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  • Writer's pictureFred Litwin

Paul Bleau's Reign of Error

Updated: Sep 26, 2022

From left to right: Oliver Stone, Paul Bleau, and James DiEugenio

When I started going through Garrison's papers a few years ago, I quickly realized that there is an awful lot of nonsense in his files, and that if I really wanted to understand what was going on, I had to examine additional primary documents. I then embarked on a mission to find every Garrison file I could find. So, I went to Georgetown University to examine the Richard Billings files. They were important because they contained hundreds of primary Garrison memos not included in Garrison's files.

I also went to New Orleans to look at the papers of Irvin Dymond, Clay Shaw's trial attorney. I also went to Baylor University (papers of Gus Russo), to the University of Boston (papers of James Kirkwood and Gerald Posner), the Sixth Floor Museum in Dallas (papers of Patricia Lambert), the Library of Congress (papers of Elmer Gertz and George Lardner), and made several visits to the National Archives (papers of Clay Shaw, Edward Wegmann, William Boxley, Harry Connick and the Metropolitan Crime Commission of New Orleans).

Mr. Bleau has done none of this and it shows. His analysis of these primary documents is extremely shallow. What I don't understand is how someone like James DiEugenio, who claims to be the only person who really understands New Orleans, could let something like this be published.

Here is my analysis:

1. Mr. Bleau writes that "Oswald was assigned at least one Cuban escort." I assume that he will cover this in a future article. The supposed 'escort' was a figment of Garrison's imagination.

Bleau also says this:

One member of this network that has not been discussed yet was a muscular Latino who was often seen accompanying Oswald, or perhaps an Oswald double. He was considered so suspicious that the whole Garrison team was on the look-out for him. He was never identified. He was seen so often and described in corroborative terms that can leave no doubt that Oswald, the supposed lone-nut drifter, had at least one escort.

Garrison had his men looking for someone with a scar. And whenever they found someone with a scar, they let Garrison know.

Garrison mentions this on pages 57-58 in his book, On The Trail Of The Assassins:

"After Lee Harvey Oswald returned to New Orleans and began handing out pro-Castro leaflets, this man with the scar was always present on the edge of the crowd. It is standing operating procedure for an intelligence agent engaged in a provocative activity to have a nearby bodyguard to protect him against a violent reaction from the crowd. It seems probably that this man with the scar was Oswald's bodyguard because of the regularity of his presence - invariably on the outer edge of the scene and invariably wearing sunglasses. The sunglasses were large, but they could not conceal the vertical scar that ran up through this man's left eyebrow. We learned of his consistent attendance from our questioning of persons present at the leaflet handout, many of whom we had identified from our copies of the news photos."

Here is my blog post:

2. Paul Bleau says that "David Ferrie admitted his part in the plot to a room-mate." Once again, I assume that Mr. Bleau will deal with this in a future blog post.

This supposed 'roommate' was none other than Raymond Broshears.

I have spent a fair bit of time writing about Raymond Broshears. There was no way that Jim Garrison was going to put him on the stand during the Clay Shaw trial. It's laughable that conspiracy theorists like James DiEugenio buy into his story.

- Hale Boggs was part of the conspiracy, and Clay Shaw was responsible for keeping Boggs in office.

- Two men from Garrison's office threatened Ferrie in 1965.

- Ferrie was working for a group of people who wanted to take over the United States.

- Ferrie told Broshears that Lyndon Johnson killed JFK.

- Broshears repeated the story about the two assassins being killed in a plane crash in Corpus Christi - they were supposed to have been flown by Ferrie from Houston to South Africa.

- Broshears said that Ferrie said that Oswald was one of the best lays he ever had.

- Broshears said he threatened the life of Lyndon Johnson, and he was then detained in a VA psychiatric hospital in New Orleans.

- Perry Russo stole $2,300 from Clay Shaw.

- Broshears was threatened by Secret Service agents after appearing on the Bohrman TV show.

- Three people who worked in the TSBD were part of the cell that Oswald had infiltrated. Tippit was sent to kill Oswald because Oswald had infiltrated the cell for the FBI. Oswald had gone to Russia on work for the FBI.

- Ferrie met Jack Ruby in New Orleans.

But wait, there's more! Here is a list of my previous posts on Raymond Broshears.

Bill Turner sent a memo to Stephen Burton saying that he should find and interview Raymond Broshears. Here is Burton's memo.

Broshears revealed the plot to the LA Free Press

Lane and Jaffe pay the good Reverend a visit.

Broshears even identified the three tramps.

Of course, they had to fly Broshears to New Orleans to tell more stories.

Broshears outs a Garrison suspect.

Broshears' newsletter discusses his trip to New Orleans

Hard to believe but the HSCA actually interviewed Broshears.

