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John Simkin

Joan Mellen: A Farewell to Justice

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Following up on my previous post, it is the central thesis of Professor Mellen's book that the CIA as an institution killed Kennedy, and then hung Clay out to dry.

If so, Hemming's alleged statement that Helms did it would be pivotal to support her scenario.

If Hemming is a credible witness, of course. And Gerry does claim a relationship (perhaps that is the wrong word) with CIA officers, agents. (But not with Helms to the best of my knowledge.)

So why does she simply slip this sentence in without an explanation of when it was made, to whom it was made, Hemming's basis for his belief, etc.?

Because if the statement is true it makes her entire case.

Now, if Professor Mellen does not believe Gerry is a credible witness, why would she even include his statement at all?

Her treatment of this "bombshell statement" does not seem to make sense to me any way.

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Following up on my previous post, it is the central thesis of Professor Mellen's book that the CIA as an institution killed Kennedy, and then hung Clay out to dry.

If so, Hemming's alleged statement that Helms did it would be pivotal to support her scenario.

If Hemming is a credible witness, of course. And Gerry does claim a relationship (perhaps that is the wrong word) with CIA officers, agents. (But not with Helms to the best of my knowledge.)

So why does she simply slip this sentence in without an explanation of when it was made, to whom it was made, Hemming's basis for his belief, etc.?

Because if the statement is true it makes her entire case.

Now, if Professor Mellen does not believe Gerry is a credible witness, why would she even include his statement at all?

Her treatment of this "bombshell statement" does not seem to make sense to me any way.

--------------------------------------

Gratz, et al.

A fellow member of the SFRG [so. Florida Reserchers Group], and co-founder of C.O.P.A has sent out an E-mail to his list [and personally to me] a review of Professor Mellen's newly released Tome.

This person has been a close personal friend to me for many years, and will be leaving for Dallas shortly. Moreover, I take his counsel very seriously due to the fact that: He has indeed assembled a large collection of "hard copy" files, and these are supported by an enormous amount of electronically-stored & retrievable documents, essays, thesises, voice & video recordings.

This able and dedicated researcher is the regional director of a "Fortune-500" electronics manufacterer and distributor. He rarely ever even "skims" over some NEW book on the JFK, or any other matter of interest.

However, and in rare form, he has related to me that: He has involved himself in an almost "marathon-like" perusal in depth -- of Joan Mellen's latest [of many] serious books.

This highly intelligent person finds this book to be one of "The Best" books ever written on this subject matter. He states that Prof. Mellen has included detailed footnotes on almost every page [as done in "Legal Briefs" !!] -- and moreover, cites to an extensive and inclusive amount of "R.I.F. Numbers" relating to N.A.R.A. declassified documents from multiple agencies.

Joan Mellen was so appreciative of said researcher's help in her quest, that she forwarde a signed copy of the Garrison book.

[No doubt out of gratitude for personal introductions to expert researchers, especially that one from the U.K. -- who flies across "The Pond" frequently to do interviews and spend endless hours at NARA]

I however, and despite more than five years of assisting her in this effort, did not receive a copy, and I am convinced that my waiting astride my post-box every morning might well be a futile exercise. I have received both e-mails and telephone calls referring to Prof. Mellen having "burned & back-stabbed" Moi !!

Since I have yet to review her book, I obviously can't respond, or even comment on the quality of her work.

I am given to understand that you are working from an "advance galley copy" of said book, which might very well have since been edited, amended, and corrected -- to a vast degree [and thus different] perspective beyond that which you received from her originally, and quote therefrom !!

Having read Bill Turner's response to an "alleged" slur against his activities while woking "inside" Garrison's team of investigators -- I note that he too, has not had the opportunity to review the book, and reserves comment. Bill Turner is one of THE most respected investigators/authors of the last Century, and one of the sparse few former FBI Special Agents who: Had the guts to go against Hoover, whilst hundreds of other FBI agents and employees hid trembling in the shadows hoping to preserve their jobs and/or pensions.

Bill Turner did these things while Hoover remained both alive and powerful, thus he exposed himself to severe retribution -- which was the routine fate of any who "crossed" this serial psycopath.

If indeed it turns out that Joan Mellen has made untoward references against those who toiled in assisting her over these long years, and it is not the result of the publisher's editor, et al. having "sexed-up" the end product -- then I would have to believe that her "game" was not very "Cricket" !!

Investigative reporters [a-la Woodward & Burnstein, et al.] are required to keep extensive notes [and sometimes recordings] of their interviews. Moreover, they routinely call the "subjects-of-interest" upon whom they are soon to write about.

This is most often NOT the case with professional authors, who rarely have the time nor opportunity to back-track in order to confirm/correct the myriad of issues which have been elicited via hundreds of interviews over the long term.

I will reserve judgment until I receive and review her book. Even then, I shall await "peer review" by the large number of others more expert in these matters. Then, if I still retain the fervor of a "Critic", I may well give forth with limited comments, but limited to only some of the specific references contained therein !!

CHAIRS,

GPH

________________________

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Following up on my previous post, it is the central thesis of Professor Mellen's book that the CIA as an institution killed Kennedy, and then hung Clay out to dry.

