Did the CIA use Cuban exiles in plot involving Oswald? Questions stay as Biden withholds JFK data



President John F. Kennedy speaks in his closing go to to Miami on Nov. 18, 1963, days earlier than his assassination in Dallas. Miami Herald Archives.

Almost six a long time after President John F. Kennedy’s assassination whereas he was using in a motorcade in downtown Dallas, questions linger about who else, in addition to Lee Harvey Oswald, the accused gunman, might need been concerned in what a 1979 congressional investigation report known as a “conspiracy” to kill the American president.

Fueling hypothesis and conspiracy theories anew, the CIA once more vetoed the publication Thursday of 1000’s of paperwork associated to the assassination, which President Joe Biden had vowed to launch.

In a White House memorandum, Biden mentioned that 70 p.c of the about 16,000 paperwork that had beforehand been issued with redactions by the National Archives had been launched in full Thursday. The relaxation, about 4,400 paperwork, will stay categorised a minimum of till subsequent 12 months “to protect against an identifiable harm to the military defense, intelligence operations, law enforcement, or the conduct of foreign relations that is of such gravity that it outweighs the public interest in disclosure,” the memorandum says.

Some are so delicate that they could even stay exterior the general public eye for longer, regardless of a 1992 legislation mandating full disclosure, the presidential memo suggests.

“Any information that agencies propose for continued postponement of public release beyond June 30, 2023, shall be limited to the absolute minimum under the statutory standard,” the memo notes.

But what may presumably be so delicate so a few years later?

Beyond the disclosure of CIA procedures and techniques, researchers imagine there’s a trove of paperwork that could possibly be extremely embarrassing for the company.

Most of the 44 paperwork associated to George Joannides, the chief of the psychological warfare department of CIA’s Miami station on the time, are amongst these at stay categorised, specialists on the Mary Ferrell Foundation, a web based depository of JFK data, mentioned Thursday.

Jefferson Morley, a JFK-assassination knowledgeable and creator and vp of the Mary Ferrell Foundation, believes Joannides ran an operation that concerned Oswald and a few Cuban exiles three months earlier than the Dallas tragedy.

If not pointing to Joannides’ involvement within the conspiracy to kill Kennedy himself, on the very least researchers imagine these withheld paperwork would verify that Oswald was a well known topic to the U.S. intelligence group, an acknowledgment that the CIA nonetheless denies, whereas additionally shedding extra gentle on his encounters with Cuban exiles.

The CIA appointed Joannides because the contact level for the House’s Select Committee on Assassinations that accomplished its investigation on the Dallas occasions in 1978, with out informing the committee of Joannides’ previous expertise dealing with the exact same Cuban exile teams members of Congress had been investigating.

“Is there a “smoking gun? Is there one piece of paper that proves a conspiracy? No …. But there IS smoking gun proof that CIA had an operational interest in Oswald while JFK was alive,” Morley tweeted early Thursday. Last October, the Mary Ferrell Foundation sued the Biden administration, asking for the discharge of all remaining paperwork.

In a press convention after the publication of the brand new trove of paperwork, Morley questioned if the CIA was appearing “in good faith” by denying the general public the entire data. Members of the inspiration informed reporters that, at first look, many paperwork seemed to be printed with comparable redactions to previous variations.

“It’s damage control, throwing a bone,” Morley mentioned. “This charade of continuing non-disclosure in the face of a very clear law, the CIA doesn’t have the benefit of the doubt anymore.”

The CIA disputed claims it’s unreasonably withholding data.

“CIA believes all substantive information known to be directly related to Oswald has been released,” the company mentioned in a press release. “The few remaining redactions protect CIA employee names, sources, locations, and CIA tradecraft.”

The company additionally mentioned that the declare that it has not disclosed a set of paperwork about Oswald that had been a part of Joannides’ recordsdata within the JFK Collection on the National Archives “is false.”

“We believe all CIA records substantively related to Mr. Joannides were previously released, with only minor redactions, such as CIA employees’ names and locations,” the assertion says.

