Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Lee Harvey Oswald & 007

LHO & 007

The passport that Lee Harvey Oswald turned over to the US Embassy in Moscow when he announced his intention to defect indicated that his profession was that of an “Import-Export” agent, and in fact, he did, before he enlisted in the US Marines, work at an import and export agency in New Orleans, from where he began the first leg of his defection.

At the time of Oswald’s defection, British writer Ian Fleming had a series of popular espionage adventure paperback novels about secret agent double-oh seven – James Bond, whose cover job was an import-export agent for Universal Export.

Years later, while Oswald was living in New Orleans in the summer of 1965, he took a number of books out of the local New Orleans library.

A Warren Commission memorandum dated June 17, 1964, between commission counselors Wesley J. Liebeler and Richard M. Mosk, included the list of the books that Oswald checked out of the New Orleans Library.

First on the list is “Goldfinger,’ and it officialy notes that the author is IAN FLEMING, the book was checked out – 9/19/63 (Sept. 19) and the return date is indicated as 10/3/63 (October 3).

“Goldfinger” wasn’t the first 007 novel that Oswald checked out, as the records show that he had previously taken out “Thunderball” on June 24 and “From Russia With Love” on August 22. Another 007 book “Moonraker” was also checked out on the same September 19th date as “Goldfinger,” both of which had the return date of 10/3/63 (Oct. 10).

The other books on the list – two dozen in all, are mostly non-fiction history, science fiction and biography.

Of course if Lee Harvey Oswald was the real assassin of the President of the United States, these books would have been given a through going over and psychoanalysts would have given their interpretation of the assassin’s state of mind at the time, but since Oswald was a patsy, and framed for the crimes, just as he claimed, there has been no real attempt to even try to understand the psychological makeup of the patsy. If he had been the actual triggerman and assassin, then it would be a different story.

In any case, Oswald is one of the most thoroughly analyzed patsies in history, so we know a lot about him, much more than we know about the actual assassins. One of the things we know is that he read a lot, and we know what he read from the library records.

Among the books that Oswald read in New Orleans in the summer of 1963 was a series of four books by Ian Fleming, the British author and British Naval Intelligence officer who was the European editor of the North American Newspaper Alliance (NANA) when Oswald defected. Priscilla Johnson, a correspondent for NANA, was one of the first reporters to interview Oswald and write a newspaper article about him and his defection, and thus Fleming was her boss when she wrote the news article about Oswald. Oswald mentions this news article and others like it in a letter he wrote to then Secretary of the Navy John Connally, a man he is later accused of shooting.

Of course Oswald should not have known that Fleming, the author of the 007 novels he was reading, was the editor of the newspaper articles he had complained about as misrepresenting his true position and situation. Nonetheless, the accused assassin obviously took an interest in and read the fictional accounts of secret agent double-oh-seven, a genre of books that were also on the reading list attributed to President Kennedy.

Although Flemng’s book got an unexpected plug when one of them was included among the books the President was reading, JFK’s secretary, Mrs. Lincoln, said she added the 007 novel to the list because it seemed so dull and academic.

Actually it was the President’s wife who first caught notice of Ian Fleming’s books and recommended them to CIA director Alan Dulles. Dulles of course, was quite familiar with Fleming’s books and tried to cultivate a similar genre of CIA themed literature that would do for the agency what Fleming’s books did for the British spy agencies. Both E. Howard Hunt and David Attle Phillips wrote a number of fictional pulp paperback novels that were similar to Fleming’s 007 stories in style and content.

It was Ian Fleming however, who would create Secret Agent James Bond – 007 – who would become the world’s most famous spy after the books were converted to film. This occurred just as Oswald was reading them, beginning with the first 007 movie “Dr. No,” which Oswald could have seen and probably did.

Whether he saw the first film or not, we do know he read the books, including “Goldfinger,” which was checked out on September 19, 1963, a few days before he was to suddenly leave New Orleans, travel to Mexico City to visit the Cuban and Soviet embassies, and then relocate to Dallas, where he was to work in a position that would allow him to assassinate the President of the United States, or so they would have us believe.

