(Continued from Part One . . .)
I have now posted these documents in full at my Web site. I believe a slight digression to discuss them could prove worthwhile.One last gasp at making the Shaw-"Bertrand" connection is presented in the form of "what appears to be a computer printout from the 1960's [sic] . . . written in indecipherable 'CIA-ese,'" released from Shaw's CIA file in 1994. The printout contains virtually no intelligible information, but does include a line reading, "/A [presumably "alias"] Bertrand, Clay" (Davy, 196-7). The implication is that this item substantiates the charge that Shaw was "Bertrand," where it more likely only passes along information received from the field, i.e., from press accounts of the Garrison investigation. This is supported by recently declassified documents that Davy refers to in another context (Davy, 177-8) but does not quote: internal CIA memoranda that explicitly demonstrate that CIA officers in New Orleans and Washington, DC, had no idea whether Shaw used any "Bertrand" alias or not. In fact, these memoranda consist in part of the two offices asking if the other has any information that would confirm the accusation (CIA memoranda of Lloyd A. Ray, November 15, 1967, NO-406-67, and memoranda of Donald E. Pratt, November 24, 1967; newsgroup posts of Jim Hargrove).
At the trial of Clay Shaw, the New Orleans District Attorney's Office produced a December 14, 1966, page from the Eastern Airlines VIP Room guest register sporting the handwritten "Clay Bertrand" at the bottom of the page. They also produced a witness, former VIP Room employee Mrs. Jessie Parker, who testified that she saw a man sign the name, and that man she identified as Clay Shaw. (During cross-examination she admitted that she had initially refused to identify Shaw as this individual.)
Bill Davy writes, "Another guest who signed the VIP register that day was a New Orleans resident named Alfred Moran. On November 13, 1967, Garrison's office questioned Moran and he adamantly stated that Shaw was not at the VIP room on the day in question. Moran knew Shaw, he said, and clearly would have recalled his presence. However, newly discovered documents reveal a different story.
"The day after Moran's interview," Davy continues, "he hosted a cocktail party at his suburban New Orleans home. In attendance was Moran's close friend, Hunter Leake of the New Orleans CIA office. During the course of the evening, Moran took his CIA friend aside and told him of his contact with Garrison's office. Moran recalled the occasion at the VIP [room] and said he identified Clay Shaw's presence there."
The documents in question are a November 15, 1967, CIA memo from Lloyd Ray of the New Orleans CIA office to the Director of the Domestic Contact Service in Washington, and several memoranda generated in response.
Compare Davy's account of the Moran-Leake conversation to what Lloyd Ray's memo reports:
On the evening of 14 November 1967, Hunter C. Leake of this office attended a cocktail party at the home of a very good friend of his, Alfred J. Moran, who has had some past dealings with the Agency. During the course of the evening, he took Hunter aside and told him that he had been contacted by a member of Jim Garrison's staff in connection with the conspiracy charges against Clay Shaw. From Mr. Moran's narration, it appears that the Assistant D.A. had the name of several individuals who happened on one occasion to be together in the Eastern Airlines VIP room at the New Orleans International Airport. One of these names was Clem [sic] Bertrand; another was Moran's. Mr. Moran recalled the occasion and positively identified to the Assistant D.A. the presence there of Clay Shaw at that time. Since Mr. Moran is no admirer of Shaw, he could be a very hostile witness at Shaw's trial.
So it seems pretty obvious that either Lloyd Ray or Hunter Leake misreported Moran's account. But that's not quite the impression one receives from Davy's version.
As noted above, Davy also attempts to bolster Jim Garrison's Shaw-"Bertrand" theory with a document that, Davy would have us believe, implies that the CIA possessed information that Shaw used such an alias. For some reason, Davy does not refer back to the Hunter Leake memo, which continues:
Because of the caveat on discussing this case, Hunter merely listened and was noncommittal, but wanted very badly to ask Mr. Moran: (a) the date of the occasion; (b) the identities of all those present (i.e., Clay Shaw and Clem Bertrand might have been both present); (c) whether they had to sign a guest register in the VIP room; (d) whether Eastern Airlines keeps a log on all VIP room guests; (e) the source of the Assistant DA's information and whether his interview with Mr. Moran was by telephone or in person.Why would Davy refrain from demonstrating that the CIA's Lloyd Ray describes Clay Shaw and "Clem Bertrand" as two different people?
In connection with Alfred Moran, Davy also cites a CIA document of November 30, 1967, from General Counsel Lawrence Houston. But when it comes to the issue of Shaw's alleged alias and the CIA's supposed knowledge of it, Davy declines to cite the following passage from Houston's memo:
Most interested para 3 of reference which states conversation between Hunter C. Leake and Alfred S. Moran on the Garrison matter. Agree with Hunter's desire to question Moran further. Since Moran has in past always been most helpful and cooperative with the agency, we believe in this case an exception might be made to the caveat on discussing the Clay Shaw case. It makes no sense for Clay Shaw to use the name Clem Bertrand at such a meeting so we assume they were two different people, but if Moran could confirm this it might be a very important point.As with Lloyd Ray, Davy just doesn't seem interested in Lawrence Houston's opinion that "It makes no sense for Clay Shaw to use the name Clem Bertrand at such a meeting," nor Houston's report that "we assume they were two different people . . ."
Using another CIA memorandum pertaining to Moran, Davy makes yet another interesting claim. "The CIA's underhandedness is further illustrated," Davy writes, "in the previously mentioned internal memorandum I discovered. The Agency was so concerned about Moran's involvement with the DD/P becoming known that it suggested that his 201 file be modified. A subsequent CIA memo notes that since November 19, 1964, Moran's 'contacts for the DDP have been handled by the DCS.' This should serve as a bright red flag for researchers. This is direct evidence that the CIA can easily modify anyone's 201 file to make it look like they may have had innocuous DCS contact or perhaps no Agency contact at all."
Heady stuff. Does Davy have his facts straight?
Let's go to the document.
In the document cited by Davy, a November 24, 1967, memorandum, we learn first that "An examination of subject's [Alfred Moran's] 201 file has disclosed that he became a DD/P asset on or about 15 December 1962."
Further along, the author of the memo, Donald Pratt, expresses curiosity about whether or not Moran has been a contact for the New Orleans DCS office. Pratt quotes a statement of Lloyd Ray's, that Moran "has had some past dealings with the Agency." Pratt asks, "Is this statement a reference to his DD/P role, mentioned above, or is it based upon contacts with the New Orleans office of the DCS?" "If the latter," Pratt continues, "we should be grateful for answers to the usual questions: when did such contacts start, how many occurred, what reports resulted, has contact ceased, and if so what is the terminal date? (We are not referring to personal contacts resulting from Subject's friendship with Mr. Leake but solely to DCS business contacts.)"
In other words, Pratt at CIA headquarters wants to know all that DCS knows about Moran. But he also has another concern. "If the reference was in the DD/P contact," Pratt asks, "how did Mr. Leake know about it? Did Subject tell him?"
Mr. Pratt wants to know whether Hunter Leake knew about Moran's relationship with DDP, and if so, how did he find out? The DCS chief is not supposed to know the DDP's business. (A later CIA memo of January 12, 1968, authored by Lawrence Houston, would state that Moran was indeed a DCS contact. His name is deleted, but the description is very clearly of Moran, described as a friend of Hunter Leake's who had "been questioned by Garrison's staff. DDP contact from December 21, 1962, to present.")
