Saturday, January 28, 2023

Oliver Stone's Film Flam by Fred Litwin

Fred Litwin's third book on the JFK assassination is called Oliver Stone's Film Flam: The Demagogue of Dealey Plaza. While the title accurately describes the main subject of the book, it cannot begin to convey the depth of material covered by Litwin. This is really a reference work for debunkers and those seeking the truth about the JFK murder that goes well beyond the abuses of the truth by Oliver Stone and his screenwriter James DiEugenio. Litwin is also releasing a list of online references to accompany the print version of the book that will be a useful tool for anyone doing research on the matter. Highly recommended.

Thursday, January 19, 2023

Look Before You Leap

Journalist turned conspiracy theorist Jefferson Morley appeared at a Mary Ferrell Foundation press conference on December 6th 2022 to promote his latest JFK assassination theory. Morley claimed that the CIA was hiding a "covert operation that involved Lee Harvey Oswald" in the summer of 1963. Although he said he was "not crazy" about the term "smoking gun" Morley insisted such "proof" of an "undisclosed Oswald operation" was to be found in 44 documents in the possession of the CIA related to deceased officer George Joannides who managed the anti-Castro DRE group in the early sixties.

What Morley didn't explain was how he knows that the files, which he has not seen, contain "smoking gun" proof of an Oswald operation. Morley also did not explain how ARRB researcher Michelle Combs, whom he praised for locating Joannides' files in the CIA system, failed to note the presence of the alleged operation after a review of the material. Instead, Combs noted that the Joannides files were "very general" and contained "no specific reference to [Joannides'] relationship with the DRE." Combs added that there was "no mention of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in the file and no information relevant to the assassination in the file."

While offering no specific proof for his claims, Morley did produce a document that he claimed was "significant." This document was a request for clearance for "special intelligence" for Joannides. While again offering no evidence, Morley insists that this term refers to specifically to "wiretapping." Morley says that this clearance request is significant because the CIA was wiretapping Fair Play for Cuba Committee (FPCC) members at the time and Oswald was later picked up by agency surveillance during his visit to Mexico City.

At least one media outlet attached an importance to the Joannides document that was unwarranted but understandable in light of the attention Morley was attracting. Newsweek reported that the Joannides clearance request was "new" (it has been around since 2004) and that it had been obtained by a recent MFF lawsuit. But attorney Lawrence Schnapf, who filed the lawsuit, told me that no documents had been uncovered by the legal action.

Morley's characterization of the evidence in the Joannides matter seems to depend on who he is communicating with at any given moment. In early 2022, Morley responded to an article by JFK document expert Robert Reynolds that was understandably critical of his research methods. In that piece, Morley again mentioned the Joannides clearance request. When Reynolds criticized Morley for claiming he had "proof" of CIA complicity in the assassination, Morley admonished him. "I have never said, written or believed that I have 'proof' of CIA’s complicity" Morley wrote.

Morley went on to explain that the "most plausible explanation" for the fact that the CIA is withholding material is "there are CIA 'sources and methods'–perhaps an operation–concerning Lee Harvey Oswald that has to be hidden." Morley also told Reynolds "I don’t make many assumptions about documents I can’t see" and that he was "waiting for full disclosure before I jump to conclusions" (emphasis added). What a difference a year makes. Morley has indeed leapt feet first into an unwarranted conclusion. And his reasonable characterization of a "possible" operation has morphed into "smoking gun" proof (in 44 documents that Morley hasn't seen) of an "undisclosed Oswald operation."

What has prompted this shift in Morley's belief regarding the alleged operation? Evidently Morley's exasperation after the nearly two decade battle he has waged with the CIA coupled with his desire to bring media attention to his cause are the only factors that resulted in the change from "possible" operation to "smoking gun" proof. Indeed, Morley admits that "the shroud of operational secrecy [that] still surrounds documentation of the CIA’s interest in Lee Harvey Oswald while JFK was still alive" is the "JFK news of 2022." This "news" and the endorsement of his cohort and former CIA employee Rolf Mowatt-Larssen gave Morley the "confidence" to write about the "smoking gun" proof despite a lack of compelling evidence for it.

