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David Talbot : Walter Sheridan and Jim Garrison


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"In 1967, Sheridan went to New Orleans to check into the Jim Garrison investigation, to see whether the flamboyant prosecutor really had cracked the JFK case. (Sheridan was working as an NBC news producer at the time, but he reported back to RFK, telling him that Garrison was a fraud.)"

http://www.salon.com/books/feature/2007/05...ers/index1.html

Well that explains why Bobby and Sheridan wouldn't cooperate with Garrison.

But why on earth would they think he was a fraud?

I hope Talbot explains that in his book.

They were flat out wrong.

I wonder what Talbot thinks of Garrison and his investigation...

Most everyone concluded Garrison was a bit of a fraud. He kept spouting about solving the crime and yet his description of the culprits kept changing.
I agree with Myra's assertion that the charge that "his (Garrison's) list of suspects was evolving and expanding" should not alone be used to label him a fraud. When one considers the context in which he was trying to conduct the investigation, it is IMPOSSIBLE TO IMAGINE HIS LIST NOT CHANGING AS THE INVISTIGATION CONTINUED. Here was a local DA being probed by the CIA, NBC, CBS, Newsweek and his own invesitgative team had been infiltrated. Under such heavy cannon fire how much stability in presentation did you expect from Garrison's SS Minow? Then there was Sheridan. If we are to believe Joan Mellon, he was sicked on Garrison by Bobby Kennedy with malicious intent.

Do members agree with Mellon's assessment of the relationship btw. Bobby--Sheridan--Garrison? She implies-- if I am not mistaken-- that Bobby believed in a conspiracy, but could not allow Garrison to find out about it in his way, because his own 1963 Cuba fingerprints would come out in Garrison's investigation.

I had been looking forward to Talbot's book for a long time, and then I read the article from 2003, that seemed to use the old Marcelo smear tactic against Garrison, and I worried that perhaps Talbot would take a Mafia limited hangout. It seems that Talbot's views have evolved a lot since he wrote that article and I have become reassured by the comments of of John, Bill Kelly and others who have read about thirty times as much as me on the assassination.

Garrison may well be a fraud. But if he is I still need a lot of convincing. In the tumultuous context of his 1967 investigation, the surprising thing would be if his list of culprits did not change.

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To clarify my earlier post, I don't believe Garrison to be a fraud. I do, however, understand why Sheridan and others would think so. Here, Garrison was spouting to the press that he'd "solved" the case. At first he was leaning toward Cubans, then a gay thrill-kill cult, then the CIA, then the CIA with LBJ, blah blah blah. It kept getting bigger and bigger. And YET, the one group Garrison avoided implicating, LIKE THE PLAGUE, was the mafia. Garrison's case was strongest against Ferrie and Banister, BOTH working for Marcello in November 1963. Oswald's uncle had also worked for Marcello. That Garrison avoided Marcello, while visiting Vegas and pointing in most every direction, is indeed suspicious. Someone predisposed to suspect the mob, such as RFK and Sheridan, would have a hard time watching Garrison's high-wire act without wanting to puke. Indeed, many CTs were later to conclude that Jimbo's road show did a lot more to hurt the chances of a new investigation, than help.

Garrison did regain some measure of respectability when the HSCA looked into some of his leads, and found them credible, but that was almost a decade later.

I hate to hear Jim Garrison criticized by any knowledgable assassination researcher. Garrison is one of my all-time heroes. Consider the array of powerful forces alligned against him. Consider the unprecedented lack of cooperation he received from governmental agencies at every level. Consider the unnatural, untimely and obviously suspicious deaths of some of his most important witnesses. When else have governors from several different states refused to extradite witnesses who were crucial to a district attorney's case? As for Sheridan, Garrison supposedly wired Perry Russo and recorded this "reporter" threatening and attempting to bribe his witness. I'm assuming these recordings are real and exist; if so, that seals the case against Sheridan. He was not "loyal' to RFK or the Kennedy family; he was an active agent in stopping Garrison from exposing the truth about the assassination of a sitting U.S. president. He was also not a legitimate "reporter" in any sense of the word, and NBC permitting him to masquerade as such brands them guilty of being an active participant in the coverup as well.
Pat, you may not believe that he was a fraud but your post above, at least to me, makes it clear that you are attempting to marginalize the contributions of Jim Garrison. In attempting to do so, you've over-simplified and mis-characterized some of the facts. First of all, in giving your timeline of Garrison's suspects, you omit entirely the military-industrial establishment. I refer you to Garrison's Playboy interview or his book A Heritage of Stone.

Could you document where Garrison was leaning toward a gay thrill kill cult before he suspected elements of the Central Intelligence Agency?

You claim that his case was strongest against Ferrie and Banister and mention their relationship with Marcello. You did not mention that both also had extensive ties to factions within the intelligence community. And no matter how strong Garrison's case against them, it's hard to prosecute dead men.

I'm not debating Garrison's real and alleged shortcomings. Authors and researchers far more knowledgable than I have done that. Without listing all of the advances the New Orleans D.A.'s investigation spawned in the face of enormous resistance by powers at the very highest level of our government, I will mention distribution of so-called bootleg copies of the Zapruder film to the American public, the testimony of Pierre Finck under oath, and the Clinton sightings to name a few.

Anyone that values the truth should be able to acknowledge Garrison's efforts in advancing same.