If so, Hemming's alleged statement that Helms did it would be pivotal to support her scenario.

If Hemming is a credible witness, of course. And Gerry does claim a relationship (perhaps that is the wrong word) with CIA officers, agents. (But not with Helms to the best of my knowledge.)

So why does she simply slip this sentence in without an explanation of when it was made, to whom it was made, Hemming's basis for his belief, etc.?

Because if the statement is true it makes her entire case.

Now, if Professor Mellen does not believe Gerry is a credible witness, why would she even include his statement at all?

Her treatment of this "bombshell statement" does not seem to make sense to me any way.

----------------------------------------

Will see Bill tomorrow, he is already there a day ahead of us. I'm packing now, on vacation day today.

Don't know this character, just another one on my list. Will verify the info in Dallas. Sounds like the frame swap that Noel Twyman had done after he proofed the book. They reversed some Z Film frames.

es

----- Original Message -----

From:

To:

Sent: Thursday, November 17, 2005 12:20 AM

Subject: Re: New book, A Farewell To Justice by Prof. Joan Mellen

But Gaeton Fonzi never said in her book that it was true and accurate. I have a number of calls trying to verify her information and told them to find someone who knows. Some have said they cannot believe her English is so bad. Good luck. Did Bretz get his book yet?

GW

________ wrote:

I'm commenting on the verification of documents that are now available. I'm only on page 128 and you may have seen more pages.

Thanks for bringing this to my attention, since we are all concerned about voracity of the book and attendant proof of the evidence provided.

I have been apprised of the change order since last year. Please let me know if I need to provide any assistance.

E. S.

----- Original Message -----

From:

To:

Sent: Wednesday, November 16, 2005 9:14 PM

Subject: Re: New book, A Farewell To Justice by Prof. Joan Mellen

______________,

As always, thanks for the information. There is a serious problem with the footnotes. About midway in the book, they do not correspond to the correct page making it tedious, if not impossible to check her sources. Incredible that the publisher would let this happen. I believe this begins with Chapter 12.

Also, the book was written as a factual narrative, but in some cases, the events described come from dubious sources that are discredited later.

Only by referencing the footnotes, can one ascertain this. For example, at the beginning of Chapter 12 the author describes Walter Sheridan knocking on Gordon Novel's house at 1313 Dauphine Street. The source is an interview with Novel himself. Yet by other accounts in the book, Novel is shown to be the source of many falsehoods.

My point is that much of the book has to be taken with a somewhat jaundiced eye, and the events described may or may not be entirely factual, although they are presented that way. I could cite other examples.

In other words, an interview with Novel does not have the solid bedrock of authenticity that many of the other events described in the book do, but it is presented in the same vein.

Other than a review on Amazon.com I have not seen anyone else mention the footnoting problem, which makes me wonder how carefully some people check sources when they read a work like this.

Having said that, I have thoroughly enjoyed the book and could not put it down until I finished it. Jim Garrison has been one of my heroes, and I still consider A Heritage of Stone one of the most moving books I have ever read.

Hopefully the footnote problems will be corrected in future editions. I agree with you that it was well written. This is not meant to be a diatribe, but I just wanted to point out that you will probably reconsider your statement that "footnotes are by the page, and easy to verify" once you get to Chapter 12.

Best wishes,

M. H.

----- Original Message -----

From:

To:

Sent: Wednesday, November 16, 2005 8:00 PM

Subject: New book, A Farewell To Justice by Prof. Joan Mellen

Thus far I've read 128 pages, and it is fast moving, well written and contains numerous documents that are carefully indexed complete with RIF numbers. Footnotes are by the page, and easy to verify.

Some of the documents referenced are in my personal file on Garrison and are corroborated. Andy W of the Last Hurrah Book Shop said that he just received a shipment of the new books and he will be at the D.C. conference this year, with his assistants at the other two conferences in Dallas. Yes, there are three JFK conferences this year, all at the same time.

It is unusual for me to read a new book so quickly, but this has been in the works for 5 years. Joan was a guest of the South Florida Research Group 4 years ago and she would not reveal anything at that time, but now it all comes out in the clear.

Another researcher that was at the Clay Shaw Trial and met Garrison said that this book is "The definitive book on Garrison that should be read by any serious researcher in the JFK case." He will be in Dallas this year.

Gaeton Fonzi wrote in the cover, "She ultimately places in historical perspective the role Garrison's Investigation played in helping America understand the true significance of the assassination of President Kennedy, revealing a foreshadowing of events that brought us to these dangerous times in which we now live."

Dr. Gary Aguilar writes, " The myth of Garrison as vile opportunist and Shaw as hapless victim has been incontrovertibly demolished, as has been the myth that the federal government and powerful media can be trusted when the stakes are high."

F_____ recommends this book with two thumbs up.

On the way to Dallas once more..........See you there.

---------------------------------------

GPH

_________________________________

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The gloves are off at John McAdams' website. He has posted a negative review of AF2J by, you guessed it, Pat Lambert, who penned False Witness.

http://mcadams.posc.mu.edu/mellen.htm

I look forward to Joan's response. :lol:

A Farewell to History: Hello Mythology

A Farewell to Justice: Jim Garrison, JFK’s Assassination, and the Case That Should Have Changed History, by Joan Mellen (Potomac Books; November 2005)

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Review by Patricia Lambert

Joan Mellen reviewed unfavorably my 1999 book, False Witness, and in the book being reviewed here she is critical of my work.

