Here we go again!
Another conspiracy theory -- this time by a woman who has written a 600-page book (Me and Lee) claiming she and Lee Harvey Oswald were lovers and that instead of assassinating John Kennedy in 1963, he was trying to save him.
That might seem a stretch to some, but Judyth Vary Baker, now pushing 70-years-old, was in Toronto yesterday to push her book and attend what would have been Oswald's 72nd birthday party, held appropriately at the Conspiracy Culture Shop on Queen St. West.
For some, it's hard to take Ms Baker seriously.
Then again, it is likely true that she knew and worked with Oswald in New Orleans (the Reily Coffee Company) in the months prior to his (alleged) assassination of JFK on Friday, Nov. 22, 1963. May even have been his lover. She was married then -- and was divorced in 1987, the mother of five kids, now all adults.
Because I was the only Canadian journalist in the underground garage of the Dallas police station who witnessed Jack Ruby gun down Oswald on Nov. 24, some assume I have special knowledge of the Kennedy slaying.
I don't, although I've followed the case and periodically remarked on various inconsistencies and unanswered questions that abound in the shooting.
Ms Baker's contention that Oswald's earlier defection to the Soviet Union, where he married the niece of a high ranking military officer, was really a CIA-penetration, is patently silly. The mystery of Oswald's defection to the USSR is that he was allowed to return to America with a Russian wife.
Why did the Soviets let him return; why did America accept him? Dunno. It didn't happen with others -- why only Oswald? This reality has always been fuel for conspiracy buffs.
The "they" Ms. Baker says Oswald was trying to save the president from, are ether mafia types who wanted Kennedy dead, the CIA and/or Vice President Lyndon Johnson and people around him who felt Kennedy was betraying the nation.
This makes no sense whatsoever.
As someone who was there that weekend, I've always felt that if there had been a conspiracy to kill the president, in the 48 years since that infamous day, someone would have talked, or written, or revealed involvement.
A conspiracy would include many people, but nothing has ever emerged -- no diary, deathbed confessions, no authentic documentation of planned murder.
Still, valid questions prevail.
What I find interesting is how some of the witnesses of JFK's murder that November noon who were quoted extensively at the time, have changed their stories as years have passed. This isn't sinister, but human memory at work. As time passes and more details are learned, stories tend to change or adapt without the person realizing it.
And so it is with the Kennedy slaying -- as seen in memories of the "grassy knoll" where supposedly gunshots were heard, not necessarily at the time, but in later recollections.
Why has Judyth Baker waited so long before telling her story?
She says she feared for her life, as many who were connected with the case began dying -- if not mysteriously, at least before their time. Judyth became something of a recluse (do recluses usually have five children, one wonders?) until conscience and a desire for truth and justice persuaded her to write this book to clear Oswald's name.
I suspect it's a bit late for that, but give her marks for trying.
I remember talking to Jim Garrison, former New Orleans District Attorney who unearthed conspirators who supposedly killed JFK.
Garrison's prime suspect was businessman Clay Shaw who was acquitted and it became apparent (to some) that Garrison was a conspiracy nutbar. At least that was my impression -- if not Oliver Stone's, who make the film JFK, in which Kevin Costner played Garrison as if he had credibility.
At the very least, Judyth Baker is controversial, with believers and disbelievers in her contention that Lee Harvey Oswald was really a patriot who was railroaded into being a scapegoat for a CIA/mafia conspiracy.
While it's plausible that the mafia might want JFK snuffed, it taxes credulity as to why the CIA would want him terminated -- as improbable as Lee Harvey Oswald being a CIA operative going to Russia, and later trying to save the president's life.