Garrison writes that he later came upon the same Chicago number among phone records reprinted in the Warren Commission Hearings volumes.(6) The call had been made by traveling salesman Lawrence Meyers -- a casual friend of Jack Ruby's -- to a Ms. Jean Aase.(7) The records were included in the Commission's evidence because Ms. Aase had accompanied Meyers on a business trip to Dallas the evening of November 20, 1963.(8)
Garrison noted that on the evening of November 21, Meyers and his companion paid a visit to Ruby's Carousel Club, where Meyers introduced Aase to Mr. Ruby himself, and "the three of them sat at a table near the doorway and chatted."(9) Later that night, Ruby joined Meyers and Aase briefly at the Cabana for a drink, where he was introduced to Meyers' brother Eddie, in town for a Pepsi Cola bottlers' convention, as well as Eddie's wife Thelma. Ruby stayed only a few minutes, explaining that he had to get back to the Carousel and collect the night's receipts.(10)
Puzzling over this duplication of the Chicago number in Gill's phone bill, allegedly called by Ferrie, and that of Lawrence Meyers, Garrison writes, "it suddenly occurred to me that I had stumbled across the use of a 'message center' -- a customary intelligence community device to throw off the would-be pursuer of a phone-call listing. And in this instance the message center apparently had resulted in a communication with Jack Ruby."(11)
Therefore, though not a single witness has ever linked Jack Ruby to David Ferrie, Jim Garrison cites these two phone calls as evidence of the two men's association -- and their complicity in John F. Kennedy's death.
The story has grown in subsequent decades, but before going any further, let's examine Garrison's original allegation.
In the early days of the DA's investigation, he was aided by LIFE magazine's Richard Billings. On January 22, 1967, Billings noted in his journal that Garrison had received G. Wray Gill's phone records and "thinks he knows" which calls were Ferrie's.(12)
Researcher David Blackburst, however, has noted reason to be cautious about attributing any particular calls to Ferrie. First of all, Blackburst points out that over three years had passed before secretary Alice Guidroz was asked to decide which calls had been made "by the office,"(13) and which were Ferrie's personal calls. More importantly, though, Blackburst spoke with a number of Ferrie associates, and found that at least eleven people worked out of Gill's office in September 1963.(14) If David Ferrie was making personal calls from Gill's office, what was stopping any other Gill partner, investigator or secretary from placing that call to Chicago?(15) Could a client have made the call?
In 1979, the House Select Committee on Assassinations, without explanation or source citation, "found that David W. Ferrie had called the number of Jean Aase" on September 24, 1963.(16) The only indication of an HSCA inquiry into that issue seems to be a 1978 interview with Jim Garrison, who told committee investigators that G. Wray Gill "drew a line through his own calls listed on the bills, and thus Ferrie's calls were the other ones listed."(17) No mention is made of the other nine or more individuals in the office at that time.
HSCA chief counsel G. Robert Blakey hardly clarifies matters in his own book on the assassination, Fatal Hour, co-authored with Richard N. Billings -- yes, the same Richard Billings present when Big Jim received these same phone records. Blakey and Billings write, without the slightest explanation, "In our inspection of telephone records, we had discovered that on September 24, 1963, a fifteen-minute call was made to the number listed for the hotel [where Jean Aase lived] by David W. Ferrie of New Orleans."(18)
A reasonable inference would seem to be that the HSCA simply based its determination upon Jim Garrison's earlier conclusion to the same effect.
Despite whatever Jim Garrison or G. Robert Blakey may claim, the telephone number in question, WH 4-4970, was not Jean Aase's phone number. Dialing WH 4-4970 connected one to the main desk of the apartment building at 20 East Delaware Street, the Chicago building where Aase lived in Room 1405 in 1963.(19) There were 146 apartments at Delaware Towers, plus an unknown number of telephone extensions for employees.(20)
Clearly one might give Jean Aase the benefit of the doubt today when she denies any knowledge of such a phone call, and denies ever having spoken to or having met David Ferrie.(21) Certainly, no one has produced any evidence to the contrary.
Even if Aase had been acquainted with Ferrie, she did not meet Jack Ruby until November 21, 1963, when Lawrence Meyers introduced her to the man who would soon become so famous.(22) In fact, Jean Aase maintains to this day that she did not even know Lawrence Meyers on September 24, 1963, the day the infamous phone call was made. She says that she and Meyers met only a few weeks before the assassination, through Delaware Towers building owner Les Barker.(23)
Thus, unless all involved are lying -- and no one has ever located even a single witness or scrap of evidence to so prove -- Jean Aase cannot reasonably be called a link between Ferrie and Meyers, much less Ferrie and Ruby.
