Ruth married and settled in Irving, Texas. Her husband, Michael Paine, found employment as a research engineer with the Bell Helicopter Company, whereas Ruth was employed as a part-time teacher of the Russian language at St. Marks School in Dallas.
In 1963 Michael Paine left the family home. According to the author Jim Bishop (The Day Kennedy Was Shot), it was a "friendly estrangement". Ruth continued to live in Irving and at a party in February, 1963 she was introduced to Marina Oswald and Lee Harvey Oswald by George De Mohrenschildt. On 24th April, 1963, Marina and her daughter went to live with Ruth Paine. Lee Harvey Oswald rented a room in Dallas but stored some of his possessions in Ruth Paines garage. Ruth also helped Oswald to get a job at the Texas School Book Depository.
On 31st October, 1963, an FBI agent, James Hosty visited Paine's home to discover where Oswald was living. He spoke to both Paine and Marina Oswald about Lee Harvey Oswald. When Oswald heard about the visit he went to the FBI office in Dallas. When told that Hosty was at lunch Oswald left him a message in an envelope.
The contents of the envelope has remained a mystery. A receptionist working at the Dallas office claimed it included a threat to "blow up the FBI and the Dallas Police Department if you don't stop bothering my wife." Hosty later claimed it said: "If you have anything you want to learn about me, come talk to me directly. If you don't cease bothering my wife, I will take appropriate action and report this to the proper authorities."
According to fellow worker, Dave Noel, Michael Paine discussed the "character of assassins" a few hours before President John F. Kennedy was killed. He also returned to his home in Irving at 3.00 p.m. to find Dallas police officers searching the premises. He told the police: "As soon as I found out about it, I hurried over to see if I could help."
Anthony Summers reported in his book, The Kennedy Conspiracy that Michael Paine was overheard talking to his wife on the phone. He said that he was sure that Lee Harvey Oswald had killed John F. Kennedy. He added: "We both know who is responsible."
Buddy Walthers took part in the search of the home of Ruth Paine. Walthers told Eric Tagg that they "found six or seven metal filing cabinets full of letters, maps, records and index cards with names of pro-Castro sympathizers." James DiEugenio has argued that this "cinches the case that the Paines were domestic surveillance agents in the Cold War against communism."
Ruth Paine was a key witnesses for the Warren Commission and provided detailed information on the activities of Marina Oswald and Lee Harvey Oswaldbefore the assassination. Jim Garrison later suggested that Ruth Paine might have been involved in setting Oswald up as the "patsy". Garrison points out that Paine's father " had been employed by the Agency for International Development, regarded by many as a source of cover for the C.I.A. Her brother-in-law was employed by the same agency in the Washington, D.C. area." He also claims that he had tried to "examine the income tax returns of Ruth and Michael Paine, but I was told that they had been classified as secret.... What was so special about this particular family that made the federal government so protective of it?"
In 2002 Thomas Mallon wrote a book about Ruth Paine's involvement in the case, Mrs. Paine's Garage and the Murder of John F. Kennedy. Unlike Jim Garrison Mallon took the view that Paine was completely innocent of any involvement in the Kennedy assassination conspiracy.
Ruth Paine has worked for a Nicaraguan relief group in St. Petersburg, Florida. She is also a peace activist. In 1982 she claimed: "This year, for the first time, I am withholding that portion of my income tax (40 percent), which I estimate goes toward military uses and war preparations" In 2004 she was interviewed by the St. Petersburg Times: "I believe in taxation. I believe in government.. But I also believe in our right to religious freedom. And I believe in the fact that we value dissent as a patriotic thing."
I first met Lee and Marina at a small party in Dallas about a year ago. The host invited me because he knew I was interested in learning the Russian language well enough to teach it. Lee told me about hi experiences in the Soviet Union, where he met and married Marina. He talked to a clutch of people around him for perhaps an hour, but I missed half of it because I spent time getting acquainted with the kitchen crowd. e talked about the censoring of his mail. He realized after he got home that his brother had sent some letters that never reached him. He said all mail from foreign countries addressed anywhere in the U.S.S.R. must go first to a Moscow office for reading.
I wasn't sure as he talked whether he was dissatisfied with the Soviet system or simply wanted to make it clear to his listeners that he was not blind to its defects. He did say that he had gone there because he thought their system superior to ours, and while there he tried to renounce his citizenship. But our Embassy refused to surrender his passport to the Soviet government, a fact which made it possible him to come back to this country with his wife and their child...
Her husband (Lee Harvey Oswald) refused to speak English to her. It may be that he wanted to be certain of keeping his Russian up, but she argued with him the importance of her learning English. I couldn't help but feel that he wished to keep her dependent on him. It just seemed unfair for such a nice person to be in a helpless position, and unable to stay here. I thought about this a good deal over the next few days, and determined to offer my home to her as an alternative to going back to the Soviet Union.