Garrison knew, understood and said the Mafia did not have the means to effect the murder alone and then effect the massive, unprecedented ensuing government coverup. He was right, of course. Garrison realized early on that Oswald had an intelligence background. As did some of the Cubans that Oswald was seen with in New Orleans.

Pat, to me your characterization of the Garrison investigation as a whole, and your desultory references to it as a high-wire act and a road show are not consistent with many of your other posts in terms of accuracy and reasoning and informed speculation. And yes, I did read your last sentence.

From Brothers, page 320:

As Garrison began investigating Oswald's ties to local Kennedy haters, he zeroed in on the peculiar office building at 544 Camp Street where a former FBI agent and far-right zealot named Guy Banister and his eccentric associate David Ferrie oversaw a buzzing beehive of anti-Castro activity that included the young man later arrested for Kennedy's murder. The prosecutor came to the conclusion that Oswald was a pawn in a complex plot, framed as a Castro-loving Marxist to take the blame for the assassination. The real masterminds behind the conspiracy, he decided, could be found in the CIA and
Pentagon
(emphasis added). "President Kennedy was killed for one reason," Garrison began to tell the press. "Because he was working for reconciliation with the [soviet Union] and Castro's Cuba.....President Kennedy died because he wanted peace."

And from page 327:

Throughout his years as a district attorney, Garrison gave Carlos Marcello a pass, going so far as to insist that the mobster, who called himself a tomato salesman, was a "respectable businessman." In his 1988 memoir, Garrison wrote that he never came "upon evidence that [Marcello] was the Mafia kingpin the Justice Department says he is." He conceded that the Mafia sometimes acted as a shadowy partner of the CIA, but the only significant role he believed the mob played in Dallas was a convenient scapegoat for the agency. [Robert] Kennedy had a more astute understanding of the way power in America worked; he recognized that insitutions like the CIA sometimes became so entwined with the criminal underworld, it was difficult to tell them apart at the operational level.

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I was always conflicted over Garrison until I met one of his former investigators at a police training conference and we had some marathon discussions - I think Mellon's book was a mess with a few pearls uncovered.

It certainly makes one wonder why if he was so far from the turth why such massive attacks were launched against him. I'm still not convinced of his real motiviation but he certainly exposed such important folks & facts.

I was always conflicted over Garrison until I met one of his former investigators at a police training conference and we had some marathon discussions...

Can you share details of that conversation Evan. What did the former investigator say?

We talked for about 20 hrs-he was an experienced Homicide Investigator and obvousily they (the investigators) were on to something - he focused on Bannister and some folks out near Lake Ponchatrain. Also said they did some serious though unpublished & unpublicized looks at the Mafia but I have to agree with him that the Mafia could not cover it up. He said Ferrie's trip to Texas to visit the roller rink was a meet with Mil Intell.

Also, they bumped into Mil Intell folks in NO repeatedly - some who had Agency Creds and that Werbell's name came up in some very interesting conversations that could not be resolved. They also had what looked like a good tip on shooters brought in from SE Asia.

It was a good 19 yrs ago and I was in the middle of some complex dope murder investigations of my own at Homicide and had no time to follow up.

I don't know if Garrison was consciously on to something, but the guy I talked to thought highly of him and I found the investigator credible and chkd his rep out with old friends of mine and it was solid.

Lastly, he told me that Garrison often consciously and purposely led the press down the primrose path to what he knew was a dead end to keep them out of his hair.

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This is fantastic info Evan; thank you. It's good, albeit unsurprising, to hear an endorsement of the great man Jim Garrison.

(Hey, Oliver Stone is no fool and would not base his epic movie on a questionable character.)

It's extremely interesting to hear about a mil intel tie in... I don't think the military/pentagon gets enough attention in this crime. The CIA overshadows them, and for good reason but the pentagon was not President Kennedy's ally.

Very very interesting that Garrison jerked the press around. I guess he learned how to survive in that strange new world order nightmare he awoke in. And he did survive--literally--when so many others in that orbit didn't. That's a feat for which he should get his props.

There's a brief video segment, I think in TMWKK, on Lee Oswald where Garrison says that Oswald may have been working (can't recall his exact words) to infiltrate the murder plot so there's a good likelihood that he's a hero. When attempting to say the word "hero" Garrison gets choked up and is almost unable to speak. That's the essence of the man.

In further praise of Garrison:

I don't think George Michael Evica will mind that I share a story he first told me as we sat around his kitchen table one fine morning too many years ago.

We had spoken the previous evening of one of the earliest JFK research conferences that Evica had co-sponsored in Hartford and at which the New Orleans D.A. had spoken at length.

"Garrison sat exactly where I am now, and at just about this time of day," Evica told me. "And I'll never forget how he looked up and said, 'Where am I? Seriously, George Michael. There are times when I just don't know where I am any more.'"

That's my paraphrase, but it's close.

Why do I suggest that an admission of confusion is worthy of "praise"? Simply because many of Garrison's mightiest contributions to justice were made during the height of the attacks on his credibility, ethics, and sanity. So even Garrison's brief confrontation that day with the toll being taken on him reveals, for me at least, the human dimensions to a heroic figure who knew what he was up against and whose personal courage must never be underestimated.