Why Bill Davy omitted this fascinating inside glimpse of CIA operations from his book I'll never understand.
But Davy does report the memo's concluding passage. Sort of.
"As usual," the memo says, "it is requested that these queries be forwarded to New Orleans separately and without specific reference to the DD/P or to components or personnel thereof. It is suggested that the information in para. 1, above, be modified, in the version prepared for New Orleans, to state that subject's 201 shows that he has been in touch with another element of the agency."
So the memo does not state that Moran's 201 file should be "modified." It states that the information in paragraph one of Pratt's memo should be routinely modified before being transmitted to New Orleans, so that it did not contain any information about DDP. Paragraph one reads, in its entirety: "1. An examination of subject's [Moran's] 201 file has disclosed that he became a DD/P asset on or about 15 December 1962. Inquiry about his current status is under way."
The meaning should be clear: As far as the CIA is concerned, it is none of DCS employee Hunter Leake's business whether Alfred Moran was a DDP asset or not, and such information would routinely be omitted from correspondence with DCS.
Moran was re-interviewed about the VIP Room incident, and, as Davy reports, the Agency concluded that "Actually, Moran had not seen Clay Shaw in the VIP room on the occasion in question . . ." (Davy, pp. 179-80.) Just as he told the NODA, as recorded in another document cited by Davy. (Davy, p. 178.)
Again returning to Davy's rebuttal to my review:
JFK, which made much of the alleged "Bertrand" alias?" I would expect this from someone who probably hasn't interviewed a witness in his life.
Later, Reitzes incredulously asks "How come none [witnesses linking Shaw to the Bertrand alias] came forward even after the success of Oliver Stone's 1991 movie
Now, why would Mr. Davy keep resorting to such personal attacks as this if he is capable of arguing from the evidence?
Within two days of my arriving in New Orleans, I located several people in the French Quarter and beyond, who claimed Shaw used the Bertrand alias. But since they wished to remain anonymous I chose not to use them in my book. One of these witnesses was a very credible 30-year veteran of one of New Orleans' major newspapers, whose name would be recognizable to anyone familiar with the New Orleans aspects of the case. (It was not Jack Dempsey).
Would this reporter by any chance be one of the two New Orleans States-Item reporters, Ross Yockey and Hoke May, who not only acted as the NODA's unofficial publicists during the Garrison probe, but who also fed Big Jim a considerable amount of dubious information during that time?
For example, it was Hoke May who claimed that Gordon Novel's lawyer, Steven Plotkin, had "confessed" to being paid by the CIA (see Richard Billings, investigative notes, pp. 48, 53, 59), a claim that made it into a book written by fellow States-Item reporters Rosemary James and Jack Wardlaw -- one of William Davy's favorite short books, Plot or Politics (New Orleans: Pelican, 1967), p. 160 -- despite Plotkin's categorical denial of this allegation under oath before the New Orleans Grand Jury. (Orleans Parish Grand Jury transcript, August 16, 1967, p. 14.)
If so, does Bill Davy consider men like Hoke May and Ross Yockey to be objective and reliable sources on the subject of Garrison's investigation?
If there were even a shred of credible evidence available to substantiate Davy's claims about the mythical "Clay Bertrand," is it likely Davy would so quickly resort to a mere rumor instead?
And where did this rumor originate? Let's take a look.
A few days before Christmas 1966, Jim Garrison announced to several members of his staff that he had "deduced" the identity of the mysterious "Clay Bertrand" described to the Warren Commission by Dean Andrews. "One, Bertrand is homosexual," he said. "Two, Bertrand speaks Spanish. Three, his first name is Clay." Then he picked up a photograph that had been lying face down on his desk, and displayed it to his associates. It was a photograph of Clay Shaw.
Garrison treated Dean Andrews to the latest of several dinners at Broussard's, and shared with him his conviction that Clay Shaw was Andrews' "Clay Bertrand." Andrews told Garrison that he was wrong. But the DA's mind was made up.
Clay Shaw was questioned by the New Orleans District Attorney's Office on December 23, 1966. "I was questioned by an assistant DA named [Andrew] Sciambra," Shaw would later recall, "who told me they'd come across the fact that Lee Harvey Oswald had known someone named Clay Bertrand when he was in New Orleans. They'd gone over a list of Clays, thought about me, and wanted to know if I'd known Oswald. I said no, that I'd almost met him when he'd come to distribute Fair Play for Cuba leaflets in front of the Trade Mart, but that my assistant had dealt with him. I added, with what in retrospect seems irony, that I guess I missed my tiny footnote in history by not meeting the bird."
The DA himself then appeared, and Shaw repeated for him what he had told Andrew Sciambra. Garrison "thanked me profusely for being a good citizen, for being cooperative and coming in," Shaw would later recall. Later, Garrison told his staff to "forget Shaw." He had already told several newsmen that Shaw was "Clay Bertrand"; now he told them that Shaw had "absolutely nothing to do with it."
But after David Ferrie died, "Bertrand" was Garrison's only suspect, and he again set his sights on Shaw. Dean Andrews now began trying to undo several years of lying, explaining to Garrison that there was no "Clay Bertrand." In January 1967, Garrison told Life's Richard Billings that "Bertrand" "may not exist" -- but he "may be Clay Shaw."
By no later than February 1967, however, at least one member of Garrison's staff was freely telling people that not only was Clay Shaw "Clay Bertrand," but that Dean Andrews had said so.
Investigators Andrew Sciambra and Lou Ivon paid David Ferrie a visit on February 18, 1967. Towards the end of their interview, Sciambra asked Ferrie "if he would like to tell me some more about his trip to Hammond and [Ferrie] smiled and said 'Go to hell.'" Sciambra writes, "I then asked if he stayed with Clay Shaw. [Ferrie] said, 'Who's Clay Shaw?' I said, 'All right, if that doesn't ring a bell, how about Clay Bertrand?' He said, "Who's Clay Bertrand?' I said Clay Bertrand and Clay Shaw are the same person."
A week later, Sciambra also informed Perry Russo that Clay Shaw used the alias "Clay Bertrand," something about which Russo would admit to having been previously unaware.
Up until this point, no one at the New Orleans Police Department, the New Orleans District Attorney's Office, the FBI or the US Secret Service could confirm that a "Clay Bertrand" had ever even existed in the Big Easy. But now rumors began to swirl around the French Quarter that there was such a figure, and that he was Clay Shaw.
An FBI confidential informant, identified only as New Orleans 1309-C, contacted the Bureau on February 24 to report "that he [had] received information that the individual using the name Clay Bertrand is actually Clay Shaw." He did not reveal his source for this information, but mentioned that he had already "called Louis Ivon, investigator for Garrison, and told Ivon that he had heard that Clay Shaw and Clay Bertrand were one and the same, and although Ivon would not confirm this information, appeared very upset and wanted to know where informant developed this information."
On this same date, Aaron Kohn, managing director of the Metropolitan Crime Commission, advised the FBI that "he had received information that Clay Bertrand and Clay Shaw were one and the same. Kohn advised he picked this information up from one of 89 news sources that contacted him on February 24, 1967." "Kohn advised that he also received information that there is a man named Clay Bertrand living in Lafayette, Louisiana, a real estate broker that lived in New Orleans about the time of the assassination of President Kennedy. Kohn unable to supply additional information re Clay Bertrand of Lafayette, Louisiana."
