Thursday, August 21, 2014

Garrison and the Still Secret JFK Assassination Files

Jim Garrison and the Still-Secret JFK Assassination Files

Bill Kelly

In regards to Jim Garrison requesting his son to be at the National Archives when the government finally gets around to releasing the still secret records on the assassination, I tried to discover what records remain sealed, but there are so many they can’t tell us how many there are.

I did learn however, that most of the documents that Garrison specifically referred to have already been released, and what remains withheld should be released to the public in late September 2017, unless the President orders otherwise.

In 1996 Garby F. Leon asked the NARA about the status of these records and intimidated that he was going to mention them during a Assassinations Records Review Board (ARRB) hearing, but he is not listed among those who testified at the public hearings, but he did correspond with them. [Series 5: Press and Public Contact Files  ]

Besides having a unique name, Garby Leon was an interesting person, with a doctorate in music from Harvard, he was a Fox film producer whose helped develop the Matrix, and recently passed away [Garby Francis Leon, Fox Executive Who Developed ‘The Matrix’ at Silver Pictures, Dies at 66 ].

Many thanks to Rex Bradford at for making these documents and other significant records available, and I have added the relevant links.


On April 9, 1996 Martha Murphy of the NARA responded to the inquiry from Garby Leon and wrote:

“This is in response to your e-mailed request for information regarding the status of Warren Commission Documents. The income tax forms of Ruth and Michael Paine CD 713 and CD 848 have been withheld for privacy and are referred to the Internal Revenue Service for review. These documents are not security classified, as would be suggested by the description of them as ‘secret’ in the book ‘On the Trail of the Assassins.’”

Garby Leon commented: “But they're fudging a bit, because the Paine's tax information, are also 'referred' to the IRS, hence unavailable.  I was amused at how testy the archivist's response was to my quote from Garrison...”

And I agree, whether they are being withheld for reasons of national security or personal privacy reasons, they are sealed from the public and are therefore still ‘secret.’

CD 218 - relating to Michael Paine LALC Los Angeles Local Correspondence
CD 258 - relating to Michael Paine
CD 508 - relating to Michael Paine's sister
CD 600 through CD 629, regarding relatives of Michael Paine.

Of the 51 documents you listed in your letter, three
are still withheld pending review by another agency,

10 CDs are released in part, with information redacted on some pages.  All of the other 38 CDs listed in your letter have been released in full. 

(Files relating to Oswald):

CD 321 - Chronology of Oswald in USSR (Secret)
CD 347 - Activity of Oswald in Mexico City (Secret)
CD 384 - Activity of Oswald in Mexico City

CD 384 “ACCESS RESTRICTED – The item identified below has been withdrawn from this file: File Designation CD 384...In the review of this file this item was removed because access to it is restricted. Restrictions on records in the National Archives are stated in general and specific record group restriction statements which are available for examination. The item identification above has been withdrawn because it contains: X Security – Classified Information

CD 528 - re: Allegation Oswald interviewed by CIA in Mexico City
CD 631 - re: CIA dissemination of information on Oswald
CD 674 - Info given to the Secret Service but not yet to the WC
CD 692 - Reproduction of CIA official dossier on Oswald
CD 698 - Reports of travel and activities of Oswald & Marina
CD 871 - Photos of Oswald in Russia (Secret)
CD 931 - Oswald's access to information about the U-2 (Secret)
CD 943, "Allegations of Pfc. Eugene Dinkin re Assassination Plot"
CD 971, "Calls to U.S. Embassy, Canberra,… re:Planned Assassination."
CD 1216 - Memo from Helms entitled "Lee Harvey Oswald" (Secret)
CD 1222 - Statements by George de Mohrenschildt re: assassination
CD 1273 - Helms re:inconsistencies in info provided by CIA(Secret)
CD 1551, "Conversations Between Cuban President and Ambassador";

Garb Leon: “In sum, 15 of the 51 Warren Commission items which Garrison wanted to see are still secret, or redacted. That's roughly 30% secrecy maintained, a third of a century later. A question I have: has the ARRB reviewed the 'redactions' these documents are 'released' with? Finally, if I have the opportunity, I intend to ask the ARRB board members if Garrison's wish-list will be fulfilled - or not. This would seem only the very most basic starting point for the release of government documents, pursuant to the ARRB's mandate.  And, a good benchmark for testing how good the USG's word is on their promise to fulfill the intent of the law.”

October 24, 2017 – it’s a Tuesday. Mark it on your calendar – as that’s the day that one of two things will happen.

Either the AOTUS – Archivist of the United States will announce to the President, Congress and the American people that the last government record on the assassination of President Kennedy has been released to the public or the POTUS – the President of the United States – whoever is elected in the next election, will announce that he/she has agreed with the requests by agencies of government and will continue to withhold certain records for reasons of national security. 

