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  • Writer's pictureFred Litwin

Jim Garrison Feigns Indignation at the Mention of Clay Shaw's Homosexuality

Updated: Oct 11, 2021

In 1982, Jim Garrison sent the first five chapters of his new book on the JFK assassination, The Execution, to McGraw-Hill. He wanted to launch it in November 1983 to commemorate the twentieth anniversary of the assassination.

The book was rejected a few weeks later in October 1982. Garrison then rewrote the book, renamed A Farewell to Justice, and it was also met with rejection by a variety of publishers.

When Garrison told conspiracy radio host Ted Gandolfo about his book, he started getting letters from would-be purchasers. He sent back form letters, claiming that the book companies were "fearful of the consequences from the federal government of publishing the full truth" about the assassination. He complained that "CIA disinformation machinery" was at work blaming organized crime and Castro for JFK's murder and that there were "many 'authors' who serve as willing prostitutes for the Agency's disinformation operation."

Here is the letter that Garrison sent to researcher Louis Sproesser:

In October 1985, Garrison told Ted Gandolfo that he was working on a new

book, entitled "A Farewell to Justice." He said that "there is no question in

my mind that it is the absolute and ultimate truth down to the last detail

about the Kennedy assassination," but that he can not get a publisher "because

they are controlled by the CIA." (This is from the first issue of Gandolfo's

newsletter, "Assassination U.S.A." Write him at 1214 First Ave., NYC 10021,

or ask me for information.)

Garrison sent a long letter to Louis Sproesser, a buff who inquired about

this book. [#9, 30 Dec 85, 3 pp.] The book is "completed" and being

considered by a publisher. Garrison has been working on it for four years.

Garrison's rhetoric has not softened over the years, and I'll be very

surprised if his critical attention to the facts has improved.

Judge Garrison asserts (on Court of Appeal stationery) that "Anyone who

wishes to understand the assassination, must appreciate at the outset that the

deep involvement of the Agency in the President's assassination requires that

it give the maximum reinforcement to the two major false sponsors which it has

created: Organized Crime and Fidel Castro.... If the author [of a book] so

much as infers that Organized Crime or Castro were behind what so plainly was

an Agency project ... then one has in his hand the typical product of one of

the Agency's stable of hungry scribes."

Garrison also disputes allegations that Organized Crime is behind him.

"While I lay no pretense to being the epitome of virtue, with regard to

connections with organized crime I think that you can safely place me as

having approximately the same such connections as Mother Theresa and Pope

Paul." Obviously the CIA's disinformation machinery is at work, he says.

(Is Garrison dropping a hint about various popes? And this "Mother Theresa,"

usually known as "Teresa" -- is she related to Vinnie Teresa?)

In particular, Garrison complains that a recent book "by a dashing

Englishman (one of the Agency's more accommodating prostitutes) refers to `a

secret meeting'" between Garrison and John Rosselli. "The `author's'

complicity in this attempted discreditation is underscored by his having had

the book published without ever troubling to learn that I have never even seen

John Rosselli in my life..."

The reference is to p. 498 of "Conspiracy," by Tony Summers (who is, indeed, sort of dashing), which accurately asserts that the CIA found such a

meeting "particularly disturbing." Summers quotes (but does not cite) an HSCA

staff report by Mark Flanagan, which in turn refers to an unpublished page of

the CIA Inspector General's Report. The allegation of a Garrison-Rosselli

meeting also appears on page 118 of the IG Report, which is published. (See

10 HSCA 190-1 (note 55), 4 HSCA 146-7.)

As usual, there is a trace of validity in Garrison's complaint. The IG

Report is obviously not an unimpeachable source, even if endorsed by an HSCA

staffer. But Garrison's overall certitude doesn't seem to need much anchoring

to reality.

Hurt's book includes a rather good discussion of the Garrison affair, and

of the subtleties of the interactions between Garrison, the real New Orleans

evidence about Oswald, and the vulnerability of Clay Shaw due to his

apparently irrelevant CIA links and homosexuality.

If any of you want to spring to Garrison's defense, here is my $64

question: at the time he arrested Clay Shaw, what serious evidence did he

have that he had in fact conspired with anyone to kill JFK?

Ted Gandolfo sent a copy of the Hoch's newsletter to Jim Garrison, who then angrily replied. Note the feigned indignation, which matches the way Garrison responded to the Jerrold Footlick article.

Ted Gandolfo sent Jim Garrison part of 8 EOC 1, and sent me a copy of

Garrison's reply. (Letter of 14 Apr 86 to Gandolfo, #1986.63; quoted almost

in full here.)

The Judge had "nothing to say concerning [Hoch's] comments about me.