Clay Shaw himself heard this rumor two days later. "[O]n Sunday evening, February 26," Shaw told James Kirkwood, "a Walter Sheridan from the NBC Washington Bureau got in touch with me, wanted to know if he could come over and talk with me. I said yes, and he arrived some after."
At this point, Kirkwood notes, "Shaw hesitated and lifted a hand in the air, one finger pointed up." "You know, it's funny," he continued, "but a faint alarm sounded when I asked him if he'd like a drink and he hesitated perceptibly. I thought this was strange, but he recovered and said he'd have one. I wondered why this man wouldn't want to take a drink with me, but then I thought, Oh, well, I'm imagining things. I fixed our drinks and he said there were rumors in town I was the mysterious Clay Bertrand that a man named Dean A. Andrews, Jr., had talked about in connection with Oswald. I pointed out to him that it would be ridiculous for me to try to use an alias of any kind, that I was well known in the city, I'd been on television, given speeches, my picture had been in the papers over a period of years and, because of my size alone, I couldn't very well get away with running around using a fictitious name. I told him I had no idea what was going on, but I did know that I was not now nor have I ever been Clay Bertrand."
On March 1, 1967, Jim Garrison arrested Clay Shaw and announced to the world that Shaw was "Clay Bertrand." Two weeks later, Garrison called Dean Andrews before the New Orleans Grand Jury, and Andrews was questioned about "Clay Bertrand." Andrews was also questioned about a parole he had arranged for a Thomas Clark, a parole that, as Assistant District Attorney of Jefferson Parish, had not been a precisely legal maneuver. Andrews had mentioned this to Garrison, never dreaming that his pal, Big Jim, would use it against him.
A quick look at the Grand Jury roster of March 16, 1967 shows that Garrison had lined up two witnesses -- Thomas Clark himself and Fenner Sedgebeer of the NOPD -- to testify against Andrews on the Clark matter, should Andrews decline to give the Grand Jury the testimony Big Jim wanted.
Andrews later revealed that he and Garrison made a deal -- that if Andrews would not identify "Clay Bertrand" as Clay Shaw, he would at least not deny that Shaw was "Bertrand." Andrews stuck to the deal. And Jim Garrison charged him with perjury.
After several more months of shadow-boxing, Andrews went public with the admission that there was no "Clay Bertrand" -- that he had plucked the name out of thin air to cover for his friend, Gene Davis. Davis did not know Oswald, but it was a phone call from him that had inspired Andrews to announce that he would be representing the accused assassin in Dallas. Davis had been in a great deal of trouble with the DA's office, and Andrews didn't want to see his name brought out in the JFK probe. (Andrews further explained that Davis had never used the name "Clay Bertrand" -- that it was simply a name Andrews had come up with as a cover for Davis.)
No sooner had Davis' name been made public than a whole new batch of rumors appeared, linking the bar owner to the "Bertrand" alias.
A June 20, 1967, FBI teletype from New Orleans to Washington states that NBC had reported that an NBC reporter had "located a homosexual in New Orleans who uses the pseudonym 'Clem Bertrand.' Department of Justice informed Bureau [on] June 19, 1967, that a source not connected with NBC advised that the homosexual located by NBC is Gene Davis, also known as Eugene Davis."
In the summer of 1962, Leander D'Avy had been working as a doorman at the Court of Two Sisters restaurant, where Gene Davis tended bar. Following Dean Andrews' revelation, D'Avy claimed that Lee Harvey Oswald approached him and asked to speak to "Clay Bertrand," a name with which D'Avy was unfamiliar. Gene Davis told D'Avy he would speak with the man. Davis and Oswald spoke at the bar, and Davis later told D'Avy that Oswald had been behind the Iron Curtain. In the summer of 1962, of course, Oswald was not in New Orleans, and could not have made this visit. (D'Avy later greatly embellished his story, adding David Ferrie and two of the "three tramps" to his cast of characters.)
Another Court of the Two Sisters employee, Michael Hadley, came forward to claim that Lee Harvey Oswald had lived in a small apartment above the restaurant in early 1962. Hadley said that he had overheard Oswald talking with Gene Davis about a "Clem Bertrand."
In July, a William Morris informed the NODA that in 1958, he had been introduced by Gene Davis to a "Clay Bertrand," and that Clay Shaw "resembled" this person. (Clay Shaw was a barrel-chested 6'4", weighed over 200 pounds, and had very distinctive facial features and a shock of prematurely white hair. Few would be uncertain if he was someone to whom they had been introduced.) The NODA discarded Morris, for obvious reasons, but Jim Garrison exhumed Morris' statement for his 1988 memoirs, without informing the reader what Gene Davis' relationship to the case had been, nor that Gene Davis had stated under oath that he had never socialized with Clay Shaw, nor even spoken a word to him in his life.
By the time the House Select Committee on Assassinations convened in the late 1970s, some had come to wonder if "Clay" or "Clem Bertrand" could possibly have been a Carlos Marcello-connected lawyer named Clem Sehrt, who was also acquainted with Marguerite Oswald.
The truth of the matter is that no credible evidence has ever been advanced to show that "Bertrand" was ever anything more than what Dean Andrews admitted he was -- a figment of his imagination; a fictitious name used to cover for Gene Davis.
Reitzes continues lowering his batting average when he writes, "Davy devotes a great deal of space trying to prove that Clay Shaw perjured himself when he denied knowing David Ferrie. Again Davy must resort to witnesses that Jim Garrison had, but were clearly not credible to use." Wrong again. One of the several witnesses I use linking Ferrie to Shaw, is Banister operative, Joe Newbrough -- a very credible source.
Here's what Davy's book reports:
Banister operative Joe Newbrough recounted to the author an incident that took place in the early 1960s. Banister and Ferrie were meeting in Banister's office, when Banister asked Newbrough to get Clay Shaw on the phone. Newbrough called the ITM and reached Shaw. Banister told Newbrough to hand the phone to Ferrie, whereby Ferrie and Shaw proceeded to confer with each other. (Davy, pp. 93-94.)If Newbrough is such a credible source, why did he not come forward with his story in 1967? Isn't it odd that another source cited by Davy in his book, FBI confidential informant NO 1309-C (see above), stated at one time "that Jack S. Martin and Joseph Newbrough are both known to him and [he] personally regards them as mental cases."
At any rate, it's not clear why Davy considers Newbrough more worthy of belief than either Clay Shaw or David Ferrie, both of whom denied knowing each other. (Andrew Sciambra's report of a February 18, 1967, interview with Ferrie reads, "I then asked him if he would like to tell me some more about his trip to Hammond and he smiled and said 'Go to hell.' I then asked if he stayed with Clay Shaw. He said, 'Who's Clay Shaw?' I said, "All right, if that doesn't ring a bell, how about Clay Bertrand?' He said, 'Who's Clay Bertrand?' I said Clay Bertrand and Clay Shaw are the same person.")
I also quote an FBI report in which they interview Carroll Thomas, a self-described friend of Shaw's whose funeral home handled the arrangements for the death of Shaw's father. While being interviewed by the FBI on an unrelated matter, Thomas volunteered that Shaw had introduced him to Ferrie. Neither of these witnesses [Carroll Thomas and Joseph Newbrough] shared this information with Garrison.
