|Heritage of Stone
Reprinted with permission from "High Times"
magazine, September, 1991, with help from Mark Zepezauer at the
Santa Cruz Comic News. by Steven Hager
Attorney General Ramsey Clark, a close friend
of President Lyndon Johnson, announced from Washington that the
federal government had already investigated and exonerated Clay
Shaw. "Needless to say," writes Garrison, "this
did not exactly make me look like District Attorney of the Year."
Meanwhile, all sorts of backpedalling was going
on at the Justice Department. If Shaw had been investigated, why
wasn't his name in the Warren Commission Report? "The
attorney general has since determined that this was erroneous,"
said a spokesman for Clark. "Nothing arose indicating a need
to investigate Mr. Shaw."
Realizing he was in a political minefield,
Garrison presented his case as cautiously as possible. A grand
jury was convened that included Jay C. Albarado. "On March
14, three criminal-court judges heard Garrison's case in a preliminary
hearing to determine if there was enough evidence against Shaw
to hold him for trial,"
wrote recently in a letter to the New
Orleans Times- Picayune. "What did they conclude? That
there was sufficient evidence. Garrison then presented his evidence
to a 12-member grand jury. We ruled there was sufficient evidence
to bring Shaw to trial. Were we duped by Garrison? I think not."
Thanks to all the unwanted publicity, Garrison's
staff had swollen with volunteers eager to work on the case. The
6'6" Garrison, now dubbed the "Jolly Green Giant,"
had already become a hero to the many citizens and researchers
who had serious doubts about the Warren Commission. Unfortunately,
a few of these eager volunteers were later exposed as government
informers. Shortly before the case went to trial, one of the infiltrators
Xeroxed all of Garrison's files and turned them over to Shaw's
On September 4, 1967, Chief Justice Earl Warren
announced that Garrison's case was worthless. The New York
Times characterized the investigation as a "morbid frolic." Newsweek reported that the conspiracy was "a plot
of Garrison's own making." Life magazine published
the first of many reports linking Garrison with the Mafia. (Richard
Billings, an editor at Life, had been one of the first
journalists to gain access to Garrison's inner circle, under the
guise of "wanting to help" the investigation.) Walter
Sheridan, a former Naval Intelligence operative and NBC investigator,
appeared in New Orleans with a film crew. Their purpose? An expose
titled "The Case of Jim Garrison," which was broadcast
in June '67.
"It required only a few minutes to see
that NBC had classified the case as criminal and had appointed
itself as the prosecutor," writes Garrison.
Puzzled by the intensity of NBC's attack, Garrison
went to the library and did some research on the company. He learned
the network was a subsidiary of RCA, a bulwark of the military-industrial
complex whose defense contracts had increased by more than a billion
dollars from 1960 to 1967. Its chairman, retired General David
Sarnoff, was a well-known proponent of the Cold War.
"Some long-cherished illusions about the
great free press in our country underwent a painful reappraisal
during this period," writes Garrison.
Clay Shaw was brought to trial on January 29,
1969. It took less than one month for Garrison to present his
case. Demonstrating the cover-up was the easy part. Although the
overwhelming majority of eyewitnesses in Dealy Plaza testified
that the fatal shot came not from the Texas School Book Depository
--where Oswald worked --but from a grassy knoll overlooking the
plaza, the FBI had encouraged many witnesses to alter their testimony
to fit the 'lone nut' theory. Those that didn't were simply ignored
by the commission. The ballistic evidence was flawed and obviously
tampered with. Even though the FBI had received several warnings
of the assassination, they had ignored them.
Security for the President was strangely lax.
