Loading...
Sunday, 14 February 2021 18:00

Fred Litwin, On the Trail of Delusion – Part One

Written by

Yawn. Litwin character assassinates Jim Garrison, while concealing FBI and CIA interference in his investigation; he tops that off by whitewashing David Ferrie.


“One of the many blessings of this project was getting to know Hugh Aynesworth … He’s one of the great reporters in America, and it’s been an honor to know him.” ~Fred Litwin

 

Anybody who is familiar with the John Kennedy assassination should realize that a writer who could make the above statement has severe objectivity problems as far as the JFK case goes. Aynesworth is the man who once said that refusing a JFK conspiracy was his life’s work. Employing Aynesworth on the Kennedy case would be like using Donald Trump on the issue of where Barack Obama was born. Yet, the above statement is a quote from the Acknowledgements section of Fred Litwin’s book about the Jim Garrison inquiry. I would like to give that quote a page number but I can’t. The reason being that those pages––and some others which have text on them––do not contain numbers. Which, in my long reviewing career, is actually a first for me. But this is just the beginning of enumerating the bizarre features of this bizarre book.

For every Breach of Trust or JFK and the Unspeakable, there are at least a dozen volumes in the JFK field that are just plain shabby––or worse. Back in 1999, Bill Davy and I reviewed Patricia Lambert’s volume about Jim Garrison, False Witness. That was a particularly unpleasant experience. In fact, the estimable Warren Commission critic Martin Hay (deservedly) placed that book on his list of the ten all-time worst on the JFK case. But in light of Fred Litwin’s latest, Martin may have to revise and replace Lambert’s entry with Litwin’s On the Trail of Delusion. For Litwin has done something I did not think was possible: he wrote a book that is even worse than Lambert’s.

If the reader knows anything about New Orleans and the Jim Garrison inquiry, it is fairly easy to see what Litwin is up to. The problem is––and I cannot make this point forcefully enough––too many writers and interested parties think they know the Garrison inquiry and New Orleans, when they really do not. Many of these self-proclaimed “authorities” have never even been to the city. Many more have never even bothered to look at Jim Garrison’s files. But this never stopped them from voicing their biased and rather ignorant viewpoints: e.g., the late Sylvia Meagher. This was and is a serious problem among critics, and it has caused many people to be misled about the New Orleans aspects of the case. I will further elucidate this factor later in this review.

The above warning is apropos to what Litwin has produced. If I had to compare his latest to another volume in a related field it would probably be Thomas Reeves’ book on John Kennedy, A Question of Character. In my two part article, “The Posthumous Assassination of John F Kennedy”, I wrote that what Reeves had actually done was to compile a collection of just about every negative Kennedy book and article that came before him. He then assembled it together by chapter headings. He never fact-checked or source-checked what was in those materials and, as far as I could see, he never talked to anyone in order to clarify, or qualify, what he wrote; for example, the case of the deceitful Judith Exner. This allowed him to go exponentially further than anyone had done up to that time in smearing Kennedy. Because I knew the field and understood the game he was playing, I called it out for being what it was: so godawful that it ended up being pretty much a humorless satire.

The difference between the JFK field of biography and Jim Garrison and New Orleans is the time element. In my above mentioned JFK essay, I noted that the character assassination of Kennedy did not begin in any serious way until after the Church Committee hearings in 1975. This was not what happened with Jim Garrison. In his case it began very soon after the exposure of his investigation by local New Orleans reporter Rosemary James. As we shall see, in one way, it began with Aynesworth.

In my book, the second edition of Destiny Betrayed, I portrayed the real manner in which Rosemary James exposed Garrison’s inquiry. Contrary to what James tried to imply, it is not at all what Garrison wanted to occur (pp. 221-23). In fact, it was a serious body blow to his efforts. Yet, to this day, she still attacks Garrison. But again, to anyone who knows New Orleans, the smears are transparent. For instance, on a show she did In New Orleans with film-maker Steve Tyler and historian Alecia Long, she said that as soon as Shaw was indicted by Garrison, the wealthy Stern family of New Orleans dropped him like a hot potato. This is provably wrong. The Stern family hosted dinner parties for reporters sympathetic to Shaw’s defense once they arrived in New Orleans. What is surprising about this howler is that the contrary information is available throughout the forerunner to Lambert and Litwin, namely James Kirkwood’s obsolete relic of a book American Grotesque (see pp. 47, 88, 111). That book was published back in 1970. 

