Garrison conducted the only prosecution of a conspirator in the Kennedy assassination (which was ultimately unsuccessful). His autobiography is a fascinating expose of how the coup was conducted, who benefitted, who covered it up, and how the lone prosecution was sabotaged by covert interests and the media. Oliver Stone's famous film "JFK" is based on Garrison's story.
today in America too much emphasis is given to secrecy, with regard to the assassination of our President, and not enough emphasis is given to the question of justice and to the question of humanity.
These dignified deceptions will not suffice. We have had enough of power without truth. We don't have to accept power without truth or else leave the country. I don't accept either of these two alternatives. I don't intend to leave the country and I don't intend to accept power without truth.
I intend to fight for the truth. I suggest that not only is this not un-American, but it is the most American thing we can do--because if the truth does not endure, then our country will not endure.
In our country the worst of all crimes occurs when the government murders truth. If it can murder truth, it can murder freedom. If it can murder freedom, it can murder your own sons--if they should dare to fight for freedom-- and then it can announce that they were killed in an industrial accident, or shot by the "enemy" or God knows what. ....
"I think that there are still enough Americans left in this country to make it continue to be America. I think that we can still fight authoritarianism--the government's insistence on secrecy, government force used in counterattacks against an honest inquiry--and when we do that, we're not being un-American, we're being American. It isn't easy. You're sticking your neck out in a rather permanent way, but it has to be done because truth does not come into being automatically. Individual men, like the members of my staff here, have to work and fight to make it happen--and individual men like you have to make justice come into being because otherwise is doesn't happen.
"What I'm trying to tell you is that there are forces in America today, unfortunately, which are not in favor of the truth coming out about John Kennedy's assassination. As long as our government continues to be like this, as long as such forces can get away with such actions, then this is no longer the country in which we were born."
-- excerpt from closing statement of Jim Garrison in the prosecution of Clay Shaw for participation in the conspiracy to murder President Kennedy, February 28, 1969
The JFK Assassination - The Jim Garrison Tapes
October 1967 interview
PLAYBOY: Many of the professional critics of the Warren Commission appear to be prompted by political motives: Those on the left are anxious to prove Kennedy was murdered by a conspiracy within the establishment; and those on the right are eager to prove the assassination was an act of "the international Communist conspiracy." Where would you place yourself on the political spectrum -- right, left of center?
GARRISON: That's a question I've asked myself frequently, especially since this investigation started and I found myself in an incongruous and disillusioning battle with agencies of my own Government. I can't just sit down and add up my political beliefs like a mathematical sum, but I think, in balance, I'd turn up somewhere around the middle. Over the years, I guess I've developed a somewhat conservative attitude -- in the traditional libertarian sense of conservatism, as opposed to the thumbscrew-and-rack conservatism of the paramilitary right -- particularly in regard to the importance of the individual as opposed to the state and the individual's own responsibilities to humanity. I don't think I've ever tried to formulate this into a coherent political philosophy, but at the root of my concern is the conviction that a human being is not a digit; he's not a digit in regard to the state and he's not a digit in the sense that he can ignore his fellow men and his obligations to society. I was with the artillery supporting the division that took Dachau; I arrived there the day after it was taken, when bulldozers were making pyramids of human bodies outside the camp. What I saw there has haunted me ever since. Because the law is my profession, I've always wondered about the judges throughout Germany who sentenced men to jail for picking pockets at a time when their own government was jerking gold from the teeth of men murdered in gas chambers. I'm concerned about all of this because it isn't a German phenomenon; it's a human phenomenon. It can happen here, because there has been no change and there has been no progress and there has been no increase of understanding on the part of men for their fellow man. What worries me deeply, and I have seen it exemplified in this case, is that we in America are in great danger of slowly evolving into a proto-fascist state. It will be a different kind of fascist state from the one of the Germans evolved; theirs grew out of depression and promised bread and work, while ours, curiously enough, seems to be emerging from prosperity. But in the final analysis, it's based on power and on the inability to put human goals and human conscience above the dictates of the state. Its origins can be traced in the tremendous war machine we've built since 1945, the "military-industrial complex" that Eisenhower vainly warned us about, which now dominates every aspect of our life. The power of the states and Congress has gradually been abandoned to the Executive Department, because of war conditions; and we've seen the creation of an arrogant, swollen bureaucratic complex totally unfettered by the checks and balances of the Constitution. In a very real and terrifying sense, our Government is the CIA and the Pentagon, with Congress reduced to a debating society. Of course, you can't spot this trend to fascism by casually looking around. You can't look for such familiar signs as the swastika, because they won't be there. We won't build Dachaus and Auschwitzes; the clever manipulation of the mass media is creating a concentration camp of the mind that promises to be far more effective in keeping the populace in line. We're not going to wake up one morning and suddenly find ourselves in gray uniforms goose-stepping off to work. But this isn't the test. The test is: What happens to the individual who dissents? In Nazi Germany, he was physically destroyed; here, the process is more subtle, but the end results can be the same. I've learned enough about the machinations of the CIA in the past year to know that this is no longer the dreamworld America I once believed in. The imperatives of the population explosion, which almost inevitably will lessen our belief in the sanctity of the individual human life, combined with the awesome power of the CIA and the defense establishment, seem destined to seal the fate of the America I knew as a child and bring us into a new Orwellian world where the citizen exists for the state and where raw power justifies any and every immoral act. I've always had a kind of knee-jerk trust in my Government's basic integrity, whatever political blunders it may make. But I've come to realize that in Washington, deceiving and manipulating the public are viewed by some as the natural prerogatives of office. Huey Long once said, "Fascism will come to America in the name of anti-fascism." I'm afraid, based on my own experience, that fascism will come to America in the name of national security.
