Red Oswald, Blue
Now its been fifty-three years, both the Jet Age and the Space Age have each dawned and grown old. It’s even a new century. Over this geological span of time, though, we have apparently moved farther and farther distant from reaching a national consensus regarding the events of November 22, 1963 in Dallas Texas. There was an assassination that day and finally there was a Warren Commission Report. The Warren Report was commissioned by new President, Lyndon Johnson to put the case to bed forever. The handpicked commissioners dutifully stood on their heads to make the intelligence follow the policy. The report satisfied the public uneasiness for about five minutes, then there was a book “Rush to Judgment” by Mark Lane. Lane’s book spawned five more books about Oswald, Johnson and the CIA. Then from those five came five hundred more books, both pro-Warren Commission and anti-Warren Commission. Next came five or six predictably lightweight feature films and eventually came the one controversial blockbuster movie “JFK” by Oliver Stone. Now then after this half century of inquiry we have gained an entire library of research and conjecture. Over the years, we have been shown discovered documents, detailed studies and revelations by the thousands.
There was a 1967 police investigation in New Orleans that led to an indictment, trial and an acquittal of an alleged conspirator. A man named James Files has even confessed to shooting the President. The farther we go into the case, however, the farther apart the two schools of thought diverge. No common ground has ever been staked out. There is not even any room for discussion or debate. The conspiracists and anti-conspiracists share no podiums or pages. The “other side” is so wrong they must be beyond reason and redemption. The two camps are so far apart intellectually that they may as well be living on separate planets.
I happen to be one of those so called conspiracists but that doesn’t matter right now. I don’t care about winning anyone over or convincing them they are stupid or that they should come over to my side. Never mind that for now. Let us just look back to see how this Grand Canyon of divided opinion came to be.
The answer is incredibly simple. There are two plausible theories regarding the short life of Lee Harvey Oswald of New Orleans Louisiana. In the perception of the public there is either a Red Oswald or there is the Blue Oswald. Both portraits of the man are supported by true facts but the same data available to everybody on both sides of the argument seems to yield diametrically opposite conclusions when filtered through the Red-Blue Oswald dialectic. Both Oswald narratives follow their own straight line and the Red line and the Blue line never cross.
The Red Oswald suffered a horribly unsettled childhood. He was friendless and misguided. Red Oswald had no father and no family structure at all to speak of. He was the subject of family social-service interventions and early confrontations with the legal system. He was a juvenile delinquent. His divorced Mom dragged him around from New Orleans to New York and Fort Worth. Young Oswald had no village to raise him and he, somewhat predictably, became a High School dropout before reaching the age of sixteen.
The Blue Oswald did indeed endure all hose upheavals and crises yet he was surely loved by his mother and inspired by his role-model older brother, Robert. Even though he had little or no interest in sports or games, he did show an advanced interest in reading political theory. He also was sharply focused on things pertaining to the military and according to his brother, he fantasized about a career in international espionage. Blue Oswald joined the Civil Air Patrol as a teenager where he cut his teeth on military protocol and reconnaissance activities. Fatefully for young Lee Oswald, he found himself and his Air Patrol troop under the tutelage of future mafia pilot and self taught medical researcher, Captain David Ferrie.
After blowing off High School, the Red Oswald started a troubled stint as a sub-standard Marine recruit. He barely passed his classification tests and was Courts-Martialed twice. Red Oswald was even jailed once for stupid infractions of military rules. He sustained a demotion and was ultimately released from the Marine Corps prematurely on a pretext that his mother was financially helpless without him at home. They called it a “dependency” discharge.
The Blue Oswald, one the other hand. was a special Marine who was immediately trained and assigned to a Radar Squadron. The squadron he joined had the duty of scouting for incoming foreign aircraft, such as straying Russian or Chinese planes, which would then be intercepted by American planes. Oswald’s particular unit also was the linchpin of the infamous C.I.A. “U-2” program which deployed high altitude manned reconnaissance airplanes on secret flights over the heart of Soviet Russia for the express purpose of photographing Russian military installations. Blue Oswald was right there on the radar console demonstrating a superior aptitude for the intelligence work and possessing a high security clearance in able to be trusted with the secrets of the program. He was still just twenty years old, too young to vote or buy a can of beer in his home state but old enough to protect the free world. That was the Blue Oswald.