Next time I saw them he had lost his job in Dallas - he did advertising layouts for a photo-engraving shop - and couldn't find another. On her suggestion, he decided to try for work in the city of his birth, New Orleans. His things were all packed in suitcases and U.S. Marine duffle bags. Maybe the rifle was in one of the duffles, I don't know. I delivered him and the whole pile to the bus station downtown.
Marina and June came to stay with me. Then if he found work, I said I would drive them to New Orleans in my '55 Chevy station wagon. A long night bus trip seemed to me a rather hard thing for a pregnant woman with a small child. So she came home with me that day, April 24th. We brought along their playpen, the baby bed and a few kitchen utensils. I remember we both were glad that these large pieces would travel by car rather than commercial transport.
James Hosty: On the 31st of October, I did a credit check on Michael and Ruth Paine for the purpose of developing further background. This credit check showed that Michael Paine was employed at Bell Helicopter as an engineer, showed no employment for Mrs. Paine, just showed her as a housewife, showed they had resided in Irving area for a number of years, and showed a good reputation.
I then checked the criminal records of the Irving Police Department, Dallas County Sheriff's Office. They had no record for either Ruth or Michael Paine. Contacted the Bell Helicopter Co. and the security officer at Bell Helicopter, Mr. Ted Schurman, advised me that Michael Paine was employed by them as a research engineer and he held a security clearance.
I then went to St. Marks School in Dallas. I had known from previous experience this school enjoyed a good reputation and I could approach them safely. I talked to Mr. Edward T. Oviatt, the assistant headmaster at St. Marks School. He told me that Mrs. Paine was a satisfactory employee, loyal to the United States, and he considered her to be a stable individual. He stated that Mrs. Paine was employed as a part-time teacher of the Russian language at that school, and he also advised that in a recent conversation with Mrs. Paine she had advised him that she had a Russian-born woman living with her.
This woman could not speak any English She had just given birth to a new baby, and she had another small child. The husband of this woman had deserted her and Mrs. Paine felt sorry for her and had taken her in. Mr. Oviatt went on to explain that Mrs. Paine did this for two reasons. She wanted to improve her Russian-speaking ability by having this person who spoke only Russian in her household. Also, he stated that she was by nature a very kindly individual, Quaker by background, and this was the sort of thing that she would do to help a person in distress.
Samuel A. Stern: What was the purpose of all these inquiries into the background of Mr. and Mrs. Paine?
James Hosty: . I wanted to make sure before I approached Mrs. Paine that she was not involved in any way with Lee Oswald, in any type of activities which were against the best interests of the United States.
Samuel A. Stern: How do you mean before you approached Mrs. Paine?
James Hosty: Well, it was my intention since we could not determine where Lee Oswald was, that he was obviously not at her address, that the best way to find out would be to ask Mrs. Paine.
Samuel A. Stern: Now, tell us in detail of your interview with Mrs. Paine starting from the time you rang the doorbell.
James Hosty: All right. As I say, when I entered the house I immediately identified myself. I showed her my credentials, identified myself as a special agent of the FBI, and requested to talk to her. She invited me into the house.
Samuel A. Stern: Did she seemed surprised at your visit?
James Hosty: No, she didn't. She was quite friendly and invited me in, said this is the first time she had ever met an FBI agent. Very cordial. As I say, it is my recollection I sat here on the couch and she sat across the room from me. I then told her the purpose of my visit, that I was interested in locating the whereabouts of Lee Oswald. She readily admitted that Mrs. Marina Oswald and Lee Oswald's two children were staying with her. She said that Lee Oswald was living somewhere in Dallas. She didn't know where. She said it was in the Oak Cliff area but she didn't have his address. I asked her if she knew where he worked. After a moment's hesitation, she told me that he worked at the Texas School Book Depository near the downtown area of Dallas. She didn't have the exact address, and it is my recollection that we went to the phone book and looked it up, found it to be 411 Elm Street.
On October 20 the Oswalds' second daughter was born. During October and November Oswald established a general pattern of weekend visits to Irving, arriving on Friday afternoon and returning to Dallas Monday morning with a fellow employee, Buell Wesley Frazier, who lived near the Paines. On Friday, November 15, Oswald remained in Dallas at the suggestion of his wife who told him that the house would be crowded because of a birthday party for Ruth Paine's daughter. On Monday, November 18, Oswald and his wife quarreled bitterly during a telephone conversation, because she learned for the first time that he was living at the roominghouse under an assumed name. On Thursday, November 21, Oswald told Frazier that he would like to drive to Irving to pick up some curtain rods for an apartment in Dallas. His wife and Mrs.Paine were quite surprised to see him since it was a Thursday night. They thought he had returned to make up after Monday's quarrel. He was "conciliatory, but Marina Oswald was still angry.
