Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Newman Talks to Danny Jones About Veciana

Conspiracy author and researcher John Newman did the world a favor when he published research in his book Into The Storm that refuted many of the claims of one Antonio Veciana. Theses claims concerned when and under what circumstances Veciana allegedly met his CIA handler Maurice Bishop whom he eventually maintained was really David Atlee Phillips—one of the favorite villains of the conspiracy crowd. Newman also provided solid evidence to show that Veciana was tied more to Army Intelligence than he was to the CIA. My eBook, The Bishop Hoax, demonstrated that Veciana lied not only about the things named by Newman but about anything that suited his varied purposes. The Conclusion chapter of my book lays out Veciana's most significant prevarications.

But instead of telling his followers that Veciana is not worthy of belief in any regard, Newman has incorporated the anti-Castro activist into his sprawling conspiracy theory to end all conspiracy theories. A recent conversation with Danny Jones, a pod caster who specializes in "fringe cultures," lays out the disturbing details of Newman's current thinking regarding the Veciana matter which is just one small aspect of Newman's convoluted grand hypothesis.

First, let's look at why the assassination had to occur, according to Newman, and Veciana's role in the scheme:

[The] Antonio Veciana story this is one of the biggest misdirections ever because you can't figure out the Armageddon that was that was ... underway um at the time that's what it was that's what they were trying to do was to blow the planet not to blow the planet up but to blow all the you know the Russia China all those those countries and and so Veciana was a way to help pin this on the CIA so you don't know who's actually behind all this this Armageddon stuff going on it's the military and he was working for the military the whole time they wanted people to think it was the CIA ..."

Yes, you read that correctly. The military brass wanted to nuke Russia and China. Not only that, but when JFK said no to their plan they decided that the youthful President had to be killed and the crime blamed on the CIA. This theory is the result of Newman reading too much into contingency plans which the government has many of but most remain unused. Veciana fits into all of this because Newman thinks that he was released from prison early for the sole purpose of telling the world the falsehood about his CIA handler Bishop and his meeting with Oswald.

How did the CIA get Veciana to lie? They just pinned a drug conviction on the hapless anti-Castro activist and then dangled an early release:

... they they put him in jail for a long while because a lot of those CIA guys were running dope you know in South American stuff so they had it on everybody and so so what they do sometimes if they want to use somebody they say okay uh here's what you're going to do for us and if he says no okay you can put him in jail and so he ended up in jail.

Exactly who framed Veciana and how is, of course, not detailed. But presumably since Newman mentions the CIA and South American drug activity, he thinks that it was a rogue CIA agent or agents that were controlled by the military brass. Newman continues:

... when um they put him in jail and uh they let him out really early ... they busted him for 25 kilos of um cocaine ... and that that get that gets you about um two uh non-consecutive uh 12 year terms instantly so he was he was going to be locked up for at least 12 years if not more than that and uh they let him out in about less than two years and there was no reason why ...

That's a lot to unpack so let's get started. First, Veciana's public pronouncements were designed to prove CIA involvement in the assassination. Veciana's case officer Bishop was CIA and met with Oswald—that is the story. During his conversation with Jones, Newman doesn't discuss the time period during which Veciana was supposed to be relaying his false information. But in another presentation in 2019 summarized here, Newman mentions assets of US intelligence including Veciana who were "weaponized and used as messengers." This weaponization occurred during "the period of the Church Committee's tenure" which ended in 1976. So, presumably Newman is talking about the time soon after Veciana's 1976 prison release. Which only makes sense because they wouldn't release Veciana unless they expected immediate action.

The problem is, Veciana never said that Bishop was CIA until many years after his release from prison. Veciana told Fonzi during the 1976 interviews that Bishop was "working for a private organization, not the government." Later that year, Veciana told Dick Russell that Bishop was "part of an American intelligence service" and then "instructed him not to ask which one." This left the door open to the possibility that Bishop was Army Intelligence which was exactly the opposite of what Veciana supposedly wanted to achieve. And in 1977, Veciana told Fonzi’s assistant Al Gonzales that he "never said that Bishop was CIA" but believed that he was with "some sort of intelligence agency or with a powerful interest group" again leaving the door open to Bishop being Army Intelligence.

