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For the American government has concealed the truth about what happened to John and it has concealed it from you and is fighting to conceal it. That voice belongs to the most outstandingly persistent critic of the official investigation into the death of John F. Kennedy. New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison has attracted international attention through his personal investigation of the Kennedy assassination and his strident challenges to the report of the Warren Commission. This is an E.R. Washington forum a weekly program concerned with significant issues in the news. I'm Any our public affairs director Vic Sussman Jim Garrison spoke recently at American University in Washington D.C. the same school where President Kennedy made the nuclear test ban proposal. On this program we present part one of Mr Garrison's address a challenge to the Warren Commission. Next week we'll present part two. Now here is New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison. I can't tell you what it means to me. To appear at the university
where John Kennedy made the most important speech of his life. Oh but perhaps I can tell you. In the course of my talk of why it was his most important speech. I cannot help but reflect that just a short distance from here. Is buried. And they have an eternal flame burning there. And it's a beautiful scene. And I can't help but reflect how nice of them to name a major airport after him and a name. The major space airport after and in the name of the buildings after him. And then I find myself thinking. But doesn't he also deserve the truth. And don't the American people deserve the truth about it. For the American government has
concealed the truth. About what happened to John Kennedy has concealed it from you and is fighting to conceal it now. The federal investigation. Or what passes for an investigation was actually a part of the project of Conseil. And the Warren Commission inquiry was intended as the final act of concealment. Now I know that many of you when you hear me say this. Find yourself saying oh this is these are strange statements are these men so evil that are in control of our government that they would do these things. And my answer is that they are not necessarily evil men. And did not necessarily intend evil consequences but you don't have to be an evil man to bring about evil consequences.
All you have to do is to give something else a higher priority than truth or justice. And the purpose of the Warren Commission inquiry was to conceal the facts about what happened to John Kennedy. And to conceal the reason for his assassination and to replace it with an acceptable fairy St. fairy tale one which hopefully the people of America. But. Fortunately for this country the people of America. Not buck and their common sense continues to argue against it. And in the course of time some sort of massive readjustment on the part of the federal government is predictable because the Warren Commission fairy tale cannot possibly survive. Now one of the compass points in the Warren Commission inquiry. Was
to prevent a congressional inquiry. By having a control group look into the matter which had among its members a representative of the Senate and representatives of the house. You had what passed as a casual glance. For a government inquiry making a congressional inquiry unnecessary. But actually this was far short of what an honest congressional inquiry would be. The kind of inquiry we need and I hope we have some day. What you really have in the appointment of the Warren Commission was a way to commission a commission curiously enough weighted. Because of answers in the Central Intelligence Agency. It's a curious thing that among the members of the Warren Commission was a former head of the CIA. Another gentleman known as the best friend of the CIA in the
Senate. Another gentleman known as the best friend of the CIA in our house and another gentleman who formerly was head of an intelligence organization out of which the CIA had its cards. Now of course it's very difficult to believe. That a group of honorable men would intentionally conceal the truth. I didn't believe this was possible and I speak to you as a person who believed in the Warren Commission inquiry and its results because it was not believable to me that a man as honorable as this and a man of such distinction as this man so honored by that. Presumably this line but I've had a great education since then and I've learned much more about what they
really did and one of the things I've learned is the fact that whether a man is honorable or not is completely irrelevant as to whether or not he is telling the truth. There are many instances in history in which men of honor and then entrusted with the task and the results turn out to be something less than an audible and you don't have to reflect to think of instances for example conscious pilot was the governor. Jew did an extremely honorable man and they the French generals the French generals who lied when they put. Dreyfus in person falsely whether most honorable generals in finance. Yet when Zola would say I would say to the people that Dreyfus was innocent the reply would be. But if Joe is
right then our generals are wrong and thus the generals are wrong. Buddhist true as we know it from Mark Anthony's deliberation was an honorable man they're honorable men they're always honorable men only honorable men and men of distinction and get their hands on the machinery of justice. Simple man can't get close enough. What I'm trying to tell you is that investigation was faked. The Lawrence inquiry inquiry was faked and the fact that honorable men are involved is unfortunate but doesn't change the facts. To give you an example. An instance of a fraud in the investigation itself and in a separate instance of fraud in the Warren Commission inquiry.
