High Treason
The Assassination of JFK & the Case for Conspiracy

Authors: Harrison Edward Livingstone and Robert J. Groden

Carroll & Graf Publishers, Inc., 1998

High Treason is a work begun before its copyright date of 1980 and claims to be a search for truth. Without the truth, writes its author, Livingstone, "we are lost." But rather than a diligent search for truth, the authors appear, to me at least, more like lawyers in a high profile court case, making complicated arguments in a spirit of partisanship. It would have been a better book if they had included good representations of counter arguments. In suggesting that Oswald was recruited for the CIA after only a little more than a year in the Marine Corps, they could have included some information from research on what kind of enlisted men, if any, the Marine Corps put to work with the CIA.

Lee Harvey Oswald was my major interest in reading High Treason, and the authors came across as sloppy and less thorough than the author of Case Closed, Gerald Posner. High Treason, in an attempt to associate Oswald with the CIA, included the following:

The Office of Naval Intelligence contacted Oswald while at Atsugi sometime during 1958. Oswald then taught himself fluent Russian in his first year as a Marine. No ordinary Marine could possibly have the time to do that without going to a high-powered military language School (sic). He was stationed at the Top Secret U-2 Spy base at Atsugi, Japan and preached that "Marxist morality is the most rational' in history and the communism is "the best system in the world today."

Gerald Posner is clearer on this subject. He describes Oswald as having entered the Marines on October 26, 1956. In his first two years of duty, according to Posner, Oswald did nothing to impress Marine Corps brass that he was good CIA material. Posner describes the Atsugi airbase without the exaggeration that appears in High Treason.  Posner writes:

Atsugi served as the base for the U-2 spy plane. Most of the Marines had seen the strange-looking plane either take off or land, as had many of the townspeople. But Oswald was not intimately associated with the U-2.

Posner writes that Oswald had the lowest level security clearance, "confidential," in keeping with his work as a low-level radar man, and Posner discusses details about the confusion over the mistaken notion that Oswald had a "secret clearance" - which was not  discussed in High Treason. Posner gives pages of detail about Oswald that High Treason does not.

Good details make for credibility. Instead, the authors of High Treason present a jumble of claims and their material is poorly organized. On the same page with the comment on the Atsugi airbase (page 139) the authors claim that,

There has never been any hard evidence either placing Oswald in the "assassin's window" or demonstrating that he fired the rifle. In fact, extensive evidence indicates that he did not shoot anyone that day.

This is nonsense. There is evidence. There authors should be discussing it rather than claiming that it does not exist.

There are many other points that the authors make. The book is divided into seven  parts:

I. The Tragedy
II. The Medical Evidence
III. Conspiracy
IV. The Case
V. Political Affairs
VI. The House Assassinations Committee
VII. The Bay of Pigs and National Security

They lost me on page 139, but I did skim the rest. The authors, like other Kennedy assassination conspiracy theorists, touch on Jack Ruby and gangster involvement. On this subject, Posner again appears more credible than the authors of High Treason. And there is the book, published in 2000, by John Canal, titled Silencing the Lone Assassination that also counters the conspiracy theorists on this issue.

Governments, I believe, should not be trusted the way children trust their fathers. That is not what democracy is about. But so far, the evidence that conspiracy theorists have presented seems something for the gullible. Perhaps someday something more than innuendo, confused witnesses, disjointed claims and talk of the unknown and cover-ups will be brought forth, indicating what now to me is incredible: that CIA agents, FBI agents, gangsters, the chauffeur of Kennedy's limousine, et cetera, worked together in total secrecy and remarkable coordination in such a way as to defy the scrutiny of investigation committees and hardworking journalists.

For this site's text on Oswald and the Kennedy Assassination click here.