HOLLAND REPLIES TO STONE & SKLAR
To the uninitiated, the Oliver Stone/Zachary Sklar advertisement on page 37 of the August 5/12 Nation appears to be a telling critique of my Studies in Intelligence article on the CIA and the Kennedy assassination. It is not.
Stone/Sklar challenge the notion of a KGB provenance for the Paese Sera articles by citing unnamed Paese Sera editors. These editors allegedly explain that the articles could not be dezinformatsia timed to Clay Shaw’s arrest, because they were “actually assigned [six months before] in the wake of a right-wing coup in Greece.” This new information would be damaging to my argument save for one thing–it can’t possibly be true. Paese Sera published the first article in question on March 4, 1967–three days after Shaw’s arrest–and the infamous colonels’ coup in Greece did not occur until seven weeks later, April 21, 1967. (For the record, my researcher in Italy contacted two Paese Sera editors and one of the two reporters who wrote the articles; the former professed not to remember the articles and the reporter wanted to be paid for answering questions.)
Another novel concoction in the ad is provably false, again because dates are stubborn things. Until now no one has ever claimed that Garrison began to perceive a CIA hand in the assassination as far back as November 1963. This revisionism is refuted by the documentary record. In December 1966, early in his reinvestigation, Garrison handwrote a three-page letter to Life journalist Richard Billings. “At the base of everything,” the DA predicted, will be “self-designated revolutionaries from the lunatic fringe of the Cuban movement.” Not a word about the CIA. Immediately after Shaw’s arrest, Garrison fervidly claimed to journalists that the assassination was a “homosexual thrill-killing.” Again, not a word about the CIA.
Billings’s diary gives us the precise date the New Orleans DA trained his mercurial mind on the agency: March 16, 1967, two weeks after Shaw’s arrest, the day Garrison heard about an article that “supposedly mentions Shaw’s [CIA] work in Italy.” On April 3 Billings observed, “Garrison now is hot on the CIA angle.” Correspondence in Garrison’s own papers proves he embraced Paese Sera‘s stunning allegations, namely, that Shaw was an “Agency man” and a neo-Nazi intent on restoring Fascism to Italy.
It’s crucial to understand why Stone/Sklar are hellbent on backdating Garrison’s “gradual” thought process on CIA involvement: to paper over a pivotal falsehood in Garrison’s 1988 memoir (which Sklar edited). He wrote that he didn’t discover Shaw’s “life as an Agency man in Rome” until “well after” the 1969 trial. Why did Garrison lie? Everything depends on the answer (for which go to www.odci.gov/csi/studies/fall_winter_2001/article02.html).