Certainly it's possible that Carroll Thomas socialized with Clay Shaw, but none of Shaw's known friends or associates knew Ferrie. Did any of them know Carroll Thomas? For all his vaunted interviews, Davy doesn't say. Either way, again, Davy does not explain why anyone should find Thomas more worthy of belief than Dave Ferrie or Clay Shaw, who, for example, subsequent to the beginning of his ordeal with Garrison, told a close friend, Gail Baumgartner, that he wished he had met Ferrie. "He said he probably would have found him fascinating," Baumgartner told writer John Mitzel. (John Mitzel, "Clay Shaw, the Quean Network & That Kennedy Killing," Fag Rag, No. 13, Summer 1975.)
Carroll Thomas also stated that he considered Shaw a political conservative, quite the opposite of what all of Shaw's known friends and associates say, and quite a contrast to the liberal views expressed in numerous examples of Shaw's personal correspondence, now available to researchers through the National Archives. Finally, one has to wonder what was the unrelated matter that the FBI was questioning Thomas about when he decided to volunteer his information. The FBI statement reporting Thomas' claim does not say. Pity.
Reitzes attempts to score me for citing Jules Ricco Kimble as a source for a flight he made to Montreal with Clay Shaw and David Ferrie. Reitzes' main points for his argument are:
1) According to Reitzes, "early accounts of Kimble's story mentioned flying to Montreal with David Ferrie, but did not mention Clay Shaw." Reitzes cites Flammonde's The Kennedy Conspiracy, pp. 206-7. Flammonde devotes all of one sentence to the Montreal trip which reads, "Kimble also claimed that he had flown to Montreal on what he said was a Minuteman errand." True, Flammonde doesn't mention Shaw in his one-sentence summary, but neither is Ferrie mentioned as Reitzes claims.
Ferrie is mentioned in the sentence before the one quoted by Davy (though admittedly in relation to another of Kimble's claims), and Kimble is described in Flammonde's "Dramatis Personae" as "an admitted member of the Ku Klux Klan who volunteered information about David W. Ferrie." (Flammonde, p. xviii.) It's not clear to me how removing yet another element (Ferrie) from Kimble's story serves to bolster his credibility, especially when the description of the flight to Montreal as "a Minuteman errand" is not exactly consistent with his NODA statement, cited by Davy, and posted at John McAdams' Web site.
2) Reitzes also writes that "Kimble originally claimed the flight to have taken place a year before the assassination, then later moved the date to the summer of 1963, apparently in order to imply a more credible link to the JFK assassination." And what is Reitzes' source for this revelation? Some newly released document, perhaps? Or maybe an interview he conducted? No. He provides a web link to a book blurb for a book that hasn't even been released in this country and is only available in the French language. Assuming Reitzes does not have the book and is not bi-lingual, is this an example of his primary sources? A book blurb?!
He also wrote in a follow-up post on the Kimble episode that an undated NODA memo about the Montreal trip states "Despite the fact that the original source of this information was JULES RICCO KIMBLE, a man with a record, this lead keeps growing stronger." He cites a PROBE article by Lisa Pease as the source for this and that's about the only thing he gets right. He later writes that my book "briefly discusses the Freeport [Sulpher] story, but doesn't mention that the tale originated with Kimble, even though a discussion of Kimble's NODA statement directly follows the Freeport material. Davy, in fact, implies that Kimble's story "corroborates" the Freeport tale." Allow me to correct you once again (this is getting arduous). Kimble's statement is dated October 10, 1967. Almost four months prior to Kimble's statement, the NODA's office had information from Ken Elliot, a former newscaster, that Shaw and Ferrie had made the flight to Canada on Freeport Sulpher business. This was later corroborated by James J. Plaine, who had been contacted by a high official in Freeport Sulpher and also told Garrison's office about the Shaw/Ferrie flight and Freeport Sulpher angle. Apparently this was such common knowledge in New Orleans, that both Dean Andrews and WDSU reporter, Richard Townley revealed this information to Shaw's lawyers. Kimble's statement was just icing on the cake. And all of this information is laid out quite clearly in my book. As for the undated memo in Ms. Pease's article, I have a copy of the memo with the date on it. It is one of several memos from the spring of 1969, after the Shaw trial, as Garrison and Assistant DA, Andrew Sciambra were continuing the investigation on a very limited basis. At that point Garrison may very well have believed Kimble was the original source of the Canada trip, but as I've shown, the chronicled record indicates otherwise.
First of all, as I'm sure Mr. Davy is aware, not only did Jim Garrison decline to request or subpoena Jules Ricco Kimble to testify at the trial of Clay Shaw, but neither is Kimble mentioned even a single time in Garrison's first book, A Heritage of Stone. What does this suggest about Mr. Kimble's credibility?
Next, allow me to repeat a few points.
By the time of the Clay Shaw trial, Kimble was also claiming to be James Earl Ray's infamous alleged conspirator in the Martin Luther King, Jr., assassination, "Raoul."
The House Select Committee on Assassinations later conducted a thorough investigation of Kimble, and found that he was not in Canada at the time he and James Earl Ray supposedly had been there together, something Kimble did not deny when questioned by the committee. "Although generally uncooperative during his interview," the HSCA noted, "Kimble confirmed that he did not go to Canada until September 1967," while Ray had left Canada in August 1967. "Kimble also denied meeting Ray or a person using any of Ray's aliases.
When Kimble began claiming in the late 1980s that his involvement with the MLK assassination was true after all, Jim Garrison, of all people, vouched for his integrity, saying that everything Kimble had ever told Garrison's office had been the truth. One has to wonder how Garrison could have made this statement without ever having verified any of Kimble's tales.
Kimble, we know, had a long history of deception and pathological behavior, including arrests for everything from check forgery to impersonating a doctor to aggravated assault and impersonating a state police officer. He is currently serving a double life sentence for murder in an Oklahoma facility.
The truth about Garrison's Kimble story begins to emerge in a passage from a 1967 CIA internal memorandum partially declassified in February 1989, concerning a call received by the CIA's Domestic Contact Service in New Orleans:
On 4 August 1967 the DCS office received a telephone call from a man who identified himself as Jules R. KIMBLE of 7003 Vicksburg St., New Orleans. He said that "Garrison was trying to connect him with CIA" but that he did not know why. He added that GARRISON "accused him of having taken some papers from the residence of David Ferrie on the day after Ferrie's death" and added that he would appear on WDSU-TV, New Orleans, the same day. All Headquarters checks on KIMBLE were negative. In response to inquiry, the DCS office in New Orleans reported on 21 August 1967 that Jules R. Kimble is not in the telephone directory or the city directory. The address 7003 Vicksburg St. is listed as vacant in the latter. To the best knowledge of the office no one named KIMBLE has appeared on a WDSU-TV interview.The DCS office was so baffled by Kimble's call that the memorandum speculates that it could have been a provocation "initiated by Garrison."
Bill Davy can complain about my sources all he likes; it will never make Jules Ricco Kimble a credible witness, nor explain why Davy would place any credence at all in the story of such an obvious crackpot.
Jim Garrison also declined to request or subpoena the testimony of any informant on the Freeport Sulphur matter to testify at the Shaw trial, and no aspect of the matter is mentioned in either of Garrison's two books on the assassination. Why does Mr. Davy think this is? Has Mr. Davy's research revealed the reason Big Jim stopped pursuing this lead that had been "growing stronger" so impressively just a few months prior to the trial? Mr. Davy doesn't indicate either way. What a curious omission.
