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This broadcast was recorded in one, 60-minute segment .
Guy Banister employee Tommy Baumler: ” . . . . whatever happens, the Shaw case will end without punishment for him [Shaw], because federal power will see to that.”
Introduction: This is the eighteenth 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 King . Jim is also a regular guest and expert commentator on Black Op Radio .)
This interview continues with the analysis of Clay Shaw’s trial.
Exemplifying the power that was marshaled on behalf of Clay Shaw was the treatment accorded FBI agent Regis Kennedy.
Not only did the Department of Justice intercede ahead of time to limit Kennedy’s testimony, but Nixon’s Attorney General John Mitchell “severely curtailed” his testimony “mid-trial.”
. . . . The only witness that Garrison was able to produce to inquire into the official investigation of the assassination in New Orleans was FBI agent Regis Kennedy. And even then, by prior arrangement with the Justice Department, Kennedy would only testify about a certain area of his inquiry, namely his interview with Dean Andrews and his consequent search for Clay Bertrand. This limitation hurt the DA since Kennedy was a relevant witness to other aspects of the case. For instance, along with several others, he had been a member of the Friends of Democratic Cuba group set up by Guy Banister and William Dalzell. Further, there were witnesses who put Kennedy in Banister’s office. Therefore, what Kennedy could have told the court about Banister, Ferrie, their association with the Cubans–especially Sergio Artcacha Smith–and Oswald, was very likely considerable. But he was not allowed to testify about any of those important matters. Consequently, when Alcock asked him if he was involved with the investigation into President Kennedy’s death prior to his interview with Andrews, Kennedy said he was not sure if he could answer that question. The discussion then went inside the judge’s chambers. Connick then called Washington. After this, the jury was called back inside. Alcock then asked Kennedy if, prior to his interview with Andrews, had he been engaged in the inquiry into President Kennedy’s assassination. Kennedy replied in the affirmative. Alcock then was allowed to ask the follow-op question, which related to the first: Was Kennedy seeking Clay Bertrand in connection with his overall investigation into the assassination. Kennedy said that he was.
There was a code to all this that Alcock could not have known about. But it was part of the reason that Attorney General John Mitchell severely curtailed Regis Kennedy’s testimony in mid-trial. . . .
A major element in the testimony during Clay Shaw’s trial was the testimony of autopsy surgeon Army Lieutenant Colonel Pierre Finck. The autopsy was being controlled by one of the high-ranking military officers present at the procedure.
. . . . Finck replied that he was not running the autopsy, it was Commander James Humes. When Oser asked if Humes was actually in charge, Finck made a disclosure which literally changed the face of the autopsy evidence forever. And it should have rocked the news media if [media hatchet man James] Phelan had not been controlling it. Finck replied that Humes actually stopped and asked, “Who is in charge here?” Finck then said he heard an Army General say, “I am.” Finck then added, “You must understand that in those circumstances, there were law enforcement officials, military people with various ranks, and you have to coordinate the operations according to directions”. . . .
Then, Jim notes that Alvin Oser had to ask Finck eight times as to why Finck did not dissect the track of the neck wound. Finck’s response–that he was ordered not to do so by one of the high-ranking officers present, is proof of a conspiracy.
. . . . [Alvin] Oser then moved on to another key issue that exposed the pathologists as pawns. A very important point about the autopsy is its failure to convincingly prove directionality. That is, from which direction did the bullets enter the body? There have always been serious queries about whether the wound in Kennedy’s throat was an entrance or exit wound. If that wound was one of entrance, then Kennedy was shot at least once from the front. That shot could not have been from Oswald, therefore the murder was a conspiracy. What makes this possibility very real is that Malcolm Perry said during a televised press conference on November 22 that the throat wound was one of entrance. He repeated this three times that day. Since he did the tracheotomy right over that wound, he should certainly know. The best way to have proven this point once and for all was to have dissected the wound track. Amazingly, this was not done. When Oser tried to find out why it was not done, Finck used every evasion he could to avoid answering the question. Going over the transcript of this exchange is a bit startling. The reader will find that Oser had to pose the question eight separate times. It got so bad that Oser even had to request that the judge direct the witness to answer the question. Finck finally answered with, “As I recall I was told not to, but I don’t remember by whom.” Again, someone was controlling the pathology team in a way that prevented them from doing a full and correct autopsy. . . . Further, the fact that the doctors were ordered not to track the wound indicated the military brass may have been trying to cover this point up. . . .
