The Scholarship of James DiEugenio
James DiEugenio has emerged as a leading JFK conspiracy theorist. Unfortunately, he suffers from being a member of the cult of Jim Garrison, and his unfettered conspiracism has led him to reject most pieces of physical evidence in the case. He's now hoodwinked Oliver Stone into making a documentary that will question every aspect of the assassination, but without any sort of coherent analysis of the evidence.
"You see, Jim DiEugenio is one of the best researchers. He’s third-generation. He’s an auto-didact. He reads every book in different translations. He knows the page number in which he can dump on [Vincent] Bugliosi. He’s done real deconstructions and has a website that’s invaluable. Invaluable. Jim is very perceptive. He remembers everything."
Once again, Oliver Stone has been deceived. Thirty years ago, Stone believed that Jim Garrison was a crusading district attorney who was on the way to solving the JFK assassination. The fact that along the way Jim Garrison destroyed innocent people and conducted a homophobic prosecution didn't bother Stone one bit. Oliver Stone actually said that it was "worth the sacrifice of one man."
Stone also believed the lies of dictators like Vladimir Putin, Fidel Castro, Hugo Chavez and Nursultan Nazarbayev. And now, he's been taken in by a post-modernist conspiracy theorist whose claim to fame is not his scholarship, but his ability to insult.
Every time a book is published about Jim Garrison that is not laudatory, James DiEugenio goes into action. In my case, DiEugenio has published five essays and numerous Facebook posts -- not about what is in my book -- but about what I have left out. He is very angry that I (and others) have not written the book he would have written. This allows him to ignore the central thesis of our books and he can thus turn the focus back on himself.
For instance, he is very upset that my book, On the Trail of Delusion - Jim Garrison: The Great Accuser, does not mention Dr. Pierre Finck's testimony at the trial of Clay Shaw. On a posting about my appearance at the virtual Louisiana Book Festival, with Professor Alecia Long, he commented:
DiEugenio's quotes from Facebook come from this group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/387164721481044
The answer is pretty simple. Alecia Long's book, Cruising for Conspirators: How a New Orleans DA Prosecuted the Kennedy Assassination as a Sex Crime, is about the role of homosexuality in the Garrison investigation. My book is about how Jim Garrison led people astray with a variety of ridiculous conspiracy theories. We didn't touch upon Finck's testimony because it was irrelevant to our arguments.
His reviews of our books have a veneer of intellectuality. But when you really examine his points, you quickly realize that he's a very poor researcher. For instance, in his review of Long's book, DiEugenio wondered why the Secret Service asked Marina Oswald about a "Mr. Farry" before David Ferrie was questioned in New Orleans. A few minutes of research would have yielded a very simple answer. DiEugenio would rather, as Mel Ayton would say, "create mysteries where none existed."
It has also become clear that DiEugenio has read the books and my posts carelessly, if at all. On November 4, 2021, he admitted as much:
That admission was triggered by one of my blogs posts. I quoted directly from his book, Destiny Betrayed, about an interview in which it was alleged that Clay Shaw was part of the "intelligence apparatus" in New Orleans.
His response was "BTW, it was not me who said this about Shaw. It was the late Bud Fensterwald who wrote about it."
Hey, don't blame me!
And then there is the nastiness. Here are some of his recent comments on Facebook and the Education Forum.
Of course, James DiEugenio thinks everything is about him. He even believes that Alecia and I timed the publication of our books:
Or take this lazy complaint about Long's reference to one of his articles:
Indeed, the footnote is simply “61. DiEugenio "Jim Garrison.” But the bibliography includes the full title and the link: DiEugenio, James.... "Jim Garrison, the Beat Goes on." Kennedys and King, September 12, 2018.
"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."
Here are some other relevant links related to DiEugenio's scholarship:
James DiEugenio has made claims about testing of a Mannlicher-Carcano rifle that are completely false.
Here is the actual article by Vincent Guinn about the testing of a Mannlicher-Carcano rifle.
James DiEugenio mentions a witness who "knew something abut a New Orleans based conspiracy along the lines outlined by the DA," but doesn't tell his readers that the witness was Thomas Beckham, someone with very little credibility.
In a book review of Operation Dragon, James DiEugenio gets everything wrong when it comes to Permindex.
James DiEugenio totally misinterprets an HSCA document which merely recorded Garrison's allegations.