In my book I quote a CIA document that indicates Shaw was cleared for a project called QK/ENCHANT, which Reitzes accuses me of "mangling." However, the relevant paragraph is quoted in its entirety in my book. Yet Reitzes claims the document says Shaw was an unwitting source. I can assure the reader that nowhere in the QK/ENCHANT document I quote is there any mention of Shaw being an unwitting source. Earlier Reitzes had claimed that another CIA document exists (apparently a different one) that says Shaw was an unwitting source for QK/ENCHANT. In fact, the document in question says no such thing. Both Reitzes and McAdams have been claiming this CIA document exists which clearly states Shaw was used on an unwitting basis. I have obtained a copy of the CIA document and this is what it says: "Subject was granted a Covert Security Approval for use under Project QKENCHANT on an unwitting basis on 10 December 1962." Lo and behold, the document does say he was used on an unwitting basis. Unfortunately for Reitzes the subject in question is J. Monroe Sullivan, the San Francisco Trade Mart Director, not Clay Shaw. Just who is mangling documents here, Mr. Reitzes?
Fair enough. In fact, I had retracted the argument Davy criticizes prior to the time his response appeared online. So let's see what Davy's actual "evidence" is linking Shaw to this CIA project, QK/ENCHANT. It's a 1992 CIA release that summarizes Clay Shaw's contacts with the CIA between 1948 and 1956, then later mentions:
A memorandum marked only for file, 16 March 1967, signed Marguerite D. Stevens, says that J. Monroe SULLIVAN, #280207, was granted a covert security approval on 10 December 1962 so that he could be used in Project QKENCHANT. SHAW has #402897-A. (Davy, p. 195.)
Unfortunately for Bill Davy's theories about Shaw being a spook, the number 402897-A does not refer to QK/ENCHANT at all. It's the number Shaw was assigned in 1949 when he was designated a contact for the CIA's Domestic Contact Service. It appears right up front in Shaw's CIA file, and is prominently featured at the top of at least one document quoted in Davy's book.
Reitzes' swipe at the Clinton witnesses is old news, but interviewing them could clear up any questions he has about their statements, testimony and veracity. Tell us Mr. Reitzes, how many of the Clinton witnesses have you interviewed?
Perhaps one day Mr. Davy will interview onetime Garrison investigator Anne Hundley Dischler, whose recollections and 1967 field notes utterly demolish the Clinton hoax.
One witness he obviously didn't interview is Henry Burnell Clark. Instead he trots out Posner's attempt at discrediting this prospective "Clinton" witness. Reitzes repeats Posner's claim that Clark did not place Ferrie and Shaw in town on the same day. Reitzes even provides a web link to Clark's statement on-line. I've heard this allegation before and thought perhaps there was another statement out there I hadn't read. A click on Reitzes' link confirmed this was not the case. Just a casual reading of the document verifies that Clark is talking about the same time frame. Consider what Clark says about his Clay Shaw sighting:
"In the summer of 1963, after a period of civil rights demonstration and picketing had ending [sic], and during the attempted registration of Negro voters…." Clark then goes on to describe his sighting of Clay Shaw. Now, here is how Clark describes the time frame in which he saw Ferrie:
"During this same period of time in the summer of 1963, after the conclusion of the picketting [sic] demonstrations and during the attempted voting registration of the Negroes…" [My emphasis] Note that the context is exactly the same as his Shaw sighting. Further, there is no mention anywhere in Clark's statement about these sightings being on different days. At this point I'm beginning to wonder if Reitzes, McAdams, and Posner even read the documents they cite.
The feeling is certainly mutual. (Please see my article, "Impeaching Clinton," for the unrefuted evidence that the Clinton story is a hoax.) Unlike Davy, however, who does not share Clark's statement with us, I have posted the entire document at John McAdams' Web site. Allow me to quote at length from it here:
Now, dear reader, is Mr. William Davy reporting the facts accurately or inaccurately when he states unequivocally on page 105 of Let Justice Be Done that Henry Burnell Clark reported seeing Clay Shaw and David Ferrie in Clinton on the same day?In the summer of 1963, after a period of civil rights demonstration and picketting [sic] had ending [sic], and during the attempted registration of Negro voters, I stepped out on the sidewalk in front of the Stewart & Carroll Store, where I worked, shortly before the noon hour, and saw, coming from the direction of the bank east of the store, and walking in a westerly direction toward me, a tall man in a dark business suit, who was wearing a shirt and tie, but no hat. He approached, facing me, to a distance of about ten or twelve feet from me, and stepped off into the street and entered a black automobile which had been parked at the curb, facing northeasterly, toward the court house. He backed the car into the main street, made a U-turn, and proceeded in an easterly direction down the street past the bank.
From photographs shown me this date, I recognize the photograph labelled [sic] NEW ORLEANS, LA. # 125 388 dated 3 1 37 which I herewith before this notary, mark and sign with my normal signature as being identical to the features of the man whom I saw cross the street from [text missing].
I especially noticed this particular individual, with the New Orleans plate # 125 388 on his chest in the phtograph [sic] I have identified, because at the time he reminded me of a movie actor I remembered seeing on the screen, and because he was unusually tall, standing well over six feet.
During this same period of time in the summer of 1963, after the conclusion of the picketting [sic] demonstrations and during the attempted voting registration of the Negroes, I stepped out in front of the Stewart & Carroll Store and saw a man whom I noticed particularly because of his unusual hair.
It was bushy and stood up all directions o n [sic] his head like he had been out on a drunk all night. He walked up to the pay telephone on the street and stood there for a short while. I do not know whether he made a telephone call or not. From pictures shown me at this date, I can state this man who went to the telephone booth was the man wearing over his chest the label NEW ORLEANS, LA. 1-7062 with the numbers under it reading 2 16 62 or it was his twin brother. I have marked with my signature the aforenumbered [sic] photograph as that of the man who walked past me in Clinton and stood by the public telephone that day.
(By the way, my own critique of Posner's treatment of the Clinton witnesses was posted online well before Davy penned his response to my review. Posner's discussion of the Clinton folks is no more accurate than Davy's, though Posner's conclusions are essentially correct.)
Reitzes also accuses me of an "uncritical acceptance of such discredited Garrison "evidence" as David Ferrie's allegedly unnatural death (Davy, 66-7)." Here is exactly what I say about Ferrie's death: "The coroner ruled Ferrie died from a brain aneurysm, despite the presence of two typed "suicide" notes. (Whether they were suicide notes or not is a matter of interpretation. Ferrie, who knew he was quite ill, probably saw the end coming and decided to compose his own epitaph). Garrison would postulate that Ferrie could have been force-fed a fatal dosage of Proloid, a thyroid medication Ferrie had been prescribed. It is doubtful that Ferrie could have been fed enough Proloid to be fatal…" Does this sound like an uncritical acceptance of the "mysterious death" theory? The only thing mysterious about it, which I note in my book, is what Deputy Coroner Frank Minyard concluded about something being traumatically inserted into Ferrie's mouth.