But beyond that hospitality function, the Sterns owned the local NBC television affiliate WDSU. Ric Townley, who labored on the infamous 1967 NBC hatchet job on Garrison, worked for WDSU. That show’s producer, Walter Sheridan, worked through that station while he was in New Orleans. (William Davy, Let Justice be Done, pp. 78, 156) In addition to that, the Stern family helped start the Metropolitan Crime Commission, a private local watchdog organization. They also lobbied to bring in former FBI agent Aaron Kohn to be its first manager. Kohn took a large and important role in the effort to undermine Garrison; working hand in hand with Sheridan, Townley and Shaw’s lawyers. (Davy, p. 156) As we shall see, Kohn covered up an important piece of information about Shaw that would have strengthened Garrison’s case and shown the defendant to be a perjurer. So here is my question: After all this, who could use Rosemary James as a credible source on either Shaw or Garrison? The answer is, Fred Litwin can. He uses her frequently in his book. And as Thomas Reeves did, he does so without any qualifications or reservations. In other words, he doesn’t prepare the readers by informing them of the above.

What Litwin does is a bit more ingenious than what Reeves did. In addition to his secondary sources, like James and Kirkwood, he visited certain archives. What most of these archives have in common is that they house the papers of Garrison’s critics; for instance. Life reporter Dick Billings, Washington Post reporter George Lardner, and Shaw’s friend, author James Kirkwood. He then augments this by using the papers of Shaw’s legal team, Irvin Dymond and the Wegmann brothers, Ed and William. Some of these collections, like the Historic New Orleans Collection, were found by the Assassination Records Review Board (ARRB) to be highly sanitized. (ARRB memo from Laura Denk to Jeremy Gunn, 6/7/96) Which leads to another question: What did Fred think he was going to find in these places? Something objective? Something revelatory about Shaw’s secret intelligence background with the CIA? Something about Guy Banister’s career of covert infiltration of liberal groups in New Orleans? Nope.

There is something to this cherry picking that makes Litwin look even worse. The Wegmanns did know about the Banister undercover aspect, because Bill Wegmann worked at the law firm which handled some of Banister’s projects. In fact, Bill Wegmann notarized the papers for the incorporation of Banister’s so-called detective agency. (DiEugenio, p. 390) And that piece of quite relevant information was declassified in the nineties by the CIA, under the direction of the ARRB, even though the document dated back to 1958––that is, it took well over 30 years for it to see the light of day. This shows that Shaw’s own lawyers knew that Garrison was correct about Guy Banister. But it’s even worse than that. Bud Fensterwald later discovered through a New Orleans attorney that Banister, Shaw and former ONI operative Guy Johnson made up the intelligence apparatus for New Orleans. (Davy, p. 41) In the fifties, Guy Johnson worked with Bill Wegmann at the above-referenced law firm. Therefore, not only did Shaw’s defense team know about Banister, they likely knew about Shaw. And they still let him deny in public, and on the stand, that he was ever associated with the CIA.

In addition to James and Aynesworth, this leads to a third complaint to the reader: Try and find this rather important connection in Litwin’s book. Any objective person would understand that this declassified evidentiary point is important to Litwin’s subject matter. Both for what it says about Banister, and what it reveals about Shaw’s attorneys. Knowing that, anyone with an ounce of objectivity would realize that the Wegmanns would not have kept it in their archives.


II

Right after his acknowledgements to people like Aynesworth, and a listing of the archives the author will use, Litwin begins his narrative. He does so in a way that naturally follows from these prefatory matters. He describes a report from the military which eventually allowed Garrison to be discharged from the service on his second tour in 1951. Garrison had served on very dangerous air reconnaissance missions during World War II. At a very low altitude and speed, his team searched out enemy artillery sites. They flew so low, they could have been hit by rifle fire. And once they were sighted, they were attacked by much faster German fighter planes. (Joan Mellen, Jim Garrison: His Life and Times, pp. 18-19) They therefore sustained high fatality rates.