To pollster and JFK researcher Fernand Amandi, who carried out a latest ballot asking Americans in the event that they needed to see the data launched — most mentioned sure — no matter is within the remaining recordsdata is of such nature that it has pushed the CIA “to break the law.”

“What the CIA has determined is the following: It is better to expose themselves to public criticism and literally act against what U.S. law says, that it is preferable to do that having to deal with what can be published,” Amandi mentioned.

The function of Cuban exiles

Some Cuban exiles who had been a part of this historical past had been additionally hoping a full disclosure of Joannides’ file would assist them perceive what function, if any, they performed on this alleged conspiracy.

Jose Antonio Lanuza, 83, a former member of the Directorio Revolucionario Estudiantil, or Revolutionary Student Directorate, a Cuban exile anti-Castro group energetic within the Nineteen Sixties, informed the Herald he hoped the remaining paperwork would verify a long-held suspicion that he, and different Directorate members, had been utilized by Joannides, the group’s case handler in Miami, to create and later unfold the faux narrative that Oswald was a pro-Castro sympathizer, offering a helpful motive for the assassination.

The occasions involving Directorate members and Oswald are nicely documented.

According to Lanuza and a number of other different accounts and historic data, Oswald, a former U.S. Marine with the implausible story of getting defected to the Soviet Union and later returned to the United States with little consequence, approached one of many Directorate members, New Orleans retailer proprietor Carlos Bringuier, in August 1963. Oswald supplied to assist the group combat Fidel Castro. But shortly after, Bringuier discovered Oswald at a spot near his retailer handing out leaflets from Fair Play for Cuba, a pro-Castro group. A brawl ensued, and each males had been arrested. Bringuier and Oswald later debated on a radio present during which Oswald acknowledged his Marxist beliefs, Lanuza mentioned.

And when Oswald was publicly recognized as JFK’s murderer three months later, Lanuza, the Directorate’s liaison with the media, instantly informed the story of the pro-Castro American who had killed the president.

“I think [the CIA] built this legend,” Lanuza mentioned. “Why? Because when it became known that he had killed Kennedy, an idiot named José Antonio Lanuza, that’s me, suddenly his memory would tell him, hey, I know this guy, this is Castro sympathizer.”

Lanuza, who was primarily based in Miami on the time, mentioned he gathered all of the proof he had about Oswald that Bringuier had forwarded to him (a Navy handbook Oswald handed as proof of his credentials, the radio present recording and a handwritten letter by Oswald providing his providers, which is now misplaced), to make the case to Luis Fernandez Rocha, the Directorate high secretary, that Oswald was an agent for Castro.

Rocha, who’s now deceased, contacted the group’s CIA handler, a person named “Howard” who researchers later recognized as Joannides. The CIA agent had one instruction: “Don’t give the press anything; wait an hour.”

“I did not wait for the hour. At exactly 50 minutes, I was sitting with two phones calling journalists,” Lanuza recalled. “I left them a message saying: President John Kennedy was assassinated by a pro-Castro agent in the United States, a member of Fair Play for Cuba. And I spent more than two hours on the phone.”

Other members of the Directorate repeated that message publicly on the time.

Morley has additionally superior a model of this idea, however he informed reporters final week that he believes Joannides could have used Oswald to undermine the work of Fair Play for Cuba.

But regardless of the nature of the CIA’s “operational interest in Oswald,” Morley mentioned Thursday, “we don’t know. That’s why we need the documents.”

McClatchy DC reporters Michael Wilner and Ben Wieder contributed to this report.

Nora Gámez Torres is the Cuba/U.S.-Latin American coverage reporter for el Nuevo Herald and the Miami Herald. She studied journalism and media and communications in Havana and London. She holds a Ph.D. in sociology from City, University of London. Her work has gained awards by the Florida Society of News Editors and the Society for Professional Journalists.//Nora Gámez Torres estudió periodismo y comunicación en La Habana y Londres. Tiene un doctorado en sociología y desde el 2014 cubre temas cubanos para el Nuevo Herald y el Miami Herald. También reporta sobre la política de Estados Unidos hacia América Latina. Su trabajo ha sido reconocido con premios de Florida Society of News Editors y Society for Profesional Journalists.


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