Later that evening, when Mrs. Paine had finished cleaning the kitchen, she went into the garage and noticed that the light was burning. She was certain that she had not left it on, although the incident appeared unimportant at the time. In the garage were most of the Oswalds' personal possessions.
The following morning Oswald left while his wife was still in bed feeding the baby. She did not see him leave the house, nor did Ruth Paine. On the dresser in their room he left his wedding ring which he had never done before. His wallet containing $170 was left intact in a dresser-drawer.
The Paines have also come under suspicion because of circumstances surrounding police searches of their house on the afternoon of the assassination. Ruth Paine testified that when the cops came to her home that afternoon, "I said nothing. I think I just dropped my jaw."
That wasn't quite how the police remembered it. Guy F. Rose, a homicide detective with the Dallas Police Department, told Warren Commission attorney Joseph Ball about his arrival at the Paine home that day.
Mr. Rose.... just as soon as we walked up on the porch, Ruth Paine came to the door. She apparently recognized us - she said, "I've been expecting you all," and we identified ourselves, and she said, "Well, I've been expecting you to come out. Come right on in."
Mr. Ball. Did she say why she had been expecting you?
Mr. Rose. She said, "Just as soon as I heard where the shooting happened, I knew there would be someone out."
If Ruth Paine "knew," as soon as she heard where the assassination occurred, that the police would be visiting her home, then something doesn't add up. At that point, according to her own testimony, she thought Oswald was working at a second TSBD building - not the one at 411 Elm Street, where the Warren Commission ultimately placed Oswald and his rifle, but one that was located several blocks from Dealey Plaza.
I was much moved by the two days just spent in New Orleans. I had had no personal knowledge of you and only the most fragmentary and inaccurate information on the nature of your investigation of conspiracy. I was glad to discover that there are some fundamental ways in which I agree with the importance of your pursuit of information regarding a possible conspiracy. Most basic is the conviction that if our form of society is to survive we must create checks and balances on the burgeoning clandestine wing of our government called the CIA. (Or close it down.) Your charges are so sweeping and major that it would be national folly not to pursue the issue to see where truth lies. There can be no harm in such pursuit, it seems to me, unless innocent people suffer markedly as a result of it. The harm in our not pursuing truth regarding the questions you raise could be great indeed.
I was impressed, as many must be, by the sheer force of your personality. It would seem in the nature of things that people who agree with you would gather to you, and those who disagree would simply turn away. It has occurred to me that if I can be helpful to your search it is as a person who might raise doubts about your conclusions and data from a position basically sympathetic to your objectives. You don't have many "middle-ground" people around you and are not likely to have. It is possible that this sort of "check and balance" on the probe itself would not be of interest to you, but my guess is that it would be.
If there are ways I can help I shall be glad. I was struck by your passionate concern for Man, and by the intense grief you feel over the loss of President Kennedy. I, too, feel that loss acutely. He was a most remarkable person, and extremely valuable to our country. Besides his charm and brilliance as a man he also was a president inoculated by the experience of the Bay of Pigs. He had taken the measure of the "expert advice" of generals (and the CIA) and had found it wanting. He was a man prepared to do his own thinking in a framework of the highest regard for man, for life and for civilization. For myself, I have given up wondering when the sharp sting of my grief over his loss will wane. I have concluded it never shall, and in that I found you kindred.
Lee and Marina Oswald had met Ruth Paine in February 1963 at a party in Dallas to which George de Mohrenschildt and his wife had brought them. I found that Ruth Paine was the wife of Michael Paine, an engineering designer who did highly classified work for Bell Helicopter, a major Defense Department contractor.
Ruth Paine was a rangy, intelligent woman with widespread interests, among them the Russian language, which she had learned to speak quite well. Her father had been employed by the Agency for International Development, regarded by many as a source of cover for the C.I.A. Her brother-in-law was employed by the same agency in the Washington, D.C. area.
It was on Ruth Paine's way back from a long vacation, during which she had visited her in-laws in Washington, D.C., that she made the stop in New Orleans to pick up Marina Oswald and her daughter for their return to Dallas. I wondered vaguely whether Mrs. Paine herself had been manipulated in the course of this move.
As a routine matter, I wanted to examine the income tax returns of Ruth and Michael Paine, but I was told that they had been classified as secret. In addition to the Paines' income tax reports, Commission documents 212, relating to Ruth Paine, and 218, relating to Michael Paine, also had been classified as secret on grounds of national security.
Classified for the same reason were Commission documents 258, relating to Michael, and 508, relating to Michael Paines sister, as well as Commission documents 600 through 629, regarding relatives of Michael Paine. What was so special about this particular family that made the federal government so protective of it?
