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William Guy Banister
File:Bannister guy.jpg
Born March 7, 1900
Monroe, Louisiana, USA
Died June 6, 1964 (aged 64)
New Orleans, Louisiana, USA
Cause of death coronary thrombosis
Nationality American
Occupation Federal Bureau of Investigation
Private Investigator
Known for Allegations made by Jim Garrison during his investigation of the John F. Kennedy Assassination
This article is part of the
Jim Garrison Investigation
of the
JFK Assassination series.
People
Jim Garrison
John F. Kennedy
Clay Shaw
David Ferrie
Perry Russo
Guy Banister
George de Mohrenschildt
Dean Andrews Jr.
Groups
Fair Play for Cuba Committee
Cuban Democratic Revolutionary Front
Related articles
Trial of Clay Shaw
People involved in the trial of Clay Shaw
JFK (film)

William Guy Banister (March 7, 1900–June 6, 1964) was a career member of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and a private investigator. He gained notoriety from the allegations made by New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison after Banister's death that he had been involved in the Assassination of John F. Kennedy. He was an avid anti-communist -- member of the Minutemen, the John Birch Society, Louisiana Committee on Un-American Activities and publisher of the Louisiana Intelligence Digest. He also supported various anti-Castro groups in the New Orleans area: "Cuban Democratic Revolutionary Front"; "Anti-Communist League of the Caribbean"; and "Friends of Democratic Cuba"[1].

Contents

Early life

Banister was born in Monroe, Louisiana, the oldest of seven children. After studying at the Louisiana State University, he joined the Monroe Police Department[2]. According to the Naval Office of Veteran Affairs, Banister served with the Office of Naval Intelligence during World War II and maintained contacts after the war[3].

Law Enforcement Career

In 1934, Banister joined the FBI. He was present at the death of John Dillinger. Originally based in Indianapolis, he later moved to New York City where he was involved in the investigation of the American Communist Party. J. Edgar Hoover was impressed by Banister's work and in 1938 he was promoted to run the FBI unit in Butte, Montana. He also served in Oklahoma City, Minneapolis and Chicago. In Chicago, he was the Special Agent in Charge for the FBI where one of his associates, Robert Maheu, was liaison between the CIA and the Mafia regarding the various assassination plots against Fidel Castro[4]. He retired from the FBI in 1954.

Banister moved to Louisiana and in January 1955 became Assistant Superintendent of the New Orleans Police Department, where he was given the task of investigating organized crime and corruption within the police force. It later emerged that he was also involved in looking at the role that left-wing political activists were playing in the struggle for civil rights in New Orleans[5]. On the campuses of Tulane University and Louisiana State University he ran a network of informants collecting information on communist activities. He submitted reports on his finding to the FBI through contacts[6].

In March 1957, he was suspended after pulling a gun in public in a bar and threatening a waiter[7]. His suspension ended in June, but when he refused to be transferred to the N.O.P.D.'s Planning Department, he was dismissed from the force.

Private Investigation, Cuba, Oswald, Marcello

After leaving the New Orleans Police Department he established his own private detective agency, "Guy Banister Associates, Inc." on the ground floor of the "Newman Building" with an address of "531 Lafayette Street". Around the corner but located in the same building, with a different entrance, was the office "544 Camp Street". The building housed militant anti-Castro groups: The Cuban Revolutionary Council from October 1961 to February 1962; as well as Sergio Arcacha Smith's Crusade to Free Cuba Committee. It was within walking distance of the New Orleans offices of the FBI, CIA, Office of Naval Intelligence and even the "Reilly Coffee Company" (former employer of Lee Harvey Oswald and a supporter of anti-Castro Cubans)[8]. Local newspapers reported that Banister served as a munitions supplier for the 1961 Bay of Pigs Invasion and continued to deal weapons from his office until 1963[9].

In 1962, Banister dispatched an associate, Maurice Brooks Gaitlin - legal council of Banister's "Anti-Communist League of the Caribbean" to Paris to deliver a suitcase containing $200,000 for the OAS[10]. In 1963, Banister and anti-Castro activist David Ferrie began working for a lawyer named G. Wray Gill and his client, Carlos Marcello. This involved attempts to block Marcello's deportation to Guatemala.

JFK Assassination

On the afternoon of November 22, 1963, the day that President John F. Kennedy was assassinated, Banister and one of his investigators, Jack Martin, were drinking together at the Katzenjammer Bar, located in New Orleans next door to 544 Camp Street. On their return to Banister's office, the two men got into a dispute. Banister believed that Martin had stolen his files and drew his .357 magnum revolver, striking Martin with it several times. During the argument Martin asked: "What are you going to do, kill me? Like you all did Kennedy?" Martin was badly injured and treated at Charity Hospital.[11][12]

Over the next few days Martin told authorities and reporters that Banister and Ferrie had been involved in the assassination. He claimed that Ferrie knew Oswald from their days in the New Orleans Civil Air Patrol and may have taught Oswald how to use a rifle with a telescopic sight.[13] Martin also claimed that Banister drove Ferrie to Texas so Ferrie could fly the assassins of JFK out of the state.[14] Additionally within hours of the assassination a tip from an employee of Banister was submitted to the New Orleans authorities linking Banister, Ferrie and Oswald with the activities of the Fair Play For Cuba Committee.[15]

The information of the activities surrounding Banister, Ferrie and Oswald reached New Orleans district attorney Jim Garrison who, by late 1966, had become very interested in the New Orleans aspects of the assassination. In December 1966, Garrison interviewed Martin about these accusations. Martin claimed that during the summer of 1963, Banister, Ferrie and a group of anti-Castro Cuban exiles were involved in operations against Castro's Cuba that included gun running activities and burglarized armories.[16]

