"I guess I'm going to introduce
I'm a conspiracy theorist."John Newman
John Newman brought several
hefty packets of document transparencies, along with two slide
trays full of scanned document slides for the Conference audience.
Debra Conway assisted him with the overheads while John ran the
slides himself. The two of them coordinated pretty well and those
dialogues have been deleted from this transcript. As this is
the transcript of the presentation, the author has made very
few changes to John's actual words, and only for clarity's sake
have these changes been made. Some items to note: When John says
"here" he is referring to a document on the screen.
Also, not every document shown to the audience is linked to this
transcript though we made every attempt to have as many as practical.
We encourage you to order this video from the '99 NID Conference
as soon as it's available.
Icon Legend: document
set | single document | photo | audio
"As we get set up, I have a 133 new documents for you today."
"I guess I'm going to introduce myself, I'm a conspiracy
(Laughter and applause. Long
pause while John gets organized with Debra Conway for the slides
and overheads to be used in the presentation. Author's note-I
am deleting asides by John Newman to Debra Conway in regard to
"I'm John Newman, as I said I'm a conspiracy theorist.
I also do other things for a living. I'm trying to get to be
conspiracy theorist first class, I don't know if I've gotten
there yet but I'm going to make myself a button that has a rank,
so I can refer to myself appropriately. I don't know if I can
get through everything I have, and if I don't I'll try and squeeze
in somewhere else, where's there's a hole this weekend. What
I have for you is basically a two part presentation today. The
first part of it deals with the tapes from Mexico City. It is
a very controversial issue, a lot of stuff has been released
on it in the archives. The House Select Committee chased that
story very vigorously and so did the Review Board.
"Then at the end of that section I am going to present a
hypothesis to you, for three or four minutes, then I'm going
to go back, and I am going to take you through the case, pre-assassination,
a couple of weeks between Mexico City and the assassination,
and then through the first 24 to 48 hours and watch the panic
set in in Washington, D.C. and see what happens everywhere.
"In all of that you will see, I think, more clearly than
before, the hand of Lyndon Johnson directing a lot of the cover-up,
it's pretty interesting to watch this. But it is clear that the
Mexico City story is driving all of that, so that's my plan today.
And a lot of this stuff is brand new. And I thought you would
appreciate actually seeing the documents. I'm going to do my
best to go through this. As it turns out if it's taking too long,
well, I'll cut it off and maybe come back later to see how we
"This schematic over here on the overhead, 'The tale of
the Mexico City tapes,' Debby is going to put it up every once
in a while will help orient you for the first part of this presentation.
There are really two competing stories here. One is that the
tapes survived the assassination and were listened to, in fact
listened to in Dallas, Texas, by FBI agents while Oswald was
alive. And then they got a surprise when they listened to those
tapes, and listened to that voice.
"There is another story, the tapes had been destroyed before
the assassination, had been 'routinely erased.' You will find
on the right hand side of that, the graphic there, all the references,
the contemporaneous references, in the record, to the actual
tapes having survived, having been listened to, which call it
was, and so on and so forth, and on the left hand side you will
find the contemporaneous reflections in the record of the erasure
story. It goes through three stages. The first 24 hours from
the time Kennedy is killed on 11/22 till noon the following day
there is no story of erasure, then from noon till about 6:00
p.m. on 11/23 the story is that one tape was erased, the 9/28
call, the call on the 28th of September from the Cuban consulate
to the Soviet embassy by Lee Harvey Oswald. For those of you
who are not conversant in all of this I will say a little something
about it in a second. And then the final phase, from about 6:00
p.m. on Saturday till today, the story is that all of the tapes
have been erased.
"So, that is what that schematic is, it will be put back
up from time to time to remind you as I go through the first
part of this presentation on the tapes what the two competing
stories are. So, you get a better feel for them.
"Lee Harvey Oswald went to Mexico City at the end of September,
1963, ostensibly to "defect", yet again, for the second
time, to the Soviet Union. While he was there he sought visas.
