In September, 1991, High Times published Steven Hager’s story “Heritage of Stone,” written in advance of Oliver Stone’s 30-million film on the JFK assassination that implicates the CIA, J. Edgar Hoover and Lyndon Johnson. In conjunction with the anniversary of JFK’s murder on November 22, 1963, we’re republishing the story below.
“No one wants to recognize that somewhere along the line, America has ceased to be the home of the brave and the land of the free, and that only in after-dinner speeches is it still the sweet land of liberty. No one wants to admit that in America, peace is dangerous business.”
—Jim Garrison, A Heritage of Stone, 1970
“The Warren Commission was bunk. It fucked us all up. We ’re a generation of Hamlet figures.”
—Oliver Stone, Mother Jones, March/April 1991
Although John F. Kennedy was neither a saint nor a great intellectual, he was the youngest president ever elected, which may explain why he was so well attuned to the changing mood of America in the ’60s. Americans had grown weary of Cold War hysteria. They wanted to relax and have fun. Like the majority of people across the planet, they wanted peace.
The President’s primary obstacle in this quest was a massive, power-hungry bureaucracy that had emerged after WWII—a Frankenstein monster created by anti-Communist paranoia and inflated defense budgets. By 1960, the Pentagon was easily the world’s largest corporation, with assets over $60 billion. No one understood the monster better than President Dwight D. Eisenhower. On January 17, 1962, in his farewell address to the nation, Eisenhower spoke to the country and his successor, John F. Kennedy.
“The conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience,” said Eisenhower. “We must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex.”
At the beginning of his administration, Kennedy seems to have followed the advice of his military and intelligence officers. What else could such an inexperienced President have done? Signs of a serious rift, however, first appeared after the Bay of Pigs, a CIA-planned and -executed invasion of Cuba that took place three months after Kennedy took office. The invasion was so transparent and misconceived that Kennedy refused massive air support and immediately afterward fired CIA Director Allen Dulles, Deputy Director General Charles Cabell and Deputy Director of Planning Richard Bissell.
Kennedy’s next major crisis occurred on October 16, 1962, when he was shown aerial photos of missile bases in Cuba. The Joint Chiefs of Staff pressed for an immediate attack. Instead, Attorney General Robert Kennedy was sent to meet with Soviet Ambassador Anatoly Dobrynin. In his memoirs, Premier Nikita Khrushchev quotes the younger Kennedy as saying: “The President is in a grave situation…. We are under pressure from our military to use force against Cuba…. If the situation continues much longer, the President is not sure that the military will not overthrow him and seize power.”
Military hopes for an invasion of Cuba evaporated as Khrushchev and Kennedy worked out a nonviolent solution to the crisis. In return, Kennedy promised not to invade Cuba. Angered over the Bay of Pigs fiasco, the CIA refused to bend to Kennedy’s will and continued their destabilization campaign against Castro, which included sabotage raids conducted by a secret army, as well as plots against Castro’s life, which were undertaken with the help of such well-known Mafia figures as Johnny Roselli, Sam Giancana and Santos Trafficante. A bitter internal struggle developed around Kennedy’s attempts to disband the CIA’s paramilitary bases in Florida and Louisiana.
On August 5,1963, the US, Great Britain and the Soviet Union signed a limited nuclear-test-ban treaty. Engineered by President Kennedy and long in negotiations, the treaty was a severe blow to the Cold War warriors in the Pentagon and CIA. On September 20, 1963, Kennedy spoke hopefully of peace to the UN General Assembly. “Today we may have reached a pause in the Cold War,” he said. “….If both sides can now gain new confidence and experience in concrete collaborations of peace, then surely, this first small step can be the start of a long, fruitful journey.”
“Years later, paging through its formerly classified records, talking to National Security Council staff, it is difficult to avoid the impression that the President was learning the responsibility of power,” writes John Prados, in his recent book Keepers of the Keys, an analysis of the National Security Council. “Here was a smoother, calmer Kennedy, secretly working for rapprochement with Fidel Castro and a withdrawal from Vietnam.”