Marina Oswald told the Warren Commission that the rifle found on the sixth floor was "the fateful rifle of Lee Oswald." This statement is meaningless, since Marina Oswald's expertise in firearms identification included her inability even to distinguish between a rifle and a shotgun. She also testified that she heard Oswald practice operating the bolt action of his rifle. The commission produced no evidence to verify that Marina Oswald was able to distinguish the sound of this particular rifle, to the exclusion of all other weapons.
She also told the commission that the rifle was wrapped up inside a blanket in the garage of the home in Irving, Texas, where she lived between 24 September and 22 November 1963. The owners of the Irving home, Ruth and Michael Paine, both testified they had actually picked up the blanket and moved it around in the garage and were completely unaware that it contained a rifle. In a memorandum that the Warren Commission suppressed from its Report and from its twenty-six volumes of published evidence, J. Wesley Liebler, the commission counsel responsible for this section of the Warren Report, stated that "the fact is that not one person alive today (including Marina) ever saw that rifle in the Paine garage in such a way it could be identified as being that (Oswald's) rifle."
In 1977, the FBI went through the motions of releasing 100,000 pages from its Kennedy assassination files. The press uttered an uncritical cheer and seemed either uninterested or ill-equipped to ask probing questions at the press conference to celebrate the event. For the European visitor, indeed, tat occasion was a troubling spectacle of the American media at work. I found myself virtually alone in pressing the FBI spokesman into the admission that "up to ten percent of the (Kennedy) file will not be released." One reason for keeping the records secret, he said, was to protect individuals' privacy. The other reason seemed less justifiable. It was the perennial one - "national security."
Some of the documents that are pried out of the records themselves present new mysteries or simply affront the intelligence of the public. Take page 66 of Warren Commission document 206, finally declassified in 1976. This is a page from an FBI report, showing that on the day after the assassination a telephone call was intercepted in Dallas in which a "male voice was heard to say that he felt sure Lee Harvey Oswald had killed the President but did not feel Oswald was responsible, and further stated, 'We both know who is responsible.' " Page 66 did not reveal that the tapped telephone numbers were those of Michael Paine and his wife, Ruth Paine, the woman who was playing host to Marina Oswald at the time of the assassination. On the page as originally released, there was no record of the full telephone conversation, nor of what happened to the original recording. Whether it was significant or not, it was typical of official gestures to the public's right to know.
But there was an exception in this conservative group - a tall, dark-haired, attractive woman in her late twenties. She took a vivid interest in Marina and did not take offense to Lee's utterances. She asked me if Marina spoke any English. I said - "no."
"Would you introduce me to her? My name is Ruth Paine."
I did. And to my great surprise Ruth began to speak in fluent Russian to equally flabbergasted Marina.
Mrs. Ruth Paine, an eccentric American, came from a wealthy Philadelphia Quaker family and went to some Eastern college where she took Russian studies very seriously. She was one of those gifted people who learn a difficult language well and are infatuated by the Russian culture. Mrs. Paine was probably bored in the suburban Irving atmosphere and wanted to practice Russian; her husband being a research engineer for Bell Helicopter. She had energy and time on her hands. She saw a native-Russian who did not speak any English - Marina was a real find for her. Some people accused her later of an infatuation of a different type, but I did not notice it. Anyway she was more interested in Marina than in Lee who in the meantime continued his furious and extravagant discussions with our conservative friends.
Thus began a friendship between these two women, a friendship which lasted till the day of the assassination. Ruth Paine has done more for Marina and June than any other person, yet, for some reason, Marina refused to see her after Lee's death.
I find the Paines the most interesting, yet least studied, of the people surrounding the assassination. After all, they were the people who were closest to Lee Harvey Oswald - just prior, and leading up to, November 22. And wittingly or unwittingly, they contributed to the subsequent condemnation of Oswald, and therefore to the success of the conspiracy and coverup.
Furthermore, there are two timeframes, being the spring and fall of 1963, when the lives of the Paines and Oswalds are especially intertwined, that coincide with some very significant events.
Ruth Paine first makes contact after she first met (Marina Oswald) on February 22 at a party arranged by Everett Glover, who was a friend of Michael Paine's and George DeMohrenschildt's. But she doesn't try to make contact with Marina until March 8, when she sends her a note. On March 20, she visits Marina. In between these two dates, on March 13, Oswald purchases, or orders, the rifle. On April 2 Ruth invites the Oswalds to dinner. On April 7, Ruth writes a note, asking Marina to come and live with her. She never sends this note, but she keeps it. On April 11 she visits Marina again. On April 20 there's a picnic with the Oswalds and Ruth Paine. And by the end of the month, Marina is staying with Ruth temporarily, while Lee goes to New Orleans to seek employment and try to find an apartment.
In the middle of this cluster of activity the Walker incident occurs on April 10. During the summer the Paines and Oswalds part company. They are reunited in the fall. Marina is again living with Ruth Paine. Now, Ruth and Michael have been separated. Michael has agreed to continue to support Ruth, naturally, and his children. But interestingly enough he has also agreed to contribute to the upkeep of Marina financially.
