The "Protector and Defender of the Garrison Faith" Strikes Again!
DiEugenio’s official title should be Protector and Defender of the Garrison Faith, and as such he must answer anybody who deviates, even if just slightly, from his conspiracy dogma. My heresy of writing an entire book critical of Jim Garrison gets me special treatment, and so the Protector and Defender of the Garrison Faith has also reviewed my other two books.
It’s quite telling that DiEugenio writes that “the problem is – and I cannot make this point forcefully enough – too many writers and interested parties think they know the Garrison inquiry and New Orleans, when they really do not.” Of course, the only person who really understands the Garrison inquiry is the Protector and Defender of the Garrison Faith – he alone can decipher and interpret the ancient scripture (Jim Garrison’s papers) and he alone can determine which high priests are allowed to add and discuss doctrine.
Unauthorized commentators – Patricia Lambert, Don Carpenter, Sylvia Meagher, Gus Russo, Paul Hoch, David Reitzes, Rosemary James, Alecia Long, Max Holland, Hugh Aynesworth, James Phelan, Fred Litwin – are deserving of scorn and ridicule. They do not have the necessary skills to understand the complex nature of the holy texts and they have not adequately studied the printed words of the Protector and Defender of the Garrison Faith. Salvation is only possible when they have repented and have memorized the full 25 episodes of the Destiny Betrayed podcast.
Indeed, many of these illegitimate poseurs have been tainted by working for the ‘deep state,’ which means everything they say or write can be safely ignored. What’s worse is that they hide their devious intent – but no matter, the Protector and Defender of the Garrison Faith can ferret out their covert connections and can safely exclude their findings from the record.
This week DiEugenio took aim at the latest heresy: Arun Starkey's article, "Russia, fake news and the CIA: Oliver Stone's obsession with the JFK assassination," for Far Out magazine.
What are Starkey's crimes?
First, DiEugenio claims that Mr. Starkey does not mention any of the new evidence uncovered by the ARRB:
Starkey does not mention one single evidentiary point from the film. This is incredible, because that is what the film is about. It is clearly focused on the creation and the discoveries of the Assassination Records Review Board (ARRB). That body worked from 1994-98 declassifying a new database of information about the circumstances of a high-level plot which took Kennedy’s life and how several foreign policy reversals followed.
I can't speak for Mr. Starkey, but as I have shown in this blog, and in my book, Oliver Stone's Film-Flam: The Demagogue of Dealey Plaza, James DiEugenio has taken a variety of conspiracy stories from Douglas Horne and others and wrapped them in the imprimatur of the ARRB.
Memories fade over time. A very important figure in the chain-of-custody on the autopsy materials, and the living person who perhaps more than any other would have been able to resolve some of the lingering questions related to the disposition of the original autopsy materials, is Robert Bouck of the Secret Service. At the time he was interviewed he was quite elderly and little able to remember the important details. Similarly, the records show that Carl Belcher, formerly of the Department of Justice, played an important role in preparing the inventory of autopsy records. He was, however, unable to identify or illuminate the records that, on their face, appear to have been written by him.
Finally, a significant problem that is well known to trial lawyers, judges, and psychologists, is the unreliability of eyewitness testimony. Witnesses frequently, and inaccurately, believe that they have a vivid recollection of events. Psychologists and scholars have long-since demonstrated the serious unreliability of peoples’ recollections of what they hear and see. One illustration of this was an interview statement made by one of the treating physicians at Parkland. He explained that he was in Trauma Room Number 1 with the President. He recounted how he observed the First Lady wearing a white dress. Of course, she was wearing a pink suit, a fact known to most Americans. The inaccuracy of his recollection probably says little about the quality of the doctor’s memory, but it is revealing of how the memory works and how cautious one must be when attempting to evaluate eyewitness testimony.
The deposition transcripts and other medical evidence that were released by the Review Board should be evaluated cautiously by the public. Often the witnesses contradict not only each other, but sometimes themselves. For events that transpired almost 35 years ago, all persons are likely to have failures of memory. It would be more prudent to weigh all of the evidence, with due concern for human error, rather than take single statements as “proof” for one theory or another.