I'll chime in with a few of points for anyone who tends to dismiss Garriosn:

1. He undoubtedly demonstrated that the Lee Oswald was not the disconnected, lone nut that he was prestented to be by the WC.... Garrison surfaced a variety of leads showing that Oswald was immeshed in a variety of "games" with both the right and the left. That this scared both the FBI and CIA significantly can be seen in the Justice Departments illegal, covert contact and support of Shaw's defense team and the CIA's Garrison team, set up strictly to block Garrison form access to information about Agency contacts and assets.

2. We can only speculate why at the first CIA Garrison Group team meeting, Angleton's representative opened the meeting by telling the group that Garrison would successfully demonstrate Shaw was involved in conspiracy (not the murder of the President necessarily but some sort of conspiracy).

3. Garrison was successfully diverted and his exile investigations were undermined by the actions of Bernardo de Torres.... who effectively sabotaged Garrisons first press meeting (among other things) by going to the press independently and focusing media attention on a photo misdirection relating to the leafleting incident .

4. Garrison was aslo diverted onto some very real plans by ultra right radicals who were definitely discussing the assassination of JFK and other major figures. This diversion cost him a large portion of his available time and resources.

All in all, given Garrison's minimal resources, its amazing he managed to pull together as much as he did... especially being stonewalled and undermined by numerous parties with their own agendas....including two goverment agencies (Justice and CIA) with far more resources than a poor DA could muster.

It's intriguing to me that less than two years ago, when Joan Mellen's book came out, I was one of Garrison's defenders. Now, by pointing out some of his excesses, and reasons why RFK could have doubted his sincerity, people think I'm attacking him. Clearly, the demographics of the Forum have changed. (Those failing to understand the backlash against Garrison and assuming the backlash was all part of some plot should read James Kirkwood's American Grotesque, an anti-Garrison book that focuses on his behavior without passing judgment on the merits of his case, beyond that Clay Shaw was innocent.)

For the record, I consider Jim Garrison a hero. He stood up to the powers that be and shook things up. And his shaking brought results. But he was a flawed hero. In early 67 LBJ found out, via Hale Boggs, that Garrison was telling people that LBJ was involved in the assassination. A few days later Garrison's star witness, David Ferrie, was found dead. Now I, for one, have a hard time believing this was a coincidence. I also have a hard time excusing Garrison for blabbing to others that a SITTING president of the United States was a murderer, and not preparing for a backlash. If Garrison believed his own allegations, Ferrie should have had round the clock protection. If Garrison believed his own allegations, he should have known that other states would refuse to extradite witnesses, and help him in his case. I believe he was just naive. There are others, however, who believe Garrison knew he had no case, and deliberately sabotaged it, allowing outsiders to look at his files, putting wackos on the stand, etc. That way he could claim he lost the case due to unforeseen circumstances and government interference. I suspect this goes too far. I think that Garrison was just in over his head.

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Finished it last night and loved it, with one exception the Garrison/Sheridan stuff. That literally made me sick. So Joan's only half right- Bobby sent Walter Sheridan to investigate. Not sagotage. Then Garrison and Sheridan did not hit it off so Sheridan convinced Bobbby he was phony. Why the hell didn't Bobby go to NO and meet Garrison himself? THat really irritated me about him. That he let others do his trusting (or lack thereof) for him.

But loved the book.

Talbot recounts how Robert Kennedy placed a personal phone call to Dr. Nicholas Chetta who had performed the autopsy on David Ferrie. Kennedy wanted to "assure himself that Garrison's key suspect was not the victim of foul play." Talbot's source was Gus Russo, who interviewed Chetta's son Nicky for his book Live by the Sword.

Talbot interviewed Ed Guthman, RFK's former press spokesman, who left the justice department in August, 1964 and became national editor for the Los Angeles Times. Guthman took a team of his crack reporters to New Orleans shortly after news broke about Garrison's case in February 1967. They stayed until the fall. According to Talbot, "They quickly developed a scornful attitude towards the prosecutor and his case," after interviewing Jack Ruby's sister (who they found in Southern California), Perry Russo, and most importantly, William Gurvich.

According to Talbot:

Guthman later met with Kennedy in Washington and reported to him what the Los Angeles Times had decided about Garrison. "I talked to Bob. He wanted to know what we had found out and I told him. So he accepted that. My feeling was that it was possible there was a conspiracy, but with Garrison, the evidence wasn't there."

But the man who had the most impact on Kennedy's view of the New Orleans investigation was Walter Sheridan. The former chief of RFK's "Get Hoffa" squad at the Justice Department played a central, yet little known (?) role in Kennedy's secret search for the truth about Dallas. There was no person in his inner circle on whom Bobby depended more to help him ferret out the full story of what happened to his brother. Sheridan's word on Garrison was bound to carry enormous weight with Kennedy....he was the man whom Kennedy intimates assumed would one day lead the way to cracking the case....

Sheridan was loved "as a brother and as a member of the family," recalled Teddy Kennedy. He and Bobby, who were born on the same day, celebrated their birthdays together....

Two years later, The Garrison probe exploded in the press. Kennedy and Sheridan were both eager to find out what the D.A. had. Bobby told Arthur Schlesinger that he thought Garrison was on to something. But Sheridan, who decided to go to New Orleans to check out the investigation, quickly came to a different conclusion, putting the Kennedy camp and the Garrison camp on a fatal collision course.

Like Guthman, Sheridan insisted he did not go to New Orleans on Kennedy's behalf. But soon after arriving there, he began feeding his former boss information about the investigation. Sheridan's scathing reports on Garrison would turn Kennedy against the prosecutor, and his scorching NBC special--"The JFK Conspiracy: The Case of Jim Garrison"--would turn the media tide against the New Orleans lawman.

