Reading New Orleans’s DA Jim Garrison
Jim Garrison was born four and half years after President John Kennedy and about a thousand miles away, but as a quirk of fate would have it, they became intertwined through the President’s murder. In late 1960’s he became quite a cause celebre because of his speculation that Oswald did not fire the gun, and so was not the lone gunmen, but instead someone killed him from the infamous grassy knoll. He then posited that the CIA, headed then by George H.W. Bush, covered up the real story. Thirty years later before he died, director Oliver Stone took up his theory and made a very long movie on it; Kevin Costner starred as Garrison.
The New York Times, did not care for Garrison or his story even when Stone cinematized it. In a review by John P. Mackenzie in 1991.. They wrote:
In an unworthy attempt to showcase his personal theories about the murder of John F. Kennedy, a self-promoter named Jim Garrison, the New Orleans District Attorney in 1967, concocted conspiracy charges against a retired local businessman named Clay Shaw. Mr. Garrison alleged that the crime in Dallas had been hatched in New Orleans by Mr. Shaw, Lee Harvey Oswald and another man.
Two years later a jury, after a month long trial and a closing oration from Mr. Garrison, took only 50 minutes to acquit. The jurors concluded that, whatever doubts they might have had about the Warren Commission’s finding that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone, Mr. Garrison had utterly failed to link Mr. Shaw to any crime.
A day later the unchastened D.A. filed a perjury case, charging Mr. Shaw with lying when he denied meeting with or knowing his alleged co-conspirators. A Federal judge took the rare step of finding “bad faith” on Mr. Garrison’s part and enjoined the second prosecution. Mr. Shaw died in 1974, thus ending his own suit charging a malicious Garrison prosecution and gross violation of his constitutional rights. He had a strong case of fabricated evidence, perjured testimony and abuse of power over the local legal machinery. In fact Mr. Garrison’s sins were worse than that: He had appropriated another human being to make a self-serving political statement.
Oliver Stone’s new movie “JFK” not only fails to concede this evil but perpetuates it. About the only suggestion of a moral problem for the prosecutor, played by Kevin Costner, is expressed by his alienated wife, played by Sissy Spacek. She accuses her husband of picking on Mr. Shaw because he’s gay and supposedly vulnerable. But by the end of 3 hours and 20 minutes on the screen, she too accepts the “value” of his mission.
Mr. Stone is as careless with the truth as is his hero. He depicts the prosecutor’s fabrications as actual events, and adds fabrications of his own. Like the D.A., Mr. Stone is indifferent to the rights of the accused and cynical in denying Clay Shaw his humanity. The movie is ostensibly dedicated to truth; instead it revives a malicious prosecution and, like the prosecutor, uses Clay Shaw to promote a theory of grand conspiracy. Allegations of conspiratorial meetings with Mr. Oswald and others, which would have convicted Mr. Shaw if the jury had believed them, are portrayed on the screen as actually happening. The movie also depicts as true a policeman’s contention that Mr. Shaw, after his arrest, admitted using the alias “Clay Bertrand.”
Mr. Stone glosses quickly over the jury’s ringing “not guilty,” strikes up triumphal music and ends the film with a written epilogue. It says that in 1979 Richard Helms, then Director of Central Intelligence at the time of the Shaw prosecution, admitted that contrary to the defendant’s testimony, Mr. Shaw had “worked for” the C.I.A. But Mr. Shaw was a C.I.A. “contact,” like many businessmen and academics who are sometimes debriefed when returning from abroad.
Lee Harvey Oswald is accurately quoted as contending that he was a “patsy” in the Kennedy case, a victim of a frame-up. Prosecutors and historians will long debate whether he was indeed the fall guy arrested to divert attention from a monstrous global conspiracy.
The Garrison Map of Events
Looking just at the quadratures, the most striking thing about Jim Garrison, splay, is that he has no planets in the three earth signs: Taurus, Virgo or Capricorn and of course no oppositions (key for a splay).
Earth quadratures give a person a strong and perceptive decision-making process; Capricorn is the executive of the horoscope, with Taurus being the planner and Virgo the doer. Absent here, the lack of earth suggests that he was neither the most practical or industrious of men, but instead with five planets in the water trio he was compassionate and sensitive – more like a Don Quixote fighting windmills than a stolid Poncho Villa.
His Uranus is in the Fourth House , the same as President Kennedy, at 06 Pisces making him very concerned with end of life matters that end unusually. Trine his Pluto in Cancer in the Eighth and then trine again his Ascendant at 07 Scorpio, this Grand Water Trine,. Was very sensitive to emotions, both his owns and those of others – particularly those on large patriotic scale. Water signs operate on the deepest the most unconscious level, and these feelings probably swelled within him forming a mission (Neptune at the Midheaven) that he felt honor bound to pursue.
Yet his chart is a bit askew. He is not all honour and noble-minded as his demeanour suggest. Garrison has a lot of planets in the last quadrant of his chart, suggesting he had many things to hide himself, and used the trial as a way escape those questions. His Uranus in Pisces is square his Venus and Mercury suggesting unusual amours and sexual leanings, maybe his attack on Clay Shaw was a way to make himself seem above reproach and muddy the waters. It is hard to say, though that particular square composition does suggest that.
New Orleans in the 1960’s was a wild and libertine then as it is now, (our header shot shows New Orleans in 1963) and Clay Shaw being homosexual in that town, was not the same as if he was in Boston or Chattanooga, but why Garrison showed up there, and not Chicago or Minneapolis is interesting. Conceivably his arrival in the Big Easy coincided with his work with the FBI.
Garrison’s chart does tell us, with the Moon in the Eleventh House, that he loved the attention of the trial and conjunct Saturn suggests that he did not act totally on his own, but had some guidance and help. At six foot six he was definitely an imposing figure that had to galvanize spectator and large people tend to have booming voices that carry well also. Jupiter and Saturn conjunct in Garrison’s chart create a Line of Motivation (Jones re-termed the Line from book to book) and it seems the D. A. felt compelled to make his actions matter and establish himself as moral character, probably another reason for both the job in New Orleans and the Bureau. Others who have this aspect are Emperor Hirohito of Japan and Walt Disney though only Hirohito has it in a different house – the Twelfth.
The D.A. lost his bid in re-election to Harry Connick, sr. He died October 21, 1992 in New Orleans of heart failure. He was seventy years old. He left behind his wife, Elizabeth, and five children.
Johnny Carson devoted an entire “Tonight” show to interviewing Mr. Garrison, whose nickname was the “Jolly Green Giant” and talking about his accusations of a guerrilla band of mysterious figures on the grassy knoll at Dealey Plaza in Dallas, the possibility of shots from a sewer, photographic analysis and the involvement of the Dallas police, Federal Bureau of Investigation, C.I.A., Secret Service and Texas oil millionaires.
The Clay Shaw trial itself involved strange characters. One key witness died under mysterious circumstances. Others refused to repeat on the stand the statements that Mr. Garrison’s investigators had attributed to them. One witness, a psychologist, testified that he had regularly fingerprinted his daughter to make sure a spy had not taken her place.
Several students of the Kennedy assassination said that even though Mr. Garrison’s was seriously flawed, he served as a positive force in focusing attention on the inadequacies of the Warren Commission and pressing for the release of many still-confidential documents . ======= from his obit.