Did Nerin Gun Write the QUICK Article?
Another candidate to consider for the authorship of the QUICK article is Nerin Gun, a Turkish-American writer who was born in Rome. He emigrated from Germany to the United States after World War II and changed his name from Emrullah Nerin Gün to Nerin Gun.
In 1964, Gun published one of the first books on the JFK assassination, Red Roses from Texas.
Nerin Gun also worked for the Italian newspaper Epoca.
President Lyndon Johnson receiving Italian publisher Giorgio Mondadori at the White House on April 28, 1964. On the right is Nerin Gun.
Harry Truman with Nerin Gun, April 1964.
Mr. DULLES. May I add one other thing just to interrupt. I wish you would add to your list a book called "The Red Roses of Dallas" by a man named Gun. He is a more reliable correspondent.
Mr. HOOVER. He is a Philadelphia correspondent.
Mr. DULLES. He has been living in this country since 1946. I have met him over here. Let's see, he was at Dallas at the time. He was then reporting, I think, for the Italian newspaper Epoca.
Mr. HOOVER. That is not the same one.
Mr. DULLES. He might have been lying. This book is full of lies. But I think it is a book that ought to be added, too, and I will see that a copy is sent to the Bureau.
Mr. HOOVER. I would appreciate that.
Given Nerin Gun's interest in the JFK assassination, it's not surprising that he would take an interest in the Garrison investigation. While the QUICK article has no indication that Gun was involved, a CIA memo claimed that he was the author:
There is nothing in the QUICK magazine article that mentions Nerin Gun. However, some amazing propinquity suggests that Gun and Garrison had something important in common: Dachau.
"The son and grandson of lawyers, Garrison went to a public high school here [New Orleans] and entered the Army a year before Pearl Harbor. He flew light planes as an artillery spotter in Europe, and arrived at Dachau the day after troops supported by his artillery unit had liberated it."
And so, perhaps Gun and Garrison bonded over their war experiences.
Paul Hoch found that Paris Match in France and TEMPO in Italy had also run articles on the Garrison investigation in 1967 - and both appeared to be possibly related to the one that ran in QUICK. Perhaps there was a clue about the author in one of the two magazines.
The Paris Match article was different. It was dated a month earlier than the QUICK article and it was a first-hand report by Nerin Gun, who had been in New Orleans in late February 1967. He interviewed Jim Garrison and David Ferrie.
Here is a translation of the Paris Match article:
On the day before his death, Ferrie told me "Oswald? I Didn't Know Him"
Nerin Gun, author of "Red Roses in Texas," was investigating in New Orleans. He spends hours with a former pilot who knew Oswald. The next day we find the body of the witness in his room. The thirteenth violent death of the Kennedy affair.
[picture of Nerin Gun] Ferrie told me...
The name of David F. Ferrie was first mentioned the day after the Kennedy's assassination. A certain Ed Voble [sic; Voebel] phoned a New Orleans television station and in essence said: "We were serving in the same unit of the Civil Air Patrol under the direction of David F. Ferrie. However, I have just recognized the silhouette of Ferrie in certain news scenes filmed from the drama in Dallas" The information was passed on to the District Attorney's office. Jim Garrison, who then arrested and released Ferrie. The FBI and the Warren Commission noted the incident but gave it no particular importance.
Three years passed. On January 31 of this year, a Cuban exile named Miguel Torres, sentenced to nine years in prison for theft, was transferred to the special prison in New Orleans to be placed at the disposal of the District Attorney Jim Garrison. According to Torres, there would have been a conspiracy, set up in New Orleans, of which he would have been the executor, "The contract man," according to the expression of American gangsters.
However, the District Attorney Garrison has been investigating for several months now a report by David Lewis, a private investigator, who claims to have a list of conspirators. Among them was a Cuban who was in Dallas at the scene of the assassination hidden behind a billboard and a pilot who served in the same unit at Oswald and who was also in Dallas on the day of Kennedy's death, ready to transport Oswald to Mexico from where the alleged assassin could have returned to Havana.
Was this pilot David F. Ferrie? Did DA Garrison, who was getting ready to arrest him, think so?
I saw David Ferrie exactly the day before his death on the afternoon of February 21, 1967 in New Orleans. Apparently, this doomed man did not fear for his life.
Ferrie received me in his two-room apartment, furnished with that very heavy and messy taste that one can define "old New Orleans". There are books everywhere, even on the small sofa and in the small kitchen. Ferrie drinks continuously. Soon we are going out together to have a drink in a bar some distance away, because Ferrie wants to avoid any photographers posted in the neighborhood. He also claims to be under police surveillance and complains about it.
