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FTR #1048 Interview #17 with Jim DiEugenio about “Destiny Betrayed”

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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 seventeenth 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 proceed into New Orleans’ DA Jim Garrison’s actual trial of Clay Shaw.

Before going into the trial, per se, we highlight the “turning” of The New Orleans States-Item. This “turning” features one of the principal infiltrators into Garrison’s office, William Gurvich.

Destiny Betrayed by Jim DiEugenio; Skyhorse Publishing [SC]; Copyright 1992, 2012 by Jim DiEugenio; ISBN 978-1-62087-056-3; p. 275.

. . . . From this interview [with Tommy Baumler], what appears to have happened is that the  CIA sent someone into New Orleans to impact public opinion about Garrison. This may have been occasioned by a letter forwarded to CIA HQ to Lloyd Ray of the local New Orleans office. . . .  William Gurvich, now working with Shaw’s lawyers, visited the offices of The New Orleans States-Item. Ross Yockey and Hoke May had been seriously investigating the Shaw case. And they had been doing that in a fair and judicious manner. They had uncovered some interesting facts about how Gordon Novel’s lawyers were being paid. After Gurvich’s visit, the States-Item pulled Yockey and May from the Garrison beat. When this author interviewed Yockey in 1995, he said that after this, he was then assigned to covering high school football games. With the States-Item now neutralized, the coverage in New Orleans now became imbalanced. . . .

Clay Shaw

Jim titled the chapter dedicated to the trial “Anti-Climax.” It was indeed an anti-climax after Garrison was subjected to the irresistible engine of the synthesis of: the intelligence community, their lone-wolf operators infiltrating his office, those infiltrators’ networking with the intelligence community’s media hatchet men dedicated to smearing Garrison publicly, Clay Shaw’s defense team and the Justice Department.

Exemplifying this synthesis is media hatchet man and veteran intelligence agent Walter Sheridan’s activities in connection with Garrison’s witnesses.

Destiny Betrayed by Jim DiEugenio; Skyhorse Publishing [SC]; Copyright 1992, 2012 by Jim DiEugenio; ISBN 978-1-62087-056-3; p. 289.

 . . . . But Walter Sheridan had done even more to undermine Garrison’s case. As stated before, former CIA agent Jules Rocco Kimble had been on a mysterious plane flight to Montreal in 1963 with Ferrie and Shaw. When Sheridan got wind of it, he intimidated Kimble first, into not talking, and then, into skipping town. Emilio Santana, another important witness (especially in relation to Sergio Arcacha Smith and the Rose Cheramie story), also disappeared. Garrison’s investigators felt that the ubiquitous Sheridan might have reached him also.

Garrison’s investigation was subjected to an onslaught, including outright, state-sponsored terror directed at witnesses.

A synoptic overview of the witnesses and their significance:

  1. Richard Case Nagell–A U.S. intelligence operative infiltrated into Soviet intelligence, and then assigned by KGB to assassinate Oswald, whom they knew was to be a patsy in an assassination plot against JFK for which they would be blamed.
  2. Reverend Clyde Johnson–A right-wing activist who was witness to Clay Shaw and a “Jack Rubion” networking together against JFK.
  3. Aloysius Habighorst–A good New Orleans cop who was the booking officer for Clay Shaw, when Shaw volunteered that he used the alias “Clay Bertrand.”
  4. Edwin McGehee–One of the witnesses connecting Clay Shaw to Oswald and David Ferrie in Clinton, Louisiana.
  5. Reeves Morgan–Another of the witnesses connecting Clay Shaw to Oswald and David Ferrie in Clinton, Louisiana.

Destiny Betrayed by Jim DiEugenio; Skyhorse Publishing [SC]; Copyright 1992, 2012 by Jim DiEugenio; ISBN 978-1-62087-056-3; p. 294.

. . . . Before and during the trial, Garrison’s witnesses were being surveilled, harassed, and physically attacked. For instance, Richard Case Nagell had a grenade thrown at him from a speeding car in New York. Nagell brought the remains of the grenade to Garrison and told him he did not think it wise for him to testify at Shaw’s trial. Even though Garrison had spirited Clyde Johnson out of town and very few people knew where he was, the FBI’s total surveillance eventually paid off. He was brutally beaten on the eve of the trial and hospitalized. Aloysius Habighorst, the man who booked Shaw and heard him say his alias was Bertrand, was rammed by a truck the day before he testified. After he testified, Edwin McGehee found a prowler on his front lawn. he called the marshal, and the man was arrested. At the station, the man asked to make one phone call. The call he made was to the International Trade Mart. After he testified, Reeves Morgan had the windows shot out of his truck. What makes all this violent intimidation more startling is what Robert Tanenbaum stated to the author in an interview for Probe Magazine. He said that he had seen a set of documents that originated in the office of Richard Helms. They revealed that the CIA was monitoring and harassing Garrison’s witnesses. . . .

The violent harassment of the witnesses may be viewed against the backdrop of Tom Bethell and Sal Panzeca.

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. . . .

Exemplifying the effective neutralizing of witnesses is the drumbeat of discreditation and intimidation of Perry Russo, a witness to Shaw and Ferrie discussing plans to assassinate JFK. By the time of Clay Shaw’s trial, Russo relented and assented to the canard that the Shaw/Ferrie assassination planning was just a “bull session.”








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