Sunday, 8 February 2015

STREET CAR TICKETS -- Me & Lee -- and Evidence that Marina Oswald was Threatened with Deportation

   The value of a street car ticket is that it shows a definitive date and time. When kept in the possession of a witness for over fifty years, it helps provide support that the witness was present at that date and time on that streetcar.  The streetcar tickets I saved from the St. Charles Streetcar in New Orleans in the spring and summer of 1963 are among many such unusual records and mementos I kept only between the dates of 1960 and 1963. By themselves they may seem to mean little, but in context with the other records which were also kept, plus documents, and access to the historical record concerning Lee Oswald, they provide support for my testimony, which is largely recorded in Me & Lee; How I came to know, love and lose Lee Harvey Oswald.
     In New Orleans, where we met April 26, 1963, Lee and I moved into our apartments within a week of each other: I on May 4, 1963,  and he on May 10, 1963. Lee arranged this for me after I was ejected after a police raid from a single room that turned out to be a "mansion of ill repute" on St. Charles. I now lived close to Lee's apartment at 4905 Magazine St., residing at 1032 Marengo St. 1032 Marengo was a mere six minute walk to the Napoleon Branch Library, the approximate halfway point, where Lee and I met most often.
       That spring and summer, Lee and I lived just one bus stop apart: most mornings in May through July, Lee got on the bus across the street from his 4905 Magazine St apartment.  The bus stopped next at Marengo and Magazine, and I would get on.
         Between May 9 and July 19 Lee and I also rode the Magazine bus home from work. Many times, we would actually travel past our apartments and get off down at Audubon Park at 6500 Magazine St.  Later, we'd take the bus returning toward town so that Lee got off first, then I did.  This bought us an extra hour or so, which we needed for the many afternoons when we were delayed getting home, at which time we'd get off at the regular stops but wouldn't seem to be arriving "late,"
     Lee usually got home by dark, but dark in the summer in New Orleans is not 6:00 PM.
  According to Marina, when questioned by the Secret Service and FBI, Lee never spent a night away from home except the night he spent in jail on August 9-10. This is not true, as we know from other records, but Marina tried as hard as she could to cooperate with what was wanted. While it is true that the Warren Commission told Marina that Marina was not in danger of deportation even if she refused to testify (WC Vol, p. 80), Marina brings up in her testimony to the Warren Commission that she had been previously told that her failure to cooperate could result in deportation:

MARINA: "... the agents of the Secret Service and the FBI, they asked me many questions.... Sometimes the FBI agents asked me questions which had no bearing or relationship, and if I didn't want to answer they told me that if I wanted to live in the country, I would have to help in this matter, even though  they were often irrelevant... that is the FBI"

 Therefore, we cannot trust everything Marina felt she had to tell the FBI and Secret Service, let alone the Warren Commission, which could only speak for itself. Nor did marina feel 'safe' testifying before the Warren Commission, despite their reassurances. We know that present at Marina's testimony to the Warren Commission were two interpreters: one was William D. Krimer, from the Department of State. The other was Leon I. Gopadze, whom Robert Oswald, Lee's brother, described as knowing that FBI agent James Hosty had harshly interrogated and threatened Marina with deportation in late November soon after Lee had been shot, if she did not cooperate.  It was now only January. 

Who was Leon I. Gopadze?
     Harold Weisberg tells us that as a translator of Russian, he was "Marina's shadow" who allowed the Warren Commission to question Marina under the pretense that she had not been under oath previously and therefore had sometimes lied to the FBI and the Secret Service, but now (with all the correct answers figured out for her) Marina was now going to tell everybody only the truth.  Weisberg's book, Whitewash, is worth a quiet read: you may end up infuriated with what he tells you.
    Gopadze was the Secret Service Agent who had allowed James Hosty of the FBI to interrogate Marina harshly and to twice threaten her with possible deportation if she did not cooperate. Robert Oswald stated that Marina had cooperated in every sense, and that he had even intervened due to the harshness of Hosty's interrogation. Now, Gopadze is sitting here before the Warren Commission as a "second" interpreter but he says nothing to support Marina. She must realize that he is not her friend.  Robert Oswald in his own testimony (WC Vol. 1, p. 410) tells us about the threats:

