18 August, 2019

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The Trail of Lee Harvey Oswald

By Ruwan M Jayatunge

Dr. Ruwan M Jayatunge MD

Dr. Ruwan M Jayatunge MD

In 1988 I went to Minsk – the capital city of Belarus to find some facts about Lee Harvey Oswald who was believed to be the lone gunman in JFK Assassination. It had been 25 years after the President John F Kennedy‘s assassination. The Minsk had almost forgotten the American defector who lived in their city. No one talked about him.  Moreover the Soviet people had no interest in the JFK saga and they had other things to worry about. Perestroika and economic changes have caused dramatic changes in their lives. People were anxious about market economy and other reforms that rapidly changed the Soviet society.

It was mid January and temperature was about minus sixteen degrees Celsius. My Polish winter coat did not fully help me to fight the Russian winter that defeated Napoleon Bonaparte and Field-Marshal Friedrich Paulus. The cold wind was terrible and it was piercing through my bones.

Near the Minsk train station (Vokzal Minsk) I took a taxi cab- a black color Volga which was popularly known as the Russian Mercedes. The taxi driver was a middle aged man who knew the city of Minsk like the back of his hand. Where to? He asked in a polite manner. I immediately noticed his Belorussian accent. I did not know my destination. It was a frantic effort to look for someone who lived in this city some 26 years ago. I had no address, only had a name: Mr. Lee Harvey Oswald.

I need to find the apartment that Lee Harvey Oswald lived many years ago I told the taxi driver. Who? He asked with a surprise. I explained him again, Lee Harvey Oswald the guy who killed the president of the United States of America. The taxi driver had no clue about Lee Harvey Oswald. But he knew who JFK was. So we reached a Police Officer. I posed the same question to him. Instead of answering my question he checked my documents. I was a medical student on my winter vacation and I had obtained a visa to travel to West Germany. My documents were in proper order. So he returned my documents.

The policemen looked dumb and he had no intention of helping us. The weather was becoming bad and heavy snow fall made me nervous. I had to meet someone who knew the city’s history.  Nothing came to my mind. I was about to give up the Oswald mission. But suddenly I decided to go to a museum and meet a curator or someone. I asked the diver to go to the Belarusian National Arts Museum. At the museum I met an elderly gentleman who was a journalist. He had worked for the Literaturnaya Gazeta many years ago.

When I told him about Lee Harvey Oswald he knew who he was. Da Da Amarikanez  he replied. The old journalist gave us   directions. Oswald had lived in an apartment building near the Svisloch River.

After driving through heavy snow blizzard we reached our destination. It was an old apartment building with a gloomy look. He lived on the 3rd  floor. This was the place where that well-known Lee Harvey Oswald had once lived. The weather was bad and we saw no one on the street. There were no sign boards or plaque. The city had forgotten its ignominious adopted son. This place could have been a major tourist attraction. But the city officials wanted to maintain a low profile on Oswald. May be he was an embarrassment to the Soviet officials.

Despite heavy snow fall we spent a few minutes there.  I imagined how Oswald and his Russian wife Marina walked through these streets. To me Oswald was not a hero, but an enigma. I could smell him near that old apartment building.  Something was in that atmosphere which I could not explain. May be I was superstitious. Who was Lee Harvey Oswald?  An unstable insignificant man who changed the modern history?

I went back to the Minsk train station to take a train to go to Kishinev – Moldavian Republic. I tried to forget Oswald completely and concentrate on my exams. But he was in my thoughts.  After many years in 2002 this trip inspired me to write a book on JFK. It was the first book about JFK in Sinhala language. The book was titled John F Kennedy Jevithaya Ha Maranaya (JFK Life and Death) published by the Wijesuriya Grantha Kendraya. In 2010 I went to the Henry Ford museum in Dearborn Michigan and saw the ill fated limousine -Lincoln Continental 4-door convertible in which JFK was riding in Dallas.

Now fifty years have passed after the JFK assassination. Still we know little about the assassination and many conspiracy theories are circulating.  Who killed John F Kennedy?  Did Lee Harvey Oswald pull the trigger? Still there are no satisfactory answers. There are many gaps and unanswered questions.