The Paines are significant in several ways. First they insured the continued separation of Lee and Marina, allowing Lee to live unencumbered, and with no witnesses to his activities or associates during the principal time leading up to the assassination. Secondly, they provided a storage space for evidence that would be used against Oswald. Almost everything that would convict him in the public mind, including the alleged murder weapon, came out of the Paine's garage. Also found in the garage, among other things, was the Walker photograph, the backyard photograph, the Klein's Sporting Goods tear-out order for the rifle, among other things... there was also some radical magazines.
One wonders why someone intending to commit a crime would allow such items to be stored in another's garage, instead of destroying the incriminating evidence. Michael Paine's testimony is used to confirm that Lee had a rifle, and indeed it had been stored in their garage - in retrospect, of course, because Michael Paine said he never realized it was a rifle... It's hard to believe that a man like Michael Paine, who had been in combat artillery in Korea, and then in the Army Reserves for six years, could not recognize the feel of a rifle. Especially since it belonged to someone who he considered a person who advocated violence.
I think maybe Michael Paine is lying here. He either knew it was a rifle, and is choosing to hide that fact, or maybe it wasn't a rifle at all... in either case he distances himself from the situation by saying he just didn't realize what was going on. And this is characteristic of the Paines all along - they try to distance themselves from Oswald.
Ruth's testimony pinpoints the time for placing the weapon in Lee's hands. She testified that on the Thursday night before the assassination Lee showed up unexpectedly at her house to visit her family. Now Lee Oswald's habit, if you will, was to visit his family on weekends, so he would usually be there on Friday nights... So during the course of the evening, Ruth comes in around o'clock, after dinner, she goes into the garage and finds that the light had been left on. Well she tells the Warren Commission that she would never, ever leave the light on. So therefore Lee Oswald must have been in the garage to retrieve some of his belongings. This allows the Warren Commission to infer that this was the moment that Oswald got his gun, in preparation for the assassination. But the only thing that this testimony really tells us for sure is that Ruth was in the garage.
I believe the Paines are significant persons in the lives of the Oswalds, and warrant further research. Although they probably did not participate in a plot to kill the president, and they might have downplayed their relationship with Oswald merely in an attempt to distance themselves from a tragic event, they are, I believe, nevertheless withholding evidence about Oswald. Robert Oswald himself claimed, right after the assassination, that he felt Michael Paine knew more about that event than he was revealing. I think we should take Robert Oswald's claim seriously, and look into the Paines further.
Ruth Paine was at home when it happened... a mother of two living in suburbia.
"It's very hard for me to talk about," she says.
Her role in history completely by accident.
She would later become one of the key witnesses for the Warren Commission, a panel assigned to investigate the President's assassination.
"I met Lee and Marina at a party in Dallas," Ruth says.
Lee Harvey Oswald and his wife Marina were moving to Texas.
Ruth agreed to let Marina - a Russian immigrant - live with her while Lee stayed in a separate apartment... only coming by on the weekends.
"I did not know he had a gun, although Marina did," Ruth says, "and, in fact, it was stored in my closet. On the afternoon of the assassination, six Dallas officers appeared at the door and asked if he has a gun and I said, no.'"
The only time Lee ever came by during the week - the day before the assassination.
What Ruth didn't know was the gun allegedly used to kill the president was stored inside her garage.
Ruth says, "Well, I think he acted alone."
And the only man who knew for sure never lived to talk about it.
"A lot of people are just going to believe what they're going to believe," says Ruth.
Ruth Paine has seen the movie JFK. She says it is completely inaccurate.
A painstaking researcher, Mallon interviewed Ruth Paine at length for the book and pored over her youthful diaries and essays in the Swarthmore College archives. He finds her to be an exceedingly decent woman who earnestly strove to be true to her Quaker principles and to please everyone around her: Lee and Marina Oswald, the Dallas police, the FBI, the members of the Warren Commission. In the end, Marina snubbed Ruth, hinting of a lesbian attraction and accusing her of trying to hog the limelight. Ruth had cooperated with Redbook magazine for a profile but she donated the $500 it paid her to the American Civil Liberties Union. Ruth responded to Marinas sudden rejection with a series of letters that indeed sound much like a spurned lovers entreaties.
"You've been studying this all your life," said Ruth Paine, when I sat down to interview her in the summer of 2000. She was realizing something I had only begun to understand myself: my work-in-progress was really my oldest book.