Getting back to the document that Morley displayed at the presser, he has stated that it contains "evidence of the undisclosed Oswald operation." His eBook Morley v. CIA: My Unfinished JFK Investigation provides a clue to what he finds so suspicious and "significant" about this document:

Two blocks of redacted text indicated that two officials had responded. Their comments, dated June 1, 1963, were entirely censored, save a handwritten notation: “OK.” Joannides’ clearance had been approved. If nothing else, the memo was proof positive that Joannides was handling extraordinarily sensitive missions in the summer of 1963.

Similarly, in his "smoking gun" blog article a caption below the Joannides clearance request reads "Smoking gun? This key JFK file from May 1963 is still heavily redacted." So, Morley wants to know who the officials were and what other information might have been redacted. I set out to see if that information was discernible through a study of similar documents.

Here is the document which the CIA provided to Morley back in 2004:

The first sentence reads "the above individual is under consideration for clearance for special intelligence." When you search the MFF website for that phrase, you get 40 hits in documents. Unsurprisingly, these documents are also requests for clearance for special intelligence and contain names familiar to those who have studied the CIA during this period. David Phillips, Howard Hunt, Guy Vitale, Barney (Balmes) Hidalgo and Calvin Hicks are some of the officers who, like Joannides, were under consideration for special clearance.

Without exception, the unredacted parts of these documents refer to not what the clearance was for but instead discuss if the applicant was qualified to receive the clearance usually through a cursory examination of their family background. For example, Guy Vitale's unredacted clearance request from 1960 contains handwritten notes that say his father was born in Italy in 1871. Also handwritten is "OK for SI" an obvious reference to special intelligence.

Vitale's clearance request also reveals the designation "DDP," short for Directorate of Plans, next to his name. This is likely the same designation that is redacted in the Joannides document. Vitale's document also reveals to whom the Joannides request was likely sent—the Chief of the Personnel Security Division.

Looking at the clearance request for Barney Hidalgo, there are extensive handwritten additions. These notes again discuss Hidalgo's family background and say "OK for SI." Note that Joannides was born in Greece, so it is likely that the large redactions in his clearance request, like Vitale, Hidalgo and others, concern family background.

The identities of two of the individuals who are responsible for reviewing the clearance request are revealed. They are John F. Meredith and Henry E. Thomas. The latter was the Chief of the OS (Office of Security) Special Clearance Center as of November 1962 which was the date of Hidalgo's clearance request. Note that this is only a few months before the Joannides request of May 1963. So, it is likely that the names of Meredith and/or Thomas (or perhaps their successors) are are among those on the Joannides document.

Finally, Morley highlighted a redaction in yellow to the right of "OK" in the the Joannides document. But there is no mystery here. When looking at the clearance request for Joseph Piccolo we see the following:

So, the redaction to the right of "OK" in the Joannides document is almost certainly "SI" meaning Joannides was approved for special intelligence, a fact that Morley already knows.

In conclusion, the Joannides clearance request that Morley presented at the MFF press conference and claimed was "significant" is not. It is a standard request no different from those of several other prominent CIA officers of the period. And the document will almost certainly not contain information about the special intelligence that Joannides was cleared for. The presentation of the document by Morley at the press conference gave a false impression that it held special significance and led to at least one inaccurate media report.

Jefferson Morley should look before he leaps and stick to his early 2022 statements to Reynolds when evaluating the evidence in the George Joannides matter. That is, he should qualify an "Oswald operation" as "possible" rather than being a "smoking gun", he should not make assumptions about documents he hasn't seen and he should wait for the documents to be disclosed before "jumping to conclusions."

Thanks to Robert Reynolds for his assistance with this article.

Thursday, January 5, 2023

More Morley Misinformation 2

On his Substack blog, journalist turned conspiracy advocate Jefferson Morley claims that you should subscribe to his site "To support the authoritative journalism that seeks to clarify the causes of JFK's assassination and to abolish the official secrecy that still surrounds it." Unfortunately rather than "clarifying" anything Morley is continuing to spread misinformation. For example, at the December 6th Mary Ferrell Foundation Press Conference, Morley said this:

David Atlee Phillips was the case officer who helped create and fund the DRE-AMSPELL operation and there is [a] credible uncorroborated uh report that Phillips was seen in Oswald's company in Dallas in 1963 ... What exact role [Phillips] played we don't know because we don't have the documents.