Despite the promise implicit in its subtitle, A Farewell to Justice does not try to explain what happened in Dallas when President Kennedy was shot in 1963 but rather to justify what happened in New Orleans years later, when District Attorney Jim Garrison put a businessman named Clay Shaw on trial for conspiracy to murder the president.

Garrison was legally discredited if not humiliated, twice: in 1969, when a jury deliberated only 54 minutes before setting Shaw free, and again in 1971, when a federal court concluded that Garrison’s prosecution of Shaw was based on shockingly insubstantial, even concocted, evidence.

Judge Herbert W. Christenberry, Opinion, Clay L. Shaw v. Jim Garrison, Civil Action No. 71-135, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Louisiana, New Orleans, May 27, 1971.

Close By “building upon Garrison’s effort” (as the author’s web page says), this book is an attempt to resuscitate the evidentiary equivalent of a corpse.

The author embraces questionable witnesses and unlikely stories with little to recommend them except that they fit with her (and Garrison’s) belief that the CIA killed John F. Kennedy.

Literary Body Snatching

One such witness is Jack Martin, an important figure in Mellen’s story and, at least in the beginning, in Garrison’s. An occasional private investigator, Jack was a former mental patient and alcoholic whose conspiracy stories first surfaced in 1963 when they were investigated and found to be binge-induced fantasies. Even Garrison once called Jack “a xxxx.” Mellen transforms this courthouse hanger-on (known for his intrinsic unreliability) into a savvy CIA operative who “never left the agency,”

Fantasies: Jack Martin, Secret Service interview, November 29, 1963. See also, Patricia Lambert, False Witness (New York: M. Evans and Co., 1999), pp. 23-30; “a xxxx”: “Dick Billings’s personal notes on conversations and interviews with Garrison,” Dec. 29, 1966, p. 4; “never left”: Mellen, p. 36.

Close an all-knowing insider and sinister conspirator, by giving him a new identity—that of a Washington, D.C., man working for the CIA.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The author embraces questionable witnesses and unlikely stories with little to recommend them except that they fit with her (and Garrison’s) belief that the CIA killed John F. Kennedy.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

She engineers this literary version of body snatching largely by incorrectly reporting the results of a 1967 inquiry, conducted by the CIA, into the possibility that a former agency employee named Joseph James Martin and a John J. Martin (one of Jack’s aliases) might be the same individual. The investigation found that the two men were not the same. Yet Mellen, with no explanation, concludes the opposite—that they were the same and, while oddly insisting that Jack’s real name was John J. Martin, she proceeds to reconstruct Jack’s life using Joseph’s biography. This, despite the fact that the two were born in different states, two years apart, and that Joseph died in 1975 while Jack was very much alive. Moreover, Jack’s real name was not Jack, John J., or Joseph. It was Edward Stewart Suggs, as his FBI files show.

CIA inquiry: Memorandum to Deputy Chief, Security Research Staff, from Chief, FIOB (signed M.D. Stevens), Subject, Joseph James Martin #43847, April 6, 1967, Archives Record No: #104-10300-10323 [hereafter, CIA Memo]. (The CIA inquiry was triggered when Jack Martin, posing as “John J. Martin,” traveled to Louisville, Kentucky to investigate one Carl Stanley and “while drinking” bragged to Stanley that he had known Lee Harvey Oswald and David Ferrie and also claimed that he worked for the CIA. Stanley repeated Martin’s statements to the local police department and FBI, who passed them on to the CIA. Since Jack bore some resemblance to a real CIA employee named Joseph James Martin, the CIA investigated simply to rule out “even the vaguest possibility that they are the same individual” [CIA Memo].) (For Jack Martin’s use of the name “John J. Martin,” see “Instrument of Ordination” and “Instrument of the Consecration” accompanying report by Jack Martin describing his1959-1966 investigation of “Carl John Stanley” [Wegmann Papers].) Joseph’s biography: Mellen, pp. 35, 36; different states and years: Joseph was born in 1913 in Ohio (CIA Memo); Martin was born in 1915 in Arizona (CIA Memo #1, “Garrison and the Kennedy Assassination,” April 26, 1967, Enclosure 22, “Subject: Edward Stewart Suggs, alias Jack S. Martin,” Archives Record No: 104-10012-10017); Joseph died: See Social Security Death Index, “Joseph Martin”; born “April 20, 1913,” last residence, “Washington, D.C.,” SS# “285-09-5499”, died “Oct. 1975”; Jack alive: He was interviewed by HSCA investigators as late as December 6, 1977 (HSCA, Archives Record No.: 180-10080-10208); Suggs: FBI Identification Record (“rap” sheet), “Number 4 235 132” (Garrison’s office files), and CIA Memo #1, “Garrison and the Kennedy Assassination,” April 26, 1967, Enclosure 22, “Subject: Edward Stewart Suggs, alias Jack S. Martin,” Archives Record No: 104-10012-10017.

