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The Garrison Tapes: A John Barbour Film

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Is this new?  I've never visited his site.  Excellent.  The first half was interesting for the historical video, I wanted more of Stone, very informative for someone newer to the subject.

The second half is truly the excellent part.  Lou Ivon,  Bill Alford.  Great shot of 544 Camp Street.  Russo is emphatic years later.  Mark Lane and Mort Sahl rehearsing Garrison to curb his cursing before appearing on Johnny Carson.  A picture of Shaw, Ferrie and LHO?

Speaking of Carson, the year I graduated HS, for now politically incorrect comic relief...


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This is in my view the best film ever made about Jim Garrison.

That long interview that John did with Garrison is very valuable.  It was not often that the DA was allowed to speak for himself unfiltered.

That picture is incorrectly labeled though. It is Clay Shaw, its close as to the other two, but its not Ferrie and LHO.  


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5 hours ago, James DiEugenio said:

This is in my view the best film ever made about Jim Garrison.

That long interview that John did with Garrison is very valuable.  It was not often that the DA was allowed to speak for himself unfiltered.

That picture is incorrectly labeled though. It is Clay Shaw, its close as to the other two, but its not Ferrie and LHO.  


I think it's good enough to bear re-watching for me.  Having just read On The Trail Of The Assassins  for the first time the latter half was fascinating, real people from his book interviewed in person on tape.  It brings it to life at points, the details are well worth a second look.  Garrison is an American Hero.  There should be a statue of him in Washington.  And at the entrance to The Farm, as an ode to defiance.

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Yes, a great doc centered around Garrison.

Too bad the New Orleans PD booking officer who Clay Shaw told his real alias (Clay Bertrand) to was blocked from testifying and sharing this at the trial by the judge.

And loved the commentary of Garrison's investigator Lou Ivon and assistant D.A. Bill Alford.

Amazingly shocking and sickening how many main stream media giants  ( even the New York Times!) labeled Garrison's trial of Shaw "a Circus."

Shaw was a man of many deep secrets. His extracurricular social activities particularly.

The mentioning by Alford of Shaw's extensive home collection of S&M whips, chains, hooks, strapping restraints, capes, marble penis statues etc, in the least clearly shows the public image Shaw was nothing like the private life Shaw and also proves Shaw's long time practiced proclivity for hiding truths about himself, even under oath.  

Isn't it a shame, that this important documentary has only been viewed a little over 300 times?

It should be shown to millions of Americans who want to know about or care about perhaps the most important criminal act ever perpetrated against our nation and that has hugely and negatively effected our entire society ever since. And to know the truly heroic place Jim Garrison should occupy in our real history.


Edited by Joe Bauer
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I remember watching Johnny Carson's interview of Garrison on his "Tonight Show."

Carson was so antagonistic toward Garrison it was shockingly revealing.

Like we got a glimpse of "the real" Johnny Carson.

Not his light humor, more easy going and seemingly respectful manner toward his guests side.

Carson seemed seething with contempt for Garrison. It was so obvious, it was down right ugly.

The guy was a hard ass. And from what I have read about Carson since, this was much more his demeanor in real life.

I recall hearing the studio audience cheering and loudly applauding Garrison several times in the interview, versus silence every time Carson would make a contrary response to Garrison's points.

The enthusiastic Garrison supporting audience responses seemed to just incense Carson from what I remember seeing of his facial expressions during them.

You could tell Carson's audience was sympathetic toward's Garrison's suspicion regards the official WC lone gunman findings. Just like the majority of Americans polled back then and since.

Joe Namath on Johnny Carson..." Johnny Carson was a mean drunk."

Wayne Newton on Johnny Carson.. "He was a mean spirited person."

He sure was toward Jim Garrison the night he interviewed him on his TV show.

And yet Jim Garrison was the respectful opposite in his manner toward Carson. 

