revealed that Oswald had not attended the course under a different name and that there is no record of a person possibly identical to Oswald attending the fall trimester.

The above information should have sounded the alarms in FBI HQ because they suspected that since he did not attend the college he had brought with him his passport and his birth certificate to the Soviet Union. Even Marguerite Oswald, when asked by FBI agent Fain about her son’s whereabouts in Europe, replied that Lee has taken his birth certificate with him.

The above information forced Hoover to send an enquiry to the Office of Security in the Department of State regarding the “missing” Lee: “Since there is a possibility that an impostor is using Oswald’s birth certificate, any current information … concerning subject (Oswald) … ”8

Hoover, like his agent before him, suspected that Oswald had fallen victim to a Soviet spy ring that would have used his birth certificate to create a false identity which an “illegal” spy would adopt to enter the United States as a sleeper agent.

The illegals were not under diplomatic protection like their legal counterparts that were usually connected to a Soviet embassy. They would resume the life of an American, probably one that has died, live a normal capitalistic life and would be activated when the need arose.

Switzerland had been a center of espionage since WWII. Soviet illegals would never send or receive mail directly to/from the Soviet Union but would use neutral countries like Switzerland as a cover address to avoid detection. It is a surprise that the CIA counter-intelligence mole hunters did not open a 201 file on Oswald as soon as he defected. In fact, they did not do that for over a year. Instead, they put him on the HT/LINGUAL list of about three hundred Americans whose mail was secretly being opened.9 This would be an indication that Oswald was used to detect illegal networks in Switzerland by detecting their mails.

The ASC was reputed to be a place where liberals, communists and Marxists would go to study, perhaps being a possible illegal passing point. By applying to this college, even if he never went there, it could appear that his birth certificate was used to create an illegal in Switzerland that would later use his identity and papers to travel to the States. Another scenario would have been that someone looking very similar to him, someone almost identical in appearance, could have taken his place, like a Soviet illegal. Alternatively, the US intelligence services would have looked suspiciously on Oswald upon his return to the States, wondering if he had been turned into a Soviet spy coming home on behalf of his new Soviet handlers.

Regardless of the truth, Oswald—wittingly or unwittingly—had created a “Legend” for himself that could be used any time against various targets. Most importantly though, the US intelligence services would suspect that Oswald was probably impersonated by someone else for sinister purposes. This was to be the first time but it would not be the last.

II. Albert Schweitzer College

How did Oswald find out about this obscure college somewhere in Switzerland? It has been suggested by various authors that Kerry Thornley, one of Oswald’s Marine friends at Santa Ana, brought it to his attention and helped him with the application.

Thornley was a New Age writer, satirist, mystic and crypto-fascist, and a native Californian who had studied at USC. He had been six months in active duty, following time in the reserves when he met Oswald at El Toro base near Santa Ana. Oswald even gave Thornley his copy of George Orwell’s 1984 to read.10 Thornley claimed that he met Oswald a week after Oswald applied to the ASC. As Greg Parker notes, it is possible that Thornley met and knew Oswald before his application to the college.11

Thornley testified to the Warren Commission:

I believe it was the First Unitarian Church in Los Angeles. I had mentioned earlier at the time I was talking to Oswald, and knew Oswald, I had been going to the First Unitarian Church in Los Angeles. This is a group of quite far to the left people politically for the most part, and mentioned in order to explain my political relationship with Oswald, at that moment, and he began to ask me questions about the First Unitarian Church and I answered, and then he realized or understood or asked what Oswald’s connection with the First Unitarian Church was and I explained to him that there was none.

We do know that Oswald had visited Los Angeles, at least to get his passport, although he may have visited the Cuban Consulate as we shall see later on.