In 1978, Veciana testified before the HSCA and again failed to name Bishop as a CIA asset. "I always had the opinion that Maurice Bishop was working for a private firm and not the government" Veciana stated. He also refused to say that Bishop was David Phillips. In his HSCA writeup, Fonzi noted that the "U.S. intelligence agency [Bishop] was associated [with], could not be determined." Veciana's Church Committee testimony is missing but it is doubtful it would contradict his numerous pronouncements that Bishop was not CIA.

The fact is, Veciana never said that Bishop was Phillips, thus providing a concrete tie to a known CIA agent, until 2013. It is true that numerous conspiracy theorists claimed Phillips was Bishop from about 1980 onward and maybe Newman believes that the development of public opinion that the CIA was behind the assassination was the goal. But if you are releasing someone from prison specifically to blame the assassination on the CIA, why not have that person come right out and say it instead of merely hoping that conspiracy types will step in and do the job for you?

What about the evidence that supports Newman's claim that Veciana's drug conviction was a setup? There isn't any. But there is plenty of evidence that says Veciana did exactly what he was accused of. Veciana's two co-conspirators testified against him and provided damning evidence. One of the most persuasive pieces of evidence was provided by an accountant who worked at a real estate firm where Ariel Pomares, one of Veciana's partners in crime, was employed. The accountant remembered a day that he answered the telephone in the absence of Pomares. The call was from Veciana who left a message for Pomares. "Tell him my name is Veciana and I received the documents," was the simple message. It turns out that the phrase "I received the documents" was a code to let Pomares know that the cocaine had arrived and was available for delivery. Those who believe Veciana was framed have a steep hill to ascend and so far Newman isn't climbing.

Another area where Newman is playing loose with the facts concerns Veciana's sentence and the time he served. Newman implies that Veciana should have received a mandatory sentence of two "non-consecutive" 12 year terms. He offers no evidence for this statement. According to my research, Veciana was sentenced to "two seven-year terms to run concurrently" with three years parole after that. So, the most he was going to do was seven years. If there was something funny about the sentence, it should be a simple matter to prove.

Newman also says that Veciana was released after "less than two years and there was no reason why." But according to Veciana's autobiography (page 223) he served "twenty-six months." Thus far, I have been unable to independently confirm the exact length of Veciana's term, but he presumably knew how long he was there. Veciana's book also confirms the two concurrent seven year sentences and the three years of probation. It is reasonable to assume that an individual would have to serve about three years of a seven-year term before gaining parole. But with good behavior or because of overcrowding, twenty-six months would not be abnormal and likely required no conspiratorial intervention.

Newman's rambling comments to Jones are often absurd and at times could even be called paranoid. For example, Newman, now and possibly for some time, believes that the CIA "pickpocketed" his cell phone at a conference where he was speaking about the Veciana matter. Newman told Jones that after misappropriating his phone the agency returned it to a pocket on his "carry bag." A "regular looking guy" who appeared to be in late fifties then approached Newman and said "you're okay, you're okay, it's okay they just want to know what you know. You're good don't worry."

Newman went on to explain that he first quite understandably thought the "okay man" was "a crazy guy." But "a year or so" after the event he was able to "figure out" that "they [the CIA] were that interested in me right? I hadn't gotten that far in ... in terms of of any notoriety or anything like that so um yeah but that's what happened that's what they want and then I had other things happen to me later on when people ... people would say stuff to me that was good you know that they were there ... there were times when they actually applauded what I was doing and and [gave] me some information."

From listening to various videos of Newman I have also learned that he believes that his books JFK and Vietnam and his current work Popov's Mole were "suppressed" by different means. Regarding the current book, Amazon decided that some documents (which Newman believes "prove" Bruce Solie was the legendary CIA mole predicted by Popov) Newman wanted to include were "illegible" and therefore delayed publication. However, once Newman removed the offending documents and placed them on the Internet, Amazon went ahead and published the book. Newman doesn't seem to understand that Amazon controls the process and you have to go along with their rules even when you don't agree with them. Such regulations are not necessarily "suppression" and Amazon has published two books of Newman's works previously.

