David Chandler Talks to Shaw's Investigators
Updated: Oct 11, 2021
Yesterday I posted an excerpt from David Chandler's testimony from the Dean Andrews perjury trial. Of course, James DiEugenio took exception to my post on Facebook:
"The only problem with this is a recurrent one with Litwin: its not true. David Chandler was a stringer for Time Life, and a great friend of the FBI informant Phelan and the CIA related Dick Billings. In fact he largely wrote the story Phelan had published about Garrison cleaning up the French Quarter and then the Life magazine hatchet job about Garrison being associated with the Mob, which he was not. Chandler was incessant in pushing the Mob angle on the JFK case. To the point of making stuff up and dropping it on the DA's office."
This is a standard DiEugenio tactic - dismiss testimony you don't like because you either don't like their associates, or because somebody, somewhere has some sort of relationship with the FBI or the CIA. First-hand witnesses like Rosemary James, James Phelan, Hugh Aynesworth, David Chandler are all ignored by DiEugenio because only he understands New Orleans. Here is my analysis of his scholarship.
In the same Facebook posting, DiEugenio also says:
"The way that Garrison found out who Bertrand was is rather simple: there was no such person listed in the Crescent City. Therefore, one had to find out who was using such an alias. The problem at first was that the people in the French Quarter hated JG because of his campaign against B girl drinking. So when Ivon told Garrison to let him and the staff do it alone, they started to get plentiful results. As Garrison said in his book one of the first was at a bar that Andrews frequented. But, after that, it mushroomed. The FBI knew this also but Hoover was not going to help Garrison since he was exposing the many holes with the FBI inquiry. Even Liebeler knew this as the info got to the DOJ, and Ed Guthman informed him of it. How bad was it: When Ed Tatro visited New Orleans for the trial, since he had a Boston accent, people asked him what he was there for. When he told them they chuckled: 'Everyone down here knows Shaw is Bertrand, but that poor devil Garrison can't prove it so save his life."
In fact, Garrison's staff did not get plentiful results. Here is a memo from Lou Ivon regarding his search for Clay Bertrand:
DiEugenio says that Ed Guthman of the Department of Justice told Wesley Liebeler about Shaw being Bertrand. But that is not true - that was a rumor that Lawrence Schiller told Tom Bethell:
"Schiller says Guthman told Liebeler it's been known for two months that Bertrand and Shaw are the same man."
And DiEugenio's source is Bethell's diary entry. There is no direct testimony from Guthman about Shaw being Bertrand.
By the way, I have debunked all of DiEugenio's witnesses he cites as proof that Shaw was Bertrand:
DiEugenio concluded his diatribe with this:
"How reliable was Chandler? When JG wanted to call him in for questioning about his Mob slanders, he avoided the subpoena. Then Time Life got in contact with the governor. They asked him to infiltrate Chandler into the State Trooper ranks so Chandler could legally decline the subpoena. They told McKeithen that if he refused they would smear him with the Mob as they did Garrison. How honest was Chandler? Many years later, when he was writing for a Denver weekly, he admitted that Phelan knew Hoover was incinerating records of Oswald's role as an FBI informant after the assassination. HIs son got in contact with me in the nineties and said that his father also knew that Shaw and Ferrie were friends. Fred Litwin relies on the public's ignorance about New Orleans. I look at my function the other way: to add to the factual record about the area. You cannot do that by going through the archives of Jim Kirkwood and rerunning mildewed and discredited stories from the likes of a cover up artist like Chandler."
Of course, Chandler wanted to avoid going before the grand jury. He knew it would be a lose-lose situation and that he could end up with a perjury indictment, which was Garrison's favorite ploy. Chandler had offered to turn over his investigative files to Garrison's office for presentation to the grand jury but that was turned down. Garrison had no interest in learning more about organized crime, he wanted to silence Chandler.
James DiEugenio criticizes me for going through the archives of James Kirkwood. It's interesting that he has not gone through the Kirkwood papers. It's a shame because Kirkwood interviewed all the major players in the Garrison investigation, and those raw interviews are amongst his papers. Ignorance is bliss, I guess.
Given the interest in David Chandler, I thought it appropriate to post a memo written by an investigator for Clay Shaw:
The dates above are clearly wrong. Garrison made the statement that he had solved the case in February, 1967.
David Lewis was one of Garrison's early witnesses - he was almost a protege of Jack Martin. You can read the entire story of David Lewis which includes a statement from David Chandler here.