Ruth was probably the most important witness before the Warren Commission in 1964 (her testimony occupies more pages than anyone else's), and with the exception of Mrs. Lee Harvey Oswald, she is the only surviving central figure in the story of John F. Kennedy's assassination. As a young housewife and committed Quaker who had been studying the Russian language, Ruth Paine befriended Lee and Marina Oswald after she met them at a party in Dallas in early 1963. Within months, Marina was living with her in suburban Irving, where Oswald would come to visit on the weekends. Unbeknownst to Ruth, who helped him get his job at the Texas School Book Depository, Oswald was keeping his rifle in her garage.
Interest in Paine's garage, for example, derives from Oswald having stored his Mannlicher-Carcano, wrapped in a blanket, in that place. But no remnants of having been wrapped in a blanket were ever discovered on the alleged assassination weapon - not the least hairs or fibers - which is very curious, indeed, had the weapon actually been stored there.
The alleged instrument, a cheap, mass-produced World War II Italian carbine, has a muzzle velocity of around 2,000 fps, which means that it is not a high-velocity weapon. Since the President's death certificates (1963), The Warren Report (1964), and even more recent articles in The Journal of the American Medical Association (1992) report that JFK was killed by high velocity bullets, it follows that he was not killed by Oswald's weapon, thereby greatly reducing interest in Mrs. Paine's garage.
Indeed, though it may come as news to the author, many other students of the case, including Harold Weisberg, Whitewash (1965), Peter Model and Robert Groden, JFK: The Case for Conspiracy (1976), and Robert Groden and Harrison Livingstone, High Treason (1989), have also made the same observation. These are not books cited in this study, however, which raises rather serious questions as to why someone whose knowledge of the assassination appears to be so meager would write a book about it.
He does not know that Oswald had a history with American intelligence; that Oswald was being "sheep dipped" in New Orleans; that Oswald was an informant for the FBI; that the "paper bag" story is a fabrication; that Oswald was in the lunch room on the second floor having a coke during the shooting; that Oswald passed a paraffin test; and on and on. A weightly body of evidence substantiates all of these discoveries, but none of them is even mentioned, much less disputed, by the author of this book.
The sources he does cite, moreover, are far from reassuring. His Acknowledgements, for example, lists six persons, including Mrs. Paine and her former husband, Michael, Priscilla Johnson McMillan and John McAdams. McAdams has gained a certain degree of notoriety for his one-sided defense of the "lone nut" hypothesis, which disregards overwhelming contradictory evidence, including proof that the "magic bullet" theory is not only false but anatomically impossible.
Priscilla Johnson McMillan, however, is the most intriguing name on this list. It was she who "interviewed" Oswald on the occasion of his pseudo-defection to the Soviet Union; it was she who was selected by the United States government to accompany Stalin's daughter, Sevetlana, when she defected to the United States; and it was she who was chosen to "baby sit" Marina during those turbulent times in the aftermath of the assassination. Her CIA connections virtually qualify as "common knowledge"...
The book endorses the idea that Oswald was responsible for an alleged attempt on the life of Major General Edwin Walker that occurred on 10 April 1963. But there are many reasons to doubt it. The situations were very different: a high-powered 30.06 rifle versus a medium-to-low powered 6.5 mm carbine; a stationary versus moving target; a miss versus two hits out of three. It is difficult to imagine how their varied circumstances could have been less suggestive of a common shooter!
Unless, of course, their politics were similar - but Walker was a right-wing general, while Kennedy was a left-wing president. Kennedy had even relieved Walker of his command in Germany! It doesn't take a rocket scientist to conclude that these shootings were not performed by the same shooter. It does provide an opportunity for Thomas Mallon to compose another book. If Lee also had a 30.06, then he had to have stored it somewhere. We can now look forward to a sequel, Mrs. Paine's Attic.
Mallon also asserts that, "Oswald took a bus and taxi back to his rooming house in Oak Cliffs, where he picked up the pistol that he used minutes later to kill the patrolman, J. D. Tippit, who stopped him at the corner of Tenth and Patton". If he were correct about this - Mallon offers no reason for thinking so! - then Oswald must have been the only assassin in history to make his escape by public transportation. He also ignores evidence that Tippit was shot with automatic(s) when Oswald was packing a revolver.
On the eve of Tax Day 1982, Ruth Hyde Paine sat down at a typewriter and started a quiet fight with the federal government.
She struggled for the words.
She stewed over the consequences.
"This year, for the first time, I am withholding that portion of my income tax (40 percent), which I estimate goes toward military uses and war preparations," Paine wrote on April 14, 1982. "I have been wrestling with my conscience for a long time on this matter and finally felt I must resist taxation and tax expenditures when they are in conflict with my religious beliefs."
Along with the letter, Paine sent $1,434 to the IRS. She directed the rest of the money she owed, $956, to a Massachusetts peace fund.
"I was extremely nervous," Paine says. "I was staring down a lion. And I didn't really know what it could do."
More than 130-million people will file a federal income tax return this year, according to the IRS. And virtually all of them - at least 97 percent - pay the taxes they owe on time.
