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The Journey 76. Gary Hill: JFK, Lifelong Obsession

Publisher RA “Kris” Millegan talks with Gary Hill about his book, “The Other Oswald, A Wilderness of Mirrors,” and his lifelong obsession with the JFK assassination.

Gary: I was in high school when JFK was killed. I watched it on TV for four straight days. When Oswald was shot I knew something was going on. My father died in ’61. JFK kind of became my surrogate father. I just wanted to know the truth.


Back then about one book a year would come out [Mark Lane’s “Rush to Judgement” for instance]. When the Garrison investigation came out and the House Assassinations Committee came out in the ‘70s, things started to come out and information became available. It’s been a lifelong obsession for me.


Kris: I had just turned 14. That year I started reading a book called “A Nation of Sheep” by William Lederer and my Social Studies teacher told me I shouldn’t be reading it. How did you meet Dr. Cyril Wecht?


Gary: At a JFK thing in Washington, DC. I had previously written him and he wrote back. I saw him recently in Pittsburgh. The place was packed. He’s 93 or something like that. His mind is still like a 25-year-old. He was a coroner in Pittsburgh. One of the top pathologists in the world. He was one of the few doctors who got to look at the JFK autopsy materials during the House Select Committee. And it was him that discovered that the brain was missing. He’s also the one that destroyed the single-bullet theory.


Kris: They’re still pushing that Lee Harvey Oswald killed Kennedy. You were a teacher. What grade did you teach?


Gary: I taught all the grades. Elementary, junior high, high school. Five or six different subjects.


Kris: My mom taught junior-high English for about 20 years and journalism, too. Our media and our education system really hasn’t done well for us. It’s been effected by what I call “the people in the shadows.” Tell the story of your book.


Gary: In 1973 or ’75, a former teacher of mine asked if I knew about “the other Oswald,” Robert Webster. I did. [I went on to write] a couple articles about him. Then I got away from it for a while. Then I thought, “If I don’t put this stuff down” – I spent my life doing this research –“it’s all going to die with me.”


Webster defected to the Soviet Union two weeks before Oswald defected and came home two weeks before Oswald came home. Webster worked for the RAND Development Corporation. They were doing a trade exhibition in Moscow and he went there three times in the summer of 1959 and the third time he didn’t come back. He defected. Knowing RAND is a CIA front and knowing that he went there with Henry J. Rand and his friend George Bookbinder, who were both ex-OSS [Office of Strategic Services, the precursor to the CIA] agents during World War II, you had to wonder, was this defection his own idea or was RAND behind it. I found a document that linked Webster to an Air Force program called “Project Longstride,” and he had a code name, evidence that he was more than just a defector.


Author Dick Russell visited him in a nursing home. He was basically a vegetable. But Dick asked him if he knew Marina Oswald and he nodded his head “yes.”


Kris: What were they doing in the Soviet Union?


Gary: The ONI [Office of Naval Intelligence] was running a false defector program into the Soviet Union and James Angleton [CIA counter-intelligence] was involved in a mole hunt. He had been told there was a mole [a Soviet spy] in the U2 program and he was determined to find out who this mole was.


So Oswald was recruited by Naval Intelligence when he was at Atsugi [the U2 base in Japan when he was a Marine], and there’s evidence that he went to Nags Head [in the states] to train for this false defector program. Webster was already over there. Bill Simpich [civil rights attorney and JFK researcher] believes they sent Oswald so Angleton could run this double-dangle program to catch the mole by giving Oswald and Webster false-flag information and confusing the two of them to the Soviets, which they seemed to do.


And this is where they came up with this description of five-foot ten, a hundred and sixty-five pounds for both Oswald and Webster. [Webster was five-foot ten, a hundred and sixty-five pounds.] Oswald was only five-nine, about a hundred and forty. Right after the assassination, the first description we had of Oswald was five-foot ten, a hundred and sixty-five pounds. The first description of the shooter of Tippit – five-foot ten, a hundred and sixty-five pounds! It kept popping up.


Oswald was chosen because of his expertise in the U2 and Webster because he was a plastics engineer and the Russians were interested in the U2 and in plastics because they were way behind. So I think that Angleton thought that they would try to grab one of these guys and double them. That’s the reason that they were sent there. But I think Webster wasn’t picked up [by the CIA] until after he defected [because he fell in love with a girl there], whereas Oswald was sent there …

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