Warren Commission file exhibit purporting to show the car ('57 Chevy) driven by the prime suspect in the Walker shooting. Note the license plate cut out. Another little detail: Oswald never learned to drive!
This the question, as posed in the blog header, that occurred to me after reading a scattershot review ('The Tedium Is the Message', WSJ Weekend, Dec.. 10-11, p. D1) of a host of recent historical novels written by politicians, former office holders- from Gary Hart, Ed Koch and Newt Gingrich, to Barbara Boxer, Jimmy Carter and former Defense Secretary William Cohen. This was authored by Michael Moynihan, whose appended bona fides disclosed him to be "the managing editor of VICE magazine".
Under the category of "howler" Moynihan targets Cohen's recent effort, 'Blink of an Eye', and reserves special opprobrium and mockery for Cohen's reference to a particular event leading up to the Kennedy assassination: the attempted assassination of right wing Gen. Edwin Walker in April, 1963.
As Moynihan tells it:
"One would expect an author who has devoted his life to public service to have a clearer grasp of American history. Lee Harvey Oswald's attempted assassination of Edwin Walker in April, 1963 - Walker was a prominent member of the loopy John Birch Society and an outspoken critic of Castro's Cuba - is referred to as a 'bizarre incident' never understood by Kennedy assassination analysts'"
In fact, Cohen was quite correct, which makes one wonder how much recent American history Moynihan knows and didn't excavate from comics and two bit 1960s detective mags. Like much other related Kennedy assassination materials, there is no clear evidence in the Walker incident that Lee Oswald was involved at all. Indeed, the hands....paws....of CIA operator George Joannides are all over this like they were the dust- up between Oswald and Carlos Bringuier on Canal St. in New Orleans, in the summer of 1963.
This canard that "Oswald shot at Walker" (which Walker himself denied on the basis of the 30.06 caliber bullet found) probably first acquired legs with author Norman Mailer, in his book ‘Oswald’s Tale’ (page 504). Mailer wrote (basing his case totally on the corrupted Warren Commission files) that Oswald "took a pot shot" at Gen. Edwin A. Walker on the evening of April 10, 1963 and “took off without stopping to see whether he hit his target or not” and added, that this alone gives a sense of how much anxiety came pouring in on him with pulling a trigger.
But not so fast. In fact, Mailer, like many people then (and evidently now), was hoodwinked by the Walker story, as if it is a dry run for the assassination. Nowhere on his meager radar did a number of strange and odd facts play out (all accessible if one digs beyond the Warren whitewas), including that a young male witness, Walter Coleman (standing in the doorway of a nearby house) heard the shot and saw at least two men – neither of whom looked like Oswald! The lad added that he observed a car with door open, a ’58 or so Chevy- and a man bending over the back seat.
This was supported by Robert Surrey, one of Walker’s aides who spotted two men prowling around the residence days before the shooting. Their car was described as a 1957 Chevrolet and one of the man as dark-complexioned. This description of two men and the car exactly fits the description given by James Douglass (JFK and The Unspeakable) of Sergio Archacha Smith and an Oswald "double", see, e.g.
who drove with him out to the Trinity River after the assassination.
The fact that Oswald never learned to drive is also critical here. Given a Warren Commission file photo (see image) showing the actual ’57 Chevy parked next to Walker’s home – but with the drivers’ license cut out from the image, why would anyone want to protect Oswald if he really was the perp? It makes no sense. The only reason anyone – likely the Dallas PD or FBI – cut out the plate identification in the Warren Commission exhibit was to protect someone else other than Oswald! The two likely suspects were Sergio Archacha Smith, the dark-complexioned driver and the other Caucasian male with him.
