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For The Record  

FTR #1047 Interview #16 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 six­teenth 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.)

Mort Sahl, arguably the great­est stand-up come­di­an of all time.

The pro­gram opens with con­tin­u­a­tion of dis­cus­sion of an unfor­tu­nate piece from The Huff­in­g­ton Post about Clay Shaw. In addi­tion to par­rot­ing canards about Gar­rison’s case being base­less, Clay Shaw being a “Wilsonian/FDR lib­er­al” and Gar­rison’s nonex­is­tent stance that the JFK assas­si­na­tion was a “homo­sex­u­al thrill killing” by Clay Shaw & com­pa­ny, the HP piece men­tioned an appear­ance by Jim Gar­ri­son on John­ny Car­son­’s “Tonight Show.”

The actu­al sto­ry of Gar­rison’s appear­ance on Car­son is impor­tant and inter­est­ing. When the bril­liant come­di­an Mort Sahl was on Car­son­’s show, the sub­ject of the Gar­ri­son inves­ti­ga­tion came up. Sahl asked the audi­ence if they would like to have Gar­ri­son come on the show, and they respond­ed with over­whelm­ing enthu­si­asm.

Even­tu­al­ly, Gar­ri­son did appear on the show and Car­son engaged in an open­ly con­fronta­tion­al dis­cus­sion. Car­son was so out­raged that he told Mort Sahl that he would nev­er appear on the pro­gram again. Mort did not appear on the “Tonight” show until Jay Leno suc­ceed­ed Car­son as the host.

In this regard, it is worth not­ing that NBC–the net­work that aired Wal­ter Sheri­dan’s hit piece on Garrison–has pro­found con­nec­tions to the intel­li­gence com­mu­ni­ty, as dis­cussed in FTR #1045.

Jim also relates that, when in Los Ange­les, Robert Kennedy was query­ing Chi­na Lee–Mort’s wife at the time–about what Gar­ri­son was doing in New Orleans. As we have seen in past programs–including FTR #‘s 809, 892, 1005–Robert Kennedy was wait­ing until he got elect­ed Pres­i­dent before open­ing an inves­ti­ga­tion into his broth­er’s mur­der. Of course, he, too was killed before he could become Pres­i­dent.

The pro­gram then turns to James Kirk­wood, anoth­er of the des­ig­nat­ed media hatch­et men who pil­lo­ried Gar­ri­son. Net­worked with James Phe­lan, he helped mint the canard that Gar­ri­son pros­e­cut­ed Shaw in the con­text of what the DA sup­pos­ed­ly saw as a “homo­sex­u­al thrill killing.” Unfor­tu­nate­ly, this non­sense has endured, as a Huff­in­g­ton Post arti­cle makes clear.

Anoth­er of the media hit men who defamed Gar­ri­son was David Chan­dler:

Des­tiny Betrayed by Jim DiEu­ge­nio; Sky­horse Pub­lish­ing [SC]; Copy­right 1992, 2012 by Jim DiEu­ge­nio; ISBN 978–1‑62087–056‑3; p. 276.

. . . . But Chandler’s most seri­ous blast against Gar­ri­son and his inquiry was a two-part arti­cle writ­ten for Life in the fall of 1967. This appeared in the Sep­tem­ber 1 and Sep­tem­ber 8 issues of the mag­a­zine. The pieces mas­quer­ad­ed as an expose of Mafia influ­ence in large cities in Amer­i­ca at the time. But the real tar­get of the piece was not the mob, but Gar­ri­son. The idea was to depict him as a cor­rupt New Orleans DA who had some kind of neb­u­lous ties to the Mafia and Car­los Mar­cel­lo. There were four prin­ci­pal par­tic­i­pants in the pieces: Chan­dler, Sandy Smith, Dick Billings, and Robert Blakey. Smith was the actu­al billed writer. And since Smith was a long-time asset of the FBI, it is very like­ly that the Bureau was the Bureau was the orig­i­nat­ing force behind the mag­a­zine run­ning the piece. . . .

