Saturday, June 14, 2008

CIA Response On Joannides Delayed Again


Back in April, journalist Jefferson Morley reported that the CIA refused to cough up any records related to the secret operations of deceased undercover officer George Joannides in response to Morley’s lawsuit to secure such records.

A three-judge appellate court panel ruled in December 2007 that the agency had to search its files for records of Joannides' secret operations in 1963, when he served undercover in Miami running "psychological warfare" operations against the government of Fidel Castro. The court also ordered the CIA to explain why 17 reports on Joannides' secret operations in 1962-1964 are missing from the National Archives by April 30, 2008.

In the April hearing before Judge Richard Leon, the CIA provided no written explanation of its actions despite the earlier court order. Afterwords, agency attorney John Truong claimed orally that a search of files on Joannides operations found no records responsive to Morley’s 2003 Freedom of Information Act request.

Judge Leon ordered the CIA to explain its actions in writing to the court by June 11, 2008.

At a hearing last Wednesday, June 11, the CIA asked the court to extend the deadline for their respond. Mr. Morley and his counsel Jim Lesar did not oppose the motion for extension, which was then granted by Judge Leon.

The CIA now has until July 2, 2008 to respond in writing to the appellate court's 2007 ruling.

Meanwhile, a group of independent assassination researchers organized by New York attorney Charles J. Sanders have sent a joint letter to Congressman Henry A. Waxman, Chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, asking the representative to establish oversight hearings regarding implementation and enforcement of the JFK Records Act.

Indoctrination U


In the guise of education, John Simkin’s website delivers agitprop

If newspapers write “a first rough draft” of history, as the publisher Philip Graham once put it, then the internet can be said to host a “worst draft” of history.

There are tens of thousands of reliable websites about historical topics, of course, and many provide the actual tools (instant access to primary documents) that enable readers to reach their own, independent conclusions. But many other sites are extraordinarily tendentious and shroud their advocacy behind a mask of false scholarship.

A case in point is a website, Spartacus Educational, established in 1997 by John Simkin, a British historian. Spartacus is billed on Google as a “British online encyclopedia [that] focuses on historical topics . . . articles are geared toward students.” And the website, according to one description, is “one of the most established and popular history sites on the world wide web.” In the late 1990s, apparently, Simkin was one of the very first history teachers to recognize the potential of the internet and take advantage of the new digital medium. As for Simkin, he presents himself as a history teacher and prolific author of books about a diverse number of subjects—which he is, although his short books are mostly self-published.

An innocent student who stumbles onto Spartacus Educational would probably think the Google description is apt, and be impressed by Simkin’s credentials. It takes a little digging to figure out Simkin is much more interested in indoctrination than education, in keeping with his unreconstructed left-wing views. Simkin exemplifies the kind of militant socialists, once peculiar to the Labour Party, who were all but run out of that party by former Prime Minister Tony Blair.

I first encountered Spartacus Educational three years ago, when Simkin contacted me after publication of my 2005 book, The Castro Obsession. At first I was impressed with Simkin’s diligence and outreach, and the portion of his website dedicated to US history, particularly intelligence history during the cold war. But it did not take long to learn that more often than not, the articles he featured were at variance with well-documented facts, including information I had gained directly from interviews and thousands of official documents declassified in recent years. Worse still, Simkin proved impervious to the idea that falsehoods should be corrected rather than perpetuated.

Operation 40

One of the most egregious misrepresentations on the Spartacus site involves “Operation 40.” The website describes it as a Central Intelligence Agency unit that was organized in the early 1960s to engage in sabotage operations against Cuba. Operation 40 then supposedly “evolved into a team of assassins.” No credible documentation is supplied to support either the sabotage or assassination claims, and for good reason: none exists.