The leader of this church was Minister Stephen Fritchman. He was a peace activist who had supported the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, had been called by the Un-American Activities Committee and had attended the World Congress for Peace in Stockholm in May 1959.12

Was there a connection between Oswald, Thornley, Fritchman and the ASC? The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) included in its assassination files about Oswald a sixty-page report on Fritchman. Additionally, the Warren Commission and the FBI were interested and curious about Oswald and Thornley’s Unitarian Church link while trying to explain how Oswald obtained information about the ASC.13

Evica believed that “Oswald’s mysterious source of information about Albert Schweitzer College could be explained by Thornley’s attendance at Fritchman’s First Unitarian Church in Los Angeles … the pastor may have possessed detailed information about the college and copies of the college’s registration forms. When Oswald visited LA, he could have picked up the materials at the church … Alternatively, Thornley … could have picked them up and passed them on to Oswald.”14

The Liberal Religious Youth (LRY) was a group that cooperated with the ASC. Reverend Leon Hopper, one of its members, said to Evica in March 2003 that “student recruitment was almost always through personal contacts … also confirmed that Stephen Fritchman could have been an information source … Finally Hopper confirmed that the LRY concentrated on the summer sessions of ASC, reaching prospective students through personal contacts.”15

The ASC was located in the small village of Churwalden, Switzerland, and there was something peculiar about it since it did not offer degrees. Even the Swiss authorities did not know it existed until the early 60s when there were accusations of a narcotics and fraud scandal involving the college. Soon the college was in debt, and closed only after an unknown entity from Liechtenstein paid off all of its debts.16 The peculiarities did not end there. Since the village was very small, it did not have a hospital, a library, a fire department or a police station. The village was many miles away from the nearest town of Chur, and one had to drive through poor roads and across mountains to reach the village.

The college was housed in the village’s larger building, the hotel Krone with thirty rooms capacity.17 It opened in 1954, and the first list of students available revealed there were no Swiss students at all, which served to keep it unknown to the Swiss Government.18

The ASC was created by the International Association for Religious Freedom (IARF). According to Richard Boeke, first President of the American chapter of IARF, it was the crown jewel of all the IARF’s associate religious centers and had initially been “good for Liberal Swiss Protestants.”19 The IARF originated in 1900 as the International Council of Unitarian and Other Liberal Religious Thinkers and workers on May 25, in Boston. The stated aim was “opening communications with those in all lands who are striving to unite Pure Religion and Perfect Liberty, and to increase fellowship and cooperation among them.”20 It would include religions like the Unitarian, Buddhist, Humanist, Muslim, Scientology and Theosophy.21

The ASC was operated by the Albert Schweitzer College Association—a non- profit organization with its legal HQs in the village of Churwalden—and the Unitarian “American Friends of Albert Schweitzer College” which was also a non-profit organization. The “American Friends of Albert Schweitzer College” had its offices in Boston. It was incorporated in New York in 1953 with the purpose of receiving tax-deductible contributions from United States citizens and corporations.22 Its directors were John H. Lathrop (Brooklyn, NY), John Ritzenthaler (Montclair, NJ), and Percival F. Brundage (Montclair, NJ).23 Brundage was the most interesting individual out of the three directors, a true member of the “Power Elite”, with government and intelligence connections.

III. Percival F. Brundage

Who was Percival F. Brundage? Brundage was the son of a Unitarian Minister who graduated cum laude from Harvard University in 1914 and afterwards became a successful accountant, probably one of the best of his era. In 1916 he worked as a civilian in the Material Accounting Section of the War Department’s Quartermaster Depot Office in New York which involved record keeping of sensitive military procurement operations.24

He became a senior partner in the accounting firm, Price-Waterhouse. He was director, and then president of the Federal Union that argued for the federation of the Atlantic democracies.25

Brundage had a significant connection to the Unitarian Church and the ASC. He was a major Unitarian Church officer from 1942-1954 when the Unitarian Church was cooperating with, first, the OSS, and later the CIA.26 He was also president of the International Association for Religious Freedom (IARF) from 1952-1955 and president of the American Friends of Albert Schweitzer College from 1953-1958. Most importantly, Brundage became the most prominent member of the Bureau of Budget (BOB) during the Eisenhower presidency. He was its deputy director from 1954-1956, its president from 1956-1958 and he served it as consultant until 1960.27

As the head of the BOB, Brundage was controlling the United States budget, and from that privileged position he would be familiar with the Pentagon’s and CIA’s secret black budgets but without ever exposing or surveying them. It seemed that Brundage would turn a blind eye and let them do their secret work without the government ever bothering them.

