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."

Powered by Blogger.