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Get Me to Helsinki in a Hurry

on Fri 10 Nov 2017, 4:42 pm
Get Me to Helsinki in a Hurry

Two questions that always crop up about Oswald's journey to the Soviet Union are: how did he obtain such a quick visa to the Soviet Union (it took one day according to Peter Wronski who runs the Oswald in Russia website) and why did he pay for $300.00 worth of Soviet Intourist vouchers?

The answer to the first part is via the CIA manipulation of the Soviet Consul in Helsinki, Gregory Golub. Some of what I’m about to go through has been covered by Bill Simpich and perhaps others, but it also includes new data.

Golub was initially a CIA target for defector-in-place under the CIA REDCAP operations 
and it had compiled a substantial personality profile on him as a result.

They gave up on that objective when they realized he was Communist “True Believer.”

Instead, they targeted his perceived weakness and worked to manipulate him into giving US citizens easy and quick entry into the Soviet Union.  His marriage was not a happy one, and his wife spent long periods away for health reasons.  So they sent in a young female student who had been recruited under the REDSKIN PROGRAM to befriend him, while his US counterpart also wined and dined him. The interesting thing is that they gave this student nothing. They made no suggestions whatsoever, gave her no information on Golub. Nada. They let her wing it because they feared that Golub was smart enough to detect any such assistance they might provide. I think that is a valuable piece of information to have regarding this case generally. Total control in some situations is not a good thing.

 Two other crucial pieces of information the CIA had about Golub on file.
1. That he was to be sent back to the Soviet Union by the end of 1959
2. He believed non-Soviet bloc Communists were "swine" because as he put it “How can we trust a person like that when his own country can’t trust him?”

So, what do we have now? If you needed to get someone into the Soviet Union quickly, legally and without fuss, you had to act quickly before Golub left his Helsinki post because who knows what the replacement will be like and how long it may take to work on him? This then, is the most logical reason for the fraudulent early “out” from the Marines.

The other thing is that you would instruct your guy not to flag his intention to defect to Golub because he would automatically distrust you.

What eventually happened was that Golub notified the US Consul shortly before Oswald’s arrival that he would grant quick visas to Americans if they seemed alright and purchased Intourist vouchers. Indeed, he had just granted two such visas. Despite Golub’s seeming approachability, one thing Oswald did not do was what anyone in his shoes probably would: seek help in defecting from the Soviet Embassy. After all, Finland and the Soviet Union had the Agreement of Friendship, Cooperation, and Mutual Assistance in place.  But this non-attempt in Helsinki was even confirmed by Snyder who claimed that this was what Oswald had told him. This failure to seek assistance in defecting in Helsinki in my opinion had to be the result of what was in the Golub file regarding his distrust of foreign Communists. It does at least offer a sane reason for the otherwise frugal Oswald to purchase $300.00 worth of vouchers – something he would not have had to do by defecting right there and then.

After Oswald arrives in Moscow, he meets his Intourist guide and keeps a low profile until Halloween when he attends Snyder’s office.

