Why Didn't Jim Garrison Go to Montreal?
Updated: Feb 2
I was born in Montreal and so I am fascinated by the amount of times the city comes up in Garrison documents. In the 1960s it was the largest city in Canada, but was soon overtaken by Toronto. But it was a glorious time to be a Montrealer - Expo '67 was an incredible world's fair; the Montreal Expos became Canada's first major league baseball team in 1969, and, of course, the Montreal Canadiens were perennial winners of the Stanley Cup.
A major part of the Garrison conspiracy story centers on Permindex/CMC - a failed attempt at building a world trade center that would make Rome a European trading hub. Clay Shaw was on the board of directors and, after his arrest, a communist-controlled newspaper, Paese Sera, ran a series of article alleging that CMC was a CIA-front organization that funneled money to extreme rightists in Italy.
Paese Sera also alleged that Louis Bloomfield, a banker living in Montreal, was also a very large shareholder.
So, here is my question. Why didn't Jim Garrison go to Montreal, or just pick up the telephone, to speak to Louis Bloomfield?
In September 1967, Playboy Magazine published an interview with Jim Garrison. To help convince the editors that he was for real, he gave some confidential information, not for print, to interviewer Eric Norden. Here is one of his memos (I am including the whole memo, but only the first two entries are about Bloomfield and CMC):
In a terrible mashing of conspiracy nonsense, Garrison mixes Bloomfield with the allegations of Richard Giesbrecht, who claimed to have seen David Ferrie at the airport in Winnipeg. The whole memo is nuts - but I've already discussed this in two other blog posts - here, and here.
Then in December 1967, a letter was sent by a professor at Sir George Williams University (by the way, that is where I did my undergraduate studies):
Professor Herrmann actually gives Garrison Bloomfield's address, and informs him that "He is the donor of the Bloomfield Stadium in Israel and president of the Canadian HISTADRUTH (the principal Israeli labor union), for whose charitable and other projects he does great work."
A few months later, Garrison received a letter from an editor at the Montreal Star, the afternoon newspaper.
Bill Turners adds a note to Garrison: "This man might be a potential sleuth in Montreal. I've answered his letter." Unfortunately, I don't have a copy of Turner's reply. But, here was another person who could help Garrison learn more about Bloomfield.
On September 21, 1968, Garrison had a conference with a few of his investigators. They start to talk about Albert Osborne (who went to Mexico at the same time as Oswald, but was from Montreal):
G = Jim Garrison; T = Bill Turner; Box = Bill Boxley.
So, with all this interest in Montreal, why didn't Garrison pick up the phone or send an investigator up north? Oliver Stone comes up with the lamest excuse for Garrison's non-investigation of Permindex/CMC. This is a from a letter to the Wilson Quarterly who had published an article by Max Holland on Paese Sera and the possibility that the articles were a KGB operation. You can download a PDF of the article here.
OK, Garrison "had neither the staff nor the resources to go to Europe and follow up its leads." Really? They sent Stephen Jaffe to Europe to run after the Farewell America book nonsense. But, ok, even if they couldn't go to Europe - why not go to Montreal?
Perhaps Garrison knew the whole Paese Sera series was nonsense. Perhaps he knew there was no reason to go to Montreal. Or perhaps he did send someone to Montreal - but couldn't bear to tell everybody the news that Louis Bloomfield was nothing more than a corporate lawyer and that CMC was really just a failed attempt at a world trade center.
Here's a clue from a letter Harold Weisberg sent to an editor of the National Guardian who had just published the Paese Sera nonsense..
Clearly, someone had talked to Bernard Bloomfield, Louis's brother. Surely, Weisberg would have passed this information on to his friends in New Orleans, no?
Finally, it's interesting to note that Jim Garrison claimed that he never heard of Permindex/CMC until after the Clay Shaw trial. Here is an excerpt from page 87 in On The Trail of the Assassins:
A few pages later (page 90), Garrison brings up the limited staff issue.
I suspect Garrison knew all along that the Permindex/CMC allegations were nonsense.