James DiEugenio claims that the FBI bugged Garrison's office. His only piece of evidence is a discredited witness who told other stories that didn't hold up.
James DiEugenio claims that Shaw said that to Albert Fowler. This is not true - Fowler just repeated what Garrison was claiming.
Jim Garrison and Homosexuality
In a review of On the Trail of Delusion, James DiEugenio dismisses the idea that Garrison ever talked about a homosexual conspiracy:
"For the record, there is not one memo I have read that shows Garrison ever outlined such a homosexual-oriented plot."
Here are several blog posts related to homosexuality that DiEugenio just ignores.
Frank Manning, chief investigator for Louisiana Attorney General Jack Gremillion, alleged in 1967 that Garrison was operating a homosexual shakedown operation. DiEugenio's response is to giggle.
The German QUICK magazine published an article, supposedly written by Jim Garrison, about a homosexual conspiracy in the JFK assassination. The article was probably written by a reporter who was a confidant of Garrison, inappropriately using his first-person voice but apparently reflecting his views fairly. Here is the entire article with a translation into English.
James DiEugenio denies that Garrison ever thought there was a homosexual conspiracy. Here is a variety of Garrison memos that prove the contrary.
James DiEugenio's Lame Excuses
The ARRB found that Fletcher Prouty could not back up ANY of his allegations. Wait till you read James DiEugenio's lame excuse for Prouty.
I blogged about Oliver Stone's love of dictators. Wait till you read James DiEugenio's lame excuse for Stone.
The Master Index to James DiEugenio's Witnesses
James DiEugenio's two books, Destiny Betrayed and The JFK Assassination, presents many witnesses who believe that Clay Shaw was Clay Bertrand, who saw Clay Shaw with David Ferrie, and who saw Clay Shaw with Lee Harvey Oswald. Over the past ten months, I have systematically debunked all of these witnesses.
Was Clay Shaw Clay Bertrand?
James DiEugenio can't even get the name of Dr. Kety right. He adds certainty to a claim that is not really being made.
William Morris was a prisoner who made several claims. I post the entire interview with Morris, as well as several memos from people who dispute his claims.
Joan Mellen asked Harold Weisberg if Dean Andrews admitted that Clay Shaw was Clay Bertrand. I post her letter and his reply.
James DiEugenio's claims about Virginia Johnson are not born out by two memos written by Garrison's staff.
James DiEugenio doesn't tell his readers that Jessie Parker made significant changes to her affidavit once it was determined that witnesses disputed what she said.
James DiEugenio doesn't tell his readers that another policeman, Jonas Butzman, testified that Clay Shaw did not admit he was Clay Bertrand.
James DiEugenio leaves out many of the other crazy claims of Thomas Breitner. Had he testified at Clay Shaw's trial, he would have been another Charles Spiesel.
James DiEugenio claims that Jim Garrison didn't know about Dean Andrews' story about Clay Bertrand. And yet the District Attorney's office was assisting in the search.
More debunking of DiEugenio's claims that Clay Shaw was Clay Bertrand.
Did Clay Shaw Know David Ferrie?
James DiEugenio writes in Destiny Betrayed:
"As Jim Garrison revealed in his book, On the Trail of the Assassins, he had statements from a number of witnesses who had seen the two together. And this is besides the witnesses in Clinton and Jackson. These witnesses included Jules Kimble who took a plane trip with the two men; David Logan who, after being introduced to Shaw by Ferrie, had a homosexual tryst with Shaw; Nicholas and Mathilda Tadin who saw Ferrie with Shaw at the New Orleans Airport where Ferrie was giving their son flying lessons; and Raymond Broshears who had a drink with Shaw and Ferrie, and later joined them for dinner." (page 209)
The following four blog posts debunk the stories of David Logan, the Tadins, Jules Kimble, and Raymond Broshears:
James DiEugenio claims that David Logan was introduced to Clay Shaw by David Ferrie. This is totally untrue. After the party, someone pointed out to Logan that Ferrie was at the party.
A look at Nicholas and Mathilda Tadin's claim that they saw David Ferrie with Clay Shaw.
When Kimble first talked to Garrison's investigators, he said nothing about Clay Shaw.
Raymond Broshears was a fabulist, and DiEugenio falls for his nonsense.
