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  • Writer's pictureFred Litwin

Jim Garrison Pins the JFK Assassination on the Aerospace Industry!

Updated: Oct 11, 2021

Warren Hinckle was the editor of Ramparts Magazine, a fairly popular left-wing magazine from 1962 to 1969. He wrote a really fun book about the 1960s, called If You Have a Lemon, Make Lemonade.

He devotes one chapter, "Give Us This Day Our Daily Paranoia," to the conspiracy theorists of the JFK assassination. His book is worth buying just for that chapter. Here is an excerpt about Jim Garrison:

My last communication with Garrison was on November 5, 1968. It was not untypical. I was interrupted in mid-explanation to an unhappy investor (Keating's stormy departure had not helped the money-raising situation). The investor was turning a tinge yellow at my suggestion that the only way to insure the return of the $20,000 he had previously loaned Ramparts was to cover his bet with an additional $50,000. The interruption was an emergency long-distance telephone call from New Orleans.

The caller was in no mood to inquire about the weather. "This is urgent," Jim Garrison said. "Can you take this in your mailroom? They'd never think to tap the mailroom extension."

I excused myself to go to the mailroom for a moment on a matter of high priority and left the investor, sputtering like a referee without a whistle, alone with the latest negative balance sheets. In the mailroom, two bearded Berkeleyite mail boys were running the postage machine under the influence of marijuana. I told them to take a walk around the block and get high on company time, and locked the door behind them.

Garrison began talking when I picked up the mailroom extension: "This is risky, but I have little choice. It is imperative that I get this information to you now. Important new evidence has surfaced. Those Texas oilmen do not appear to be involved in President Kennedy's murder in the way we first thought. It was the Military-Industrial Complex that put up the money for the assassination -- but as far as we can tell, the conspiracy was limited to the aerospace wing. I've got the names of three companies and their employees who were involved in setting up the President's murder. Do you have a pencil?"

I wrote down the names of the three defense contractors -- Garrison identified them as Lockheed, Boeing, and General Dynamics -- and the names of those executives in their employ whom the District Attorney said had been instrumental in the murder of Jack Kennedy. I also logged a good deal of information about a mysterious minister who was supposed to have crossed the border into Mexico with Lee Harvey Oswald shortly before the assassination; the man wasn't a minister at all, Garrison said, but an executive with a major defense supplier, in clerical disguise. I knew little about ministers crossing the Rio Grande with Oswald -- but after several years of fielding the dizzying details of the Kennedy assassination, I had learned to leave closed Pandora's boxes lie; I didn't ask.

I said that I had everything down, and Garrison said a hurried goodbye: "It's poor security procedure to use the phone, but the situation warrants the risk. Get this information to Bill Turner. He'll know what to do about the minister. I wanted you to have this, in case something happens . . . ."

I unlocked the mailroom door, and returned to my office. The investor was gone.

I typed up a brief memorandum of the facts as Garrison had relayed them and burned my notes in an oversized ashtray I used for such purposes. I Xeroxed one copy of the memo, which I mailed to myself in care of a post office box in the name of Walter Snelling, a friendly, non-political bartender in the far-removed country town of Cotati, California, where I routinely sent copies of all supersecret Ramparts documents. That night I hand delivered the original to Bill Turner, the former FBI agent in charge of the magazine's investigation of the Warren Commission. Turner had drilled me in a little G-Man security lingo. According to our code, I called him at home and said something about a new vacuum cleaner. He replied that he would be right over, and said he would meet me at Trader Vic's, which meant I was to actually meet him at Blanco's, a dimly lit Filipino bar on the fringe of Chinatown, where we often held secret meetings.

That was the way we did things in those days.

"Those days" encompassed several years of sniffing, as Sam Goldwyn might say, along the greenhorn trail of red herrings in the 26 volumes of the Report of the President's Commission on the Assassination of President Kennedy. We began asking rude questions in 1965, and by 1968, with paranoia in full bloom, we had divided almost everyone, by some sort of conspiracy litmus test, into "them" and "us." Even "us" was subdivided into good guys, no-so-good-guys, dangerous fanatics and fiffth columnists. We ended up seeing "them" lurking behind every potted plant rented by the CIA; and occasionally, we found a real spook in the shadows.

Garrison really went overboard about the aerospace industry. Fred Crisman, one of his favorite suspects, worked briefly for Boeing and Edgar Eugene Bradley, who he actually charged with conspiracy to assassinate JFK, once worked for Lockheed.