Close

Phantom Loan

Consider too this allegation regarding David Ferrie, a pilot posthumously named by Garrison as one of Clay Shaw’s two co-conspirators (the other being Lee Harvey Oswald). The week of the assassination, supposedly needing money to rent a plane, Ferrie supposedly signed a $400 loan document and Clay Shaw supposedly co-signed it.

Needing money: Mellen pp. 38, 39, co-signed, p. 39, 40.

Close In one of those stunning extrapolations that mark this work, Mellen declares:

“The document proved not only that Ferrie and Shaw knew each other, but that they participated together in preparations for the assassination, reflecting their mutual foreknowledge of the crime.”

“The document proved,” p. 40.

Close

What does Mellen have to prove this document existed? Not the document, not even an author’s interview with the alleged lender. What she has is a single witness who claims he spoke to the lender and saw the contract thirty-five years earlier.

Mellen, single witness, p. 40.

Close Moreover, the reader is supposed to believe that the same CIA which sponsored the assassination couldn’t scrape together $400 in cash so Ferrie and Shaw would not leave behind a paper trail.

Thomas Edward Beckham: Scam Artist

The best single example of the curious nature of this book concerns Thomas Edward Beckham, an amiable scam artist and person of interest to Garrison, who told a 1968 grand jury he knew nothing about the crime. Nevertheless, by 1977 he had a “300-page manuscript about the assassination,” his attorney at that time told a reporter, but hadn't “been able to get it published.” He did, however, briefly snare the attention of the House Committee re-investigating the assassination. “Beckham, alias Eggleston Zimmerman,” had just been acquitted of federal fraud charges (for allegedly promoting “a country music concert that was never held”) when he was first interviewed by committee investigators. Later, he told his story under oath. Beckham claimed he and Oswald (“the nicest guy I ever met”) were “good buddies”; that he attended a meeting in New Orleans where killing the president was discussed; and, subsequently, delivered a package to Dallas and a suitcase of money to Miami. After taking his deposition, the committee quickly lost interest. Knew nothing: Thomas Edward Beckham’s New Orleans grand jury testimony, Feb. 1968; “manuscript”: “Man Is Interrogated about Death of JFK”, New Orleans Times-Picayune (AP), Aug. 11, 1977, section 2, p. 5; fraud charges: George Lardner, “Dos, Don’ts of House JFK Probe,” Washington Post, Nov. 6, 1977; “nicest guy”: “Sworn Testimony of Thomas E. Beckham,” HSCA, May 24, 1978, transcript [hereafter, HSCA testimony], p. 22, “buddies,” p. 20, meeting, p. 31, killing, p. 33, package, p. 39, suitcase, p. 47.

Close

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

. . . the reader is supposed to believe that the same CIA which sponsored the assassination couldn’t scrape together $400 in cash so Ferrie and Shaw would not leave behind a paper trail.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Beckham was schooled only through the third grade and spent time in mental institutions on at least three occasions. (Mellen claims the latter was a CIA setup, but Beckham’s deposition suggests otherwise.)

Third grade: HSCA testimony, p. 63, institutions and suggests otherwise, pp. 53, 58; setup: Mellen, 376-377.

Close In 1992 he had changed his name some eight times, according to writer Gus Russo, who tracked him down at his home in Louisville, Kentucky, and recently recalled the encounter.

Beckham basically acknowledged to me being what most people would call a flimflam artist—I remember he pointed to his office walls. They were filled with bogus diplomas from every major university; he was selling them and cheap trinkets, like whoopee cushions, for a living. . . He told me he not only recorded but wrote three Number One hits, which he named—“From a Jack to a King” was one. When I told him that I was a former professional musician and recited the names of the real composers, he laughed and said, “Well, I can’t fool you.” . . . For anyone to use him as a source for anything is staggering.

Gus Russo, email to Patricia Lambert, Oct. 11, 2005, and subsequent telephone conversations.

Close

In Mellen’s view, it was the president’s assassination that set Beckham on the “wandering life of a con man.” But Beckham was conning people before then: In 1962 he was “wearing a Roman collar” and “soliciting money” as a Catholic priest (for “Cuban revolutionary forces,” according to him).

“wandering”: Mellen, p. 83. “Roman collar” and “soliciting money”: Catholic Action of theSouth Edition of Our Sunday Visitor—“‘Reverend Brother’ Is Rock ’N Roller,” November 18, 1962; New Orleans Better Business Bureau, Nov. 1962; “Who is ‘Dr.’ Thomas E. Beckham?” Austin [Texas] Better Business Bureau Bulletin, Feb. 1966; Beckham’s HSCA testimony, pp. pp. 38, 70, 73-75; Beckham’s preliminary House Committee interview, Oct. 9, 1977, transcript [hereafter HSCA interview], pp. 13, 16, 19, 20. “Cuban revolutionary forces”: HSCA testimony, pp. 38, 73.

Close

In the book’s dramatic finale, Mellen describes “a government document,” given to her by Beckham, on “United States Army Air Defense Command” letterhead allegedly recounting the training Beckham received in 1963 at Camp Peary, “the CIA training installation. . .also known as The Farm.” There, Mellen says, he was “taught how to be an assassin.”

“document” and “assassin”: Mellen, p. 371, letterhead, p. 372, Camp Peary, p. 370.