One of Garrison’s strongest weapons in his counterattack against the forces running interference on behalf of Shaw and others involved in the assassination was the Zapruder film , which clearly shows Kennedy’s body being thrown back and to the left, indicating a shot from the front.
Media hatchet man James Phelan who, like Walter Sheridan and Hugh Aynesworth worked with the intelligence services, became a defense witness for Clay Shaw and also played what was, in effect, a supervisory/PR role in presiding over a consortium of journalists covering the Shaw trial.
. . . . That journalistic duo, Phelan and Ayneswoth, were both on the scene: Phelan as a witness for the defense and Aynesworth to help Shaw’s attorneys. An odd thing about this was that neither man had any ostensible writing assignment at the time. But it turned out that Phelan had a very special function for his backers. Most reporters in town to cover the proceedings rented a hotel room, but not Phelan. Phelan rented a house. Why would he do such a thing if he was not there to write a story? because his was a much bigger assignment. His job was to put the spin on each day’s testimony for the residing press corps, thereby controlling the entire national media reportage on the Shaw trial. How did he do such a thing? He would invite all the reporters over to his rented house at the end of each day. He would then serve them refreshments and snacks. He then would spell out the next day’s story on a chalkboard. This is how some of the most interesting and important testimony presented during the proceedings got covered up by the media. On the day the Zapruder film was shown, Phelan had his work cut out for him. For the repeated showing of the film was shown, Phelan had his work cut out for him. For the repeated showing of the film—depicting Kennedy’s body being violently knocked back—really shook up the press. It appeared Garrison was right, it was a conspiracy. But when they arrived at Phelan’s rented house, the reporter pulled a proverbial rabbit out of his hat. He took out his chalkboard, raised up his piece of chalk, and he began to outline the dynamics of the so-called “jet-effect” explanation for the action of the film. That is, if Oswald was firing from behind Kennedy, why does Kennedy’s body recoil with tremendous force to the rear of the car? What Phelan and the jet effect proffer is that somehow, the spurting of blood and brains served as a jet that drove Kennedy’s head backward with overpowering force. This is how determined Phelan was to keep a lid on what came out of the trial. . . .
In our previous program, we highlighted the attempt on booking officer Aloysius Habighorst’s life on the eve of his testimony in the Clay Shaw trial. When he testified, Judge Haggerty refused to allow his testimony into evidence.
. . . . When Shaw was first arrested in March of 1967, Habighorst had handled the booking. Before having him sign the fingerprint card, the officer had routinely asked if the defendant had ever used an alias. Apparently unsettled by his arrest, Shaw had replied “Clay Bertrand.” Habighorst typed this on the card and Shaw signed it. Alcock now wanted to admit both the card and the officer’s testimony as evidence into the trial. This seemed powerful, damning evidence because it came right out of Shaw’s mouth and hand. . . .The prosecution’s protestations fell on deaf ears. Judge Haggerty would not allow the evidence. . . .
Alcock leaped out of his chair. His face red and his voice cracked with emotion. “Your Honor. Are you ruling on the credibility of officer Habighorst?” . . . .
. . . . “The whole world can hear that I do not believe Officer Habighorst. . . . .”
“I demand a mistrial,” Alcock shouted. “A judge’s unsolicited comment on evidence . . . .”
“Denied,” said Haggerty. . . .
The program concludes with discussion of Harry Connick’s destruction of Garrison’s files and of the government’s efforts to discredit Garison. This will be taken up at greater length in our next program.