Frankly, I found them to be incoherent."

"I cannot guess as to the origin of his emotional hang up [sic] about me.

In any case, I will not attempt to reply to him in a similar vein...." Some

of my earlier research on the assassination was "quite competent. Moreover --

in view of the solid front presented by the federal government in its cover-up

of the assassination -- it seems to me childlike for one assassination critic

to attempt to dis-credit another publicly." (I suppose calling Tony Summers

"one of the [CIA's] more accommodating prostitutes" doesn't count.)

"One statement of Hoch's, however, does concern me enough to require a

comment. He refers to the 'vulnerability of Clay Shaw due to his apparently

irrelevant C.I.A. links and homosexuality.' Mr. Hoch should go straight to

the bathroom and wash his mouth with soap."

"Throughout our trial, in everything I have ever written and in every

public statement I have ever made -- I never once have made any reference to

Clay Shaw's alleged homosexuality. What sort of human being is Mr. Hoch that

he is impelled to so gratuitously make such a reference in a newsletter which

he widely distributes to the public? For all his faults or virtues, Shaw is

dead and unable to defend himself from that kind of off the wall canard. No

matter how virtuously Hoch might couch it, a smear is still a smear."

I will let you decide if my reference (or Hurt's) was gratuitous. Out

here, referring to someone's homosexuality stopped being a canard years ago;

at least, it's not as serious as charging someone with conspiring to kill JFK.

Does Garrison now think Shaw was involved in the conspiracy which led to

JFK's death? If so, the reference to "all his faults or virtues" is

remarkably mild.

In 1969, J. Edgar Hoover himself called me "a smear artist", for

suggesting that there may have been an undisclosed relationship between Oswald

and the FBI. [#64, 2 pp.] So Garrison is in good company.

As for my question in 8 EOC 1 about Garrison's case, asking what evidence

he had when he arrested Shaw: The most enthusiastic answer came from

Gandolfo, who said, "Didn't you know that Shaw was connected with Permindex,

which just happens to be one of the most efficient assassination organizations

around?? Didn't you know that Shaw was CIA?" Also, Shaw's friend Ferrie was

CIA and there is Russo's testimony. That is, of course, exactly the sort of

evidence which I did know about but which does not relate to my question.

Gandolfo also promised to expose me as "just a CIA coverup bastard" in

his newsletter, to which I do not subscribe. Does anyone out there want to

send me a copy?

The best semi-serious answer came from Robert Ranftel and Jim Lesar, who

sent me an FBI letterhead memo dated March 2, 1967, the day after Shaw's

arrest. (#65, 2 pp.) The memo, discussed in Hurt's book (p. 281), notes that

one of Shaw's alleged homosexual contacts said on March 19, 1964, that Shaw

was into S&M. On February 24, 1967, two sources reported that they thought

Shaw had "homosexual tendencies," and two sources (possibly the same ones)

indicated that Shaw was Clay Bertrand, who allegedly contacted Dean Andrews on

Oswald's behalf. Unnamed FBI sources are not necessarily reliable, but in any

case none of this evidence even suggests that Shaw conspired with anyone to

kill JFK. Sorry, but the prize for my $64 question remains unawarded.

A previous blog post published the FBI memo that Robert Ranftel and Jim Lesar sent to Paul Hoch. The two sources that Clay Shaw was Clay Bertrand was Aaron Kohn and Joseph Oster. Both did not have any specific knowledge - Kohn and Oster were just reporting what they had heard from news sources.

And, I will extend Paul Hoch's $64 challenge:

I regret that you found most of the comments about you in my newsletter "incoherent." Among other things, I offered my $64 question about you: at the time you arrested Clay Shaw, what serious evidence did you have that he had in fact conspired with anyone to kill JFK?
None of your many supporters in the critical community have yet provided me with a good answer. Perhaps you would like to give it a try.
Let me clarify:
The question is about evidence known to you when you decided to arrest and charge Shaw, not evidence which was developed later.
I am not asking about evidence that Shaw knew Ferrie, that he had been involved with the CIA, that he used an alias, or even that he had met Oswald. Nor am I asking about evidence that there was a conspiracy to kill Kennedy, or that Oswald, Ferrie, and/or the CIA were involved. I am well aware of the evidence relating to those questions. My question is not even about any anti-Kennedy opinions or fantasies expressed by Shaw, but about his participation in a criminal conspiracy.

Anybody up for the challenge? Please feel free to email me your answer - what serious evidence did Garrison have, at the time Shaw was arrested, that he had conspired with anybody to kill JFK?

Winner will receive $64, and a signed copy of On The Trail of Delusion.

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Did Lawrence Schiller Write the QUICK article?

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