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FTR #1045 Interview #14 with Jim DiEugenio About “Destiny Betrayed”

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This broadcast was recorded in one, 60-minute segment.

CIA’s Expert on the JFK Assassination Ray Rocca: ” . . . . Garrison would indeed obtain a conviction of Shaw for conspiring to assassinate President Kennedy. . . .”

House Select Committee on Assassinations Assistant Counsel Jonathan Blackmer: “. . . . ‘We have reason to believe Shaw was heavily involved in the Anti-Castro efforts in New Orleans in the 1960s and [was] possibly one of the high level planners or ‘cut out’ to the planners of the assassination.’ . . . .”

Introduction: This is the fourteenth of a planned long series of interviews with Jim DiEugenio about his triumphal analysis of President Kennedy’s assassination and New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison’s heroic investigation of the killing.

(Listeners can order Destiny Betrayed and Jim’s other books, as well as supplementing those volumes with articles about this country’s political assassinations at his website Kennedys and KingJim is also a regular guest and expert commentator on Black Op Radio.)

In this program, we highlight the media hatchet men who worked hand in glove with the intelligence community infiltrators set forth in our previous interview. Many of the hatchet men also worked with each other, as well as the intelligence community.

Most significantly, both the intelligence community infiltrators and the media hatchet men worked with Clay Shaw’s counsel and freely broke the law.

In addition to a CBS special that aired at the same time (1967), NBC broadcast an outright hatchet job on Garrison presided over by Walter Sheridan. A veteran of the intelligence community, Sheridan had worked for the FBI, the Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI) and was a principal figure in counter-intelligence for the National Security Agency. As will be seen below, Sheridan reputedly had strong, deep connections to CIA itself.

Destiny Betrayed by Jim DiEugenio; Skyhorse Publishing [SC]; Copyright 1992, 2012 by Jim DiEugenio; ISBN 978-1-62087-056-3; p. 255.

 . . . . The conventional wisdom about Walter Sheridan places him as a former FBI man; reportedly he worked at the Bureau for about four years. . . .

. . . . Sheridan’s ties to the intelligence community, beyond the FBI, were wide, deep, and complex. He himself said that, like Guy Banister, he had been with the Office of Naval Intelligence. Then, after he left the bureau, Sheridan did not go directly to the Justice Department. He moved over to the newly established National Security Agency. This was a super-secret body created by President Truman in 1952 both to protect domestic codes and communications and  to gather intelligence through cracking foreign codes. It was so clandestine that, for a time, the government a tempted to deny its existence. Therefore, for along time, it operated  inalmost total secrecy. Neither the Congress nor any fedreal agency had the effective oversight to regulate it. . . .

It is worth noting that–in addition to Sheridan’s deep intelligence background–NBC itself had strong, deep connections to the intelligence community. . . . .

Destiny Betrayed by Jim DiEugenio; Skyhorse Publishing [SC]; Copyright 1992, 2012 by Jim DiEugenio; ISBN 978-1-62087-056-3; p. 255.

. . . . It is relevant to note here that General David Sarnoff, founder of NBC, worked for the Signal Corps during World War II as a reserve officer. In 1944, Sarnoff worked for the complete restoration of the Nazi destroyed Radio France station in Paris until its signal was able to reach throughout Europe. It was then retitled Radio Free Europe. He later lobbied the White House to expand the range and reach of Radio Free Europe. At about this point, Radio Free Europe became a pet project of Allen Dulles. Sarnoff’s company, Radio Corporation of America, became a large part of the technological core of the NSA. During the war, David’s son Robert worked in the broadcast arm of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), the forerunner of the CIA. Robert was president of RCA, NBC’s parent company, at the time Sheridan’s special aired. David was chairman. . .

Sheridan also presided over an ostensibly “private” investigative institution which was, in fact, a CIA front. It is worth noting that Beurt Ser Vas–an alumnus of the Three Eyes–purchased The Saturday Evening Post, which published an anti-Garrison hit piece by James Phelan. (This is highlighted below.)

Destiny Betrayed by Jim DiEugenio; Skyhorse Publishing [SC]; Copyright 1992, 2012 by Jim DiEugenio; ISBN 978-1-62087-056-3; p. 256.

. . . The company was International Investigators Incorporated, nicknamed “Three Eyes.” According to a Senate investigator, “it was owned lock, stock, and barrel by the CIA.” Two of the original principals, George Miller and George Ryan, were, like Banister, former G-men who later went to work for CIA cover outfits. According to another source, not only was Sheridan the liaison to Three Eyes, he “disposed over the personnel  and currency of whole units of the Central Intelligence Agency out of the White House.” By 1965 . . . Three Eyes was taken over by two former CIA officers. One of them, Beurt Ser Vaas, later purchased the Saturday Evening Post. . . .