Air Force Non-Compliance with JFK Act

Final Report of the Assassinations Records Review Board p. 158:

Chapter 8

Compliance with JFK Act by Government Offices

16. Department of the Air Force

In 1995, the Air Force directed certain Air Force Commands to undertake searches for assassination records. The only assassination record found was an operations logbook from Andrews Air Force Base that had recorded events at the base on the day of the assassination.

The Review Board asked the Air Force to conduct further searches for assassination records. The Review Board asked the Air Force to conduct further searches for assassination records. The Review Board asked the Air Force to: (1) identify and review the 1963-64 files for the highest officials in the Air Force, including the Secretary of the Air Force; (2) more thoroughly review the files of the Office of Special Investigations for any records relating to Air Force One on November 22, 1963 including specifically searching for any audiotapes of transmissions to and from Air Force one on the day of the assassination.

[BK: Please note that this log was retrieved from a trash by a civilian employee of Andrews - probably a custodian, and it appears that that was what became of most if not all of the significant and historical Air Force records of the assassination, as reported by the Assassination Records Review Board (ARRB) in their final report:: JFKcountercoup: The Andrews AFB Log Book 11/22/63 ]

As the Review Board requested, the Air Force conducted a targeted search. The Air Force did not, however, forward additional records to the JFK Collection. After the Air Force submitted its Final Declaration, the Board requested that the Air Force further account for specific Air Force records, particularly records for the Air Force’s Office of Presidential Pilot and the Historical Research Agency at Maxwell Air Force Base in Alabama. The Air Force, at the time of this Report, had not followed up on the Review Board’s request.

The Air Force submitted its Final Declaration of Compliance dated November 21, 1997.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Garrison asks Son to be there when Secret Records Released

It occurs to me that the 50th anniversary of the Garrison investigation is approaching (early 2017). It looks like both COPA and Lancer have lost key persons and may not be offering seminars in the future. I wonder if there are any people in this group who might be interested in throwing together a weekend seminar/schmoozefest at that time, preferably in New Orleans. I'd love to hear the best observers from "both" sides of the issue, although I recognize that there is some level of impatience between them. Perhaps it could be open to all comers but structured in a way to minimize direct combat. And if we are, indeed, in New Orleans, there should be at least a few of the original personalities available to speak or take a few questions. Anybody interested?

By the way, I'm still interested in assembling a comprehensive online archive of all the available documents relating to the Garrison case. Some are in NARA/ARRB, AARC, Weisberg, Baylor, Georgetown and various other places. I'd like to see them sensibly organized and cross-searchable, and I'm willing to copy any and donate the Ferrie material I have collected. A one-stop site: Documents, bibliographies, articles, photo galleries, video/audio materials, etc.SR

In response I wrote: While New Orleans is a great town to have a party, Sept-October 2017 is when the remaining sealed government records in the assassination are to be released (or continually withheld by whoever is POTUS). Didn't Garrison ask his kids to be there when they are released?

In response Don Carpenter wrote:
Bill, Just to add a little context, Garrison died in Fall of 1992, before ARRB even began to crank up its very basic operations. Garrison may have made the statement about all the still-sealed documents as of 1992, or probably years before when he made the statement (probably in the 1967-69 period), but most of whatever he was talking about has already been released. He was not talking specifically about what is left to be declassified, although I think we all are anxious to see if there is anything in there.”

Don also said that he didn’t think “Garrison was on to something,” though he is willing to be persuaded.
Well I don’t think that the New Orleans crew that Garrison “was on to” – the same Yahoos who carried out the Houma Bunker raid  JFKcountercoup: The Houma Bunker Raid Revisted, could have conducted  the Dealey Plaza operation, which included the framing of Oswald, a professional Level One sniper and the Northwoods disinformation twist to blame Castro. That’s a very sophisticated op, not one that some New Orleans Yo-Yos or the Mafia could have pulled off.

And I think that Garrison also eventually realized that the President wasn’t killed by a deranged lone nut, or by the New Orleans contingent he tried to take to court – but what happened at Dealey Plaza was a covert coup conducted by JFK’s enemies in Washington.