Although Kennedy’s Vietnam policy has not received widespread publicity, he turned resolutely against the war in June of 1963, when he ordered Defense Secretary Robert McNamara and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Maxwell Taylor to announce from the White House steps that all American forces would be withdrawn by 1965. At the time, 15,500 US “advisors” were stationed in South Vietnam, and total casualties suffered remained a relatively low 100.
On November 14, Kennedy signed an order to begin the withdrawal by removing 1,000 troops. In private, Kennedy let it be known the military was not going to railroad him into continuing the war. Many of the hard-line anti-Communists—including FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover—would have to be purged. Bobby Kennedy would be put in charge of dismantling the CIA. President Kennedy told Senator Mike Mansfield of his plans to tear the CIA “into a thousand pieces and scatter it to the winds.” But these plans had to wait for Kennedy’s reelection in 1964. And in order to win that election, he had to secure the South. Which is why Kennedy went to Texas later that month.
Could John Kennedy have stopped the war in Vietnam, as was his obvious intention? America will never know. His command to begin the Vietnam withdrawal was his last formal executive order. Just after noon on November 22, President Kennedy was murdered while driving through downtown Dallas, in full view of dozens of ardent supporters, and while surrounded by police and personal bodyguards. Twenty-eight years later, grave doubts still linger as to who pulled the trigger(s), who ordered the assassination, and why our government has done so little to bring justice forth.
In 1963, no American wanted to believe that President Kennedy’s death was a coup d’etat, planned by the military establishment and executed by the CIA. Today, such a claim can no longer be dismissed. Why has the national media done such an abysmal job of presenting the facts to the American people? Hopefully, some light will be shed by Oliver Stone’s upcoming film, JFK, a $30-million epic starring Kevin Costner, scheduled for release later this year. As his focal point for the story, Stone has chosen former New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison, the only prosecutor to attempt to bring this case to court, and a man subjected to one of the most effective smear campaigns ever orchestrated by the US government. It is a frightening story of murder, corruption and cover-up. Even today, 24 years after he brought the case to court, a powerful media disinformation campaign against Garrison continues.
Born November 20,1921, in Knoxville, Iowa, Earling Carothers Garrison—known as “Jim” to friends and family—was raised in New Orleans. At age 19, one year before Pearl Harbor, he joined the army. In 1942, he was sent to Europe, where he volunteered to fly spotter planes over the front lines. Following the war, he attended law school at Tulane, joined the FBI, and served as a special agent in Seattle and Tacoma. After growing bored with his agency assignments, he returned to New Orleans to practice law. He served as an assistant district attorney from 1954 to 1958.
In 1961, Garrison decided to run for district attorney on a platform openly hostile to then-New Orleans Mayor Victor Schiro. To the surprise of many, he was elected without any major political backing. He was 43 years old and had been district attorney for less than two years when Kennedy was killed. “I was an old-fashioned patriot,” he writes in On the Trail of the Assassins (Sheridan Square Press, NY), “a product of my family, my military experience, and my years in the legal profession. I could not imagine then that the government would ever deceive the citizens of this country.”
A few hours after the assassination, Lee Harvey Oswald was arrested. Two days later, while in Dallas police custody, Oswald was murdered by nightclub-owner Jack Ruby. Garrison learned that Oswald was from New Orleans, and arranged a Sunday afternoon meeting with his staff. With such an important case, it was their responsibility to investigate Oswald’s local connections.
Within days, they learned that Oswald had recently been seen in the company of one David Ferrie, a fervent anticommunist and freelance pilot linked to the Bay of Pigs invasion. Evidence placed Ferrie in Texas on the day of the assassination. Also on that day, a friend of Ferrie’s named Guy Banister had pistol-whipped Jack Martin during an argument. Martin confided to friends that Banister and Ferrie were somehow involved in the assassination. Garrison had Ferrie picked up for questioning, and turned him over to the local FBI, who immediately released him. Within a few months, the Warren Commission released its report stating that Oswald was a “lone nut” murdered by a misguided patriot who wanted to spare Jackie Kennedy the ordeal of testifying in court. Like most Americans, Garrison accepted this conclusion.