One of Brundage’s closest friends was a fellow Unitarian, James R. Killian Jr., president of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).28 Killian was appointed the chairmanship of president Eisenhower’s Technological Capabilities Panel in 1953 to measure the nation’s security and intelligence capabilities and also to study both military and intelligence applications of high-flight reconnaissance.29 Killian appointed Edward H. Land, inventor of the Polaroid land camera, as chief of the top-secret intelligence section of the Air Force Technological Capabilities Panel that helped create high-flight reconnaissance, like the U-2 and satellites. Land was also responsible for the CIA receiving the responsibility for the U-2 program.30 In 1957 he was appointed by Eisenhower as Special Assistant for Science and Technology, and in 1956 became Eisenhower’s chairman of the US Board of Consultants on Foreign Intelligence Activities, reporting to the president the activities of the intelligence community, especially the CIA.31 This board was supported by Brundage’s BOB. Later, Killian advised Eisenhower that the Air Force was incapable of developing photographic reconnaissance satellites. This allowed him to turn over that assignment to the CIA, which led to the CORONA satellite program32 that was discussed in part 1.

Killian, Brundage and Nelson Rockefeller were the three men who transformed the national Committee of Aeronautics (NACA) into the civilian agency responsible for the US space program. It was renamed NASA. Brundage was responsible as the head of BOB for drafting the congressional legislation for the creation of NASA.33 Brundage was also involved in Operation Vanguard, which was “intended to establish freedom of space, and the right to overfly foreign territory for future intelligence satellites.”34

In 1960, Brundage and one of his associates, E. Perkins McGuire, were asked to hold the majority of a new airline stock “in name only.”35 They both agreed to act on behalf of the CIA. The airline was none other than Southern Air Transport, which was used in paramilitary missions in the Congo, the Caribbean and Indochina. The Newsweek issue of May 19, 1975 linked Percival Brundage to Southern Air Transport, Double-Check Corp, the Robert Mullen Company and Zenith Technical Enterprises. The Double-Check Corp was a CIA front that was used to recruit pilots for covert missions against Cuba; Robert Mullen’s advertising company provided cover for CIA personnel abroad; and Zenith Technical Enterprises was the front that provided cover for CIA’s JM/WAVE station in Miami.36

Southern Air Transport was created by Paul Helliwell, an originator of the CIA’s off-the-books accounting system and nicknamed Mister Black Bag. Helliwell was a member of the OSS and later of the CIA in the Far East; he was one of the most prominent members of the China Lobby. His mission was to assist Chang Kai-Shek and his Kuomintang (KMT) army in Burma to invade China. This army managed and controlled the opium traffic in the region. Helliwell created two front companies to help KMT to carry out its war and the drug trade. One was Sea Supply in Bangkok and the other was CAT Inc., later Air America in Taiwan.37 Helliwell had organized a drug trafficking network supported by banks to launder CIA’s drug profits in the Far East.

Richard Bissell brought Helliwell back to the States to plan a similar network of front companies and banks to finance the Agency’s war against Castro. Similar to Sea Supply and Air America, he created Southern Air Transport in Miami to fly over drugs and guns to support not only the war on Cuba but also in Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia.