The rambling nature of Newman's presentation caused one Education Forum poster to believe Newman had reversed his position on one matter. At 5:50 of the video Newman says "[David Phillips] meets Veciana in a hotel in Dallas Texas and um that is where uh Oswald is there for the meeting and this is only a month before the Kennedy assassination so it looks like ... this guy uh is plotting Kennedy's murder that's so they they put Veciana and Phillips in the same um office area of a big Bank in ... Dallas together the three of so ... that's proof ... that uh Phillips was in on it and he's big CIA guy so you know ... everybody after that said the CIA killed killed Kennedy and they wouldn't give it up no matter what."

And indeed in 2020 Newman said when asked during a presentation if Phillips was Bishop "No, I don’t think so … at best [Bishop] would be a composite of several people that played roles in the saga." But it is clear (to me anyway) that Newman was merely explaining the theory that Phillips met with Oswald and was seen by an early-arriving Veciana—not endorsing it.

Newman is promising more revelations about Veciana in the forthcoming book five of his series on the assassination including the results of court filings (spearheaded by Dan Hardway) to unseal Veciana's records for his drug conviction. While these might be interesting from a historical perspective, it is unlikely they will prove that Veciana was released early at the behest of the Church Committee or another government entity. But if Veciana were released early to tell about Bishop, that would provide an obvious motive for his lies about the imaginary mentor. In any case, if Newman's statements to Jones are any indication of what is to come, it is doubtful that he be able to offer anything of substance and surely nothing that will rival his worthwhile refutation of the Veciana claims mentioned at the beginning of this article.

Saturday, February 17, 2024

Was Nosenko Married to Solie's Sister-in-Law?

Photo: George (Yuri Nosenko) and Louise Rosnek. Photo credit-Jefferson Morley

Last Edited 2-19-24: Don't ask me why, but I recently picked up John Newman's Popov's Mole and thereby started a trip down a deep rabbit-hole. In fact, out of the myriad issues related to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, the subject of Yuri (sometimes spelled Yuriy) Nosenko and the search for Popov's mole may be the most complex of all which is saying something. So, how far down that rabbit-hole I am willing to travel remains to be seen. But I did stumble on one matter that is immediately debunkable.

First, some background. Newman believes that Nosenko was a false defector designed to divert attention from the KGB and their mole in the CIA. The identity of the mole? None other than Bruce Solie of the CIA's Office of Security. This concept is very convenient for Newman and other supporters of his work. That is because Solie was the person largely responsible for Nosenko being cleared of suspicion and declared a true defector by the CIA. So, if you say Solie was the mole, the rest of your analysis benefits from that assertion. But I digress.

Newman and supporters, which include researcher Malcolm Blunt, base their theory on the work of Tennent "Pete" Bagley, a CIA officer who originally handled the Nosenko case. Bagley vehemently argued that Nosenko was false and wrote a book about it called Spy Wars. Blunt had conversations with Bagley and the epigraph of Popov's Mole is taken from one of those talks that occured in 2011. Bagley is quoted as saying:

That Solie provided rock-like protection to Nosenko, there is no doubt. Why, is the question. The bond was sealed by Nosenko's marrying Solie's wife's sister. Let's add Solie to the short list.

The obvious answer to Bagley's question is that Solie may have helped Nosenko because he felt an injustice had been done in his case. Setting that aside, I assumed that the assertion that Nosenko married into the family could be checked out with a little Internet research. And I was right. Bruce Solie had only one wife. She was Mary Elizabeth Matthews whom he married on February 22, 1944. The couple were together until Bruce's death in 1992. Mary had two sisters. One died in infancy and the other sister was Helen Louise Matthews. Since Bruce Solie had only one wife and his wife had only one living sister, in order for Bagley's claim that Nosenko married "Solie's wife's sister" to be true Nosenko must have married Helen Louise Matthews. He did not.