To be sure, there was a CIA-organized group called Operation 40 involved in anti-Castro activities. And though it bears scant resemblance to the Simkin’s fictionalized version, the unit’s interesting history needs to be recounted before one can appreciate how much Simkin bends and distorts it... [Read the complete article here]

* * * * *

[Blog Note: John Simkin is the administrator of The Education Forum, a website which purports to be a “forum for teachers and educators.” The JFK Assassination Debate Forum, one of several forums within The Education Forum, is the current leading haven for conspiracy theorists debating the merits of the case against Lee Harvey Oswald.]

Monday, June 2, 2008

The Last Word: Bringuier, Joannides and the DRE


In the comments section of my February 27, 2008, posting, “The CIA vs. Jefferson Morley,” Mr. Morley responded by charging, among other things, that “Dale's imputation that I lied about interviewing [Carlos] Bringuier is false and slanderous and I hope he will retract it.”

Bringuier is the anti-Castro Cuban exile who confronted Lee Harvey Oswald on a New Orleans street corner in the summer of 1963 and was part of an effort to expose Oswald’s pro-Castro stance after the Kennedy assassination.

In my posting I wrote that Mr. Morley had inflated Bringuier’s connections to the Miami-based DRE by suggesting that Bringuier’s one-man New Orleans delegation (Mr. Bringuier’s own characterization) was receiving money from Miami and that the Miami-based DRE called for an investigation into Oswald, and that Morley claimed to have support for these allegations after interviewing Bringuier.

I added, “However, Bringuier recently said that he refused Morley’s invitation for an interview after reading an article Morley had written,” and quoted Mr. Bringuier’s response to Morley’s allegations:

“Morley never interviewed me,” Bringuier said. “He contacted me over the phone and initially we agreed to an interview here in my house. When I checked his credentials and found out the inaccuracies that he had written about me I called back and cancelled the interview. He persisted claiming he had already an airplane ticket to come here and I told him that this area is a very nice place and he can enjoy a vacation here but that I would not allow him to put a foot inside my house.

“We discussed his allegation that the CIA was giving me $25,000 a month in 1963, at a time when I was working in Casa Roca as co-Manager with a salary of $60.00 and living with my wife and 4 children in low-income apartment of the New Orleans Housing Authority. He backed up stating that the money maybe was going to the Miami office and then from there trickling down to me. I told him I never got a penny from the Miami office.

”I was a delegate of the Miami Central office from where I received mail communication. Maybe I visited that office one or two times while I had been vacationing in Miami. I never met George Joannides nor any other non-Cuban person during those couple of visits to the Miami office.”

I wrote to Mr. Morley and said that his comment that I had suggested that he had "lied about interviewing Bringuier" was false. I merely reported Morley’s claim and Bringuier’s response, and made no judgment regarding the accuracy of either statement.

Morley responded in an email message to me, “In your post, Bringuier has the final word. That certainly makes it looks like I was not telling the truth when I said I had interviewed him.”

Had Morley interviewed Bringuier? In his article, “The Man Who Didn’t Talk and Other Tales from the New Kennedy Assassination Files,” published in November, 2007, Mr. Morley acknowledged that Bringuier refused to talk with him, writing, “Bringuier, now retired and living in Texas, refused to be interviewed for this article. He said he never received money from the CIA and said he did not know Joannides…”

This is obviously what Mr. Bringuier was referring to when he wrote that Morley never interviewed him. So what is Mr. Morley’s gripe? The issue revolves around Bringuier’s use of the word, “never.”

Mr. Morley says that he did interview Mr. Bringuier earlier, in 1999, and that Bringuier either did not tell me or had forgotten about the earlier interview “which ended with him sending me [Morley] copies of two letters he wrote to Tony Lanuza of the DRE about Oswald in August 1963. I have the fax of the letters, signed by Bringuier, for anyone who doubts that the interview took place.”

When informed of Mr. Morley’s recent claims of an earlier interview, Mr. Bringuier wrote:

“I have been interviewed so many times during these 44 years that it is possible that years ago Morley could have gotten in touch with me. But when I moved and he tried to come to my house and I found out how he lies and distort the truth I refused to accept him here or be interviewed by him because he would only use the interview in order to change my words.