Here are other witnesses, mentioned by DiEugenio, that I have debunked:
James DiEugenio claims that Clay Shaw's former secretary, Aura Lee, saw Ferrie in Shaw's office. Only problem - her name was not Aura Lee; and she was not Shaw's former secretary; and there are no direct statements from Aurelie Alost.
While James DiEugenio does claim that Herbert Wagner saw Shaw and Ferrie together, he does claim that Ferrie admitted to Wagner that he was part of Operation Mongoose. This is totally untrue.
This is James DiEugenio's favorite type of evidence -- non-existent.
DiEugenio's allegations about Freeport Sulphur only suffer from lack of evidence.
Joseph Newbrough never said a word about this allegation until he spoke to a conspiracy theorist. Was he weaving a story?
A ridiculous anonymous letter is good enough for James DiEugenio.
The witness did not get a good view of either man he took fishing.
More evidence that never turned up.
James DiEugenio claims that Lefty Peterson remembered a "Leon Oswald" at David Ferrie's house. This is totally not true.
Did Clay Shaw Know Lee Harvey Oswald?
Fred Leemans came up with an unbelievable story but then his conscience hit him.
James DiEugenio not only believes Fred Leemans, he also believes that the CIA assisted in the provision of legal services to various witnesses in the case. The evidence does not back him up.
Vernon Bundy claimed to see Clay Shaw with Lee Harvey Oswald on the shore of Lake Pontchartrain. One problem - his lie detector test showed he was lying. Despite problems with his testimony, Garrison insisted he testify against Clay Shaw. James DiEugenio does not mention Bundy's polygraph.
Did David Ferrie Know Lee Harvey Oswald?
Yes, they were in a picture together, but they didn't know each other.
The source for this allegation was Jack Martin who was not known for his credibility.
Oswald did not have Ferrie's library card. Here is the complete story of what actually happened.
More non-existent evidence. DiEugenio mixes up the Silver Slipper club in Las Vegas with one in Eunice, Louisiana.
More non-existent evidence based on fourth-hand information.
Roberts never said a word about Oswald when she was interviewed by Garrison's office in January 1967.
Delphine Roberts later said that Mary Brengel had seen Oswald in Banister's office. But Brengel denied that.
There was nothing strange about his trip. Al Beauboeuf was an expert roller skater and he wanted to try ice skating.
Here is something that James DiEugenio will never discuss -- Garrison's deranged belief that Breck Wall ordered Jack Ruby to kill Oswald.
More direct evidence from Jim Garrison on his belief that Breck Wall ordered Jack Ruby to kill Lee Harvey Oswald.
Julia Ann Mercer's story got bigger and bigger over the years. That didn't stop James DiEugenio from using her as a witness in his book.
Jim Garrison claimed that Oswald was not a leftist, and James DiEugenio agrees. Here's the actual evidence.
James DiEugenio believes that Sergio Arcacha Smith was with Rose Cherami in November 1963. The evidence to support this is extremely poor.
James DiEugenio cites an article from the Madison Capital Times that claims Dr. Wayne Owens heard Rose Cherami predict the JFK assassination in 1963. The only problem is that he doesn't mention the next two issues of the newspaper which prove that he didn't.
James DiEugenio accepts hearsay, while on three occasions Gerdes said he never saw Oswald with Ferrie and Banister.
James DiEugenio and Richard Case Nagell
James DiEugenio believes that Richard Case Nagell met Lee Harvey Oswald in Japan and in Texas. The only problem is that there no evidence he did.
James DiEugenio believes that Nagell had foreknowledge of Oswald and the JFK assassination. The only problem is the lack of evidence for the claim. DiEugenio's sources are incredibly suspect.
James DiEugenio believes that a second Oswald named Leon Oswald who was at the assassination party at David Ferrie's house, and that Nagell also met Leon Oswald. The only problem is the lack of evidence for the claim. DiEugenio's sources are incredibly suspect.
James DiEugenio claims that Nagell didn't testify at Shaw's trial because someone threw a grenade at him. Even Jim Garrison disagreed.
James DiEugenio believes that Nagell had a copy of Oswald's military ID card when he was arrested in September 1963. The only problem is that it was not listed in his possessions and the only 'proof' is a poor photocopy of the card that showed up in 1976 in Bernard Fensterwald's office.
Nagell went to court to get a full pension. It was clear from a history of court proceedings that he suffered a serious brain injury in his plane crash in 1954. You won't read about Nagell's mental issues in James DiEugenio's books.