Tuesday, July 05, 2005


From Jerry Shinley:

Some points related to your interesting entry on QKENCHANT:

1. J. Monroe Sullivan's San Francisco Trade Mart is not the same institution as Clay Shaw's New Orleans Trade Mart.

2. I think the Benjamin Sonnenberg Jr mentioned by Mark Lane is the son of the Sonnenberg cleared for QKENCHANT. Ben Jr. is a friend of Alexander Cockburn and has claimed he worked for the CIA in Europe.


3. After 10 years, the CIA responded to my appeal of the withholding of information about Guy Banister by sending me some documents which had been released 6 years earlier under the JFK Act. One, a 26 August 1960 memo from John G. Southard, Chief, CCD/NC to Chief OS/SSD/I&S, says that "[s]ubject organization ['Guy W. Banister Associates, Inc.'] is of interest to CCD/NC for QKENCHANT purposes. However, before clearance action is initiated on the company principals, CCD/NC wishes to determine whether their business volume and the appearance and location of their office lend themselves to the type of cover operation we propose. Therefore, it is requested that a special inquiry be conducted on this organization [by Sept 12]."

There are two versions of a 13 September 1960 field report on Banister. One 13 pages; the other a 3 page summary which indicates it was prepared by the Los Angeles Field Office. My copy of the summary report is illegible. The report noted that Banister was let go by the New Orleans Police Department after a 1957 bar incident, that Banister Associates passed NSF checks, that the Louisiana Employment Security Division had a tax lien against Banister Associates and that Banister associated with right-wingers like Kent Courtney.

A 21 September 1960 memo for "SSD File" by E.E. Kuhnke, Jr., indicates that some version of the 9/13 report was "brought to the attention of Mr. Ned White, CCG/NC". After White discussed the report with "Jack Southard", it was decided not to use Banister Associates. Jim O'Connell [an Office of Security employee involved at this time with Robert Maheu and the CIA/Mafia plot against Castro] "furnished CCG with an alternative private detective company."

The documents I've seen don't explain the nature of the cover operation considered or how Banister was selected as a potential member of the QKENCHANT club.


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