Although Oswald's killer, Jack Ruby, had ties to the CIA and the
Mafia, this evidence had been suppressed. Ruby was never allowed
to testify before the commission, and when interviewed in a Texas
jail by Chief Justice Warren and Gerald Ford, he told them: "I
would like to request that I go to Washington... I want to tell
the truth, and I can't tell it here... Gentlemen, my life is in
danger." Ruby never made it to Washington. He remained in
jail and died mysteriously before Garrison could call him as a
Even more disturbing was the treatment given
the deceased President's corpse. Under Texas law, an autopsy should
have been performed by a civilian pathologist in Dallas. Instead,
the body was removed at gunpoint by the Secret Service and flown
to a naval hospital in Maryland, where an incomplete autopsy was
performed under the supervision of unnamed admirals and generals.
The notes from this "autopsy" were quickly burned. Bullet
holes were never tracked, the brain was not dissected, and organs
were not removed.
The autopsy was a botched, tainted affair,
performed under military supervision. (The medical aspects of
the case were so weird, they would later form the basis for a
best-selling book on the assassination, Best Evidence by
David Lifton [Macmillan, New York].)
The most important and lasting piece of evidence
unveiled by Garrison was an 8mm film of the assassination taken
by Abraham Zapruder, a film that only three members of the Warren
Commission had seen, probably because it cast a long shadow of
doubt across their conclusions. A good analysis of the film can
be found in Cover-Up by J. Gary Shaw with Larry Harris:
Had the Zapruder film of the JFK assassination
been shown on national television Friday evening, November 22,
1963, the Oswald/lone assassin fabrication would have been unacceptable
to a majority of Americans... The car proceeds down Elm and briefly
disappears behind a sign. When it emerges the President has obviously
been shot... Governor Connally turns completely to the right,
looking into the back seat; he begins to turn back when his body
stiffens on impact of a bullet. Very shortly after Connally is
hit, the President's head explodes in a shower of blood and brain
matter -- he is driven violently backward at a speed estimated
at 80-100 feet per second.
Although Time, Inc. could have made a small
fortune distributing this film around the world, they instead
secured the rights from Zapruder for $225,000, then held a few
private screenings before locking the film in a vault. It was
shown to one newsman, Dan Rather, who then described it on national
television. Rather asserted that Kennedy's head went "forward
with considerable force" after the fatal head shot (a statement
that would have supported a hit from behind, from the direction
of the School Book Depository). Several months later, Rather was
promoted to White House Correspondent by CBS. As if to buttress
this fabrication, the FBI reversed the order of the frames when
printing them in the Warren Report. When researchers later
drew this reversal to the FBI's attention, Hoover attributed the
switch to a "printing error."
Although Garrison proved his conspiracy, the
jury was not convinced of Clay Shaw's role in it. He was released
after only two hours of deliberation.
The end of the Clay Shaw trial was just the
beginning of a long nightmare for Garrison. On June 30, 1971,
he was arrested by federal agents on corruption charges. Two years
later, the case came to trial at the height of Garrison's reelection
campaign. Although he won the case, he lost the election by 2,000
votes. However, the Jolly Green Giant remains widely respected
in his home state, and has recently been elected to his second
term on the second highest court in Louisiana.
In 1967, the machinations of the CIA were unknown
to most Americans. Today, thankfully, many brave men have left
their comfortable careers in the agency and spoken out against
CIA-sponsored terror around the world. One of these is Victor
Marchetti, who was executive assistant to Director Richard Helms,
and then coauthored The CIA and the Cult of Intelligence with John D. Marks. In 1975 Marchetti confirmed that Clay Shaw
and David Ferrie had been CIA operatives, and that the agency
had secretly worked for Shaw's defense.
Over the years, many high-ranking officials
have come forward to support Garrison's theory. "The big
story in the Kennedy assassination is the cover-up," says
retired Colonel L. Fletcher Prouty, Chief of Special Operations
for the Joint Chiefs of Staff until 1964. Prouty was on assignment
in New Zealand on the day of the assassination. After carrying
a New Zealand newspaper article back to Washington, he checked
the time of Oswald's arrest against the hour the paper had been
printed and, with great horror, realized Oswald's biography had
gone out on the international newswire before Oswald had been
arrested by the Dallas police. Prouty has since become one of
the most persuasive and persistent critics of the Warren Commission.