When Garrison reenlisted during the Korean conflict, he reported for sick call at Fort Sill. It turned out that he suffered from what used to be called “battle fatigue”, what we today call PTSD. (DiEugenio, p. 168; Mellen, pp. 36-37). What Litwin does with this is again, bizarre, but telling. He brings it up in the first paragraph of his text (p. 3, another non-numbered page). Less than one page later, Garrison is the DA of New Orleans. Clearly, what the author is trying to indicate is that somehow a mentally disabled person is now in high office. One way he does this is by leaving out the fact that after he left the service Garrison was recruited by the mayor of New Orleans, Chep Morrison. He was assigned to run the Public Safety Commission which supervised Traffic Court. (Mellen, p. 41). To put it mildly, Garrison did a crackerjack job. Mellen spends three pages showing, with facts and figures, that Garrison was such an excellent administrator that he just about revolutionized that branch. He was so good that Morrison offered him a judgeship over that court, which Garrison turned down. He said he would rather be on the DA’s staff, which Morrison then appointed him to. (Mellen, p. 44) It would appear to most objective people that Garrison had overcome any functional disability from his PTSD. Litwin eliminates this remarkable performance. I leave it up to the reader to figure out why.

At the DA’s office, Garrison handled a variety of criminal cases: burglary, lottery operations, prostitution, homicide and fraud. (Mellen, pp. 44-45) Again, this would indicate that Garrison had overcome his PTSD. Again, Litwin eliminates it.

Once Garrison enters into the DA’s office, we begin to understand why Litwin began his book as he did. Again, ignoring all the reforms and tangible improvements he made in the office and the praise he received for doing so, Litwin is going to strike two major themes in order to smear Garrison and his tenure. Both of these have been used before, they are nothing original. But Litwin tries to amplify them to the point of using chapter subheads to trumpet them. They are: 1) That Garrison spent much time prosecuting homosexuals; and 2) That the DA was a paranoiac about surveillance over his investigation.

Concerning the first, this motif was first utilized by Kirkwood in his aforementioned book. What Litwin does not reveal is that Clay Shaw commissioned that book. I discovered this through a friend of novelist James Leo Herlihy on a research trip down south. Lyle Bonge knew Herlihy from his college days. Shaw asked Herlihy to write a book about Garrison and the trial. Herlihy declined, but he suggested his young friend Kirkwood. All three men were gay, and that is not a coincidence. Shaw wanted a book that would portray Garrison as having no case against him. Therefore, the product was designed to suggest Garrison was simply out to prosecute Shaw because he was a homosexual. Anyone who reads Kirkwood’s useless relic will understand this was his mission: the denigration of Garrison, and the canonization of Shaw.

To further this concept, Litwin quotes a passage from the book on Garrison’s case co-authored by Rosemary James. The passage says that Garrison charged someone for being in a place that served liquor because the person was a homosexual. And that Garrison did this in order to attain a string of homosexual informants. (Litwin, pp. 8, 21) One would think from the reference that this information originated with reports from a primary source. When one looks it up, that is not the case. The source is Bill Stuckey. (James and Jack Wardlaw, “Plot or Politics?” pp. 21-22) Litwin does not reveal this either in his text or his references, which frees him from telling the reader who Stuckey was.

As Bill Simpich writes, Stuckey was both a CIA and FBI informant. He was the host for two interviews that Oswald did in the late summer of 1963 in New Orleans. These were originally arranged for by Carlos Bringuier of the CIA funded Cuban Student Directorate (DRE) branch in the Crescent City. The second debate featured Bringuier and CIA asset/propaganda expert Ed Butler facing off against Oswald.

Prior to the second debate, Stuckey was in contact with the FBI and they read him parts of Oswald’s file, including the information about his defection to the USSR. It was that information which was used to ambush Oswald since he was supposed to be representing the Fair Play for Cuba Committee. The defection exposed him as being not a fair participant but a communist. Stuckey crowed about how the debate ruined the FPCC in New Orleans. (DiEugenio, p. 162) Within 24 hours of the assassination, the DRE produced a broadsheet connecting Oswald to Castro and blaming the latter for Kennedy’s murder. In light of all this, would anyone besides Fred Litwin call Stuckey a neutral observer of the Kennedy case? But the reader does not know this because of Litwin’s excision.