Next, let’s dispense with Joan Hallett. Joan was hired to fill in for the regular receptionist who was helping at the American Exhibit. That exhibit was over by October 31 and it is obvious from what Joan recalled decades later that she was confusing the person who did defect during that exhibition, with Oswald – that person being of course, Robert Webster. For example, Oswald was there outside of office hours on a Saturday and was not taken upstairs to be interviewed. But that is what happened with Webster who, as shown in the records, was interviewed conference style by consular officers along with executives from his employer, Rand Development Corporation. Joan’s husband Oliver remains of interest though, as he was most assuredly an intelligence officer, intercepting Russian radio transmissions from the submarine he commanded prior to the Soviet gig, and later, at the time of the assassination, manning the Situation Room in the White House.  
But there was one person who was present and who is of interest. His name was Ned Keenan (aka Ed aka Edward). In brief, he was a Harvard graduate who had been chosen for the CIA REDSKIN program by none other than 
Richard Snyder, who had been used as a spotter for the program at Harvard. Keenan’s role in that program may have been given to us by Russell Langelle who was working for the CIA under diplomatic cover as the head of security where he acted as Popov’s contact. Langelle was interviewed by the HSCA. He told them that the CIA had X number working in the Embassy and Y number outside which included 3 or 4 students who handled “orientation” projects. Keenan was among the earliest batch of US exchange students to go over. If we apply the ordinary meaning of “orientation” then it implies that those students were advising defectors and travelers about living or staying in the USSR. Keenan would much later claim his reason for being there was a visa problem, but such problems would not require an exchange student to travel from Leningrad on a Saturday. In any event, Keenan was eventually kicked out for “spying” – a claim he would deny in 1967 when that news finally leaked out. He probably could deny that charge on a technicality if he was only obtaining information legally available to him – and that may well have been the case, since it was the alleged aim of the program. But the point is, I believe he was there in that office to assist with any issues that might be foreseen on the Soviet side of this deal going on with Oswald.
Atomic Spies & Purloined Stories 
Oswald’s first press interview in Moscow was with Aline Mosby and as a result, a story was published in the US under her name titled Fort Worth Defector Confirms Red BeliefsIt was a straightforward, perhaps even slightly sympathetic story that painted Oswald as thoughtful and earnest.

Post-assassination however, Mosby wrote a second story. This time the story was overtly sympathetic – to the government portrayal of Oswald as having a mother-complex, having a shallow understanding of Marxism, and of being arrogant, among other epithets not brought out in the original – yet allegedly based on the same interview notes.

The second story also added this purported quote from Oswald, “I became interested in Marxism about the age of 15 from an ideological viewpoint. An old lady handed me a pamphlet about saving the Rosenbergs”. In the original 1959 story, all that was stated was that he had been “a devoted believer in communism and had read books on the subject since he was 15.” The alleged pamphlet incident was in New York and he had left New York only a couple of months after his 14th birthday. What the reading and age does fit with is his time in the Civil Air Patrol (CAP) and a possible recruitment into its anti-subversive program.

The Rosenberg leaflet incident written about by Mosby post-assassination never happened. It was a lie based on an incident described in Julius Rosenberg's letters from prison.

Here is what Rosenberg himself wrote about his own political awakening: “Although only fifteen years old, I was fully aware of conditions around me and felt a deep social responsibility to do something about them… Now one day on my way home from school I stopped to listen to a speaker at a corner meeting on Delancey St in the lower east side. His topic was the campaign to win freedom for Tom Mooney labor leader who was imprisoned on a frameup. The same night I read a pamphlet I had bought from the speaker that presented all the facts of this case and listed how the reader could help free this innocent victim.”

But the borrowing from the Rosenberg files do not stop there. 

We now come to the story of a torn box-top as revealed in the Rosenberg trial. David Greenglass was the brother-in-law of Julius Rosenberg and had been recruited into the spy while serving in the army and working on the Manhattan Project at Los Alamos.  Greenglass had buckled under pressure when his wife Ruth was implicated. To save her, he turned state witness against Julius and his own sister, Ethel.

This is the way it is currently written up on the FBI website:

Greenglass further stated that at the time he turned this material over to Rosenberg, Ruth Greenglass remarked that David’s handwriting was bad and would need interpretation. Rosenberg answered that it was nothing to worry about because Ethel, his wife, would retype the information.

A day or two later David and his wife went to the Rosenberg apartment for dinner where they were introduced to a woman friend of the Rosenbergs. After she left, Julius told the Greenglasses that he thought this person would come to see David to receive information on the atom bomb. They discussed a tentative plan wherein Ruth Greenglass would move to Albuquerque; this woman would also meet Ruth in a movie theater in Denver, Colorado to exchange purses. Ruth’s purse would contain the information from David concerning Los Alamos.