According to Nancy Sheridan, her husband decided that Jim Garrison was "a fraud--a dishonest man, morally and intellectually" within twenty-four hours of his arrival in New Orleans....As with Guthman's Los Angeles Times team, Garrison defector Bill Gurvich was a principal source for Sheridan as he reached his withering assessment of the prosecutor....

Sheridan thought enough of the disgruntled Garrison employee to set up a meeting for him at Hickory Hill on June 8, 1967. Their ninety minute conversation continued in a cab ride to the airport and ended as the two men sat on a luggage conveyor....In their conversation, the investigator bluntly told Kennedy, "Senator, Mr. Garrison will never shed any light on your brother's death."

"Then why is he doing this?" Kennedy asked him.

"I don't know," Gurvich replied. "I wish I did."

Talbot's source for the above was Patricia Lambert's False Witness. He concludes:

There is a tragic sense to the blood feud that broke out between Jim Garrison and Walter Sheridan. These two men probably knew more than anyone else in the country, besides the conspirators themselves, about the plot that cut down JFK. But like the competing heirs to Kennedy legacy--RFK and LBJ--they were doomed to clash rather than cooperate. You could not find two more different men--one big, loud-mouthed, and brash; the other slight, tight-lipped, and circumspect.

Garrison was a man of outsized appetites and ambitions. Sheridan was a devoted family man and squeaky-clean public servant who had submerged his own dreams in those of Robert Kennedy. But it was not their clashing personalities that ultimately drove them into opposing corners. It was Kennedy's need to control the search into his brother's killing. Even without his obvious flaws, Garrison would have been unacceptable to Bobby. When it came to solving the crime, RFK trusted only himself and a few men, like Sheridan, who served him.

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On Don's comment about Garrison: I devote an entire chapter to New Orleans, because I think it is a critical part of the RFK/Dallas story. I hope readers will see that I have a complex view of Garrison and Sheridan. I think of them both as flawed heroes, who unfortunately for the case, were both doomed to clash -- given their polar-opposite personalities and different agendas.
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One fault I found with the book was its treatment of the Garrison investigation. It was unconvincing, and it seemed like Talbot was trying to avoid the amount of time and detail that the question of the validity of Garrison's investigation demands. I can understand this, given Talbot's overall focus on the big picture, instituional (as opposed to personal or merely mafia) motive for the assassination. Still he is too quick to tar garrison with Marcello brush that is so conveniently there for anyone to use. He makes an attempt to be fair later, but, in my view, the book is unconvincingly superficial and judgemental when it comes to the Garrison investigation.

This is the one weak spot I found in this excellent and polished read.

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Re: my chapter on Garrison. Of course, opinions of the New Orleans investigation STILL provoke sharp debates in JFK circles. And I don't pretend to be as knowledgeable about all the arcana of the case as many of my research colleagues. But the overall impresion that I took from my research was that Garrison was a flawed hero. Yes, he might not have been immune to the corruptions of his New Orlean milieu -- but he was motivated primarily, I believe, by a heroic patriotism. Walt Sheridan was equally complex in this regard -- his hyper sensitivity to corruption and organized crime probably rendered him blind to Garrison's flawed nobility. But he too was motivated by a desire to dig out the truth about JFK. The fact that these two men inevitably clashed in New Orleans is one more tragedy of the case. I guess what I'm trying to say here is that I have a complex view of the whole New Orleans story.
Walt Sheridan is indeed a key figure in the Kennedy story. He was RFK -- and later Ted Kennedy's -- ace investigator. And as I show in my book, he was the man whom Bobby was going to rely on primarily to reopen the investigation into JFK's murder if RFK had made it to the White House in 1968. He was the man Bobby most relied upon to dig into the darkest corners of American power.

And yes I did interview Sheridan family members (Walt himself died years ago) -- I talked to his widow Nancy a number of times over two or three years, as well as two of his sons. Nancy, in particular, was very helpful in illuminating the relationship between Bobby and Walt, and their secret pact to break the JFK case.

Re: Sheridan. His widow told me that Walt never wrote anything down. According to her, he feared it would put a terrible burden on his family, even put them at risk. She said he took his secrets about Dallas to the grave. But he was deeply depressed at the end of his life about his failure to close the case. I think all of these Kennedy men felt that without Bobby, there was nothing they could do.
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Mr. Talbot,

I look forward to reading your book very soon. I admire your hard work and research and willingness to tackle a subject that so many have consigned to the trash bin of history. Regarding Walter Sheridan, I have a hard time reconciling his efforts to smear Garrison with someone who wanted to find out the truth about the assassination. Of course, I'm still a passionate admirer of Garrison's, so perhaps I'm a bit starry-eyed on the matter. Garrison claimed to have recorded Sheridan threatening Perry Russo and offering to set him up anywhere in the country, if he turned against the prosecution. I've never been able to learn whether or not this recording actually took place, and if a tape of it exists. If such a conversation was recorded, it seems to me that Sheridan cannot claim to be anything other than an agent of those who were out to wreck the Garrison investigation. I can't believe someone would threaten a witness if they were honestly trying to determine the truth about the assassination. It certainly would be difficult to understand how RFK, Teddy and the rest of the Kennedys would trust such a man so closely. Maybe your book touches on this; if so, I apologize for not having read it yet. Also, is there any indication that Sheridan was a "reporter" for anyone other than his stint during the Garrison investigation for NBC? Thanks.

