March 24, 2014
New York, NY
Shane O'Sullivan has shared the benefit of his insights into the murders of both John and Bobby Kennedy. Shane has given us the book 'Who Killed Bobby' (Union Square Press, 2008), and the accompanying documentary R.F.K. MUST DIE (E2 Films, 2007). Now Shane takes an in depth look into Lee Harvey Oswald, in his new documentary OSWALD MUST DIE' (E2 Films 2013). The documentary offers interviews with some of the most important investigators into the topic covered. John Newman, David Kaiser, Dick Russell, Joan Mellen, and archival footage with Oswald confidante George DeMohrenschildt are voices that cannot be left unheard in gauging the events in question. O'Sullivan has brought them all together in one film that no concerned citizen can afford to ignore. Shane was kind enough to take the time to answer some questions we had regarding his overall work, and KILLING OSWALD. (Note: 'Killing Oswald' can be seen as a stream online at the VIMEO site).
#1. Care to comment on District Attorney Henry Wade responding to the press that concerns about Oswald's safety will be handled with special precautions just before he was assassinated?
I think you mean Dallas Police Chief Jesse Curry. His interviews that weekend are very interesting. He seems genuinely bewildered by what is happening and lets it slip early on that the FBI had been tracking Oswald. His later interview with Peter Dale Scott in 1977 suggests he felt there was a conspiracy and was never satisfied with the WC conclusion.
#2. Oswald worked as a Marine with the U2 flights, and worked after returning from defecting to the Soviet Union at Jaggers-Chiles-Stovall. Please comment what "Jaggars" did, and on how Oswald was living basically around intelligence matters most of his adult life.
Jaggers-Chiles-Stovall specialised in typographic services. They added type to maps for the Department of Defence and some of this work involved classified maps of Cuba. Oswald seems to have used the photographic equipment at work to make some of his ID cards and possibly print copies of the famous backyard photos. Oswald was a very odd choice for the job given his background as a Soviet defector.
#3. When Oswald defected to Russia, John Newman said he may have been on a mission to ferret out a "mole". Can you tell us about that, and also on how easily Oswald returned to America after defecting?
The CIA knew there was a mole in the U2 program and may have used Oswald's defection as a "dangle" to find out who the mole was. Oswald actually had to wait a long time for the Soviets and the US Embassy in Moscow to process the papers for his return with Marina and their baby daughter. But the way Oswald was treated on his return to the U.S. s a defector was very unusual. The CIA claims they never debriefed him and the FBI only showed brief and belated interest, suggesting they knew he was not really a communist subversive but something else.
#4. The footage you had with George DeMohrenschildt was fascinating. Who was DeMohrenschildt, and was he a likely companion for someone fitting the description of who the Warren Commission said Oswald was supposed to be?
I had access to a six-hour audio interview De Mohrenschildt gave Dutch journalist Willem Oltmans in 1968 and I found that fascinating. I think he was a source of intelligence on Oswald for the CIA through J. Walton Moore and seemed to work for a number of intelligence agencies. Ultimately, though, he moved to Haiti in May 1963, so he was out of the picture when the assassination plot got going. He knew Oswald was a patsy and that he'd played some part in his downfall.
#5. Someone seemed to be impersonating Oswald at the Russian and Cuban embassies in Mexico City. John Newman seems to believe this is the key to the cover-up. Please tell us about that, and what kind of shock waves that would cause after President Kennedy's assassination?
At least two telephone calls were made to the Soviet embassy by an Oswald impersonator after Oswald's visits to the Russian and Cuban embassies. In one of those calls, Silvia Duran was also impersonated. I agree that whoever was behind those impersonations was likely involved in the assassination as the transcripts of these calls create the legend of Oswald the Marxist contacting these Communist embassies and meeting a Soviet assassinations expert in the months before Dallas.
#6. Please tell us a bit about Antonio Veciana, and his recent revelations. The footage of him in the film with him speaking so candidly was enlightening, and 'worth the price of admission'.
When I met Veciana in November 2006, he was refreshingly open about his life and efforts against Castro and also quite sure that the plot against JFK came from within and was partly directed by CIA. He said he would keep his promise to Maurice Bishop not to reveal his true identity until the day he died but thankfully, Gaeton Fonzi's widow Marie helped convince him to recently out David Atlee Phillips as the man he met with Oswald in Dallas.
#7. Can you tell us about the life of David Atlee Phillips, and what role he seems to have played in the assassination?