If you go to the Commission Exhibits. And look at the statement of Judith and Mercer and talk about the investigation now you will find her describing in her statement to the FBI and also to the sheriff's office in Dallas describing about an hour before the parade in Dealey Plaza when she was stopped by traffic she noticed a truck from which a man was alighting with a rifle going up on the grass. Not that much of it was true because we've talked to today and most honest it's true. But from then on the federal description in the Dallas description of what happened has changed the statement to say that she could not identify the driver of the truck and they describe the truck which had air conditioning painted on the side and they have other descriptions which were totally untrue but were interpellation by the federal government after. And there's another statement which says that a week or so later she was shown a picture of Jack Ruby but on able
to identify him. Now let me tell you what really happened what really happened was an hour before the assassination occurred Julie and my service stopped traffic and she did see a truck with a man arriving from it with a rifle and she looked at the driver because she was seated right by him and she looked at him twice and the driver was Jack Ruby his son very clearly and the next morning which was Saturday the 23rd of November 1963 the FBI showed her a picture of Jack Ruby. And when the FBI agent showed her the picture and turned it over she remembers seeing Jack Ruby on the back. Now remember this is 24 hours before to be honest with us. The next morning when Miss Mercer was watching television and
saw as Mikael she pointed to the television set and yelled That's the man I saw driving the truck. That's the man whose picture the FBI showed to me. Now everything has been changed in the investigation. Make Jack Ruby look like a patriotic nightclub owner driven by love of his country to eliminating within 48 hours a communist in quotes who happen to kill the President of United States. This of course is hogwash in this part of the official fairy part of the fiction which was perpetrated by the Warren Commission and the difference between what Julia and measure actually saw Jack Ruby having a gun when getting off the grass you know was a plain truck incidentally did not have a description they later put on it. The difference
between the truth. And what actually happened is the difference between illusion and reality which we find. Through this investigation. We find the same thing occurring in the handling of me in parade by the Warren Commission itself. And I'll give you another example Roger Craig's testimony. One of the few. Witnesses to the general scene that is questioned by the Warren Commission. If you read on his testimony you'll find it rather non-committal and of no special interest. But nevertheless we talk to Mr. Craig himself because we were curious about some things that he might have seen and we found that Mr. Banks had no connection at all with the Warren Commission has been saying in his testimony. So we had Mr. Craig count the number of changes in his testimony.
The number of variations between what is printed in the Warren Commission testimony and between what he actually said. And there were 23 different changes. If he said for example that he noticed some individuals in the western end of the Book Depository Building it has been changed to Easter. And when he described an individual in a blue suit it is changed tan suit. Twenty three changes were made and the final change is that the question is asked was asked of him would you like to receive a copy of this questioning before it's printed. And he actually said yes but they put in a printed copy no. So that's just another instance. Of the kind of technique the government used. And it's rather typical of their approach.
For the angry as a whole the entire objective of the FBI investigation Secret Service investigation and the Warren Commission inquiry as well as a point of the members of the Warren Commission by President Johnson was to conceal from the people of America and the world as well the truth about what really happened. Now. Naturally this raises the question of why they did such a thing. I can look in their minds and speak for them with accuracy. But I know at least from the reputation of some of the individuals on the Warren Commission that as I've said before these were not leave a man and I have to conclude that they felt that was a matter of national security involved. I'm confident that that was the rice and that was the reasoning.
