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  • Writer's pictureFred Litwin

"JFK: Destiny Betrayed" Misleads Viewers on Oswald's "Hands Off Cuba!" Handbills, Part Two

Updated: Mar 3, 2023

Lee Harvey Oswald handed out handbills in New Orleans which were stamped either with his Post Office Box or his home address. It is widely believed that some of these handbills were stamped with 544 Camp Street. This blog post demonstrated that no such handbills existed, and that the handbills used in the film JFK, and in the documentary series JFK: Destiny Betrayed, were fakes.

James DiEugenio and Oliver Stone owe us an explanation. But until they provide a reasonable response, I and my colleagues have decided to look into the origin of the fake flyer.

So, where did it come from?

Well, perhaps from self-declared Oswald girlfriend Judyth Vary Baker. Steve Roe noticed that on page 435 of her generally unreliable 2010 book, Me & Lee, she presents this handbill:

With that of the flyer found in Baker’s book:

You can see the exact same fold and paper marks running vertically through the stamp

and the angled fold from the large “L.” These fold and paper marks are from that real flyer.

You can also clearly see that on the flyer found in Baker's book, the size of the 544 Camp Street stamp is all wrong. The stamp takes up most of the space between "LOCATION" and "EVERYONE WELCOME." On the real flyer, the stamp is much smaller. Compare the size of "L. H. OSWALD" and "LOCATION" in each of the two flyers.

In addition, the Oswald stamp on the fake flyer is identical to the stamp on the Oliver Stone fake from JFK:

Screen shot from the film JFK

From a collection of images from the film.

So, someone took the stamp from the Stone film (the less distorted second image) and Photoshopped it into the real flyer from the Warren Commission volumes.

I asked Judyth Vary Baker on Twitter where she got this handbill:

Fred: On page 435 of your book, Me and Lee, you present an Oswald handbill stamped with 544 Camp Street. Can you tell me where you got this handbill from? It is not a legitimate handbill, since Oswald only stamped his handbills with his home address or his post office box. He only used the 544 Camp Street stamp on a few Corliss Lamont pamphlets.

Judyth: Got it from Robert Groden. He had access to photos and materials the WC never knew about. I do not publish anything not documented. However, I did not write the biographies in Me & Lee: editors did. You wrote: "He only used the 544 Camp Street stamp on a few Corliss Lamont pamphlets." Lee left flyers at college campuses and at the USS Wasp that were not collected by the FBI for public view. Lee did NOT place his home address on any flyers. He stamped some with 4907 Magazine St. But 4905 was his actual home address, not 4907. FBI published both as his home address, but Eric Rogers & wife lived at 4907 from mid-July on, when Lee stamped them as 4907.

I replied to Baker:

Fred: Thank you very much. However, the handbill is your book is a fake. The background of the handbill is taken from a Warren Commission exhibit, and the 544 Camp Street stamp is taken from a fake Oliver Stone flyer. There is NO evidence that Oswald stamped handbills with the 544 Camp Street Address.

Judyth: No, the 544 Camp Street stamp is asserted on p. 68 of Robert Groden's book, THE SEARCH FOR LEE HARVEY OSWALD. Groden advised Stone and supplied photocopies from the HSCA exhibits he photographed. Now please apply common sense, for a PHOTO on p 69 shows the Corliss LaMont [CIA-supplied] booklet, THE CRIME AGAINST CUBA, clearly stamped 544 Camp Street and handed out ONLY on Canal St. There would be no reason for Lee, who also handed out the FPCC flyers on that same day, to have changed the address on his stamp kit to a different address that same day. Furthermore, I am a living witness to the fact, seeing them with my own eyes. You can claim all day long that the photo is of a fake from Stone's movie, but not only Groden but I, as well, saw 544 stamped on the first batch of flyers and on the booklets. I was there on Canal St. that day and was fired the same day for being seen with Lee. you can quibble about it, but you were not there. I wonder how you make your claims, what motivates you. Use Occam's Razor. Lee would not have stamped two addresses on where to contact him on the same day. It is illogical and I have to conclude that you are not here to learn the truth, but to challenge my authority as a living witness, for surely you read my book and had to know how involved I was with those flyers. You are hostile and I'm sorry you have made up your mind. I know you won't change, so goodbye, and sorry you are hostile. Goodbye.