In 1963, Lawrence Meyers, Larry to his friends, was a 53-year-old sales manager in the sporting goods division of Chicago's Ero Manufacturing Company. He had met Jack Ruby a few years earlier.(24) "I was there [in Dallas] on a business trip and footloose and fancy free and I wandered into his club this particular night," Meyers recalled to the Warren Commission's Burt Griffin. "He greeted me at the door. I knew from his conversation, his diction, that he was not a Dallasite . . . He told me he was originally from Chicago and I, at that time, of course, lived in Chicago. So we had a happy meeting ground."(25) The salesman thereafter made a point of stopping by the Carousel Club whenever he was in town.(26)
He arrived in Dallas for one such trip on November 20, 1963, accompanied by the 27-year old Aase,(27) whom Meyers described rather bluntly as a "rather dumb, but accommodating broad,"(28) a "party girl" and a "semi-professional hooker." His decision to invite her along -- as opposed to inviting, say, Mrs. Lawrence Meyers along -- would cause him more than a little grief later on, when he became a witness in an unusually high-profile criminal investigation -- the Kennedy assassination.(29)
After dinner, Meyers brought Aase by the Carousel Club.(30) By Meyers' account, they "visited with Jack for about, oh, an hour, I don't know, just sat around there and yakked with him. Nothing of any consequence."(31) "I told Jack that my brother and his wife were going to meet me for a drink at the Bon Vivant Room [at the Cabana] about 11 o'clock and if he had the time, why didn't he come over and meet us." (32)
Lawrence and Eddie Meyers, Eddie's wife Thelma, and Jean Aase were enjoying cocktails in the Bon Vivant Room when Ruby popped in. The talk, by all accounts, was light-hearted and innocuous. (33) Ms. Aase said that the "conversation was limited to small talk and show people and personalities."(34) She didn't even recall anyone mentioning anything as significant as the President's upcoming visit.(35)
The most substantial thing Lawrence Meyers would later recall was that when Ruby learned of Eddie Meyers' success as a Pepsi Cola distributor, the nightclub owner brought up the possibility of marketing his latest get-rich-quick scheme, the aerobic "twistboard," in conjunction with Pepsi. "I, of course, said forget it," Larry Meyers recalled.(36) "What else did we talk about? I don't know. We could have talked about anything."(37)
Eddie and Thelma Meyers and Jean Aase were witnesses to everything that transpired between Ruby and Lawrence Meyers. Essentially, nothing did.(38)
The following day, Lawrence Meyers, en route to a sales call, had stopped for a sandwich and a cup of coffee when he heard the news that the President had been shot. "Well, I suppose I was just as shocked as most people," he testified. Keeping his appointment at Leonard's Department Store, he and the store's employees watched the television coverage of the President's condition, and "everybody came to a standstill."(39) Under the circumstances, Meyers noted, talking business was out of the question.(40) He spent the rest of Friday and all day Saturday in his hotel room, watching television.(41)
He briefly spoke to Ruby late Saturday evening, noting that, as garbled as Ruby's conversation could become when he was upset, he "seemed far more incoherent" that night than Meyers had ever heard him.(42) Ruby repeatedly expressed his grief for "Mrs. Kennedy and her children," Meyers testified, "and I don't know exactly what I said to him," "other than, well . . . you know, life goes on. She will make a life for herself."(43) "I should do something about it," Ruby stated at one point.(44)
You "must understand," (45) Meyers explained to his Warren Commission interviewer, that the "murder of Oswald, particularly by Jack Ruby,"(46) was "the furthest thing from my mind."(47)
After Meyers and Aase returned to Chicago, the two never saw each other again,(48) perhaps understandably in light of the weekend's events. Nor did Meyers ever see his friend Jack again. "I didn't want to get involved," (49) he told the House Select Committee in 1978. "To begin with," he explained, if his friendship with Ruby had been publicized, so would "the fact that I was not [in Dallas] alone, I don't think my wife would have appreciated that."(50)
Did Lawrence Meyers know David Ferrie? When asked this question by the House Select Committee, Meyers simply replied, "No."(51) "I know who you are talking about," he added. "I read about him."(52) Did he know whether or not Jean Aase knew Ferrie? "I would be very surprised if she did," he said.(53)
As if Garrison's assumptions had not confused things enough, journalist Peter Noyes introduced a new element into the scenario in 1973. Noyes' Legacy of Doubt centers on a man picked up for questioning in Dealey Plaza immediately following the assassination. He and three associates were in town on business and happened to have registered at the Cabana Motor Hotel on the evening of November 21, 1963, the same evening Jack Ruby would drop by to visit with Larry Meyers and friends.(54) This man's name was Jim Braden.
In a sworn affidavit, the 49-year-old Braden gave the Sheriff's Office a California address, and related the following story. He was in Dallas on oil business,(55) and happened to have been "walking down Elm Street trying to get a cab,"(56) when he arrived at the corner of Elm and Houston, where people in the crowd were saying that the President had been shot. Stepping into the Dal-Tex Building, across the street from the Texas School Book Depository, he asked "one of the girls"(57) -- presumably a receptionist -- if there was a telephone he could use. She directed him to the third floor. He took an elevator there with a number of other people, only to be informed that the pay phone was out of order. On his way back downstairs, the elevator operator observed that he was a stranger to the building, and alerted a police officer to his presence. (58) Because Braden had only a credit card for identification, he was taken into custody, then released once the authorities were satisfied he was not involved with the assassination.(59)
Noyes points out that had the authorities checked a little more thoroughly, they might have discovered that Jim Braden was the recently adopted name of Eugene Hale Brading, who possessed a lengthy rap sheet and alleged ties to organized crimes. Brading often made his living by wooing lonely, wealthy widows, a practice which caused him at times to make his living behind bars.(60) Understandably, however, in trying to link Braden to the Kennedy assassination, Noyes chooses not to belabor the fact that Braden's rap sheet runs the gamut from theft to fraud to embezzlement, but there is nary a violent offense to be seen.(61)
In a move replete with irony, none other than Jim Garrison himself would later write that after "sustained analysis," "it was clear that Braden's contribution to the assassination was a large zero."(62)
Be that as it may, fate had a few surprises in store for Mr. Braden.
Anthony Summers, to name one oft-cited author, suggests that when Jack Ruby dropped by the Cabana to chat with Lawrence Meyers and company on the night before the assassination, he could have also had a little conspiratorial tête-à-tête with the Cabana's "intriguing and undesirable guest," Jim Braden. (63)
The Mob-thirsty House Select Committee would have loved to connect Ruby to Braden, but try as they might, they could not do so. The HSCA questioned a number of Jack Ruby's former acquaintances about Braden. None were familiar with him.
Summers himself can only regurgitate the one lone "linkage" the House committee could advance -- a Ruby acquaintance named James Dolan, who was alleged to have been seen with Braden in 1951. Unlike the House committee, however, Summers neglects to tell his readers that Ruby and Dolan did not meet until 1957.(64)
Though Peter Noyes unaccountably misses the "Cabana connection" between Ruby and Braden, Noyes does note that Braden is alleged to have paid a visit to the offices of the Hunt Oil Company the day before the assassination(65) -- the same day Jack Ruby drove a young woman named Connie Trammell to those same offices for a job interview with Lamar Hunt. Hunt security chief Paul Rothermel would later state that Ruby himself did not enter Hunt's office that day, but Rothermel was certain that at some point, Braden did.(66) Braden, however, has always maintained that only his associates visited with the Hunts.(67)
In Peter Noyes' quest for sinister coincidences or linkages, he found at least one. He writes:
David Ferrie worked out of Room 1707 in the Pere Marquette Building, in New Orleans -- the office of Marcello's attorney, G. Wray Gill. A check of federal records and correspondence showed that in addition to his office in Beverly Hills, California, Brading also shared office space on occasion in the Pere Marquette Building, a few doors away from Ferrie in Room 1701. . . . Room 1701 was the office of an oil geologist, Vernon Main, Jr. Braden received mail at that address, and at one time informed parole authorities that he would be working out of Main's office while he was in New Orleans.(68)
The House Select Committee deposed Braden in 1978 with an eye to connecting the Mob-linked hustler to Marcello associate Dave Ferrie (who died in 1967). They could not. To date, no one has.