If Oswald was the assassin of the President, despite the fact that no motive can be or has been attributed to him, then an assessment of his reading habits would be in order since they would naturally help indicate what he was thinking and what motivated him.

Any cursory review of the books Oswald read should begin with the list they provide, and starting with Goldfinger, which begins with a quote above the table of contents that reads:

“Goldfinger said, ‘Mr. Bond, they have a saying in Chicago: ‘Once is happenstance, twice is coincidence, the third time it’s enemy action.’”


Chapter One


JAMES BOND, with two double bourbons inside him, sat in the final departure lounge of Miami Airport and thought about life and death.

It was part of his profession to kill people. He had never liked doing it and when he had to kill he did it as well as he knew how and forgot about it. As a secret agent who held the rare double-O prefix – the license to kill in the Secret Service – it was his duty to be as cool about death as a surgeon. If it happened, it happened. Regret was unprofessional – worse, it was death-watch beetle in the soul.

And yet there had been something curiously impressive about the death of the Mexicn. It wasn’t that he hadn’t deserved to die. He was an evil man, a man they call in Mexico a capungo. A capungo is a bandit who will kill for as little as forty pesos…What an extraordinary difference there was between a body full of person and a body that was empty! Now there is someone, now there is no more…

….The operator’s voice came softly to him, ‘Ocean Station Charlie. This is Speedbird 510. G-ALGY calling C for Charlie, G-ALAGY calling Charlie. G_ALGY….’

A sharp voice broke in. An ‘G-ALAGY give your position. G=ALGY give your positon. This is Grander Control. Emergency. G-ALGY….’

London came over faintly. An excited voice began chattering. Now voices were coming at them from all directions. Bond could imagine the fix being quickly coordinated at all flying control stations, the busy men under the arcs working on the big plot, telephones being lifted, urgent voices talking to each other across the world. The strong signal of Gander Control smothered all other transmission. ‘We’ve located G-ALGY. We’ve got them at about 50 N by 70 E. All stations stop transmitting. Priority. I repeat, we have a fix on G-ALGY.’

Suddenly the quite voice of C for Charlie came in. ‘This is Ocean Station Charlie calling Speedbird 510. Charlie calling G-ALGY. Can you hear me? Come in Speedbird 510.’

Bond slipped the small gun into his pocket and took the offered microphone. He pressed the transmitter switch and talked quietly into it, watching the crew over the oblong of plastic.

‘C for Charlie this is G-ALGY Spedbird hi-jacked last evening at Idlewild. I have killed the man responsible and partly disabled the plane by depressurizing the cabin. I have the crew at gunpoint. Not enough fuel to make Goose so propose to ditch as close to you as possible. Please put out line of flares.’

A new voice, a voice of authority, perhaps the captain’s, came over the aid. ‘Speedbird this is C for Charlie. Your message heard and understood. Identify the speaker. I repeat identify the speaker over.’

Bond said and smiled at the sensation his words would cause, ‘Speedbird to C for Charlie. This is British Secret Service agent Number 007, I repeat Number 007. Whitehall Radio will confim. I repeat check with Whitehall Radio, over.’

There was a stunned pause. Voices from round the world tried to break in. Some control, presumably Gander, cleared them off the air. C for Charlie came back, ‘Speedbird this is C for Charlie alias Angel Gabriel speaking okay I’ll check with Whitehall and Wilco the flares but London and Gander want more details.’

And so Lee Harvey Oswald read through “Goldfinger,” probably very quickly as he was a voracious reader and Ian Fleming’s novels would be very light reading compared to the more heavy science fiction, biographies and world affairs that he was also reading at the time.

The problem with Oswald’s “Goldfinger” is that, according to the records of the New Orleans Library, the book was returned on 10/3/63 – October 3, 1963, when Oswald had left New Orleans on September 24, went to Mexico, and was back in Dallas, Texas on October 3rd, at least he was according to the official story.

So someone in New Orleans must have returned the book(s) for him, and who might that someone be?

1 comment:

  1. Was Oswald living in New Orleans in the summer of 1965?

    That's what you wrote!