Three years later, in the fall of ’66, Garrison was happily married with three children and content with his job, when a chance conversation with Senator Russell Long changed his views on the Warren Commission forever.
“Those fellows on the Warren Commission were dead wrong,” said Long. “There’s no way in the world that one man could have shot up Jack Kennedy that way.”
Intrigued, Garrison went back to his office and ordered the complete 26-volume report. “The mass of information was disorganized and confused,” writes Garrison. “Worst of all, the conclusions in the report seemed to be based on an appallingly-selective reading of the evidence, ignoring credible testimony from literally dozens of witnesses.”
Garrison was equally disturbed by the background of the men chosen by President Johnson to serve on the commission. Why, for example, was Allen Dulles, a man fired by Kennedy, on the panel? A master spy during WWII, Dulles had supervised the penetration of the Abwehr (Hitler’s military intelligence agency) and the subsequent incorporation of many of its undercover agents into the CIA. He was powerful, well-connected and had been Director of the CIA for eight years. Certainly, he was no friend to John Kennedy. Serving with Dulles were Representative Gerald Ford, a man described by Newsweek as “the CIA’s best friend in Congress;” John McCloy, former assistant secretary of war and Commissioner for Occupied Germany; and Senator Richard Russell, chairman of the powerful Senate Armed Services Committee. Russell’s home state of Georgia was filled with military bases and government contracts. The balance of power on the commission was clearly in the hands of the military and the CIA. The entire “investigation” was supervised by J. Edgar Hoover, who openly detested the Kennedy brothers.
Another interesting link also turned up: The mayor of Dallas was Earle Cabell, brother of the General Charles Cabell JFK had earlier fired from the CIA. Earle Cabell was in a position to control many important details involved in the case, including the Dallas police force.
Based on these general suspicions, Garrison launched a highly-secret investigation around Lee Harvey Oswald’s links to David Ferrie and Guy Banister. Unfortunately, Banister had died nine months after the assassination. An alcoholic and rabid right-wing fanatic, Banister had been a star agent for the FBI and a former Naval Intelligence operative. He was a member of the John Birch Society, the Minutemen, and publisher of a racist newsletter. His office at 544 Camp Street was a well-known meeting place for anti-Castro Cubans.
Ferrie’s background was even more bizarre. A former senior pilot for Eastern Airlines, Ferrie had been the head of the New Orleans Civil Air Patrol, an organization Oswald had joined as a teenager. Ferrie suffered from alopecia, an ailment that left him hairless. He wore bright red wigs and painted eyebrows. Ferrie had founded his own religion and kept hundreds of experimental rats in his house. He reportedly had flown dozens of solo missions for the CIA in Cuba and Latin America, and had links to Carlos Marcello, head of the Mob in Louisiana. Like Banister, he was extremely right wing. “I want to train killers,” Ferrie had written to the commander of the US 1st Air Force. “There is nothing I would enjoy better than blowing the hell out of every damn Russian, Communist, Red or what-have-you.”
On the day of the assassination, Dean Andrews, a New Orleans attorney, had been asked to fly to Dallas to represent Oswald. When asked by the Warren Commission who had hired him, Andrews had replied Clay Bertrand. Bertrand, Garrison discovered, was a pseudonym used by Clay Shaw, director of the International Trade Mart. Shaw, a darling of New Orleans high society, was also well-connected in international high-finance circles. He was also an associate of Banister and Ferrie. Like many others connected with the assassination, Shaw was a former Army Intelligence operative. The case against Shaw was highly circumstantial, but Garrison did have an eyewitness willing to testify that Shaw had met with Lee Harvey Oswald just prior to the assassination.