”In regard to my relationship with the headquarters of the DRE in Miami, I was the Delegate in New Orleans. I never received any money from the CIA or the DRE. On the contrary my Delegation was sending money (little, never high amounts) to Miami. I was an anti-Communist Cuban not en employee of the DRE. If they were receiving money of the USA government, which it is possible, I was never informed of that. I was working very hard as a salesman to provide for my family.”

It would appear that Mr. Bringuier is willing to concede that an earlier conversation with Mr. Morley did take place, although he was quick to deny once again the allegation that he received CIA funds in 1963.

And there’s no doubt that the earlier conversation between Morley and Bringuier did take place, as Mr. Morley said. In fact, the two letters Bringuier faxed to Morley after their conversation are mentioned in a footnote (page 322) of Morley’s recent book, Our Man in Mexico City: Winston Scott and the Hidden History of the CIA.

I did find it curious that the interview with Bringuier itself was not footnoted anywhere in Our Man in Mexico City, raising questions about the depth of the earlier interview. After all, Bringuier’s links to Oswald and his ties to the Miami-based DRE, the anti-Castro Cuban exile group overseen by the CIA’s George Joannides, is the heart of Mr. Morley’s suggestion that the CIA was well aware of Oswald and may have been manipulating him prior to the assassination.

Asked about the depth of his earlier interview with Bringuier (Morley declined to supply a transcript), Mr. Morley explained that he spoke with Bringuier on the phone and that it was not a lengthy conversation, adding, “Don't read too much into my failure to footnote Bringuier. I didn't reference my interview with him because he obviously knew nothing about the subject of my book – Win Scott – and because he insisted he knew nothing about Joannides, a minor character in the book. I take his statements at face value. I have no reason to believe he is not telling the truth on that point. So there was nothing to footnote.”

Yes, Our Man in Mexico City is the story of Win Scott, but a good portion of that book deals with Scott’s handling of “A Blip Named Oswald.” And central to the book, as far as the Kennedy assassination goes, is Morley’s allegation that Win Scott was cut out of the loop about the CIA’s knowledge of Oswald, particularly Oswald’s August, 1963, contacts with Carlos Bringuier and the DRE. It seems a bit disingenuous of Morley to act as if Bringuier is not a big part of the story here.

And while George Joannides might be a “minor character” in the book on Win Scott’s life, he is the major player in the Oswald-Bringuier encounter, since it is Joannides, according to suggestions by Morley, who may have passed on knowledge of Oswald to the CIA’s David Atlee Phillips prior to the assassination. It was Phillips, according to Morley, who allegedly withheld information on Oswald from Win Scott.

And yes, Bringuier told Morley that he knew nothing about George Joannides (something Morley acknowledges in his article for, but Morley fails to make note of Bringuier’s denials in his book, Our Man in Mexico City, or its footnotes, which certainly could lead readers to believe that Bringuier hadn’t contested the suggested relationship. It would seem that Mr. Morley got the last word in that instance.

Mr. Morley also took exception to my comment that he had inflated Bringuier’s connections to the Miami-based DRE by suggesting that Bringuier’s one-man New Orleans delegation (again, Mr. Bringuier’s characterization) was receiving money from Miami and that the Miami-based DRE called for an investigation into Oswald. Mr. Morley responded:

“I have inflated nothing. What I have written is that Bringuier immediately reported his encounters with Oswald to the DRE leadership in Miami. His own [letters] prove the point.

”But that is not all. Dale is unaware that the records of the DRE, found in the University of Miami library, show that in July 1963 the DRE leadership in Miami regarded the New Orleans chapter as the group’s best and singled out Bringuier for praise.

”The DRE records, it should be noted, also identify Celso Hernandez, Miguel Cruz, and Carlos Quiroga as DRE members. All three participated in the DRE's encounters with Oswald, according to Bringuier.