And who could read Micah's post, with quotes from Bruce Pitzer's wife regarding what she knew, felt and experienced after her husband's death, and not feel valid and rational suspicion regards his death and the official finding of suicide?

This was the man's wife at the time of his death.

Could there be any more solid witness to the mental state of Bruce Pitzer at the time of his death being on a suicidal level versus not?

And did Pitzer have fresh mangled hand injuries when he was found dead...or not?




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Joe Bauer said:  I remember watching Johnny Carson's interview of Garrison on his "Tonight Show."Carson was so antagonistic toward Garrison it was shockingly revealing.

That was my reaction too.  I had been looking forward to Garrison having a chance to speak out but that was a disaster.  Didn't Jonny slam down a photo? That was awful too.

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Johnny Carson was to me a "zero" in that he had all that audience, all that media presence, the most-watched late-night program in America, and he used it for nothing but cotton-candy laughs. He never took up a just cause, never made a social statement, never took a stand of conscience, never sought to get people to think about something that required a little thought below the level of surface humor, never sought to use his celebrity the way some celebrities do, in which they use their "celebrity capital" in the service of some worthy cause of their choice that they believe in, to try to make a difference in the world in some better way to the best of their ability. He was good at getting laughs, end of story. He was not nasty or damaging in his public persona (most of the time; Garrison excepted according to reports here, I did not see). But Carson was just a net zero, a waste of potential. My opinion.  

On the John Barbour film on Garrison, mixed feelings. The fundamental cognitive dissonance to me is Garrison took down the Warren Commission report, made the connection of the JFK assassination and foreign policy direction, brought the Zapruder film to public access and attention, and developed a number of leads. He also showed considerable courage, basically declaring war on the CIA. Those are the positives. But then the negatives: it came at the cost of a prosecution and attempted ruination of the life of a man innocent of the assassination of JFK, Clay Shaw. Is it necessary to defend a prosecution which should never have happened of a man innocent of anything to do with the assassination of JFK, in order to have the Warren Commission questioned? That is the ethical dilemma. It is also what those out for Garrison's blood used largely successfully to discredit Garrison. Some specific comments:

-- the basic contradiction: "Lee Harvey Oswald ... had nothing to do with the assassination" (at 41:08-40, with emphasis, and repeated several times by Garrison in the documentary). But Clay Shaw was charged by Garrison: "did willfully and unlawfully conspire with ... Lee Harvey Oswald ... and others ... to murder John F. Kennedy". 

-- the witness, Perry Russo, is credible to the extent of establishing David Ferrie ranting about Kennedy should be killed, but that's about it. Russo's identification of Oswald as present was clearly mistaken, and the mistake on the Oswald identification calls into question Russo's identification of Clay Shaw as present as well. Even on Ferrie was there a criminal case on the basis of Russo's testimony beyond establishing that Ferrie hated Kennedy and advocated killing him? Russo said there were plans discussed--at a party, with non-insider, non-conspirator Russo able to move freely and overhear? ... plausibility issues, lack-of-corroboration issues. Talk of hating and wanting to kill Kennedy probably happened at many parties in the South. That is not enough to take into court and get a criminal conviction for doing the assassination.

-- That Clay Shaw lied under oath re CIA history is true, but irrelevant to the charge for which he was under trial: of being in a criminal conspiracy with Oswald and others to assassinate JFK.

-- It can be established with confidence that Dean Andrews was not contacted by Clay Shaw with a request to provide legal counsel for Oswald (that was almost certainly Clem Sehrt, which is also why Dean Andrews refused to violate a confidence and say who it really was: Clem Sehrt, Mob/Marcello, old friend and legal help to Marguerite Oswald; Clem Sehrt who later told a friend he had been called by Marguerite seeking legal counsel for her son Lee after the assassination; Marguerite who also later said that she had called Clem Sehrt seeking a lawyer for Lee after the assassination); also the Airport VIP Lounge signature of "Clay Bertrand" at a time when Clay Shaw was present collapses. 

