Disputed Claims and Suspects

"A Shadowy Figure" Photographic Credit To Fraser Mummery via Flickr

"A Shadowy Figure" Photographic Credit To Fraser Mummery via Flickr

Regarding the Kennedy assassination, a divisive atmosphere surrounds many claims and various asserted suspects. Some believe they have all the answers, if not the evidence to prove them and often some dispute even the most trifling claims regarding the case or people relative to it. Perhaps no greater differences exist than assumptions made about the official suspect, Lee Harvey Oswald and the contending facts of the matter. Among the disputed claims were the origins of the alias Alek Hidell (Hydell, Hideel). Based on the President's Commission evidence Oswald's nickname while in Russia was Alek.i The Commission suspected the surname Hidell emerged from a variation of Fidel, the Cuban dictator. However, another possible source of the name was a fellow Marine stationed with Oswald prior.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation and the President's Commission deposed John Rene Heindel. He disclosed that while in the military he was often referred to as Hidell and Oswald might have known this nickname, and Heindel speculated Oswald might have called him by the moniker.ii iii Neither claim requires more than Oswald's actions to eventually use the name and yet it remains improbable Oswald did everything attributed to him alone. 

Oswald Associate John Heindel

Oswald Associate John Heindel

In nineteen sixty-one, Edward J. Hickey the official issuing Lee Harvey Oswald's passport was concerned. Hickey stated Oswald was not receiving his mail, and "it has been stated there is an imposter using Oswald's identification data and that no doubt the Soviets would love to get hold of his valid passport..." Why did officials eventually grant Oswald a passport and a loan if his impersonation was possible? Hickey comments "it is my opinion that the passport should be delivered to him only on a personal basis and after the Embassy is assured, to its complete satisfaction, that he is returning to the United States."iv Despite the prior claims, no substantial evidence supports anyone besides Lee Harvey Oswald returned to the United States. Yet officially, his impersonation was a repeated consideration.

Many were unaware of a possible threat reported to the Secret Service in nineteen sixty-two. "During December 1962, for example, a letter originating in Havana and containing information on plans directed against President Kennedy which were to be implemented in Washington or Brazil, was sent by the CIA to the Secret Service, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Department of State." Jose Menendez sent the letter to Bernardo Morales in Miami November 29, 1962.v vi A following Agency message alleged that Menendez might be "identifiable with Juan Jose Mulkay Gutierrez...DGI". The Dirección General de Inteligencia (DGI) was Cuba's intelligence agency.

However, a follow up report states Menendez was actually "Jose Menendez Ramos" a baker in Tampa Florida. He was a member of the executive committee of the FPCC (Fair Play for Cuba Committee). Additionally, Ramos' wife and children defected to Cuba in October nineteen sixty-one. He followed them and received a prestigious job in Cuba. The Agency source believed the matter was a harassment operation of the Cuban intelligence.vii Yet the letter's origins are troubling. The letter's original destination was the P.O. Box of Radio Libertad, to whom Bernardo Morales was unknown and Radio Libertad sent the letter to the Central Intelligence Agency JM Wave Station in Miami. The JM Wave Station was responsible for conducting various Agency clandestine actions targeting Cuba.

"JM Wave was anxious to receive results of both of the letter on the grounds that they may be part of a planned G-2 PW operation in the U.S. or against U.S. targets." The letter falling so conveniently into the hands of Agency officials is problematic. It reflects in my view the enduring agenda of officials to create a motive for military action.viii It aligns with prior official and Mafia claims of a militant Fair Play for Cuba Committee that has no basis in substantial evidence. Another document states that Bernardo Morales is possibly Luis Ernesto Conte Aguero.ix Yet not just these little known personalities were disputed, but even official claims regarding the alleged suspect were as well.

Among the most disputed "Oswald" visits were to Communist aligned diplomatic compounds within Mexico City. Oswald impersonation again becomes a concern for the House Select Committee on Assassinations. Officials reviewing the evidence state, "Nevertheless, the Committee did receive other evidence of a possible Oswald imposter. The former Cuban Consul in Mexico City, Eusebio Azcue, who states that he dealt with Oswald on three occasions, testified that the individual who was seeking a [transit] visa to the Soviet Union was not Lee Harvey Oswald. Azcue described this person as a 30-year-old white male, approximately 5'6-5'7 in height, who had a very long face with straight eyebrows and a very straight and pointy nose."x This person does not resemble Oswald.