In his book Prelude to Terror, Joseph Trento claimed that Helliwell’s main objective was to cement the CIA’s relationship with organized crime.38 Meyer Lansky and Santo Trafficante were both planning to invest in the Far East by bringing heroin back to the States. Helliwell established banks in Florida and became the owner of the Bank of Perrine in Key West, “a two-time laundromat for the Lansky mob and the CIA”, and its sister Bank of Cutler Ridge.39 Lansky would deposit money into the Bank of Perrine, reaching the US from the Bank of World Commerce in the Bahamas. Lansky also used the small Miami National Bank, where Helliwell was a legal counsel, to launder money from abroad and from his Las Vegas casinos.40 Peter Scott claimed that Helliwell worked with E. Howard Hunt, Mitch WerBell and Lucien Conein on developing relationships with drug dealing Cuban veterans of the Bay of Pigs invasion, and became CIA paymaster for JM/WAVE to finance Chief of Station Ted Shackley’s operations against Cuba.41 Sergio Arcacha-Smith, one of the New Orleans Cubans who knew Oswald and E. Howard Hunt, was involved in the lucrative business of contraband transportation from Florida to Texas, specializing in drugs, guns, and even prostitution.42

In other words, Percival Brundage was no ordinary citizen. His BOB activities with the U-2, the satellite programs, the Pentagon, the CIA, and especially his involvement with the ASC, linked him indirectly to Lee Harvey Oswald. The young Marine had applied to the ASC to study in Switzerland and his defection to the Soviet Union was unwittingly connected to the U-2 and CORONA projects that brought an end to the Paris Peace talks and prolonged the Cold War. When Percival Brundage became a part of Southern Air Transport, he entered a nexus of CIA, Mafia, drug trafficking, money laundering and anti-Castro Cubans, one which later met and manipulated Oswald, and some of whose members were very likely involved in the assassination of John F. Kennedy. It is also very plausible that the assassination was financed by this drug trafficking and banking network instead of oil-men money as many believe.

IV. Cuban Sympathizer or Agent Provocateur?

Was Oswald a communist sympathizer from his early days, like the Warren Commission concluded? Had he been in contact with the Cuban Consulate in Los Angeles?

Corporal Nelson Delgado was a Puerto Rican stationed at El Toro Marine Corps base who became close friends with Oswald. They were both loners but they had a common interest, and that was Cuba. Both admired Castro because he seemed to be a freedom fighter against Batista’s tyranny who could bring democracy to Cuba. They were dreaming that they could go there and become officers and free other islands like the Dominican Republic. Delgado could speak Spanish and Oswald would configure his ideas about how to run a government—so they kept dreaming.

Things got a little strange when Oswald became serious about it and was trying to find ways to actually go to Cuba.43

When interviewed by the Warren Commission, Delgado said he advised Oswald to go and see the Cubans at the Cuban Consulate in Los Angeles. Wesley Liebeler, a Warren Commission lawyer, took Delgado’s testimony and stretched it by the ears to make it look like Oswald was in contact with the Cubans all along. According to Australian researcher Greg Parker, “Liebeler, adroitly took a bunch of assumptions and leaps of logic by Delgado and magically recast them as proven fact leading to an inevitable conclusion.”44

According to Delgado:45

  • Oswald told Delgado there was a Cuban consulate in Los Angeles;
  • Oswald started receiving letters with a seal on them that Delgado thought might be from Los Angeles because Oswald had said he was getting such mail from the Cuban Consulate;
  • Oswald took a trip by train to Los Angeles to “see some people”.

Based on the above, Liebeler instructed Delgado to “tell me all that you can remember about Oswald’s contact with the Cuban Consulate.”46

Delgado also noted that after Oswald allegedly visited the Cuban Consulate, he started receiving mail, pamphlets and a newspaper. Naturally, he assumed that they must have come from the Cuban Consulate and concluded the newspaper was communist, since it was written in Russian. He asked Oswald if it was a communist newspaper and he replied that it was White Russian and not communist. Still, Delgado, who did not know what White Russian meant, concluded it was a Soviet newspaper.47