To identify the person who would come to see Ruth, it was agreed that Ruth would use a side piece of a Jello box. Julius held the matching piece of the Jello box. David suggested that meeting be held in front of a certain grocery store in Albuquerque. The date of the meeting was left to depend upon the time that Ruth would depart for Albuquerque.

In another part of this FBI write-up, we find that

Rosenberg also advised David that he had a way of communicating with the Russians by putting material or messages in the alcove of a theater and that he had received from one of his contacts the mathematics relating to atomic energy for airplanes.

The police swooped straight up onto the balcony after being told the Tippit suspect was in the that area of the building. The balcony itself has a series of alcoves.

But more than that, according to a 1967 CBC interview with Gerald Hill, Oswald was subjected to a “fast frisk” as soon as he was handcuffed in the theater. When asked to explain what that meant, Hill replied “an officer checks under your armpits, your crotch, your pockets, your shirt, your waistband of your trousers, and anywhere a weapon could be concealed, even as small as a razor blade, or anything of this type you could be conceivably get to and either hurt the officer or hurt yourself”. Hill has accurately described the search and its singular aim: finding weapons.  However, in this case, “the plain feel” doctrine would also apply. That is if, during the pat-down, the officer feels an object whose “contour or mass” makes its identity immediately apparent, and the officer has probable cause to believe that the object is evidence of a crime, or is itself contraband, it may be seized.” At the very least then, the 5 shells said to have been found by Detective Elmer Boyd just prior to the first line up (more than 2 hours after Oswald’s capture), should have been enveloped at the time of the “quick frisk” on the basis that the “feel” of the pocket would easily tell you what they were. Additionally, since you were investigating a homicide, they could reasonably be suspected as being evidence, therefore validating their seizure. Even worse, body searches are often used to cover either illegal searches for other contraband, or more ominously here, to plant incriminating evidence.

So the official sequence was this:

1: 50 pm arrested and frisked. Nothing taken.
2:20 pm first interrogation. Nothing taken
4:05 pm taken away for first line up. Searched by Boyd and Sims. Shells taken from trousers, bus transfer ticket, cash, key, card with phone number, American Bakeries pay slip and part of a Cox’s box top all taken from shirt pocket, ring and bracelet taken from hand and wrist.

Based on the above, the best we can safely say is that no shells were in Oswald’s pockets at the time of his arrest, otherwise they would have been taken as evidence.
A new find however, adds another item to the list of items pulled from Oswald’s pockets – an item that is, within itself proof that it was the sole item which could have been found by Sims and Boyd. It was a police property receipt.

Boyd and Sims, who did lie about finding the shells, let the cat out in their testimony with no memory of most of the other items:

Mr. STERN. The memorandum mentions the cartridges--bus transfer, except that he had a ring on his finger which he took off and he gave it to Mr. Sims. Do you remember any other items that he had that you got from him during this search? 
Mr. BOYD. No, sir; I know that Mr. Sims did get the bus transfer and took his ring--he took his ring off and give it to Mr. Sims, and I got those five shells, and that's all that I recall being taken from him. 
Sims testimony is more detailed, but again, the only items he recalls are the bus transfer, shells and bracelet and ring.

In short, Oswald, except for a missed bus transfer, already had his pocket litter confiscated. The only items taken by Boyd and Sims, other than the transfer, were his jewelry, belt and of course, the property receipt.  

The Cox box top was yet another page ripped from the Rosenberg playbook. There is eyewitness evidence suggesting Oswald was to be killed in that theater. Reporter Jim Ewell watched from the balcony as a shotgun was poked through the tangle of bodies at Oswald. It would seem too many witnesses and his own yelling that he was not resisting, combined to save his life, at least in the short term.

Whoever was setting Oswald up was intimately aware of the minutia in the Rosenberg case and was using that knowledge to try and set Oswald up as a communist member of a spy ring. We will look at members of the Rosenberg ring in more detail later, as well as identify the most likely source of the Rosenberg case details.

Saving the Disarmament Talks
September 20, 1959: Lee Harvey Oswald departs the United States with the Soviet Union as his final Destination.