Close Then she states the following:

This revelatory and never-before-seen document reveals how military intelligence, the Army, and the CIA, working in concert, had set up a scapegoat [in case Oswald was unavailable]….His being groomed at the CIA for that role places the murder of the president at the highest levels of intelligence. Beckham’s experience demonstrates that Oswald certainly did not plan the assassination of President Kennedy, nor did he operate at any time “alone” just as Jim Garrison had claimed all along.

Mellen, pp. 372, 373.

Close

Those grandiose conclusions are based on an unauthenticated document, absurd on its face, provided by a man with a long history of using phony documents.

Beckham told the House Committee about his many ecclesiastical ordinations (“Episcopal Church”; “Baptist Church, the World Institute of Religious Science”; “Old Catholic Church of North America, and Universal Life Church” [which included “instruments of ordination”], as well as his many degrees (Ph.D.s, M.D.s—“more degrees than a thermometer”) while admitting “I’ve never been to school”: HSCA testimony, pp. 64-71, and HSCA interview, p. 19.

Close

Beckham, who later in life, Mellen writes, “studied to be a Rabbi,” is a crucial witness in this book. The final chapter is devoted mostly to him and closes with his endorsement of Garrison: “He got it where it started and no one else came close. . . I wish I could have told him.”

“studied”: Mellen, p. 385, “got it”: p. 386.

Close That the author thinks Thomas Beckham, with his spy stories and “government document,” advances her cause, is revealing of her but tells the reader nothing whatever about the Kennedy assassination.

A Farewell to Justice is not an easy read. The book’s epic-size cast sometimes renders the narrative incoherent. New characters appear at a dizzying rate, vast numbers of whom are said to be CIA connected—CIA operatives, CIA media assets, CIA agents, CIA employees. Affixing the CIA label to as many lapels as possible (regardless of how flimsy the evidence), appears to be a central goal of this book, the assumption being that no such association could possibly be innocent or, God forbid, patriotically inspired.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

New characters appear at a dizzying rate, vast numbers of whom are said to be CIA connected—CIA operatives, CIA media assets, CIA agents, CIA employees. Affixing the CIA label to as many lapels as possible (regardless of how flimsy the evidence), appears to be a central goal of this book. . .

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Clay Shaw’s alleged intelligence career supposedly began during World War II when he served in the SOS, which Mellen identifies as the “Special Operations Section,” “an Army counterintelligence group.” She provides no evidence for this and for good reason—she is grossly mistaken. Shaw served in the United States Army’s Services of Supply in the European Campaign under Brig. Gen. Charles O. Thrasher, who ran its huge daily operations. Shaw was Thrasher’s “right hand man.” The job of that SOS was to keep allied forces equipped with everything from “toothpaste to tanks” as they fought their way to Germany. Shaw, who began as Thrasher’s aide-de-camp and became his deputy chief of staff, later said that supplying three armies as they spread out across Europe honed his “organizational skills.”

“SOS”: Clay L. Shaw, FBI Identification Record; “Special Operations Section” and “counterintelligence”: Mellen, p. 131; Services of Supply and Gen. Thrasher: Who’s Who in America, 1946-47, p. 2365. See also, Martin Sommers, “Lee Battling for Eisenhower,” Saturday Evening Post, Sep. 2, 1944; Services of Supply and Shaw: Who’s Who in the South and Southwest, 1963-64, p. 755; also, telephone conversations over the past four years with two of Shaw’s Army buddies—one of them recruited Shaw to Services of Supply, and the other took over as aide to Gen. Thrasher when Shaw was promoted; “right hand man”: telephone conversation with Gen. Thrasher’s daughter.

Close A definition of SOS chosen because it fits an agenda is worse than meaningless, it is fiction.

For facts, readers might want to look elsewhere.

November 16, 2005

Unless otherwise indicated, these documents are found in the JFK Collection at the National Archives in College Park, Maryland.

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Gerry Hemming wrote:

This highly intelligent person finds this book to be one of "The Best" books ever written on this subject matter. He states that Prof. Mellen has included detailed footnotes on almost every page [as done in "Legal Briefs" !!] -- and moreover, cites to an extensive and inclusive amount of "R.I.F. Numbers" relating to N.A.R.A. declassified documents from multiple agencies.

Gerry, with due respect, it is easy to look at a bunch of footnotes and think "Wow!" what a well-written book. It is another thing to meticulously research the footnotes and determine if they really support the assertion for which they are listed. No one has had time to do this yet.

Moreover, as I noted above, there appears to be a footnote to support the book's claim (it has a statement by you in quotation marks implying it is a verbatim quotation) that you once said that Helms was behind the entire assassination. Upon examination, the footnote does not include any reference to the supposed atement made by you--which you deny ever making.

And as you know from personal experience, in the draft copy of the book, and in the article Professor Mellen sent to the "Key West Citizen" she got a most important part of the Murgado interview wrong--a fact of which few reviewers may be aware but does cause concern regarding the accuracy of other interviews.

And as your subsequent post indicates, there are problems with the footnotes after Chapter Twelve.