III

The Stuckey non-mention is by no means an outlier. At the beginning of Chapter 2, Litwin prints an FBI memo. It originates with someone in Louisiana state Attorney General Jack Gremillion’s office. It strikes the same chord that Stuckey does above: Garrison was somehow doing a shakedown operation with homosexuals in New Orleans. Gremillion’s office wanted the FBI to do something about it. 

I had to giggle while reading this. For two reasons. First of all, back in 1967, who would go to J. Edgar Hoover and the FBI on such an issue? If the point was genuine one would go to an agency like the ACLU. Or, since the state AG was above the local DA in New Orleans, why not pursue the case oneself? Which leads to my second reason for chuckling. Jack Gremillion was one of the most reactionary state AG’s there was at the time. Considering the era, that is really saying something (go here and scroll down). If there was a Hall of Shame for state AG’s not standing up for minority groups, he would be in it.

Again, to anyone who knows the New Orleans milieu of the period, this is clearly the residue left over from the famous James Dombrowksi case. Dombrowksi ran a pro-civil-rights group called the Southern Conference Educational Fund (SCEF). It operated out of New Orleans. The SCEF was clearly a left-leaning group, and Dombrowski was a communist sympathizer. There was nothing illegal or unconstitutional about what he did. So the rightwing forces in the area, including Banister, Gremillion and Mississippi Senator James Eastland––encouraged by Hoover––decided to create a law in order to prosecute Dombrowksi. It was called the Communist Control Law. The idea was to somehow show that groups advocating for civil rights emanated from Moscow. So Gremillion raided the SCEF and arrested Dombrowski and two assistants. Garrison decided to take over the case since the SCEF was in New Orleans and he did not want Gremillion to do so. As Garrison critic Milton Brener later said, Garrison did as little as possible in order to get the case to the Supreme Court where he knew it would be thrown out. Which it was. Gremilion and his ilk did not like it. Hence the retaliatory smear. (Mellen, pp. 162-69).

This leads to more unintentional humor. Litwin is so desperate to do something with the homosexual angle that he displays a cover from the pulp magazine Confidential (p. 85). The cover depicts Shaw waving from a car, and the title denotes some kind of homosexual ring killed Kennedy. Litwin says the author of the article, Joel Palmer, worked for Garrison. Having gone through Garrison’s extant files, I can find no evidence for that statement. What the files reveal is that Palmer, a reporter who was planning a book on the case, worked with Bill Boxley, a CIA plant in Garrison’s office. (See Garrison blind memo of 2/21/70) And he worked on furthering certain leads with Boxley that ended up being ersatz, like Edgar Bradley. (DiEugenio, pp. 278-85)

Litwin pushes the homosexual angle so hard and down so many cul de sacs that he ends up reminding one of the Keenan Wynn/Bat Guano character in the classic film Dr. Strangelove. If one recalls, Guano thought that the attack on the military base was ordered because the commanding general had learned about a mutiny of “preverts” under him. Wynn said this with a straight face. So does Litwin. (See the first part of this film clip)

For the record, there is not one memo I have read that shows Garrison ever outlined such a homosexual-oriented plot. At the beginning of the inquiry, there is evidence that Garrison was suspecting a militant rightwing plot. And as Garrison developed cases against Shaw and Ferrie, he was checking out leads that would connect them in the gay underworld. But nothing that either Peter Vea or Malcolm Blunt ever uncovered shows what Litwin is trying to impute to Garrison. Those two men are the two best pure archival researchers ever on the JFK case. And Vea specialized in the Garrison files.

Beyond that, I have had authors who have written about Kirkwood call me in utter bewilderment about his book. They have asked me where he got some of the stuff he wrote about, since they could not find any back-up for it. And I have patiently explained to them what Kirkwood was up to, and how he deliberately distorted things, with Clay Shaw pushing him along. In fact, Shaw was indirectly putting out stories about Garrison being a homosexual to the FBI as early as mid-March of 1967. (FBI memo of March 16, 1967) Was the idea behind this to impute that Shaw was charged over some homosexual rivalry or rejection? That is how nutty this angle gets. This is how far Shaw would go to escape suspicion and denigrate Garrison.