But as I showed HERE, Phillips was never a DRE "case officer." This Morley claim is evidently based on the book Flawed Patriot by Bayard Stockton. While Stockton did indeed claim that Phillips was the group's first case officer, he offered no citation. And my study of the DRE's founding showed no evidence that Phillips "created" or "funded" the group only that he may have recommended them to the CIA hierarchy.

Waiting to meet the DRE founders when they got off the boat in Miami was not Phillips but Ross Crozier (the real first case officer) and William Kent.

As for the "credible uncorroborated"(?) report, that is a reference to the ramblings of Antonio Veciana which I wrote an entire book about. The last paragraph of that tome reads:

Probably the most consequential conclusion in this book is one that was first provided by [Gaeton] Fonzi himself in his HSCA writeup. He wrote, “No corroboration was found for Veciana's alleged meeting with Lee Harvey Oswald.” Absent such confirmation, the Veciana story goes nowhere.

Seated beside Morley at the MFF presser was Fernand Amandi, a political analyst who thinks Veciana was “one of history’s most important individuals.” So, perhaps the recent misinformation campaign by Morley should not be a surprise.

Another claim from the presser that Morley repeated on the Glen Beck Show, is that the FBI's COINTELPRO was a "joint CIA-FBI program." But the Church Committee, which studied intelligence abuses, said it was "an FBI program." Morley seems intent on spreading this bit of misinformation to promote his theory that the CIA (through the DRE) and the FBI worked to create a "legend" that Oswald was a Castro supporter. Apparently Oswald's wife Marina and Marine Corps pal Nelson Delgado also worked to create this "legend" since they confirmed Oswald's pro-Castro proclivities.

During a dramatic audio-visual presentation, Morley showed the same phony 544 Camp Street handbill that was used in the Oliver Stone film Destiny Betrayed. Fred Litwin explained this issue in a recent blog article.

One piece of misinformation from the presser came not from Morley but from his friend Rolf Mowatt-Larssen, a former CIA employee. Mowatt-Larssen said "I don't see how you can make it [the case for withholding documents] when our own government has established that there probably was a rogue conspiracy to kill the President." Morley greeted this remark with laughter.

But as Morley knows and Mowatt-Larssen should know, the government-endorsed "conspiracy to kill the President" was based on the HSCA acoustics issue. But that claim has been thoroughly debunked for years. Interested readers may consult Nick Nalli's review of Josiah Thompson's Last Second in Dallas for an excellent and reasonably concise summary of the matter. Those looking to dig deeper may see Louis T. Girdler's review of Thompson.

Of course, the biggest whopper from the press conference was Morley's claim that 44 documents from the file of George Joannides withheld by the CIA "include information about a CIA operation involving Lee Harvey Oswald that has never been disclosed." Since Morley has not seen the documents how can he know what they say?

Tuesday, January 3, 2023

Morley's "New Story"

Introduction

Conspiracy gadfly Jefferson Morley recently published a four-part series at his Substack blog. This series of articles tries to bolster his unsubstantiated claim that the "proof" of an "undisclosed Oswald operation" managed by the CIA is found in 44 files of CIA officer George Joannides still withheld by the agency. Morley also maintains that his work has led to the emergence of a "new story" that is now being promoted by a suddenly sympathetic media.

This article is part of a ongoing effort to fact check Morley's claims. Quotes by Morley appear in green.

Homophobia

In November 2021, the Washington Post published a piece attributing the enduring skepticism about the Warren Commission to, yes homophobia.

Morley is referring to an article by Alicia Long, author of the book Cruising for Conspirators which chronicled the homophobic nature of the Jim Garrison probe in New Orleans. But as Morley was informed months ago, neither Long's book nor her Wapo article asserts that skepticism of the Warren Commission critics is founded in homophobia. See my piece from January of 2022 that discussed Morley's similar assertions about Long published in Counterpunch.

Also see Fred Litwin's article correcting Morley's false claims on this matter.