For some reason, conspiracy theorists believe Broshears is credible.

James DiEugenio believes that Raymond Broshears corroborates the existence of a Leon Oswald.

In connection with my Ferrie biography, Broshears was one of the first persons I contacted in the late 70s by telephone. Some of the things he said initially seemed in conflict with other documented information (example: that Ferrie flew for Eastern Air Lines when Broshears roomed with him in the 1965 period), so I decided to slip in a few "test questions". I made a reference to the layout of Ferrie's apartment and he replied with incorrect information. I asked a follow-up and he avoided answering. I pressed a bit harder and he again seemed completely unfamiliar with Ferrie's apartment ("When you came up the back stairs, the door opened into the kitchen, wasn't it?" "Yeah, the kitchen."). I then pressed a bit about the general layout of streets in the neighborhood and New Orleans, and he seemed completely unfamiliar with the city. I came away from the call thinking he had never even been to New Orleans.
In subsequent interviews with acknowledged friends of Ferrie, I could find nodody who even recalled him.
This feeling was strengthened when the HSCA and other interviews with Broshears became available in the early 90s. I think it is very unlikely that Broshears was ever Ferrie's roomate.

3. Bleau claims that "Clay Shaw was not only a well-paid CIA asset, he was likely known by, if not connected to, Allen Dulles." We will have to wait until future articles to determine the relationship between Dulles and Shaw. I have seen no evidence that they knew each other, but perhaps Bleau has uncovered new material.

4. Bleau presents "Further evidence that Clem Bertrand is Clay Shaw." Interesting that he uses Clem rather than Clay. Perry Russo used the name Clem in one of his hypnotic sessions, and it was probably just a casual mistake. The name associated with Dean Andrews is Clay Bertrand, not Clem Bertrand.

Bleau presents the booking sheet with the alias Clay Bertrand. Supposedly officer Aloysius Habighorst asked Shaw about his aliases when he was being fingerprinted, and Shaw told him Clay Bertrand.

I debunked this allegation here. Bleau doesn't tell his readers that police officer Jonas Butzman was present when Shaw was being fingerprinted and he did not hear officer Habighorst ask about an alias. Here is an excerpt of a memo written by Shaw's defense team regarding an interview with Butzman:

The whole story was so ridiculous that Judge Haggerty, who was very pro-Garrison during the Shaw trial, ruled that Habighorst's testimony was inadmissible.

Bleau then presents the affidavit of Jessie Parker who said that Clay Shaw signed the VIP Room registration book as Clay Bertrand at the New Orleans airport.

Paul Bleau does not tell readers that Parker signed two different affidavits. The first one said that Shaw was accompanied by four people from Caracas, Venezuela who also signed the guestbook. He also does not tell readers that Garrison's investigators spoke to these people who said that Shaw was not there. And Bleau certainly does not tell readers that Parker then swore out a second affidavit that excised the Venezuelans.

Don Carpenter summed up this episode best in his book Man of a Million Fragments: (page 392)

Jessie Parker's testimony remains somewhat of a mystery. However, with the discovery of the conflicting versions of her recollections, the mystery has shifted from why Shaw would sign such a notorious alias in the guest register for no obvious logical reason, to how the prosecution was able to convince, or perhaps pressure, Jessie Parker to say the contradictory things she supposedly said, including her final trial testimony.

4. Bleau then posts a "Library card made out to, and signed twice by, Clem Bertrand of the ITM."

Even the library said this was a prank. But Bleau took it seriously and even took the card to a handwriting expert who said, "it possible to retain the hypothesis (subject to) that they were executed by the same hand." Sounds definitive, no?

And Bleau shares none of the skepticism of the HSCA:

Bleau does not bring a "jaundiced eye" to his examination of the library card.

5. Bleau has a section on the "544 Camp Street Network." He writes that "The revelation of the 544 Camp Street address stamped on Oswald’s FPCC flyers caused lone-nutters fits."

I am not sure if he aware that Oswald did not stamp 544 Camp Street on his flyers. He only stamped 544 Camp Street on a few of the Corliss Lamont pamphlets.

Perhaps Mr. Bleau could get James DiEugenio to explain the use of fake flyers in the so-called documentary, JFK: Destiny Betrayed.

6. Did people see Oswald at 544 Camp Street? Bleau claims that "As Jim DiEugenio points out in this reply to Alecia Long, at least seven witnesses either saw Oswald at 544 Camp Street, or with Guy Banister on the streets in New Orleans."

This includes Delphine Roberts, and Mary Brengel.

7. Was Carlos Quiroga part of the assassination team? Bleau writes that Quiroga's "testimony to Garrison was polygraphed… His lies were plentiful, blistering and confirmed by another polygraphed witness. Quiroga deserves a section of his own."