Another salient point: the slug found at the scene was from a 30.06 as reported from the FBI files cited in Mark North’s excellent book Act of Treason (page 255). So how did a 30.06 rifle mutate into Oswald’s alleged 6.5 mm Mannlicher –Carcano some months later, when all the evidence is Oswald never fired such or was ever photographed with such? Why would Hoover, the FBI, the Warren Commission and the Dallas Police be so eager to hang this shooting on Oswald, to later implicate him in the JFK assassination? Mark North again has the answer (p. 256):
"Hoover, the Dallas P.D. and the Warren Commission realized early on that an examination of Oswald’s past reveals only a pacifist engaged in leftist activism. Simply put, he is nonviolent”
This was a point also made by James Douglass, in his earlier cited work, where he provides the documents to show Oswald had given a pacifist speech in July, 1963, at the Jesuit House of Studies, Spring Hill College, in Mobile, Alabama. This was a day after Kennedy’s July, 26, 1963 address to the nation on the Test Ban agreement. In the notes to his speech, found years after – thanks to being saved by his cousin Eugene Murret, he warned of the danger of the nation being overcome by a “military coup" (Douglass, p. 131). This was only some months after 'Operation Northwoods' was exposed- the fell plan to bomb U.S. ships, shoot U.S. citizens and blow up planes and blame it on Castro to incite a war. (The outcome of which was JFK and Robert McNamara demoting Gen. Edwin Lansdale, one of its architects, and "denying Ge. Lyman Lemnitzer a second term as chief of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and dispatched to Europe as head of NATO instead". (Douglass, p.88)
North aptly points out subsequently that the Walker shooting – like other “media myths” - was totally unrelated to the assassination and further(ibid.) “would have faded into total obscurity but for the fiction that will be created on 11/22/63”. Was Walker shot at? Yes, but not by Oswald! The most likely perpetrators, based on the car description and James Douglass’ own research discloses that an Oswald double of the type described was in the company of a Cuban (likely Sergio Archacha Smith) who made the shot to create a plausible frame up story to be used later in implicating the sheep-dipped Oswald.
Moynihan, superficial reviewer that he is (who fancies himself an expert on the Kennedy assassination) then digs himself into a further hole when he adds:
"Either Mr. Cohen is unfamiliar with Oswald's defection to the Soviet Union and his agitation on behalf of Cuban communism or is himself a loopy conspiracy theorist"
Or, maybe Moynihan is just another loopy lone nut buff who's taken the Warren kool aid by the gallon. Oh yes, and let's consider that "defection", Mr. Moynihan. Former CIA Agent Victor Marchetti shed light on it in an interview with researcher Anthony Summers;
"At the time, in 1959, the United States was having real difficulty in acquiring information out of the Soviet Union. The technical systems had, of course, not developed to the point they are at today, and we were resorting to all sorts of activities. One of these activities was an ONI (Office of Naval Intelligence) program which involved three dozen, maybe forty, young men who were made to appear disenchanted, poor American youths who had become turned off and wanted to see what communism was all about. Some of these people lasted only a few weeks.
They were sent into the Soviet Union or into eastern Europe with the specific intention the Soviets would pick them up and ‘double’ them if they suspected them of being U.S. agents, or recruit them as KGB agents. They were trained at various naval installations both here and abroad , but the operation was being run out of Nag’s Head North Carolina.”
This is important because it shows that at the time of Oswald's so-called defection, a program was in place to actually ferret ONI operatives into the Soviet Union to gain information. Marchetti’s insights here explain a lot to do with the apparent quixotic behavior of Oswald. In this light, we see that Oswald’s entire defection to Russia was merely an intelligence ploy cooked up by the CIA or ONI. The overindulgence of Oswald while based at Atsugi, Japan is also now more understandable. Why else give him only six weeks or so in the brig for striking an enlisted officer, when normally it would be a court martial? Well, because they’d invested too much in him to have him meet that untimely and useless end!
Further supporting this is the fact that the CIA preserved and updated three separate intelligence files on Oswald. Two: OS-351-164 (The 'OS' for Office of Security') and 74-500, where '74' denotes the country code for Russia are documented by Military Science Professor John Newman in his book, Oswald and CIA. Even more germane was the 201-289248 CI/SIG file opened on Dec. 9, 1960 more than a year after the alleged "defection". But if Oswald was a true threat, why wait THAT long? (Especially since, at the time of defection and from his duties at Atsugi, every manjack would've been aware he knew the location of all bases on the west coast, all radio frequencies for all squadrons, all tactical call signs, strength of all squadrons, number and type of aircraft in each, names of commanding officers, and authentic codes of entering and exiting all ADIZ radar ranges).
As Newman observes , given the CI/SIG designation is opened "when a person is considered to be of potential intelligence or counter-intelligence significance" - it makes most sense that from that date Oswald had been effectively recruited as a contract agent for the ONI, CIA or both.
 Newman, op. cit., p. 57.
Meanwhile, Moynihan concludes:
"Neither option inspires confidence"
And neither does your claimed or assumed knowledge of the Kennedy assassination and its sundry agents and actors, sir.