Destiny Betrayed

Morley thinks that Destiny Betrayed, Oliver Stone's "documentary" on the JFK assassination is "factually sound" and that critics of the film were "uninformed about Kennedy’s assassination and/or prejudiced" against Stone. But Fred Litwin, who is certainly not "uninformed" about the JFK case, has written extensively on the film and its shorter counterpart JFK Revisited. He found innumerable glaring errors and inconsistencies.

JFK Story "Recast"

The JFK story was recast. The JFK story was not framed as a question of conspiracy. It was framed as a question of accountability, yes or no?

This might be true if it were not for the December 6th press conference. That briefing was very much about Morley's conspiracy theories which he admits generated "even more favorable news coverage" than the lawsuit.

... mainstream news organizations discovered a credible source—the Mary Ferrell Foundation—offering a new and credible narrative of the JFK story that conflicted with the narrative laid down by the White House and mainstream news organizations—-and had nothing to do with the eternal conspiracy question.

Again, both the lawsuit and the December 6th press conference were the product of MFF members who are among the strongest advocates for a conspiracy in the death of JFK. So, saying that this is a "new and credible narrative of the JFK story" that has "nothing" to do with the "conspiracy question" is disingenuous.

A Major Break or just Another Theory?

Our [Morley and Rolf Mowatt-Larssen] presentation led to a breakthrough in my JFK journalism six months later, which complemented the Mary Ferrell Foundation’s lawsuit and generated even more favorable news coverage for the cause of full JFK disclosure.

But I have adopted [Mowatt-Larssen's] methodology, his framework for understanding Kennedy’s assassination: as the product of a tightly-held (“compartmentalized”) operation known only to a very few, very skilled covert operators. I don’t swear on this as Historical Truth, but I think it makes a lot of sense.

There are several problems with Mowatt-Larssen's ideas. I wrote about some of these in more detail HERE. One such difficulty is the coffee klatch of housewives that resulted in Lee Harvey Oswald getting a job at the Texas School Book Depository and thus being in a position to commit the murder of JFK. The "tightly-held" theory of Mowatt-Larssen quickly evaporates since, by my count, at least 10 people would have to be involved with placing Oswald in the building. If Morley and/or Mowatt-Larssen are ready to document how the assassination occurred, I'm all ears. But that is unlikely to happen since Morley admits they "debate fruitlessly."

MFF lawyers asked me to come up with compelling examples of JFK documents that were still being kept secret. ... I came up with ten, including the files of George Joannides, ...

One of the ten files that Morley mentions is that of David Atlee Phillips one of the agency's outstanding covert officers during the cold war. Morley spent much of his book Our Man in Mexico pursuing Phillips as a suspect in the JFK murder as I documented HERE. That quest has apparently now been abandoned for the greener pastures of the "Oswald operation" allegedly managed by Joannides.

And that I realized, was the JFK news of 2022: the shroud of operational secrecy the still surrounds documentation of the CIA’s interest in Lee Harvey Oswald while JFK was still alive. What was new—and newsworthy—is the pattern of secrecy discernible in the Joannides file.

In other words, Morley's "smoking gun" proof of the "undisclosed Oswald Operation" is the fact that the CIA will not provide him with access to the Joannides files. So, he really has no proof. He only has a theory which is no better than any of the dozens of other conspiracy theories about the death of JFK offered through the years. And common sense says that if Morley had proof he would have presented it at the presser. Instead, he regurgitated a series of unproven ideas.

The story of the undisclosed Oswald operation is jarring because it is factual, not conspiratorial or anti-conspiratorial.

Let's be clear. There exists no "factual" proof of an "undisclosed Oswald operation." It is simply a Morley theory until he provides compelling evidence. Is it possible that there was such an operation? Anything is possible, although it is unlikely in the extreme.

The reason I say that is because ARRB researcher Michelle Combs looked at the Joannides file (for the years 1961-64 and 1978-79) and found that it contained "very general" information that had "no specific reference to his relationship with the DRE" and no "information relevant to the assassination."

Similarly, Judge John Tunheim, who Morley implies is of the same mindset as himself, said as recently as the December 6th press conference that there are "no bombshells" in the JFK collection. And an "undisclosed Oswald operation" would certainly qualify as a "bombshell." Finally, Carlo Bringuier told Dale Myers that he never received a nickel from the CIA and did not know Joannides.

