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The JFK Case: The Twelve Who Built the Oswald Legend (Part 10: Nightmare in Mexico City)

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When it comes to working the Oswald legend, there's no one quite like Ann Goodpasture, the station case officer at the CIA's Mexico City station in 1963.   Although she received the highest rating as outstanding in her fitness report, she made several supposed mistakes that would humiliate a rookie. Let me offer a brief hypothesis of how Goodpasture used the Oswald file in a clever maneuver designed to see who had impersonated Oswald in a telephone call in Mexico City two months before the JFK assassination.  

Goodpasture had good reason to believe that there might have been enemy spy in her immediate circles. I believe that Goodpasture used a photo of a KGB operative to create a pretense that the Mexico City station believed that that this KGB Mystery Man might be Lee Oswald.   Her objective was to kick off an operation designed to figure out who was trying to penetrate the CIA's wiretap operations in Mexico City.   Oswald had twelve prominent legend makers who used him in various ways as an intelligence asset during the last years of his life. Goodpasture was legend maker #11 - she used Oswald's biography for her own purposes.  What she wound up doing was causing even more confusion over who Oswald really was.   She may have had an idea, however, who was trying to penetrate the CIA's wiretap operations.   

I will stick my neck out and say that I believe that someone impersonated Oswald in a phone call precisely to convince the Mexico City and CIA HQ to conduct a molehunt to find the impersonator.

I'll take this hypothesis further and say that the paper trail created by the molehunters was an effective way to blackmail the CIA and the FBI from conducting an effective investigation of the assassination of John F. Kennedy.   

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To me, the best way to analyze the JFK assassination is to focus on the cover-up. If you understand Goodpasture, you understand why the cover-up had to happen.

A little background on Goodpasture, Oswald, and Sylvia Duran

During the sixties, Ann Goodpasture was the chief aide to Mexico City station chief Win Scott.   Starting in August 1963, she picked up new tapes and simultaneously delivered new ones to a new agent in Mexico City, a Soviet analyst named Bill Bright.   Bright was with the counter-espionage unit that reviewed Oswald when his file was used in a molehunt during May 1960. [i]   (See Part 3 of this series.) Bright's role is intriguing, still being studied, and will be addressed later on in this article.

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She would review the summary of the transcripts from the LIENVOY wiretap operation on the Communist embassies at about 8 am every morning after the taps were picked up and transcribed.   She would process the take between 8-9 am, and have any items of unusual significance on Scott's desk by nine . [ii]   Transcripts on the Cuban and Soviet wiretaps arrived every day. [iii]

Goodpasture also played a key role in the more old-fashioned - but more secure, as we shall see - LIFEAT wiretap operation.   During 1963, LIFEAT tapped individual locations rather than relying on the centralized telephone exchange like LIENVOY.   She would also disseminate the take from the three cameras trained on the Soviet embassy compound. [iv]   No one at the station knew the wiretaps and hidden cameras as well as Goodpasture.

When an American calling himself Lee Oswald appeared in Mexico City on Friday, September 27, he bounced between the Soviet and Cuban consulates in an effort to get himself an instant visa to visit these countries.   I'm going to put on ice for the moment whether this man was actually Lee Oswald - what I'm concerned about is the phone calls he made to the consulates, not the personal visits to the consulates.         

In June 1963, Oswald applied and received a new passport.   His wife Marina was pregnant.   She wanted to return to the Soviet Union and spend time with her family while the baby was an infant. Oswald wanted to go with her.

However, the Oswalds had been unable to get the Soviets to issue them a visa for almost a year.    Their previous negotiations had all been with the Soviet consulate in Washington, DC.   Now Lee was trying his hand in Mexico City.    It's hard to believe that he would have gone to the USSR without her.   Their second child was due in a few weeks.   Lee was a devoted father.

The smart way to get a Cuban visa was to make prior arrangements with the American Communist party or the Cuban Communist party prior to arrival in Mexico City.   Oswald had done none of those things, even though he had written a number of letters to various American Communist officials.

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Oswald's effort in shuttle diplomacy between the Soviet and Cuban consulates did him no good. All sides pretty much agree that he visited the Cuban consulate three times and the Soviet consulate once on Friday the 27th.   He told the Cubans he got the visa OK from the Soviets, and told the Soviets that he already had a Cuban visa.   Cuban consulate secretary Sylvia Duran talked to the Soviets, and both sides determined that Oswald was lying.   

By the end of the day, Oswald had struck out at both consulates.   Oswald made one final pitch to the Soviets at about 10 am on Saturday the 28th, which also ended in failure. [v] The conversations between the Soviet and Cuban consulates about what to do with this unprepared man were all picked up on tape.   Mexico City chief Win Scott wanted to know if this man could be identified.

Oswald was identified, and quickly.   Shortly after Oswald left the Soviet consulate on Saturday the 28th, a call came in from the Cuban consulate to the Soviet consulate.   Goodpasture reported that "Oswald came to the attention of the listening post operators from a tap on the Soviet line".

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Bill Simpich is a civil rights attorney and an antiwar activist in the San Francisco Bay Area.

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