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David: I so loved your book that I am telling everyone to read it. Even people who don't read books like this. I think it should be required reading in every 10th grade class.

Q: Joan Mellen says RFK sent Garrison to NO TO sabotage the Garrison investigation (to hide his involvement with the Castro plots). Your book stops short of this, with RFK sending Sheridan to NO to look at what Garrison had, then turning Bobby against him. This may be a more fine distinction than actually existed, but nonethe less a distinction. I cannot believe that Bobby while trying to find out the truth would immediately try to sabotage the only investigation in the country, if Sheridan did not convince him that Garrison was all smoke and mirrors.

Also having met with Murgado, did he try to feed you the same line Joan bought? (That right up to JFK's death they were trying to kill Castro)? If so did you believe this?

I think David is dead-on in his assessment of Sheridan. This man was Bobby's pit bull, tugging at the leash. While Professor Mellen takes Sheridan's ruthlessness as an indication of his amorality, I suspect it's more clearly an indication of his blind loyalty to Bobby and the Kennedy clan. Think about it. Sheridan COULD NOT move on Hoffa and Marcello, his chief suspects. He could, however, dig into Garrison's investigation, and dig he did, with GUSTO. Once he discovered that Garrison was avoiding Marcello, whose relationship with Ferrie and Banister was overt, he smelled a rat. From thereon their collision course was set in stone (and not Oliver).

My question is perhaps a little more troubling. I suspect the real story is that LBJ suspected that Bobby suspected HIM, and that Bobby, in his deepest darkest thoughts, DID suspect Johnson of killing JFK. There are bits of evidence for this scattered throughout the record.

1. At one point, when discussing the Manchester affair (which is largely absent from David's book) LBJ tells Katzenbach "to get Bobby over here with a bolt rifle." I listened to this a couple of times a few weeks back, and while the tape is lousy, I think Johnson is telling Katzenbach "if Bobby still has doubts about me then the hell with it, tell him to get his skinny ass over here and kill me with the same weapon he thinks I used on his brother. If he's got the guts..."

2. Then there's the timing of the Pearson column saying that Bobby's plans on Castro backfired and got JFK killed. The column appeared the day after Bobby came out against the war and started off by telling the public how the noble LBJ was sitting on the story trying to protect Bobby's reputation. What a heap of manure!!!! Pearson had had the story for months. Johnson admitted to Clark that Pearson had met with him personally to discuss this information. What a coinky-dink then that this info appears the day after Bobby publicly turns against LBJ... It seems likely from this that LBJ was trying to use JFK's death against Bobby, before Bobby could use it against him...

3. Then there's the timing of the Clark Panel report re-interpreting the medical evidence. The report was written just before Bobby entered the race, but just AFTER LBJ, according to his memoirs, had already decided against running. If this is so, then this report, which was sold to the public as an affirmation of the Warren Commission's findings, was very likely designed in part to cut into Bobby's re-opening the case. After Bobby was killed, it became unnecessary. As Nixon was running campaign ads decrying violence, and as these ads ended with a close-up of the "Oswald gun',' not coincidentally reminding the audience that Johnson and Humphrey came to power via a murder, the report should have been released in 68. Instead, Johnson sat on this report for almost year. The report, in fact, was not released until the beginning of the Shaw trial, as a ploy to deny Garrison access to the medical evidence, mere days before Johnson stepped down.

I once had an acquaintance whom I suspected was gay (I barely knew the guy and really didn't care one way or the other.) Anyhow, years later, when he came out and told his close friends and they said "Duh!" he said "Pat told you, didn't he?" Somewhere, years before, he'd looked at me and knew I knew. Well, I suspect this happened with LBJ and Bobby. LBJ looked at Bobby and knew Bobby knew, and Bobby knew LBJ knew he knew and WANTED him to know he knew.

In the 1950's a Marcello associate named Jack Halphen told investigators that LBJ was on his payroll. Marcello would later tell writers that he was a businessman who was entitled to make campaign contributions just like everyone else. I've read that Bobby was looking into the Marcello/Johnson connection just before his death. (was this in Payoff? I'm trying to remember.) Anyhow, did you find any evidence for this? Did Bobby, in fact, suspect LBJ's involvement?

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Dawn, thanks for your comments on the book. And no I don't believe Bobby intended to sabotage Garrison in the beginning -- he was genuinely curious about what G was digging up. And no I don't believe RFK was pushing the assassination efforts against Castro (and neither did Castro believe this, as I explain in the book).
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Woe to students of the Kennedy assassination were a sitting President ever to have unleashed Walter Sheridan to conduct an investigation of the death of President Kennedy, as David Talbot suggests was likely to have occurred. As Part Three of my essay on Sheridan reiterates, Sheridan was guilty of bribery and blackmail, perjury and the intimidation of witnesses. Among his specialties was the illegal wire tap without a warrant or probable cause. Had Sheridan not been protected by higher authority, he would have spent long years in federal prison for his persistent obstruction of justice.

http://educationforum.ipbhost.com/index.php?showtopic=10074

Sheridan was, in fact, so impeachable, his crimes well known to so many, that he would have been a detriment to such an investigation. No matter what Sheridan's widow claims, it insults Robert Kennedy's intelligence and political acumen for anyone to believe that he would have set "Walt" loose to investigate his brother's death.