. . . . It was the work of Chan­dler, a friend of both Clay Shaw and Ker­ry Thorn­ley, which was the basis of the com­plete­ly pho­ny con­cept that Gar­ri­son was some­how in bed with the Mafia and his func­tion was to steer atten­tion from their killing of Kennedy. . . .

The sub­ject then turns to Clay Shaw’s defense team. It should nev­er be for­got­ten that Shaw’s attor­neys net­worked with: the infil­tra­tors into Gar­rison’s office, the CIA and the media hatch­et men who helped destroy Gar­rison’s pub­lic image.

We return briefly to Guy John­son, ini­tial­ly a mem­ber of Shaw’s defense team. In this con­text, it is worth remem­ber­ing what Ban­is­ter inves­ti­ga­tor Tom­my Baum­ler said:

Des­tiny Betrayed by Jim DiEu­ge­nio; Sky­horse Pub­lish­ing [SC]; Copy­right 1992, 2012 by Jim DiEu­ge­nio; ISBN 978–1‑62087–056‑3; p. 274.

. . . . In the spring of 1968, Harold Weis­berg inter­viewed Tom­my Baum­ler. Baum­ler had for­mer­ly worked for Guy Ban­is­ter as part of his corps of stu­dent infil­tra­tors in the New Orleans area. Because of that expe­ri­ence, Baum­ler knew a lot about Banister’s oper­a­tion. For instance, that Banister’s files were cod­ed, and that Ban­is­ter had black­mail mate­r­i­al on the sub­jects he kept files on. He also knew the intel­li­gence net­work in New Orleans was con­struct­ed through Ban­is­ter, Clay Shaw, and Guy John­son; how close Shaw and Ban­is­ter were; and that “Oswald worked for Ban­is­ter.” In Weisberg’s inter­view with Tom­my, he would occa­sion­al­ly ask to go off the record by telling him to turn the tape recorder off. Clear­ly, there were things going on in New Orleans that Baum­ler con­sid­ered too hot to be attrib­uted to him.

At this time, April of 1968, Weis­berg con­sid­ered Baum­ler to be an “unabashed fas­cist.” He explained this fur­ther by say­ing that Baum­ler was ‘aware of the mean­ing of his beliefs and con­sid­ers what he describes as his beliefs as prop­er.” He then explained to Weis­berg the fol­low­ing, “that what­ev­er hap­pens, the Shaw case will end with­out pun­ish­ment for him [Shaw], because fed­er­al pow­er will see to that.” He fur­ther said that this would also hap­pen to any­one else charged by Gar­ri­son. . . .

In addi­tion to John­son, Irv Dymond, anoth­er Shaw attor­ney, net­worked with the intel­li­gence com­mu­ni­ty, Wal­ter Sheri­dan and the spook infil­tra­tors into Gar­rion’s office. In FTR #1045, we not­ed that Fred Lee­mans claimed he was coerced, in part, direct­ly by Irv Dymond in Dymond’s law office. Dymond worked direct­ly with Hunter Leake of the CIA’s New Orleans office.

Shaw attor­neys Edward and William Weg­mann also net­worked with the intel­li­gence com­mu­ni­ty, employ­ing Wack­en­hut, for­mer­ly South­ern Research, an intel­li­gence-con­nect­ed pri­vate secu­ri­ty out­fit to mon­i­tor Gar­rison’s com­mu­ni­ca­tions.

Anoth­er Shaw attorney–Sal Panzeca–received a list of Gar­ri­son wit­ness­es from Gar­ri­son office infil­tra­tor Tom Bethell.

Des­tiny Betrayed by Jim DiEu­ge­nio; Sky­horse Pub­lish­ing [SC]; Copy­right 1992, 2012 by Jim DiEu­ge­nio; ISBN 978–1‑62087–056‑3; p. 290.