September 25, 1959:  Eisenhower and Khrushchev meet at Camp David. After two days of talks, they release a joint statement which includes among other things, the shared belief that “the question of general disarmament is the most important one facing the world today.” And to that end, both agree to reopen talks on Berlin, cultural exchanges and trade and additionally to hold another summit soon and that Eisenhower would visit the Soviet Union during the following year.

The U2 program had begun in July 1956 only after the Soviets had rejected Eisenhower’s Open Skies proposal which would involve the exchange of maps locating each country’s military installations and each side giving permission to do aerial surveillance.  But one thing we can take out of Eisenhower’s Open Skies offer is his willingness and propensity to end hostilities first and foremost by the sharing of data.

It is also obvious from the records firstly that Eisenhower was very keen to keep the flights to the barest minimum needed and secondly that there is ongoing debate as to whether he authorized Powers’ flight on May 1, 1960. In my opinion, if he did authorize it, it was either under duress or he was deceived into giving the approval.
In any case, the shooting down of Powers’ U2 scuttled the upcoming disarmament talks and Eisenhower’s Soviet visit.

But let’s back up and look at how those disarmament talks were shaping up. There was one major stumbling block on the Soviet side. The US had Project Vela, which in 1959, was a small budget research program to build satellites which could monitor test ban compliance. This research was already being shared with NATO allies.  The Soviet objection to this was that the satellites could be used to test the improvement of weaponry just as easily as it could be used to monitor testing.  To unblock the path, the US decided to use various hidden methods of sharing this and related data with the Soviets. It had to be done in this covert fashion as an expedient to hide the sharing from the Hawks inside both adversary’s administrations.

The evidence comes from Ike’s own Special Assistant for Science and Technology, George B. Kistiakowsky.  Following is an excerpt from the introduction to his published diaries:

Let’s just let that sink in. The Soviets objected to Project VELA. That objection was blocking progress in disarmament negotiations – so to get around it, the White House secretly shared information with the Soviets, including blueprints.

Let’s now zoom in a bit closer on Lee Harvey Oswald.

His main work experience prior to joining the USMC was as a “runner” for freight forwarding businesses and a dental lab. A “runner” here is another name for “messenger” or “courier”. But more than that, courier services were a core component of Civil Air Patrol work. And as noted in Volume 2 of Lee Harvey Oswald’s Cold War, a Marine (whose name was redacted in the records) was interviewed by ONI in 1968. According to this report, he had been used by Ferrie as a messenger and delivery boy for the Cuban Democratic Revolutionary Front and was soon requested by Ferrie to obtain a passport with the intention of sending the youth to an unnamed South American country for training in “infiltration” into Cuba. As also shown in the second volume of my book, it was Ferrie who had pushed Oswald towards the Marines and had most likely also recruited Oswald into a version of the CAP anti-subversive program first leaked in 1948. This program seemed to have two components: one in which recruits would be employed by businesses and be allotted a list of “subversives” to watch and report on. The other component was seemingly designed to train recruits for assignment behind the Iron Curtain as it entailed training in the Russian language, Russian military tactics, Russian politics and characteristics of the average Russian. As noted in talk #2, throughout this pre-USMC (CAP) period is when Oswald was reading up on Communism. He was also attempting to entrap others by getting them to seek and join Communist Cells in New Orleans and he worked with one of those he targeted – Palmer McBride.
It is important to note here also that the CAP sought permission from both the FBI and CIA to commence these endeavors. There would be no need to seek CIA approval if the program was restricted to activity within the borders of the United States. Indeed, the seeking of approval itself suggests FBI and CIA involvement at arms-length – a distance both bodies favored.

Based on this research, it is my opinion that Oswald was indeed recruited and used in both areas of this program – that is domestic and foreign. 
When the White House needed a way to covertly give blueprints to the Soviet Union, the assignment was given to Oswald who in turn would be supported by the REDSKIN/REDSOX programs. In a quid pro quo deal, Oswald would be sent to Minsk and allowed to observe and takes notes of the factory. The talks would now be back on track… until Powers was shot down on May Day 1960.  The CIA, forced to help with Oswald’s mission to save the disarmament talks, soon acted to make sure they were scuttled.