Exemplifying Sheridan’s methodology was the treatment meted out to Fred Leemans, who was the climactic person interviewed by Sheridan in his special. Note the open intimidation of Leemans and his family, threatening them if they did not perjure themselves, betray Garrison, and cooperate with both Sheridan and Clay Shaw’s counsel!

This is reminiscent of the treatment of Marlene Mancuso detailed in our previous interview.

Destiny Betrayed by Jim DiEugenio; Skyhorse Publishing [SC]; Copyright 1992, 2012 by Jim DiEugenio; ISBN 978-1-62087-056-3; pp. 240-241.

. . . . One of the more startling declarations that the ARRB uncovered was an affidavit by a man named Fred Leemans. Leemans was  a Turkish bath owner who originally told garrison that a man named Clay Bertrand had frequented his establishment. Leemans was  the climactic interview for Sheridan’s special. He testified on the show that the DA’s office had actually approached him first, that he never  knew that Shaw used the alias Bertrand, that everything he had  previously said to the DA’s office were things he was led  to say by them, and that they had offered to pay him 2,500 dollars for his affidavit in which in which he would now say that Shaw was Bertrand and that Shaw came into his establishment once with Oswald. In other words, all the things Novel had been saying in his public declarations about Garrison were accurate. At the end of  his interview, Leemans told Sheridan and the public that everything he had just revealed on camera was given to NBC freely and voluntarily. Leemans even said that he had actually asked Sheridan for some monetary help but Sheridan had said he did not do things like that.

In January of 1969, Leemans signed an affidavit in which he declared the following as the true chain of events:

“I would like to state the reasons for which I appeared on the NBC show and lied about my contacts  with the District Attorney’s office. First, I received numerous anonymous threatening phone calls relative to the information I had given to Mr. Garrison. The gist of these calls was to the effect that if I did not change my statement and state that I had  been bribed by Jim Garrison’s office, I and my family would be in physical danger. In addition to the anonymous phone calls, I was visited by a man who exhibited a badge and stated that he was a government agent. This man informed me that the government was  presently checking the bar owners in the Slidell area for possible income tax violations. This man then inquired whether I was the Mr. Leemans involved in the Clay Shaw case. When I informed him that I was, he said that it was not smart to be involved because a lot of people that had been got hurt and that people in powerful places would see to it that I was taken care of. One of the anonymous callers suggested that I change my statement and state that I had been bribed by Garrison’s office to give him the information about Clay Shaw. He suggested that I contact Mr. Irvin Dymond, attorney for Clay L. Shaw and tell him that I gave Mr. Garrison the statement about Shaw only after Mr. Lee [Garrison’s assistant DA] offered me 2,500 dollars. After consulting with Mr. Dymond by telephone and in person, I was introduced to Walter Sheridan, investigative reporter for NBC, who was then in the process of preparing the NBC show. Mr. Dymond and Mr. Sheridan suggested that I appear on the show and state what I had originally told Mr. Dymond about the bribe offer by the District Attorney’s office. I was informed by Mr. Dymond that should the District Attorney’s office charge me with giving false information as a result of the statement  I had originally given them, he  would see to it that I had an attorney and that a bond would be posted for me. In this  connection, Mr. Dymond gave me his home and office telephone numbers and and advised me that I could contact him at any time of day or night should I be charged by Garrison’s office as a result of my appearing on the NBC show. My actual appearance on the show was taped in the  office of Aaron Kohn, Managing Director of the Metropolitan Crime Commission, in the presence of Walter Sheridan and Irvin Dymond.”

This is one of the most revealing documents portraying the lengths to which Sheridan would go in tampering with witnesses. It also demonstrates that Shaw’s lawyers—Bill and Ed Wegmann, Irvin Dymond, and Sal Panzeca—knew almost no boundary in what kind of help they would accept to win their case. Third, it reveals that Shaw’s lawyers had access to a network of attorneys that they could hire at any time for any witness they could pry loose from Garrison. Because, as the declassified ARRB documents reveal, there  was a CIA cleared attorney’s panel that was at work in New Orleans. Attorneys that the Agency vetted in advance so they would be suitable for their covert use and could be trusted in their aims. The fact that Shaw’s lawyers were privy to such CIA secret knowledge, and wee utilizing it, shows just how willing and eager they were  to indulge themselves in covert help—and then lie about it. . . .

In addition to Sheridan, James Phelan and Hugh Aynesworth joined the media chorus attacking Garrison, and both of them networked with the intelligence community as well. Phelan’s hit piece was published in the Saturday Evening Post, which was eventually bought by CIA veteran Beurt Ser Vas, an alumnus of the Sheridan-linked Three Eyes intelligence front.


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