The good advice that "the medical evidence that were released by the Review Board should be evaluated cautiously by the public," was ignored by JFK: Destiny Betrayed. Segments on JFK's brain (here, here, and here), the presence of General Curtis LeMay at the autopsy, the possibility of other autopsy photographs (here, and here), a supposed alibi for Lee Harvey Oswald, supposed plots against JFK in Chicago and Tampa, and whether Clay Shaw was a "contract agent" for the CIA, are all based on tendentious readings of the evidence. To believe that the ARRB 'uncovered' any of this is not just wrong, it turns the ARRB into a deterministic investigative body, when in fact their mission was just to release documents.
James DiEugenio second objection to Mr. Starkey's article relates to his discussion of Tim Weiner's excellent review of JFK Revisited. Weiner wrote about the allegation that the CIA supported a 1961 coup attempt against French President Charles de Gaulle:
Stone pegs Dulles as a presiding genius of the plot against the president. To begin building this case, he tells us that Dulles and the CIA backed a failed military coup aimed at assassinating President Charles de Gaulle of France. That’s another lie spun by Moscow.
Like the cold-war CIA, the KGB paid editors and reporters around the world to print stories that could advance the Kremlin’s international agendas. In the late 1950’s, it created a directorate to undermine America. Department D — D as in dezinformatsiya — aimed to bend and shape public opinion, and above all to defame the United States. The Department of Disinformation was the world’s first industrial factory of fake news.
A KGB-scripted story about the CIA’s plot to kill De Gaulle first appeared in a daily newspaper, Paese Sera, published in Rome and backed by the Italian Communist Party, a few days after the Bay of Pigs. It was republished in Moscow by the Soviet party organ, Pravda; then in France, and finally across the globe. That was, and is, the M.O. of Russian disinformation operations: start a fire, fan the flames, and blow the smoke around the world.
DiEugenio took exception to this noting that "neither the film, nor its writer, namely me, referred to any such Moscow related sources -- specifically the Italian newspaper Paese Sera -- for the Dulles/DeGaulle accusations. Stone then listed the sources we did use, like author David Talbot, and the London Observer and the New York Times, among others. This was a grave error for Weiner to make back then."
The problem is that DiEugenio's sources do not back up his claims. Check out my post here in which I examine every single one of his sources.
It's interesting that DiEugenio lists the May 2, 1961, date for the London Observer. Clearly, he just took the sources from Talbot's book, and did not check them. The Observer was not published on May 2, 1961 and the actual articles about the coup attempt appeared on April 30, 1961. DiEugenio would never quote from the end of the Observer article:
There is no evidence that General Challe received active encouragement from American secret agents. But he seems to have hoped for some help from this direction.
The New York Times article only mentioned a lunch that Richard Bissell had with Jacques Soustelle some five months before the coup attempt. The luncheon was actually given by the French Intelligence chief in Washington and Bissell and Soustelle were his guests. Given that the CIA's work is in intelligence, and that Soustelle had a major position in Algeria, there was nothing wrong with the lunch.
And David Talbot's sources trace back to Vincent Jauvert's book, L'Amerique Contre De Gaulle. As I show in my post, Talbot doesn't tell readers the full story. Jauvert wrote that the rumor of CIA support came from the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The director of information wrote to the Foreign Affairs Minister about the allegations. At the end of his paragraph on the rumors, Jauvert writes, "Rumors, unconfirmed information, but no proof." (page 193)
Unfortunately, James DiEugenio missed the real story. French officials were upset at the CIA because of its contacts with Frantz Fanon, chief theoretician for the FLN. He was ill with cancer and the CIA helped transport him to the US for treatment. Unfounded rumors about the CIA might have been payback for this help.
DiEugenio also takes issue with the timing of Clay Shaw's arrest and the Paese Sera series of articles. He first wrote about this in December of 2021:
He [Weiner] says that New Orleans DA Jim Garrison arrested Clay Shaw because of a story that ran in Paesa Sera three days after. (Hmm) He then adds that Garrison bandied this story about as a basis for his prosecution of Shaw and also that it became a central basis for his whole case against the Central Intelligence Agency.