Did Lawrence Meyers know Jim Braden? Meyers told the House Select Committee he had never heard of Braden, and knew nothing about him being at the Cabana on November 21, 1963.(69)
Deposed by the House Select Committee in 1978, Jim Braden expressed anger and bitterness toward Peter Noyes, who "dug my grave and completely ruined my life,"(70) "creating charges that I was connected in a sinister conspiracy to assassinate former President John F. Kennedy."(71) "Whatever the Committee can do to straighten the matter out and to get at the truth of it, I would appreciate," stated Braden, née Brading, "because I want my name cleared and I want the stigma removed from my name and my family's name."(72)
The "Cabana connection" and the alleged linkage between the Gill and Meyers phone records -- a linkage inexplicably ratified by the House Select Committee on Assassinations(73) --have proved too tempting for many conspiracy theorists to overlook. Therefore, some assumptions based on pure speculation have become codified in conspiracy literature, and treated as matters of documented fact.
Thus Bernard Fensterwald's Assassination of JFK by Coincidence or Conspiracy? links the Garrison and Noyes allegations,(74) and Fensterwald is cited in Robert Groden and Harrison E. Livingstone's High Treason: "The night before the assassination, Jim Braden . . . stayed at the Cabana Motel in Dallas, and Jack Ruby went there around midnight. Ruby went to the Cabana to see Lawrence Meyers, whose companion was Jean West [West was an alias Jean Aase used for her amorous escapade to Dallas; see endnote 9]. She usually lived in Chicago, and interestingly enough, David Ferrie had called her, according to his phone records, two months before."(75) "Braden had an office in New Orleans,"(76) "Room 1701 in the Pere Marquette Building."(77) "Dave Ferrie was working for Carlos Marcello on the same floor . . ."(78)
Drawing upon sources such as the HSCA, Jim Garrison's A Heritage of Stone(79) and Anthony Summers' Conspiracy, Henry Hurt's Reasonable Doubt cites the alleged Ferrie-Aase call,(80) noting that "on the eve of the assassination," Aase "was in Dallas having drinks with Jack Ruby. While none of this makes a conspiracy,"(81) Hurt magnanimously reminds the reader, "it heightens the interlocking connections that seem to link David Ferrie with various figures, including Marcello, Jack Ruby, and Lee Harvey Oswald."(82)
Hurt also references the familiar Braden story, but foregoes the usual Cabana-Ruby story for a passing mention of Noyes' Hunt "connection."(83)
Jim Marrs' Crossfire draws upon Noyes, Fensterwald, Hurt and Summers to repeat the familiar tale.(84)
Philip Melanson gets in on the act in Spy Saga, citing Summers and the HSCA, but exercising a bit of caution, reporting that Dave Ferrie's "telephone records provided a possibly coincidental but intriguing tidbit." "It has not been established to whom"(85) Ferrie talked, "but the building was the residence of one Jean West" (sic).(86)
Seth Kantor's Who Was Jack Ruby? (later reprinted as The Ruby Cover-Up) devotes several pages to Jim Braden, and Kantor cannot resist wondering whether "the paths of Ruby and Brading crossed at the Cabana Motel" the night before the assassination.(87) Kantor, however, does not dredge up Garrison's phone factoid. (In fact, unlike most Mob-oriented writers, Kantor omits mention of Dave Ferrie altogether.)
A Little Logic, Please!
Anyone who thinks there might be something sinister about Meyers and Aase and Ruby and their meetings in Dallas needs to answer the following questions:
-- John McAdams
David E. Scheim's Contract on America notes that on the eve of the assassination, "Ruby stopped in at a restaurant in the Teamster-financed Dallas Cabana Hotel. With Ruby was Larry Meyers, who had checked into the Cabana that day, as had Mobster Eugene Brading."(88) Scheim taints Lawrence Meyers with allegations of Mob connections, and devotes several pages elsewhere to discussions of Braden and Dave Ferrie. To Scheim's credit, at least, he too omits the alleged Ferrie-Aase phone call.
Following Scheim's lead, Mark North's Act of Treason matter-of-factly references "Last-minute interactions between Ruby and various Mafia functionaries," including Jim Braden and Lawrence Meyers (sic),(89) and takes things a step further when he speculates that Jean Aase could be a certain "Jeane" with whom Mafioso Gilbert Beckley was allegedly overheard discussing the possibility of assassinating Robert Kennedy with explosives at some point in time.(90)
North also dredges up alleged Ruby-Braden link Joe Dolan, said to have been "seen by an FBI agent entering a bookmaking establishment in Dallas" the day before the assassination.(91) Otherwise, North is faithful to the Summers and Scheim accounts.(92)
George Michael Evica's And We Are All Mortal relates the saga in excruciating detail,(93) and even broaches the possibility that Meyers' brother Ed, the Pepsi employee, could conceivably be one and the same with an "Ed Myers" mentioned by Meyer Lansky during testimony before the Kefauver Committee. He also observes that Richard Nixon was in Dallas then "as Pepsi's legal negotiator with the Wynne-Murchison-Rockefeller Great Southwest Corporation"(94) -- a Ruby-Nixon-Rockefeller link! -- and he notes that the individual who co-owned an NYC Pepsi bottling plant with Meyers "had earlier assisted Joseph McCarthy in his financial difficulties"(95) -- a Ruby-Joe McCarthy link!