I certainly hope that I have not been unfair to Mr. Davy. But he states that Jim Garrison's ridiculous and blatantly concocted "Proloid murder" theory has been "bolstered by a member of the coroner's office," Frank Minyard, and that doesn't sound especially critical to me. Minyard did not conduct the autopsy -- Ronald Welsh and Nicholas Chetta did. And despite the fact that Minyard claims that the autopsy revealed a "contusion" where something had been "traumatically inserted into [Ferrie's] mouth," the actual autopsy report states: "There is a small area of dryness of the inner aspect of the upper lip on the right side. This area measures 3/4 in. in length and is somewhat reddish brown in color. There is a less well defined area on the lower lip immediately inferior to the lesion on the upper lip. Both areas show no deep hemmorhages or swellings . . ."
Davy also omits discussion of the scar tissue noted at the autopsy, which indicated that Ferrie's brain had suffered one or more "small bleeds" in the weeks or months prior to the final, fatal rupture. This tends to discredit any suggestion whatsoever that Ferrie's death was swift or sudden.
Reitzes cites Lambert as a source for Perry Russo's supposed 1971 recantation of his original statement. His "recantation" was anything but, as he revealed in two lengthy interviews with me. Tell us Mr. Reitzes, how many times did you interview Russo?
On January 26, 1971, the day before he was expected to testify in Jim Garrison's defense in the civil suit, Clay L. Shaw v. Jim Garrison, Perry Raymond Russo approached a family member of one of Clay Shaw's attorneys and requested an opportunity to speak with Shaw's defense team. In the first of several meetings, most of which were tape-recorded, Perry Raymond Russo came clean. Here is the memorandum written from this first session.
FROM THE FILES OF EDWARD F. WEGMANN
January 27, 1971
Perry Raymond Russo came to our office last night at 7:00 o'clock [sic] sharp by prearrangement.
I told him that I wanted the whole truth about what went on and gave him my promise that I would not put him in the middle if he gave me the whole truth. Whereupon, he agreed to do so.
First of all, in answer to my question as to whether he now thinks that Clay Shaw was the man in Ferrie's apartment, he said absolutely not. I then asked him whether he was ever positive that Shaw was the man and he said "Not really." He said that after he had talked to the news media in Baton Rouge, Sciambra came up to see him and he did not mention Clay Shaw to Sciambra at that time. Further, he knew nothing about a second memorandum that Sciambra had written and he thinks that there was no such thing. When he got down here to New Orleans before any hypnosis or sodium pentathol he made it clear to them that there was grave doubt in his mind as to the identity of Clay Shaw but the representative of the DA's office and particularly Sciambra kept telling him that he was positive. For instance, Sciambra would show him a picture of Shaw and say "That is the man you saw there." Sciambra said the same thing as he showed Shaw to Russo through the two-way mirror. In answer to my question, Russo said that he feels it is entirely possible that the man whom he identified could be Guy Bannister [sic]. Russo described his conditioning by the DA's office as a complete brainwashing job. He said that he was constantly being told, particularly by Sciambra "This is the man that you saw" and finally got in a position where he just couldn't deny it.
Russo said also that the DA's office was making every effort to pin two murder charges on Shaw. Those being the killing of a 14 or 15 year old boy of name Jimmy Rupp and the killing of Dr. ________ Sherman on St. Charles Avenue. He said that both of these people belonged to a sex club, and said that at one point the question was asked by someone in the DA's office "Do we have enough evidence to convict Shaw on these cases". Russo said that he could'nt [sic] believe what he was hearing for the reason he knew there was no evidence to connect Sahw [sic] with those cases except as belonging to a sex club. There was also some talk about pinning a third murder on Clay Shaw but he doesn't remember the name in that case.
On either the first night he was here or shortly thereafter he was taken to the Rib Room of the Royal Orleans Hotel with Mr. Billings of Life Magazine by Jim Garrison. Garrison had him repeat for Billings his story and answered questions propounded to him by both Garrison and Billings.
At the end of the evening, Garrison suggested that Russo stay here a few days in one of the motels. Russo said "Mr. Garrison, I only have $6.00 in my pocket and I am not about to spend that on food at a motel." Garrison then peeled off two $100 bills and flipped them to Russo, telling him not to worry about expenses. At this point Russo deviated to tell us "I can tell you where most of that $15,000 went." Every time that I stayed here at one of the fancy motels there and was told that there was no limit on what I could spend. I was permitted to invite all my friends there for dinner and on more than one occasion had dinner checks in excess of $100. This was always done in someone's name other than my own.
The hypnosis by Dr. Fatter had a definite effect upon me. It made my memory much sharper. I don't know about the sodium pentathol. I was groggy for several hours afterwards.
When Shaw was arrested he said to Sciambra, "My God don't tell me that they have arrested that man on what I said." Mr. Sciambra said "No, not at all, we have Shaw locked up. It is a leadpipe cinch. You are just another witness and may not even be called as a witness." Russo feels sure he told this to Garrison and Alcock also on several occasions.
In addition to being paid his witness fees he was also told he would be paid a per diem for every day that he was here in New Orleans but that this would not be paid until after everything was over, including the civil suit. According to his figures, he is now owed in the neighborhood of $3,200. Garrison has assured him that this would be paid. (We think that Russo computes this at $22 per day.) While he was working for Equitable Life Assurance Company, when he was required to come to New Orleans, arrangements were made so that he would be paid his salary by Equitable and additionally the amount the DA's office paid him for being in New Orleans. Russo said that Sgt. O'Donnell was completely honest in his testimony and that there was a terrible scene when members of the DA's forces, including Sciambra, Alcock and Garrison were shown O'Donnell's report. He said that Sciambra would point out things in the report and tell O'Donnell that he had to be wrong about that and then point to Russo and say "Tell him he's wrong."
Russo said that throughout the trial the DA's staff knew how Judge Haggerty was going to rule before he ever ruled and on one occasion in regard to testimony on a document he was told by Sciambra to answer all of Dymond's questions in the affirmative and that they would get the Judge to rule against the defense on the introduction of the documents. He was also told before the three judge hearing that the decision is cut and dried before the hearing unless he fell absolutely to pieces on the witness stand. He further said that he thought that O'Hara was the only one who acted half-way honest on the three-judge panel.
Russo only met Bundy one time and after that was never permitted to be in his company. Sciambra told Russo not to talk to the defense team, especially Dymond. Dymond would tear him to pieces. He said that Dr. Chetta coached him with respect to answering Dymond's questions and particularly told him to look out when Dymond prefaced a question by saying, "Is it not a fact."
Russo said that prior to his cross-examination by Dymond at the preliminary hearing that several members of the DA's staff, including Sciambra and Alcock, had him in a room and that they were all trying to coach him on how to try and handle the cross-examination. Finally, Alcock told them all to get out of the room, saying Russo was smart enough to handle it and they were scaring him.
Russo said that he was not under hypnosis during the preliminary hearing but that he was given medication at every recess. He did not know what the capsules contained but said that it was to calm him down. At one point these capsules caused him to yawn and Dr. Chetta signaled him not to take any more. He didn't understand Chetta's signal and took the capsule any way. Russo labeled Sciambra as the real culprit throughout the matter and as the one who was continually implanting the identification in his mind.
Russo said that even in the preliminary hearing he had grave doubts about the identification of Shaw but that he lost his head when Dymond asked him whether he believed in God and couldn't turn back after he identified Shaw.
He said that the DA's staff was completely shocked on the ruling of Habighorst and had ob[v]iously been told that the ruling would be otherwise.
Russo said that he does not believe that Sandra Moffett was with him at the time of the meeting but that she was there later on.