”In short, Bringuier's claim that the DRE chapter was a one-man operation, unconnected to Miami, is not supported by the DRE’s records or by interviews with a half dozen former DRE leaders. I will provide copies of these records to anyone who requests them.”

I did request copies of the documents from Mr. Morley and they show the following:

(1) Mr. Bringuier was the DRE delegate in New Orleans, acted on his own when it came to Oswald, reported his actions to Jose Antonio Lanusa, Intelligence Officer for the DRE at its headquarters in Miami, Florida; a spoke publicly about Oswald on behalf of the DRE.

(2) Celso Hernandez, Miguel Cruz and Carlos Quiroga collaborated with Bringuier in actions against Oswald in New Orleans.

(3) DRE Personnel forms on Carlos Bringuier and Celso Hernandez were found among others in the military section of the DRE’s Archive at the University of Miami, which, according to Mr. Morley, “consists of files on each member of the DRE involved in the military section’s activities.” According to Mr. Morley, there are files on all the top DRE leaders, including Jose Antonio Lanusa, Intelligence Officer of the DRE; Juan Manuel Salvat Roque, one of the founders of the DRE; and Luis Fernandez Rocha, Secretary-General and principal leader of the DRE. The personnel archive was maintained by Isidro “Chilo” Borja, who was involved in military operations for the DRE.

(4) The Miami Headquarters of the DRE notified CIA contact George Joannides (aka “Howard”) of Oswald’s contacts with Bringuier after the assassination.

Of course, none of this information is new, with the exception of the personnel forms on Bringuier and Hernandez found amid the DRE personnel archive; and even that only confirms what we already know to be true – Bringuier and Hernandez were DRE members.

According to Mr. Morley, the DRE’s military archive section maintained by Isidro “Chilo” Borja, who was involved in military operations for the DRE, “consists of files on each member of the DRE involved in the military section’s activities.”

Carlos Bringuier, on the other hand, told the HSCA in 1978 that “he never engaged in any paramilitary DRE activities,” and Celso Hernandez likewise said “he never received any paramilitary training.” [10 HSCA 86]

Indeed, the DRE personnel forms on Bringuier and Hernandez found in the military section of the archive give no indication that either man had been trained for paramilitary operations. The file on Hernandez shows only that he had received “propaganda” training.

According to the 1978 HSCA report on the DRE, “the official DRE delegate in New Orleans was Carlos Bringuier, and that he was aided by two Cubans, Celso Hernandez and Miguel Aguado [Cruz]. In an attempt to monitor Oswald, Bringuier approved the efforts of his friend, Carlos Quiroga, to call on Oswald to elicit additional information about FPCC activities in New Orleans. None of the New Orleans individuals associated in these events had any involvement in the paramilitary activities of DRE. The New Orleans chapter engaged solely in propaganda and fundraising activities.” [10 HSCAQ 86-87]

This squares with hundreds of FBI documents on Carlos Bringuier, Jose Lanusa, Carlos Quiroga, and others related to DRE activities which I obtained through the Freedom of Information and Privacy Acts in 1987-89.

Those documents show that Carlos Bringuier was appointed as the New Orleans delegate of the DRE by Jose Antonio Lanusa, and that the New Orleans DRE was comprised of only two people – Carlos Bringuier and Celso Hernandez, who acted as secretary. It was reported by an informant in 1967 that the activities of Bringuier and Hernandez “appeared to be limited to their participation in picketing of any group they consider left wing or pro-communist.” the informant reported that they also “disseminate anti-Castro and anti-communist pamphlets.” [FOIPA Files, Dale K. Myers Collection]

While Mr. Bringuier may have been the driving force and public face of the New Orleans DRE, his self-described “one-man operation” clearly had help from a few other like-minded DRE members. It is also clear from a wealth of available official records that Bringuier kept in close contact with the DRE’s Miami Headquarters, especially when it came to his encounters with Oswald.