You can see more of this thinking in the conference he held in New Orleans in September 1968 with some of his staff and a few Warren Commission Critics. Here's one excerpt where they start talking about Nancy Perrin Rich - she testified before the Warren Commission that Ruby was involved in smuggling arms to Cuba. But her testimony was extremely fuzzy on the details, and she had a history of telling stories. Her husband committed suicide in 1962 and Jim Garrison suspected that had been faked and that he was a grassy knoll gunman. I tell the entire story in Chapter 16, "Arsenic and Old Perrin," of my book, On The Trail of Delusion - Jim Garrison: The Great Accuser.

The discussion quickly turns from Perrin to the aerospace industry: (page 129)

Turner: I don't understand Nancy Rich's antagonism towards your office if she told all the to the Warren Commission. She told Mark Lane the thing...

Garrison: Aren't you glad, though. She told us more than she told the Warren Commission, in a way.

Boxley: She's afraid we'll ask her how it is that J. D. Tippit sent for her to come to Dallas.

Garrison: Let's see. That's another thing. We've been going through her testimony again and it's become apparent that what happened - here's what happened and here's what -- Crisman knows Tippit. When - her husband leaves her (Bob Perrin); and she can't find him so she things he may be in Dallas so she calls the Police Dept. and she calls Tippit. Why does she call Tippit? It's not spelled out but I think the possibility is because Tippit is a friend of her husband. Her husband is previously at an ONI base. Tippit used to work with Ling Temco. Fred Lee Crisman knows Tippit. Fred Lee Crisman is with Boeing. You see the whole structure is ...

In another excerpt, they talk about Warren Reynolds, a witness who saw Oswald running away after killing police officer J. D. Tippit: (page 168)

Fensterwald: What about Warren Reynolds?

Garrison: Warren Reynolds in my judgment was part of a convoy. At least one of the men who shot Tippit merely ran around the block and back into the church and car 223 covers him. That's kind of involved to get into but that's one area we dug into a lot. As a matter of fact, the jacket which he dropped - he dropped just before he went into the church - and he's probably protected by Captain Westbrook there. Wasn't a patrol car there? He's convoyed all the way around. He's safe. But the jacket he dropped, leads straight to Los Angeles. Which is where Lockheed is and they never really checked out the jacket.

Turner: The jacket leads to Lockheed?

Garrison: Yeah. It's in Los Angeles.

Turner: What? Laundry mark?

Boxley: No. It was manufactured in Los Angeles, plus it's got a laundry mark on it that's identical to one from Toro Marine Base.

Turner: Well, we think. We don't know. This guy sent in the letter but nobody's checked that though.

Here is another section of that conference: (page 34)

Sprague: There's a guy from Lockheed who showed up in Paris with a story - he contacted Jeff Paley's office over there.

Turner: Why don't you take over Dick? We've been offering you your opportunity and then we keep monopolizing the ...

Garrison: I wanted to just underline that point. That that is the common denominator that I have found, at least in the JFK killing, of virtually anybody who has any role of significance. If they did not work for - it's not just a defense operation but it is one of the elements of the defense operations which got the major bite of the billions. I think we'll find ultimately that the reason for that is because they're are almost one with the CIA and vice-versa.

Garrison: I think we'll find that Allen Dulles constructed the CIA in as close coordination with certain corporations which were essential in the defense operations. And that's why these people keep showing up.

Garrison: I don't want to get into it now but every potential witness associated with Oswald at the Reily Coffee Company - almost everybody - now works for Aerospace, NASA - I made a list of them on the theory that while the structure itself may have been invisible on the 22nd of November that if you go back far enough with individuals or come later far enough you can see a structure. And you do. The structure is Aerospace.

Not that the Sprague mentioned above is Richard E. Sprague, the photographic expert who was a Warren Commission critic, not the Richard A. Sprague who was the first Chief Counsel of the HSCA.

Here is a map from the Garrison files:

We will end this blog post with one additional quote from Warren Hinckle's book:

"Much of the beating Garrison took from the media was his own fault. When his investigation became bogged down in the intelligence swamp which was the real milieu of the assassination, Garrison adopted the practice, inadvisable for a swamp guide, of grabbing some slimy green thing out of the water and holding it up for the press to see, as if that showed how the ecology of the swamp worked. The denouement of the Garrison story belongs to the tradition of Waiting for Godot, except that we are still waiting. The more viperous among the sleuths now maintain that the CIA "got" to the DA, but I think not. The truth is considerably more commonplace. The blue meanies got to Jim. Angered by his Faustian sparring matches with the press, distraught from defections within his own staff of investigators, frustrated by the refusal of other states to extradite his suspects, physically run down from a recurrent bad back, yet propelled forward by the high octane of paranoia, Garrison eschewed the probably hopeless alternative of amassing sufficient evidence of the government's cover-up of its intelligence agencies' involvement to get Washington to reopen formally the assassination investigation."

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