The book also includes a number of assertions (presumably accurately reported by Professor Mellen) that are incredible on their face, e.g. that Marcello's lawyer paid a twenty year old (age about right, my recollection) young man, not part of the conspiracy, to fly the plans for the assassination to Dallas (hoping, I am sure, that the young man did not decide instead to take them to the police). Does anyone really believe that this is the manner by which a clever lawyer would transmit assassination plans? (And oh, by the way, the book also reports that the lawyer then left incriminating documents in his desk drawer for his secretary to discover.)

I find it difficult to believe that any intelligent researcher could credit a book full of such preposterities.

Edited by Tim Gratz

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I found one incident cited in Mellen's book that is so preposterous that it staggers the mind! Lambert covers it in her review:

[From Lambert's review:]

Phantom Loan

Consider too this allegation regarding David Ferrie, a pilot posthumously named by Garrison as one of Clay Shaw’s two co-conspirators (the other being Lee Harvey Oswald). The week of the assassination, supposedly needing money to rent a plane, Ferrie supposedly signed a $400 loan document and Clay Shaw supposedly co-signed it. [Needing money: Mellen pp. 38, 39, co-signed, p. 39, 40.]

In one of those stunning extrapolations that mark this work, Mellen declares:

“The document proved not only that Ferrie and Shaw knew each other, but that they participated together in preparations for the assassination, reflecting their mutual foreknowledge of the crime.” [“The document proved,” p. 40.]

What does Mellen have to prove this document existed? Not the document, not even an author’s interview with the alleged lender. What she has is a single witness who claims he spoke to the lender and saw the contract thirty-five years earlier. [Mellen, single witness, p. 40.]

Moreover, the reader is supposed to believe that the same CIA which sponsored the assassination couldn’t scrape together $400 in cash so Ferrie and Shaw would not leave behind a paper trail.

Forget about the verification claim. Mellen reports a story that Ferrie is given an assignment to fly a plane to Dallas but was not given any money to rent the plane. So rather than giving him cash Shaw co-signs a loan for Ferrie! Had this been the case, Shaw should have been acquitted on an insanity defense!

So according to Mellen's book, Shaw, the man her hero Garrison says planned the assassination, decides to leave a paper trail linking him to David Ferrie and a plane used for a mysterious flight to Dallas the week before the assassination.

Professor Mellen spent years working on the book and interviewing witnesses. It is unfortunate she cheapened and discredited her own work by including such peposterous tales. Even more unfortunate, some gullible readers will "suspend disbelief" and taken them at face value.

Edited by Tim Gratz

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In the last chapter of the review copy of "A Farewell to Justice" Professor Mellen writes:

The CIA's efforts in the cover-up continue. At the millenimum a committee of archivists and librarians was convened by the National Archives. Its purpose was to examine some sealed records relating to the Kennedy assassination and recommend whether they should be open to the public. Before the group could make any determinations, they were visited by a representative identifying himself as representing the CIA. He warned them that under no circumstances must they reveal to anyone what they had viewed in those documents. His visit was perceived as a threat by them all. No one talked.

I assume before the book went to press someone rectified the grammatical problem in the fourth paragraph (refering to a group as "they"). But I have some substantive comments:

What group is she possibily talkling about?

It sounds like the Assassinations Records Review Board. But the AARB commenced its work in the mid-nineties, not at the millenium.

"No one talked"? Well, at least one person did. She cites her source as an employee of a major research library who prefers to remain anonymous.

If she is refering to the ARRB, she is incorrect, as you all know, that its purpose was solely to make recommendations re what documents should be made public. It had the authority to order documents made public and it did so--millions of pages of records.

Obviously, the unidentified representative of the CIA (did he or she not identify himself or herself to the board members?) was not warning the board not to discuss records it ordered opened to the public. If the representative was warning the board members not to disclose the contents of records that the board decided not to declassify, well, that was certainly a legitimate request that no one can legitimately characterize as part of a continuing cover-up.

It sounds like she is attempting to convert a legitimate request that the the members of the ARRB maintain the confidentiality of records that it had decided still required confidentiality for purposes of natiional security or other legitimate purpose into a "cover-up". It is a bit hard to tell because the book does not identify the group to which she refers.

"His visit was perceived as a threat by them all." What does this mean? Did she talk to more than one member? The citation seems to indicate an interview with only that one anonymous member. Did he tell her they all felt threatened? Why did she not talk to the other board members to confirm if they all felt this way? There were less than ten members if I recall correctly.

"His visit was percveived as a threat by them all. No one talked." Apparently the board was not intimidated: it voted to release millions of pages of records, often over the objection of the CIA.

What in the world is going on here? I am hoping Professor Mellen will elaborate on this paragraph and my questions without breaching her apparent pledge of confidentiality to the research librarian. I am tempted, however, to write to every board member to try to get to the bottom of this claim.

Edited by Tim Gratz

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Besides the fact that "A Farewell To Justice" includes several uncorroborated reports that are incredible on their face, the entire premise of the book is preposterous.

The book argues that Shaw orchestrated the assassination on behalf of the CIA.

But when he came under Garrison's investigation, and later indictment, the CIA did not pay for his legal defense but instead "hung him out to dry" leaving him essentially penniless at the end of the trial.

This makes no sense at all. Had Shaw orchestrated the killing for the CIA, clearly it would have either eliminated him or taken care of his legal defense expenses.

