OSWALD'S INNOCENCE AND DISAPPEARING FILES
|Minox Spy Camera 1940's, 1950's,1960's
Known throughout the world as the subminiature camera to have, the Minox spy camera
was in the hands of almost all intelligence agents and spies in the 1940's, 1950's and
1960's. The camera was very good at taking close up document photography.
The camera was so small and so good for it's hay-day that it had restricted sales
to governmental and military intelligence agencies in many parts of the world such
as the United States. In the late 1960's through the 1980's if you were a private-eye
and had one, you had the very latest high tech subminiature camera on the market.
They were also very expensive.
Around 1978, an article written by Earl Golz gives us pertinent information about the Minox. Researcher A. J. Weberman had successfully petitioned to get the photos the FBI held that had come from "Oswald's Minox." Here is a portion of that article:
OSWALD PICTURES RELEASED BY FBI PHOTOGRAPHS FROM SMALL SPY CAMERA REVEALED AFTER ALMOST 15 YEARS
By EARL GOLZ
Photographs developed from Minox spy camera film found among Lee Harvey Oswald's personal possessions have been released by the FBI after being suppressed almost 15 years. About 25 images shot in foreign countries on two rolls from the miniature German-made camera were made available by the FBI under a Freedom of Information Act request by Alan Weberman, an independent assassination researcher in New York City.
More than 20 prints developed from one roll show civilian scenes apparently in Europe. Five shots from the other roll were military scenes either in the Far East or Central America. A Minox camera with a cassette film roll inside disappeared from Oswald's possessions after the FBI took custody of the property in 1963 from Dallas police, The News earlier had disclosed.
THE BUREAU LATER TRIED UNSUCCESSFULLY TO PRESSURE POLICE INTO CHANGING THEIR INVENTORY LIST TO READ MINOX LIGHT METER, NOT CAMERA, according to detective Gus Rose who said he found the camera in Oswald's seabag at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Michael Paine in Irving. The FBI had indicated the two rolls it developed were found separately in tin containers with ribbons tied around them. House Assassinations Committee investigators recently interviewed a former FBI agent who had custody of the Oswald property when the camera with film INSIDE DISAPPEARED, The New has learned. The former agent, Warren de Brueys, monitored Oswald's activities in the summer of 1963. He came to Dallas for two months to assist the Warren Commission investigation of the assassination.
"Monitoring is a word I would be reluctant to use," de Brueys told The News. "I never personally met him (Oswald), never knowingly personally talked to him. And I say that advisedly because - who knows - I don't think it happened. He may have called on the phone and made an inquiry one time without identifying himself."
TWO MONTHS LATER, ON JAN. 27, 1964, FBI AGENT THOMAS W. LENIHAN IN WASHINGTON TOLD J. GORDON SHANKLIN, AGENT IN CHARGE OF THE DALLAS FBI OFFICE, THAT DE BRUEYS' INVENTORY OF NOV. 26, 1963, SHOWED A MINOX CAMERA AMONG OSWALD'S POSSESSION, ACCORDING TO A LENIHAN MEMO. "I advised Shanklin that our laboratory claims that they did not have a Minox camera and that this item should be a Minox light meter," Lenihan's memo stated. "I requested that DL (Dallas FBI office) resolve whether or not a Minox camera was among the effects of Oswald. "
On 1-28-64 Shanklin advised Inspector Moore (Dallas police detective H.M. Moore) that Oswald did not have a Minox camera; that this was a Minox light meter." Two days after Lenihan told Shanklin the camera was a light meter, FBI agents visited the Paine home in Irving where Oswald's personal possessions were found and located a Minox camera in a coffee can in the garage. Mrs. Ruth Paine identified the camera as her husband's. The camera, which Michael Paine considered "unworkable" because of shutter damage, was forwarded to the Washington FBI office with "other evidence," according to an FBI teleprinter message dated Jan. 31, 1964. The message said Dallas police were "aware that no Minox camera (was) obtained in search" of the Paine residence and garage on Nov. 22-23, 1963. Detective Rose, however, remains adamant he found a Minox camera with film in it in Oswald's seabag when he made the initial search at the Paine home.
