Spitfire List Web site and blog of anti-fascist researcher and radio personality Dave Emory.

For The Record  

FTR #620 Interview with Paris Flammonde about the ‘Masques of New Orleans’

Record­ed Novem­ber 25, 2007
MP3: Side 1 | Side 2

Fol­low­ing on the heels of FTR#619, this pro­gram fea­tures author and radio pro­duc­er Paris Flammonde’s account of the New Orleans inves­ti­ga­tion of Pres­i­dent Kennedy’s assas­si­na­tion. For­mer pro­duc­er of the sem­i­nal late-night radio talk pro­gram The Long John Nebel Show, Flammonde’s 1969 book The Kennedy Con­spir­a­cy was one of the tomes that helped put Mr. Emory on his life’s path. Uti­liz­ing Paris’ the­atri­cal metaphor, this pro­gram explores the real life char­ac­ters behind the masques which the media per­mit­ted the New Orleans assas­si­na­tion con­spir­a­tors to dis­play to the pub­lic. Of pri­ma­ry inter­est are the indi­vid­u­als who revolved around the dual address­es of 531 Lafayette Place and 544 Camp Street. This milieu was a vio­lent­ly anti-com­mu­nist, racist and fas­cist milieu inex­tri­ca­bly linked with the covert oper­a­tions against Fidel Castro’s Cuba. Yet the media and judi­cial estab­lish­ments of the Unit­ed States have gone along with the pre­vail­ing fic­tion that Lee Har­vey Oswald was a pro-Cas­tro com­mu­nist sym­pa­thize, whose “Fair Play for Cuba” orga­ni­za­tion oper­at­ed out of those dual address­es. This masque of “Oswald the Com­mie” was vital to the cov­er-up of the Kennedy assassination—it con­vinced many who knew what had real­ly hap­pened to remain silent lest pub­lic out­rage and resul­tant polit­i­cal pres­sure lead to a Third World War. Here, the truth is “unmasqued.”

Pro­gram High­lights Include: A syn­op­tic biog­ra­phy of New Orleans DA Jim Gar­ri­son; Paris Flammonde’s account of how he came to be asso­ci­at­ed with Garrison’s probe; a syn­op­tic biog­ra­phy of appar­ent Oswald han­dler Guy Ban­nis­ter; a syn­op­tic biog­ra­phy of intel­li­gence oper­a­tive and appar­ent Oswald han­dler David Fer­rie; a syn­op­tic biog­ra­phy of Clay Shaw, the defen­dant in Garrison’s tri­al; review of the fact that the jury in the Shaw tri­al con­clud­ed that there had been a con­spir­a­cy but that there wasn’t enough evi­dence to con­clude beyond a rea­son­able doubt that Clay Shaw was guilty.

1. Once again, Mr. Emory vis­it­ed with Paris Flam­monde, author, polit­i­cal inves­ti­ga­tor and radio pro­duc­er. In 1969, Paris pub­lished The Kennedy Con­spir­a­cy [HC edi­tion, Mered­ith Press], one of the first books Mr. Emory read about the sub­ject of Pres­i­dent Kennedy’s assas­si­na­tion and a vol­ume which helped set Mr. Emory upon his life’s path. In this broad­cast, we exam­ine what Paris calls “the masques of New Orleans”—the offi­cial pub­lic per­sona of many of the play­ers in the New Orleans phase of the JFK assas­si­na­tion con­spir­a­cy. The pri­ma­ry focus is on New Orleans Dis­trict Attor­ney Jim Garrison’s inves­ti­ga­tion into the assas­si­na­tion.

2. Paris began his dis­cus­sion with an account of how he came to be asso­ci­at­ed with Jim Gar­ri­son and his inves­ti­ga­tion. Sum­ma­riz­ing Garrison’s biog­ra­phy, Paris recounts: Jim’s youth in Ohio; his move to Chica­go; his work fly­ing bird dogs for the Army in WWII [these were light, unarmed artillery spot­ter planes, whose pilots had an 80% fatal­i­ty rate]; his enroll­ment in Tulane U.; his brief work for the FBI; his being called to active duty in Korea; his work for the law enforce­ment estab­lish­ment of New Orleans; his styl­ish dress and great phys­i­cal size; his post-inves­ti­ga­tion elec­tion as a judge in New Orleans; his pen­chant for chess.

