Much mail has come in on the subject of Max Holland’s “The JFK Lawyers’ Conspiracy” [Feb. 20]. Below are letters from people who believe they, their organization or their views were unfairly represented by Holland and one from an eyewitness to some of the story. –The Editors
I’m the author of A Farewell to Justice: Jim Garrison, JFK’s Assassination and the Case That Should Have Changed History, my seventeenth book, whose credibility is attacked by Max Holland. Nation readers might give pause to Holland’s five-year campaign of outright falsehoods about the investigation into the Kennedy assassination by New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison that have appeared in a range of publications from The Wilson Quarterly, The Atlantic, New Orleans and the Washington Post to, now, The Nation.
Garrison focused on the clandestine service of the CIA as sponsor of the Kennedy assassination as a result of facts he discovered about Lee Harvey Oswald, specifically Oswald’s role as an FBI informant and low-level CIA agent sent to the Soviet Union by the CIA’s Chief of Counterintelligence, James Angleton, as part of a false defector program. What Garrison had not yet discovered was that Oswald also worked for the US Customs Service in New Orleans.
Contrary to Holland’s assertions of the innocence of Clay Shaw, the man Garrison indicted for participation in the murder of President Kennedy was indeed part of the implementation of the murder and was guilty of conspiracy. That Shaw was acquitted does not exonerate him for history. New documents indicate overwhelmingly that Shaw did favors for the CIA. On his deathbed he admitted as much. Shaw’s repeated appearances in Louisiana in the company of Oswald demonstrate that Shaw was part of the framing of Oswald for Kennedy’s murder. Shaw took Oswald to the East Louisiana State Hospital in an attempt to secure him a job there, one event among many never investigated by the Warren Commission or the House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA).
Holland’s assertion that Garrison based his conclusion that the CIA sponsored the assassination on a series of articles in an Italian newspaper is also incorrect. Garrison had focused on the CIA long before he learned that Shaw was on the board of directors of a CIA-funded phony trade front called Centro Mondiale Commerciale (CMC), based in Rome. Indeed, the newspaper Paese Sera broke the story of Shaw’s involvement after a six-month investigation into CIA interference in European electoral politics, only to discover that Garrison had indicted Shaw a few days before the first article was to appear. Moreover, the new documents reveal that CMC and its parent outfit, Permindex, were indeed CIA fronts.
The 1992 Assassinations Records and Review Act has disgorged dozens of documents showing that Shaw was a CIA operative. This is directly contrary to what Holland suggests–that Garrison was a willing victim of “the KGB’s wildest fantasy.” To cite one example, Shaw was cleared for a project dubbed QKENCHANT, which permitted him to recruit outsiders for CIA projects. Shaw was no mere businessman debriefed by the CIA. One document reveals that among those Shaw recruited in New Orleans was Guy Banister, former FBI Chicago Special Agent in Charge running an ersatz New Orleans detective agency whose side-door address (544 Camp Street) Oswald used on a set of his pro-Castro leaflets, until Banister stopped him.