==Among Rose's many statements that he had indeed found a Minox is his mention of Ruth Paine watching him as he searched through Lee Oswald's possessions in the garage:MORIARTY - This Minox camera. Was that with Ruth Paine's camera equipment?
ROSE - No, it was in the sea bag.
MORIARTY - Oh, in the sea bag.
ROSE - Ruth Paine explained to me, she stood, she stood right there while we searched. And she explained that everything in that sea bag and a couple of boxes that were there was Oswald's and she never had any objection to any search of that. The only time she objected was when we searched her bedroom where a lot of her camera equipment was. She did not object when we searched Marina Oswald's bedroom, the one she used.
Michael Paine told The News he recalled taking photos in Korea while he was in the army in the early 1950s and later on a trip to Europe, but not with a Minox camera. He couldn't remember taking a photo of a tanker anchored offshore mountainous terrain, he said.
==Of course Mr. Paine couldn't remember taking such a photo, even though he has to claim the camera as his own. That camera will later disappear, according to Paine, stolen from him along with other cameras. In the National Archives, a Minox camera appears, but it -==just like the "Paine" Minox, is damaged! Damaged in the same place, too--so that the serial number cannot be seen. What a coincidence! How remarkable! The serial number of the Minox Michael Paine claimed belonged to him happened to be quite unique, as explained below:The Minox III camera, serial number 27259, was turned over to the FBI on January
Warren Commission apologist John McAdams, who says Oswald did it, and calls anyone who comes to a different conclusion a "conspiracy buff," published this comment about the Minox and its serial number:"The serial number reported by the FBI is controversial for several reasons. This camera is purported to be in the National Archives today, but the camera has been damaged and can not be opened. The serial number can only be viewed when the camera is open. The question then is how did the FBI report a serial number, when the number can not be seen. In addition the Minox III was a newer version of the Minox II. The serial number for the Minox II from 20379 to 31500 while Model III serial numbers started with 31275 and ended with 58499, so the 27259 number can not be the number on a model III. The question then becomes where did the FBI get this 27259 serial number?"
===Perhaps the number itself was reported for Lee's Minox before it was decided a substitute Minox was needed, a Minox III. Was the number then attributed to the Minox III that "belonged" to Michael Paine? Problem: if the camera is opened, the serial number could be seen to be different.
But Paine's camera was ''broken' and could not be opened. Nevertheless, the FBI is comfortable assigning the serial number to it--and even showing the camera that belonged to Michael Paine later to Lee's wife, Marina, to see if she could identify it. Not surprisingly, she could not/would not.
The Minox on display in the National Archives is damaged so we cannot see its serial number.
The other option -- McAdams' -- is that the FBI pretended to make up a serial number for the camera. Or for another camera, now lost. Every way it's examined, the FBI doesn't come up smelling like roses in this matter (as usual, when trying to dig up the truth about the Kennedy assassination)==
I'M A WITNESS
In my book, Me & Lee, I speak of the Minox. I encountered Lee's Minox when Kerry Thornley took a Polaroid photo of us, which Lee immediately destroyed. Kerry commented that Lee "still" had the camera, which means Lee had the camera when they were both based at El Toro, California. That's also where Gerry Hemming mentioned seeing Lee, and he, too, said Lee had a Minox, though his story of how Lee got it is very strange, indeed. In 1963, Xerox machines were few and far between. Lee told me he used the Minox to copy documents. He said he developed his own film.
Witness: "Lee's Minox that made 150 photos at once." (No way!)
Lee also said something that I simply must have misremembered. I thought Lee told me that his Minox could take over 150 photos at once. I now know this is clearly impossible, unless somebody out there has heard of a radically modified Minox. Martin Shackelford, a researcher who knows his photos, corrected me when I stated this in 1999: that was impossible, he said. It's an example of memory failure on my part: I've been accused of having too good a memory, but in this case, memory failed me. However, maybe Lee had told me he had taken 150 photos at one time with the Minox, using the required rolls of film to do so. I, knowing nothing about the Minox except what it looked like, just misunderstood.
However, I saw Lee's Minox on several occasions. Both Shackelford and Dr. Howard Platzman received this information by email, in 1999, and Shackelford printed it out.