One final account worthy of note is that contained in Noel Twyman's Bloody Treason, which vaguely cites the Warren Report, the HSCA Final Report, Kantor, Noyes, and Scheim. Twyman adds no new wrinkles to the story, but states explicitly some of the reasoning only implied in many other accounts.(96)
Twyman references the "suspicious activity of note"(97) that occurred when Ruby met with Aase and Meyers at the Cabana, and describes the familiar phone call allegation.(98) A footnote adds, "The telephone call was placed to her apartment building and the telephone company could not say with certainty that it was to Jean Aase. But who else in that building would Ferrie have been calling from New Orleans?"(99)
By a curious coincidence, Eugene Hale Brading (aka Jim Braden) was also seen at the Cabana Motel. It was Braden who was arrested in Dealey Plaza a few minutes after the Kennedy assassination as he just happened to be leaving the Dal-Tex Building, which is one of the buildings from which it is believed a shot or shots were fired at Kennedy in the motorcade.(100)
Believed by whom? Many assassination researchers may believe such a thing, but no one in Dealey Plaza identified the Dal-Tex Building as the source of any shots.(101)
It just happened that Braden was a Mafia-connected figure, an ex-convict on parole, and just happened to be visiting in Dallas at that time and just happened to be in the Dal-Tex Building to make a phone call.(102)Perhaps if the Mafia were to be linked to the assassination, and if Mr. Braden's rap sheet included a conviction or two for murder, and if there were some eyewitnesses who singled out the Dal-Tex Building as the origin of one or more gun shots, then there might be some reason to find Mr. Braden as worthy of suspicion as Twyman implies.
While in Dallas, Braden also just happened to visit the offices of right-wing extremist and oil billionaire H. L. Hunt, friend and backer of Lyndon Johnson.(103)Possibly Braden had visited Hunt, though Braden denies it.(104) Have either Hunt or LBJ ever been linked to the assassination through anything more than innuendo and speculation?
It also just happened that Jack Ruby had visited the offices of H. L. Hunt the day before the assassination.(105)Despite nearly four decades of microanalysis, however, not even Jack Ruby's biography has yielded any connection to John F. Kennedy's death.
"And amazingly, it just happened that Braden had an office in New Orleans" -- close enough, one supposes; Braden occasionally worked out of Vernon Main's office -- down the hall from G. Wray Gill's office, where Dave Ferrie was an occasional presence. (106)
What Twyman has done more explicitly than some is linked a number of people considered suspicious by researchers, adding up as many such linkages as possible, seeming to reason that if enough "suspicious" things just happen, there must be something genuinely suspicious at the heart of it all. But that and the proverbial dollar will get you a cup of coffee, or maybe even a call to Chicago. Just be careful whose phone you use.
1. Jim Garrison, A Heritage of Stone, 1975 ed., 107; Garrison, On the Trail of the Assassins, 1991 ed., hereafter Garrison, 127. In his 1988 memoirs, Garrison claims to have personally paid a visit to Gill's office to obtain these records. The onetime DA casts some doubt on his 1988 account when he claims that G. Wray Gill fired Ferrie because of his allegedly exorbitant phone bills. "I told Dave adios," Garrison quotes Gill as saying. "I told him I could put up with his eccentricities, but not his long-distance calls." Contrary to Garrison's account, however, Gill coworkers would later recall their boss being concerned not with phone bills, but with the allegations of Ferrie associate Jack S. Martin concerning Ferrie's alleged connections to Lee Harvey Oswald and/or the assassination of John F. Kennedy: "the reason for Ferrie's departure from Gill's office was embarrassment over his implication in the JFK matter" (David Blackburst, Interviews with Gill associates; E-mail to author, August 14, 1999). Either way, as Blackburst notes, in January 1964, Ferrie had just purchased a service station with the $7,000 he'd earned from working with Gill to keep "respectable businessman" Carlos Marcello from being deported to Guatemala: "The Marcello case was over (temporarily) and Gill thought it best to gently help steer Ferrie toward" the service station he had just purchased (Ibid.). Additionally, Garrison writes, "In the course of striking through the office calls, the secretary discovered that the bills for November 1963 -- the month of President Kennedys' assassination -- were missing. She had no idea who removed them but pointed out that Ferrie still had access to the office files then" (Garrison, 127). Garrison's memory seems to have improved dramatically in the decade since a 1978 interview with investigators from the House Select Committee on Assassinations. "When asked if he had ever asked Gill why he had not turned over Ferrie's calls from November 1963," the HSCA report reads, "Garrison at first stated 'I don't know.' When the question was repeated, with the comment that he must have viewed the absence of the November 1963 calls disturbing, Garrison stated that he thinks that he did ask Gill about the missing November billing, and that Gill stated that they were missing. When asked if he followed it up, perhaps by asking Gill to make a further search for the records, Garrison said he couldn't recall" (Jim Garrison, HSCA interview of November 8, 1978). Researcher David Blackburst found at least some of Gill's November 1963 phone records at the National Archives, in the same HSCA files as the other bills. However, he notes that one or more pages could indeed be missing.
2. David Ferrie was a pilot and private investigator whom Garrison believed strongly to have been involved with the assassination, largely because of a car trip Ferrie took to Houston the night following the assassination, which the FBI investigated exhaustively and found to be lacking in significance. See Jim Garrison, On the Trail of the Assassins, 1991 ed., 4-6, for Garrison's account. Please note, however, that when Garrison states on page 4 that his office "discovered" shortly after the assassination that Ferrie had been seen with Lee Harvey Oswald the previous summer, this statement is false. Rather, Jack S. Martin had been spreading a number of stories linking Oswald to Ferrie, none of them claiming first-hand knowledge of such an association, and all of them recanted shortly thereafter. It was three years later, in late 1966, that Garrison contacted Martin again, and Martin began to claim personal knowledge of an Oswald-Ferrie link. Garrison admitted to LIFE's Richard Billings -- who was working closely with the DA's office on the JFK investigation -- that Martin was "an undependable drunk and a totally unreliable witness" (Richard Billings, contemporaneous notes, early December 1966, [pp. 1-2]). Martin claimed to have seen Oswald and Ferrie together in the office of deceased Garrison suspect William Guy Banister, "but," Garrison told Billings of Martin, "he's a liar who hates Ferrie" (Billings, contemporaneous notes of January 5, 1967 [p. 4]). After questioning Martin a few weeks later, Assistant DA Louis Ivon told Billings that Martin had been "evasive," and described Martin as "a lush and a bum" (Billings, contemporaneous notes of January 25, 1967 [p. 8]).