He sought a visa to the Soviet Union, and a transit visa across
Cuba. This was very strange because when he had applied for his
passport, it was stamped, okay for travel to the Soviet Union,
and Finland, and Germany, all of the countries he had gone through
his first time. It was illegal for travel to Cuba. So, why he
would go an illegal route when he had an opportunity to go the
same way he went before is a mystery. It's really a non-starter,
anyway, I don't want to get into that part of the story. What
I do want to focus on is his visits to those consulates and the
phone calls that he allegedly made. Now, I don't have time to
tell the entire story here. In fact, I wrote a little article
in PROBE, I don't know how many of you have seen it. It
sort of lays it out a little bit. And I am going to do something
more lengthy for JFK Lancer it'll be out towards the end of the
year on this. But, I went through a great deal of trouble when
I wrote Oswald and the CIA [New
York,Carroll & Graf Publishers 1995] to really get
into those tapes on a content basis. And I don't have the time
to do that here but it was my judgment when I read them and analyzed
them when I wrote that book back in 1995, that based on the content
of those tapes alone, that it wasn't him. Because the words that
were spoken by the person who identified himself as Oswald were
incongruous with the experiences that we know he had down there
from all of the testimony and all of the witnesses that were
there, the Cubans, the Russians, the Mexicans, and so on.
"Right now I am going to be single minded and stay just
on the tapes. There are also transcripts. Of course, when you
intercept a phone call, when the CIA intercepted those phone
calls they made transcripts, from the tapes. But it's the tapes
that I'm focused on now. Because when you read a transcript you
can't tell whose voice it is. When you have a tape you can take
that tape to the Dallas Police building, while he (Oswald) is
still alive and you can play them in one room, and have him talk
in another room, you can even have him repeat lines. And you
can make some judgments.
[Author's note - This may be why
we have this cover story of no interrogation notes haven been
taken while Oswald is alive and being questioned, and why we
were told there was no room for a stenographer, etc.]
"And if it's not him, we have a real problem. We, the United
States, have a real problem, based on what happened in those
phone calls. So, I am going to stay riveted for the next 30-40
minutes on the tapes themselves. One more thing before I start,
the CIA did routinely erase tapes. They have a very large intercept
operation down there in Mexico City, but the period before an
erasure occurred was two weeks, two weeks. So for the phone calls
for the 28th of September, and say the first of October we would
be talking middle of October before any of those tapes would
have been erased. So, I will just make that parenthetical observation.
"The very first document that we find in the record actually
comes from, and you can find this by the way in the back of Hosty's
book [Assignment Oswald] if you like.
[See p. 296-317. Also RIF
# 104-10004-10199 from the 3rd batch.] It's actually
a summary report, the ARRB released this, this is a brand new
document, relatively new, last couple of years, it is called,
"Summary Report" it was written on the 13th of December,
1963, internal CIA report, it was called "We find Oswald
in Mexico City." It's about 22 pages, a pretty interesting
[Author's note. In a caption underneath
where the first page of this report is reproduced in Hosty's
book: Assignment Oswald (New York, Arcade Publishing 1996)
"Agent Hosty never received the information in this report
regarding Kostikov's role in the KGB." Clarence Kelly, director
of the FBI after Hoover confirms, "No mention was made of
Oswald's visit to the Cuban embassy. Worse yet, no identification
of Kostikov as a high-ranking assassination specialist was given
to New Orleans. Or to Agent Hosty. [See Clarence Kelly, The
Story of an FBI Director (Kansas City, Andrews McMeel and
Parker 1987) p.268
Quoted in Newman Oswald and the CIA p. 429]
"But, there are a couple of things in there that pertain
to the story of tapes, including this statement here, 'As soon
as our Mexico City station realized that Lee Oswald was the prime
suspect it began rescreening the written transcripts in its files
covering the Soviet embassy for the pertinent period,' and read
the next words ladies and gentlemen, 'the actual tapes were reviewed.
Many had been erased after the normal two weeks wait,' but, not
all of them. That means some of them were actually listened to
in the hours immediately after the assassination, by the Mexico
City CIA station. This is a CIA document.
"In the same
document elsewhere it says, 'Several calls believed to be
Oswald were discovered and their contents cabled to Washington,
where they were disseminated to the White House, the State Department,
and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Oswald's name was not
actually mentioned in these additional calls, but 'similarity
of speech and various plain points of content link them to him.'
"Similarity of speech?""
Not something you will find from looking at transcripts.
"Now, this is another
part of the same document, and you will notice the little
squiggly stuff in the middle. That is what the Review Board did.
They thought that what was in there was so important to us that
they decided they would have to tell us a little something about
it, but they didn't play the black out these words game, because
they know that people like me, you know, get out my ruler and
figure stuff out.
"So, anyway, I blew it up for you. And you really can't
read it back there so I will just tell you. They did the "substitute
language" thing. And what they are telling us is, what
they are telling us in here is that there was another copy of
the 1 October intercept that was discovered after the assassination.