3. Next, Paris detailed the cir­cum­stances in which he became involved with Gar­ri­son and his inquiry: Paris was in New York City and heard the news of the assas­si­na­tion on a taxicab’s radio; Paris received a call from Eric Nor­den, author of an ear­ly, impor­tant arti­cle about the assas­si­na­tion; Nor­den asked Flammonde—“A Coup d’etat, right?”—Paris agreed. A few years lat­er, Nor­den called and said that he had been com­mis­sioned to write an arti­cle about Garrison’s inves­ti­ga­tion of the killing—this result­ed in Flam­monde being com­mis­sioned to write a book about the Gar­ri­son inves­ti­ga­tion. This, in turn, result­ed in Flam­monde agree­ing and fly­ing to New Orleans.

4. Describ­ing the begin­nings of Garrison’s inves­ti­ga­tion, Paris relates how the ven­er­a­ble dis­trict attor­ney came to focus on Guy Bannister’s detec­tive agency and its employ­ee David Fer­rie. Fer­rie sup­pos­ed­ly went on a duck-hunt­ing trip, the cir­cum­stances of which hard­ly stood the test of scruti­ny.

5. Among the focal points of Garrison’s inquiry was an orga­ni­za­tion called the Old Catholic Church, to which David Fer­rie belonged. The fact that Paris knew a fair amount about this orga­ni­za­tion gave him a degree of util­i­ty to Gar­ri­son. In addi­tion, Paris dis­cussed a fas­cist intel­li­gence front called Per­min­dex and its Ital­ian sub­sidiary the Cen­tro Mon­di­ale Com­mer­ciale. Clay Shaw—Garrison’s chief defen­dant after the death of David Ferrie—was a key mem­ber of these orga­ni­za­tions. (For more about Per­min­dex and the CMC, see “The Guns of Novem­ber, Part IV.”)

6. Paris relates how Gar­ri­son orig­i­nal­ly thought Oswald to be the shoot­er; he lat­er con­clud­ed that Oswald was a pat­sy.

7. Next, Paris out­lines the dual address­es 531 Lafayette Place, 544 Camp Street. One was the address on Lee Har­vey Oswald’s “Fair Play for Cuba Com­mit­tee” literature—Oswald was its only mem­ber. The oth­er was the address of Guy Bannister’s detec­tive agency, which served as an epi­cen­ter of the para­mil­i­tary covert oper­a­tions against Fidel Cas­tro. Both address­es were entrances to the same build­ing! Gar­ri­son found this to be a lit­tle sus­pi­cious.

8. The dis­cus­sion then turned to a brief biog­ra­phy of Guy Bannister—like Paris, a Chica­go native. Ban­nis­ter worked as a FBI Spe­cial Agent and he was in charge of Chica­go office of FBI. Even­tu­al­ly, Ban­nis­ter (who had also worked for Naval Intel­li­gence) moved to New Orleans and served in the law enforce­ment com­mu­ni­ty in the Cres­cent City.

9. Next, Paris syn­op­sizes the back­ground of New Orleans Mafia capo Car­los Marcello—born in North Africa of Sicil­ian extrac­tion. Even­tu­al­ly, Mar­cel­lo became New Orleans capo. Attor­ney Gen­er­al Robert Kennedy went after this pow­er­ful capo, hav­ing Mar­cel­lo deport­ed to Guatemala. Marcello’s influ­ence extend­ed to Dal­las. After 11/22/1963, the FBI imme­di­ate­ly cleared Mar­cel­lo and labeled him a “toma­to sales­man.” The House Select Com­mit­tee on Assas­si­na­tions impli­cat­ed Mar­cel­lo in the assas­si­na­tion, although its con­clu­sion that the Mafia per­formed the assas­si­na­tion is erro­neous. Although orga­nized crime was involved in the killing, it was but one ele­ment and by no means the most impor­tant.

10. David Fer­rie worked as an inves­ti­ga­tor for Guy Ban­nis­ter, and also worked for Car­los Mar­cel­lo. Oswald also had links to Fer­rie, dat­ing back to their time togeth­er in the Civ­il Air Patrol. Gar­ri­son dis­patched Paris and his assis­tant Lou Ivon were dis­patched by Gar­ri­son to check out Ferrie’s ghost­ly, cob­web-rid­den apart­ment. Paris relat­ed Ferrie’s background—his Roman Catholic upbring­ing in Ohio; his father’s work as a police cap­tain; Ferrie’s career as an air­line pilot; his entry into, and dis­hon­or­able dis­charge from, the Army Reserve; his fir­ing from his job as a pilot for East­ern Air­lines; his role as the head of the Civ­il Air Patrol in New Orleans—Oswald was part of his unit. Paris relates that Fer­rie ran guns for Cas­tro and then turned against him. Fer­rie may have asso­ci­at­ed with Mafia lord San­tos Traf­fi­cante and anti-Cas­tro Cuban Ser­gio Arcacha Smith. In addi­tion, Fer­rie was a mem­ber of the Old Catholic Church (like William Joseph Bryan, believed by many inves­ti­ga­tors to have been the hyp­no-pro­gram­mer for Sirhan Sirhan).