And Judyth then blocked me on Twitter. Her insistence on the reality of a fake handbill is yet further proof that her story of a relationship with Lee Harvey Oswald is a fantasy. Of course, people like Oliver Stone believe her:

If you check page 68 of Robert Groden's The Search for Lee Harvey Oswald, you will find this illustration:

This stamp was almost certainly used only on a limited supply of Corliss Lamont pamphlets, including this Warren Commission exhibit:

It seemed quite possible that Robert Groden created the fake handbill, based on his incomplete knowledge of the record. He has been known to publish modified autopsy photographs based on his interpretation of witness testimony. He has been credibly accused by Pat Speer of merging a photo of a wax dummy created for the JFK film with a real autopsy photo to move the fatal wound more towards the back of the head.

In his 10-17-13 appearance at the Wecht conference in Pittsburgh, Groden claimed that he'd now discussed Kennedy's head wounds with 88 witnesses, and that all of them had said the wound was on the rear of the head. He then warned the audience that he was about to show them some autopsy photos, which were pretty gruesome. The first of these was the so-called right profile photo, which is indeed pretty gruesome. The second of these was the photo on which Groden had added a wound in order to show how he believed Kennedy's head had actually appeared. Well, this would have been fine except...he showed this without comment, letting his audience believe it was the real deal.
So, geez Louise. That's not kosher. One can only wonder, then, how many of those buying or even browsing through Groden's pamphlets and seeing this photoshop of horrors have walked away from Groden's table in Dealey Plaza thinking they'd seen the original autopsy photo without realizing that none of the Parkland witnesses Groden implies had verified this photo had actually done such a thing.

I telephoned Robert and asked about the fake handbill. He denied both making the document and giving it to Judyth. He had no information whatsoever about the fake handbill.

Most probably, someone with the requisite Photoshop skills made the document and provided it to Judyth. We might never learn its origins.

The fake handbill is now widely used to insinuate a relationship between Lee Harvey Oswald and Guy Banister. For instance, NOLA Dave offers tours in New Orleans:

And NOLA Dave uses the fake handbill in a writeup about his tour and elaborates on the importance of the 544 Camp Street address:

The connections of New Orleans to the assassination of President Kennedy have never been fully investigated. Lee Harvey Oswald, the alleged assassin, spent almost 6 months in The Crescent City less than two months before Kennedy was killed in Dallas. What was he doing during all that time? With whom was he associating? Why does the address 544 Camp Street appear on the “HANDS OF CUBA” leaflets Oswald handed out. The building at that address also housed the offices of Guy Bannister, ex-FBI agent and virulent anti-Communist, segregationist and right wing agitator. 544 made for strange bedfellows.It was not the only strange and incongruous association.

Everything in the above PowerPoint slide is either false or misleading. But I am going to save the analysis for part three of our look at the fake handbill.

Stay tuned to see how one of the leading conspiracy theorists turns fiction into fact.

Previous Relevant Blog Posts

An analysis of the handbill used in Oliver Stone's so-called documentary, JFK: Destiny Betrayed.

First-generation researcher Paul Hoch shows off the latest conspiracy tchotchke - a "Hands Off Cuba" coffee mug.

Some pictures of Camp and Lafayette streets.

Oliver Stone's so-called documentary, JFK Revisited: Through the Looking Glass, makes the claim that Guy Banister gave Lee Harvey Oswald an office at 544 Camp Street in New Orleans.

Roberts was interviewed by Garrison's office in 1967 and she said nothing about seeing Oswald in Banister's office.

Mary Brengel worked for Banister for a few months, and she also did not see Oswald in the office.

Jack Martin loved to tell stories. He said nothing about Oswald being in Banister's office when he blabbing to the FBI and the Secret Service in 1963 and 1964.

Jim Garrison interviewed Jack Martin in his office on December 14, 1966. Here is a link to a tape recording of that interview and a transcript. Martin talks about seeing Oswald in Banister's office with Sergio Arcacha Smith. But there are problems with his story.

Over the past several months, I have shown in multiple blog posts how Oliver Stone's documentary series, JFK Revisited and JFK: Destiny Betrayed, misleads viewers. In fact, despite months of work, there are still many more misleading segments that need to be addressed. It's no wonder that the fact checkers of Netflix nixed the airing of the films.

There is a choice between four hours of tendentious nonsense (JFK: Destiny Betrayed) and two hours (JFK Revisited: Through the Looking Glass). As a handy guide for viewers, here are all those posts in order of their appearance in JFK: Destiny Betrayed and JFK Revisited: Through the Looking Glass, preceded by some general critiques

The Viewer's Guide has now been updated to include the sources from my new book, Oliver Stone's Film-Flam: The Demagogue of Dealey Plaza.

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