The Oswald Timeline Myth
Among the greatest lingering official myths is the timeline claimed by prior investigations regarding Lee Harvey Oswald. A significant oversight reflects crucial deficiencies in the government record. Prior officials needed to demonstrate that Oswald had sufficient time for planning and undertaking the deeds alleged. Officials have unknowingly offered an enduring myth upon closer inspection. The President's Commission and House Select Committee relied upon flawed assumptions regarding Lee Harvey Oswald. They were subject to deception by the very investigative bodies they relied upon for evidence.
Many supporters of the President's Commission frequently offer an extended timeline regarding Lee Harvey Oswald. They cite Oswald's defection, yet not his criticisms about Soviet officials who monitored but did not accept his citizenship request. They mention his seeming pro-Castro activities in New Orleans and abroad, yet fail to mention his attempts to associate with anti-Castro groups. Some offer the Mexico City allegations as decisive foreshadowing for Oswald's later alleged movements. They assert this to be his possible Communist inspired motive.
Motive is a key piece of the case in any prosecution, without a clear motivation to kill someone, the assignment of blame is premature. Among the significant observable problems in every official case is Oswald's unproven motivation to assassinate President Kennedy. Oswald's actions in the months and weeks before the assassination do not reveal that he possessed a clear motive to strike at President Kennedy. If he was involved, it remains likely he required the rapid influence of conspirators to possess some appreciable motive. Because in this case, he is seemingly without the time necessary to plan and undertake the actions officials attribute to him.
October 14, 1963: Linnie Mae Randle mentioned a job opening at the Texas School Book Depository to Ruth Paine and Marina Oswald. Paine additionally called Depository Manager Roy Truly to set up a job interview. The next morning Roy Truly interviews Oswald and the Texas School Book Depository employs him.i Lee Harvey Oswald would not have secured his job at the Texas School Book Depository unless Randall by chance mentioned the job to Ruth Paine. This would infer he was not planning to use the job for a future assassination, not if he was acting alone. Nor were his activities, including the allegations regarding Mexico City, necessarily connected to any motive for the alleged later attack.
October 18, 1963: Oswald celebrates his twenty-fourth birthday with his family at the Paine residence.
October 20, 1963: Oswald's second daughter Rachel is born.
October 25, 1963: Oswald accompanies Michael Paine to the American Civil Liberties Union meeting at which he praises President Kennedy for his civil rights work.ii Oswald argues at the meeting that the John Birch Society was a negative influence opposing the Civil Rights Movement. Marina Oswald stated to the Federal Bureau of Investigation "...he never spoke against President Kennedy at any time."iii This would infer that even in Soviet Russia, when he had no fear and may have gained admirers for denouncing Kennedy, Oswald never verifiably did.
Unless Oswald had aid or instruction, he was unaware of a future Presidential motorcade route. If as officials claim he was acting by himself, he could not have known until November 19 of this opportunity in Dealey Plaza.iv The Dallas media did not carry the story with the full route until November 19 at the earliest. The implication of this fact has escaped prior investigations. If the official timeline is accurate, Oswald has little time to do everything alone.
However, the Oswald timeline is quite shorter if further considered. Oswald needed to work and sleep; each subtracts from the short amount of time left. He usually worked at the Depository from 8 am to 4:45 pm with a break for lunch according to Oswald and the official timeline.v From the 19 to the 22 of November, much of his day is consumed for his job at the Texas Schoolbook Depository, and that is just the beginning.
Timeline of Oswald's Activities from November 19-22, 1963
Tuesday, November 19, 1963
The Dallas Times Herald contains an article of the complete motorcade route in the morning edition.
8 am: Oswald's workday at the Texas School Book Depository begins.vi
12 pm-12:45 pm: Lunch- A possible time Oswald could have learned of the motorcade route. Fellow employees note Oswald read the paper at lunch.
