Monday, 9 August 2010

Who Are the Paines?

JFK researchers have long been suspicious of Michael and Ruth Paine. They were, after all, guardians of much of the evidence responsible for convicting Lee Harvey Oswald in the eyes of the public. Perhaps most importantly, Ruth Paine was responsible for finding Oswald the job at the Texas School Book Depository that would put him in the perfect place to assassinate President Kennedy — or to take the fall. The Warren Report claimed that on October 14, 1963, “at the suggestion of a neighbour, Mrs Paine phoned the Texas School Book Depository and was told that there was a job opening. She informed Oswald who was interviewed the following day...and started to work there on October 16, 1963.” (R14-15) What the commission did not see fit to report was that the neighbour whom Mrs Paine claimed had informed her of the job opening, Linnie May Randle, flatly contradicted her testimony. Randle swore before the commission, “I didn't know there was a job opening over there.” (2H247) Just as suspiciously, as the commission also knew, Mrs Paine had withheld from Oswald information that may have led to a better, higher paid job.

The day before Oswald began working at the TSBD, Robert Adams of the Texas Employment Commission had phoned the Paine home to give Oswald a referral for permanent employment as a cargo handler at Trans Texas Airways for $310 per month — $100 per month more than he would earn at the depository. As Adams told the commission, he “learned from the person who answered the phone that Oswald was not there.” Adams left a message and said that Oswald should contact him at the Commission. Receiving no call from Oswald, Adams phoned the Paine residence again the following morning and was informed by Ruth Paine (9H389-90) that Oswald had obtained employment elsewhere. As Adams told the Warren Commission, he did not believe that Oswald was ever informed of the job referral. (11H481) When Mrs Paine was questioned about this matter by the commission, she first denied any knowledge of the job possibility, then vaguely recalled it. Finally she lied and said that Oswald had gone “into town with some hopes raised by the employment agency...but then reported that the job had been filled and was not available to him.” (9H390)

Another suspicious event involving the Paines occurred on the day of the assassination. At 1:00 pm on November 22. 1963, Michael Paine placed a collect call to his wife to discuss Oswald's involvement in the assassination. While the telephone operator remained on the line, Michael Paine told his wife that he “Felt sure Lee Harvey Oswald had killed the President but was not responsible.” Rather ominously he added, “We both know who is responsible.” (FBI report of Robert C. Lish, November 26, 1963, JFK Document No. 105-82555-1437) The most extraordinary thing about this call is that it took place one hour before Oswald's arrest. For obvious reasons, the Warren Commission wanted to sweep this little problem under the rug as swiftly as possible. During Michael Paine's testimony, the ever resourceful commission attorney Wesley Liebeler changed the date of the call to the following day:

LIEBELER: Did you talk to your wife on the telephone at any time during Saturday, November 23?
PAINE: I was in the police station again, and I think I called her from there.
LIEBELER: Did you make any remark to the effect that you knew who was responsible?
PAINE: And I don't know who the assassin is or was; no. So I did not. (2H428)

As researcher John Armstrong pointed out, “Liebeler had phone company records and an FBI report in hand which showed the collect call was placed on November 22 and not on November 23. By intentionally asking Michael Paine about a non-existent telephone call Liebeler was obstructing justice and colluding with a witness to falsify testimony.” (Armstrong, Harvey and Lee, p. 832)

The above oddities, and many more besides, demonstrate that there is much more to the Paine family than meets the eye. At the time of the assassination, Michael Paine was working as a research engineer with defence contractor, Bell Helicopter. He admitted in his Warren Commission testimony that his job carried a security clearance but claimed, somewhat unbelievably, not to know what the classification of that clearance was. (2H385) What Michael Paine did not reveal, and what it took researchers 30 years to find out, was that his stepfather, Arthur Young, was the inventor of the Bell Helicopter. As Jim Douglass noted, “By heritage, Michael Paine was well connected in the military-industrial complex.” (Douglass, JFK and the Unspeakable, p. 169) His mother was connected to none other than Warren Commissioner, Allen Dulles through her lifelong friendship with Mary Bancroft who, according to Douglass, “worked side by side with Allen Dulles as a World War II spy in Switzerland and became his mistress.” (Ibid)