"I am only an amateur pilot, but from time to time, I agree to hire out my services. I like to drive, but it is expensive and so you have to mix business with pleasure. My current profession: I am a psychologist. No, I don't have any diplomas, but people come and ask me for advice - that they are having trouble with their wives, an employee, and I try to help them."
Ferrie is extremely nervous when he speaks. His face is bony and he has a very long, very thin nose, eyebrows, like a "circumflex accent," marked with a pencil, and a poorly groomed wig, and eyes like a rabbit who does not have a moment's rest. His is not very tall, but he looks slender. He doesn't speak with that slowness and that sweet accent that characterizes the people of New Orleans. In fact, he is not a native. He's a man from Ohio who came here fifteen years ago. He admits having accepted from time to time jobs as a private detective.
His reputation in New Orleans is not good. In the newsrooms, he is referred to as an informer and as a liaison between the community, the lawyers, and the police.
"This whole story bothers me enormously. This Garrison prankster wants to get people talking about him at all costs. He is not happy to have liquidated downtown (the pleasure district). Now he is looking for something else. It smacks of politics a mile and a half away. Do not speak to me of justice, or of truth. All these people who take care of Kennedy have one thing in mind: to make money.
I've been sick for three months, Ferrie continued. I have encephalitis. I have horrible headaches. Then my heart gives me pain. It doesn't work like it used to and yet I'm far from fifty.
"I never knew Oswald. He and I lived in different worlds. Him in the shallows towards the docks and I, look out the window. My neighborhood is good, not fancy, but decent. Oswald himself could not afford a plane ride.
"Yes, I served in the Civil Air Patrol (the Civil Air Patrol is a paramilitary organization, classified as reserves, whose volunteer pilots assist in emergencies, searches, transport of drugs, injuries). Oswald was never in the Civil Air Patrol."
I pointed out to Ferrie that I had called Marguerite Oswald, Oswald's mother, that very morning, and that she claimed that Oswald had been in the Civil Air Patrol. I even remember that once she showed me a picture of Oswald in uniform from that group.
"That old woman must be confused with some other organization," said Ferrie. Do not forget that she had ceased all relations with her son for a long time and especially when he lived in New Orleans...Finally, everything I know about this affair, I told the FBI. Garrison just had to ask them. And you could do the same. It's not that there is anything to hide. But it all happened three years ago. I don't remember all the details. And if today I am wrong, people will say that I did it on purpose, that I lied, that I am hiding the truth and it will be quite a story again.
I HEARD FOR THE FIRST TIME OSWALD'S NAME
"I was not in New Orleans on the day of Kennedy's assassination, it is true. In fact, upon hearing the news, I decided to go to Dallas. At the time I was working for a lawyer, G. Wray Gill, very much like his personal detective. I worked with the help of two friends and the three of us decided to drive to Dallas. We left New Orleans a little before four in the afternoon, November 22, 1963. It was I who drove - a blue Buick station wagon - when the radio announce that a certain Oswald had been arrested. It was the first time I had heard the name, so we changed our minds and instead of going to Dallas, we went to Houston, then to Galveston and the surrounding area to hunt wild geese. I did not return to New Orleans until Sunday. A funny surprise awaited me. That crazy Garrison man had burst into my apartment. Look, I had to have my door repaired: he confiscated my papers, photos, books...."
"Garrison then had his assistant Klein arrest my friends and me under the pretext that we were wanted fugitives. It was ridiculous. Everyone knows that I am a fanatic anti-communist. I hate Castro.
"A few weeks ago, a weekend in January, I received an invitation to testify at the grand jury. Instead of being sent in the room I was asked to go see Louis Ivon, the District Attorney's chief investigator. I have known Ivon for a long time. I do not hesitate to tell him my surprise and annoyance. Ivon says it is just a formality and he asks me about 1963. I tell him he better read his own files. Then I ask him what it's all about.
We have discovered a plot. There was a plot in New Orleans hatched in the summer of 1963 to assassinate Kennedy, And that's it. I don't know anything else.
I had no questions to ask Ferrie and I remember that his last words were to find the restaurant Antoine's, very famous in New Orleans, where he advised me to go to dinner. I also remember that I left one of those tiny flasks of whiskey that the airlines give out to first-time passengers, and that I usually put in my napkin. He wished me "good luck" and smiled at me. I can't believe that less than twenty-four hours later this man was going to be found dead in his room.