In "Brothers," David Talbot eulogizes both Sheridan and Robert Kennedy, a historical cartoon that defies Talbot's fatuous claim that his analysis is "complex." To sanctify Sheridan, as he does, and to ask us to believe that Bobby Kennedy represented a Second Coming, David Talbot had no choice but to destroy, yet again, the character of Jim Garrison.

It is painful for me to observe David Talbot's resurrection of the outright lie that Garrison covered up for Louisiana and Texas mobster Carlos Marcello. Whether this preposterous disinformation issues from a former Canadian diplomat or anyone else, it is simply not true, and to repeat it is calumny. If David Talbot had done any research in New Orleans before writing about Jim Garrison, he would have learned that Garrison's office was scrupulous and vigilant in its pursuit of any and all criminals. Consult Milton Brener, who was no fan of either Garrison or his investigation. Ask former United States Attorney John Volz, who later put Carlos Marcello in jail. Talk to William Alford. I wish I could have found a publisher for the 1500 page manuscript I wrote because it contains a detailed description of the Orleans Parish district attorney's office during the Garrison years. Consult also the Garrison office files and Garrison's memo on his consideration of organized crime as the primary sponsor of the Kennedy assassination.

As for Jim Garrison's motivation, he entrusted the crime fighting to his able assistants, beginning in 1965. All Garrison cared about was learning what had happened to a beloved President. This was Garrison's sole motivation! If Carlos Marcello had planned the assassination of President Kennedy, if he had been seen traveling around Louisiana with Oswald, for example, Garrison would have said so.

If there is complexity to be pondered, it derives from the irony that Jim Garrison profoundly admired President Kennedy, to whom he referred always and fondly as "Jack." Garrison was genuinely perplexed by Bobby Kennedy's efforts to, as Garrison put, "torpedo" his investigation. Garrison knew Sheridan was lying about his claim that he wanted to "find out" what he was up to because Sheridan never requested a meeting with anyone in Garrison's office connected with the investigation. After their meeting, arranged by Richard Billings, Garrison knew that Sheridan was lying when he talked about having come down to New Orleans to investigate the Kennedy assassination.

About Sheridan's criminality, Garrison had no doubt. He had in his possession signed affidavits outlining Sheridan's attempts to bribe them and prevent them from testifying for him from both Perry Russo and Marlene Mancuso. Garrison charged Sheridan with petty bribery and the intimidation of witnesses, there being no statute in Louisiana against obstruction of justice at the time. Sheridan then fled Garrison's jurisdiction.

Note in the essay in progress below the documents relating to Bobby Kennedy's relationship with Courtney Evans. Pity the land that needs a hero, Brecht said. (I'm paraphrasing). The search for the truth might well be all the spiritual sustenance we need. The elevation of ambitious politicians to sainthood is likely to prove disappointing.

If there is a Sherlock out there who would like to help discover where Sidney Goldberg's papers are housed, that would begin a welcome and fruitful addition to this debate.

P. S.

Let me add that perusing the Internet I discovered a Forum Member writing that my evidence for believing that the Kennedy brothers were pursuing the removal of Fidel Castro was...Angelo Murgado. The individual must not have read my book very carefully.

Just to set that record straight: among my sources for the private Kennedy effort against Fidel were not originally Mr. Murgado at all but: 1. the minutes of the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board; 2. correspondence of General Edward Lansdale; 3. the oral history for the CIA of Sam Halperin; 4. my interview with Ramsey Clark. Mr. Murgado was only confirming what all these sources, and others that don't come to mind right now, had revealed.

The Otto Otepka, Robert F. Kennedy, Walter Sheridan and Lee Oswald essay can be found here:

http://educationforum.ipbhost.com/index.php?showtopic=10074

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I don't want to engage in a mudslinging debate with Joan – much of whose work on Garrison I respect. JFK debates too often descend into religious wars – particularly those around Garrison, who provokes such strong passions on both sides. But I would like to make some general points about our differences.

Clearly, the main ones seem to be this: Joan thinks I see RFK (and Sheridan) through rose-colored glasses, and I think she does the same with Garrison. I want to clarify, as much as I can in a short space, my views. My book acknowledges Bobby's flaws – his intemperate stance towards Castro (particularly in the early days of the administration), his arrogance, his absolutist tendencies (again, particularly early on), etc. And as for Sheridan, I make no effort to defend his investigative methods – except to say that in his and Bobby's minds, the evil of their organized crime targets merited this zealousness on their part. I think Sheridan's Irish-Catholic, ex-G man, pro-Kennedy intensity clearly carried over into his dealings with Garrison, which, as I write in the book, was tragic. Sheridan was unable to recognize Garrison's legitimate contributions to solving the case, once he concluded he was tainted. So I acknowledge all that – but I think Joan goes too far in her crusade against Sheridan (and Bobby). In doing that, she even accepts the corrupt opinions of notorious Kennedy haters like the CIA's Sam Halpern – who was the source for much of the poison in Sy Hersh's notorious book.

My own view of Garrison, as I've tried to make clear, is that he was a flawed hero. He was enormously brave to reopen the case and withstand the ferocious counterassault from the government and the media --and yes from RFK and Sheridan, who feared that he would expose Kennedy secrets and also contaminate the investigation, which they were intent on keeping under their control.

