George Joannides, chief of CIA covert operations in Miami in 1963.
A federal court ruled Tuesday that my lawsuit for the records of deceased CIA officer George Joannides “serves a public benefit” and ordered a lower court judge to reconsider his decision to deny the award of legal fees.
A three-judge appellate panel declared that Judge Richard Leon had erred in his September 2012 decision that the governnrnent did not have to pay my court costs for 10 years of litigation. In 2007 the D.C. Court of Appeals ruled in favor of arguments made by my attorney, James Lesar, who contended that the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) obligated the CIA to release more records about Joannides. Plaintiffs who prevail in FOIA and civil rights cases are often awarded legal fees to discourage the government from resisting meritorious claims.
In its unanimous decision, the court cited its ruling in a recent FOIA case, Davy v. CIA (also argued by Lesar), that disclosure of records “about individuals allegedly involved in President Kennedy’s assassination serve a public benefit.”
The court’s ruling is a moral victory that awaits substantive fulfillment.
Michael Swanson, an investment adviser turned JFK researcher, called my attention to “Council of War,” a fascinating official history of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, which documents the Pentagon’s resistance to, and resentment of, President Kennedy’s foreign policy, especially on Cuba and Vietnam.
Published last year by the JCS, the study presents an unvarnished view of an unprecedented mistrust between White House and Pentagon in the year before Kennedy was violently removed from power.
“Read this book and you are reading a real history of the American empire and defense establishment written for future leaders of the Pentagon and armed forces,” writes Swanson, who plans to publish his own study of the Cold War from 1945-1963 in the fall.
Taylor Marsh, the self-described ”recovering beauty queen” turned political blogger, comments on the aesthetics of Rob Lowe as the iconic JFK in National Geographic’s forthcoming JFK feature and she wonders about the credibility of the script by the JFK fabulist Bill O’Reilly.
“Bill O’Reilly’s memory is playing tricks on him, to put it kindly, because there are witnesses that know he wasn’t where he said he was in his book,” she writes.
More than a few members of the Washington political elite in the 1960s privately suspected that President Kennedy had been killed by his enemies. They ranged from the JFK’s brother and widow to members of the Warren Commission to established news reporters.
As Rex Bradford notes in this 2008 speech in Dallas, “this group shared with the rest of us disbelief in the lone disgruntled gunman story, What we don’t find [in their comments] for the most part are strong indications that they really knew the answer to ‘Who killed JFK?’ beyond intelligent hunches. But some of their statements offer interesting clues and point the way toward information they had which has since gone missing.”
Welcome to the Assassination City Roller Derby, where you can watch competing teams, the Lone Star Assassins and the Dead Kennedys, fight it out on the circular track.
“I can understand that some people may be offended,” a league spokeswoman said. “But that’s not what we’re all about. The name is about taking something negative and being tongue-in-cheek and being light about a gritty situation.”
I must confess that I am a 9/11 conspiracy theorist. My theory is that the attacks on New York and Washington were the result of a plot organized by Khalid Sheik Muhammed, funded by Osama bin Laden, and carried out by Muhammed’s extended family and other men enlisted by the lead co-conspirators.
The historical validity of that conclusion doesn’t mean we know the whole story of the 9/11 attacks.
So says Bob Graham, the former Florida Senator and 9/11 Commission member.
The technological infrastructure of the American surveillance state, as exposed by whistleblower Edward Snowden, is new. The ideological pretensions of the U.S. surveillance state are not.
The role of the U.S. government agencies in systematically spying on its citizenry to advance U.S. policymaker goals extends back to the 1930s (as James Bamford recounts for Reuters.) The sense of scandal is not new. In Washington, deja vu is spiking. The excesses of the surveillance state have been exposed before, with domestic spying scandals generating headlines in 1975 and again in 2006.
What Americans see is the scandal of the new normal in Washington. Read more
President Kennedy’s growth as a leader in June 1963 is a key to understanding his life and death.
As the current issue of Arms Control Today documents, JFK’s June 10 speech at American University would influenced the arms control vision all of the presidents who followed him. And as thisNew York Times column notes, his often-overlooked nationally televised address on June 11, 1963, signalled his evolution as a civil rights leader.
Kennedy announced that the two black students had been enrolled at the University of Alabama, overcoming the objections of racist Gov. George Wallace, and he announced that after more than two years in office and two years of violent segregationist backlash in the South, he was introducing comprehensive civil rights legislation. In an evening, JFK went from timid and calculating on civil rights issues to bold and visionary.
Jacob Engels in the East Orlando Post says the Republican political operative’s upcoming book “The Man Who Killed Kennedy” ranked first in pre-orders in the “politics and policy” category of the online bookseller. I don’t know about #1, but the book is currently ranked fifth.
The pre-orders are good sign for the former aide to President Nixon who makes the case for Lyndon Johnson as the mastermind of JFK’s assassination. Stone says his book “is the first real distillation of the facts by a White House insider,” which he says, accurately, distinguishes his from other “LBJ done it” books. Stone also conducted extensive interviews with Nixon and former Attorney General John Mitchell about the JFK story, neither of whom spoke publicly on the subject. That also distinguishes Stone’s book.
“Then, in the 1960s, both agencies [FBI and CIA] turned their considerable power and attention to the domestic threat to official Washington posed by opponents of the Vietnam War. Some of what they looked at it was genuine criminal activity — people planting bombs or kidnapping newspaper heiresses — but most of it had nothing to do with criminal activity or with any foreign directed subversion. It simply consisted of determined dissent from what the Johnson and Nixon administrations were doing.”
“The new model of media seems to include some big institutions, mostly devoted to fluff and with not much incentive to do real in-depth investigations, and some bloggers, who may have plenty of skepticism but don’t really do gumshoe work or deep analysis of documents. There seems to be a big gap left.”
President Kennedy’s speech to the graduating class of American University in Washington DC 50 years ago represented the high point of his efforts to wind down the Cold War. His vigorous style and clear mind never had a more important goal — or more powerful enemies.
I’m joining my friend and former boss David Talbot in launching a new media platform called Open America, an aggressive effort to pierce the veil of secrecy around the national security agencies and corporate power. I hope you’ll let us know what you think.
For my part, I will be writing a blog on drones, with timely news and commentary on both the enormous potential of drones for business and society and their known hazards to civil liberties and international law. Open America will also support David’s book-in-progress on Allen Dulles and the JFK assassination, which promises to be sensational. Read more
The site is dedicated to improving media coverage and public understanding of JFK's assassination, educating the young, and demanding the release of records still held in secret by U.S. government agencies.
Jefferson Morley, author and former Washington Post reporter, is the moderator of JFK Facts.
Morley has written about the JFK story for national publications including the Post, New York Times, New York Review of Books, Slate, Salon, TheAtlantic.com, and the Washington Monthly. He won the 2009 PEN/Oakland Censorship Award for his JFK reporting. He is author of "Our Man in Mexico; Winston Scott and the Hidden History of the CIA" (University Press of Kansas, 2008).
Rex Bradford is the webmaster of JFK Facts, He is creator of MaryFerrell.org, the most comprehensive Web site of government records on the assassinations of JFK, Robert F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King.