Just hop on the bus, Gus
By Gary Hill
“They muddy the water, to make it seem deep.”
I've always been amazed that Oswald is probably the only assassin in history whose main mode of transportation was the bus and sometimes a cab. He not only took buses to and from work and on trips to other cities, he even took them to make assassination attempts.
Although it's doubtful that it was Oswald, the Warren Commission pointed the finger at him as the perpetrator of an attempt on the life of right-wing extremes General Edwin Walker. Walker was the target of an assassination attempt in his home on April 10, 1963, but escaped serious injury in the attack when a bullet fired from outside hit a window frame and fragmented. Although the bullet was identified as a 30.06, the Warren Commission concluded, based on the testimony of Marina Oswald, that it was Lee who tried to kill Walker. The whole incident is suspicious and seemed to be a publicity stunt. A witness saw two men leave in a car. Oswald supposedly took a bus. Oswald is probably the only assassin who would take a bus to an assassination attempt while carrying a rifle. But then he supposedly tried to use a bus for a getaway after the JFK shooting as well. Since the bus was stalled in traffic he was forced to switch to his second favorite mode of transportation, a cab. Perhaps Tippit knew his routine and was anticipating his arrival by the Marsalis bus at the GLOCO gas station on Zang Boulevard on November 22, 1963.
Then of course, there is the Mexico City bus trip in the fall of 1963. This adventure is one of the most mysterious episodes of Oswald's brief life. Did he even go to Mexico? Did he go alone? Did he travel by bus or car?
Did Oswald go to Mexico?
The Warren Commission tried to reconstruct Oswald's trip. They came up with the only scenario possible that would exclude evidence of conspiracy. Oswald had to have gone alone and by bus since he was a lone nut and didn't drive. Case closed. But they had a major problem in the testimony of Sylvia Odio. Odio, the daughter of a Cuban refugee who was jailed for his attempt to assassinate Fidel Castro, gave testimony that contradicted the bus trip scenario. She claimed that she was visited at her Dallas apartment in late September, 1963, by three men who claimed to be anti-Castro and looking for her help regarding a letter soliciting funds for a Cuban exile organization called JURE. Since her father was a political prisoner in Cuba, her name carried some weight. The visitors gave their “war” names as “Leopoldo” and “Angel” and the third man was an American. She remembered that one of them, looked more “Mexican” than Cuban and the American, named Leon, was Lee Harvey Oswald. Leopoldo called the next day and discussed Oswald, who he said was an excellent shot and had said that Cubans had no guts and should have killed JFK after the Bay of Pigs.
The Warren Commission dismissed the incident since it had already decided that Oswald was in route by bus to Mexico City and couldn't have been in Dallas. In an effort to rescue the Commission from its' dilemma, G-man, J. Edgar Hoover produced three of the usual suspects who he claimed were Odio's visitors. All three men later denied it was them.
Was this really Oswald or another of the many doubles? Was it an impostor being used to set up Oswald? Was it Oswald associating with anti-Castro Cubans who wanted to kill Kennedy? Was it Oswald being manipulated by Cuban double agents pretending to be anti-Castro Cubans? A wilderness of mirrors.
Odio said the meeting took place on Wednesday, September 25. But it more likely occurred on September 26. On these dates, the Warren Commission timeline had Oswald on his way to Mexico City. Since he cashed an unemployment check at the Winn-Dixie Supermarket in New Orleans on the morning of the 25th and mailed a change of address form closing out his Dallas post office box no later than 11am on the 25th, the Commissioners determined he boarded a bus in the afternoon. Therefore he couldn't have been in Dallas on the 25th. They concluded that he arrived in Mexico City early on the 27th since he registered at a hotel and made his first visits to the Cuban and Soviet Embassies. That is, if it was in fact really Oswald and not an impersonator.
Since Oswald didn't drive and was presumed to be traveling alone, the bus was a logical choice for a man of little means. Oswald, it seems, never had much money but that didn't impede his globetrotting adventures. The only scenario that fit the WC lone nut itinerary was that Lee left New Orleans around noon or so on the 25th and arrived in Houston, 350 miles away, late in the day. He left Houston on the morning of the 26th and arrived in Nuevo Laredo in the afternoon. After an hour or so stopover in Monterrey, he traveled to Mexico City and arrived their before 10am on the 27th. If Oswald visited Odio in Dallas, he had to be traveling by car or perhaps a private plane. New Orleans is 500+ miles from Dallas and Dallas 240 miles from Houston.