4:45 pm: The workday ends
Workday: 8 hrs
Duration of sleep: 7 hrs
Approximate time used: 15 hrs
Total Available time: 9 hours
This time includes lunchtime and other meals, daily maintenance, travel, and all other peripheral activities. This time was incrementally used and Oswald has no verified long duration in which to reasonably plan. There was no paperwork or detailed schematics of Dealey Plaza discovered in his possession, no sequence of actions to undertake the act, do some believe he kept all the details in his mind? Oswald also had to depend upon Buell Frazier's vehicle that was unreliable. If the plot is so important to him, why take the unnecessary risks? Would he not seek assure its success if he was solely responsible?
Wednesday November 20, 1963
8 am: Oswald's workday at the Texas School Book Depository begins
12 pm-12:45 pm: Lunch
4:45 pm: The workday ends
In the Evening: A boarder at the same rooming house Oswald stayed in recalls Oswald intently watching a television news story regarding President Kennedy.vii
Workday: 8 hrs
Duration of Sleep: 7 hrs
Approximate time used: 15 hrs
Total available time: 9 hrs (Travel and Daily Maintenance)
Thursday November 21, 1963
8 am: Oswald's workday at the Texas School Book Depository begins
12 pm-12:45 pm: Lunch
4:45 pm: The work day ends
5:15 pm: Oswald visits his family, plays with his daughters on the lawn, and dines with the Paines. He then watches television for while, and goes to bed early between 9 and 10 pm.viii ix x
Workday: 8 hrs
Duration of sleep: 7 hrs - 8 hrs
Approximate time used: 15 hrs - 16 hrs
Total available time: 8 hrs - 9 hrs (Travel and daily maintenance)
Friday November 22, 1963
7:00 am: Marina Oswald wakes Lee up and he leaves for work. He later walks to Buell Frazier's house and is according to some witnesses carrying a package reported to contain curtain rods for his rooming house. They leave for the Depository.xi
8 am-12pm: Oswald's final workday at the Texas School Book Depository.
12:00 pm: Lunch begins
12:00-12:30 pm: Different witnesses observe Oswald in the building on various floors.
12:30 pm: Shots are fired in Dealey Plaza, time for officials and Oswald has run out.
Workday: 4 hrs
Total available time: 1 hr (Travel and daily maintenance)
Subtotal of Available Time
18 hours [Nov. 19, 20]
8 hrs - 9 hrs [Nov. 21]
1 hrs [Nov. 22]
Grand total of available time: 27 - 28 hrs [November 19-22]
Lee Harvey Oswald possessed roughly less than thirty hours of incremental time to conceive, plan, and undertake the assassination of President Kennedy if he was a lone assassin. Officials prior claimed Oswald had plenty of time to form a demonstrable motive. It requires sufficient time for intent to become a verifiable criminal motive. Once established, the motive can lead to premeditation and be inferred from substantial evidence. Yet Oswald's motive is never made clear and officials using more pliable civil legal standards presumed to judge without proving this critical factor.
Oswald must also successfully commit the assassination without encountering a significant problem or making a serious mistake. Beyond the unclear motivation, during this short period, Oswald must at least form a rudimentary plan, prepare a weapon, and undertake some practice. Similar to a clear motive, Oswald additionally has no proven firing practice with the Carcano ever recorded or witnessed. The President's Commission dismissed all statements claiming to have witnessed Oswald practice firing the weapon. Marina Oswald made the only statement that alleges an occasion of Oswald dry firing the bolt briefly in New Orleans to the Commission. However, in her original statement to the Federal Bureau of Investigation it states "Marina did not see Oswald take the rifle with him from the house in New Orleans or bring it back with him to the house on any occasion. She never saw him clean it, nor did he ever hold it in her presence as best as she can recall. She cannot recall that he ever practiced firing the rifle in New Orleans or in Dallas. She does not think he did practice in New Orleans because as a rule he stayed home when he was not working. When he did go out she did not see him take the rifle."xii Thus in either instance, he never consistently practiced actually firing the weapon that officials' claim he used the day of President Kennedy's assassination. Practice would logically be the minimum requirement for success in this situation, yet Oswald has none.