In his further attempt to smear the DA, Litwin subheads a section of the book with the following: “The Paranoia of Jim Garrison”. This is largely based on Garrison’s belief that the FBI was monitoring his phone calls. Litwin tries to dismiss this charge through––try not to laugh––Hugh Aynesworth. (p. 32) The declassified record reveals that the FBI was monitoring Garrison’s phone. (DiEugenio, p. 264) As we shall see, so was the CIA. When I revealed the name, Chandler Josey, as one of the FBI agents involved, former FBI agent Bill Turner recognized it and said he had been directly infiltrated into certain phone companies to do the tapping. What makes this worse is that Shaw’s defense team knew this was happening early on. In a multi-layered scheme, their ally, former FBI agent Aaron Kohn, was privy to the transcripts. (DiEugenio, p. 265) The reason for this was simple: Hoover did not like what Garrison was discovering since it showed up his phony investigation of the JFK case.

Gordon Novel, who was working for Allen Dulles, had also wired Garrison’s office. (DiEugenio, pp. 232-33) Novel had sold himself as a security expert to Garrison through their mutual friend, auto dealer Willard Robertson. In a sworn deposition, Novel revealed his close relationship with Dulles. But he also said that the FBI would be at his apartment every day in order to get a briefing on what was going on at Garrison’s office. This is how worried Hoover was at the exposure of his rigged investigation of the Kennedy case. (DiEugenio, p. 233). So, in light of the declassified record, just what is there that is fanciful about Garrison saying he was being surveilled by the FBI?

There is also nothing fanciful about another statement Litwin utilizes to smear Garrison: namely, that many of the lawyers for the other side were being paid by the CIA. Again, this has turned out to be accurate. We know today that the CIA helmed a Cleared Attorneys Panel in major cities, and there was one in New Orleans. (Letter from attorney James Quaid to Richard Helms, 5/13/67) Quaid had heard about this easy employment from his law partner Ed Baldwin. Baldwin enlisted in the anti-Garrison campaign and was busy defending people like Walter Sheridan, Ric Townley and later Kerry Thornley. There is further evidence of this in another ARRB disclosure. This one was a CIA memo of 3/13/68 which reveals that Shaw’s former partner at the International Trade Mart, Lloyd Cobb, was on the panel. Corroborating this, under oath, Gordon Novel did not just admit his cooperation with Allen Dulles, he also admitted he had lawyers who were being “clandestinely renumerated” [sic]. (DiEugenio, p. 263) So again, what is the basis for implying this statement is fanciful? The CIA itself admitted it in declassified documents.

But Litwin is not done with his character smears. Another one of his subheads reads: “Garrison the Irrational Leftist”. (p. 24) Again, anyone who studies this case and knows New Orleans understands that Garrison was in no way a leftist prior to his involvement with the Kennedy case. He was a moderate. For instance, he was anti-ACLU. He once said that it had “Drifted so far to the left it was now almost out of sight.” (Mellen, p. 217) Even more demonstrative, he favored the Cold War. He once said in a speech that the US had to counteract communist aggression in Korea and Vietnam. (Mellen, p. 208) This is an “irrational leftist”? What changed his view on these matters was his investigation of the Kennedy case.


IV

As we have seen, in a variety of ways, the initial part of Litwin’s book is a rather blatant and barren attempt at character assassination. For anyone who knows New Orleans, it does not stand up to scrutiny. Therefore, we can term it an attempt to confuse the uninformed reader. We will now get to Litwin’s description of Garrison’s stewardship of the Kennedy case and the evidence underlying it. But before we do, this reviewer should comment a bit more on the format of the book.

Litwin has placed the overwhelming majority of his reference notes at the rear, with no numbers. The standard academic procedure is to link the note at the rear to the book’s pagination. Litwin does not do this. So one has to search for the proper note by the textual lead in the chapter. Because of this unusual sourcing method, I did something I found morally offensive: I bought the paperback version of the book, for it had become too time consuming to hunt for the textual references by shifting back and forth in the electronic book version. To top it off, the book has no index. Thus, for purposes of review, unless one takes notes, this makes it difficult to locate information.