11. An aspect of Garrison’s inves­ti­ga­tion that is fre­quent­ly over­looked is the fact that the jury came to the con­clu­sion that there had been a con­spir­a­cy, but that they could not prove beyond a rea­son­able doubt that Shaw was involved. Colonel Pierre Finck tes­ti­fied under oath that he was ordered by unnamed supe­ri­or offi­cers not to dis­sect Pres­i­dent Kennedy’s neck wound. This con­sti­tutes proof of a con­spir­a­cy.

12. Guy Ban­nis­ter, Oswald and David Fer­rie were involved with the var­i­ous covert oper­a­tions con­duct­ed against the regime of Fidel Cas­tro.

13. Paris notes that the head­quar­ters of this nation’s var­i­ous intel­li­gence ser­vices were all cen­tral­ized with­in a small area of New Orleans. Guy Bannister’s office was in the same neigh­bor­hood.

14. Clay Shaw was con­nect­ed to var­i­ous intel­li­gence ser­vices through a vari­ety of con­tacts. Ted Brandt of N.O. Trade Mart was one of Shaw’s intel­li­gence con­tacts. He may well have had con­nec­tions with the French intel­li­gence ser­vice as well. In the con­text of the sys­tem­at­ic dis­in­for­ma­tion about the Kennedy assas­si­na­tion dis­sem­i­nat­ed by the media, it is inter­est­ing to con­tem­plate Shaw’s rela­tion­ship with Sid Gold­berg of the North Amer­i­can News­pa­per Alliance, an orga­ni­za­tion with close ties to the CIA. Sid Gold­berg was mar­ried to Lucianne Gold­berg, the Nixon spy in the McGov­ern cam­paign in 1972 who achieved imper­ish­able noto­ri­ety as the woman who pre­cip­i­tat­ed the Mon­i­ca Lewin­sky dis­clo­sures con­cern­ing Bill Clinton’s sex life.

15. Among the top­ics touched on is an enu­mer­a­tion of oth­er books about Garrison’s inves­ti­ga­tion. Among the vol­umes rec­om­mend­ed by Mr. Emory are: Let Jus­tice Be Done by Bill Davy; Dr. Mary’s Mon­key by Ed Haslam; Bar­ry and the Boys by Daniel Hop­sick­er and Des­tiny Betrayed by Jim Di Euge­nio.

16. The dis­cus­sion con­cludes with a per­func­to­ry account­ing of the sus­pi­cious and [in many cas­es] vio­lent deaths of var­i­ous per­sons who fig­ured in Garrison’s probe. David Fer­rie died of an appar­ent cere­bral hem­or­rhage in the brain, an injury which Paris notes can be inflict­ed by a high-rank­ing black belt in karate. Guy Ban­nis­ter him­self died of an appar­ent heart attack in 1964. One of Bannister’s staff—Hugh Ward—died in the crash of a small plane not too long after the assas­si­na­tion. Still anoth­er of Garrison’s investigators—Maurice Brooks Gatlin—was killed in the fall from a hotel win­dow in Pana­ma. Ferrie’s intel­li­gence handler—Eladio Del Valle—was bru­tal­ly mur­dered, after being tor­tured. Del Valle was shot in the heart at point blank range after hav­ing his head split open with a machete. (For more about the sus­pi­cious deaths of Kennedy assas­si­na­tion wit­ness­es, inves­ti­ga­tors and par­tic­i­pants, see “The Guns of Novem­ber, Part II.”

17. Paris’ four-vol­ume set can be obtained from

Post Office Box 48
Scio­ta, PA 18354–0048

Vis­it the web­site at: www.assassinationofamerica.com. Paris can be reached at: flammonde@assassinationofamerica.com.

18. Two video pro­duc­tions are being gen­er­at­ed by a cou­ple of doc­u­men­tary film­mak­ers. One is a DVD of a three-lec­ture series called “The First Refuge of a Scoundrel: The Rela­tion­ship Between Fas­cism and Reli­gion.” In addi­tion, there will soon be a doc­u­men­tary about Mr. Emory, titled “The Anti-Fas­cist.” For more about this project, vis­it TheAntiFascist.com.


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