3. "Gill instructed his secretary to draw a penciled line through every call made by the office," Garrison writes, "leaving exposed the calls made by Ferrie" (Garrison, 127). "They're easy to pick out," he quotes Gill as saying. "Those cities there didn't have a damned things [sic] to do with this office. You know better than anyone about ninety percent of my business is right here in New Orleans." Be that as it may, there are a number of calls to such exotic lands as Guatemala, to where Gill's most valuable client, Carlos Marcello, had been threatened with deportation in 1963, and where the office had reason to call numerous times.
4. In On the Trail of the Assassins, Garrison defines "sheepdipping" as a term used in the "intelligence community" for a kind of "manipulated behavior designed to create a desired image" (Garrison, 70 fn.). Garrison believed that when Oswald professed devotion to Marxism and Fidel Castro's revolution, he was merely following orders from individuals who wished to falsely create such an image for later exploitation (Ibid.).
5. Garrison, 128. Even if this phone call had been a sinister, conspiratorial contact, why would plotters direct Oswald to uproot himself from New Orleans on or about September 24, 1963, when it wasn't until September 26 that John F. Kennedy's Dallas trip was confirmed? (Warren Commission Report, 40). It should be noted, however, that the Dallas Times-Herald was reporting as early as September 13 that "President Kennedy was planning a brief 1-day tour of four Texas cities -- Dallas, Fort Worth, San Antonio, and Houston" (Ibid.). The White House itself did not confirm that Dallas would be one of the stops until September 26 (Ibid.).
The date of Oswald's departure from New Orleans is not certain, but a neighbor testified that he saw Oswald depart the evening of September 24, 1963, and on September 25, Oswald's apartment was found to be vacant. The Warren Commission speculated that Oswald left New Orleans on September 25, 1963, on Continental Trailways bus No. 5121, which departed New Orleans for Houston at 12:20 pm (Warren Commission Report, 730-2). There also is credible evidence that Oswald could have left New Orleans on September 23 (Henry Hurt, Reasonable Doubt, 370 fn., citing 11 H 462-3).
6. Commission Exhibit No. 2350 (Warren Commission Hearings, Vol. XXV, 335); Garrison, 128. It has been alleged, but not verified, that Texas researcher Mary Ferrell was the person who first noticed the Chicago number in the two separate records (Peter Whitmey, Newsgroup post of May 26, 1999).
7. FBI Report of interview with Jean Aase, December 3, 1963, Commission Exhibit No. 2266 (Warren Commission Hearings, Vol. XXV, 190); Special Agents George H. Parfet and Richard B. Lee; see also FBI Report of interview with Lawrence Meyers, December 3, 1963, Special Agents George H. Parfet and Richard B. Lee, Commission Exhibit No. 2267 (Warren Commission Hearings, Vol. XXV, 191-2); Garrison, 128-9. "Meyers had phoned Jean on Nov. 20, 1963 from Kansas City prior to their trip to Dallas later that day," writes Peter Whitmey. "Meyers must have returned to Chicago to pick up Jean, since she recalled traveling . . . to Dallas with him from Chicago" (Peter Whitmey, Interview with Jean Aase, 1998; Newsgroup post of May 26, 1999).
8. House Select Committee Hearings, Vol. IX, 806-8; Warren Commission Report, 334; see also FBI Report of interview with Jean Aase, December 3, 1963, Commission Exhibit No. 2266 (Warren Commission Hearings, Vol. XXV, 190); Special Agents George H. Parfet and Richard B. Lee; see also FBI Report of interview with Lawrence Meyers, December 3, 1963, Special Agents George H. Parfet and Richard B. Lee, Commission Exhibit No. 2267 (Warren Commission Hearings, Vol. XXV, 191-2).
9. Ibid. Garrison notes that Aase's name is misspelled "Asie" in Commission Exhibit 2350, and she is referred to as "Jean West" in an FBI interview with Lawrence Meyers (Commission Exhibit 2267; Warren Commission Hearings, Vol. XXV, 191-2; Garrison 128-9). Meyers knew her as Jean West, an alias she had briefly adopted for the Dallas trip (Peter Whitmey, Newsgroup post of August 23, 1999). Of Meyers, Garrison notes suspiciously, "His daughter worked for the government nuclear reactor at Argonne, Illinois, and his son was in Army Intelligence" (Garrison, 129). Meyers had volunteered this information to the Commission (Warren Commission Hearings, Vol. XV, 638).
10. House Select Committee Hearings, Vol. IX , 905-7; Warren Commission Report, 334; see also FBI Report of interview with Jean Aase, December 3, 1963, Commission Exhibit No. 2266 (Warren Commission Hearings, Vol. XXV, 190); Special Agents George H. Parfet and Richard B. Lee; see also FBI Report of interview with Lawrence Meyers, December 3, 1963, Special Agents George H. Parfet and Richard B. Lee, Commission Exhibit No. 2267 (Warren Commission Hearings, Vol. XXV, 191-2).
11. Garrison, 130.
12. Richard Billings, contemporaneous notes, January 21, 1967 (p. 6). Attention was called at this time to some "interesting" calls to Texas. Garrison apparently lost interest, though. In his two books on the assassination, Garrison muses about calls to Mexico, Toronto, and Guatemala -- but not Texas (Garrison, 128; Jim Garrison, A Heritage of Stone, 1975 ed., 107). Perhaps even Garrison couldn't ultimately conclude anything too spooky about a call to Dallas on August 10, 1963 -- when Lee Harvey Oswald was living in New Orleans. The Texas calls closest to the assassination are to Texarkana, November 1, and to Houston, December 1. However, it does appear that a page or two may be missing from November, as Garrison claimed at the time (Gill phone records, initialed and dated by Alice Guidroz; courtesy of David Blackburst and John McAdams; records missing: Billings, Ibid.).