Helen Louis Matthews married Orlin Hudson Shires and was married to him for 64 years (the couple lived in California) until his death in 2007 which puts the date of their union at circa 1943. Since Nosenko was still alive in 2007 and theoretically could have married Helen Louise at that point even though both were elderly, let's look at what Nosenko was doing to be sure.

Nosenko (who used the name George Martin Rosnek after his release from CIA custody) evidently married in November of 1969 after gaining his freedom in April of that year. This document from September of that year tells of his desire to gain a divorce from his then Russian wife so he could marry and some of the legal challenges he faced because of his unique situation. This first US wife's (he may have been married three times in Russia) name was Ruby F. Rosnek. Nosenko and Ruby relocated from the Maryland-Virginia DC suburbs to Oriental, North Carolina after fearing that the KGB had located them.

After the move to North Carolina, Ruby died in 1982. Nosenko then (date unclear) married Frances Warren who was formerly married to Stephen C. Morris who died in 1981. Nosenko and Frances remained married and lived in Oriental, North Carolina until his death in 2008. So as any reasonable person can see, short of a conspiracy theory involving doubles there is zero chance that he married "Solie's wife's sister."

Does any of this really matter? It seems strange to me that Newman would choose a quote for the epigraph of his book that contains verifiably false information. Sure, I had to do a little digging to find the truth but it wasn't that difficult. It seems like Newman and his team want to make Solie and Nosenko look as friendly as they can even if it means using information they didn't properly evaluate. Or maybe they are so entrenched in Bagley's thesis that they can't imagine anything he says might be wrong.

An interesting sidenote to all of this is Bagley's apparent belief that Solie could be the mole. He told Blunt "Let's add Solie to the short list [of mole suspects]." But according to the 2022 book The Spy Who Knew Too Much by Howard Blum, Bagley believed that John Paisley and not Solie was the "master spy that Nosenko was sent to protect." If Blum is to be believed then, Bagley (assuming he was quoted accurately) could have been simply telling Blunt what he wanted to hear about Solie.

Thursday, July 6, 2023

Morley's "17-Month Gap"

Jefferson Morley may be feeling the heat this summer and not in a meteorological sense. I just released my Jefferson Morley FAQ which debunks numerous Morley assertions regarding the CIA's George Joannides and the DRE. Researcher and author Fred Litwin has also weighed in by engaging in an informal debate with Morley about his Operation Northwoods claims. Litwin followed his excellent first article with an in depth treatment that goes beyond Northwoods.

Now, Morley has released an article asserting that a "17 month gap" adds "new detail" to his JFK theories. Morley claims that two CIA operational files released on June 27th "yield a clue about how the American clandestine service monitored (and possibly manipulated) accused assassin Lee Harvey Oswald." These files disprove the assertions of "Those who claim there’s nothing new in the JFK assassination files" according to Morley.

But are the files new? And what about Morley's various claims in this article? Morley's assertions are in green followed by my rebuttal.

"Those who claim there’s nothing new in the JFK assassination files have probably not seen two CIA operational files, released on June 27..."

Here are the two files. The first is a DRE progress report for September 1962. But this file is nothing new and has been available in one form or another since 1998.

The second document is also a DRE progress report that has been available since at least 2017. Although the 2017 version of the document seems to contain more redactions, the 2022 version appears to have about the same redactions as the version just released. In any case, Morley's arguments are not based on any new information revealed in the 2023 release. Rather they are the same arguments he has been making for some time wrapped in a new package.

"News organizations, podcasters, and fact-checkers can document the story independently."

Yes, that's just what researchers like myself, Fred Litwin, Robert Reynolds, Dale Myers, Gus Russo and others have been doing for years—fact checking Morley's claims. They do not stand up well.

"Likewise, the 17 month gap can be seen as strong evidence of a CIA cover-up in the JFK assassination investigation."

Actually the "17 month gap" just shows that the DRE progress reports for the period in question never existed or are missing for an unknown reason. And I know Morley knows there are other explanations besides a "CIA cover-up" for the missing reports because he admitted in a 2009 deposition that the CIA's Barry Harrelson was "on logically firmer ground" when he attributed the missing reports to the CIA's indecision about the "controversial" DRE.