It is very unfortunate that not one of the journalists or news organizations that Morley mentions including Marc Caputo, Axios, Brian Pfaill, and The Daily Beast thought to ask how the fact that the CIA has withheld certain files proves an "undisclosed Oswald operation." Nor did these journalists ask how an ARRB researcher failed to find evidence of such an operation.

Let's assume though, for the sake of argument, that there was an operation. Joannides became aware of Oswald and directed the DRE to find him and make the public aware of his pro-Castro sentiments and his defection to the Soviet Union (which was public knowledge anyway). How would the CIA's and the DRE's natural desire to embarrass and minimize Oswald prove that they conspired to kill JFK? And how did a "tightly-held" group of conspirators manage to frame Oswald for the murder of JFK and Officer Tippit? Morley offers no answers to these questions.

Wednesday, December 28, 2022

Assassination Odd Fellows School Max Good

We now know that filmmaker Max Good was aware of the opinion of two key JFK assassination figures on the matter of Ruth Paine but chose to ignore their input. The late conspiracy author David Lifton told Good in an interview that Mrs. Paine and her husband Michael were "essentially innocent." Lifton also said that the assistance that Ruth provided to Lee Harvey Oswald's wife Marina was not suspicious because "she really is the kind of person that will go out of her way to help another person."

While Lifton expoused some far out theories, he knew the Paines and was well placed to judged their character.

We also have learned that Judge Burt Griffin, who worked on the Warren Commission staff, told Good in the strongest terms that Ruth Paine was not involved in any sort of conspiracy. Griffin gave Fred Litwin permission to publish a letter he sent to Good after the latter tried to film him for his documentary.

Griffin told Good:

As you may be aware, I have studied closely the conduct of Mrs. Paine and Lee Oswald. I have no doubt that Mrs. Paine has not knowingly made any false statements about Lee Oswald to the Warren Commission and that she did not knowingly assist any effort to assassinate President Kennedy.

So, Good, who claims to have been interested in making a "balanced" film, completely ignored two men who have studied the assassination as much as anybody. Thanks to researcher Greg Doudna whose efforts made this information come to light.

Monday, December 19, 2022

More Morley Misinformation

Former Washington Post reporter and editor turned conspiracy theorist Jefferson Morley has been all over traditional and social media in recent days talking about the December 15th National Archives' release of records from the JFK Assassination Records Collection. Morley is effectively accusing the Central Intelligence Agency of running a disinformation campaign to coverup their complicity in the murder of the 35th President.

Here is one example out of many. At his blog, Morley alleged that the agency is engaged in "deception" and is running a "shell game" designed to "fleece those rubes [US citizens]" who are seeking full disclosure of the material. As an agency charged with keeping the nation's secrets, there is no doubt that the CIA has sought to withhold certain records that theorists believe are relevant to the assassination. The CIA says that this is to protect sources and methods rather than conceal secrets about JFK's death.

But Morley doesn't believe the CIA and has been engaged for years (28 by his own count) in an effort to paint the agency in the worst possible light by insinuating that they were somehow responsible for JFK's death. And he has used rhetoric that ranges from misleading to provably false to do it.

This article will highlight a few of Morley's recent misrepresentations. It was prepared with help from researchers Paul Hoch, Robert Reynolds and Fred Litwin who have recently been fact checking Morley's various claims.

Handbill Hoax

Hoch noticed that during Morley's multimedia presentation during the dramatic December 6th press conference he displayed the same fake 544 Camp Street handbill that was used in the Oliver Stone film Destiny Betrayed. As Fred Litwin explains, Lee Harvey Oswald never used the 544 Camp address on handbills he gave out. He only used his real address or Post Office box.

A Medal for Stonewalling?

One of the more ridiculous claims made by Morley is that CIA officer George Joannides, who Morley believes covered up for higher-ups who perpetrated the JFK murder, received the CIA's Career Intelligence Medal "in part" for "stonewalling" HSCA investigators. And Morley has doubled down on these claims as recently as the December 6th presser.