But it is even worse than that. Because in his reference notes, he will often refer to his source with a rubric like “The Papers of George Lardner, Library of Congress”; or “Papers of the Metropolitan Crime Commission”. Again, this is not acceptable. In these kinds of references, the proper method is to annotate the information to a box number and folder title at that archives. Does Litwin really expect the reviewer to search through the online listing to find the information and then check if it is available? In sum, without an index, it’s hard to locate information; with this kind of nebulous referencing, it’s even harder to check out the information. With that in mind, let us proceed.

Litwin begins his assault on Garrison’s methods by writing that the DA stacked the grand jury with his friends and colleagues, many from the New Orleans Athletic Club. I expected to see some primary source back-up for this, like names and terms of service. When I looked up the reference it turned out to be David Chandler (see p. 345, not numbered). Again, because Litwin doesn’t, one has to explain why this is problematic.

Chandler was a part of the whole journalistic New Orleans wolfpack, which included Jim Phelan, Aynesworth, Billings and Sheridan. After the James disclosure, they went to work almost immediately at defaming Garrison in the press, thereby handing a pretext for governors not to extradite witnesses to New Orleans. Chandler was one of the very worst at inflicting the whole phony Mafia label on Garrison. That was another smear which turned out to be completely false. (Davy, pp. 149-67). In fact, the infamous Life magazine story of September 8, 1967 implicating Garrison with the Mob was largely written by Billings and Chandler. Chandler was a close friend of Shaw. When Garrison wanted to call Chandler in for questioning about the sources for his article, Life magazine did something rather interesting. The editors called up the governor of the state. They told him to make Chandler a part of the state trooper force thus granting him immunity. There was an ultimatum attached to the demand: if he did not do it, they would write a similar article about him. He caved. (1997 interview with Mort Sahl)

Again, for the record, urban grand juries in Louisiana are chosen similarly to the way trial juries are chosen. They are picked randomly from voting rolls. (Louisiana Law Review, vol. 17, no. 4, p. 682) Further, Garrison did not choose or run the grand juries. He assigned that function to his deputies who ran them on a rotating basis. (1994 interview with ADA William Alford)

But Litwin is not done with Chandler. He uses him to say that Garrison started his Kennedy investigation out of boredom. (p. 12) As we should all know, Garrison began his inquiry back in 1963 over a lead about David Ferrie. Ferrie had driven to Texas with two friends on the day of the assassination. His excuse was he wanted to go duck hunting and ice skating. The problem was that after Garrison investigated the strange journey he found out that Ferrie did not bring shotguns, and he never put on skates at the rink. He stood by a public phone and waited for a call. This took two hours. (DiEugenio, p. 176) What made it all the more fascinating is that Ferrie had called the rink owner a week before. (Davy, p. 46). Suspicious about Ferrie’s story, he turned him over to the FBI. The FBI dismissed it all and let Ferrie go. Three years later, on a plane ride with Senator Russell Long, the subject of the assassination came up. Long expressed extreme doubts about the efficacy of the Warren Report. This provoked the DA to order the report and its accompanying 26 volumes of evidence. As any criminal lawyer would, the DA found gaping holes, along with many unanswered questions. (Davy, pp. 57-58) The same reaction was later duplicated by experienced criminal lawyers Richard Sprague, Al Lewis and Robert Tanenbaum when they helmed the first phase of the House Select Committee on Assassinations. (interview with Bob Tanenbaum; interview with Richard Sprague; 1996 Interview with Al Lewis) This is what caused Garrison now to reject the FBI dismissal of Ferrie and reopen his own inquiry. Which would eventually cost him his office. It was not out of Chandlerian boredom.


V

The above marks a good point at which to bring up another strange presentation by Litwin. As mentioned above, in reality, Garrison was only focused on David Ferrie in his aborted 1963 inquiry. He then passed him on to the FBI. The Bureau allowed Ferrie to depart.