He was assured by the DA's staff that the judge would not permit the defense to go into his sex habits.
Sciambra claims that when Russo told him his story in Baton Rouge that Russo volunteered to be subjected to sodium pentathol or anything else to confirm the truth. Russo says that at the time of the Baton Rouge meeting he had never even heard of sodium pentathol and that this was Sciambra's idea and suggested to him after he came to New Orleans.
Russo said that he got $15,000 from Time Magazine for his story and paid off all of his debts with it but now he is broke and borrowing.
The rest of the conversation was concerning Russo's habits and religious beliefs and person traits. Russo says that if the federal court does not hold in Shaw's favor he is willing to take the stand in the perjury trial and make a clean breast of the matter. I did not mention the damage suit to him but he is just about ripe to tell the truth if called upon to do so.
There are certain areas in which he would be willing to testify right now but I would be afraid that the State might cross-examine him on other areas about which if he told the truth he would subject himself to a perjury prosecution.
Jim Garrison had threatened Russo that if he ever changed his story under oath, a perjury charge would be his reward. The day after this interview, rather than testify on Garrison's behalf, Perry Raymond Russo invoked his Fifth Amendment right to remain silent in the face of self-incrimination.
The above interview took place in F. Irvin Dymond's office and was conducted by Dymond, Edward F. Wegmann, and William J. Wegmann.
More recently, Russo told Patricia Lambert that Shaw "was in fact innocent" and "he did not conspire to kill the president"; that "there was no conspiracy" and "in retrospect I don't think they should have prosecuted him." "Garrison never should have done it." (Lambert, False Witness [New York: M. Evans & Co., 1998], pp. 173-4.)
He told Gerald Posner, "I believe that Shaw was innocent. I do not disagree with the jury. I agree with it. The bottom line is that history must recall that Shaw is innocent. If I was on the jury, I would have come to the same conclusion." (Gerald Posner, Case Closed [New York: Random House, 1993], p. 451 fn.)
Tell me, dear reader: If you were Bill Davy, would you use Perry Russo as a pro-Garrison witness?
Reitzes even tries to dispute Oswald's ties to Guy Banister and 544 Camp Street. He is apparently so confused at this point that he doesn't realize he's refuting his own lengthy treatise supporting Oswald and 544 Camp (See Reitzes, Oswald and 544 Camp, Parts 1 and 2, alt.conspiracy.jfk newsgroup posting of November 3, 1998).
Mr. Davy's attempt at mind-reading is less than a complete success. As I have made clear at the JFK Usenet groups and my Web site, I no longer endorse the views expressed in the article Davy references.
Reitzes' main source for his dissertation is Michael Kurtz. The reader may recall that Kurtz authored a book called Crime of the Century in which he cites numerous unnamed witnesses who placed Oswald with Ferrie and/or Banister in 1963. He even promotes his own "Castro did it" theory - a hypothesis long since discredited. Kurtz even claims he saw Oswald with Banister. Yet Reitzes accepts Kurtz' views uncritically (Apparently, aligning himself with discredited critics is Reitzes modus operandi. He's also fond of quoting A. J. Weberman, the former "journalist" who used to scour peoples' garbage cans for material. In the 1970's, he co-wrote a book called Coup d'etat In America in which he claims Frank Sturgis and E. Howard Hunt were two of the three "tramps" arrested in Dealey Plaza. Dallas Police records have since disproved that bizarre theory. In addition to "Castro did it" Kurtz and the garbage-sniffing Weberman, Reitzes has now found an advocate in Walt Brown, who recently published a Reitzes piece in his journal. Can anyone say, "Mac Wallace?").
Not content to attack his critic, Davy also goes after some of his critic's sources. But A. J. Weberman's Web site, containing literally thousands of pages of data, is an invaluable resource, and Walt Brown's contribution to the field certainly requires no defense. Davy is again demonstrating his inability to respond substantively to the criticisms that have been raised, and his increasingly wild smears serve to sully no one but himself.
Naturally, no one is contesting that Lou Ivon makes such a claim; he's made the same claim to several other researchers. The criticism is that if David Ferrie had confessed to involvement with the CIA and/or associations with Lee Harvey Oswald and Clay Shaw, as Ivon claims, Ivon would most certainly have mentioned it to someone -- anyone -- prior to 1991, when Ivon apparently made the claim for the very first time, to Oliver Stone.
Lou Ivon's recollection of Ferrie's breakdown gets pooh-poohed by Reitzes, despite the fact that Ivon confirmed this personally in my interview with him. Tell us Mr. Reitzes, how many times have you interviewed Ivon?
Is it any wonder Bill Davy desperately tries to change the subject when a point like this is broached?
He also claims I say Vernon Bundy was a credible witness. I didn't say it. William Gurvich and John Volz did! Neither of whom were fans of Garrison's. Volz confirmed his take on Bundy in an interview with me. Tell us Mr. Reitzes, how many times have you interviewed John Volz?
This is such a strikingly useful forensic tactic, it's difficult to understand why it isn't utilized more often. Imagine how handy it will come in for Davy when someone, say, challenges his book's assertion that Clay Shaw and Guy Banister were two members of a triumvirate that "made up the intelligence apparatus in New Orleans," the third member being attorney Guy P. Johnson. (Davy, p. 41.)
"I didn't say that!" Davy could respond. "Tommy Baumler did!" Inexplicably, however, Davy omits discussion of who it was who held a gun to Davy's head and forced him to author a book based entirely on such eminently impeachable claims as Baumler's. Baumler was an advocate of Jim Garrison's over three decades ago, though Davy does not see fit to inform his reader of this. Davy also neglects to mention that Guy P. Johnson would become a law partner of Jim Garrison's in the 1970s, and he was a longitme friend of Big Jim's. But revealing such facts would cast some doubt on Baumler's credibility, wouldn't it?
As for Davy and Vernon Bundy, I invite all interested parties to read Let Justice Be Done and judge for themselves whether Davy advances Bundy as a credible witness, or whether Bundy is cited in furtherance of some other inscrutable purpose.
At least Reitzes does provide some comic relief. He rebukes me for claiming "that the major media engaged in a conspiracy to discredit Garrison and interfere with his investigation despite the abundance of evidence to the contrary." And what is the sum total of Reitzes' "abundance of evidence?" It is as follows: "Lambert's discussions of James Phelan and Richard Billings." Whew! I'm overwhelmed with that "abundance of evidence."
Again, I invite the reader to consult Lambert's book and decide for him- or herself whether Davy's ridicule is justified. Perhaps it's mere coincidence that in the Davy/DiEugenio review of Patricia Lambert's False Witness, not a single major point of Lambert's book is engaged.
Reitzes' credibility goes even further over the edge when he claims I "attempt to rehabilitate nutball witness Charles Spiesel (Davy 173-4)." In fact, I do no such thing. On the very pages Reitzes cites I list all of Spiesel's wild, paranoid claims. I criticize his story as being too pat and describe his testimony as "lunatic." Is this Reitzes' idea of rehabilitation? It was Judge Haggerty himself who thought Spiesel may have been dismissed too easily and I note that in the book.
It seems to me that citing a character witness in support of a discredited witness would qualify in the minds of most observers as a form of rehabilitation. Lord knows I could be mistaken, of course.