Mr. OSWALD. ...this particular one agent... she had an aversion to speaking to him because she was of the opinion that he had harassed Lee in his interviews, and my observation of this at this time, at this particular interview, was attempting to start-- I would say this was certainly so. His manner was very harsh sir. 
Mr. JENNER. Harsh towards Marina? 
Mr. OSWALD. Yes, Mr, it most certainly was. And by the tone of conversation by Marina to Mr. Gopadze, who was interpreting---- 
Mr. JENNER. In your presence? 
Mr. OSWALD. In my presence. And the tone of the reply between this gentleman and Mr. Gopadze, and back to Marina, it was quite evident there was a harshness there, and that Marina did not want to speak to the FBI at that time. And she was refusing to. And they were insisting, sir. And they implied in so many words, as I sat there--if I might state--with Secret Service Agent Gary Seals, of Mobile, Ala. ... we were perhaps just four or five feet away ... and it came to my ears that they were implying that if she did not cooperate with the FBI agent there, that this would perhaps--I say, again, I am implying--in so many words, that they would perhaps deport her from the United States and back to Russia.
I arose and called Mr. Mike Howard of the United States Secret Service into the back bathroom, and stated this to him. And I also stated that I realized there was some friction here between the United States Secret Service and the FBI to the extent that I was of the opinion that they did not want the FBI at that time to be aware of the tape recording that had been made of Marina N. Oswald, that she had been interviewed, in other words, by the United States Secret Service before the FBI arrived at the location. 
Mr. JENNER. You mean that the Secret Service did not want the FBI to know that they had taped an interview with Marina? 
Mr. OSWALD. Yes, sir. 
Mr. JENNER. What was his response? 
Mr. OSWALD. He said, "Robert, I cannot tell you what to do."
I did ask him if he would go over there to speak to him, and kind of tone it down--if they were going to get anything out of her, they would not get it that way.  And he said he would speak to her. Approximately, at this time, the telephone rang, and he had to speak on the telephone.
I returned to my chair at the table where we were... opening mail, and again for the second time, the same implication was brought out. 
Mr. JENNER. By the FBI agents? 
Mr. OSWALD. Yes, air. 
Mr. JENNER. To Marina? 
Mr. OSWALD. Yes, sir. 
Mr. JENNER. In your presence? 
Mr. OSWALD. Yes, sir. 
Mr. JENNER. They spoke English? 
Mr. OSWALD. Yes, sir. 
Mr. JENNER. Was the interpreter whom you named--was he participating? 
Mr. OSWALD. Yes, sir. It was from the FBI agent [Hosty] Mr. Gopadze, to Mrs. Oswald, from Mrs. Oswald back to Mr. Gopadze to the other gentleman. 
Mr. JENNER. Proceed. 
Mr. OSWALD. On the second occurrence of this implication, of the same implication, I arose again, and Mr. Howard was walking across the room, and I stopped him, and I told him for the second time, or requested for the second time that he please say something to them about that. 
Mr. JENNER. Did you speak loudly enough to be overheard? 
Mr. OSWALD. No, sir. I just asked Mr. Howard to please inform the FBI that she had, to the contrary, been very cooperative from the time she had been out there, up until their arrival. And, again, I referred to Mr. Howard the reference there of perhaps the friction, or the condition that I assumed, that they did not want the FBI aware of the tape recording at this time.   And his reply to me, he said, "Robert, do what you want to do. You certainly absolutely are free to say anything you want to say." 
Mr. JENNER. And did you? 
Mr. OSWALD. I certainly did, sir. 
Mr. JENNER. What did you say? You went over to the agent? 
Mr. OSWALD. Yes, sir; I went over to Mr. Brown, the agent I knew, who was sitting at the end of the coffee table--it was a large round coffee table. And I sat there, and I spoke to him without saying so much about--anything about the tape recording. I did say to him--and I was shaking my finger at him, sir, I might say that-- that I resented the implications that they were passing on to Marina, because of her apparent uncooperative attitude. 
Mr. JENNER. Supposed, you mean? 
Mr. OSWALD. Yes, sir.  And that I knew for a fact that she had been very cooperative and highly cooperative.  And I returned to my chair at the table. (Ref: WC Vol. 1 p 410) .