13. Garrison, 127.
14. David Blackburst, Newsgroup posts of May 26 and 29, 1999. Blackburst writes, "Among those working in the office in 1963, by their own accounts, were: G. Wray Gill Sr., Gilbert Bernstein, Gerard H. Schreiber, George W. Gill, Jr., Alice Guidroz, Regina Francovich, David W. Ferrie, Morris L. Brownlee, plus one other secretary and two investigators." Garrison, of course, could have asked every single one of those people about the phone call, with the possible exception of Ferrie. He didn't. (It's not known when the discovery of the number in the Warren Commission volumes was made, so it cannot be said with certainty that Garrison had reason to ask Ferrie about that particular number before his untimely demise on February 22, 1967. The NODA received Gill's records on January 4, 1967 [Gill phone records, initialed and dated by Alice Guidroz; David Blackburst, E-mail to author, August 22, 1999].)
15. David Blackburst, Newsgroup posts of May 26 and 29, 1999.
16. House Select Committee Hearings, Vol. IV, 499.
17. Jim Garrison, HSCA interview of November 8, 1978. This is essentially what Garrison reports in his 1988 memoirs, but for the detail that it was Gill's secretary who marked off the calls that were ostensibly not attributable to Ferrie (Garrison, 127), which indeed seems to be the case (Gill phone records, initialed and dated by Gill secretary Alice Guidroz; information courtesy of David Blackburst).
18. G. Robert Blakey and Richard N. Billings, Fatal Hour, 335-6.
19. Peter Whitmey correctly notes, "In the case of Meyers' call, his business records . . . indicate that the call had been placed to Ms. Aase's room, while in the case of Ferrie's [alleged] earlier call, no room number is given on the subpoenaed phone bill" (Peter Whitmey, Newsgroup post of May 26, 1999).
20. Russ Burr, Newsgroup post of June 4, 1999. Burr recently phoned the building, now the Talbott Hotel. He writes, "It is a 16 story building with 146 rooms, ten to a floor. I wasn't able to talk to any of the old timers . . . but the hotel manager told me that the numbers of rooms are approximately the same as in 1963."
21. Peter Whitmey, Interview with Jean Aase, 1998, cited in a newsgroup post of February 13, 1999. Whitmey writes, "Ms. Aase did not know David Ferrie, did not recall receiving a 15-minute phone call originating in New Orleans from Ferrie on Sept. 24, 1963, and did not know Jack Ruby before meeting him with Lawrence Meyers shortly before the assassination."
22. Commission Exhibit No. 2266 (Hearings, Vol. XXV, 190); Peter Whitmey, Interview with Jean Aase, 1998; see also December 12, 1963, FBI Report of interview with Lawrence Meyers, December 3, 1963, Special Agents George H. Parfet and Richard B. Lee, Commission Exhibit No. 2267 (Warren Commission Hearings, Vol. XXV, 191-2)
23. Peter Whitmey interview with Jean Aase, 1998; Newsgroup post of May 26, 1999; see also House Select Committee Hearings Vol. IX, 905. Again, if Aase and Meyers lied about this, no one has ever come forward to set the record straight -- and this has been a public issue since Jim Garrison first raised it, which was no later than 1968 (Paris Flammonde, The Kennedy Conspiracy, 208).
24. House Select Committee Hearings, Vol. IX, 806-8; Warren Commission Report, 334.
25. Warren Commission Hearings, Vol. XV, 622.
26. House Select Committee Hearings, Vol. IX, 806-8; Warren Commission Report, 334. "Did Jack ever discuss with you any political views that he had?" Griffin asked. "Did he ever talk about President Kennedy?" Ruby "worshipped Kennedy and his family," Meyers said, suggesting "maybe it was a father complex, father image or the family that he wished he had himself." He "thought that John F. Kennedy was possibly the greatest man that ever lived." "How did this topic happen to be brought up?" the Commission counsel asked. "Oh, golly, I don't know, Mr. Griffin. I don't know. We could have been talking about something that Kennedy had done at that time I don't know. I would have no way of knowing" (Warren Commission Hearings, Vol. XV, 626).
27. Ibid.; House Select Committee Hearings, Vol. IX, 806-8; Warren Commission Report, 334; see also FBI Report of interview with Jean Aase, December 3, 1963, Commission Exhibit No. 2266 (Warren Commission Hearings, Vol. XXV, 190); Special Agents George H. Parfet and Richard B. Lee; see also FBI Report of interview with Lawrence Meyers, December 3, 1963, Special Agents George H. Parfet and Richard B. Lee, Commission Exhibit No. 2267 (Warren Commission Hearings, Vol. XXV, 191-2). The two had checked into the Ramada Motor Hotel because of its close proximity to the airport, then moved the following day to Meyers' preferred home-away-from-home in Dallas, the Cabana Motor Hotel; Aase's age: Peter Whitmey, 1998 interview of Jean Aase, Newsgroup post of September 9, 1999.
28. December 12, 1963, FBI Report of interview with Lawrence Meyers, December 3, 1963, Special Agents George H. Parfet and Richard B. Lee, Warren Commission Exhibit No. 2267, Hearings Vol. XXV, 191.
29. House Select Committee Hearings, Vol. IX, 905-7; Ms. Aase was not aware that Meyers was a married man (Peter Whitmey, Interview with Jean Aase, 1988; Newsgroup post of May 26, 1999).
30. FBI Report of interview with Jean Aase, December 3, 1963, Commission Exhibit No. 2266 (Warren Commission Hearings, Vol. XXV, 190); Special Agents George H. Parfet and Richard B. Lee; see also December 12, 1963, FBI Report of interview with Lawrence Meyers, December 3, 1963, Special Agents George H. Parfet and Richard B. Lee, Commission Exhibit No. 2267 (Warren Commission Hearings, Vol. XXV, 191-2).
31. Warren Commission Hearings, Vol. XV, 626.
32. Warren Commission Hearings, Vol. XV, 626. "Did you notice anything unusual about his behavior?" Burt Griffin asked Meyers during his Warren Commission deposition. "He was just as nutty as he always was," Meyers said, then added, "I use the word advisedly."
33. FBI Report of interview with Jean Aase, December 3, 1963, Commission Exhibit No. 2266 (Warren Commission Hearings, Vol. XXV, 190); Special Agents George H. Parfet and Richard B. Lee; see also FBI Report of interview with Lawrence Meyers, December 3, 1963, Special Agents George H. Parfet and Richard B. Lee, Commission Exhibit No. 2267 (Warren Commission Hearings, Vol. XXV, 191-2); Commission Exhibit No. 2268 (Warren Commission Hearings, Vol. XXV, 193); Warren Commission Hearings, Vol. XV, 627-9.