The Red Oswald was a self-styled Communist weirdo with an antagonistic attitude about politics. He spent hours and hours reading communist material in order to cultivate a perverse love of the Marxist philosophy. Oswald was often said to be spoiling for a fight with anybody he could drag into a debate on the merits of communism. He spent his time in the Marines not exactly waging the cold war. In fact Red Oswald actually seemed to be more interested in joining the enemy forces than he was in doing his sworn duty. He filled his days reading various Communist propaganda and spouting off his subversive dogma to anyone who would listen to him rant about the folly of Capitalism. He even taught himself the native language of his beloved Communist Mother Russia and he did it on Marine Corps time.
Blue Oswald, though was flourishing in his military espionage assignment and he was already stepping up in the intelligence community. He was very busy inventing and polishing a made-up character who would be believable and convincing as a disgruntled ex-Marine. His Russian language studies were essential to his future as an American intelligence agent. He had already realized his dream to work as a military spy. Now just as he always imagined he would, Lee Oswald would transfer his spy talents to the undercover arena and he would be then able to truly say “I Led Three Lives.”
Red Oswald was a ultimately a disappointing Marine Corps washout. Unable to cut the mustard in the military he was sent home to his Mama to lead a life unloading trucks or mopping floors.
Blue Oswald, however left the Marines only because he had been singled out and selected for spy training. It was like being accepted into the Astronaut program. He was too good to keep bogged down on a Marine post. Yes he was discharged and sent home to Texas but only so he could briefly see his Mom before embarking on a mission to Russia as a carefully prepared false defector.
Suddenly popping up in Moscow in September of 1960, the Red Oswald declared himself to be now truly a Red. What the Russians saw before them, however, was a pathetic, confused, and clearly unstable malcontent. Oswald was disaffected and desperate for their acceptance. He tried to tantalize his Russian Masters with promises that hat he would be in a position to betray his former country by divulging secrets of the still active U-2 program. It’s not that clear if he ever talked at length about the program or if the Russians even believed what he was telling them anyway but the U.S.S.R. did in fact capture a downed U-2 plane and its live pilot the very next spring after Oswald arrived in the country. The American pilot, Francis Gary Powers, was put on trial in Moscow and witnesses report that Oswald attended at least part of the spy trial!
Oswald’s defection in the eyes of his Mom, meant that Lee Harvey Oswald (the Blue) was a brave cold warrior and a heroic penetrator of the Iron Curtain. He was on a top secret spy mission for his country and he was working without a net. There would have been no way to extract him from a Russian Gulag if the Communists ever were to discover his true intent.
Washing ashore again in the U.S. In the spring of 1962 the Red Oswald was a man at the end of the line. He still hated America and its Capitalist injustices but he also had found out the hard way that couldn’t stand the drab regimented life he had found in Russia. He was out of ideas for the future and he had no education beyond the 9th grade. Oswald still didn’t even know how to drive a car at age 22. His marriage was hopelessly turbulent due to his anti-social personality and he seemed to have no capacity for concentrating on anything for more than a few days. Red Oswald already seemed destined for a tragic end.
The Blue Oswald landed back in Texas without any criminal charges for his blatant treason and without much notoriety at all in spite of his infamous defection to Russia. Nobody cared. All was forgiven. He arrived home with a beautiful young Russian wife and soon found a job in a high-tech photographic equipment company which conveniently provided him a facility for composing fake identification documents. He and his new wife very quickly became friends with relatively high status local professionals who shared their interest in the Russian language and culture. Were the new friends like the Paines and the de Morensheildts just local snobs or were they part of well funded intelligence network with connections reaching back to Washington D.C. The question lingers.
