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  • Writer's pictureFred Litwin

Was there a story about the Clinton/Jackson Witnesses in 1966?

The Baton Rouge Sunday Advocate of February 2, 1992 had a feature story about the Clinton Jackson witnesses. One paragraph caught my eye:

McGehee [the barber in Jackson] said the first time any public official asked about the story was around 1966, when U.S. Rep. John Rarick, the Congressman for the area at the time, inquired about it. He said a Shreveport newspaper then interviewed some of the East Feliciana witnesses and published a story.

Just what newspaper was McGehee talking about? Was it The Councilor, the racist newspaper out of Shreveport?

McGehee was interviewed by James DiEugenio for the so-called Oliver Stone documentary series JFK: Destiny Betrayed. Here is an excerpt from that interview: (pages 492-493 in the Kindle edition of the book JFK Revisited)

DiEugenio: So very soon after the assassination it got to be kind of common street knowledge that Oswald had been up here.

McGehee: Like you said, when my customers would come get a haircut we talked about it and just like the congressman, I think he was a judge at the time. We, I started to tell him what happened to me and Reeves and then and that, that’s when John Wright put it in The Councilor and that’s when Garrison picked it up, or the House Un-American Committee activity. I can’t think of that fellow’s name down in Baton Rouge. He picked it up and they gave it to Garrison.

The fellow's name down in Baton Rouge was probably Jack Rogers. Who gave the tip to Garrison -- was it the supposed article in The Councilor, or was it Jack Rogers? We do know that Rogers gave the tip to Dischler and Fruge.

McGehee also confirms that the supposed article was in The Councilor.

When I went through the papers of Patricia Lambert, I found that she had clipped the above article from the Baton Rouge newspaper and she tried hard to find that article. She went anywhere there were copies of The Councilor but, in the end, she could not find any article about the Clinton/Jackson witnesses.

The conspiracy books also mention this article. For instance, Joan Mellen claims that McGehee told John Rarick about Oswald's visit to his barbershop. A year later, Rarick supposedly called Ned Touchstone and Jack Rogers: (page 214 in the Kindle edition of A Farewell to Justice)

“Why don’t you tell Jim Garrison about this?” Rarick told Rogers. According to McGehee, Rarick then wrote a little story on the appearance of Oswald in Jackson and Clinton for the Councilor.

Her footnote reads: (page 469 in the Kindle edition)

p. 214, line 40: in the Councilor Touchstone reported on the “pretty black Cadillac”: Ned Touchstone, “The Truth About the Assassination,” undated manuscript.

Mellen does not give a date for an article in The Councilor, but references Ned Touchstone's unpublished manuscript. In April 2022, I visited the Louisiana State University at Shreveport and I photographed Touchstone's manuscript. Here is the paragraph from his manuscript that was referenced by Mellen:

The manuscript is 46 pages long and there is nothing about the Clinton/Jackson witnesses.

Here is page one from his manuscript:

The manuscript tries to prove a link between Ferrie and Oswald though a CAP party that Ferrie organized in Biloxi, Mississippi. Touchstone could not find a link.

Here is what Touchstone's inquiry found:

The manuscript appears to have been written sometime in 1967, certainly after the March preliminary hearing regarding the Clay Shaw indictment. Perhaps the story about the Cadillac was in its infancy.

Bill Davy's book, Let Justice Be Done, also mentions the supposed Councilor article: (page 115)

District judge and later Congressman, John Rarick, spoke to both McGehee and Morgan shortly after the assassination about Oswald's visit. Rarick's findings were printed in a right-wing newspaper based out of Shreveport called, The Councillor. [sic]

His footnote reads: (page 302)

59. Author's interview with Edwin Lea McGehee, August 26, 1994. Back issues of The Councillor [sic] are on file at the Northwestern State University Library, Louisiana.

So Davy does not actually have the date of any article in The Councilor.

James DiEugenio mentions the article in his book, Destiny Betrayed: (page 185 in the Kindle Edition)

In 1964 barber Edwin McGehee told Rarick about the Oswald visit. Rarick then told Touchstone. An article appeared in Touchstone’s Councilor, and through that exposure word filtered back to Fred Dent of the State Sovereignty Commission.

His footnote references Joan Mellen's book.

It's telling that none of the conspiracy authors have been able to find this supposed article. I also went through LSU Shreveport's collection of The Councilor and I could not find the article.

I think that McGehee mentioned the supposed article as a way of providing some sort of corroboration to his story and the stories of the Clinton witnesses. He probably never thought that anybody would actually try to find the article.

And conspiracy theorists, so anxious to believe the Clinton/Jackson witnesses, turn an invisible article into a factoid. All they can do is cite each other.

If anybody comes across the article, please drop me a line.

The Series on the Clinton/Jackson Witnesses

Part One: The witnesses testify at the trial of Clay Shaw.

Part Two: A response to the allegations made by the Clinton/Jackson witnesses.

Part Three: A look at racism and the politics of the early 1960s.

Part Four: Many of the witnesses were either members of the KKK or sympathizers.

Part Five: None of the Clinton/Jackson witnesses came forward in 1963-1964.

Part Six: Just where did the Clinton/Jackson witnesses come from?

Part Seven: Dischler was an investigator for Garrison who was teamed up with Lt. Francis Fruge of the Louisiana State Police.

Part Eight: The evidence that David Ferrie was in Clinton is poor.

Previous Relevant Blog Posts on the Clinton/Jackson Witnesses

Three case studies on how Garrison was less than inquisitive, including the possible check of the Cadillac in Clinton.

Why didn't Garrison check out whether the Trade Mart in New Orleans had leased a Cadillac?

An interview with Weisberg in which he discusses the Clinton witnesses.

Two of the Clinton witnesses claimed they were intimidated. But were they really?

Some background material on Clinton.

William Dunn initially said that Thomas Beckham was with Shaw and Oswald.

Andrew Dunn said Jack Ruby was in Clinton.

None of Garrison's witnesses, including the witnesses from Clinton/Jackson, came forward in 1963 -1964.


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