But while many filers scurry to complete their returns today to be free from the IRS's wrath, a small minority of antiwar activists have filed incomplete, inaccurate 1040s on purpose.
Known as war tax resisters, these protesters withhold income taxes that they say will be spent on U.S. military operations.
Resisters are not looking to shave a few dollars off their tax bill, Paine said. Instead, they redirect that portion of the money to a peace charity.
And in turn, they face harsh consequences. Jail time, hefty fines and property seizures are all possibilities.
Paine, 71, withheld about $4,000 from the federal government over the course of 10 years. In the end, the government got all of the money back, plus penalties and interest.
But Paine said she couldn't willingly give money to make war.
"I believe in taxation. I believe in government," said Paine, a Quaker and an antiwar activist whose watch keeps military time. "But I also believe in our right to religious freedom. And I believe in the fact that we value dissent as a patriotic thing."
From 1982 to 1992, Paine wrote a letter to the IRS each spring explaining how much she was withholding, where the money was going, and why. Sometimes, Paine held back close to $1,000. On other occasions, the amount was symbolic.
"I have been out walking, wondering what to say to you in this letter," Paine wrote one April, after diverting $62 to charity. "NUCLEAR WINTER. It is a specter that haunts us all. I must take some action to prevent such a disaster."
Each year when Paine sent a letter, she forwarded copies to her representatives in Congress. She wanted legislators to give her another option, a way for taxpayers to keep their money out of defense coffers.
They usually responded, offering sympathy but little else.
"I admire the courage and the strength of your conviction," wrote then-Sen. Lawton Chiles in August 1983. "We both share the strongest aversion to war, and the strongest desire to avoid it at all costs. We differ in our means, but not in our common goal."
No one knows how many federal income tax resisters like Paine exist. Gloria Sutton, a spokeswoman with the IRS, said the government does not keep statistics on the number of conscientious objectors. Even Ruth Benn, a tax resister who has written a how-to book on the matter, isn't sure how many there are like her.
Benn, the coordinator of the National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee, said up to 10,000 people nationwide might take part in some type of tax protest. That estimate, however, includes people who intentionally make less money to avoid paying any federal income tax.
"It's hard for us to survey," said Benn, 51, who is based in Brooklyn, N.Y. "There are so many people out there that we think are resisting that we just don't know about."
Paine knows only one other Tampa Bay area person who has withheld income taxes because of moral objections.
Mary Ann C. Holtz, a St. Petersburg woman who has voiced her antiwar opinions in the editorial pages of the St. Petersburg Times, donated $75 worth of federal taxes last year to a nonprofit group in protest of military operations in Iraq.
Holtz declined to comment for this report, but her letter to the federal government said she did not want her money going toward agencies that inflict violence. Her April 6, 2003, letter was posted on the National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee Web site, www.nwtrcc.org
"With each escalation of violence and the predictable counterviolence, it becomes increasingly evident that no amount of military preparedness can truly make our country . . . secure," Holtz wrote regarding her 2002 Form 1040. "In fact, the only real way to (sustain) security is through the long and difficult process of peacemaking."
In Paine's case, in the end the IRS levied her bank accounts to get the tax money. Just about a year after she withheld her first $956, for example, tax collectors removed $1,067 from her savings account. The extra money covered penalties and interest.
The cycle repeated every year.
"The tax laws are in place, and just because you don't agree with how tax money is spent is no excuse not to timely file and accurately pay your income tax," said Alycyn Culbertson, a St. Petersburg spokeswoman with the IRS's criminal investigation branch. "Just because an individual "doesn't mind paying taxes, but refuses to do so' is not an excuse. The tax law is the tax law."
Today, Paine's dining room table in her southeast St. Petersburg home is more of a kiosk for protest than a place to eat, with pamphlets, fliers and books explaining tax resistance.
One leaflet from a group called the War Resisters League includes a quote from Wally Nelson, a resistance pioneer of sorts, who spent 33 months in prison after refusing to serve during World War II. He "waged peace" until he died in 2002.
"What would you do if someone came to your door with a cup in hand asking for a contribution . . . to help buy guns and kill a group of people they didn't like?" Nelson said.
Benn, the resistance coordinator, puts Nelson's message into a more practical scenario.
"If we had an actual war tax, if the Bush administration said to everybody that they had to buy this $10 stamp, what do you think would happen?" Benn said. "You would see huge resistance."