But then, Mr. Bringuier never claimed that his one-man operation was “unconnected to Miami” as Mr. Morley charges, only that he never received any funding from them.

Mr. Morley complained that I did not verify Bringuier's claim that Morley wrote that Bringuier “was receiving $25,000 a month from the CIA.”

“That's because I have never written any such thing,” Morley wrote. “What I have written is that the DRE leaders in Miami received $25,000 a month from the CIA. I got that number from the CIA’s own records. The former leaders of the DRE have confirmed that fact in multiple on-the-record interviews.”

The amount of money the DRE leaders were receiving from the CIA in 1963 is not the issue. What is the issue and what upset Mr. Bringuier so much was Morley’s very clear suggestion that he was one of the recipients.

For instance, in his book Our Man in Mexico City, Morley wrote, “By the summer of 1963, [the Cubans associated with the DRE] had come under greater CIA control, according to officials in Miami. They were still subsidized by the agency. DRE/AMSPELL was receiving $51,000 a month, according to an agency memo sent to the State Department in April 1963.” [pp.170-71]

And in his article for, Morley wrote, “…By 1962, the DRE was perhaps the single biggest and most active organization opposing Fidel Castro's regime. In Miami, Joannides was giving the leaders of the group up to $25,000 a month in cash for what he described as ‘intelligence collection’ and ‘propaganda.’…” []

Was Carlos Bringuier one of these DRE leaders receiving money from the CIA? One could easily come to that conclusion after reading this sentence from Morley’s book, Our Man in Mexico City, “Like most of the DRE’s leaders, Bringuier came from an upper-middle-class family…” [emphasis added] [Our Man in Mexico City, p.171]

And later in his book, Morley seems to be suggesting that Bringuier’s letters to the Miami-based DRE in which he reported his street encounter with Oswald and subsequent radio debate were part of the CIA’s paid intelligence gathering, writing, “[Chilo] Borja, an engineer who ran the DRE’s clandestine military section in 1963 [and a friend of Bringuier since childhood], says he is certain that Joannides learned about Oswald’s FPCC antics at the time they happened. ‘That’s what the money was for,’ said Borja, referring to the CIA funding of the group. ‘Because we gave them that kind of information.’… “ [page 175]

It may be that Mr. Morley’s suggestion that Bringuier was one of those DRE leaders who received CIA funding was nothing more than a poor choice of words.

If so, what is one to make of a passage from Part 6 of Morley’s 2002 article “What Jane Roman Said,” in which Morley wrote, “Under a CIA program named AMSPELL, [Joannides] was giving $25,000 a month to Luis Fernandez Rocha, the Directorate's leader in Miami. That funding supported the Directorate's chapters in New Orleans and other cities.” [emphasis added]

And how about this, “[Joannides] dispensed funds from the AMSPELL budget, which the Directorate’s leaders in Miami and New Orleans used to publicly identify Oswald as a supporter of the Castro government in August 1963.” [emphasis added] The New Orleans “leader” Mr. Morley refers to couldn’t be anyone else but Carlos Bringuier.

And if that’s not clear enough, what about this, “Without the money provided by Joannides there would have been no delegation of Cuban students in New Orleans with the time to confront Oswald. There would have been no money for their press release to the local papers calling for an investigation of his pro-Castro ways. There would have been no tape recording of his remarks on a local radio station.” Again, all of this refers to Carlos Bringuier.

In a recent letter, Mr. Morley wrote, “I regret that Bringuier has the misimpression that I have written that he took money from the CIA. I have never written that because there is no evidence it is true,” then adding, “What I have said is well-documented: the DRE was totally dependent on CIA funds in 1963. Mongo Salvat, Luis Fernandez Rocha, Tony Lanusa and other DRE leaders all acknowledged in taped interviews: without the money Joannides provided its leaders in Miami, the DRE’s network of delegations would not have lasted long. Indeed, when CIA funding ended in December 1966, the organization went out of existence.” [emphasis added]

Yes, the DRE became inactive as an organization after 1966, however Juan Manuel Salvat, one of the DRE’s principal officers, told the FBI in 1967 that the DRE had become inactive for two reasons, (1) it lacked funds to continue operation, and (2) there “appeared to be no logical action which the DRE organization could undertake in the exile movement against the Castro regime.”