LEWIS: AFRAID FOR THE LIFE OF MY CHILDREN
And I think of the words that prosecutor Jim Garrison had said to me a few days earlier when he solemnly asked me not to reveal anything to the local newspapers. "I fear," he said "that such revelations will impede the progress of my investigation and cause the violent deaths of some witnesses." I didn't take it seriously. Today, I began to believe that he was only telling me the strictest truth.
Previously I had visited detective David Lewis, whose initial report triggered the investigation. He is 26 years old, married with four children, and works for a bus company.
"Garrison's investigation is not a hoax, there has been a conspiracy. I was aware of the phases of the plot. I was in the right place at the right time. I knew the people involved in the plot. I knew Oswald..."
But Lewis refused to give the names of the five people he said he had denounced in his special report to Garrison. He looked very worried:
"These people are extremely dangerous. They are thugs, they are capable of anything. They were powerful enough to assassinate the president of the United States, and so I believe they are capable of getting rid of a little man like me. I have received threats. I am telephoned at night. I am going to leave New Orleans and hide; I fear for my children. My wife lives in terror."
In Jim Garrison's office, I had heard an assistant District Attorney speak in hushed terms about a group of anti-communist conspirators who wanted revenge on Kennedy for the failure of the Bay of Pigs. I also learned that Oswald lived between June and September 1963 in New Orleans on 4907 Magazine Street. It was at this time that he would have met the Cuban conspirators - like Miguel Torres, now in prison for burglary. I have tried to see Torres in prison - the visit was authorized but Torres refused to see me. He sent word to me through the chief warden, Sheriff Louis Hey, that he was not afraid to speak up but that "he preferred to testify openly when the time came (provided he was still alive)."
Lee Oswald's mother, Marguerite Oswald, had nothing but praise for the District Attorney, "I am with him and I will help him. He's showing that the Warren Commission hasn't uncovered the truth. Yes, there must have been a conspiracy and my son was only part of such a conspiracy as a secret agent of the U.S. government."
I telephoned Marguerite Oswald after hearing the news of the death of David William Ferrie. She told me, "I have always thought that Ferrie was involved in the case. I never understood why the Warren Commission didn't bother to interview this man whose actions were so strange. I hope that we will not once again say his death was only due to chance."
A few things stand out from this Nerin Gun article. First, he actually visited David Ferrie, who told him he was suffering from encephalitis, and had terrible headaches. This is consistent with what Ferrie told other journalists. This was just before he died of a berry aneurysm. Second, Garrison might well have told Gun information that was not widely reported:
"And I think of the words that prosecutor Jim Garrison had said to me a few days earlier when he solemnly asked me not to reveal anything to the local newspapers."
Did that give Gun carte blanche to write an article for QUICK?
The Italian magazine TEMPO contained the same article as in QUICK with a few small edits. There was no clue regarding the writer.
And so it is unclear as to whether Nerin Gun or Lawrence Schiller wrote the QUICK article. Both had access to Garrison and both had discussions with Garrison when he was espousing his theory of a homosexual plot.
For some unknown reason, the CIA was certain that Gun was the author. Unfortunately, we have been unable to determine why the CIA came to that conclusion.
It's certainly possible that the two of them worked together. Schiller was the kind of journalist who no qualms about using information gained from working for a client and then using it for himself. The 1996 Chicago Tribune article noted that Schiller:
"...was shooting under contract for Life magazine, yet always working on his own, always an outsider, a lone wolf hungry for the big kill.."
O. J. Simpson's book, I Want To Tell You: My Response to Your Letters, Your Messages, Your Questions, was written in collaboration with Lawrence Schiller to raise money for his defense. Schiller then produced a television show and a book exposing the defense teams methods:
"I'm not a professional writer. I don't write for a living," Schiller said. "I earn my living being a sponge, absorbing everything. Then figuring out where to wring out the sponge."
"Lawrence Schiller, author of "American Tragedy: The Uncensored Story of the O.J. Simpson Defense," had unprecedented access to Simpson and his dream team during the 1995 criminal trial, obtaining secrets of their defense strategy and Simpson's state of mind before and after the trial."
(Hat tip to Tim Cridland for finding the O. J. Simpson example)
Schiller gained access to Jim Garrison because of Life Magazine, and selling Garrison's story to the world would have been a nice coup. Nerin Gun was the perfect person to translate the article and to help place it in Europe.
One thing is certain - the article did represent Garrison's thinking at the beginning of his investigation.
Tomorrow's Blog Post
Final Thoughts on the QUICK article
Previous Posts on the QUICK Article