One of the pamphlets had a big impressive seal that looked like a Mexican eagle with different colors, red and white and a Latin script with the word “United” included. Parker believes that Delgado probably was describing the logo of a Russian Solidarist movement known as NTS (HTC in Russian), standing for Narodnyi Trudovoy Soyuz (National Labor Union) in English.48 Below we can see the NTS logo with something that looks like an eagle, and the colors white, blue and red in the background.

nts logo
NTS logo

More information about NTS can be found in Stephen Dorill’s book MI6: Inside the Covert World of Her Majesty’s Secret Intelligence Service. According to Dorill, NTS was founded in Belgrade in July 1930 by Prince Anton Turkul and Claudius Voss, and it stood for National Labor Council. Prince Turkul was a member of the White Russian Armed Services Union (ROVS) and its purpose was to restore Tsarist Russia. Voss was the head of ROVS in the Balkans and “a British intelligence agent and ran ROVS’ MI6-friendly counter-intelligence service, the Inner Line, that sponsored NTS.”49

Dorill also revealed that “the Russian émigré organizations were working overtime through bodies such as the NTS … to undermine the Soviet regime and to form a provisional government when the Soviets collapsed.”50 Dorill described NTS’ origins: “Initially a left-of-centre grouping, NTS soon moved to the right, promoting an anti-Marxist philosophy of national labor solidarity, based on three components: idealism, nationalism, and activism. It enjoyed the support of several European intelligence services, in particular MI6, and also attracted substantial funds from businessmen with interests in pre-revolutionary Russia, including Sir Henry Deterding, chair of Royal Dutch Shell, and the armaments manufacturer, Sir Basil Zaharooff.”51

If Parker is right, and the pamphlets that Oswald was receiving were not communist but on the contrary from the NTS, then we can conclude that Oswald was in contact with fervent anti-communist White Russians. In that context, then, his trip to the Soviet Union could be viewed from a different perspective.

Oswald received help to apply to the ASC and travel to the Soviet Union, most likely from a nexus that involved the CIA and anti-communist organizations with relations to the military-industrial complex. When Oswald applied to the ASC, he listed his favorite authors as Jack London, Charles Darwin and Norman V. Peale.52 Jack London was one of the founders of The League for Industrial Democracy (LID), whose purpose was to extend democracy in all aspects of American life. During the Cold War, it was renamed the Student League for Industrial Democracy (SLID), had close ties to the CIA and had become anti-communist.53 Jack London was a supporter of social Darwinism, eugenics, Nietzschean philosophy and Jungian psychology.54

Darwin was a Unitarian and author of “Origins of the Species.” His cousin Francis Galton studied heredity based on Darwin’s work and as a result he coined the word “eugenics”, the theory that selective breeding will improve the human race.55

Norman Vincent Peale was a minister of the Lutheran church, politically conservative, and opposed the liberal and Catholic Jack Kennedy. He believed that as a Roman Catholic President Kennedy would align with the Vatican with respect to US foreign policy.56 He headed a group, which included Billy Graham, that held a secret meeting to discuss how to derail Kennedy’s election bid.57 Some of Peale’s associates were supporters of lynching, while others were against the Eisenhower-Khrushchev Paris peace summit.58 He was also friends with the conservatives Nixon and Hoover.59

If Oswald was, as he is alleged to be, a communist sympathizer, these interests and connections to the reactionary and elitist Right come as a surprise. Indeed, they would seem to indicate, on the contrary, that Oswald was actually instructed and guided by people who were anti-communist and probably tied to the CIA.