Ruth Paine's family was directly connected to the CIA. Researcher Steve Jones uncovered documented evidence that the CIA had approached her father, William Avery Hyde, in 1957, “to run an educational co-operative alliance in Vietnam.” (Jones, New Evidence Regarding Ruth and Michael Paine, Kennedy Assassination Chronicles Vol. 4 issue 4) A few months after the release of the Warren Report, Hyde received a three year government contract from AID (Agency for International Development) — an organisation said to have “extensive” ties to the CIA. Indeed, as Jones discovered, Hyde's AID field reports had been routed through the Agency. (Ibid) Former Governor of Ohio and later AID director John Giligan admitted, “At one time, many AID field offices were infiltrated from top to bottom with CIA people. It was pretty well known in the agency who they were and what they were up to.” (Douglass, p. 170) According to Jones, Ruth Paine admitted to a close friend that her father had worked for the CIA as an “executive agent.” What she did not tell her friend was that her sister, Sylvia Hyde Hoke, was also employed by the CIA. Steve Jones found documented evidence that Sylvia had worked for the Agency as a staff Psychologist in 1961. When New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison called Ruth Paine before a grand jury in 1968, he asked her if her sister had done any work for the U.S. government. Amusingly, she admitted that Sylvia had a “government job” but claimed not to know what agency she worked for. (Ibid, p. 171)

Most researchers are aware that Marina Oswald was cut off from Ruth Paine within days of the assassination. What the majority are unaware of is the reason why. Apparently, she was advised by the Secret Service to stay away from Ruth Paine because “she was sympathizing with the CIA.” As Marina swore under oath before the new Orleans grand jury, “Seems like she had friends over there and it would be bad for me if people find out a connection between me and Ruth and CIA.” (Ibid p. 173) Bad for Marina or bad for the official story?

With the above in mind, there is one question that must be asked: Is there any evidence that Ruth and Michael Paine were involved in any significant intelligence activities in 1963? Well, there is certainly nothing concrete. Much information about the Paine family remains classified. However, buried in volume 19 of the Warren Commission hearings and exhibits is a tantalizing and often overlooked clue. According to a report written by Dallas Deputy Sheriff Buddy Walthers on the day of the assassination, upon searching the Paine's garage, officers found “a set of metal file cabinets that appeared to be names and activities of Cuban Sympathizers.” (19H520) These metal file cabinets did not make it onto the Dallas Police inventory sheets and were never entered into evidence alongside Lee Harvey Oswald's belongings. And if they did not belong to Oswald, then they must have belonged to the Paines. And if Ruth and Michael Paine had a “set of metal file cabinets” containing “the names and activities of Cuban sympathizers” then they were most certainly involved in the same intelligence activities that most researchers believe Oswald was involved in during the summer of 1963. Needless to say, the whereabouts of these filing cabinets is currently unknown.


  1. I've just managed to get hold of a copy of Jim Garrison's "A Heritage of Stone" and never really considered the role of the Paines in the JFK quagmire; until now. Their role in this mass of confusion and hopeless contradiction is beginning to take on a more sinister hue...

  2. I recommend you get hold of a copy of Jim DiEugenio's new edition of "Destiny Betrayed". There's some great stuff about the Paine's in there.

  3. Both Ruth Paine and Michael Paine are alive, living near me and are listed in the phone book, but I doubt that they would care to join the discussion. You can see Ruth speak on C-span this coming Saturday, Nov 23 from a taping in September. I was there.

  4. If Ruth Paine's reason for becoming so involved with the Oswalds was to submerse herself in the learning of the Russian language (in order to use the language both in her Quaker-sourced Soviet/USA pen-pal exchanges and to teach Russian (to one or two students) at St. Mark's School in Dallas), I say that's a windfall for the Oswalds, and quite a heavy payment by Ruth for language school and linguistic/inter-cultural interests. Aside from the free room and board Ruth provided to the 3 Oswald family members, Ruth undertook 2 trips to/from Dallas/New Orleans (the distance is 520 miles one-way) on behalf of the Oswalds, provided Lee with free driving lessons and car-use, acted as unpaid job-placement headhunter for Lee, and provided a free soft shoulder for Marina to unload her marital problems. All of that in order to learn Russian? Well...if that's the premise, and Ruth's degree of intensity to learn Russian, then has anyone bothered to ask what language-learning resources Ruth must have used after Marina moved out, and whether or not Ruth continued teaching Russian?

  5. Do you have any evidence of this statement you've made or just a quote from a book?

    "As researcher John Armstrong pointed out, “Liebeler had phone company records and an FBI report in hand which showed the collect call was placed on November 22 and not on November 23."