Until I heard of John Armstrong, I just assumed that the US Military taught Oswald to speak Russian. I never thought they actually sent him to the Language Institute in Monterrey, California because there would have been records kept there. Unless he used a fictitious name, it would have been traceable, and even if he did, it still could have blown up on them. For instance, he could easily have been photographed there.
So, I figured that they must have done it in Japan, but not as part of any class with other students. I figured that they did it on a top-secret basis, where it was just him, studying Russian intensively for 12 hours a day with a brilliant instructor and the most advanced teaching methods in the world, at a time when he was officially somewhere else doing something else, and that he was selected for this on the basis of an aptitude test which proved that he was gifted in this way.
The above I believed for many years. But, not for one second did I think that Oswald taught himself Russian. That is a childish, stupid, and juvenile idea. In a word: it is impossible. And it is a good example of the "other worldliness" that pervades much of JFK assassination thinking, as though the JFK assassination took place in another world, another dimension, with different laws and different likelihoods. No. It happened right here on Earth under the same human conditions and the same human limitations that affect us all.
But, I don't punish myself for thinking that for all those years because in a way, it was the only position to go to. It was a matter of default. After all, Oswald did learn Russian, and he learned it extraordinarily well. So, there had to be a way in which that happened and a time in which it happened.
But then, I found out about John Armstrong, and I learned that John Armstrong found and talked to 6 Marines who lived and worked closely with Oswald in Japan. They worked together setting up radar stations, living in tents, travelling from island to island in Japan, taking trips, such as to the Philippines, and more. But, in no way did Oswald disappear from view. He wasn't gone. He wasn't missing. He was right there with them- the days and the nights. There is simply no way that Oswald was secretly undergoing an intensive immersion program in Russian- not if you believe, as I do, that a man can't be in two places at the same time.
There is just no room for that in Oswald's timetable in Japan. There is no way to squeeze it in- and it would be a lot to squeeze in. After all, how long does it take to become proficient in Russian?
And let's be clear about something: there are plenty of people who couldn't learn Russian as a second language no matter how much time they gave it. What, do you think everybody can do it? I'm not saying they wouldn't learn something because they're bound to learn something. But, to become functionally fluent and literate in Russian? That is a whole other matter. And remember: Oswald spoke it; he wrote it; and he read it. George DeMohrenschildt said that Oswald preferred to read the Russian classics in Russian rather than English. How long do you think it would take the average American to do that? They couldn't do it in 20 years.
So, even with formal training and instruction, Oswald would have had to be a linguistic genius to learn Russian so fast and so well. And I was willing to give him the benefit of the doubt about that. I figured that Oswald was just a linguistic genius, that he was like a savant that way. But then, I found out, thanks to John Armstrong, that there was no formal training and instruction. And not only was there no formal training and instruction, but there is no evidence of any informal training either. Those 6 Marines said that Oswald was NOT engaged in anything about learning Russian; that he expressed no interest in learning Russian; no desire to learn Russian, and no plan of ever learning Russian. It was just a complete non-starter as concerned the Lee Harvey Oswald that they knew.
These 6 Marine were willing to testify to the Warren Commission about Lee Harvey Oswald, but the WC was not interested. The men volunteered, but they were turned down.
So, where does that leave us? It leaves us with a new default. We have to throw out the old one and replace it with a new one. And that is: that Oswald spoke Russian already, that it was his first language, the language in which his brain first flexed its linguistic muscle.
At present, I happen to be reading a biography of Natalie Wood, which I am enjoying a lot. Her parents were Russian immigrants. Her given name was Natasha Zakharenko, but her father, Nicholai Zakharenko, decided when she was very young to change the family name to Gurdin, which is also a Russian surname. He felt that it would help him in the labor market to have an easier and less ethnic-sounding last name. So, her legal name became Natasha Gurdin, and it remained Natasha Gurdin for her entire life; she never changed it. Natalie Wood was just her professional name- chosen by some studio execs.
And Natasha Gurdin spoke Russian. She spoke it her whole life. And it was because she learned it as toddler and small child which is the only time in which a language can be absorbed easily. Perhaps it is because there is blank slate at that age that there is no resistance to the language getting in because there isn't a language there. To this day, there is very little concrete knowledge about exactly how toddlers and small children absorb their native language just from hearing it. Adults can't do it. You or I could go to Russia and hang around there for 20 years, and the amount of Russian we would learn would be minimal. Sure, we'd learn to say hello and goodbye and how are you, etc. But, that does not begin to come close to becoming functional in a language.
Yes, Oswald would have to have been a linguistic genius to learn Russian so fast even with expert instruction. But, by himself? FORGET ABOUT IT! Please! Nobody ever say that again. And, what really are the chances that Oswald was a linguistic genius? All the little kids in the world pick up their language amazingly well and without being geniuses. THAT'S HOW OSWALD DID IT!
If anyone is a genius here, it isn't Oswald; it's John Armstrong, for figuring this out. Would my mind have ever gone there if I hadn't heard of John Armstrong (or someone else who advocated the same thing)? No. At least, I don't think so. I suspect I would have clung to my original premise that Oswald was taught Russian by the US Military. I probably would have gone to my grave believing that.
The Lee Harvey Oswald we know was a native Russian speaker. That is now the only supposition that adequately explains what happened. Nothing else works. It's the only thing that connects the dots. It's the only thing that gets you from A to Z.
I accept that Oswald accusers have to fight this. But Oswald defenders? They have no reason to fight it. It is not just the most plausible explanation for what we know happened; it is the only explanation with any plausibility at all.