Reitzes then writes "Davy also presents a dubious new theory of his own when he attempts to link the mental hospital in Jackson, where Oswald allegedly was seeking a job, to the CIA's infamous MK/ULTRA mind control experiments." No, this was recalled to us by Dr. Alfred Butterworth, one of the East Louisiana State Hospital's physicians and corroborated by other hospital employees. Tell us Mr. Reitzes, how many of the Jackson hospital employees did you interview?
Lest I be accused of ducking such an important issue, I freely admit that I have never considered myself an investigator in the sense of the William Davys of this world. Though I have done my share of research, I am primarily a writer who endeavors to wave the flag for the research I consider most valuable in the field of the JFK assassination inquiry and to clear the playing field as much as possible of misinformation and dead-end leads. I have nothing but the greatest respect and admiration for those responsible for unearthing sources and information in the case, and if such people could be trusted to share their sources and interpret their data accurately, there would be absolutely no need for someone like me to evaluate or clarify their efforts.
The reader, of course, can obtain Bill Davy's book and decide for him- or herself whether I have clarified Bill Davy's work in any respect or simply obscured its most salient points.
But less commendable, according to Reitzes, is my "acceptance of Daniel Campbell's assertions that Banister was a "bagman for the CIA" and "was running guns to Alpha 66 in Miami (There is no evidence to support either claim)." I guess Reitzes naively expects a CIA document to appear affirming something like that.
No, Reitzes naively expects William Davy to support his theories with credible evidence, not unsubstantiated rumors. Mr. Davy doesn't seem to understand that the burden of proof weighs upon no one but himself to demonstrate that the theories presented in his book are based upon fact, and not the vivid imaginations of various "witnesses" and assassination researchers.
While he's waiting, he may be interested to know that this was confirmed by Dan Campbell's brother, Allen as well as close Banister associate, Joe Newbrough. Tell us Mr. Reitzes, how many of Banister's operatives did you interview?
Sadly, no amount of scorn or ridicule heaped upon his critics is going to excuse the fact that when William Davy is presented with a choice between credible and non-credible evidence, he tends to choose whichever supports his preconceived views, no matter how much more abundant examples of the former might be. Dan Campbell, for instance, is the witness who places Lee Harvey Oswald (with a Marine crewcut) in Guy Banister's office at a time he is known irrefutably to have been in jail. But he conveniently links Oswald to Guy Banister, so Davy cites him.
Meanwhile, Allen Campbell claimed in a May 14, 1969, interview with the NODA (yes, ten weeks after the Shaw trial ended) that Guy Banister had "worked closely" with "the CIA and had a lot to do with the overthrow of President Arbenz of Guatemala." But the CIA overthrow of Arbenz was launched on June 16, 1954, and completed within five days, while Guy Banister was still SAC of the Chicago office of the FBI. Banister did not leave Chicago until December of that year. This is a story that originated with serial liar Jerry Milton Brooks, and has been widely disseminated by William Turner.
Curiously, Davy cites neither Allen Campbell nor Jerry Milton Brooks' statements to this effect. This seems especially odd in light of the fact that he does refer to Brooks' story about the alleged involvement of Maurice Gatlin in the CIA/Arbenz episode. (Davy, p. 19.) Gatlin would become Guy Banister's attorney in January 1955; and Davy also references the involvement in the Arbenz action of David Atlee Phillips, whom Davy attempts to link to Guy Banister by some dubious statements from Gordon Novel (Davy, pp. 21-24). Aside from the statements cited by Davy, there is no evidence that Novel ever even met Guy Banister. (Davy also spends a number of pages alleging that Novel was a CIA agent, and unsurprisingly, he omits any discussion of the considerable evidence to the contrary.)
If Davy considers Brooks and Campbell less than credible on the subject of Guy Banister and the CIA overthrow of Jacobo Arbenz, why are both used as witnesses in other cases?
At this point in his response to my review, Davy completely abandons any pretense of defending his own thesis, and succumbs to the urge to lash out at his critic instead.
Reitzes accuses me of being an advocate first, and an investigator second. But who's the real advocate here? Just look at the title of Reitzes' magnum opus, Who Speaks For Clay Shaw? and I think the answer is obvious. He also claims that I take all of Garrison's assertions at face value. Yet in the over 700 citations in my book, only about 20 are from Garrison's published works.
So, where has all of Reitzes' stellar research led him? - He thinks LBJ killed Kennedy. He conveniently provides a link to his bizarre hypothesis:
And what does the reader get once he/she clicks on the link? An odd treatise called Yellow Roses by Dave Reitzes in which the author claims Johnson was responsible for, or covered-up, a series of murders, including LBJ's own sister(!) Assisting LBJ in the Kennedy assassination, according to Reitzes, were Texas millionaire, H. L. Hunt, Mac Wallace (of course), and everyone's favorite boogie-man [sic], J. Edgar Hoover.
Reitzes can spin this fantastic yarn because he cites no primary sources. He uses a couple of books (Haley's and Caro's books on LBJ and Harrison Livingstone's Killing The Truth) and an article by Walt Brown and that's about it.
This is fair criticism. The articles in question are no better or worse than many others appearing on the Web, and it's no coincidence that I have since disavowed the views expressed there. It would be interesting to see Davy apply this same reasonable standard to a book called Destiny Betrayed, written by Davy's friend and occasional collaborator, Probe co-editor James DiEugenio, who penned the introduction to Let Justice Be Done.
I will let Mr. Davy have the last word in this exchange, since scripting ad hominem arguments without fear of reprisal is apparently what Davy does best. The sad thing, in the end, is not that Davy behaves this way. The sad thing is that Davy's behavior is typical of those who advocate the cause of Jim Garrison. If there is a way to champion Big Jim and his views without resorting to such desperate tactics, to date, no one has shown it.
Granted, if I were determined to advocate the views of a proven fraud like Garrison, I might feel a wee bit testy myself.
September 27, 2000
Based on the astronomical number of Internet postings provided to me, Reitzes has taken on the anti-Garrison cause with all the fervor of a religious zealot. So, what would motivate someone to take up the fight so vigorously? - He was insulted. That's right, but don't take my word for it. Here's Reitzes' own words: "…without the nasty personal attacks from Mr. Hargrove and from one Bill Cleere, I never would posted a word on Garrison or Shaw. My interest, after all, is in the Kennedy assassination, not the so-called Garrison probe." (Reitzes, alt.conspiracy.jfk newsgroup post of January 8, 1999).
Finally, in the practice-what-you-preach department, Reitzes wrote in March of this year, "I hope that in the future other researchers and I may embrace the things we have in common rather than seize upon our differences." Instead of heeding his own words, Reitzes seized upon our differences in a manner so inaccurate it can only be described as vicious. How else can one account for the over 16 errors in his 8-page "review?" Using Reitzes' penchant for math, that's over 2 errors per page - a dismal record. How does one account for all of these blunders? Are we really to believe Reitzes' reading comprehension is as bad as his math? Or is he trying to hurt the commercial possibilities of a book he happens to disagree with? There seems to be some support for the latter, as Mr. Reitzes has seen fit to post an abbreviated version of his error-laden "review" on the Amazon.com site selling my book. I guess I shouldn't complain too much. Controversy sells books and sadly for Mr. Reitzes in the 11 weeks since the book has been published it is already heading into its second printing. I take particular solace in the fact that the largest volume of orders has come from Amazon.com. Thank you, Mr. Reitzes.
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