The redacted information in this part of the page concerns information,
references the 1 October intercept on Lee Oswald, that would
be the Tuesday call from outside the Soviet embassy to the Soviet
embassy, and in the transcript, you'll see, the guy says, 'I
AM OSWALD.' He says this. He mentions his name 'I AM OSWALD.'
Anyway, 'and the possible existence of another copy of that intercept
that was discovered after the assassination.'
"It is a very interesting document here. Again, this a CIA
document, it's not from the HSCA or anybody else.
"This one here on the left, this is actually a letter written
by Win Scott, Chief of Station
to J.C. King.
[See Document # 104-10015-10310
from the 8th batch]
"You see the letters J.C.? It's J.C. King, Chief of Western
Hemisphere Division of the CIA. And essentially there are a lot
of interesting things in here, 'reference is made to our conversation
of 22 November,' now we know they talked on the phone, right
after the assassination. That's very interesting. J.C. King on
the phone to Win Scott down there in Mexico City. Essentially,
look at this, 'I requested permission to give the legal attache,'
and for those of you that don't know the legal attache in Mexico
City is the FBI desk, that's FBI Mexico City, legat, when you
see it on documents read FBI Mexico City, anyway, Win Scott,
the CIA Chief of Station, called J.C. King and got permission
to give the pictures of ' the
mystery man,' this other person photographed going into the
embassy down there, got permission to give them to the FBI man,
actually a person working under him, the legal attache is actually
[Clark] Anderson, and Eldon Rudd was the name of the FBI agent
working under him who took this stuff up to Dallas.
"But look at this, 'I requested permission to give the legal
attache copies of photographs of a certain person who is known
"That has always bothered me. I'm certain it's quite innocent.
But I like to take it out and look at it every once in awhile,
you know, it's just, it's interesting.
[Author's note- Peter Dale Scott
writes, "The CIA never released the photos from the special
"pulse camera" which they had just installed to watch
the Cuban Consulate, shortly before Oswald's visit. Worse, when
the HSCA asked for the "pulse camera" photos, the CIA
replied, falsely, that this camera had not been in operation
until three months later. See Lopez report, 13-30; footnote 363
on p. A-25, as quoted in Deep Politics II: Essays on Oswald,
Mexico, and Cuba, (Grand Prairie, JFK Lancer, 1998, 2nd Printing).
"The main teaching point here in this next paragraph
talks about having talked to the Ambassador, Ambassador
Mann, who is quite disturbed, and wanted these photographs
and transcripts and things sent up to Dallas right away. And
the plane leaves that night. And arrives at Love Field here in
Dallas at 2:47 local time, or 3:47 EST [I
believe that's 2:47 a.m. CST on 23 November, 1963] with
a Top Secret package on board. And that's really what we learn
"And the question is, are the tapes on that plane? Because
as you will see in a second, somebody is listening to something
up here from Mexico City. And we didn't have fax machines in
those days. So, unless they were beamed here by Scotty and the
boys, this is the only plane that came here.
"Here is another one for example, Shanklin, the Special
Agent in Charge here in Dallas, Texas, of the FBI, Special Agent
in Charge (SAC) this is a memo to file, and he talks about the
plane, it was supposed to arrive by one, actually it is a couple
of hours later, so this talks about it too. But there is something
else very interesting in this document. It is a memo to file,
by Shanklin, this is the night of the assassination, he goes
to his typewriter and makes a memo to file.
'Assistant to the Director Belmont in Washington, D.C. called
and said that we have on file practically all the information
on Oswald down there in Mexico City except for the one piece
where the CIA had secured some information concerning a phone
call made on the 28th of September from the Cuban consulate to
the Soviet embassy.'
"This is very significant, because what had happened as
you will see later on in the second part of the briefing the
CIA really withheld the whole Cuban aspect of everything that
has been going on down there. And we want to fit that into everything.
"But now here's Shanklin typing away on his typewriter,
the night of the assassination, remarking on that fact. You know,
'We didn't know that, that was the one piece of the puzzle that
was missing was that 9/28 phone call.'
And here is Special Agent (Wally) Heitman, who also is in the
Dallas office here of the FBI. He actually gets the assignment
to meet the plane. You can see his handwriting (Actually, I don't
think John had this as a slide or a transparency overhead.) Anyway,
this is Heitman writing a memo saying, 'Eldon Rudd is on his
way up here.' Here's the actual ID# of the aircraft and everything
else. And the fact that it is going to land at 2:47 a.m. Dallas
time at Love Field and then.....
[Tape ends] [Missing some bits]
[Both John Kelin's and my tape fail right here.]