While he did prior have training and practice in the Marines nearly eight years before, as with any skill requiring practice, it degraded without it. In 1956, he was a Sharpshooter; by 1959, he degraded to a Marksman. He possessed no rifle in Russia due to Russian law, nor until he allegedly purchased the Carcano in early 1963. Oswald never verifiably fired the weapon that official evidence supports before the allegations of November 22, 1963. Even the Commission's lead firearms expert Robert Frazier told officials they could have replicated the assassination results more than once if they had more time to familiarize themselves with the Carcano. However, that would require time and consistent practice Oswald also does not possess.
The Carcano presented various other problems. Some Carcano's from the same augmented stock were defective and exploded after killing their users. Others examples were properly altered and resold without incident. Oswald's rifle had a makeshift pistol strap that would not properly stabilize the weapon, a rusted firing pin, and misaligned scope likely requiring use of the iron sights. It could fire, but in the hands of the unpracticed Oswald, quick precision shots are highly unlikely.
Yet another major issue was the weapon's two-stage pull, a safety feature added by its Italian manufacturer. The Carcano required extra firing time to set a separate mechanism from the trigger alone. Since Oswald feasibly never repeatedly fired the weapon, he would not be experienced in operating this mechanism. This requires critical extra time he does not possess during the official sequence of the assassination. The official suspect is unskilled at operating the Carcano's safety feature to maximize his firing speed.
He does not possess the practice or habits of a skilled gunman, recall that he accidentally shot himself prior with a firearm in the military, earning his first court martial. Oswald is a lone man with less than thirty hours to develop a motive, plot, and undertake every attributed action. All completed with no major mistakes, despite Oswald's history of making mistakes. Consider if he is the lone gunman all the prior allusions regarding Oswald from New Orleans to Mexico City are no longer part of some long-range plan officials assumed Oswald had undertaken. Without this long series of opportunities to develop a demonstrable motive, the official timeline is insufficient.
They seemingly did not perceive the timeline hole and the detriment it represents to their prior accusations. This is not to say Oswald is completely innocent or guilty, a dupe is still a part of the larger plan, but they remain unaware of the plot's true endgame. The official circumstances of his greatly limited opportunity preclude any long term planning. Oswald's personal life is not the picture of a future assassin some have asserted. Is it possible Oswald acted alone? Anything is possible, yet is it probable based on the primary evidence?
No, it is highly improbable that for inexplicable reasons he chose to abandon real planning, repeated practice, and familiarizing himself with the weapon used as he prior did in the Marines. If killing the President was his goal, he likely would have mentioned him negatively to someone, he never did verifiably, not even in private conversations with his wife and mother. Oswald publicly commended Kennedy's policies just over a month before the assassination. Since he could not know of the future Kennedy motorcade route as a lone gunman, this statement was likely genuine, not part of some prior devised plot.
There is no substantial evidence that Lee Harvey Oswald frequently mentioned any strong feelings about President Kennedy. No witness testified before the President's Commission regarding Oswald having any violent outbursts regarding Kennedy. His personal effects had no plans, notes, or any direct evidence of a violent plan against the President. Kennedy sought diplomacy with foreign powers and supported Civil Rights, so did Oswald. Officials chose a suspect without a demonstrated motive, unskilled at firing the alleged murder weapon, and unpracticed in using its safety feature. If we applied these deficiencies to a regular murder case, it feasibly would unravel.
Yet this is the Kennedy case, a case with repeated official suppression of evidence, rampant local and federal incompetence, and blatant obstructions of justice. The various illegal or unconstitutional programs that were peripheral to the Kennedy investigation can explain many official covering actions. Yet not all of them can be so easily set aside. Among the notable secrets were the CIA's 1954 study of assassination techniques, the Castro assassination plots, its ZRRIFLE program, and hiring foreign assassins to potentially murder foreign heads of state. Some of these instructional Agency documents resemble the events of November 22, 1963.
Yet that does not mean any large group or entire official department would conspire, nor it likely that a large group might successfully conceal their involvement. Some official documents state the group should be a minimum of participants. I would contend a small-compartmentalized group of at least two people would be required to undertake the assassination. The probable assassins would have needed practice, a demonstrable motive, and a reasonable amount of time to construct and execute the plot.