    So Marina was under stress to say what was wanted.
    As a witness, my heart goes out to Marina. I have also faced stress, including death threats, and know how ugly it can get.
    In my case, I saved what I could. The streetcar tickets were saved because they were very special to me, and because Lee and I planned to marry, I kept them as souvenirs about our love affair.  
     There were originally four ticket stubs, but I thought only two survived the vandalism, burglaries, and a 'removal' of files from a locker. The first streetcar ticket I saved was dated Sunday, April 28, two days after I met Lee. This one is still in a safe place.  At that time, I was already feeling strongly attracted to Lee, and Robert was in Florida; I wasn't married yet, and Lee had told me he was considering getting a divorce from his wife. As the ticket shows, Lee and I got on the street car between 8:45 and 9:00 AM.  We took part of our trip to Lee's aunt's home in Metairie by streetcar; then, we transferred to a bus. 
Below is what I thought was the only other surviving ticket of the original four, dated July 6, 1967. It shows a trip "to" or "from" an area that includes Tulane University, the logical destination or departure point, at no later than 3:30 PM.

    This streetcar ticket concerns hours I spent with Lee on this date. Originally, all I could find for this date was a single entry: "Washing and ironing today - also journals,"  The entry was apparently never updated.

    In my book, Me & Lee, even though I had the streetcar ticket, which was originally in the book's manuscript, the oversight was never corrected and the streetcar ticket was replaced with a photo of the interior of Tulane's library. In any new edition of the book, I'll ask that this bit of evidence (and others that were left out of the first edition, such as various references and sources) will be put back in. 

   First of all, this streetcar ticket was issued on a Saturday.  Under ordinary conditions, Lee would have been home with his family,  but as you can see elsewhere in Me & Lee, this was not always the case. Keep in mind that this is early in July.
      An indication as to how often Lee was not with Marina -- at least in July --- can be gathered from a Dec. 1, 1963 FBI statement (p. 2) where Jesuit scholar Robert Fitzpatrick was interviewed about his speaking to Marina Oswald on July 26, 1963, at the time she had accompanied Lee and his family to the Jesuit House of Studies, at Spring Hill College, in Mobile, Alabama.
   "[Fitzpatrick] stated Mrs. OSWALD said her husband was presently out of work and they were having a difficult time financially. He said she told him OSWALD is away from home a great deal and she did not know any of his associates or any of his activities."
      Marina's complaining to Fitzgerald about Lee's being "away from home a great deal"  and that "she did not know any of his associates or any of his activities" was ignored by the Warren Commission.

New Street Car Ticket Stub Found for July 6, 1963
    While going through science fair ribbons, which I haven’t looked at individually since 1961, I found one of the lost St. Charles streetcar tickets. It was for Saturday morning, July 6, 1963.  Lee and I had boarded the St. Charles streetcar at 8:45 AM that morning.  (I've enlarged it a little so it can be more easily read):

     I had scattered evidence of my being with Lee where I thought Robert would never look.  As for streetcar tickets, I only saved tickets involving me and Lee that were very special, so this means I was with Lee on a ‘special’ day.   Indeed it was, as this was a Saturday, which Lee usually spent with his family. However, he was free from work at Reily’s due to the 4th of July holiday on Thursday.  Lee spent the 4th with his family, so this must be why we felt we could have that Saturday together.    
     Since the first streetcar ticket is cut at 8:45 AM, we probably went to the Tulane Library. No doubt we ate lunch together somewhere.
  The second streetcar ticket shows we started the return trip at just before 3:30, meaning Lee was home no later than 4:00, in time for him to take Marina, as he usually did on Saturdays, to the branch library on Napoleon (now known as the Children's Resource Center). It takes 8 minutes to walk to the library, says Google Maps, from 4900 Magazine St.  Since there were no Russian books there for Marina to read, for her it was just a chance to look at a Life Magazine.  The library was open until 5:00.
     The FBI reported that on July 6, 1963, Lee borrowed One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, by Alexander Solzhenitsyn, and The Hornblower and The Hotspur, by C.S. Forester from the Napoleon Branch Library. (Both were renowned writers.)
     For July 13 in Me & Lee there was no entry. This was the weekend that Lee would have stayed home with Marina for sure, as it was right after her birthday. 

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Information about Lee Harvey Oswald and my book, Me & Lee.

Nigel Turner

Nigel Turner
His business card shows a knight in armor on a charging warhorse....