Even Hans Casparis, the founder of the ASC, had probable CIA connections. Casparis claimed that he had graduated from three universities, studied at a fourth and was a full-time lecturer in German and philosophy at the ASC. There were no specific degrees listed on the ASC brochure presenting Casparis, while five other lecturers held doctorates, and another one, along with Casparis’ wife, Therese, held a BA.60 Casparis claimed that he was a lecturer in education at the School of European Studies at the University of Zürich, but when Professor Evica asked the university to confirm it, they replied that Casparis had never lectured there.61 Records indicated that Casparis had studied at the University of Chicago (1946-1947), and the University of Tübingen (1922-1923), but never received degrees from either of the two.62

The same ASC brochure said that Therese Casparis, his wife, had a BA degree in education from the University of London. However, the university’s assistant archivist revealed that Therese had received a second-class honors degree in German and then enrolled to take a teacher’s diploma, but she left without taking an exam, so she never received a BA in education from that university. Therese gave birth to five children from 1934 to 1948, but Evica could not find any college in Europe or England which awarded a degree to Hans or Therese. 63 It was a mystery how they were able to raise five children without any higher degrees, yet were able to attract support from important Unitarians to establish a college in an unknown village somewhere in Switzerland. It is likely that Hans and Therese were employed by the CIA to infiltrate this liberal college. If we consider Evica’s findings that Allen Dulles had used religious organizations like the Unitarians to create humanitarian front organizations in order to conceal OSS and later CIA covert operations to destabilize Eastern Europe, South America and South East Asia, we can conclude, or strongly suspect, that ASC was such a front cover.

When Oswald was arrested in New Orleans during the summer of 1963, he was asked by police officer Frank Martello how he came to be a member of the Fair Play for Cuba Committee (FPCC). To that he replied that “he became interested in that committee in Los Angeles … in 1958 while in the US Marine Corps.”64 Although he gave the wrong information, since the FPCC was established in April of 1960, he simultaneously revealed that when he was visiting Los Angeles he most likely met the pro-Castro people that had organized the FPCC’s Los Angeles branch at the first Unitarian Church of Robert Fritchman.65

In 1963, Richard Case Nagell was investigating the FPCC branch in Los Angeles, leftists and Unitarians. In his notebook were written the names of: Helen Travis of the FPCC, Dorothy Healy of the Communist Party, USA, Reverend Robert Fritchman of the First Unitarian Church, and the officials of the Medical Aid for Cuba Committee.66

Is it possible that all along Oswald was being groomed to penetrate the FPCC?

A 1976 CIA internal memo stated, “In the late 1950’s, Hemming and Sturgis, both former US Marines, joined Fidel Castro in Cuba but returned shortly thereafter, claiming disillusionment with the Castro cause.”67 Delgado testified that a mysterious man visited Oswald at the gate of El Toro base. He had assumed that he was someone from the Los Angeles Cuban Consulate. However, Gerry Patrick Hemming revealed later on that he had met Oswald in the Cuban Consulate in Los Angeles and went to confront Oswald at the gate of El Toro base.

There are indications that this actually happened. A CIA memo stated that “Henning (Hemming) returned to California in October 1958 … he left for Cuba by air via Miami on or about 18 February 1959, arriving in Havana on 19 February 1959. He claimed to have contacted the officials in the Cuban consul’s office in Los Angeles prior to his departure.”68 Another CIA Security Office memo from 1977 linked Oswald to Hemming: “The Office of Security file concerning Hemming which is replete with information possibly linking Hemming and his cohorts to Oswald … ”69

Could it be possible that Oswald was being “put together” to penetrate pro-Castro organizations like the FPCC as Hemming had been associated with Castro and his allies before him?

In a 1976 article in Argosy, it was stated that, “Hemming maintains that the US should utilize a number of Special Forces types … who could penetrate revolutionary movements at an early stage, gain influential positions, and then channel them into more favorable areas.70 It was during that period late 1959, early 1960, when Oswald defected to the Soviet Union that the US Government—and Hemming—had realized that Castro was pro-Soviet. He was a Communist who could pose a threat to the US interests and an option would have been to have him “eliminated.”71

It is likely that Oswald was sent to the Soviet Union to build up a “Legend” as a pro-communist, pro-Soviet sympathizer. One who appeared to have provided secret information to help the Soviets shoot down the U-2—even if he did not—and then return home as a Soviet spy, or as someone who had helped create a Soviet illegal. His mission would have been to infiltrate leftist, subversive and pro-Castro organizations while pretending to be on their side.