Another interesting part of the book is how it deals with the experiences of the late Dallas detective Buddy Walthers. This is based on a rare manuscript about the man by author Eric Tagg. Walthers was part of at least three major evidentiary finds in Dallas. Through his wife, he discovered the meetings at the house on Harlendale Avenue by Alpha 66 in the fall of 1963. Second, he was with FBI agent Robert Barrett when he picked up what appears to be a bullet slug in the grass at Dealey Plaza. And third, something I was unaware of until the work of John Armstrong and is also in this book, Walthers was at the house of Ruth and Michael Paine when the Dallas Police searched it on Friday afternoon. Walthers told Tagg that they "found six or seven metal filing cabinets full of letters, maps, records and index cards with names of pro-Castro sympathizers." (Hancock places this statement in his footnotes on p. 552.) This is absolutely startling of course since, combined with the work of Carol Hewett, Steve Jones, and Barbara La Monica, it essentially cinches the case that the Paines were domestic surveillance agents in the Cold War against communism. (Hancock notes how the Warren Commission and Wesley Liebeler forced Walthers to backtrack on this point and then made it disappear in the "Speculation and Rumors" part of the report.)
Michael Paine did not just work at Bell Helicopter. He did not just have a security clearance there. His stepfather, Arthur Young, invented the Bell helicopter. His mother, Ruth Forbes Paine Young, was descended from the Boston Brahmin Forbes family -- one of the oldest in America. She was a close friend of Mary Bancroft. Mary Bancroft worked with Allen Dulles as a spy during World War II in Switzerland. This is where Dulles got many of his ideas on espionage, which he would incorporate as CIA Director under Eisenhower. Bancroft also became Dulles' friend and lover. She herself called Ruth Forbes, "a very good friend of mine." (p. 169) This may explain why, according to Walt Brown, the Paines were the most oft-questioned witnesses to appear before the Commission.
Ruth Paine's father was William Avery Hyde. Ruth described him before the Warren Commission as an insurance underwriter. (p. 170) But there was more to it than that. Just one month after the Warren Report was issued, Mr. Hyde received a three-year government contract from the Agency for International Development (AID). He became their regional adviser for all of Latin America. As was revealed in the seventies, AID was riddled with CIA operatives. To the point that some called it an extension of the Agency. Hyde's reports were forwarded both to the State Department and the CIA. (Ibid)
Ruth Paine's older sister was Sylvia Hyde Hoke. Sylvia was living in Falls Church, Virginia in 1963. Ruth stayed with Sylvia in September of 1963 while traveling across country. (p. 170) Falls Church adjoins Langley, which was then the new headquarters of the Central Intelligence Agency, a prized project of Allen Dulles. It was from Falls Church that Ruth Paine journeyed to New Orleans to pick up Marina Oswald, who she had been introduced to by George DeMohrenschildt. After she picked Marina up, she deposited her in her home in Irving, Texas. Thereby separating Marina from Lee at the time of the assassination.
Some later discoveries made Ruth's itinerary in September quite interesting. It turned out that John Hoke, Sylvia's husband, also worked for AID. And her sister Sylvia worked directly for the CIA itself. By the time of Ruth's visit, Sylvia had been employed by the Agency for eight years. In regards to this interestingly timed visit to her sister, Jim Garrison asked Ruth some pointed questions when she appeared before a grand jury in 1968. He first asked her if she knew her sister had a file that was classified at that time in the National Archives. Ruth replied she did not. In fact, she was not aware of any classification matter at all. When the DA asked her if she had any idea why it was being kept secret, Ruth replied that she didn't. Then Garrison asked Ruth if she knew which government agency Sylvia worked for. The uninquiring Ruth said she did not know. (p. 171) This is the same woman who was seen at the National Archives pouring through her files in 1976, when the House Select Committee was gearing up.
When Marina Oswald was called before the same grand jury, a citizen asked her if she still associated with Ruth Paine. Marina replied that she didn't. When asked why not, Marina stated that it was upon the advice of the Secret Service. She then elaborated on this by explaining that they had told her it would look bad if the public found out the "connection between me and Ruth and CIA." An assistant DA then asked, "In other words, you were left with the distinct impression that she was in some way connected with the CIA?" Marina replied simply, "Yes." (p. 173)
Douglass interpolates the above with the why and how of Oswald ending up on the motorcade route on 11/22/63. Robert Adams of the Texas Employment Commission testified to having called the Paine household at about the time Oswald was referred by Ruth -- via a neighbor-- to the Texas School Book Depository (TSBD) for a position. He called and was told Oswald was not there. He left a message for Oswald to come down and see him since he had a position available as a cargo handler at a regional cargo airline. Interestingly, this job paid about 1/3 more than the job Oswald ended up with at the TSBD. He called again the next day to inquire about Oswald and the position again. He was now told that Lee had already taken a job. Ruth was questioned about the Adams call by the Warren Commission's Albert Jenner. At first she denied ever hearing of such a job offer. She said, "I do not recall that." (p. 172) She then backtracked, in a tactical way. She now said that she may have heard of the offer from Lee. This, of course, would seem to contradict both the Adams testimony and common sense. If Oswald was cognizant of the better offer, why would he take the lower paying job?