34. FBI Report of interview with Jean Aase, December 3, 1963, Commission Exhibit No. 2266 (Warren Commission Hearings, Vol. XXV, 190); Special Agents George H. Parfet and Richard B. Lee.
35. FBI Report of interview with Jean Aase, December 3, 1963, Commission Exhibit No. 2266 (Warren Commission Hearings, Vol. XXV, 190); Special Agents George H. Parfet and Richard B. Lee; see also FBI Report of interview with Lawrence Meyers, December 3, 1963, Special Agents George H. Parfet and Richard B. Lee, Commission Exhibit No. 2267 (Warren Commission Hearings, Vol. XXV, 191-2).
36. Warren Commission Hearings, Vol. XV, 629.
38. FBI Report of interview with Jean Aase, December 3, 1963, Commission Exhibit No. 2266 (Warren Commission Hearings, Vol. XXV, 190); Special Agents George H. Parfet and Richard B. Lee; see also FBI Report of interview with Lawrence Meyers, December 3, 1963, Special Agents George H. Parfet and Richard B. Lee, Commission Exhibit No. 2267 (Warren Commission Hearings, Vol. XXV, 191-2); Commission Exhibit No. 2268 (Warren Commission Hearings, Vol. XXV, 193); Warren Commission Hearings, Vol. XV, 627-9.
39. Warren Commission Hearings, Vol. XV, 630.
41. Ibid.; House Select Committee Hearings, Vol. IX, 901-2.
42. Warren Commission Hearings, Vol. XV, 634.
48. House Select Committee Hearings, Vol. IX, 901-2; Peter Whitmey, Interview with Jean Aase, 1998; Newsgroup post of May 26, 1999.
49. House Select Committee Hearings, Vol. IX, 920.
50. Ibid. Also, "for God's sake, don't publicize this," he said, forgetting that his full testimony would indeed be made public, "I had lost all respect for the Dallas Police Department." "With what had happened. Both the assassination and the Oswald shooting. As far as I am concerned, the Dallas Police Department was so stupid on the whole thing. It was unreal . . ." (Ibid., 920-1)
51. House Select Committee Hearings, Vol. IX, 901-2.
53. House Select Committee Hearings, Vol. IX, 921-2. The House Select Committee adds, "There is no indication that Meyers had engaged in criminal activities, had a criminal record or had been the subject of any criminal or related investigations (besides the assassination investigation). He did not appear to have any political or law enforcement connections" (House Select Committee Hearings, Vol. IX , 806).
54. According to a Braden account of 1968, these associates were Roger Bauman, Dallas native Morgan Brown, and pilot Duane Nowlan (Noyes, 72). In 1978, he named the three as Brown, Nowlan, and investor Myron Routt (Jim Braden, 1978 House Select Committee deposition; Braden's deposition is apparently combined from two sessions before the House committee, on May 16 and July 26, 1978; William Kelly, Newsgroup post of May 16, 1999).
55. Jim Braden, Voluntary Statement, Form No. 86, Sheriff's Department, County of Dallas, November 22, 1963 (Decker Exhibit No. 5323, Warren Commission Hearings, Vol. XIX, 469). Braden was in town as a representative of oilman Vernon Main, and Braden's associates paid a visit to the offices of Dallas oilman H. L. Hunt on behalf of Main (Warren Commission Document 385, 401, cited in Groden and Livingstone, High Treason, 305).
56. Jim Braden, Voluntary Statement, Form No. 86, Sheriff's Department, County of Dallas, November 22, 1963 (Decker Exhibit No. 5323, Warren Commission Hearings, Vol. XIX, 469). Some accuse Braden of changing his story at a later date, but his recently declassified House Select Committee deposition of 1978 is virtually identical to his 1963 account.
59. Peter Noyes, Legacy of Doubt, 29, 40-60.
61. Noyes, 29. Though Noyes never presents anything even remotely resembling evidence that Braden was involved in the JFK assassination, he manages to fill 250 pages with speculation about the man picked up in Dealey Plaza, often veering wildly over the line between mildly interesting coincidences and unfathomable innuendo. For example, despite Noyes' blunt condemnation of Jim Garrison's investigation (Ibid., 107-14), he devotes several chapters to Garrison's conspiracy indictment of Edgar Eugene Bradley, who bears no relation to Eugene Hale Brading but the slight similarity of their names (Ibid., 84-103, 159-209). Despite some speculation to the contrary, the indictment of Gene Bradley had no relation whatsoever to Jim Braden (cf. Garrison investigator Tom Bethell's diary, parts four, five, six, and seven). Furthermore, if Braden had anything suspicious on his agenda, it's odd that he would have brought along three witnesses, his business companions, for the trip. And couldn't have The Conspiracy have provided Braden with some identification under a completely false name, rather than the one he had legally adopted, just in the unlikely event he was arrested?
62. Garrison, 239; credit goes to Jerry Shinley for bringing this to my attention. Naturally, Garrison's opinion is not in itself of any use in determining Braden's relative guilt or innocence. In fact, given Garrison's alleged associations with member of organized crime, but more importantly his undeniable failure to even attempt to curb Mafia activity in New Orleans, Garrison is the last authority this author would seriously cite with regard to any allegedly Mob-connected suspect. In addition, Braden told the HSCA that he personally "knew Jim Garrison well enough to say hello to on the street" (Jim Braden, 1978 House Select Committee deposition; William Kelly, Newsgroup post of May 16, 1999).
63. Anthony Summers, Conspiracy, 1989 Paragon ed., 452.
64. House Select Committee Hearings, Vol. IX, 425; Summers, 452.
65. Noyes, 75-7
66. Noyes, 78-9. Braden would later insist that his business associates visited the Hunt offices at that time, but that he himself did not (Noyes, 224). It seems reasonable to suggest that Paul Rothermel could be mistaken.
