âRide, captain ride, upon your mystery ship,
Be amazed, at the friends, you have here on your trip.
Ride, captain ride, upon your mystery ship,
On your way, to a world, that others might have missed.â
âAll right,â I said, âWhat agency do you really work for, and who is your most important handler?â
âYou little spy!â he said, smiling. âHereâs the answer: Iâm loaned to the CIA, and must sometimes help the FBI; who my main handler is, not even God knows the answer to that.Â Certainly, I donât.Â I call him âMr. B.ââ (Judyth Vary Baker, as she spoke to her lover Lee Harvey Oswald, Thursday, July 18, 1963, page 389.)Â
ââ¦itÂ has to be Phillips.Â He is the traitor,â said Lee Oswald, âPhillips is behind this. I need you to remember that nameâ¦David Atlee Phillips.â (Wednesday, November 20, 1963, page 521.) Â
(Me & Lee: How I Came to Know, Love and Lose Lee Harvey Oswald, Judyth Vary Baker, TrineDay LLC, P.O. Box 577, Walterville, Oregon 97489. 1-800-556-2012. www.TrineDay. Com, [email protected], 2010, 608 pages, $21.95.) Â
JFK, Curious Synchronisms, and âMe & Leeâ
Photo left:Â Â Judyth Vary Baker near the time she met Oswald
A frequent statement about the mystery of the John Kennedy Assassination: someone who was intimately involved with Lee Oswald would have surely stepped forward to divulge secrets!Â One of those âsomeoneâsâ was Judyth Vary Baker, the mistress of Oswald during 1963, when, as a cancer researcher, she became involved in what had been known as the âProject.â The Project partially consisted of plans about clandestinely killing Dictator Fidel Castro.
Bakerâs gradual involvement from a bright and promising student in cancer research into the murky world of espionage and political undercover was adequately explained in her book as a participant and lover of Lee Harvey Oswald. That she survived personal assassination, as so many other participants have not, was truly amazing. Fortunately, she had survived, and the results were the missing pieces of the Kennedy fiasco.Â
The inner-workings of the corrupt world of crime and government espionage included many players in New Orleans in 1963; most were part of an ultra-right-wing political movement to fight Communism; many, however, were only interested in Power.
The list of âplayersâ seemed endless. I covered only a few here of the more curious:Â
CAST OF PLAYERS
# The Project, Alton Ochsner, Mary Sherman, and David Ferrie. A crucial person in Judythâs career was Dr. Alton Ochsner, one-time President of the American Cancer Society, and Chief of Surgery at Tulane Medical School, and then President of the Ochsner Clinic in New Orleans. Ochsner had also directed INCA (The Information Council for the Americas), an anti-Communist organization in Latin America.
Dr. Ochsner also led Judyth, slated for an internship at Miami University, into another internship with a Dr. Mary Sherman, director of Ochsnerâs bone pathology laboratory at Ochsnerâs clinic. Sherman was one of the foremost cancer researchers in America. Sherman admired Judythâs experiments with the carcinogenic SV-40 virus and other fast-growing cancers. Bakerâs dream was to continue medical school at Tulane, but such as dream took a careening detour on April 26, 1963 when she met Lee Oswald at the post office. It was a spectacular coincidence.
The secret laboratory was introduced to Judyth through David Ferrie, former Eastern Airlines pilot, and CIA (Central Intelligence Agency) operative enmeshed in the New Orleans Ultra-Right. Other right-wing CIA operatives, who wanted to see the success of the Project and the defeat of Fidel Castro, further camouflaged the secret operation. Ferrie was an âoperatorâ that lurked behind the sences throughout the Kennedy Mystery. Ferrieâs homosexuality caused him to be defrocked from the priesthood and the loss of his job at Eastern Airlines. It was not enough, however, to dissuade the CIA from using him. Ferrie was a valuable âplayerâ; especially, because of his New Orleans Mob connections.
Photo Left: Â David Ferrie
I trust nobody I know in the agency. The CIA and the Mob are bed-buddies, which means no protection for the (Commander-in-) Chief (Kennedy) from the Mob,â said Ferrie, âThereâs no telling if this talk has reached higher levels or not. The CIA is no friend of JFK. He fired their precious Allen Dulles and wrecked General Cabellâs careerâ¦Ochsner is naÃ¯ve when it comes to dealing with these slick Texas millionaires, the CIA and the Mob. Theyâve got him wrapped up for Christmas, right where they want him. They drink together, hunt together, play golf together, gamble together and decide whatâs best for the country together.â
David Ferrieâs apartment became one of the sites where experiments for the âProjectâ was central.Â Mice with tumors were âharvestedâ there for use in the bio-weapon. Dr. Sherman oversaw their transport to her Prytania Street laboratory.
# Guy Banister. Ironically, Guy Banister was a private detective who was under the pay of Mobster Carlos Marcello, while also investigating corruption in the New Orleans Police Department. A former FBI agent, Banister, at one time, had been in charge of 500 FBI agents in the Chicago region. He now spent a good portion of his efforts to uncover Communist traitors and radicals. Banister was fairly aware and active in many get-Castro projects, such as the bio-chemical project.