Oswald was never charged with treason because he had done nothing illegal.
The question at this point is where did Oswald really stand politically? Could he be a witting party to saving the disarmament talks?

Firstly, he didn’t have to a be a witting party. He didn’t have to know what he was delivering. But in any case, his August 1963 talk to the Jesuit seminary in Alabama reveals that the disarmament talks and subsequent shoot down of Powers and its aftermath were subjects of deep concern to him as he included both in his speech. He also made it clear he had no time for communism, socialism or capitalism, and what was needed was a system that incorporated the best of them. In Alabama at least, we got the real Oswald.

We touched on Robert Webster earlier, so let’s look at what happened with him. He was with Rand Development Corp helping demonstrate plastic spray guns used to apply heat resistant material to space-craft.  The Soviets were keen to replicate this technology and Webster said he would share it with them and could help make the guns. The Soviets responded by putting him to work at the Leningrad Scientific Research Institute of Polymerized Plastics (NIIPP). The Soviets claimed that his work was substandard while Webster himself would blame his supervising engineer for the problems. It is noted that the NIIPP had an experimental factory on site, but that Webster was never allowed in there.

What happened with Oswald? He was sent to Minsk to work at the Horizon Factory which made domestic radios and televisions. But like the NIIPP, it also had an experimental shop, and Oswald was initially placed in that shop. Although I have not learned what it produced in the early 1960s, in more modern times has produced optical components for control systems of radars and lasers.  Oswald was there for 2 weeks before being transferred to the main factory.
As for the U2, its downing and subsequent scuttling of the summit talk… one thing that the CIA knew was that the Soviets had more information on the U2s than previously admitted to. They knew this from Pyotr Popov who, in April 1958, told his then CIA case officer George Kissevalter that a senior KGB official had boasted of having “full technical details” of the U2. All that had to happen was for a U2 to fly over the right place at the right altitude and the Soviets would bring it down. Cue Gary Powers.

But that produced a secondary dilemma: what to do about Popov who it was believed had become exposed, had ceased producing quality information and moreover may now know or have guessed too much about other matters in play.

Popov and new case officer Russell Langelle were caught red handed exchanging notes in Moscow. Popov was executed. The Soviets couldn’t touch Langelle however because he was working under diplomatic cover. Was Popov burned by his handlers on both sides the day Oswald entered the Soviet Union?

And what happened in Minsk that somehow has been deemed to be unrelated to the Oswald story?

The capture and execution of REDSOX Agent Mikhail Platovsky who had been arrested in Minsk in October 1960.  Initially, REDSOX agents were no more or less than British/OPC backed Solidarists (the same groups Oswald would hook up with in Dallas) parachuted into the Soviet Union be the remnants of the Ghelan network. And it was on the British side via Kim Philby that the program was such a disaster.

At that time of arrest, Platovsky had in his possession two radio transmitters, ciphers, codes, duplicating equipment and other spy paraphernalia. According to the Soviets, his mission had been twofold – to collect information on defense and industrial installations and to recruit cell-members who could be easily found among “morally loose” elements. The idea of such cells is that they would be dormant until an internal uprising could be fomented, at which time they would spring into action.
By some accounts, Marina would fit the “morally loose” target group.

Possibly due to Platovsky’s arrest and one other in Leningrad, the CIA cut those operations in the Soviet Union. At that very same time, Oswald was starting to make plans to head back to the US. It would be 3 months before he would meet and marry Marina and add her to his plans to come in from the Cold.   

Last edited by greg parker on Sat 11 Nov 2017, 6:03 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : formatting and links fixed)

Mixing Pop and Politics he asks me what the use is
I offer him embarrassment and my usual excuses
While looking down the corridor
Out to where the van is waiting
I'm looking for the Great Leap Forward

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