Heck, even Richard Nixon was smart enough to realize he had to pay "hush money" to the Watergate burglars who might be able to incriminate him.

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[From another thread]

Robert wrote:

Later, [Mellen] writes....."Beckham was not needed, and so he was consigned to other duties, like the delivery of the maps and diagrams to Lawrence Howard, waiting for him in Dallas."

Yes, Professor Mellen would have us believe that Marcello's attorney, who was in the time period in question helping Marcello beat the immigration charges against him (clearly an intelligent man), would entrust the sensitive assassination plans to some kid who was not a party to the conspiracy.

To call this scenario far-fetched is an under-statement. What prevented Beckham from deciding to go to the authorities? Or why was he not eliminated after the assassination? I just cannot accept the premise that one of the master-minds behind the "crime of the century" would entrust the plans to some kid.

Edited by Tim Gratz

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In a different thread Owen responded to the questions I raised in Post #36 thusly:

While the confirmation of the trip to Dallas doesn't necessarily confirm the loan's existence, it is very supportive of it, since the loan story presupposes the Dallas trip. It isn't simply a matter of Clay Shaw co-signing the loan when he could have given Ferrie the money directly. Ferrie brought the loan to Herb Wagner, Wagner thought it a bit dubious and asked Ferrie to get someone to co-sign it. Ferrie brings in Clay Shaw, a highly respected citizen of New Orleans, to sign it. This could easily be a matter of pride on Ferrie's part.

As to why Shaw would implicate himself in this manner, I would chalk this up to arrogance. It was probably assumed that the lone assassin story would stick and no serious attention would be payed to this incident, which could, after all, be merely coincidental. Shaw twice implicated himself in two other documents, the VIP book and the booking card, neither of which are "phantom documents," as Lambert terms the loan.

I would also note that there is no real reason to fabricate a story (and document) like this. Wagner did not inform Garrison of this, so the intent was obviously not to frame Shaw. The man who relates Wagner's story and viewed the document, Roger Johnston, a deputy police marshall, is obviously a credible source and has no motive to make up a story like this, that I can see. Nor is the loan "essential" for Mellen to connect Ferrie and Shaw with. This would be quite well established in the book without the loan.

Owen, respectfully, your response makes as little sense as the supposed incident as related in the book.

Why would the master-mind, whomever that was, instruct Ferrie to rent a plane but fail to provide any funds for the rental fee?

You say Ferrie took a loan paper to Shaw to sign "out of pride". What does this mean? And why would Shaw link himself to Ferrie and to the plane to be used in an assassination-trip to Dallas out of "arrogance"? Whoever the plotters were, they were clever sons-of-bitches (sorry but the term does fit) who did not take stupid chances. Clearly, they framed a patsy. Arguably, they laid trails to false sponsors and planted disinformation. They did not take reckless chances.

There are many reasons why a witness may make up a story. The fact that one cannot identify such a reason does not make the story true or credible when it is incredible on its face. You state that Wagner did not inform Garrison of this incident so it was not done to frame Shaw. But the fact that Wagner did not come forward to Garrison with his story suggests rather strongly it is false. If true, why would Wagner not report it to the authorities?

You state that this loan story is not essential to Mellen's efforts to connect Shaw to Ferrie and Oswald. Of course I agree and that is precisely my point: that Professor Mellen lowered the credibility of her book by including numerous stories that are manifestly preposterous.

Edited by Tim Gratz

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In a different thread Owen responded to the questions I raised in Post #36 thusly:

While the confirmation of the trip to Dallas doesn't necessarily confirm the loan's existence, it is very supportive of it, since the loan story presupposes the Dallas trip. It isn't simply a matter of Clay Shaw co-signing the loan when he could have given Ferrie the money directly. Ferrie brought the loan to Herb Wagner, Wagner thought it a bit dubious and asked Ferrie to get someone to co-sign it. Ferrie brings in Clay Shaw, a highly respected citizen of New Orleans, to sign it. This could easily be a matter of pride on Ferrie's part.

As to why Shaw would implicate himself in this manner, I would chalk this up to arrogance. It was probably assumed that the lone assassin story would stick and no serious attention would be payed to this incident, which could, after all, be merely coincidental. Shaw twice implicated himself in two other documents, the VIP book and the booking card, neither of which are "phantom documents," as Lambert terms the loan.

I would also note that there is no real reason to fabricate a story (and document) like this. Wagner did not inform Garrison of this, so the intent was obviously not to frame Shaw. The man who relates Wagner's story and viewed the document, Roger Johnston, a deputy police marshall, is obviously a credible source and has no motive to make up a story like this, that I can see. Nor is the loan "essential" for Mellen to connect Ferrie and Shaw with. This would be quite well established in the book without the loan.

Owen, respectfully, your response makes as little sense as the supposed incident as related in the book.

Why would the master-mind, whomever that was, instruct Ferrie to rent a plane but fail to provide any funds for the rental fee?

You say Ferrie took a loan paper to Shaw to sign "out of pride". What does this mean? And why would Shaw link himself to Ferrie and to the plane to be used in an assassination-trip to Dallas out of "arrogance"? Whoever the plotters were, they were clever sons-of-bitches (sorry but the term does fit) who did not take stupid chances. Clearly, they framed a patsy. Arguably, they laid trails to false sponsors and planted disinformation. They did not take reckless chances.