You can argue over whether Garrison was “on to something” but what he said about the sealed government files is pertinent and important, and which Dave Reutzes also thought important enough to quote and try to debunk when wrote in The JFK 100 – Suppressed Investigative Files at
In Oliver Stone’s JFK, New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison (Kevin Costner) delivers a monologue about evidence being concealed by the federal government:

“Let’s ask the two men who have profited the most from the assassination – your former President Lyndon Baines Johnson and your new President, Richard Nixon – to release 51 CIA documents pertaining to Lee Oswald and Jack Ruby, or the secret CIA memo on Oswald’s activities in Russia that was ‘destroyed’ while being photocopied. All these documents are yours – the people’s property – you pay for it, because the government considers you children who might be too disturbed to face this reality, because you might lynch those involved, you cannot see these documents for another 75 years. I’m in my 40s, so I’ll have shuffled off this moral coil by then, telling my 8-year old son to keep himself physically fit so that one glorious September morning in 2038 he can walk into the National Archives and find out what the CIA and FBI knew. They may even push it back then. It may become a generational affair with questions passed down from father to son, mother to daughter, in the manner of the ancient runic bards. Someday, somewhere, someone might find out the damned Truth. Or we might just build ourselves a new Government like the Declaration of Independence says we should do when the old one ain’t working – maybe a little out West.” (1)

(1) Oliver Stone and Zachary Sklar, JFK: The Book of the Film (New York, Applause, 1992), p. 178.
Of course the 75 years the Warren Commission records were sealed has been overtaken by the JFK Act of 1992, which stipulates that they be released in late September 2017 – or withheld by a presidential order, so Garrison’s son doesn’t have to wait as long as Garrison thought.

But Reitzes also asks, “Has the government really been withholding evidence of conspiracy?”
And the answer is clearly yes, even if one only sticks to the Warren Commission era records – and I will only mention three – the document that the Warren Commission lawyer was reading when he was recorded as saying: “We’ll have to find out what Oswald studied at the Monterey Institute,” (now the Defense Language Institute) and the ONI and USMC investigative records and reports.

In his books Heritage of Stone and On the Trail of the Assassins, Garrison himself lists a series of  Warren Commission documents that were sealed away from public view when he wrote those book, such as Oswald’s Access to Information on the U2 and reports on Ruth and Michael Paine, some of which have been released under the JFK Act, but has anyone gone through Garrison’s lists to see if these documents have been released or not? 

Reitzes falsely answers the question – and knows he is wrong – by quoting “longtime researcher and JFK consultant Gus Russo,” who has also been exposed as a witting CIA asset who continues to promote the discredited original cover story that Castro was behind the assassination. Reitzes quotes Russo as saying that one day when he heard Stone talk about “the sinister sealing of the Warren Commission records for seventy-five years. I was stunned. Although that had been President Johnson’s original intention, public pressure had actually forced the release of most of the Commission’s records within three years of the 1963 murder.”
Actually, it was the single letter from Cedar Rapids, Iowa mayor Johnson that led to the reversal of the seventy-five year policy.

Russo: “I managed to pull Stone aside, and informed him that the records we investigators really coveted were the HSCA’s sealed files, numbering hundreds of thousands of pages, as well as those of other federal agencies whose holdings could be in the millions of pages….”

Russo claims that he conferred with respected Washington investigator, the late Kevin Walsh, who gave him a letter that “corroborated” what Russo had been saying – and Reitzes quotes Michael R. McReynolds of the NARA Textual Reference Division that as of 1992, 98 percent of the Warren Commission records had been released.

Of course those 98 percent of the Warren Commission records released so far don’t include the Monterey document or the ONI and USMC investigative reports, and they are now saying the same thing about all of the government records released under the JFK Act. Millions of them, 98 percent of all government records on the assassination are in the public domain, but they don’t tell you that there are so many documents still being withheld that they can’t tell us how many there are.

“Since that time, of course,” Reitzes wrongly writes, “some may have noticed that Oliver Stone hasn’t said a word about those files. That’s because they prove his JFK monologue to be little more than hot air, there were no documents withheld because they were ‘smoking guns’ proving the existence of a conspiracy.”
What hogwash. Of course Stone has talked about those files – he testified before Congress about them and said he didn’t expect any “smoking gun” documents to be found but instead thought that the existing records would be like the shell of a Mercedes Benz left on a street in Harlem for thirty years, stripped of all its value, which is exactly what we found.

And there certainly are “smoking” documents – such as Col. Higgins report of the September 24 1963 CIA briefing of the Joint Chiefs of Staff – which confirms that the military was giving support to the CIA Cuban operations and that they were conducting a Valkyrie type operation to get rid of Castro – one based on the German generals plot to kill Hitler, the plan that I believe was diverted to Dealey Plaza.
As for Don Carpenter saying “we’re all anxious to see what’s there,” we know pretty much what is there, as we have all of the denials of requests for documents – such as the ONI Defector file, the documents on Collins Radio and Air Force One and hundreds of similar records that have been denied researchers since the passage of the JFK Act.

And now, I’m going to try to take Garrison’s advice and stay healthy so in September 2017 I can stand in line with his son and if the president - whoever she may be, will let us, I will read some of the records that the government refuses to let us read today.