Lee Harvey Oswald lived in the Soviet Union from October 1959 to June 1962. During this time period Nikita Khrushchev was the head of the state. After his defection to the USSR Oswald was given a job in a Radio factory in   Minsk – Belorussia. There he met a Russian girl named Marina whose uncle was a KGB officer. Oswald fell in love with Marina and they got married. He lived in Minsk until 1962.

Oswald claimed that he was a Marxist -Leninist. But he knew very little about Marxism. According to Peter Savodnik- Lee Harvey Oswald biographer his defection was more psychological than ideological. The Soviets expected Lee Harvey Oswald to help in their propaganda effort against the West. But Oswald did not participate in propaganda work.

Some argue that after Lee Harvey Oswald defected to the Soviet Union the KGB found numerous secrets related to the U2 spy plane. In 1960 a Soviet surface to air missile shot down a U2 piloted by Francis Gary Powers. This incident jeopardized the peace talks between the USA and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.

To Oswald life in Minsk was becoming monotonous. He was not happy with his life and he decided to come back to USA. Some reports indicate that after coming back to the United States he was involved in Free Cuba Committee which was an anti-Castro organization. After the Bay of Pigs fiasco Oswald became furious and determined to kill the President Kennedy.

On November 22, 1963 President John F. Kennedy was killed by a sniper in Dallas, Texas. The Police arrested Lee Harvey Oswald   for the crime. While being escorted to the Dallas County Jail Oswald was shot by Jack Ruby. Oswald succumbed to his gun shot injuries. He was 24 years old. Oswald was buried in Shannon Rose Hill Memorial Park Fort Worth Texas. Oswald’s mother, his wife Marina and 22 months old daughter June attend the funeral.

Lee Harvey Oswald’s remains were exhumed in October 1981 following speculations made by a group of people. They claimed that a Soviet spy was buried in place of Lee Harvey Oswald’s grave. Finally the family members gave their consent to open the grave.  Oswald’s widow Marina Porter Oswald was present at the exhumation. The remains were examined by a team of Pathologists. They compared Oswald’s dental records and found a positive dental identification.  The team leader Dr Linda Norton pronounced that the individual buried under the name of Lee Harvey Oswald in Rose Hill cemetery was in fact Lee Harvey Oswald.

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Latest comments

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    Dr. Jayatunge, Im indeed humbled by the effort you’ve put in to make this article intriguing but you’ve failed to make an effort to realize that you’re probably not a good story teller. Meaningless Journalism

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      you took words off my mouth… what relevence is THIS story to the current generation? Does it help to feed a poor person or even fight for the rights of someone? We have burning issues here in hand and this of all topics… ummmmm BTW DR in front of the name(prefix) and an MD at the end.. MD is already a Medical Doctor… repetition doesn’t make u a RENOWNED writer. All this curry flavor is just to say that YOU were being Educated as a medical doctor, who had his paperwork who also didnt have a better destination for a vacation….. Kilamanjaroo would have been a better destination… minus ur cheap ass Polish winter coat..

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    Dr. Ruwan M Jayatunge MD,

    I am glad for the curiosity you showed and the subsequent Book you published on JFK assassination. In fact this November is his 50th death Anniversary.

    I don’t know what your final judgment was on who really Murdered JFK.

    By the way I want to ask, if you ever saw the Film JFK directed by Oliver Stone. Here’s the web link…

    http://www.theguardian.com/film/2011/apr/28/jfk-oliver-stone-john-f-kennedy

    Here’s are trailers…

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=28FXnZyKttk

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DGQ-ORPKw7Y

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VSXQYvm57YM

    I watched and studied this movie more than 25 times, just for the sake of curiosity.

    My final conclusion was that Lee Harvey Oswald DID NOT KILL JFK. It was a conspiracy involving many issues…..and a subsequent cover up. Lee Harvey Oswald became the Sacrificial Lamb.

    Here’s another interesting webs.

    http://www.presstv.ir/detail/2013/11/22/335998/israel-called-shots-from-grassy-knoll

    http://www.theweek.co.uk/us/jfk-anniversary/55933/who-killed-jfk-50-years-conspiracy-theories-explained

    http://www.presstv.ir/detail/2013/11/23/336130/israel-behind-kennedy-assassination

    Please study above webs and let me have your views.