There are many reasons why a witness may make up a story. The fact that one cannot identify such a reason does not make the story true or credible when it is incredible on its face. You state that Wagner did not inform Garrison of this incident so it was not done to frame Shaw. But the fact that Wagner did not come forward to Garrison with his story suggests rather strongly it is false. If true, why would Wagner not report it to the authorities?

You state that this loan story is not essential to Mellen's efforts to connect Shaw to Ferrie and Oswald. Of course I agree and that is precisely my point: that Professor Mellen lowered the credibility of her book by including numerous stories that are manifestly preposterous.

Tim, You bring up valid points that should and will be explored because of the obvious implications the book has for posterity and the fact that the "footnotes" issue is of vital interest to all of us who "want the truth." Having said that it behooves me to mention for the record to people with "inquiring minds" who are sorting through this mess, and will be reading material on this thread, that you as our guide in search of the truth is a little disconcerting, the respected moderator of this forum has implied if not stated many, many times, your own "ideological motivation" has been called into question more than once or twice if memory serves correctly (see Tim Gratz Right Wing Extremist, Young Americans for Freedom etc) Using Patricia Lambert to impugn Joan Mellen may seem normal to people without a clue, but not in the "real world" I have seen elements of this thread that are questionable, such as pointing out the "dubious character" of "central figures" to "said conspiracy," a modus operandi that Gerald Posner turned into an art form, if Joan Mellen screwed up bigtime, it will all come out in the wash anyway, and probably even if she didn't. In the meantime "Keep it Real."

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Owen, respectfully, your response makes as little sense as the supposed incident as related in the book.

Why would the master-mind, whomever that was, instruct Ferrie to rent a plane but fail to provide any funds for the rental fee?

You say Ferrie took a loan paper to Shaw to sign "out of pride". What does this mean? And why would Shaw link himself to Ferrie and to the plane to be used in an assassination-trip to Dallas out of "arrogance"? Whoever the plotters were, they were clever sons-of-bitches (sorry but the term does fit) who did not take stupid chances. Clearly, they framed a patsy. Arguably, they laid trails to false sponsors and planted disinformation. They did not take reckless chances.

There are many reasons why a witness may make up a story. The fact that one cannot identify such a reason does not make the story true or credible when it is incredible on its face. You state that Wagner did not inform Garrison of this incident so it was not done to frame Shaw. But the fact that Wagner did not come forward to Garrison with his story suggests rather strongly it is false. If true, why would Wagner not report it to the authorities?

You state that this loan story is not essential to Mellen's efforts to connect Shaw to Ferrie and Oswald. Of course I agree and that is precisely my point: that Professor Mellen lowered the credibility of her book by including numerous stories that are manifestly preposterous.

It would be a matter of pride on Ferrie's part, because Wagner said the loan looked dubious and wouldn't take it. Ferrie could probably have gotten the money if he just asked, but apparently he didn't.

I've already offered several other example's of Shaw's blunders, and probably bigger ones at that. Outing himself as Clay Bertrand more strongly links himself to the assassination than his association with David Ferrie. As I have already said, the Ferrie flight to Dallas could easily be written off as coincidence, if the need ever arose. And really, if the conspirators pulled everything off so flawlessly, we wouldn't be here debating this.

As for Wagner not coming forward with his story to Garrison, it could quite easily be because he feared for his life, with all the other corpses turning up (Ferrie's not being the least of them). This is certainly the impression I got. Saying the story is "incredible on its face" is really overstating the matter.

Also, I would appreciate it if you would reply to my posts in the threads I actually posted them in.

Edited by Owen Parsons

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Owen, in my opinion a discussion of Mellen's book belongs in one place (here).

That's fine, but I would appreciate it if you at least notified me through a private message that you've moved your response into a separate thread.

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Robert wrote:

Using Patricia Lambert to impugn Joan Mellen may seem normal to people without a clue, but not in the "real world" I have seen elements of this thread that are questionable, such as pointing out the "dubious character" of "central figures" to "said conspiracy," a modus operandi that Gerald Posner turned into an art form,

Robert, the only thing wrong with using Lambert's well-articulated objections to the "loan theory" is that Lambert raises the hackles of those who would deify Garrison. (Please note that while I certainly do not deify him, I have not yet endorsed the most virulent criticism of him, some of which as you know originated with well-respected members of the assassination research committee.) The argument that the conspirators would use a loan to rent a plane employed in the assassination planning is absurd on its face, and it is not made less so by the fact that Lambert recognizes it. The objection would be valid even if endorsed by Gerald Posner.

You raise an interesting point about a "modus operandi" of pointing out the "dubious character" of "central figures" to the "conspiracy".

Professor Mellen does just that when she recites, at some length, Shaw's deviant sexual behavior. Unless the assassination was a homosexual "thrill-kill" (as some say Garrison once asserted) of what relevance is Shaw's sexual deviancy? I guess it might make the gullible more willing to accept her premise that, despite the jury verdict in his favor, Shaw was a murderer. But if that is the intention, I think the methodology is morally offensible.

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