Quiroga did fail several questions on his polygraph, including this question:

Did you have any first-hand knowledge of the conspiracy to assassinate President Kennedy?

Does Bleau really believe that Quiroga knew about the supposed conspiracy? He doesn't mention this question in his text.

If Mr. Bleau had read my book, he would understand why Carlos Quiroga did not do well on the polygraph. He was a nervous wreck and was in no position to take a polygraph. Here is an excerpt from my book:

On April 14, Quiroga was asked to undergo a lie detector test. Garrison had told Richard Billings that he was going to hammer Quiroga and would arrest him if he refused the polygraph test. Quiroga agreed on the provision that he be given copies of the questions to be asked. When he arrived, he was told he could not see the questions, and he refused to be tested. Garrison was called, and he ordered Quiroga to take the test or risk being arrested. Quiroga agreed but resisted signing a statement saying the test was voluntary. His wife started crying, and he finally told the polygraph operator that “I’m signing this paper against my will because if I don’t, Mr. Garrison is going to put me in jail. I hereby sign under protest.”
Quiroga, in his own words, was “scared, nervous and furious” and was “having stomach pains from all the tension.” He was in no state to undergo a polygraph examination, and in any case, the test was rigged. The operator would stop the machine and tell Quiroga in advance what the question would be—for instance, “if he had seen Ferrie and Arcacha together in 1963.” Then the machine would be turned on, and the same question would be asked, but without the year. Quiroga stated, with good reason, that this made it impossible for him to answer the question correctly.

Bleau claims that David Lewis, another witness prone to fabulism, supported Quiroga:

While his testimony and character have been the subject of numerous attacks, there was no denying that his own polygraph results bolster the proof of deception brought forward by Quiroga’s polygraph.

I am not sure if Bleau realizes that Lewis failed his lie detector test and was abandoned as a witness by Garrison.

8. Propinquity theory as fact. Jim Garrison was a big believer in the theory of propinquity. I wrote:

Jim Garrison had a very important investigative technique to get at the truth - his unique theory of propinquity. What a great word! But, not so great a concept. Here's how staffer Tom Bethell described it:
"If two people lived near one another, say within two or three blocks, it's suspicious. If any closer - they are 'linked.' If, on the other hand, they live at opposite ends of the city, get a list of friends of each (from their address books). Two such friends are very likely to live in the same block, or even know each other. Presto - the link."
Garrison wrote two memos titled, "Time and Propinquity; Factors in Phase 1." And his concept of propinquity went beyond geography - any sort of relationship - numerical, even sexual - was enough to set off alarm bells. Garrison told Bethell that "sooner or later, because people are lazy, you catch them out on propinquity."

It appears that Mr. Bleau is a big proponent of the theory of propinquity. Take a look at this excerpt from his article:

In my first prior plots article, I based my research on author Van Gosse’s work to estimate maximum FPCC membership to be between 5 and 7 thousand in 1961 and argued that such a low number made it impossible for persons of interest like Richard Case Nagell, Oswald, Policarpo Lopez, Vaughn Marlowe, Harry Dean, John Glenn, Santiago Garriga--who were potential patsies to varying degrees--to all be coincidently linked to the FPCC; especially for those in the Deep South where the FPCC had much less activity. Based on recent data that I have obtained, the odds are astronomically worse than what I first thought.

And then there is this:

From January 4th to January 20th, First Deputy Premier Anastas Mikoyan of the Soviet Union visited the U.S. During his stay, Mikoyan met Under Secretary of State Douglas Dillon, Secretary of State John Foster Dulles, and President Eisenhower and was profiled by Allen Dulles head of the CIA. One of the organizations that was debriefed by Dillon was this MPWTCA highlighting further the proximity between Dulles and Shaw.

The proximity between Dulles and Shaw???

MPWTCA stands for the Mississippi Valley World Trade Council, a non-profit corporation. Clay Shaw was the secretary of that organization. But is that nefarious? After all, he was head of the International Trade Mart in New Orleans. Makes sense for him to be associated with related organizations.

9. Did David Ferrie and Clay Shaw Bomb Cuba in 1947?

Paul Bleau included this memo because it was "so information-packed that I will share it intact":

It is not surprising that the story was not verified, and that the source became nervous and refused to give Shaw's first name. In 1947, David Ferrie lived in Cleveland, and his father gave him an airplane on February 16, 1947, and it was registered with the CA on May 8, 1947. And Batista was not in Cuba in 1947 - he was living in Florida and returned to Cuba in 1952.

I am greatly looking forward to further installments of Mr. Bleau's analyses of Garrison's documents. If this is the best that conspiracy theorists can do, well ... they need to have a serious rethink.

I won't hold my breath.

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