But if the president was killed by a lone assassin by air and I Tennant warehouse employee who had communist leanings you always find that the the man arrested by the federal government in such a situation as communist leanings or he's a loner. If this is the case then where is the issue of national security. If the assassin really was Lee ASA young man all by himself who incidentally would not have decided upon. Then why do we have 50 Central Intelligence Agency files in Scio until the year 2000 39. Why do we have even now approximately 300 cubic feet of evidence concealed in the ark a question we have reassurances from the archivist. That he went in there and looked
around and came out and he didn't find anything special in there. But. I hate to be hard to get along with but I really think it be better if we go and look at ourselves then take his word for it. For one thing he's an employee of the government He's retired now so after me they made that statement. And I can't help but feel that if there was indeed if there were indeed a lone assassin then we can certainly make available the 300 cubic feet of evidence long before the year 2000 and 39 then of course there's the matter of the photographs and X-rays of the autopsy. There were approximately 45 photographs. Half of them half of black white and there are a number of X-rays of the autopsy. President Kennedy and they've been kept hidden for a reason it's very obvious to every critic who's inquired into the
assassination at all. They've been kept hidden because President Kennedy was killed in the front by shots fired from the grass and off in a professional ambush. And the photographs and X-rays. Unless they've been able to make a substitution that be very difficult to do. Well not necessarily show they were stuck in the front whereas the offic official fairy tale. Plane to be shot in the back. This is necessary because they were able to construct as well as having been in the building in the back. He was not even up on the sixth floor but I think by now most people in the country know what the real problem with photographs and X-rays is about its support of the Warren Commission and efficient myth and think the federal government with all its power and we can see that the federal government does own the hydrogen bomb.
But with all its power the federal government ultimately will have no alternative but to proceed to another position. The probability is at the present time since I doubt there's any sudden newfound interest in the truth. I think the basic alienation between the people of this country and the administration which is secret but beneath the surface but still exist will continue and I think that the adjust position to which they adjust will probably be one in which a part of the truth of the veil but not the whole truth. I happen to feel people in this country are entitled to the whole truth. I don't believe that national security can ever preempt truth and justice not in this country because really that's the only difference between democracy which is something we say we are.
And everybody talks about the president talks about a chief justice to make speeches about it and congressmen make speeches about it. Sort of the senators. But when the time comes to act there's a fundamental question involved which relates to our identity. Which relates to the question of what we are and who we are and whether we're concerned about humanity or about power or what decision did they make without any hesitation. They decided in favor of power. They decided in favor of national security as against two powers as against humanity. And when they made that decision we ceased to be a democracy and we won't ever really be again until our government has the courage to let the people of this country and the world know what really happened to John Kennedy. Now sometimes you can go to a place. And it can
serve as a reference point place where you've been before or what someone else has done. And coming hair to the American University. Where John Kennedy made his most important speech serves as a reference point because it was five years ago five years ago next month on June 10th 1963. And the substance of what he said was that we don't want to be an imperialist country. We are not trying to build a Pax Americana. He even went so far as to say the incredible statement incredible to much of the military I'm sure that the other side the people on the other side braid the same air as we do a very important state. By a man who
I'm sure you know by now was not an ordinary president. The very fact that he made that speech here makes this far from an ordinary university. Now the significance about John Kennedy was what he was doing in the summer and fall of 1963 and what he was doing was trying to end the Cold War. And he was making unusual progress. He was dismantling the war machine. Dismantling the definition mean that had been built up in this country. So this is a curious country and it's a strange economy that you could have the president of the most powerful country in the world working hard to end the Cold War to dismantle the war machine
and have at the same time forces in this country violently opposed to this dismemberment of the death machine that had been built up violently oppose and President Kennedy did not really speak of it was reexamining our position with regard to Red China. He was reaching an understanding with Russia. He was in the process of reaching a detente with Cuba which undoubtedly would have led to recognition of Cuba. And it was in the process of removing troops from Vietnam all the generals had insisted on raising the allotment to 40000 in the fall and early fall of nineteen sixty three. He would boost the troop allotment from 15000 to 14000 and was making plans for further reductions. So in the following year or so the American troops could be brought out.