But Morley knows that Joannides received the medal "in recognition of his exceptional achievement with the Central Intelligence Agency for more than 28 years." In fact, the medal citation comes from his own website. Judge Richard Leon noted in a 2011 decision resulting from Morley's 16-year battle with the CIA that he "overstates the medal's importance to his case" since the award was for all Joannides' service from 1950 to 1978 and not specifically for the years 1963 and 1978 as Morley implies.

Mysterious Redactions That Weren't

Again at his blog, Morley wrote about his examination of 33 previously redacted documents that he believes are "potentially interesting." Morley complained that only 13 of these records had been released in full. But author and researcher Fred Litwin notes that one of the documents that Morley alleged were "as secret as ever" regarding Cuban Herminio Diaz is available with almost no redactions and looks much different that the heavily redacted version displayed by Morley. Either Morley has not done his research or he is engaged in the same disinformation that he accuses the CIA of.

Similarly, Morley is concerned about the "testimony of a senior CIA officer" on why Oswald was not debriefed on his return from the Soviet Union. Morley specifically links to page 20 of that testimony which contains redacted information. But again, there is a version of the document available that contains the unredacted paragraph that Morley is worried about. The innocuous section discusses Robert Webster who was also a US serviceman who defected to the Soviet Union around the same time as Oswald.

The Harrelson Memo

One of Morley's biggest complaints about the CIA goes all the way back to a January 20, 1998, memo by the agency's Barry Harrelson which responded to an Assassination Records Review Board request for information. Morley says that the ARRB wanted the CIA to do "two things." The first was to "identify the case officer who handled the DRE in 1963 and was identified in this September 23, 1963, memo as 'Howard' …."

But a look at the original ARRB request (located by Hoch and Reynolds) shows Morley's statement is not entirely accurate. The ARRB memo states "... we request that the CIA work to discover the identity of 'Howard,' the CIA officer mentioned in the DRE files." It does not specifically ask for the identity of the DRE case officer.

Who was "Howard?" Morley believes that he was DRE case officer George Joannides and his claim certainly makes sense. Morley has the statements of former DRE members who saw photos of Joannides and say he was "Howard." But the DRE men saw the photos of Joannides at least 30 years after their experiences with "Howard." So we only have those old memories to go on.

Because as Morley knows, the CIA reviewed their files and found no record of "Howard" as the "true name of any case officer associated with the DRE." Harrelson also noted that "Howard" was not a "pseudonym" or a "registered alias" of any CIA employee. And as ARRB researcher Michelle Combs reported, "personnel files typically would not reveal [aliases] one way or another." So, there is no reason to believe that what Harrelson told the ARRB was untrue.

Admittedly, at the time of Harrelson's statement there was information in the CIA files that indicated that Joannides was the DRE case officer. But it is unclear if Harrelson knew that at the time he replied to the ARRB. In any case, the fact that Joannides was the DRE case officer became known less than two months after the Harrelson reply through Combs' memo. The bottom line is Morley's statement that Harrelson "replied in writing that he had no record of the DRE's case officer" is untrue.

Morley says the second thing the ARRB wanted the CIA to do was provide the monthly progress reports for the DRE. Morley is right in this instance. But the CIA searched and found no such reports. Harrelson suggested that the reports were not "missing" at all but had never been filed in the first place and offered an explanation that Morley simply scoffs at. First, Harrelson cited "major policy differences between the CIA and their DRE charges. These differences, as Morley knows, led to the military section of the DRE being defunded in November of 1963 and the entire DRE operation being mothballed by 1966.

Harrelson also noted that the DRE got a new case officer (Joannides) in late 1962 which was exactly when the monthly reporting stopped. "It seems probable these events are linked" Harrelson sensibly noted. In other words, the new case officer —Joannides— simply did not file monthly reports for whatever reason. And Morley admitted years ago that Joannides "received praise in a July 1963 performance evaluation for his 'adherence to valid reporting techniques.'" So, it is certain that Joannides was doing what the CIA wanted when it came to reports.

The "Smoking Gun"

Finally, the most serious piece of disinformation being promoted by Morley is his recent claim that there is "smoking gun" proof of "an undisclosed Oswald operation" that the CIA was running in 1963. The evidence for this operation is found, according to Morley, in the unreleased Joannides files. Morley says only "full disclosure" will reveal if the "undisclosed Oswald operation" is evidence of the CIA's "complicity in JFK's assassination" or "incompetence." Morley has promised on his blog that "evidence" including the statements of "witnesses" will be presented to bolster his theory.