Either Oswald was on a bus heading to Mexico City and was being impersonated in Dallas, or he was in Dallas and being impersonated on a bus traveling to Mexico City. Another possibility was that he was in Dallas with traveling companions who had a car. But it's also possible he didn't go to Mexico City at all and was being impersonated in both Dallas and Mexico City. Further evidence of Oswald being set up was the telephone call Odio received the day after the incident incriminating him with specific information that would later link him to the assassination.
Odio's testimony wasn't the only report that contradicted the WC version of events. A Secret Service report dated 12/2-5/63 reveals that an eyewitness identified Oswald as an individual he encountered in front of the Willard Hotel in Washington D.C. near the White House in late September, 1963. The witness, Bernard Thompson, was a chauffeur for the Secretary of Agriculture, Orville Freeman. Thompson had parked Freeman's car in front of the hotel when an individual approached him and asked “Who's car is this? This must be some big officials car. This is a no parking zone. You have no right to park here.” The man's tone of voice was very antagonistic according to Thompson who described him as a “rebel rouser type.” Thompson moved the car around the corner to avoid further confrontation. The man followed him and continued to be a nuisance. It seems Mr. Thompson was a personal acquaintance of Secret Service Special Agent Floyd Boring of the White House Detail who filed the report on December 2, 1963. Thompson identified photos of “Harvey Lee” Oswald as the man he saw. The date of the incident was either September 25 or 27. If this was Oswald he couldn't have been in Mexico City at the same time.
Other than a hand full of people on a Flecha Rojas bus traveling to Mexico, there are no credible witnesses who actually saw Oswald in Mexico City. CIA surveillance photos of the embassies failed to capture him on film. There are photos of a man who was not Oswald but apparently using his identity. Embassy recordings of Oswald's phone conversations don't match his voice either. Sylvia Duran, who dealt with Oswald at the Cuban embassy, described him as 5'4” and blond. Russian diplomats identified him years later, but at least one was an undercover KGB agent who was an early suspect of involvement in the assassination himself. In addition, legendary researcher, Mark Lane, makes a convincing case that LHO never went to Mexico City. The best evidence that he did go is his signature on a registration book at the Hotel Comercio and a ticket stubb produced by Oswald's finger pointing wife, Marina. All of the damaging evidence the WC had on him came from her and Ruth Paine. There is, of course, the possibility that the signature could have been forged. The Comercio was a notorious lodging for spies, anti-Castro Cubans and intelligence operatives.
Did he go alone?
Those who saw Oswald on the Red Arrow bus said he was seated next to a Baptist minister and missionary later identified as Albert Osborne aka John Howard Bowen. As George Michael Evica has pointed out, Allen and John Foster Dulles made extensive use of missionaries and other religious organizations as cover for intelligence agents and operations. Was Osborne a control for Oswald or did he just happen to be occupying the adjacent seat? Osborne was identified by six witnesses as the man who was seen sitting next to Oswald on the Flecha Rojas bus to Mexico City on September 26, 1963. Was he a “handler” of Oswald?
Who was Albert Osborne? Albert Alexander Osborne, a soldier turned Soviet spy, was also known as John Howard Bowen. Bowen claimed to be an itinerant preacher and missionary, raised in an orphanage in Pennsylvania. He made frequent trips to and from Mexico to Texas, Alabama and beyond.
Documents unearthed in the 1970s show the FBI had suspected Osborne as a major suspect in its massive JFK assassination investigation. Bob Gemberling, a leading FBI investigator, stated that Osborne was one of the few men we had a separate file on.
Newly released US government documents show that the Cambridge News received a call shortly after 6pm on November 22, 1963, warning "Call the American Embassy in London for some big news." Six pm in Great Britain is noon in the United States. The call was made from Grimsby, England 25 minutes before JFK was shot. Grimsby was the birthplace of Albert Osborne and he was living there at the time with his sister.