His book, The Secret Team: The CIA and its Allies in Control
of the United States and the World, is a frightening portrayal
of the hidden rulers of America.
On March 6, 1975, the Zapruder film made its
national-television debut on ABC's Goodnight America. As a result
of this long-delayed national screening, enough public pressure
was put on Congress to reopen the case. Unfortunately, this investigation
became as carefully-manipulated as the Warren Commission, eventually
falling under the control of G. Robert Blakey, a man with close
ties to the CIA. As could be expected, Blakey led the investigation
away from the CIA and towards the Mob. Blakey's conclusion was
that President Kennedy was killed as the result of a conspiracy,
and that organized crime had the means, method and motive. "The
Garrison investigation was a fraud," said Blakey. Richard
Billings, the former Life editor, was a prominent member
of Blakey's staff.
Recently, however, a number of highly-detailed
books on the assassination have appeared, most of which support
Garrison's thesis rather than Blakey's. The best of these include Conspiracy by Anthony Summers (Paragon House, New York), Crossfire by Jim Marrs (Carroll & Graf, Inc., New York)
and High Treason by Robert Groden and Harrison Livingstone
(Berkeley, New York).
"Could the Mafia have whisked Kennedy's
body past the Texas authorities and got it aboard Air Force One?"
writes Garrison. "Could the Mafia have placed in charge of
the President's autopsy an army general who was not a physician?
Could the Mafia have arranged for President Kennedy's brain to
disappear from the National Archives?"
Today, we know that the CIA frequently hired
Mafia assassins to carry out contracts. Undoubtedly some of these
men were involved in the assassination and the cover-up. Shortly
before his disappearance, Teamster boss Jimmy Hoffa said, "Jim
Garrison's a smart man. Anyone who thinks he's a kook is a kook
himself." Was Hoffa silenced because he knew too much about
the plot? Just before their scheduled appearances before the House
investigation, Johnny Roselli and Sam Giancana were brutally murdered
in gangland fashion. Was this a message to other Mob figures who
had fragmentary information on the case?
In July 1988, The Nation published an
FBI memorandum from Hoover dated November 29, 1963. Obtained through
the Freedom of Information Act, the memo implicated "George
Bush of the CIA" in the Kennedy assassination cover-up. Although
President Bush denies any contact with the CIA prior to his being
named director in 1976, it is reasonable to assume that Zapata,
the oil company Bush founded in 1960, was a CIA front.
Former President Richard Nixon is also implicated
in the cover-up. Nixon was in Dallas the day before the assassination,
and his greatest fear during the early days of Watergate was that
the "Bay of Pigs thing" would be uncovered. According
to H.R. Haldeman in The Ends of Power, "Bay of Pigs"
was Nixon's code phrase for the Kennedy assassination.
As liaison between the CIA and the Pentagon
during the Bay of Pigs, Fletcher Prouty was put in charge of ordering
supplies for the invasion. "The CIA had code-named the invasion
- Zapata,'" recalls Prouty. "Two boats landed on the
shores of Cuba. One was named Houston, the other Barbara. They
were Navy ships that had been repainted with new names. I have
no idea where the new names came from."
At the time Bush was living in Houston. His
oil company was called Zapata, and his wife's name was Barbara.
If Garrison's investigation was not a fraud,
it's reasonable to assume that high-placed individuals in the
conspiracy would either be dead or would have obtained considerable
power in the last 28 years. According to an article in the March
4 issue of U.S. News and World Report, Nixon and Bush have
remained close associates.
"Nixon is in contact with Bush or his
senior staff every month," writes Kenneth Walsh. "Nixon
also speaks regularly on the phone with [National Security Adviser]
Brent Scowcroft... and Chief of Staff John Sununu."
Earlier this year Len Colodny and Robert Gettlin
published Silent Coup, a well-documented analysis of the
real forces behind the Watergate scandal. According to the authors,
Nixon fell prey to a military coup after refusing to work with
the Pentagon. They claim the famous Deep Throat was, in fact,
General Alexander Haig.