The identity of one of Morley's witnesses is now almost certain. He is likely former DRE member Jose Antonio Lanuza (sometimes spelled as "Lanusa" in official documents) who is now 83 years old. According to a Miami Herald story, Lanuza has a theory that he and other DRE members were "used" by Joannides to "create and later spread the fake narrative that Oswald was a pro-Castro sympathizer, providing a handy motive for the assassination."

But the problem with this theory is that Oswald's wife Marina would have to be in on the plot since she talked at length about her husband's affinity for Castro. Also in on such a scheme would be Oswald's Marine buddy Nelson Delgado who stated that Oswald had expressed pro-Castro views as far back as 1958. So, the beliefs of Lanuza and other DRE members would not constitute "smoking gun" proof of anything.

Getting back to Morley's theories, he says that the DRE created a "legend" that Oswald was a Castro supporter. But the DRE delegate who had the most contact with Oswald and who would certainly have to have been acting at the behest of the CIA disagrees. Carlos Bringuier told researcher Dale Myers:

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 an employee of the DRE. If they [Miami DRE] were receiving money from 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.

Bringuier also stated "Maybe I visited that [DRE] 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.” So, the man who would have been manipulating Oswald for the agency denies that he ever received a nickel from them or that he knew Joannides at all.

The overwhelming evidence shows that the DRE was not directed by the CIA to do the things they did regarding Oswald. As anti-Castro activists, they did not have to be. In fact, they often disobeyed CIA orders and ultimately were defunded because of that fact.

The final nail in the coffin of Morley's "smoking gun" theory is the fact that ARRB researcher Michelle Combs saw the relevant Joannides files and reported:

During the period December 1962 to April 1964, Mr. Joannides was assigned as a covert action officer at JMWAVE, serving as deputy and then chief of the station's covert action branch. During this time period, Mr. Joannides was the case officer for the Cuban exile group Directorio Revolucionario Estudiantil (DRE). The descriptions of his duties and accomplishments in the personnel file are very general and contain no specific reference to his relationship with the DRE. There is no mention of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in the file and no information relevant to the assassination in the file (emphasis added). There is also no indication that Mr. Joannides may have used or been known by the name "Howard" during his contacts with the DRE, although personnel files typically would not reveal this information one way or another.

Note also that according to the Herald article the CIA released a statement that said "CIA believes all substantive information known to be directly related to Oswald has been released. The few remaining redactions protect CIA employee names, sources, locations, and CIA tradecraft." The agency also stated that Morley's claim that it has not disclosed a set of documents about Oswald that were part of Joannides’ files in the JFK Collection at the National Archives “is false."

Simple logic tells us two things. First, it is unlikely in the extreme that both an ARRB researcher in the nineties and the CIA today are misrepresenting what is in the Joannides files. After all, Biden or a subsequent President could order the files to be released or reviewed so what would be the point of such a canard? Finally, logic also dictates that Morley could not possibly have knowledge of a "smoking gun" in files that he has never seen.

Saturday, December 10, 2022

Morley Meets Glen Beck

A conversation on December 9th, 2022, between far-left blogger and conspiracy gadfly Jefferson Morley and conservative firebrand Glen Beck brought together two political odd fellows and displayed a somewhat schizophrenic Morley. But the former journalist turned conspiracy theorist evidently is so intent on public exposure for his new claim that he has “smoking gun” proof of an “Oswald Operation” that he lowered himself to appear on the Beck podcast.

“I agreed to go on his show” Morley stated on his Substack site, “because good journalists make a point of talking to people with whom they disagree and because Beck’s show could help me reach people who might otherwise not know of my JFK reporting.”

In response to Beck’s clich├ęd question “What are they hiding?” Morley stated, “What they are hiding is the “interest of CIA officers in Lee Harvey Oswald … before President Kennedy was killed.”