Other recently declassified documents illustrate how things may suddenly come together when puzzle pieces are found. They also imply that Oswald did not go to Mexico City alone. They tell of a communique from one Rene Carbello to Carlos Bringuer identifying one “El Mexicano” as having accompanied Oswald to Mexico City. El Mexicano was also identified as head of the exile training camps at Lake Pontchartrain that Oswald, Ferrie and Mertz have been linked to. Further documents reveal that El Mexicano was Francisco Rodriquez Tomayo.
But there's more, and the plot thickens. El Mexicano was apparently a paid agent of Castro's government.
So, was it Oswald that visited Sylvia Odio or was it a double trying to incriminate him? Who were the other two visitors? Was the one who looked “Mexican” to Sylvia Odio, in fact, Francisco Tomayo, “El Mexicano”?
If, as at least one source indicates, Tomayo was head of the Lake Pontchartrain training camp it would seem he was anti-Castro. But he was later determined to be an agent of Castro as well as a paid assassin. If he was a double agent, were he and Odio's third visitor the two exiles Richard Case Nagell said were manipulating Oswald to kill JFK for Castro? Or were they anti-Castro Cubans who convinced Oswald they were pro-Castro to set him up?
If Tomayo was “Leopoldo,” who looked Mexican, who was “Angel?” Joan Mellen suspects Emilio Santana, who Richard Bissell called “Oswald's Latin Shepherd.” Santana, a Cuban burglar connected to New Orleans (1964), was alleged to own a Manlicher Carcano and to have been in Dealey Plaza on Nov. 22, 1963. Another possibility is Miguel Casas Saez, AKA Angel Dominguez Hernandez. Both he and Tomayo were Castro agents. Where they the two who Nagel reported were manipulating Oswald? And who was Leon? Was he the real Oswald or an impostor? If the report that Tomayo accompanied Oswald to Mexico City is correct, then it could have been the real Oswald being manipulated. If he were driven to Mexico City by Tomayo, his visit to Odio would have been within a possible time frame. A true wilderness of mirrors.
Did Oswald travel by bus or car?
Do newly released documents shed light on or merely add confusion to the odyssey of the bus travels of Lee Oswald? We will take a look and see. Although it looks like Oswald or his double traveled to Mexico at least part way by bus, his return trip is a lot less credible.
Oswald canceled his reservations at hotel on October 1st and reserved a seat on Tansportes Frontera to return to Nueva Laredo for October 2nd.
However, he did not travel on this bus or on any other bus line which travels to Nueva Laredo.
Francisco Alvarado, ticket salesman and dispatcher for Transportes Frontera, prepared most of the handwriting on the October 2 manifest which “Oswald,” “Laredo” and “seat 4” appeared. He stated he did not write the Oswald registration information and thought it was made by the baggage handler, Lucio Lopez. Alvarado is certain that the individual listed as Oswald did not purchase a ticket and did not travel on the trip relating to the manifest. No ticket number was recorded for that person and a search of the company's records in Monterrey failed to locate a ticket which was not otherwise accounted for in connection with that particular trip. Alvarado had no idea how Mexican authorities arrived at the conclusion that Oswald traveled on that bus (Transportes Frontera) on October 2, 1963. He did not believe Oswald traveled on that bus.
Gilberto Lozano, manager of the Mexi Terminal of bus company, said Transportes Frontera had made a complete study of it's records and procedures and arrived at the conclusion that the person designated as Oswald on the October 2, 1963 manifest did not purchase a ticket and could not have traveled on that trip.
According to one CIA document,Oswald drove back to the US via Nueva Laredo on October 3,1963. In another document, the Agency then attempts to explain this as an error, stating “Because of an error in one of the stenographers forms at the Immigration office in Nueva Laredo, it is stated Oswald had traveled by car to US. However, no proof was found in search of papers that Oswald left by car.” This document, mentions copies of a Greyhound International exchange ticket purchase order for one seat issued October 1, 1963 by Transportes Chihuahuenses Travel Agency. The ticket is for a trip from Laredo to Dallas in the name of H.O. Lee.
Still another CIA missive states; “That day, Oct 3, Oswald drove back to the US at the Nueva Laredo, Texas crossing point.”
Even stranger is a newspaper article by Peter Kihss from December 3, 1963 that is actually printed in Vol. 24 of the supporting, or should it be nonsupporting, Warren Report evidence. Kihss writes;
“It is believed Oswald left New Orleans on Sept 24 after having sent his wife to Dallas the previous day with a friend. He vanished from his cheap apartment there that day without having paid the rent.”