Not just rogue or former members of the CIA or FBI had access to the various assassination plots; the Agency utilized and trained domestic mercenaries, Mafia criminals, and foreign exiles in various deadly practices. Prior military and political failures resulted in dozens of disenfranchised and violent groups and hundreds of trained mercenaries and exiles. Rabid anti-Communist elements filled military and political roles of leadership. To combat the existential Communist threat some would sacrifice any principal.
Substantial primary evidence supports the feasible involvement of at least one other person, by direct or indirect means to manipulate Lee Harvey Oswald. Both the CIA and FBI monitor him before, during, and after his time in the Soviet Union. Oswald never attends a Communist party meeting during his years in Russia or later in the United States. In America, he interacts with both anti and pro-Castro groups. His version of Marxism is antiquated and he never attends the legitimate meetings of multiple groups he claims to represent. Central Intelligence Agency officer Thomas Casasin states he considered Oswald for informant use after his return from Russia. Without assistance or incentive, how could Oswald develop a motive so quickly? He never had a personal interaction with President Kennedy; he only expressed positive statements regarding the President, despite his seeming commitment to antiquated Marxism. Without outside influence, no existing official explanation reasonably explains all his alleged actions.
Oswald has chosen means that impair him as well. He is unpracticed; this greatly reduced his chances of success. Since leaving the Marines with a degrading level of accuracy, Oswald has not dedicated large amounts of time to firing practice. Add the two-stage trigger, the various makeshift portions of the weapon, and his minute amount of time for weapon reassembly without tools just before allegedly firing. He lacks dependable means to commit the crime as alleged. Nearly everything must fall his way, and in a Universe that favors disorder, this idea seems quite unlikely.
As for opportunity, again significant evidence challenges the official findings. Varying witnesses in various locations spot Oswald before the shooting commences. No consistent witness puts Oswald in the sniper's nest. The most touted official witness that claimed to see Oswald, Howard Brennan, reversed his testimony multiple times. Hundreds of unidentified people were present in the area, had access to the building, and some remained in the building during the shots as Oswald did according to his early press statements.
Oswald never receives legal counsel among the most basic rights of due process under the American Constitution. Following his arrest, J. Edgar Hoover privately states officials violated Oswald's civil rights to author William Manchester. He confides that FBI warnings to the Dallas Police of repeated threats against Oswald's life by a group of people went ignored. Oswald's untimely demise prevents his enjoyment of the presumption of legal innocence. He is publicly accused and unable legally to respond. Legal criminal standards descend to civil standards; later official investigation revealed that incompetence and suppression abound. The Commission avoided these vast problems and they still haunt its inquiry today.
i. Report of the President's Commission, Chapter VI, Oswald's presence in the Depository Building, pp. 246-247
ii. House Select Committee on Assassinations, Segregated Central Intelligence Agency file, Oswald Chronology per Warren Commission Report, Box 11, 1978, p. 141
iii. CIA, Russ Holmes Work File, Report: Interview of Marina Oswald at Dallas, November 28, 1963, p. 2
iv. Report of the President's Commission, Chapter II, The Motorcade Route, p. 31-32
v. CIA file, Oswald 201 File, Volume 24 Bulky, Oswald Chronology part 2, Name list with traces, Police Statement of Lee H. Oswald, November 25, 1963
vi. President's Commission Document 5, FBI Gemberling Report, Statement of Roy Truly, November 29, 1963
vii. Bill Rockwood, (November 19, 2013), Who was Lee Harvey Oswald? - Twenty Four Years Chronology, PBS, pbs.com
viii. CIA, Oswald 201 file, Volume 3, Folder 9B, Part 1, November 28, 1963, p. 7
ix. President's Commission Report, The Rifle in the Building, pp. 130-131
x. HSCA, Seg. CIA file, Review at HQ, Oswald Chronology, Volume II, Box 50, (n.d.), pp. 146
xi. President's Commission Document 7, FBI Gemberling Report of 10 Dec 1963 re: Oswald, Interview of Marina Oswald, December 1, 1964, p.4
xii. President's Commission Document 205, FBI Report of 23 Dec 1963 re: Oswald, pp. 2