This response sounded more like the old careful Morley and much less like the Morley who was on display at the December 6th press conference at the National Press Club. Interestingly, Beck did not ask Morley about his “smoking gun” or the witnesses that he claims to now have which could point either to Beck’s lack of knowledge of Morley’s recent claims or a pre-show agreement.

In some cases, Morley was his usual self, spreading the same disinformation that his critics have grown accustomed to. For example, he insisted that “COINTELPRO was a joint CIA-FBI program which was in effect from the late fifties until the early seventies.” But the Church Committee said COINTELPRO was an FBI program that “began in 1956” and “ended in 1971 with the threat of public exposure.” If Morley were to claim that the CIA ran operations like the FBI’s COINTELPRO that would be one thing. But he insists on falsely calling it a joint CIA-FBI venture in order to sling as much mud as he can on the agency.

In response to Beck’s query, Morley said, “What seems to have been going on was a CIA operation against an organization called the Fair Play for Cuba Committee a leftist group to which Oswald belonged. That’s where he was being used for intelligence purposes … is this operation evidence of a conspiracy? You know, we don’t know it might be just incompetence … maybe they ran an operation and this guy Oswald up and shot the President. That part we can’t tell without getting all of the records … what they’re hiding is their pre-assassination interest in Oswald.”

Morley’s admission that Oswald could have shot the President was again like the old Morley and shows that he still harbors doubts about his recently expressed belief that JFK’s enemies “made Oswald a patsy for their crime.”

Then the inevitable happened. Beck intoned “Does it strike you as ... um ... we are living the same kind of history right now?”

“Tell me more about, you know, the comparison” Morley responded.

“We have the CIA and FBI involved in all kinds of things,” Beck declared, “like at Twitter to silence people, to go after groups, the FBI is being used as a weapon, the intelligence departments are also being used as uh as weapons …”

Morley was more than happy to use this line of reasoning to discuss the January 6th insurrection but Beck wasn’t interested. Beck wanted to talk about Twitter and the Hunter Biden laptop but Morley wasn’t having any of that.

“I mean, I don’t know how the Hunter Biden laptop story is relevant to the JFK story,” Morley said. “I do know what I’m talking about here and you know I don’t want the JFK story to get wrapped up in contemporary politics.”

Morley continued “It’s a little bit of a sideshow and I’d rather talk about something we agree about rather than something we disagree about.”

Beck relented and the conversation continued.

“Do you have any doubt that Oswald did it and did it for his own personal desires?” Beck wondered.

“Uh, yes. I don’t think that Lee Harvey Oswald was the intellectual author of Kennedy’s death," Morley responded. "I don’t think that. He might have fired a gun, um I think he knew what was going on but he was not … this was bigger than Oswald. And I think that the records that we’re seeking will shed light on this. Did Oswald slip past all these CIA guys who were paying close attention to him in the summer and fall of 1963, or was there something else going on where people were actually manipulating Oswald to make him be what he said he was, a patsy?”

Morley didn’t explain why Oswald’s simple act of smuggling a rifle into the Texas School Book Depository and waiting for the motorcade to come into view required an “intellectual author.” He also didn’t explain how a CIA plot could lower itself to allow the unstable Oswald to “know what was going on” or exactly how he was “manipulated” into being a “patsy.”

Beck wondered what the motivation of the CIA was and Morley responded with the standard line that they were “afraid” of JFK’s policies on Vietnam and Cuba and “regarded them as a threat to national security. A danger that had to be dealt with by extreme means.”

After briefly talking about Morley’s Watergate book, Scorpion’s Dance, Beck turned the conversation back to the file release scheduled for December 15th. Beck claimed, “Trump tried to get it released, Biden says it needs to be released …”

“No, no, no, no, no,” Morley interrupted. “Actually that’s wrong. Trump said it should be released, said it was released. “Unfortunately, he lied and he caved to the CIA in December ’17 …”

“Wow” Beck interjected.

“… he kicked the can down the road four years um to Biden,” Morley explained. “ So, Biden got the question … what do we do with these JFK documents, and the CIA and the federal agencies said ‘the COVID dog ate my homework you know we couldn’t do it because of the pandemic ... So, Biden said ok we have another year …”

Morley promised to return to the show with any new developments after the file release. With that, undoubtedly to the relief of both men, the unlikely confab ended.

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