“ He is believed to have hitchhiked to Dallas where he arrived on the 23rd. It was his custom to travel by hitchhiking whenever possible.”
“It was presumed that he probably hitchhiked north to Dallas on his return from Mexico City. He arrived in Dallas on the evening of October 3 and checked into the YMCA. The distance from Laredo to Dallas is 475 miles.”
Instead of clearing things up, the release of the new documents adds confusion and muddies the waters even more. The WC concluded that Oswald boarded a Greyhound bus in the afternoon on September 25th, left New Orleans and arrived in Houston, 350 miles away, late in the day.
Oswald then traveled on Continental Trailways bus No. 5133 which left Houston at 2:35 A.M. for Laredo. The bus was scheduled to arrive in Laredo at 1:20 P.M. on September 26, and Mexican immigration records show that Oswald in fact crossed the border at Laredo to Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, between 6 A.M. and 2 P.M. on that day. Two English passengers, Dr. and Mrs. John B. McFarland, testified that they saw Oswald riding alone on this bus shortly after they awoke at 6 A.M. A man representing himself as Lee Oswald presumably purchased a Houston to Laredo ticket after midnight in Houston.
However, WC assistant counsel, J. Wesley Liebeler wrote in a memorandum; “There is no evidence at all that Oswald left Houston on that bus...there are problems. Odio may well be right. The Commission will look bad if it turns out that she is.”
After an hour or so stopover, LHO traveled to Mexico City via Monterrey on Flecha Rojas (Red Arrow) bus number 516 and arrived their before 10am on the 27th. If Oswald visited Odio in Dallas, he had to be traveling by car or perhaps a private plane. New Orleans is 500+ miles from Dallas and Dallas 240 miles from Houston.
Two Australian women reported seeing Oswald on the bus in-route to Mexico City. Six people saw Osborne sitting next to him. But was this the real Oswald? Unlike the quiet and secretive LHO that we have come to know and love, this guy went out of his way to tell these strangers on the bus all about his personal life. He told them of his work for the FPCC, that he had been to Mexico City before and even recommended a hotel they should stay at etc..
His presence on this bus however, is contradicted by CIA document ;104-10015-10359 that says LHO entered Mexico (apparently by car) at Nueva Laredo on 26 Sept, 1963.
The Australian women who spoke with Oswald on the Monterrey to Mexico City leg of the trip claimed to have purchased Transporte del Norte bus tickets, yet describe a journey that has been documented to have occurred on a Flecha Rojas bus. The WCR simply states they were wrong about the bus line. There is no record of a bus ticket purchased which would carry Oswald from Nuevo Laredo to Mexico City.
A newly released CIA document reveals that the CIA suspected a man named William R. Dobkins, who was in contact with the Cuban Embassy in Mexico city, may have been the “twin” in the double Oswald theory. Their report on him states that he was of doubtful mental stability. That he claimed he served with Oswald in the USMC and told Oswald that his ranch was stolen by politicians. He said they talked of killing Johnson, Connally and Texas Railroad Commissioner, James Langdon. Dobkins also threatened these persons in a letter (1964) to Chairman of Texans for Goldwater. He claims he traveled to Mexico to arrange defection to Russia. Marguerite Oswald knew Dobkins and says he is similar to Oswald and that some of the travel activity attributed to Oswald may have been Dobkins.
How did Oswald return to Dallas?
Rehashing the evidence once more, we know that Oswald canceled his reservations at hotel October 1 and according to Mexican authorities, reserved a seat on Tansportes Frontera to return to Nueva Laredo on October 2. But there is no evidence he traveled on this bus or on any other bus line which travels to Nueva Laredo.
Francisco Alvarado, ticket salesman and dispatcher for Transportes Frontera, is certain that the individual listed as Oswald did not purchase a ticket and did not travel on the trip relating to the manifest. No ticket number was recorded for that person and a search of the company's records in Monterrey failed to locate a ticket which was not otherwise accounted for in connection with that particular trip. He did not believe Oswald traveled on that bus.
Gilberto Lozano, manager of the Mexi Terminal of bus company, said Transportes Frontera had made a complete study of it's records and procedures and arrived at the conclusion that the person designated as Oswald on the Oct 2, 1963 manifest did not purchase a ticket and could not have traveled on that trip.