More importantly, Salvat told the FBI that even though the DRE had been inactive, New Orleans delegate Carlos Bringuier has “an independent attitude” and “continues to engage in some propaganda activities pertaining to the Cuban problem.” [FBI Memorandum, Director to SAC, Miami; March 10, 1967; pp.1-2]

Obviously, Carlos Bringuier didn’t need CIA funding to continue the fight against the Castro regime after 1966. Perhaps, as Bringuier has always claimed, he never did.

Whatever Mr. Morley might have meant by his choice of words in describing how the New Orleans delegation was funded, the clear impression one gets in reading Mr. Morley’s collective works is that Bringuier was getting money from the CIA, regardless of the specific amount.

Mr. Bringuier was so upset by Morley’s suggestion that his anti-Castro activities was financed by the CIA that he cancelled an interview Morley had scheduled in 2005. And according to Bringuier, during that phone call they discussed Morley’s allegation that Bringuier had received CIA funds in the summer of 1963 and Bringuier denied it.

“[Morley] backed up stating that the money maybe was going to the Miami office and then from there trickling down to me,” Bringuier wrote. “I told him I never got a penny from the Miami office.”

If Bringuier’s account is true, it would seem that Mr. Morley did believe, at least at the time of the phone call, that Bringuier was getting a piece of that $25,000 a month, and the subsequent writings in Morley’s book and articles certainly suggest that.

Mr. Morley also chastised me for accusing him of making inflammatory remarks which he didn’t see as inflammatory at all.

In an article announcing the continuing legal battle over the release of CIA documents related to George Joannides, Mr. Morley wrote that “agency lawyers will make their first response to a court order to explain the secrecy surrounding a career CIA undercover officer allegedly involved in the events that led to the murder of the president on Nov. 22, 1963.”

I noted in my February, 2008, article that Mr. Morley didn’t mention that the allegation that Joannides might have been involved in the events that led to the murder of the President of the United States was his own, and so far, one that remains unsubstantiated, adding,

“Instead we get inflammatory statements from Mr. Morley like this: “What remains unknown is the extent of Joannides’ control over his agents in the Cuban exile community who sought to link Oswald to Fidel Castro. [Editor’s note: A reference to the Buchanan brothers’ post-assassination allegations that Oswald was connected to Castro.] The day after JFK was killed the Cuban communist leader scorned the reports that Oswald was a supporter of his revolution and suggested that the CIA was behind the charge. The available records show that Castro was right: CIA funds did help publicize the allegation.”

In his critical response, Mr. Morley wrote that my editorial reference to the Buchanan brothers was wrong and that he was actually referring to “the DRE encounters with Oswald in August 1963 and to the groups' conspiracy theorizing about him in the days after JFK was killed.”

Obviously, I couldn’t have known specifically what Mr. Morley was referring to when he wrote about the Cuban exile community’s efforts to link Oswald to Castro, and consequently I was wrong to suggest that I did know. My apologies to Mr. Morley and my readers for speculating without noting that fact.

For those who don’t know, James C. Buchanan wrote an article for the Pompano Beach Sun-Sentinel on Tuesday, November 26, 1963, that alleged that Oswald had been in telephone contact with Cuban intelligence and had connections with the Cuban government in New Orleans and Mexico. The story was attributed to Frank Sturgis (Buchanan’s brother Jerry was a member of Sturgis’ International Anti-Communist Brigade). Sturgis told the FBI that his own speculation was behind the story and that he had no facts to support it. [The Fish Is Red, p.224; FOIPA Files, Dale K. Myers Collection]

Another Sun-Sentinel article, published Wednesday, December 4, 1963, made similar allegations quoting an unnamed “DRE spokesman.”