67. Cf. Jim Braden, 1978 House Select Committee deposition; William Kelly, Newsgroup post of May 16, 1999).
68. Noyes, 158. Noyes continues:
"For some reason, Brading informed the parole authorities that he could be found in Room 1706 of the Pere Marquette building, which would have placed him right next door to David Ferrie. However, a check determined that Room 1706 had been occupied by the Pinkerton Detective Agency for many years, and 1701 was actually the room used by Brading."The foregoing passage would take on a life of its own in years to come. The original edition of Anthony Summers' Conspiracy faithfully relates Noyes' account of this alleged Braden-Ferrie "connection" (1980 McGraw-Hill edition, 477). Researcher Jerry Shinley has noted that, due to an apparent copyediting error, the 1989 Paragon edition of Conspiracy inadvertently rearranged the Pere Marquette's layout to associate Ferrie and Braden with the same office. The 1989 edition reads, "Ferrie worked out of [G. Wray Gill's] office in New Orleans' Pere Marquette Building. This was designated Room 1706, which was incorrect, but he did have his mail sent to Room 1701. A check of federal records shows that Eugene Brading gave that same building and the same floor, as his New Orleans address. He told parole authorities that he used Room 1701" (Summers, Conspiracy, 1989 ed., 454). As Shinley notes, it was Braden, of course, not Ferrie, who incorrectly "designated" Room 1706 as his workplace to parole authorities; and it was Braden, not Ferrie, who received mail at 1701, where Braden in fact worked for Vernon Main, Jr. (Jerry Shinley, Newsgroup post of May 28, 1999).
69. House Select Committee Hearings, Vol. IX, 484.
70. Braden's deposition is apparently combined from two sessions before the House committee, on May 16 and July 26, 1978 (William Kelly, Newsgroup post of May 16, 1999).
72. Ibid. The Cabana tale took yet another twist with the publication of Beverly Oliver's Nightmare in Dallas. Ms. Oliver, who claims to have been the mysterious Dealey Plaza witness called the "Babushka Lady" by researchers, has a number of documented credibility problems. Researcher William Kelly finds Oliver's reasonably innocuous Cabana story worthy of credence, however, and provides a straightforward summary of her claims in his article, "Thursday Night at the Cabana Lounge -- A Harmonic Convergence. A few other questionable figures, however, also make brief cameos.
73. Inexplicably, that is, unless one believes that the "Mafia conspiracy" bias of HSCA Chief Counsel G. Robert Blakey influenced the committee's decision to affirm the alleged connection between Mob-tainted Ruby and Marcello associate Ferrie.
74. Bernard Fensterwald's Assassination of JFK by Coincidence or Conspiracy? 288.
75. Robert J. Groden and Harrison Edward Livingstone, High Treason, 1990 Berkley ed., 319.
78. Ibid. Ferrie was actually working for G. Wray Gill, who was Marcello's attorney.
79. Jim Garrison, A Heritage of Stone, 1975 ed., 107-8, 144.
80. Henry Hurt, Reasonable Doubt, 284.
82. Ibid. Strangely, Hurt omits mention of Lawrence Meyers altogether.
83. Ibid., 124.
84. Jim Marrs, Crossfire, 1992 ed., 338.
85. Philip H. Melanson, Spy Saga, 41.
87. Seth Kantor, The Ruby Cover-Up, 1992 ed., 81.
88. David E. Scheim, Contract on America, 263.
89. Mark North, Act of Treason, 1992 ed., 192.
90. Ibid., 192, 313.
91. Ibid., 372.
92. Ibid., 308-10, 313, 372, 390.
93. George Michael Evica, And We Are All Mortal, 162-7.
94. Ibid., 163.
96. There are plenty of other books that use bits and pieces of these factoids, but they almost invariably cite the same sources previously mentioned. Michael Benson's Who's Who in the JFK Assassination, for example, cites Scheim, Garrison, Groden and Livingstone, Summers, Blakey, Evica, Kantor and North under his entry for Jean Aase.
97. Noel Twyman, Bloody Treason, 273.
99. Ibid., 273 fn. Putting aside the issue of who placed the call, wouldn't Mr. Twyman's question be a little more reasonable if he actually knew who else in that building anyone could have been calling? If Jean Aase is the only occupant of the building Mr. Twyman names, how can he justify his question as a rhetorical one?
100. Ibid., 273.
101. Those who suspect Braden to have been a Dal-Tex gunman do so in spite of the fact that, of the hundreds of Dealey Plaza eyewitnesses, from whom we have reports of gun shots from the Triple Underpass, from behind the stockade fence on the grassy knoll, from the bushes on the knoll, and even from inside John F. Kennedy's limousine, not even a single witness reported a shot from the Dal-Tex Building. There are, however, a handful of witnesses who were not certain from which building at Elm and Houston the shots originated. Researcher Michael Russ has compiled the testimony of these witnesses, and demonstrated how weak the case is for a shot from the Dal-Tex Building. Unlike the Texas School Book Depository, which was identified immediately by numerous witnesses as the source of some or all of the shots -- sometimes down to the specific window -- the Dal-Tex Building invited little curiosity, if any at all.
102. Twyman, 273.
104. Jim Braden, 1978 House Select Committee deposition; William Kelly, Newsgroup post of May 16, 1999.
106. Ibid. Actually, Twyman writes, "And amazingly, it just happened that Braden had an office in New Orleans next door to the office of Guy Banister [sic], who just happened to share that office on occasion with Lee Harvey Oswald" (Ibid.). There's no need to belabor Twyman's obvious goof -- confusing G. Wray Gill's office in the Pere Marquette Building, where Dave Ferrie worked part-time in 1962-63, with Guy Banister's office at 531 Lafayette Street. Ferrie also worked part-time for Banister, whose 531 Lafayette was right around the corner from 544 Camp Street, anaddress that, for reasons unknown, Lee Oswald stamped on a small number of his pro-Castro handouts during the summer of 1963. Jim Garrison started the myth that 544 Camp and 531 Lafayette were two entrances that led to the same office -- that of Guy Banister -- when in reality, while they are technically in the same building, they lead to mutually exclusive locations. Banister's office was not accessible from 544 Camp Street (HSCA Exhibit #1, November 6, 1978; HSCA Testimony of Sam Newman, former owner of the building at 544 Camp/531 Lafayette; Gus Russo, Live by the Sword,197, citing an interview with Banister employee Joe Newbrough).