But that's not what Tim Weiner wrote:
On March 1, 1967, the New Orleans district attorney, Jim Garrison, arrested Clay Shaw, the director of the city’s International Trade Mart and a somewhat-closeted gay man, and charged him with a central role in a conspiracy to assassinate Kennedy. The D.A. told reporters that what happened in Dallas had been “a homosexual thrill-killing.” Three days later, Paese Sera named Shaw as a conduit for CIA funds for espionage and dirty tricks in Rome. The story, crafted by the KGB, ricocheted around the world, landing in New York on the front page of a New Left weekly, the National Guardian, on March 18.
Garrison seized upon it. He fed the falsehood to a friendly newspaper reporter in New Orleans and it landed on page one. He told the world that Shaw was a longtime CIA operative. (He wasn’t, though he had been a casual part-time contact on questions of commerce, one among some 150,000 Americans who volunteered information to the cold-war CIA.) The prosecutor then doubled down. He proclaimed that the CIA had plotted to kill Kennedy and then covered up the conspiracy, that Oswald had been under its control, that the agency was “infinitely more powerful than the Gestapo,” and that it had masterminded a coup d’etat in America in the name of anticommunism.
Garrison now interested in possible connections between Shaw and the CIA . . . wants to check his tie to Mario Bermudez, international relations director for late mayor, Shep Morrison . . . Two leads re: CIA tie: article in March issue Humanite supposedly mentions Shaw's Company work in Italy.
Billings also wrote:
Story about Shaw and CIA appears in Humanite, probably March 8 . . . Giant has copy datelined Rome, March 7, from La Presse Italien . . . It explains Shaw working in Rome in '58 to '60 period . . .
Here is the page one story that ran in the New Orleans States-Item on April 25, 1967:
The article continued:
And James DiEugenio won't tell you that the one person who really mixed up the dates of Shaw's arrest and the Paese Sera series of article was, in fact, Oliver Stone, in his film JFK. Here is an excerpt from a scene in which Clay Shaw is brought in for questioning:
Garrison: Mr. Shaw, this Italian newspaper saying you were a board member of Centro Mondo Commercial [sic] in Italy. That this company was a creature of the CIA for the transfer of funds in Italy for illegal political espionage activities. It says this company was expelled from Italy for these activities.
Shaw: I’m well aware of that asinine article. I’m thinking of suing that rag.
Garrison: It also says this company is linked to the Schlumberger Tool Company, near Houma in Louisiana, which provided arms to David Ferrie and his Cubans.
Perhaps this was artistic license which is OK only in a admittedly fictionalized/dramatized account.
DiEugenio ends his review of Starkey's article with his longstanding claim that Clay Shaw was "a contract agent, and he had a covert security clearance." For those of you who are interested in the truth, please read this post. Shaw was just a domestic contact of the CIA like thousands of other businessmen.
Anybody who writes about Jim Garrison and strays from the conspiracy orthodoxy can expect an article by James DiEugenio. I'm the only exception to that rule since Mr. DiEugenio has promised to never write about me again.
There can be no sleep for the Protector and Defender of the Garrison Faith.
Previous Relevant Links on James DiEugenio:
James DiEugenio is unaware that an HSCA report on Oswald and the CIA was actually published.
Dan Hardway rebuts James DiEugenio.
Why does James DiEugenio write for one of the major agents of Russian disinformation?
Mr. DiEugenio thinks that I libeled him, but his accusations are all over the map.
Was Lee Harvey Oswald at an anti-Castro training camp in the summer of 1963?
Was David Ferrie at an anti-Castro training camp in the summer of 1963?
James DiEugenio accepts a phony story as fact.
Bill Boxley was not a CIA plant.
Clay Shaw was not Clay Bertrand.
A response to James DiEugenio about my writings.
Prouty couldn't back up any of his allegations when he was interviewed by the ARRB. You wouldn't believe the lame excuse offered up by DiEugenio.
Why does Oliver Stone support so many dictators?
DiEugenio has no understanding of Permindex/CMC
DiEugenio gets it all wrong on the Mannlicher-Carcano
The conclusion on the Mannlicher-Carcano
Over the past ten months, I have debunked every witness cited by DiEugenio regarding Clay Shaw and David Ferrie.