He was reducing the war machine. It was in the process of ending the Cold War and this was what he was talking about in June 1963 when he spoke here in that remarkable speech. And I say remarkable because in the context of the times you could easily have had a president who was appealing to voters by as so many politicians in this country still do. As the head of the FBI still whenever he makes a speech by yelling about the old ghosts The Communists are going to take over the world. We surely must be the last country in the world to believe that the communists are going to take over the world. Really I don't think that's the world's problem at all. I think if you talk to other countries in the RAF you'll find that it's not the Communists that write about
where the ones with the War Machine our own country of our country. Our own democracy about democracy. Actually. If you jump from five years ago to the present time you would ordinarily expect to find John Kennedy completing a second term. And you would expect to find that the war in Vietnam was now over with for some years and more than a hundred billion dollars has been spent on killing other humans would been spent on something connected with life. How strange it is that not only in the five years of not only John Kennedy murdered and buried a few miles away but that at the same time the war which he was in the process of ending has
escalated and we have over half a million men. And how strange it is we find in every case the communists are responsible. Because it was caught at the Texas Theater and immediately announced as the assassin. Was a communist. The government tells us. And we've been told that we have to have a half million men in Vietnam because of the communists and I know that you've been curious and in the last year or so as they gradually changed they nominate Plato the man that we've been fighting. They're no longer a North Vietnamese and whatever con but they're all communists which is probably as accurate as if the Chinese newspapers or the Russian newspapers were to describe all of our casualties as
capitalist casualties of course there's a communist orientation of the enemy and it is a factor in here I am. Speaking barring the nomenclature which is fed to me every day from a newspaper we don't even know our enemy is speaking of them as their enemy. We have a problem of illusion and reality and that in this country and that's what I'm getting to and. That's why you're so very important. Really the only hope for this country in the long run are the young people because they're the only ones asking in a quest for. The illusion that was fed to this country by the Warren Commission and the federal investigative agencies and the president of the United States is an illusion which will not permit this country to survive. We cannot survive in a nuclear age. On the lose. We have a right to know. Reality of what
happened in the long run. I think that you and others of your age would probably force that reality to occur. All I can do another person is raising the question is to try and hold the door open long enough before they destroy all the evidence and affordably fairy tale which has been told again and again and again and again. The magazines the newspapers the mass media which work so hard to cooperate with the government in making this fairy tale seem real. Holding a door open so perhaps there be some evidence left when there is an honest inquiry. That's the problem in this country today. Illusion and reality. Where is Congress. My God. We certainly could have expected that if the president of the United States was slaughtered but Congress would
have some curiosity. And even if it didn't have any then we would have thought that surely the surfacing evidence of a fake investigation in which the people of the United States were flown by their leaders but cause Congress to wake up. And what is Congress doing debating subjects like whether or not there should be daylight savings time. But someone is missing. What about John Kennedy. Don't we care. Doesn't this country care. To the man in Congress really believed that Lee was a lonely deflector that he had anything to do with the assassination. Don't even know by now that he was an employee of a Central Intelligence Agency. You've been listening to an address by New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison presenting his controversial views on the assassination of John F. Kennedy. This was part one of
Mr. Garrison speech. Next week we will continue with his comments and criticisms of the official Kennedy investigation. I am national educational radio public affairs director Vic Sussman inviting you to join us again next week for part two of this program on any Our Washington forum a weekly program concerned with significant issues in the news. This program was produced by W am US them American University Radio in Washington D.C. This is the national educational radio network.
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NER Washington forum
Challenge to the Warren Commission, part one
Producing Organization
WAMU-FM (Radio station : Washington, D.C.)
National Association of Educational Broadcasters, WAMU-FM (Radio station : Washington, D.C.)
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Episode Description
A Challenge to the Warren Commission, part 1. New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison charges the U.S. government with concealing the truth about assassination of President John F. Kennedy.
Series Description
Discussion series featuring a prominent figure affecting federal government policy.
Public Affairs
Media type
Host: Sussman, Vic S.
Producing Organization: WAMU-FM (Radio station : Washington, D.C.)
Producing Organization: National Association of Educational Broadcasters, WAMU-FM (Radio station : Washington, D.C.)
Speaker: Garrison, Jim, 1921-1992
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 67-24-62 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:29:42
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Chicago: “NER Washington forum; Challenge to the Warren Commission, part one,” 1968-05-27, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed May 29, 2024,
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APA: NER Washington forum; Challenge to the Warren Commission, part one. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from