-- No other leads, of the anti-Castro Cubans, or JM/Wave in Florida, or organized crime elements, or the known compartments in CIA involved with Oswald and the disinformation attempting to tie Oswald to Castro, and so forth--none of these leads go to Clay Shaw. Clay Shaw just had nothing to do with anything (related to the JFK assassination). And there is the strong impression that many of Garrison's own staff, including the honest ones, knew it.

-- the film shows a photo at 1:26:20f and says, without caveat or qualification, that it shows David Ferrie, Clay Shaw, and Lee Harvey Oswald in the same living room at a social gathering. But the face said to be Oswald is too dark to see clearly in the film. So I looked up that photo, and the face is not that of Oswald at all! But a viewer of the film who does not do their own fact-checking (and how many do?) will be left with that lodged in their memory as if Oswald in that photo with Clay Shaw is a fact.

-- Unlike Clay Shaw, David Ferrie was a person of interest in the JFK assassination in Garrison's sights but of course Ferrie died untimely. I remember as a 13-year old newspaper carrier in Ohio reading first of the Garrison sensational charges in the news, then of Ferrie's suspicious death, and thinking "whoah!" But Garrison never pursued the Ferrie lead in the most obvious direction--toward Marcello, crime boss of New Orleans and Dallas. That was one thing Garrison had in common with the FBI and the Warren Commission. I was surprised when I first discovered Marcello does not even appear in the Warren Commission report index, as if he did not exist. Garrison apparently did not think Marcello was much involved in significant organized crime--similar to J. Edgar Hoover on that issue. Maybe as a public official in the heart of Marcello's turf that may have been a healthy policy for Garrison, I don't know.   

So in the end Garrison seems to merit a mixed report. I think if I were on the Clay Shaw jury I would have agreed with what apparently was the sentiment of most of the jurors polled after the trial: they were convinced by the part about there was a conspiracy beyond what the Warren Commission said, but they were not convinced by the evidence shown that Clay Shaw should be convicted of having been involved in it. There is a systems criticism of the legal system in which prosecutors feel pressure, if a crime is unsolved, to get a conviction, any conviction, and close the case. That is good for prosecutors' statistics but it also results in some wrongful convictions. I wonder if that prosecutors' mentality may have been a contributing factor in Garrison's prosecution of Clay Shaw. 

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Reading Garrison’s retelling of his Carson interview was very entertaining. The slight changes he gave in answering during the taping compared to his pre-interview had me grinning whilst reading. Played Carson and whoever was controlling him very easily. Given what we now know about Operation Mockingbird, it makes what Garrison achieved even more incredible.

Does the full video interview still exist? I know the official Johnny Carson YouTube page used to have a 5 minute extract but that has since been removed. All I’ve found is audio only of the whole debate. 

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The pretext given is that it was lost in some sort of fire.

You can take that for whatever its worth.

When I interviewed HSCA investigator Larry Delsa in New Orleans, he told me that Garrison had a video copy of the whole interview and showed it to him.

He told me that the key point was when  Carson asked JG  about why LBJ would take part in the cover up and JG replied with, "I don't know.  Why don't you ask him Johnny?"  He said that was the turning point, the audience cheered. Carson knew he had lost them.

The interview was arranged the week before when Mort Sahl was on and asked the audience if they would like to hear from Jim Garrison live in studio.  They said yes they would.

Mort was there that night in the wings.  Carson was so angry about this program and the fact that he was playing the heavy that when it was over he pointed at Mort and said, "You will never be on this show again."  And he wasn't.  He had to wait until Leno took over.

I have not checked on this, but I think this particular program was done before Johnny signed his big contract which gave him so much money and control.  If I am right about that, then NBC made him do this and that is why their lawyers interviewed JG and briefed Carson and gave him those cards.  If you recall, NBC had run that Sheridan/Townley/CIA  hatchet job on Garrison that summer. Done with the stamp of approval of the Sarnoffs, father and son.  They were not going to let Garrison engage in any kind of fair and educational type of interview where he could show them up.  Carson went along with playing the villian.