# Carlos Marcello. The powerful Godfather of New Orleans, eager to aid the get-Castro movement (in revenge for the Mob being rioted out of Cuba), protected the âProject,â as well as harass and deport suspicious Cuban spies (pages 218-219.). Later, under the Kennedy brothersâ heavy thumb in challenging corruption, Marcello and other mobsters vowed to kill Kennedy.
#Â Clay Shaw.Â In 1963, Clay Shaw was General Manager of the International Trade Mart in New Orleans, and one of the main parties in the 1967-1969 trial of Shaw by District Attorney Jim Garrison for conspiring to murder President Kennedy. Shaw denied knowledge of Lee Oswald, though Judyth said that they definitely knew each other, and, in fact, Shaw drove the black Cadillac on Thursday, August 29, 1963 to Jackson, Louisiana.Â Oswald was a passenger.
Clay Laverne Shaw reserved a room for Oswald and Judyth at the Monteleone Hotel on Sunday, July 7, 1963.Â
Photo Left:Â Clay LaVerne Shaw, General Manager of the International Trade Mart in 1963, New Orleans.
Shaw was acquitted of charges in the Garrison trial. The jurors, however, were still suspicious of a conspiracy.
âThe CIAâs presence in New Orleans was as blatant as it was logical,â said Baker, âShaw and his business associates who traveled abroad cooperated with the CIAâs information gathering as a patriotic duty. They would fill out reports for the CIA on people they met and matters they observed. Some spent far more time gathering information than others, and the line between a mere domestic contact and a spy could get fuzzy.â (Page 325.)
Richard Helms, former director of the CIA, testified in 1979 that Shaw was, indeed, a CIA Domestic Contact Service Operative.
Â âShaw represents important anti-Castro interests,â Lee Oswald told Judyth.
âLee said Clay Shaw were both Ochsnerâs longtime friend and Daveâs friend, and that he suspected that Shaw had strong connections to the CIA,â said Judyth Baker, âLee also knew that Shaw was fiercely anti-Castro and had cooperated with the WASP (pamphlet distribution at the aircraft carrier) project. But Lee also suspected he was a member of the get-Kennedy coalition. Lee considered Shaw to be a wildcard.â (Page 380.)
# Jack Ruby.Â Judythâs introduction to Jack Ruby began with gossip that Burlesk strippers shared with her. Ruby apparently worked for Godfather Carlos Marcello. âRuby handled Marcelloâs interests in Dallas,â said Baker, âincluding cop-fixing.â Judythâs first meeting with âSparky Rubensteinâ was on Monday, May 6, 1963, at the home of David Ferrie.Â Lee Oswald was also present.
The next time Judyth met âSparkyâ was on Thursday, June 6, 1963 at the 500 club on Bourbon Street, along with Carlos Marcello, Clay Shaw, and a few other underground âdignitaries,â to talk about the âVenezuelan (arms shipment) matter.â Judyth came with Lee Oswald, David Ferrie, and David and Anna Lewis. At one point, âSparkyâ signaled Lee Oswald to Marcelloâs table to discuss âhow to handleâ the Venezuelan shipment. The final time Judyth saw Jack âSparkyâ Rubenstein was on television with the televised assassination on Sunday, November 24, 1963 of Lee Oswald by Ruby.
(âRuby was in regular contact with associates of Carlos Marcello and Santos Trafficante in 1963,â said Baker.)
Judyth asked about a glance Oswald gave a second before his assassination: âDid Lee recognize his old friend just seconds before he was shot?âÂ Jack Ruby told Baker that he had known Oswald since Oswald was a child (page 236).
âThey had taken my true love away from me, in front of the whole world,â said Baker, âAnd they did it in a police station, where law and order should prevail. The perverse irony of it all was only overshadowed by my anguish. It was the worst day of my life.â
# Lee Harvey Oswald.Â âI gave up trying to follow the players, techniques, and motives in Leeâs complex covert world,â said Judyth Baker. Later: âI had always admired the work that spies did. Now I realize I was actually talking to a real one!â (Judyth Baker as she talked about Lee Oswald, April 27, 1963 [page 134].)
Espionage was a childhood ambition of Lee Oswald. He wanted to become an undercover government agent ever since his viewing of the television series I Led Three Lives (1953-1956) about international intrigue and FBI espionage (page 133). David Ferrie recommended Lee to contacts in the Marines that would pave the way for Oswald âas a candidate for intelligence training, including lessons and spy craft.â (Page 197.)Â Baker mentioned in the book that officials remarked of the teenage Oswald as a good prospect.
PART II of this series continues tomorrow: Sunday, October 26, 2014!
. . .
If you would like more information or wish to purchase AMAZON.COM simply click on its title:Â By Judyth Vary Baker: Me & Lee: How I Came to Know, Love and Lose Lee Harvey OswaldÂ
You can reach Steve Erdmann at [email protected] or [email protected]. You can friend him at FacebookÂ https://www.facebook.com/stephen.erdmann1 or visit the Dissenter/Disinter Group at https://www.facebook.com/#!/groups/171577496293504/. His Facebook email is http://facebook.com/stephen.erdmann1.