Summary of Parts 1 and 2:

  • The way Oswald received his passport was very peculiar.
  • In 1959 Oswald likely visited the Los Angeles Cuban Consulate, allegedly because he was a Red sympathizer.
  • His Marine mate Delgado thought he was receiving mail and leaflets from the Cuban Consulate, while the material was more likely White Russian, from an anti-communist solidarity organization called Narodnyi Trudovoy Soyuz
  • Oswald had applied to study at the Albert Schweitzer College (ASC), an obscure college in Switzerland.
  • There was confusion as to which trimester he was planning to attend ASC.
  • It is a mystery as to how Oswald found out about this college.
  • Kerry Thornley, another of Oswald’s Marine mates, was attending the First Unitarian Church in Los Angeles where Robert Fritchman was its Minister.
  • Either Thornley or Fritchman probably supplied Oswald with all the necessary information.
  • Oswald listed on his college application authors Jack London, Charles Darwin and Norman B. Peale, which indicated that Oswald had elitist, conservative and far right political views.
  • Hans Casparis the founder of the ASC falsely claimed that he had academic credentials he did not have.
  • Similarly with his wife Therese, also a lecturer at the ASC.
  • The ASC was created by the International Association for Religious Freedom (IARF) and was supported by the Unitarian American Friends of Albert Schweitzer College.
  • Percival Brundage was one of the Directors of the Unitarian American Friends of Albert Schweitzer College.
  • Brundage was Director of the Bureau of Budget (BOB) during the Eisenhower presidency.
  • Along with another Unitarian, James Killian, he was involved in the U-2 and CORONA satellite projects.
  • Brundage held major stocks of Southern Air Transport that Paul Helliwell had established.
  • Helliwell was a CIA man in the Far East who helped arrange drug trafficking to finance CIA operations.
  • This brought Brundage in contact with a network of drug-trafficking, money-laundering banks, anti-Castro Cubans and the CIA operations against Castro.
  • The ASC was to become a link between Oswald and Brundage.
  • Oswald’s mother thought it was strange that her son would go to the Soviet Union; she thought he was more likely to go to Cuba.
  • Oswald stated in 1963 that he first learned about the FPCC while visiting Los Angeles.
  • The people who established the Los Angeles FPCC branch were attending Fritchman’s First Unitarian Church.
  • It is probable that Oswald was prepared by some US intelligence service, probably the CIA, to penetrate pro-Castro organizations like the FPCC at a time that the US government began plans to eliminate Castro.
  • For that reason it had to appear that he defected to the Soviet Union.
  • His actions there created his bona fides that he had been turned into a communist spy.
  • CIA counter-intelligence chief James Angleton ran a second operation involving Oswald or his file to sabotage the peace summit.
  • Oswald was a fake defector and a US intelligence dangle.
  • He never intended to renounce his citizenship.
  • The FBI learned from his mother that he had his birth certificate with him.
  • Hoover feared that some impostor might be using his birth certificate and that a Soviet illegal might take his place if he returned to the States.
  • Oswald was put on the CIA’s illegal HT/LINGUAL mail-opening program designed to detect Soviet illegals.
  • This would have also strengthened his Soviet spy profile.
  • The U-2 had a finite operational life time.
  • It was scheduled to be replaced by the A-12 aircraft and the Corona satellites, so there were alternatives if something went wrong.
  • Oswald did not give information to the Soviets to help them shoot down the U-2, but it appeared that he did. This boosted his “Soviet Spy” legend.
  • Dulles admitted that it happened due to a malfunction.
  • Prouty believed that it was sabotaged from the inside.
  • The U-2 was sacrificed, since there were other alternatives to replace it, to disrupt the Paris peace summit and prolong the Cold War.
  • It was planned by a treasonous collaboration of American and Soviet hardliners who had invested in the Cold War.
  • Oswald was part of Angleton’s mole hunt to discover who betrayed Popov and the U-2 project.
  • However, Popov was not betrayed by a mole, so a mole hunt was not necessary.
  • Angleton used the mole hunt as a cover to accommodate the U-2 shoot down. Although it failed to discover the mole’s identity, that exercise gave him a usable alibi by which he could claim, in the case suspicions were raised that it was an inside job, that the U-2 incident was the work of a mole.