Nor could they produce tapes of his voice in the alleged calls, they already had been destroyed. No tapes were given to the Federal Bureau of Investigation but rather written transcripts. "Gordon Shanklin, who had been Special Agent in Charge of the FBI's Dallas office in 1963, stated in a Committee interview that no tape recording had ever been received by FBI officials in Dallas. Moreover for Agents Hosty, Fain Carter, and Brown, each of who had conversed with Oswald at one time, informed the Committee that they never listened to a tape recording of Oswald's voice."xi Thus, the Bureau never verified the Agency's problematic assertions.

"Finally on the basis of an extensive file review and detailed testimony by present and former CIA employees, this Committee has determined that CIA headquarters, which was notified on October 10, 1963 of a reported Oswald contact with the Soviet Embassy on October 1, 1963, never received a tape recording of Lee Harvey Oswald's voice."xii This prevents authentication and further supports no evidence of Oswald making the disputed appearances. While some appearances do support that Oswald was in Mexico, the evidence additionally supports on different occasions other men feasibly were as well. Allegedly, they are using Oswald's name and implicating him in acts he never undertook. The questions remain as to their possible identities, but the evidence infers they were feasibly present serving an unknown purpose.

Nor was Lee Harvey Oswald the only suspect arrested for the murder of President Kennedy. Donald Wayne House faces arrest "about 1:30 pm on 11/22/63 (Special Agent) Howard informed (Special Agent) Warner that a suspect had been captured by Fort Worth Police. Howard and Warner went to FWPD and questioned Donald Wayne House of Ranger, Texas." House resembled Oswald according to the media and was released after Oswald's subsequent arrest.xiii

Alleged suspect Donald Wayne House

Alleged suspect Donald Wayne House

Perhaps Oswald had collaborators or perhaps others collaborated to entrap him. Substantial evidence both supports and dispels official claims regarding his lone involvement in the assassination of President Kennedy. Neither complete innocence, nor complete guilt is consistent when considering Oswald in my view and his actions are peripheral to immense webs of official and covert programs. Substantial evidence puts much outside his control and feasibly requires the yet unseen hand of collaborators.
C.A.A. Savastano
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i. Report of the President's Commission, Chapter IV, pp. 118-122
ii. Hearings of the President's Commission, Volume VIII, Affidavit of John Rene Heindel, p. 318
iii. Federal Bureau of Investigation documents, Oswald Headquarters File (105-82555), Interview of John Rene Heindell, December 20, 1963
iv. Central Intelligence Agency file, Oswald 201 file, Volume 53b, Lee Harvey Oswald, Delivery of Passport to Oswald, March 21, 1961, National Archives and Records Administration Identification Number: 1993.06.19.11:53:47:250000

v. House Select Committee on Assassinations, Segregated CIA files, Criteria for Dissemination of information to Secret Service, Box 50, May 5, 1964, p. 2, NARA ID: 1993.08.14.14:21:10:400056
vi. CIA, Los Angeles Division Work File, Letter and envelope from Jose Menendez to Bernardo Morales, November 27, 1962, NARA ID: 104-10506-10036

vii. CIA, L.A. Division Work File, Reports Relating to possible plot to assassinate President Kennedy, December 12, 1962, NARA ID: 104-10506-10017   
viii. CIA, L.A. Division Work File, Memorandum: Plots to Assassinate the President of the US, (n.d.), pp. 1-2
ix. HSCA, Segregated CIA files, Microfilm Reel 63 (CRC), List Names to look for Re JFK Assassination, (n.d.), p. 2, NARA ID: 104-10228-10322

x. House Select Committee on Assassinations, Segregated CIA files, Staff Notes, Report of the HSCA on the CIA's investigation of the Assassination, NARA ID: 180-10140-10043
xi. HSCA, Segregated CIA files, Staff Notes, Report of the HSCA on the CIA's investigation of the Assassination, p. 6, 
xii. Ibid, p. 6-7
xiii. Federal Bureau of Investigation documents, JFK HQ file (62-109060), Section 176, Dallas Times Herald article, p. 1-A   

Edited: December 2017

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