According to one CIA document,Oswald drove back to the US via Nueva Laredo on October 3,1963. In another document, the agency attempts to explain this as an error, stating “Because of an error in one of the stenographers forms at the Immigration office in Nueva Laredo, it is stated Oswald had traveled by car to US. However, no proof was found in search of papers that Oswald left by car.” This document, mentions copies of a Greyhound International exchange ticket purchase order for one seat issued October 1, 1963 by Transportes Chihuahuenses Travel Agency. The ticket is for a trip from Laredo to Dallas in the name of H.O. Lee.
Still another CIA missive states; “That day, October 3, Oswald drove back to US at the Nueva Laredo, Texas crossing point.”
The new documents contradict themselves. Oswald traveled by bus... No, he traveled by car. He traveled alone... No,he had company... No, he wasn't there at all. You can find documents to support any of those arguments.
The blame for the confusion surrounding the Mexico City travels of Oswald can be placed squarely on the Warren Commission. Instead of investigating and learning the truth, they started out with a conclusion based on the lone nut scenario and tried to make the evidence fit that conclusion without even considering that Oswald may have had help or that he was being framed.
The CIA came to the same conclusion about their methods and deduced:
“The Warren Commission did not do an adequate investigation job....It's hard to believe the commission served the public well. Instead of ending all the rumors, they set the stage for a new, and more serious era of speculation.”
But the Commission's source for the Mexico City charade was, of course, the CIA. The CIA lied about the tapes being erased (cover up #1) and then played innocent to Oswald's activities by saying they had not realized that Oswald visited the Cuban consulate (cover up #2). To make cover up #1 work, the CIA needed the FBI to cooperate. When Hoover learned of this manipulation he was livid. He was still mad about it in January 1964 when his subordinates sent him a memo on illegal CIA operations in the US which the Agency promised to keep the Bureau informed of. He responded to the memo with; “OK. But I hope you're not taken in. I can't forget the CIA withholding the French espionage activities in the USA nor the false story re Oswald's trip in Mexico City only to mention two of their instances of double dealing.”
Oswald's whereabouts the night of September 24th is still one of the intriguing mysteries of his life. There is testimony that some time between 7 and 10 P.M., he made a call to a leader of the Socialist Labor Party in Houston. The Warren Commission believed Oswald took a Greyhound bus from New Orleans to Houston, but there are no records to confirm that conclusion. The FBI could not locate Oswald for the evening of Sept 24th, nor could they find any record of Oswald leaving New Orleans on ANY bus which could get him to Houston in time to perform activities the evidence shows he did. But Oswald may have first traveled to Dallas before arriving in Houston. More than 200 miles away to visit Syvia Odio.
Two English passengers, Dr. and Mrs. John B. McFarland, testified that they saw Oswald on the second leg, riding alone on the bus from Houston to Nueva Laredo shortly after they awoke at 6 AM. However, WC assistant counsel, J. Wesley Liebeler wrote in a memorandum; “There is no evidence at all that Oswald left Houston on that bus...there are problems. Odio may well be right. The Commission will look bad if it turns out that she is.”
Six passengers observed Oswald in the company of Osbourne on the third leg, Flecha Roja (Red Arrow) bus (number 516) from Nueva Laredo to Mexico City. This Oswald may have been an impostor due to his out of character efforts to draw attention to himself.
Once in Mexico City, Sylvia Duran dealt with him and described him as 5'4” and blond. Writer, Elana Garro de Paz claimed that she saw Oswald at a “twist party” that took place on Sept 2 or 3, 1963. She also claimed that he was invited to the party by Sylvia Duran, with whom he had had sexual relations and that he arrived at the party with two American hippy types. If this is so, Oswald couldn't have been there. He wasn't in Mexico City til the 26th or 27th.
Further contradiction comes from another memo noting that an investigation established that Mrs. Paz stated that the twist party took place not on September 1 or 2 but on the evening of October 1 or 2, 1963. Since Lee Harvey Oswald departed Mexico City, supposedly by bus at 8:30am on Oct 2, he could not have been identical with the American allegedly observed by Mrs. Paz at the party. The party occurred either before he arrived in Mexico City or after he left.