In the spring of 1963 both the Red and the Blue versions of Lee Oswald apparently obtained a rife and a revolver pistol. There is no basis to believe that Oswald was going to be doing any hunting. He had no time for recreational activities of that nature. The weapons were going to be used to kill a man. Lee Oswald was apparently going to assassinate (retired Army General Edwin Walker) a local Dallas right-wing crackpot. The Red Oswald was a crazy loner fighting a private war against fascism and racism in America armed with a twelve dollar mail order carbine. The Blue Oswald obtained those weapons because he was being groomed as a covert action operative who would be used to execute targets under the close supervision of his new highly connected acquaintances. He missed the General by a few inches and he was never charged or investigated in connection with the attack.
Oswald fled Dallas two weeks after he apparently took that shot at General Walker. What happened over the next six months changed the world forever. Red Oswald continued his subsistence existence in New Orleans still scraping by on his unemployment compensation and still blowing job opportunities when they would come his way. The Red Oswald seemed to have no particular reason to be in New Orleans except that he had worn out his welcome in Dallas. It was true that had lived in New Orleans as a boy and still had his somewhat notorious uncle “Dutz” in town. Perhaps he was merely curious about his roots. He eventually found a job lubricating machinery at a coffee roasting plant but was Oswald was fired after several weeks for his typical poor work habits.
The Blue Oswald arrived in town as a man with an assigned mission. He had been sent to New Orleans to join a project aimed at the elimination of Fidel Castro. That was the type of big deal Lee had always longed to be involved in. His assembled team was in sympathy with the Bay of Pigs survivors and they would spend the summer of 1963 working on a cancer virus which was to be transported to Cuba and injected into the body of President Castro. The only person plausibly welcome in Communist Cuba and the only one audacious and courageous enough to carry the virus into Cuba in a stainless steel thermos bottle was 23 year old avowed Communist Lee Oswald. The Blue Oswald spent the summer in meetings and rendezvous with his old Air Patrol instructor, David Ferrie. He also reportedly took as a mistress, a young lady scientist who also spoke Russian and who had been recruited by the New Orleans based Physicians who were literally working nights to isolate the lethal virus. Blue Oswald also found time to ride around the state with an older gay man who was a well known local business big-wig named Clay Shaw. Other local witnesses place Lee in the frequent company of regional mafioso Jack Ruby (f.k.a. Rubenstein) that summer. Ruby later denied ever knowing Lee Harvey Oswald but he could not deny that he had been in New Orleans that summer.
It was in the events of that summer of 1963 that the Red Oswald and Blue Oswald seemed to be thousands of miles apart. If he was there in the Big Easy with Guy Banister, Clay Shaw, David Ferrie, Jack Ruby and especially, Judyth Vary Baker then nothing else in his crazy life story matters at all. It doesn’t even matter that much if he did fire the rifle at Kennedy in November. If he was there with those people then he was Blue Oswald. Never mind that he never learned to drive a car or never held a steady job he obviously had time for neither thing.
Lots of people have contradictions in their character and live a life quite different from the side they show to the world. That’s the way people act in our duplicitous society. This Oswald dichotomy, though is way more than that. Red Oswald and Blue Oswald can not be reconciled. He was one thing or he was the other thing but he could never have been a blend of the two things. If he was just a loner in New Orleans, the odd socially-maladjusted communist then its easy to see how he might have been crazy enough to take a shot, or maybe even psychopathic enough to unload three shots (!) at President Kennedy while on his lunch break. After all, he had apparently used that rifle before in another attempted political assassination. On the other hand, if he was indeed with all those shady characters in New Orleans, if it is even just true that he was fact in that black Cadillac with Clay Shaw and David Ferrie in Clinton Louisiana that day in August 1963, as reliable people testified under oath that he had been, then there is just no other way to see it. Young Lee Oswald was nothing less than a tragic pawn in the crime of the century. If its true that the one August car trip to Clinton Louisiana actually happened, then even more sadly for all of us, it means that you and I are still just existing as oppressed peons in the Peoples Banana Republic of Amerika, that ridiculous terrorist state that was born out of the bloody coup d’Etat of November 22, 1963.