Just as Garrison was marshaling his case, some strange events took place. On February 17, 1967, the New Orleans States-ltem published a story on Garrison’s secret probe, indicating that he had already spent over $8,000 of taxpayers’ money investigating the Kennedy assassination. Soon thereafter, Garrison received an unusually strong letter of support from a Denver oil businessman named John Miller, hinting that Miller wanted to offer financial support to the investigation. When Miller arrived in New Orleans, he met with Garrison and one of his assistants.
“You’re too big for this job,” said Miller. “I suggest you accept an appointment to the bench in federal district court, and move into a job worthy of your talents.”
“And what would I have to do to get this judgeship?” asked Garrison.
“Stop your investigation,” replied Miller calmly.
Garrison asked Miller to leave his office.
“Well, they offered you the carrot and you turned it down,” said his assistant. “You know what’s coming next, don’t you?”
Suddenly, reporters from all over the country descended on New Orleans, including the Washington Post’s George Lardner, Jr. At midnight on February 22, 1967, Lardner claims to have conducted a four-hour interview with Ferrie. The following morning Ferrie was found dead. Two unsigned, typed suicide notes were found. The letters made reference to a “messianic district attorney.”
Three days later the coroner announced that Ferrie had died of natural causes and placed the time of death well before the end of Lardner’s supposed marathon interview. Lardner’s complicity in the affair would never be called into question, while his highly-influential articles in the Washington Post branded Garrison’s investigation a “fraud.” It was just the beginning of a long series of disruptive attacks in the media, and the first in a long series of bodies connected with the case that would mysteriously turn up dead.
With Ferrie gone, Garrison had only one suspect left. He rushed his case to court, arresting Clay Shaw.
Ellen Ray, a documentary filmmaker from New York, came to New Orleans to film the story. “People were getting killed left and right,” she recalls. “Garrison would subpoena a witness and two days later the witness would be killed by a parked car. I thought Garrison was a great American patriot. But things got a little too heavy when I started getting strange phone calls from men with Cuban accents.” After several death threats, Ray became so terrified that instead of making a documentary on the trial, she fled the country.
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 sufficient evidence against Shaw to hold him for trial,” Albarado recently wrote 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 defense team.
On September 4, 1967, Chief Justice Earl Warren announced that Garrison’s case was worthless. The New York Post 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 a cover-up was the easy part. Although the overwhelming majority of eyewitnesses in Dealey 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 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 witness.
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 and 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 S. Litton [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 analylsis of the film can be found in Cover- Up, by J. Gary Shaw with Larry R.
Had the Zapruder film of the JFK assassination been shown on national televison Friday evening, November 22, 1963, the Oswald/lone assassin fabrication would have been unacceptable to a vast 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 his 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 slammed 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 and demanded an explanation, 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 bio 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 reinvestigation became as carefully-manipulated as the Warren Commission, eventually falling under the control of Professor G. Robert Blakey, a man with close ties to the CIA. As could be expected, Blakey led the investigation away from the CIA and toward the Mob. Blakey’s conclusion was that President Kennedy was killed as a 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 (Berkley, 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 the CIA frequently hired Mafia assassins to carry out contracts. Undoubtedly some of these men were involved in the assassination and cover-up. Shortly before his disappearance, Teamster boss Jimmy Hoffa said: “Jim Garrison’s a smart man. Anybody 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 & 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 Advisor] 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 death.”
“That is one of the most preposterous things I’ve ever heard,” says Zachary Sklar, editor of On The Trail of the Assassins, and co-screenwriter 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 by James Reston, a curious book that argued 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 us a three-page contract to sign. It included a prohibition against “any reference… that the Zapruder film was ever owned by Time, Inc….”
We 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 taxpayers’ money buys a lot of propaganda.
How extensive is the CIA’s infiltration of the national media? I called former agent Ralph McGehee, author of Deadly Deceits, who has compiled a computer 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 McGehee. 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) Subscribe to Covert Action Information Bulletin, a national newsletter on covert CIA activities. If you want more detailed information on the CIA, McGehee’s database can be purchased for $99. 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.