In the spring of 1963 the CIA was funneling $51,000 a month to the AMSPELL network via its headquarters in Miami. This money supported DRE delegations in cities throughout North and South America.

Morley doesn't say this, but an uninformed person could get the idea that all delegations in North America, including the one in New Orleans manned by Carlos Bringuier, received CIA money. There is absolutely no evidence that this was the case and Bringuier strongly denied it (see below).

In August 1963 the AMSPELL delegation in New Orleans generated newspaper, radio and TV coverage of the city’s only public supporter of Fidel Castro, Lee Harvey Oswald. Indeed, all of Oswald’s pro-Castro activities took place in view of the AMSPELL or another CIA-linked organization, The Information Council of the Americas.

Morley's implication is that the CIA controlled the interactions that individuals had with Oswald in New Orleans. But New Orleans DRE delegate Bringuier has always maintained that his interaction with Oswald was his own idea and not controlled or funded by the CIA. In fact, Bringuier sent money to the Miami DRE. As for INCA, I am unaware that Morley has offered any specific evidence regarding that group's involvement in a CIA plot to kill Kennedy. Perhaps he is working on a new conspiracy theory.

So, if the DRE’s case officer filed a Monthly Progress Report he would have reported what the group’s intelligence [was] gathering on Oswald.

One mistake Morley and other theorists make is overemphasizing Oswald's importance before the assassination. Although Dale Myers has confirmed that the Miami DRE reported the Oswald-Bringuier interactions to Joannides, he might not have felt the need to mention it in a report since it did not even involve the Miami DRE the agency was funding.

In January 1998, a CIA official Barry Harrelson named responded with a remarkably inaccurate memo. He asserted:

  • he CIA could not identify the case officer handling the AMSPELL program in 1963.
  • The Agency did not know the identity of the CIA case officer whom the AMSPELL leaders knew as “Howard.”
  • After consulting CIA officials described as “knowledgable,” Harrelson asserted “Howard” was not an “actual person,” merely a “routing indicator.”
  • The monthly progress reports were not missing, Harrelson explained, because they had never been created. Policy differences between the CIA and AMSPELL leaders, he claimed, had resulted in a funding reduction and the end of the monthly reports.

Morley's assertions are discussed HERE.

The ARRB conducted its own investigation and found Harrelson’s memo was riddled with falsehoods. Either Harrelson was lying or he was sincerely passing on false information from his superiors.

This is very poor wording on Morley's part (that may be intentional) and makes it seem like the ARRB set out to investigate the Harrelson memo. Actually, the facts they uncovered were a routine part of their JFK document review.

[the Combs memo revealed] "Howard” was an actual person, not a “routing indicator.” (Four former AMSPELL leaders told me “Howard” was the alias used by Joannides and scores of memoranda in the DRE papers at the University of Miami, addressed to “Howard,” confirm their story.)

The Combs memo does not contain confirmation of the identity of "Howard." Indeed, it states that the Joannides Personnel file that Combs reviewed contains "no indication that Mr. Joannides may have used or been known by the name 'Howard'..." In fact, there is no existing CIA document that confirms "Howard" is Joannides or discusses him at all which is exactly what Harrelson maintained—not that "Howard" didn't exist. The CIA was simply reporting on the facts documented in their files and not on Morley's conspiracy-oriented research. Morley is right that the DRE's contact was known to them as "Howard" but since only one DRE man had personal contact with him it is not known for sure if this was Joannides or another individual he assigned as a contact man for the group. One eyewitness identification thirty years after the fact is not convincing.

And the monthly progress reports did not cease in December 1962 as Harrelson stated. The latest JFK files, released in June 2023, show the monthly AMSPELL reports resumed as soon as Joannides handed off responsibility to another case office in May 1964.

Harrelson said the reports "stopped" in late 1962. He never said they ceased forever. And his explanation for the missing reports, the "go-no go" status of the DRE during the time in question, was obviously speculative. Also, the fact that the monthly progress reports resumed after Joannides left his job as DRE case officer is not new. Morley links to various post-Joannides progress reports in his article including this one from May of 1964 which has been around since 1998.