De Paz comes across as a vindictive gossip. The wife of Octavio Paz, she rented a room to June Cobb. Paz claimed Cobb was a Communist and that she feared her. She related that Cobb had broken the legs and ribs of a pet cat and described her as promiscuous since she sleeps with men. She believed Cobb had been planted on her by communists.
While in Mexico City, Oswald reportedly made contacts with Quakers studying at the Autonomous University. One Quaker student at the University was an active agent of the CIA at the time. There is way to know if this was the real Oswald.
Officers at the Soviet Embassy, mainly Nechiporenko and Kostikov claimed to have talked to Oswald when he visited there. None of the surveillance of the CIA, KGB, Mexican Police, or any one else has been able to produce a photo of him in one of the most heavily watched cities in the world at the time. Nor can any recordings of the embassies identify his voice.
It seems likely that Odio was right and as Liebeler predicted the Warren Commission looks bad.
Drop off the Key, “Lee,” and get yourself free.
Apologies to Paul Simon Thanks to a tattle-tale named Marina Oswald. Oswald's rifle was a 6.5 Manlicher Carcano. Shades of Gerald Posner. Junta Revolucionaria Cubana Oswald, or someone impersonating him, made a point of being remembered by others riding on the bus. He discussed his FPCC work with a doctor and his wife and his Marine Corps adventures with a couple of girls from Australia. He told the girls he had been to Mexico City earlier in the summer and recommended they stay at the Hotel Cuba. He didn't follow his own advice and stayed at the Hotel Comercio instead. The Comercio was a safe-house for anti-Castro Cubans and intelligence men.  Treasury report 00-2-601.0 Ironically Robert Oswald stayed at the Willard Hotel during his interviews with the Warren Commission in 1964, as did John Wilkes Booth in 1864. Vince Palamara, a researcher whose expertise is the Secret Service detail surrounding JFK, believes that three agents may have played a role in JFK's demise. They were Emory Roberts, William Greer and Floyd Boring. In an interview with Greer's son, Palamara asked him if his father liked JFK. There was no response. Later in the interview Vince asked the same question again. The answer was....”Well.....the President was Catholic.” Greer was Irish Protestant. Kennedy Irish Catholic.  Harvey Lee? The scrabble game continues This was Nechiporenko's book, Passport to Assassination. It's purpose seems to have been to reinforce Nosenko's version that the Russians had nothing to do with Oswald and weren't interested in him.  Although Oswald was reported to have company on the Red Arrow bus from New Orleans to Nueva Laredo via Houston, fellow passengers on the Flecha Roja bus (number 516) carrying him from Nueva Laredo to Mexico City said he was alone. Possible disinformation to sabotage the Garrison investigation. HSCA 180-10141-10191 FBI 124-90158-10027 CIA 104-10180-10247 (Deputy Director of CIA to FBI) See “The Man Who Knew Too Much”, by Dick Russell  CIA 104-10067-10071 Released December, 2020  Although CIA 104-10015-10359 says LHO entered Mexico (apparently by car) at Nueva Laredo on 26 Sept, 1963.  Doc 321108146, (page 77) HMMA 23443  Chauffeurs on that trip don't remember Oswald, nor does Lopez.  321108146  104-10015-10359  321108146  Ibid, Page 71, HMMA 2329  104-10004-10256 (item 8)  Page 585  How can you leave someplace on the 24th and arrive someplace else on the 23rd?  Newly released documents reveal that there was a rumor going around that Oswald had been there before (Mexico) to obtain a divorce.  He didn't follow his own advice and stayed at a different one, The Comercio.  Their is evidence that the Australian women who speak with Lee Oswald could not have been on the same bus which left Monterrey at 3:30pm and arrives in Mexico City at 10am. It is highly likely her and other first-hand witness testimony about these bus rides and the stay in Mexico is fabricated.  321108146 (page 100) June 18, 1967  Doc 321108146, (page 77) HMMA 23443  321108146  104-10015-10359  321108146  Ibid, Page 71 (HMMA 2329)  104-10004-10256 (item 8) (page 97) Aug 8, 1966  321108146 ,page 92, Dec 25 John Newman, Oswald, the CIA and Mexico City  Ibid, page 80, Nov. 25, 1963  Cobb was no communist. She was a CIA agent working at the Mexico City station under David Phillips.  Ibid, page 88, Nov 25, 1964