This is not how Litwin presents it in his book. On page 39 he writes that the FBI and Jim Garrison were trying to find Clay Bertrand in late 1963. He then repeats this on page 41. The obvious question is: How could Garrison be looking for Bertrand in 1963 if he did not know about him? As noted above, Garrison had not studied the Commission volumes at that time, for the good reason that they would not be published until a year later. The only way I could explain this Twilight Zone temporal confusion is that Litwin is so hellbent on trying to show that Garrison was bereft of any reason to suspect anything about either Shaw or Ferrie, that he mixed the two elements together. He then minimized what had really happened or just cut it out.

For example, Litwin writes that after Garrison questioned him, Ferrie told the FBI that Oswald might have been in his CAP unit at the time, he just was not sure. (Litwin, p. 37) He leaves it at that. This is stunning because Ferrie repeatedly perjured himself in his statement to the FBI. He said he never owned a telescopic rifle, never used one, and would not know how to use one––a blatant lie, since we know Ferrie was a trainer for both the Bay of Pigs and Operation Mongoose. (DiEugenio, p. 177) He also said he had no relations to any Cuban exile group since 1961. For the same reason as just given, this was another lie.

In the FBI report Ferrie––and Litwin––try to have it both ways about knowing Oswald. Let us quote the report:

Ferrie stated that does not know LEE HARVEY OSWALD and to the best of his knowledge OSWALD was never a member of the CAP Squadron in New Orleans during the period he was with that group. Ferrie said that if OSWALD was a member of the squadron for only a few weeks, as had been claimed, he would have been considered a recruit and that he (FERRIE) would not have had any contact with him. (CD 75, p. 286)

When someone says, “to the best of his knowledge,” most people would consider that a denial. Litwin doesn’t. And in his footnote he uses the work of the late Stephen Roy to say that, well, Ferrie had literally hundreds of CAP students and he might have just forgotten about Oswald. (Litwin, p. 346)

For a moment, let us forget the people who saw Ferrie with Oswald that summer, and this includes two INS agents among others. (Mellen, A Farewell to Justice, p. 48) From the day of the assassination, Ferrie was looking for evidence that would link him to Oswald. In the wake of the assassination, this happened three times. On the day of the assassination, he went to Oswald’s former landlady, Jesse Garner. He wanted to know if anyone had been to her home referring to his library card being found on Oswald. (HSCA interview of 2/20/78) Within days of the assassination he repeated this question with a Mrs. Doris Eames. Again, he wanted to know if Oswald, who her husband had talked to at the library, had shown him Ferrie’s library card. (NODA memorandum of Sciambra to Garrison, 3/1/68) On November 27th, Ferrie was on the phone calling the home of his former CAP student Roy McCoy. He wanted to know if there were any photos at the house depicting Ferrie in the CAP. He also asked if the name “Oswald” rang a bell. Mr. McCoy called the FBI about this episode and he quite naturally told them he thought that Ferrie was looking for evidence that would depict him with Oswald. (FBI report of 11/27/63)

Attorneys call this kind of behavior “consciousness of guilt”. But that does not just refer to Ferrie, it also refers to the FBI. With the report by Mr. McCoy they knew Ferrie was lying to them. It is a crime to lie to an FBI agent while you are under investigation. The fact that Ferrie committed perjury did not interest J. Edgar Hoover. If it had, with a little initiative, he would have discovered the other instances indicating the lie, and he would have found the picture revealing Ferrie with Oswald that PBS discovered in 1993. What this clearly shows is that Hoover was not interested in the Kennedy case. In other words, right after Kennedy was killed, Ferrie was lying on numerous material points, and the FBI was covering up for him.

Try and find any of this in Litwin’s book. Let me know when you locate it.

Click here for Litwin and the Warren Report.

Click here for Fred Litwin, On the Trail of Delusion – Part Two.

Last modified on Sunday, 21 February 2021 06:33
James DiEugenio

One of the most respected researchers and writers on the political assassinations of the 1960s, Jim DiEugenio is the author of two books, Destiny Betrayed (1992/2012) and The JFK Assassination: The Evidence Today (2018), co-author of The Assassinations, and co-edited Probe Magazine (1993-2000).   See "About Us" for a fuller bio.

Find Us On ...

Sitemap

Please publish modules in offcanvas position.