    As for me No Way…. Lee Harvey Oswald Did not murder JFK.

    Let me have your opinion.

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    Waste of space!

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    BTW Vermin Silva also has a Doctorate from Lubuma of Russia…MAY be he can practice medicine in KELANIYA…He already has the Minesterial Portfolio for Media… :P

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    Most of these comments show the jealousy and frustration experienced by our Sri Lankan folks who are trapped in Mahinda Rajapaksa ‘s Island. Although they dream of escaping to a Western country these poor souls they cant even get a visa to go to India. All they can do is bark at some professional and ease their frustration and jealousy.

    Vinny , Snowdon Asange , Austar GET A LIFE

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      FYI I hold a LIFELONG visa to India and reside in the US hows that for a sucker….?

      now go figure how to get a LIFELONG visa to India… I got a life and living it Gooooooooooood….. Hope u do too….

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      Prashan

      For starters I live in the UK and politics is not my thing (MR is irrelevant on this forum). Having travelled to so many different countries and integrating with cultures and people from all walks of life Ive realized, its only a low life scum bag like you who can bring down the entire populist.

      I hope you would crawl back to the hole where you came from, you’re clearly reflecting your level of education and intellectual capacity by spewing off bollocks in their numbers.

      Get in to the habit of reading, even a 5th grader would agree that Dr. Jayatunges’ story telling is an epic fail.

      If you know me, you would envy my life. UP YOURS MATE!

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    It is typical for probably illiterate persons to bark at professionals! Ruwan has done a lot of things to the benefit of the country including research on war trauma which none of the barking dogs would be able to comprehend!

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    Snowdon Asange
    FYI on the Dr & MD issue…please read below

    Doctor of Medicine (M.D., from the Latin Medicinae Doctor meaning “Teacher of Medicine”) is a Terminal degree for Physicians and Surgeons. In some countries it is a Professional doctorate where training is entered after obtaining between 90 and 120 credit hour’s of university level work (see second entry degree) and in most cases after obtaining a Bachelor’s Degree. In other countries, such as India, Ireland, and the United Kingdom; M.D. is a research degree which is equivalent to a Ph.D.. In Britain, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, India, and many British Commonwealth nations, the medical degree is instead the MBBS ( MB BCh BAO, MBChB, MBBChir, BMBCh, MBBCh, BMBS, BMed, BM & etc) and M.D. is a higher level of attainment.

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    D.E.M.O Krazy :Excellent explanation.

    Snowdon Asange says that he resides in the US and this moron does not know that doctors in the USA have MD. I think this guy is a lier and lives in MR’s Island dreaming of going to the USA. Since this guy is uneducated and not a professional he will never meet his dream. We should feel sorry for his jealousy and frustration. Snowdon Asange go to Marawilla and talk to a fisherman and get a boat to Australia illegally. At least this attempt will give you a life.

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    ‘Lord’ Snowdo(w)n!!
    You have taken the name of a famous person since you have an inferiority complex! You are jealous of foreign doctors, some who had to go even with high marks because of standardization in sri lanka. Some of the universities in Russia may be inferior and it would apply to some in sri lanka or uk or usa! Some doctors from Russian universities have done much better than our own graduates.
    Dr/Prof Vermin Silva got his doctorate from a infamous confidence trickster but a Medical graduate from the Colombo medical faculty late ‘Kara’ Jayasuriya (not Karu) who was known for his Acupuncture antics! Please dont give wrong information!
    A Colombo Medic

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    @ colomba dostora you are correct , Snowdon Asange is a moron with inferiority complex.