In Part 3, we examine the Oswald legend in Dallas, New Orleans and Mexico City.

Go to Part 1

Go to Part 3

Go to Part 4

Go to Part 5

Go to Part 6

Go to Conclusion

Go to Appendix


1 John Newman, Oswald and the CIA, Skyhorse Publishing Inc. 1995, p. 92.

2 Newman, p. 92.

3 Newman, p. 92.

4 George Michael Evica, A Certain Arrogance, Trine Day 2011, p. 21.

5 Evica, p. 22.

6 Evica, pp. 25-26.

7 Evica, pp. 68-69.

8 Evica, p. 59.

9 Newman, p. 423.

10 Greg Parker, Lee Harvey’s Oswald Cold War, vols. 1 & 2, New Disease Press, 2015, p. 283.

11 Parker, p. 285.

12 Parker, p. 287.

13 Evica, p. 35.

14 Evica, pp. 35-36.

15 Evica, p. 87.

16 John Armstrong, Harvey and Lee, Quasar Press, 2003, p. 227.

17 Armstrong, pp. 227-228.

18 Armstrong, p. 228.

19 Evica, p. 83

20 Parker, pp. 287-288.

21 Parker, p. 288.

22 Evica, p. 86.

23 Armstrong, p .228.

24 Evica, p. 237.

25 Evica, p. 238.

26 Evica, p. 276.

27 Evica, p. 238.

28 Evica, p. 245.

29 Evica, p. 247.

30 Evica, p. 248.

31 Evica, p. 248.

32 Evica, p. 250.

33 Evica, pp. 255-256.

34 Parker, p. 290.

35 Evica, p. 272.

36 Armstrong, p. 229.

37 Peter Dale Scott, The American Deep State, Rowman & Littlefield, 2015, p. 126.





42 James DiEugenio, Destiny Betrayed, Skyhorse Publishing, 2012, p. 329.

43 Newman, pp. 96-97.

44 Parker, pp. 280-281.

45 Parker, p. 281

46 Parker, p. 281.

47 Parker, p. 282.

48 Parker, p. 282.

49 Stephen Dorril, MI6: Inside the Covert World of Her Majesty’s Secret Intelligence Service, Harper Collins, 2002, p. 405.

50 Dorril, p. 405.

51 Dorril, p. 406.

52 Parker, p. 296.

53 Parker, p. 297.

54 Parker, p. 297.

55 Parker, p. 297.

56 Parker, pp. 297-298.

57 Parker, p. 300.

58 Parker, p. 301.

59 Parker, p. 302.

60 Evica, pp. 95-96.

61 Evica, p. 96.

62 Evica, p. 96.

63 Evica, pp. 100-101.

64 Evica, p. 36.

65 Evica, p. 36.

66 Dick Russell, The Man Who Knew too Much, Carroll & Graf, p. 226.

67 Newman, p. 101.

68 Newman, p. 102.

69 Newman, p. 103.

70 Newman, p. 104.

71 Newman, pp. 115-121.

Last modified on Thursday, 21 July 2022 06:27
Vasilios Vazakas

Vasilios Vazakas was born in Athens, Greece, and studied in Edinburgh, Scotland; he holds a BEng in energy engineering and an MSc in building services engineering. He has had a long-running interest in the JFK assassination, its relation to US foreign policy, and its relevance today.  Vasilios has contributed a number of book reviews to this site.

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