But those who defend Garrison without conceding his significant shortcomings and blunders are guilty of blind hero worship. He did indeed have puzzling blinders on when it came to Carlos Marcello – he thought the godfather of New Orleans, a venomous enemy of the Kennedys, was a "respectable businessman." I don't think Marcello was the architect of the assassination -- I think it came out of U.S. intelligence. But I think Mafia bosses like him (and I would also include Trafficante and Rosselli) played a supporting role in the crime -- and in the Ruby hit on Oswald. And we can argue all day about Clay Shaw, and whether – after losing Banister and Ferrie as targets – Garrison should have built his whole case on him. But the bottom line is that a jury didn’t buy it, and the result – as Bobby and Sheridan feared – was to contaminate the case for many years to come. So JG's legacy, in my mind, is a decidedly mixed one. As is Sheridan's – a man who also failed to crack the case and apparently abandoned it altogether after Bobby's murder. This plagued him until the end of his life, as I write in the book.

To sum up, Garrison and Sheridan were both motivated by a deep and genuine desire to crack the case. But they were both doomed to clash, considering their polar-opposite personalities and agendas. This was a tragedy for the entire country.

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I don't want to engage in a mudslinging debate with Joan – much of whose work on Garrison I respect. JFK debates too often descend into religious wars – particularly those around Garrison, who provokes such strong passions on both sides. But I would like to make some general points about our differences.

Clearly, the main ones seem to be this: Joan thinks I see RFK (and Sheridan) through rose-colored glasses, and I think she does the same with Garrison. I want to clarify, as much as I can in a short space, my views. My book acknowledges Bobby's flaws – his intemperate stance towards Castro (particularly in the early days of the administration), his arrogance, his absolutist tendencies (again, particularly early on), etc. And as for Sheridan, I make no effort to defend his investigative methods – except to say that in his and Bobby's minds, the evil of their organized crime targets merited this zealousness on their part. I think Sheridan's Irish-Catholic, ex-G man, pro-Kennedy intensity clearly carried over into his dealings with Garrison, which, as I write in the book, was tragic. Sheridan was unable to recognize Garrison's legitimate contributions to solving the case, once he concluded he was tainted. So I acknowledge all that – but I think Joan goes too far in her crusade against Sheridan (and Bobby). In doing that, she even accepts the corrupt opinions of notorious Kennedy haters like the CIA's Sam Halpern – who was the source for much of the poison in Sy Hersh's notorious book.

My own view of Garrison, as I've tried to make clear, is that he was a flawed hero. He was enormously brave to reopen the case and withstand the ferocious counterassault from the government and the media --and yes from RFK and Sheridan, who feared that he would expose Kennedy secrets and also contaminate the investigation, which they were intent on keeping under their control.

But those who defend Garrison without conceding his significant shortcomings and blunders are guilty of blind hero worship. He did indeed have puzzling blinders on when it came to Carlos Marcello – he thought the godfather of New Orleans, a venomous enemy of the Kennedys, was a "respectable businessman." I don't think Marcello was the architect of the assassination -- I think it came out of U.S. intelligence. But I think Mafia bosses like him (and I would also include Trafficante and Rosselli) played a supporting role in the crime -- and in the Ruby hit on Oswald. And we can argue all day about Clay Shaw, and whether – after losing Banister and Ferrie as targets – Garrison should have built his whole case on him. But the bottom line is that a jury didn’t buy it, and the result – as Bobby and Sheridan feared – was to contaminate the case for many years to come. So JG's legacy, in my mind, is a decidedly mixed one. As is Sheridan's – a man who also failed to crack the case and apparently abandoned it altogether after Bobby's murder. This plagued him until the end of his life, as I write in the book.

To sum up, Garrison and Sheridan were both motivated by a deep and genuine desire to crack the case. But they were both doomed to clash, considering their polar-opposite personalities and agendas. This was a tragedy for the entire country.

You certainly do elevate discussions David, and have a real knack for retaining focus.

...

Which reminds me--have I asked in the past 45 seconds if your idea of a debate with Bugliosi seems like it could become a reality?

The prospect makes me a teensy bit (more) giddy.

Myra

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I don't want to engage in a mudslinging debate with Joan – much of whose work on Garrison I respect. JFK debates too often descend into religious wars – particularly those around Garrison, who provokes such strong passions on both sides. But I would like to make some general points about our differences.

Clearly, the main ones seem to be this: Joan thinks I see RFK (and Sheridan) through rose-colored glasses, and I think she does the same with Garrison. I want to clarify, as much as I can in a short space, my views. My book acknowledges Bobby's flaws – his intemperate stance towards Castro (particularly in the early days of the administration), his arrogance, his absolutist tendencies (again, particularly early on), etc. And as for Sheridan, I make no effort to defend his investigative methods – except to say that in his and Bobby's minds, the evil of their organized crime targets merited this zealousness on their part. I think Sheridan's Irish-Catholic, ex-G man, pro-Kennedy intensity clearly carried over into his dealings with Garrison, which, as I write in the book, was tragic. Sheridan was unable to recognize Garrison's legitimate contributions to solving the case, once he concluded he was tainted. So I acknowledge all that – but I think Joan goes too far in her crusade against Sheridan (and Bobby). In doing that, she even accepts the corrupt opinions of notorious Kennedy haters like the CIA's Sam Halpern – who was the source for much of the poison in Sy Hersh's notorious book.