The film includes never-before-seen footage of Phillips at the wedding of Win Scott, the CIA's station chief in Mexico City at the time of the assassination as well as declassified audio from Phillips' HSCA testimony on the Mexico City tapes. If a CIA officer had a hand in the assassination, he is the most likely candidate and he hinted as much in his unpublished outline for a novel, The AMLASH Legacy. Phillips' son told me his father was in Mexico City on November 22, 1963 but the impersonation of Oswald in Mexico City, CIA operations targeting Fair Play for Cuba, the DRE tangle with Oswald in New Orleans and the Oswald-was-working-for-Castro propaganda campaign after the assassination all point in the direction of Phillips.
#8. Joan Mellon and others mention a 'J.Walton Moore' a few times in the film. Perhaps you could fill those who have not heard of him before onto who he is, and his link to George DeMohrenschildt.
Moore was in charge of the CIA's Domestic Contacts office in Dallas and asked De Mohrenschildt to check Oswald out.
#9. Did you have to edit anything for the sake of time that you may want to tell us about here? For instance, did you think of mentioning the way that George DeMohrenschildt died?
Yes, that was one subject I didn't have time for as I really didn't want the film to go beyond two hours for the casual viewer. I'm not convinced De Mohrenschildt was murdered as he does seem to have been hounded by Willem Oltmans in the months before his death. I visited the Oltmans archives in Holland and he was a very eccentric individual who could have pushed De Mohrenschildt towards despair. He had split from his wife and was now facing the prospect of having to go through a round of HSCA testimony after very traumatic Warren Commission testimony. In interviews after his death, his daughter said he was very mentally fragile before he died, exhausted.
#10. Oswald was said to have taken a shot at General Edwin Walker. Can you tell us who he was, and your perceptions on his appearance in these events?
General Walker resigned his army commission after being disciplined by JFK and Robert McNamara for indoctrinating his troops with anti-Communist propaganda. The idea that Oswald shot at both Walker and JFK, at opposite ends of the political spectrum, doesn't make any sense to me. Oswald's political writings certainly suggest Walker could have been a target of his and I tend to believe that Oswald did shoot at Walker, making it highly unlikely that Oswald then shot at JFK. Walker was a major supporter of the anti-Castro cause and I find his connections to Cuban exiles like Loran Hall fascinating. I think Walker may have known the anti-Castro Cubans who set up Oswald.
#11. One of the most fascinating players in this story is Richard case Nagell. I think he alone may someday be worthy of a documentary. Can you tell us about Nagell, and Dick Russell's role in researching him?
Dick Russell's The Man Who Knew Too Much is probably my favourite book on the JFK assassination. Although there is little hard evidence for Nagell's story - the photo and tape of Oswald have never been found - I find the scenario Nagell gave Dick Russell the most convincing explanation for how Oswald was framed. Namely, that Oswald was a sincere pro-Castro Marxist framed by anti-Castro Cubans pretending to be on his side. This also fits with what John Martino said just before he died about Oswald being set up as a patsy.
#12. David Kaiser receives a lot of camera time in your film. Can you tell us about his background in JFK research, and how you came to ask him to participate?
I found myself going back to his book a lot because we were interested in the same figures - John Martino, Loran Hall, George De Mohrenschildt. I think he's unfairly dismissed by a lot of researchers because he thinks Oswald was the shooter in a Mob-organised conspiracy. But if you accept the confession of John Martino, the Mob obviously were involved to some extent even if the plot was masterminded by CIA officers and/or anti-Castro Cubans. David Kaiser's research is meticulous and he presents it very clearly. I don't agree with him on everything but he was able to get key points of a very complicated story across concisely.
#13. Not many realize that the HSCA ruled in the late 1970's that therevwas a 'likely conspiracy' in both the JFK and MLK murders. that is not often mentioned in the major media. Can you tell us about their efforts?
While the HSCA investigation was compromised by G. Robert Blakey's preconceived idea of Mafia involvement, some terrific work was done on Oswald in Mexico City by Ed Lopez and Dan Hardway, and Gaeton Fonzi worked with Antonio Veciana to tease out the whole Maurice Bishop scenario. Of course, those called to testify before the HSCA began to drop like flies but the most important legacy of the investigation are the HSCA files, which were released in the nineties under the JFK Records Act.
#14. You have done an excellent book and documentary on the RFK murder as well. Can you tell us if you have found any new information on RFK since those projects? And is anything going on in that case today?
Sirhan's attorneys Bill Pepper and Laurie Dusek are still waiting for a ruling on Sirhan's Habeas Corpus Petition. The evidence of 13 shots on the Pruszynski recording and the testimony of Dr. Dan Brown on Sirhan as Manchurian Candidate make for a very strong case, I think. I also have a lead on the girl in the polka-dot dress I'm pursuing.
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