. . . . Tom Bethell had been one of the DA’s key inves­ti­ga­tors and researchers . . . . Since Gar­ri­son had des­ig­nat­ed him as his chief archivist, he had access to and con­trol of both Gar­rison’s files and his most recent wit­ness list. . . . Secret­ly, he met with Sal Panze­ca, one of Shaw’s attor­neys, and gave him a wit­ness list he had pre­pared, with sum­maries of each wit­ness’s expect­ed tes­ti­mo­ny for the pros­e­cu­tion. . . .

The pro­gram con­cludes with the obstruc­tive efforts of then Attor­ney Gen­er­al Ram­sey Clark.

Clark tried to dis­miss Clay Shaw’s involve­ment inthe assas­si­na­tion by claim­ing that the FBI had cleared him back in 1963.

Des­tiny Betrayed by Jim DiEu­ge­nio; Sky­horse Pub­lish­ing [SC]; Copy­right 1992, 2012 by Jim DiEu­ge­nio; ISBN 978–1‑62087–056‑3; p. 261.

. . . . One point man for the John­son Admin­is­tra­tion in dam­ag­ing Gar­rison’s case was Ram­sey Clark. In March of 1867, right after his con­fir­ma­tion as Attor­ney Gen­er­al by the Sen­ate Judi­cia­ry Com­mit­tee, Clark made an extra­or­di­nary inter­ven­tion into the case: he told a group of reporters Gar­rison’s case was base­less. The FBI, he said, had already inves­ti­gat­ed Shaw in 1963 and found no con­nec­tion between him and the events in Dal­las. . . .

Clark also assist­ed with the quash­ing of sub­poe­nas that Gar­ri­son served.

Des­tiny Betrayed by Jim DiEu­ge­nio; Sky­horse Pub­lish­ing [SC]; Copy­right 1992, 2012 by Jim DiEu­ge­nio; ISBN 978–1‑62087–056‑3; pp. 272–273.

. . . . At around this time, Gar­ri­son issued sub­poe­nas for both Richard Helms and any pho­tographs of Oswald in Mex­i­co City that the CIA held. . . . [CIA Gen­er­al Coun­sel Lawrence] Hous­ton then wrote a let­ter to New Orleans judge Bernard Bagert who had signed the sub­poe­na. He denied there were pho­tos of Oswald in Mex­i­co City. This reply was run by Attor­ney Gen­er­al  Ram­sey Clark and White House advis­er Har­ry MacPher­son. . . .

Final­ly, Clark denied Gar­ri­son prop­er access to autop­sy pho­tos and infor­ma­tion about the assas­si­na­tion.

Des­tiny Betrayed by Jim DiEu­ge­nio; Sky­horse Pub­lish­ing [SC]; Copy­right 1992, 2012 by Jim DiEu­ge­nio; ISBN 978–1‑62087–056‑3; p. 287.

. . . . After the Attor­ney Gen­er­al had bun­gled his first attempt to dis­cred­it Gar­rison’s case, he secret­ly tried anoth­er method. Gar­ri­son had been try­ing to secure the orig­i­nal JFK autop­sy pho­tos and X‑rays to exhib­it at the tri­al. They would form an impor­tant part of his case, since, to prove a con­spir­a­cy, he had to present evi­dence against the War­ren Report, which main­tained there was no con­spir­a­cy and that Oswald had act­ed alone. In 1968, Clark con­vened a pan­el of experts–which did not include any of the doc­tors who had per­formed the orig­i­nal examinations–to review the autop­sy pho­tos and X‑rays. In ear­ly 1969, just a few days before he left office and on the eve of the tri­al, Clark announced that this pan­el had endorsed the find­ings of the War­ren Report. The pan­el released its find­ings, but none of the orig­i­nal evi­dence on which it was based. This was clear­ly meant to influ­ence pub­lic opin­ion before Shaw’s tri­al began. . . .

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