My own view of Garrison, as I've tried to make clear, is that he was a flawed hero. He was enormously brave to reopen the case and withstand the ferocious counterassault from the government and the media --and yes from RFK and Sheridan, who feared that he would expose Kennedy secrets and also contaminate the investigation, which they were intent on keeping under their control.

But those who defend Garrison without conceding his significant shortcomings and blunders are guilty of blind hero worship. He did indeed have puzzling blinders on when it came to Carlos Marcello – he thought the godfather of New Orleans, a venomous enemy of the Kennedys, was a "respectable businessman." I don't think Marcello was the architect of the assassination -- I think it came out of U.S. intelligence. But I think Mafia bosses like him (and I would also include Trafficante and Rosselli) played a supporting role in the crime -- and in the Ruby hit on Oswald. And we can argue all day about Clay Shaw, and whether – after losing Banister and Ferrie as targets – Garrison should have built his whole case on him. But the bottom line is that a jury didn’t buy it, and the result – as Bobby and Sheridan feared – was to contaminate the case for many years to come. So JG's legacy, in my mind, is a decidedly mixed one. As is Sheridan's – a man who also failed to crack the case and apparently abandoned it altogether after Bobby's murder. This plagued him until the end of his life, as I write in the book.

To sum up, Garrison and Sheridan were both motivated by a deep and genuine desire to crack the case. But they were both doomed to clash, considering their polar-opposite personalities and agendas. This was a tragedy for the entire country.

I don't believe I see Garrison through rose-colored glasses. Unlike Garrison in his memoir, I discuss the false charging of Edgar Eugene Bradley, for example. I discuss Garrison's falling for the nonsense of "Farewell, America." Yes, compared with the forces arrayed against Garrison, he a small town prosecutor in state court, the adversary ranging from Richard Helms to Robert Kennedy, I judge that he should be respected for the effort he made. It's about time. Let me repeat, that Garrison knew full well that Sheridan had come down there to destroy him...Sheridan revealed that to practically everyone he met! Garrison remained perplexed. Why, why wouldn't Bobby Kennedy help him!

The sources for Robert Kennedy's plots against Fidel Castro I've listed in a previous message. Ramsey Clark told me he found memos of these efforts in his desk (they had survived the Katzenbach years) when he became Attorney General.

Now, if it is convenient for you to call everyone who offers a less than favorable view of the Kennedys a xxxx, you are free to do that under the first amendment.

The same holds true for Sam Halpern. The CIA did not like the Kennedys (I have a whole chapter on that in "A FArewell to Justice."). But anyone who reads that oral history where Halpern is dumbfounded by the contradictory policy, the Kennedys making friends with Castro, and Bobby using Ford/Fiscalini to round up some Mafia in Canada to murder Fidel Castro, cannot in good conscience say that he is lying. Halpern simply can't believe what the evidence revealed to him, he is so surprised! I am not interested in what Sy Hersh made of that, or whether he "hated" the Kennedys. Halpern was not lying!

I regret to say that I am old enough to remember Bobby Kennedy and the opinion the overwhelming majority of the liberal community had of him, to the end. A very close friend of mine was a friend of John F. Kennedy's, and a Harvard classmate. (He is interviewed in many of the biographies of President Kennedy). He liked "Jack" and Kennedy appointed him to be Ambassador to Morocco, a position he ultimately rejected, on the (bad) advice of David K. E. Bruce. My friend, along with his friends, thought Bobby was ruthless (the cliche that was true) and untrustworthy, and this was before my friend became campaign manager for Eugene McCarthy. The year, yes, was 1968.

The issues here are bigger than "liked" and "hated" and someone's "corrupt opinions." Are Halpern's views corrupt because someone who needs to sanctify Bobby Kennedy says so? Anyone who titles a chapter "The Passion of Robert Kennedy" has sainthood in mind!

I have no crusade against anyone. I have two full file drawers with evidence that Bobby Kennedy sent Sheridan down to New Orleans to scuttle Jim Garrison's case. I have Sheridan's own words. I have Richard Townley, Sheridan's own assistant, telling people, including the FBI, that Sheridan came down to "discredit" Garrison. Did Sheridan do all this on his own motivation?

Sheridan had done some NBC work in, I believe, Detroit, before he blew into New Orleans with that investigative reporter cover. Garrison surely was right to question, if, as Sheridan claimed, he was there to investigate the Kennedy assassination, how come he didn't want to talk to anyone doing the investigation from Garrison's office? Instead, Sheridan, virtually the minute he arrived, hired Gordon Novel to steal documents and papers and whatever he could get his hands on, from Garrison's office. Novel admitted this to me. There is also a documentary record.

By the way, the scene in my Sheridan article with Marlene Mancuso happened. I did four interviews with her. She had no reason to lie. Sheridan's attempts to bribe Russo are on tape.

Garrison was not "tainted." He went down some blind alleys, but he was not "tainted." What does "tainted" mean in this context? (A rhetorical question). In any case, what Garrison needed was to be left alone to pursue his leads, not to persuade Sheridan, or Bobby Kennedy, of anything.

By the way, the theory that the CIA sent Sheridan down there (the only other sponsor conceivable) can easily be disproved.

So I'll conclude that in order to give credibility to Sheridan and Bobby Kennedy, David Talbot had to crucify Garrison, yet again. The alternative is too dark.

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