FBI documents I obtained in 1984 under the Freedom of Information and Privacy Act (FOIPA) clearly show a strong connection between the DRE, Sturgis, and Buchanan. Needless to say, there was a lot of bull dongle being spread around shortly after the assassination by the anti-Castro Cuban community, not just the DRE, about Oswald’s alleged Castro ties. Hence, my speculation that Mr. Morley was referring to these activities.

As for Mr. Morley’s inflammatory remarks (my characterization), I was referring to Morley’s claim that Castro scorned the reports that Oswald was a supporter of his revolution and suggested that the CIA was behind the charge. Mr. Morley wrote, “The available records show that Castro was right: CIA funds did help publicize the allegation.”

In response, I wrote, “Castro was right? How does the use of CIA funds which might have been used to publicize Oswald’s well known and well-founded admiration of Fidel Castro show that Castro was correct when he claimed Oswald’s support of Fidel was a CIA fantasy?

In his criticism, Morley wrote that the power of summary had failed me and that I was wrong to suggest that Morley had written or believed that Oswald's support for Fidel was a CIA fantasy.

”To the contrary,” Morley wrote, “I have repeatedly written that the DRE’s propaganda on Oswald's FPCC activities in August 1963 were well-documented, accurate, even prescient. I have written that Castro was correct when he suggested that the DRE had links to the CIA. The CIA and DRE records prove the connection was close and constant throughout 1963 in the person of George Joannides.”

Yes, it is true that Morley has written those things and more (See “What Jane Roman Said: Part 6,” December 17, 2002), however, I was referring to what he wrote in this particular instance, not what he meant to write. And what he wrote was that “The day after JFK was killed the Cuban communist leader scorned the reports that Oswald was a supporter of his revolution and suggested that the CIA was behind the charge.” [emphasis added]

Mr. Morley then added, “The available records show that Castro was right” [emphasis added] – which seemed to be saying that the CIA was behind the charge that Oswald was a supporter of his revolution.

Now it may very well be that Mr. Morley fumbled his true meaning by dashing out a few hastily written phrases. But let’s be clear: Castro was not right when he claimed the CIA was behind the charge that Oswald was a supporter of his revolution. By all accounts, Oswald’s support of the Castro revolution was of Oswald’s own making.

What Mr. Morley no doubt meant to say was that CIA funds might have been used to help publicize Oswald’s love of Fidel Castro’s revolution. And if CIA money were used by DRE members to publicize Oswald’s pro-Castro stance, one could certainly make that argument. But even Mr. Morley concedes that the anti-Castro Cuban community didn’t need any pushing in that area, writing in his book, Our Man in Mexico City:

“All the former leaders emphasized that they did not take orders from the CIA, and there is good reason to take them at their word. In 1963, they were passionate young anticommunists who feared their homeland was in danger of slipping under one-party control forever. They did not need a CIA man from Washington to tell them to take action against a public supporter of Castro like Oswald.” [page 175]

And in fact, on the afternoon of the assassination when Oswald’s name first surfaced, the head of the Miami DRE, Tony Lanusa, telephoned Joannides and asked about releasing the information in their files on Oswald’s encounter with Carlos Bringuier to the press. Joannides told Lanusa to wait until he could phone Washington. But Lanusa and others ignored Joannides and began a media blitz to tell the world about Oswald’s pro-Castro activities. Joannides never called back.

Yet, despite the fact that the DRE acted to publicize Oswald’s pro-Castro activities and provoke the U.S. government into taking action against Castro without Joannides direction or involvement, Mr. Morley wrote that “George Joannides was a CIA officer who helped perpetrate the provocation” and that “the mysterious George Joannides of the CIA paid for it.” [“What Jane Roman Said: Part 6”]

Despite the realities of what is known and unknown about the Kennedy case, conspiracy theorists can’t help but tickle the public appetite for what might have been, and Mr. Morley, no matter how good his intentions, is no different.