One last word on this.  IMO, Jack Paar would not have done this.  Paar was not just a comedian.  He really did have a social conscience.  Which is why he left the show temporarily over a censorship issue and then permanently retired. Sahl told me that Paar married into a lot of money so he did not need to put up with this stuff.

Edited by James DiEugenio
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This morning I had a cup of coffee at a donut shop in Houston with a friend, Philip Dyer.

I casually mentioned to him that I had recently viewed The Garrison Tapes and was impressed with the work.

Phil then told me that he had met Clay Shaw in New Orleans sometime after Shaw had been found innocent by the jury in the trial brought by Garrison. This occurred while Phil was visiting his close friend, Bill Howard, who was New Orleans' premier interior decorator, and Howard invited him to join an unnamed  friend that he planned to have breakfast with. Upon arrival at the restaurant Howard surprised Phi by introducing him Clay Shaw who already seated. Phil said that Shaw was impeccably dressed and had beautiful blue eyes.

Because Howard was a close friend of Shaw and Phil was a close friend of Howard, Shaw was relaxed in his conversation at breakfast. So Phil decided to ask him whether he knew Oswald. Phil told me that Shaw replied, "I knew Lee very, very well." Phil then asked Shaw whether he believed Oswald killed President Kennedy. Shaw replied, "You need to know that Lee was a patsy." With that the breakfast conversation turned to other matters.

Later that day Howard invited Phil to join him in attending a party at the residence of Tennessee Williams. Phil said they walked from Howard's residence in the French Quarter to Williams' house that had an immense back yard of grass, so it was likely in the nearby Garden District. Phil said there were a hundred people at the party and they were the most beautiful people he had ever seen. I remarked to Phil that it was tragic the way Tennessee Williams later died. swallowing a bottle cap that got lodged in his windpipe in his throat. I had always assumed it was likely the cap of a bottle of coca cola or beer. But Phil said no, it was the cap of a small bottle of poppers that gays use when having sex. It is amazing how some celebrities leave this world. Nelson Rockefeller had a heart attack while having sex with a young woman, Andy Warhol died of neglect in New York Hospital, and Dorothy Kilgallen died of a drug overdose but more likely of murder. So just add Tennessee Williams to the list.

Edited by Douglas Caddy
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Yes, what a breakfast story.

Shaw's supposed comments about Oswald would have rocked the JFK story if they got out and could be proven.  Too bad no one got this on tape.

And I also would like to know how much you trusted your friend Phil to tell truthful accounts Doug.

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Jim and Joe:

Phil Dyer is my closest friend in Houston. I have known him for years. He had told me this story before several times but it wasn't until I listened to The Garrison Tapes recently  that I realized the significance of it. Phil is very precise in his language and his recounting never varied from what he had told me before. He is extremely intelligent and has an extraordinary good memory.

When I had coffee and a donut with him at a donut shop yesterday, I said to him that what he had told me before about meeting Clay Shaw and what Shaw had said to him made him a supremely important witness to history. So I asked him to repeat again yesterday in order that I could post it here.

Phil is about my age and shows it as do I. But when he was young and into middle age he was an extremely good looking gay guy and had prominent gay acquaintances from coast to coast. So what I am saying now and tried to imply in my prior  posting was that because gay Phil was a close friend of gay Bill Howard who was a close friend of gay Clay Shaw, Shaw felt he could respond candidly to Phil's questions at the breakfast.

I do not know whether Phil at this late stage in his life is willing to go public with what he knows and as a result become a public figure with all the headache and controversy that goes with that. I do think he would be agreeable to having a phone conversation with Jim so that Jim as a historian would be able to vouch later as to what Phil told him in the conversation.



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