    This article was written by Dr LalithPerera sometime-ago

    http://www.lankaweb.com/news/items/2010/04/27/i-was-proud-to-be-a-doctor-from-the-colombo-medical-faculty/

    In 1996, the AMP (Assistant Medical Practitioners) matter emerged and we protested them. I encouraged some of my batch mates to continue the protest and we organized some strikes. After some years, the Foreign Medical Graduates from USSR, Bulgaria, and Cuba came to Sri Lanka and started practicing as doctors. Again, we made a big protest to safeguard the Medicine in Sri Lanka. In 1997, I fully supported a poster camping against Foreign Medical Graduates. Inside us, there was a rejection and disregard for the doctors who were not originally from the Colombo Medical Faculty. We considered them as inefficient and practitioners without high-quality knowledge. ‚ In 2005, I went to USA and England and had the opportunity to visit some hospitals. Also I visited some Universities and exchanged ideas. Gradually I started questioning my self about our supreme position as the Doctor from the Colombo Medical Faculty. ‚ Are we the best? Or whether we were ‚ in a deception for a long time believing that we were the best and rest of others were buffoons. My exposure to the outside world told me that we were living in a false dream for many years. I realized that there are other educational institutions much better and far advanced than us. Recently I came to know that according to the international ranking the position of the University of Colombo has drastically gone down and it plays below 500 th rank . In the Asian university, ranking The University of Colombo is the last. Over the past few decades, our Medical Faculties have not contributed significant international research or publications. None of our Sri Lnakan professors were recognized in the international medical field. But in the other hand the Universities in India, Nepal, Bangladesh had made remarkable impacts. Their university professors are invited to the international forums and they contribute a lot. In UK I met a Sri Lankan Doctor who had passed out from the PMC Ragama and later migrated to England. He works as a Consultant Anesthetist in a prestigious Hospital in the United Kingdom. In the USA, I met a Doctor who had a Russian degree now serving as an associate Professor in Microbiology in one of the top Universities in Los Angeles. For many years, we fought with these people and chased them from our health system. Now they are doing extremely well in other countries giving their knowledge and skills to other people. Now I have a guilty feeling that we blocked these people serving the Sri Lankans. Although we said that, we wanted to protect the free education and the health system of Sri Lanka most of my collages (including me) are much focused on private practice rather than the health system or the interests of the average Sri Lankans. This may be harsh but it is the truth. Most of my colleagues would say yes to this fact if they were questioned by their conscience. Why we behaved in a superior mentality? Because we were not exposed to the outside world. All these years we were living like frogs in a deep well without seeing the outer world. We thought that we were the best, we disregarded other graduates and but finally I realized that we were wrong. We fought AMP s disregarding their prolong service (over 125 years) to the public. When I was working in peripheral hospitals I have met skilled assistant medical practitioners, but I was unwilling to admire them may be due to my high ego. Recently I did a small study, medical negligence in Sri Lanka starting from Priyani Soysa vs Arsakularatne case, the death of Granville Rodrigo, the death of Prabath Manawasinge etc. Shockingly I found that the most of the accused were local graduates predominantly from my Alma Mater. Why our universities became more and more inefficient? I blame the university mafia that ruined the system. The university authorities were not interested in recruiting the best students as lecturers and train them as future professors. They gave priority to the family members, relatives and family friends. Finally, a bunch of clowns became top people in various departments and they did not do any intellectual work. Our superior mentality made us dormant; we did not do any internationally identifiable research, any valuable publication or discovery. So we are lower than the universities in Africa. I hope my colleagues and the present young generation would understand my point. Before denouncing me or criticizing me, I urge you to think what I have experienced. Still we are not too late if we truly work for the science leaving our ego issues apart we can win.

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    According to the world ranking Sri Lankan universities are lower than the universities of Uganda , Ethiopia and Zimbabwe. (all are failed states of Africa) Before criticizing Russian , Indian or Chinese , Nepalese universities see where we stand.

    Sri Lankan Universities Ranking 2013/2014

    University of Moratuwa – According to the World Rank 2150 th Place
    University of Colombo -According to the World Rank 2255 th Place University of Ruhuna – According to the World Rank 2353 th Place
    University of Peradeniya -According to the World Rank 2973
    University of Kelaniya 4508
    University of Sri Jayewardenepura 5969
    (http://www.lankauniversity-news.com/)

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    Can some one answer the following questions,
    1.Is Dr Ruwan is a practicing physician?
    2.Why his name is not registered in the SLMC registers?Has he passed the act 16 examination?
    3.Why did he leave(migrate) from his motherland to Canada ?(he could not face many obstacles and challenges)
    4.Why he writes connecting his life in USSR with famous people?
    5.Is it true that some people who have associated with Dr Ruwan say , that [Edited out]?
    6.The reputation [Edited out]

    Ma Baker

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