The two Monthly Progress reports released on June 27, 2023 demonstrate it was standard CIA procedure to file such reports on the group.

There is no proof of what the "standard CIA procedure" was regarding the reports. The reports were either not filed for reasons that are unknown or are missing for reasons that are not necessarily nefarious.

Researcher Robert Reynolds has thought of another reason to believe that the reports never existed. In a recent group email discussion, Reynolds pointed out that earlier progress reports filed by Ross Crozier used existing documents to support the basic facts of his reports. Cables, dispatches and so on were filed as they occurred in real time and summarized later in the progress reports. So, it would not be enough for plotters to simply destroy progress reports for the period of the "17-month gap." Other DRE activity for the time Joannides was at the helm would also have to be deleted. And there is no evidence of this.

In fact, Morley's article contains several examples of CIA contact with the DRE in 1963:

The AMSPELL propaganda blitz against Oswald in November 1963 showed Oswald was world-historic significant, and Joannides would have been derelict not to report on his contacts with his agents.

Oswald was "world-historic significant" only after he killed Kennedy. Before that he was a nobody whom Joannides may or may not have even known about.

A final argument against Morley's Joannides-managed "Oswald operation" is Morley's own familiarity with some of the DRE's members. Morley interviewed these DRE men on a few occasions. Presumably, he asked them if they were running an "Oswald operation" for Joannides. If he didn't, why not since he is now trying to convince others of the existence of that operation? And if he did ask them and they told him there was no such operation, then Morley must believe that the DRE men are lying to him (in which case how can he believe anything they say?) or that the CIA employed only Bringuier to interact with Oswald. If Morley does believe the DRE men lied to him, then he must believe they were brought in after the assassination to help "create a legend" of Oswald as a Marxist sympathizer and Castro supporter since that "legend" is a major part of Morley's theory. But none of this is consistent with the evidence that Bringuier needed no one to tell him what to do when confronted with a Castro supporter in New Orleans or that the Miami DRE men didn't need to be instructed to tie Oswald to Castro after the assassination through their newspaper. And there was no need to create a "legend" of Oswald as a Marxist sympathizer and Castro supporter since he supported Castro from late 1958 on and gravitated toward Marxism starting in 1953.

In conclusion, the two documents trumpeted by Morley are not new and are not evidence of revelations made available to the public by the JFK records releases. The fact is, very little is being discovered in the record releases that would be of interest to anyone besides hard core historians. But Morley must continue to make everyone believe that the releases are game-changing or his raison d'etre as a conspiracy gadfly ceases.

Saturday, July 1, 2023

Jefferson Morley FAQ Released

According to a CNN article, the National Archives has concluded their review of the documents in the JFK Collection. Ninety-nine percent of the files are now publically available with the remaining redactions representing information witheld for the "strongest possible reasons" according to White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre. The remaining classified documents or redacted portions of those documents will be released "on an ongoing basis when the underlying reason for their declassification is no longer applicable."

Of course, this will not satisfy everyone, most notably conspiracy author Jefferson Morley who has been crusading for full release of the records for years. Morley is also advocating for the addition of 44 records on CIA official George Joannides to the JFK Collection so they can also be released. Despite the promise of eventual full disclosure, Morley will no doubt be criticizing Biden's actions -- UPDATE he has. He is already doubling down on his claim that there is a "smoking gun" in the Joannides files even though he has never seen them.

With this in mind, I am releasing my Jefferson Morley FAQ. The purpose of the FAQ is to "alert the news media and the public about misinformation being disseminated by Jefferson Morley regarding the November 22, 1963 assassination of US President John F. Kennedy."

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.

Researcher Larry Haapanen sent me a document that details the reason behind the agency's concern about family background of certain employees. The document notes that individuals cleared for special intelligence "should be of native born parents." Haapanen also pointed out that Joannides' May 1963 special intelligence clearence request was likely triggered ahead of his promotion as Chief of Psychological Warfare at JM/WAVE, a position he assumed in late July.

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?

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