"Although none of the evidence we had gathered definitively implicated the CIA, I realized that sophisticated intelligence agencies rarely left smoking guns lying around. Amazingly, though, leads pointing to the agency continued to come in. This must have worried somebody at Langley because my staff was infiltrated and gradually, over time, I learned that the Agency was actually attempting to obstruct our investigation."
-- New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison describing the early part of his investigation into the assassination of President Kennedy in his memoir "On the Trail of the Assassins," pp. 207-8
from Jim Garrison, "On the Trail of the Assassins,"(1988 original edition, reprinted by Warner Books 1991)
The bomb that shattered our case exploded quickly enough. His name was Charles Spiesel. The accountant from New York whom we had belatedly added to our witness list too the stand next. He said that on a trip to New Orleans he met David Ferrie at Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop in the French Quarter. Later they joined Clay Shaw in a building Spiesel recalled as being at "Dauphine and Espanade," which is approximately where Shaw's residence was located. After everyone relaxed and had a number of drinks, Spiesel said Ferrie and Shaw began discussing the possible assassination of John Kennedy. Although Spiesel was surprised when the subject first arose, everyone had been drinking heavily so the indiscretion of the conversation was understandable for him. He recalled the exchange of comments between Shaw and Ferrie in great detail, each explaining why Kennedy should be eliminated and how it should be done.
On cross-examination, the chief defense counsel uncannily seemed to know just what questions to ask Spiesel. First, Dymond asked if Spiesel had ever publicly complained about "hypnosis and psychological warfare" being used on him. Speisel replied that he indeed had been hypnotized in New York and New Jersey, and during several visits to New Orleans, in the period between 1948 and 1954.
Asked who hypnotized him, Spiesel said he did not always know. He said he could tell that hypnosis was being tried "when someone tried to get your attention -- catch your eye. That's a clue right off."
Dymond then asked him what happened under hypnosis. Spiesel replied: "They plant certain thoughts in your mind and you are given the illusion that they are true." He added that he had become "rather an expert" at knowing when people were trying to hypnotize him.
Under further cross-examination, Dymond brought out Spiesel's belief that the New York City police had hypnotized him, tortured him mentally, and forced him to give up his practice as an accountant.
"Have you had trouble recently with a communist conspiracy," Dymond asked, "People following you, and tapping your phones?"
"Well," replied Spiesel hesitantly, "not particularly recently."
Then Dymond zeroed in for the kill. Was is not a fact, he asked, that when Spiesel's daughter left New York to go to school at Louisiana State University he customarily fingerprinted her? Spiesel replied in the affirmative.
Dymond then asked if it were not also a fact that he customarily fingerprinted his daughter again when she returned at the end of the semester. Again, the witness acknowledged that this was true.
Dymond then asked him why he fingerprinted her. Spiesel explained that he did this, in effect, to make sure the daughter who was returning from L.S.U. was the same one he had sent there.
For one very long moment, while I am sure that my face revealed no concern, I was swept by a feeling of nausea. I realized that the clandestine operation of the opposition was so cynical, so sophisticated, and, at the same time, so subtle, that destroying an old-fashioned state jury trial was very much like shooting fish in a barrel with a shotgun.
Our only hope now was that our subsequent witnesses could drown out the memory of Spiesel .... (pp. 276-7)
"it was clear by now that no jury would find an eminently respectable, prominent, distinguished community leader guilty of conspiring to kill the President, especially following an unforgettable example of genuine lunatic testimony from a prosecution witness." (p. 293) [emphases added]
last updated: 2013-11-02
JFKMOON.org by Mark Robinowitz, who was born the day after JFK's last speech to the UN