In the meantime, a well-orchestrated disinformation
campaign against Oliver Stone's movie has predictably appeared,
long before Stone could even begin editing his film. Longtime
Kennedy researchers were not surprised to find the charge led
by George Lardner, Jr., of the Washington Post, the last
man to see David Ferrie alive.
"Oliver Stone is chasing fiction,"
wrote Lardner in the May 19 edition of the Post. "Garrison's
investigation was a fraud." Later in the article, he adds:
"There was no abrupt change in Vietnam policy after JFK's
"That is one of the most preposterous
things I've ever heard," says Zachary Sklar, editor of On
The Trail of the Assassins, and coscreenwriter with Stone
on JFK. "Kennedy was trying to get out of Vietnam,
and Johnson led us into a war in which 58,000 Americans died.
Lardner's article is a travesty."
"I wouldn't give Lardner the time of day,"
adds Gary Shaw. "I think he's bought and paid for."
Mark Lane, author of Rush to Judgment,
one of the first books critical of the Warren Commission, agrees.
"The CIA is bringing out the spooks who pose as journalists,"
says Lane. "The amazing thing about the Lardner piece is
he's reviewing the film months before it's even completed."Time magazine
also slammed the film long before its release. "Garrison
is considered somewhere near the far-out fringe of conspiracy
theories," writes Richard Zoglin, a film critic who admits
to knowing "very little" about the assassination. (For
the 25th anniversary of the assassination back in '88, Time ran a cover story titled "Who Was the Real Target?"
Inside was an excerpt from The Great Expectations of John Connally,
a curious book that argued that Oswald really meant to kill Connally
and only hit JFK by mistake. Someday this book may be viewed as
a textbook example of CIA-sponsored disinformation.)
Time, Inc., it will be remembered, is the same
company that hid the Zapruder film for five years. When High
Times requested slides from the film to accompany this article,
the current copyright holder sent them a three-page contract to
sign. It included a prohibition against "any reference...
that the Zapruder film was ever owned by Time, Inc...." High
Times decided not to run the photos rather than assist Time,
Inc. in their continuing cover-up of the real facts behind John
F. Kennedy's assassination.
In the next few months, the American people
will be bombarded with information about the Kennedy assassination.
Most of it will be critical of Stone and Garrison. It's important
to understand that much of this criticism will be written by intelligence
assets working for the CIA. Although the Cold War is supposed
to be over, the CIA budget is at an all-time high; $30 billion
of taxpayer's money buys a lot of propaganda.
How extensive is the CIA's infiltration of
the national media? I called former agent Ralph McGeehee, author
of Deadly Deceits, who has compiled a database on everything published
about the agency. "In 1977, Carl Bernstein wrote an article
in Rolling Stone that named over 400 journalists uncovered
by the Church Committee who were working for the CIA," says
McGeehee. If anything, their numbers have only increased in the
last 12 years.
When will the subversion of the national media
end? When the American people demand it. Unfortunately, the public
has not flexed any muscle in this country since they ended the
war in Vietnam. If you want to help bring justice in this case,
there's plenty you can do:
1) Assist the Assassinations Archives in Washington
in their quest to obtain the documentation on the Kennedy case
that remains sealed to the public.
2) For more information Subscribe to Covert
Action Information Bulletin, a national newsletter on covert CIA
activities. For more information call (202) 331-9763. If you want
more detailed information on the CIA, McGehee's database can be
purchased for $99. For more information call him at (707) 437-8487.
3) Write your representatives in Congress.
Tell them you want a law passed prohibiting journalists from working
for the CIA. Although such a bill has been proposed many times,
it never makes its way out of committee.
Finally, stop accepting everything you hear
on TV and read in the newspapers. Buy books on the assassination
and cover-up and educate yourself. Only in this way can we keep
hope alive that one day America will be the sweet land of liberty
her founders intended.
(Lancer note: these phone numbers may not be
current as this article was written a few years ago.)