“The official story that it was sheer coincidence that Oswald, a sociopathic loner, chose the CIA’s favorite young Cubans as the target for his attempted infiltration finds no support in the agency’s records of the AMSPELL program,” Morley writes in Our Man in Mexico City. [page 176] This is a kind of backhanded way of saying that the CIA’s AMSPELL records don’t offer support for the official story of Oswald’s coincidental encounter with Carlos Bringuier and other members of the DRE. Of course, there is nothing in the record to suggest that it wasn’t a coincidence either.

That is why the CIA records on George Joannides could prove to be valuable. As Mr. Morley rightly points out, “[During the 1978 HSCA investigation,] Joannides did not take the opportunity to say that the accused assassin had been in contact with his assets, rather, he concealed his working relationship with the DRE in 1963. He provided only a handful of miscellaneous AMSPELL documents to investigators… In fact, four decades after the fact, the most important AMSPELL records are missing from CIA archives – perhaps intentionally.” [Our Man in Mexico City, pp. 176-77]

However, Mr. Morley is also right to point out, and perhaps emphasize more than he has, that “…As a result [of the gap in AMSPELL records], it is hard to draw any firm conclusions about the contacts between the DRE and Oswald…” [Our Man in Mexico City, page 177]

I don’t think that we need any more back and forth on whether Mr. Morley’s legal action with the CIA will result in pay dirt or not. Personally, I think he’s fishing a dry hole – which is to say that I don’t believe he’ll find what he’s looking for.

And as we all know, on April 30, 2008, CIA lawyers appeared in court to announce that a search of agency files on George Joannides’ operations found no additional records responsive to Mr. Morley’s 2003 Freedom of Information Act request.

You’ll recall that a three-judge appellate court panel ruled in December, 2007, that the agency had to search its files for additional records of Joannides' secret operations against Castro in 1962-64, and explain why 17 reports on those operations are missing from the National Archives. Mr. Morley claimed they were “stonewalling.” And so, the legal battle continues.

It’s pretty clear from reading Mr. Morley’s writings on the subject of Oswald that he strongly suspects that Oswald was part of some covert CIA operation which may or may not have led to Kennedy’s death. Even Mr. Morley would have to admit, it’s all quite murky.

But, that hasn’t stopped him from speculating – first this way, and then that – about what connection might have existed between Oswald and the CIA’s George Joannides. It all makes for exciting reading, but ultimately leaves you feeling rather empty. It seems to me that it would have been better if Mr. Morley had followed the story to its conclusion and then wrote about it.

Now, Mr. Morley is hoping that the release of CIA records relating to George Joannides will clarify some or all of the issues he’s raised as they relate to Oswald and the Kennedy assassination. Of course, anyone familiar with this case knows that the only thing certain to follow any release of CIA records is more unanswered (and even unanswerable) questions.

As I’ve said before, while I applaud all efforts to uncover and report the truth about the Kennedy assassination, including Mr. Morley’s, I believe caution is the appropriate word to use when drawing premature conclusions from an incomplete record. And no matter what Mr. Morley uncovers from a new round of document releases, the record will always be incomplete because many of the men who wrote those records are long gone.

Intelligence agencies like the CIA have always been easy targets for journalists bent on exposing secrets. If the secrets aren’t forthcoming, some charge that there’s a cover-up underway. If the secrets are released, and they don’t suit the particular theory being pursued, some charge the record has been sanitized. It’s a lose-lose situation for the agencies.

Sometimes the secrets exposed are explosive, and other times they’re so benign we’re forced to stifle gargantuan yawns. Will the CIA’s records on Oswald be explosive or bore us to tears?

Considering the past four decades of theories surrounding the Kennedy assassination that have proven false and the serious damage done to the reputation of the United States, the agencies charged with securing the safety of her citizens, and the attitudes of her people toward their government as a result of those false charges, I believe a wait and see attitude is the most prudent, don’t you?