Oswald: Assassin or Fall Guy?

Written by Joachim Joesten
Category: · History

German-born Joachim Joesten, who worked for Newsweek magazine before becoming a freelance writer in 1944, published “Oswald, Assassin or Fall Guy?” in 1964, *prior* to the release of the Warren Report. Surprisingly, at that early date, the foundation of doubt that would pervade the assassination research community for the next fifty years and beyond, was already well in place.

Like other early authors who questioned the official Government verdict, Joesten had to have this book published outside the United States.

Through special arrangement with his heirs, Iconoclassic Books is proud to present this reissue of the first important treatise on the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Also included is Joesten’s 50-page summary of the Warren Report, which he examined upon its release in September, 1964.


“A “fall guy,” in American underworld slang, is a person selected by a criminal gang to be framed up as the guilty one, in order to shield the real perpetrators of a crime. This is Joesten’s thesis about Oswald. He writes in his preface:
“Oswald was a ‘fall guy,’ to use the parlance of the kind of men who must have planned the details of the assassination. I believe that he was picked as a fall guy precisely because, as a petty, and perhaps discarded, agent of the CIA, and later of the FBI, he was an ideal scapegoat; his provocative actions and movements were subject to specific knowledge by the conspirators; in particular his obtrusive display of ‘Marxist’ feelings stamped him as the kind of man who could be made to appear an irrational assassin and around whom a web of circumstantial evidence could be woven; a web sufficiently plausible on the face of it to convince the American people provided he did not live to have a trial, as indeed he didn’t…I am personally convinced that (a) Oswald was completely innocent of the assassination, and (b) it was the work of a powerful conspiratorial group.

“Most of the book is devoted to a systematic development of the evidence. A number of the points are sufficiently powerful to singly cast grave doubt on the official version; and in their cumulative impact to provide a serious basis for Joesten’s conclusion.

“. . . the Joesten book erased most of my skepticism. The bulk of the evidence is highly convincing, and couldn’t be passed off as a cumulation of chance newspaper gossip. I concluded that the official theory is probably a police fabrication. I think it likely that Oswald was in fact a “fall guy,” who may or may not have participated in the assassination, but was not its sole executor or main arranger.”

-Victor Perlo, New Times, September 23, 1964


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