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  • Writer's pictureFred Litwin

Did Thomas Beckham know Lee Harvey Oswald?

Updated: Oct 9, 2021

Thomas Beckham claimed he was friends with Lee Harvey Oswald in New Orleans. This post examines what he told the New Orleans grand jury in 1968, what he told the HSCA in 1978 and what he published in his book, Remnants of Truth, in 2008.

When I read Beckham's testimony - well, I just can't believe he knew Oswald. But, as we will see, conspiracy author Joan Mellen believed him.

Let's start with Beckham's testimony before the New Orleans grand jury in 1968. He was asked three times if he knew Oswald and he said no all three times:

Page 56.

Page 87.

page 151.

Now, let's have a look at his testimony before the HSCA on May 24, 1978.

Beckham tells the HSCA that he was a "close personal friend" with Oswald and that they were "good buddies." But, he can't say when they became friends. He thinks it might have been the last part of 1962 - but this can't be since Oswald only returned to New Orleans in April 1963. Beckham doesn't know where Oswald lived, who he lived with, or where he worked. Oswald argued with Sergio Arcacha Smith - but Smith moved out of New Orleans in October of 1962. Lastly, Beckham seems to think that Oswald was anti-Castro and that the leaflets he was handing out were to "Free Cuba."

Right at the end of his HSCA deposition, he was asked one more time about Oswald:

They weren't interested in knowing more - they had heard enough.

Now, let's move on to Beckham's book. Here is what he says about Oswald, starting on page 57:

Beckham claims he hung out at the Havana Bar with Clay Shaw, Lee Harvey Oswald, and others. Must have been a fun time!

Some problems with the above. Oswald did go to high school in New Orleans (eighth and ninth grade). He left in grade 10. A year later, he registered for grade 10 in Ft. Worth, but left for the Marines. Back in 1963, Thomas Beckham was not Jewish (nor is he now - he belongs to what he calls "The Union of Yehudite Hebrews.") Funny, I couldn't find them on the internet.

Later in the book, Beckham writes:

Yup, "he was that type of a person."

Joan Mellen interviewed Thomas Beckham several times for her book, A Farewell To Justice, and she loved his stories. His name is mentioned 241 times in her book, and she believed just about everything he told her.

On page 354, Mellen repeats some of what Beckham told the HSCA:

She concludes her book on page 386 with this:

Did Beckham happen to operate on Joan Mellen?


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