As Garrison continued his investigation, he became convinced that a group of right-wing activists, including Banister, Ferrie, and Clay Shaw, were involved in a conspiracy with elements of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to kill Kennedy. Garrison would later claim that the motive for the assassination was anger over Kennedy's attempts to obtain a peace settlement in both Cuba and Vietnam.[17][18] Garrison also believed that Banister, Shaw, and Ferrie had conspired to set up Oswald as a patsy in the JFK assassination.[19][20]

Post JFK

Banister's publication, the Louisiana Intelligence Digest, maintained that the civil rights movement was part of an international communist conspiracy and therefore treasonous. A black reporter, Louis E. Lomax, investigating the possible connection of Banister to the assassinations of Kennedy, Martin Luther King and Malcolm X, died in a car accident shortly after signing a contract to help with a movie about the assassination of Malcolm X.[21] [22]

Death

Banister officially died of coronary thrombosis on June 6, 1964 just prior to the closing of the Warren Commission investigation into the assassination. Investigators had intended to question him regarding the following topics: "CIA", "Ammunition and Arms", "Civil rights program of JFK", "Fair Play For Cuba Committee" and "The International Trade Mart". Banister's files went missing after his death.[23]

Fictional portrayals

Banister also is a character in Oliver Stone's 1991 movie JFK, in which he is portrayed by Edward Asner. He is also central to the plot of Don DeLillo's novel Libra. Guy Banister appears as a character in James Ellroy's 1995 novel American Tabloid and its sequel The Cold Six Thousand. In American Tabloid, Banister organizes John Kennedy's assassination, which is based on Ward Littell's original plan. Littell is one of the story's main characters. In The Cold Six Thousand, Guy Banister is murdered by Chuck Rogers under orders from Carlos Marcello. Chuck tells Pete Bondurant, a main character, how he used excess digitalis and jokes Carlos gave the job to Chuck instead of Pete because he wanted to give Pete a break.

References

  1. ^ Marrs, Jim. Crossfire: The Plot that Killed Kennedy, (New York: Carroll & Graf, 1989), p. 100,236. ISBN 0-88184-648-1
  2. ^ HSCA: Material received from files of New Orleans district attorney's office pertaining to investigation and trial of Clay Shaw, 1967-69, attachment D, section 5, regarding Guy Banister, "Biographical Sketch" (JFK Document 007271).
  3. ^ Marrs, Jim. Crossfire: The Plot that Killed Kennedy, (New York: Carroll & Graf, 1989), p. 236. ISBN 0-88184-648-1
  4. ^ Marrs, Jim. Crossfire: The Plot that Killed Kennedy, (New York: Carroll & Graf, 1989), p. 235,236. ISBN 0-88184-648-1
  5. ^ Malcolm X: Make It Plain / Full Documentary " Best MCee Ever" - Rap Music - Zimbio
  6. ^ Marrs, Jim. Crossfire: The Plot that Killed Kennedy, (New York: Carroll & Graf, 1989), p. 236. ISBN 0-88184-648-1
  7. ^ Marrs, Jim. Crossfire: The Plot that Killed Kennedy, (New York: Carroll & Graf, 1989), p. 236. ISBN 0-88184-648-1
  8. ^ Marrs, Jim. Crossfire: The Plot that Killed Kennedy, (New York: Carroll & Graf, 1989), p. 235-237. ISBN 0-88184-648-1
  9. ^ New Orleans States Item, April 25, 1967
  10. ^ Marrs, Jim. Crossfire: The Plot that Killed Kennedy, (New York: Carroll & Graf, 1989), p. 499. ISBN 0-88184-648-1
  11. ^ Marrs, Jim. Crossfire: The Plot that Killed Kennedy, (New York: Carroll & Graf, 1989), p. 494. ISBN 0-88184-648-1
  12. ^ 544 Camp Street and Related Events, House Select Committee on Assassinations - Appendix to Hearings, Volume 10, 13, p. 130.
  13. ^ FBI Interview of Jack S. Martin, 25 November 1963 & 27 November 1963, Warren Commission Document No. 75, pp. 217-18, 309-11.
  14. ^ Marrs, Jim. Crossfire: The Plot that Killed Kennedy, (New York: Carroll & Graf, 1989), p. 494. ISBN 0-88184-648-1
  15. ^ Marrs, Jim. Crossfire: The Plot that Killed Kennedy, (New York: Carroll & Graf, 1989), p. 100. ISBN 0-88184-648-1
  16. ^ Marrs, Jim. Crossfire: The Plot that Killed Kennedy, (New York: Carroll & Graf, 1989), p. 497. ISBN 0-88184-648-1
  17. ^ Playboy interview
  18. ^ Garrison, Jim. On The Trail of the Assassins, (New York: Sheridan Square Press, 1988), p. 12. ISBN 0-446-36277-8
  19. ^ "Shoot Him Down" : NBC, the CIA and Jim Garrison by William Davy
  20. ^ The Patsy - Oswald
  21. ^ Bagwell, Orlando, Malcolm X Make It Plain (1994)
  22. ^ Malcolm X: Make It Plain / Full Documentary " Best MCee Ever" - Rap Music - Zimbio
  23. ^ Marrs, Jim. Crossfire: The Plot that Killed Kennedy, (New York: Carroll & Graf, 1989), p. 236. ISBN 0-88184-648-1
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