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  • Writer's pictureFred Litwin

Exclusive: Garrison Tells the HSCA about Guy Banister

Here is yet another recording of an HSCA interview with Jim Garrison. This took place in either in late July or early August of 1977. In this session, Garrison talked mostly about Guy Banister.

Here is a Word document with the transcript.

garrison tape 4 transcript proper format
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Here is a PDF file with the transcript.

garrison tape 4 transcript proper format
Download PDF • 195KB


Garrison discusses the memos written about Betty Parrott (see below for documents). She was an informant in the French Quarter who was very close to Bill Dalzell, who started an anti-Castro organization (Friends of Democratic Cuba) in New Orleans. Parrott was also an FBI informant, and she was close to FBI agent Regis Kennedy.

Garrison tells the HSCA that Dalzell "was working as a CIA contract employee for some time and went pretty far up the ladder for a while and slid back down and might be amenable now to answering questions." (3:56)

Garrison discusses Grady Durham, a lawyer in New Orleans who apparently absconded with some money. (4:51) See below for an FBI document on Grady Durham and Jack Martin.

Dalzell's former landlady was Betty Parrott. He also testified before the Garrison grand jury on November 2, 1967.

Garrison then discusses this memo with the HSCA investigators:

Garrison tells the HSCA investigators that "She said that Regis Kennedy confirmed to her the fact that Clay Shaw is a former CIA agent, who did some work for the CIA in Italy over a five-year span." (8:14)

It seems likely that Betty Parrott heard the report about Clay Shaw living in Rome from people in Garrison's office, and she then asked Regis Kennedy about the article. He probably just told her that he had also seen the report. The so-called confirmation is meaningless, because Shaw had not been in Italy, and there is no evidence that he was a "C.I.A. agent." Shaw was only a domestic contact of the CIA, and did no operational work for the CIA.

Garrison tells the HSCA that "We have substantial material available on that ... But right now, that's an area that you all don't care that much about. You've got other priorities. If you're successful and you survive next year, that's the kind of thing you can be digging into." He was referring to the battle to get the HSCA reconstituted in the next session of Congress. I also think he wanted to defer because he actually had nothing. (11:16)

And then Garrison reveals just how little he knew about Clay Shaw: (12:12)

" ... What that does indicate though is about Clay Shaw, that sojourn in Italy, where he was, as we learned from Italian newspapers, which published the details before the assassination, before he became famous in '62, indicate that Clay Shaw probably employed on a very high level, because he was on the board of directors of the Centro Mondiale Commerciale, which means the World Trade Center."

This is completely not true. The Paese Sera series of articles were published after Shaw was indicted in March of 1967. It is true that many newspaper articles mentioned Clay Shaw being on the Board of Directors of Permindex in the late 1950s.

Garrison continues to mislead the HSCA on the nature of Permindex:

"But as the Italian newspapers discovered and the Italian government discovered, it was a device for funneling large sums of money to the Italian fascist parties, so that they could put down, be successful in their political fights for government positions against more radical groups. In other words, that was an extension of the foreign policy, you might say of the CIA, but it indicates that Shaw is at a rather high level if he's on a board of directors of an operation like that. So that explains why he is so discreet when a time comes like when you read Bundy's testimony to file and other things, that you will see that Shaw is particularly discreet in his actions." (12:50)

The Italian government found no such thing. Paese Sera, which was communist controlled, was the only newspaper to allege that Permindex was connected to extreme rightists. It wasn't true at all, and the Centro Mondiale Commerciale closed in 1962 because they couldn't find enough tenants.

Garrison discusses Delphine Roberts, and Mary Brengel. (31:05) Here are some relevant links:

You can read her statement to Garrison's office. She did not mention seeing Lee Harvey Oswald in Banister's office.

Mary Brengel also did not see Oswald in Banister's office.

The scene in the film JFK about the pistol-whipping of Jack Martin is not accurate.

Delphine Roberts told the HSCA that David Ferrie had a picture of Clay Shaw in drag. There is no such picture.

Notice that in Garrison's discussion about Guy Banister, the only witness he mentions that places Lee Harvey Oswald in Banister's office is Jack Martin. Garrison says that "He's very truthful with us. He would exaggerate to some extent, and he'd either have a hangover or be half-loaded." (36:23) And then he tells the HSCA investigators that Jack Martin had put Oswald in Banister's office years ago:

"Not to me. In other words, I use someone else as far as evidence is concerned, because Jack's reputation is so bad, because of his drinking. And it's, the minute... It's like the boy who cried wolf. In other words, when the time came and the wolf really came and he cried a wolf, nobody believed him. If you produce Jack Ruby. I mean, if you produce Jack Martin to say what he saw, then right away, the press itself is going to say, well, that just proves the whole thing is bullshit. But I used that as a working instrument in order to ultimately find somebody else who did. And I found David Lewis. We found out when David Lewis..." (38:03)

So, Garrison's other witness is David Lewis, who is not even as credible as Jack Martin, which is saying a lot. You can read more about why Lewis has no credibility whatsoever here:

Primary documents on David Lewis, who is not even mentioned in Garrison's book, On the Trail of the Assassins.

Journalist Haynes Johnson spoke to both Lewis and Martin and reported on their lack of credibility.

Towards the end of the session, the investigators from the HSCA (and unfortunately, I cannot tell who this was) comment on the people working for Banister:

"This guy [David Lewis}, he's 23. What we're trying to do is develop the young runners. Now that we're out of this stuff, the young runners and people between 19 and 25 and six are all through this case. Here, we have David Lewis. We have a David Lewis who is employed by a Banister as a runner. We have a Beckham. We have an Oswald, we have a Thornley. They're all young in here. What does David Lewis say?" (44:57)

It seems like the HSCA investigators have drunk the Kool-Aid. Thomas Beckham was a conman who impersonated a priest in the early 1960s in New Orleans. David Lewis, at most, bought coffee for Guy Banister.

Note that Lewis never saw Oswald in Banister's office. He claimed he saw Oswald talking to Banister in Mancuso's restaurant, although he couldn't get the year right. The HSCA investigators show that they are not just drinking the Kool-Aid, they are enjoying it:

"Lee Harvey Oswald. How many times did he see Lee that summer? About four times, never in Banister's office, but they weren't in that same area. But here he is seen... He's ID'ing Oswald with Arcacha." (45:31)

Lewis initially said he saw Oswald with Arcacha in 1961, and then corrected it later. He also said he had seen Carlos Quiroga with Oswald at Mancuso's in 1962, when Oswald was not living in New Orleans.

Garrison also repeats his silliness about Oswald not being a man of the left:

"There's nothing of any substance at all to indicate that Oswald is pro-Castro. I mean, it is as thin as onion skin. It is like when you look closely at... It's like Kerry Thornley’s testimony that he was a communist. At first you think, well, maybe he's exaggerated, but when you compare Thornley’s testimony with the testimony of marines who were close to Oswald, you find it's a total lie." (45:58)

Additional Documents relating to this Blog Post

Betty Parrott

What I find interesting is the comment at the end about Jack Martin and Grady Durham: "The reliability of the information reflected above is highly questionable in view of the fact that both are highly erratic individuals and both are of the con men type." This is from 1962, before Garrison began his JFK investigation.

Here is the Banister section from the HSCA memo (written by Jonathan Blackmer), dated September 1, 1977, on the Garrison interviews:

Clearly the information in the memo is from the Garrison interview and not from the HSCA investigation.

Previous Relevant Blog Post

Jim Garrison tells HSCA investigators everything they want to know about Kerry Thornley. This is Garrison at his craziest.


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