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.
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.
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
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 JFK film boom illuminates how the perennial debate about the causes of President Kennedy’s assassination gets played out in 50th anniversary of JFK’s death. Yesterday’s JFK film announcement (for a cable documentary “JFK: The Smoking Gun”) sounds vaguely conspiratorial and low-budget; today’s JFK cinema news is proudly anti-conspiratorial and A-list.
National Geographic has announced that Rob Lowe will play JFK in a made-for-TV production of Bill O’Reilly’s “Killing Kennedy,” which posits that President Kennedy was killed by one man alone and unaided. Lowe will star alongside actress Ginnifer Goodwin (“Mona Lisa Smile”) who will play first lady Jacqueline Kennedy.
A new cable TV documentary, “JFK: The Smoking Gun,” produced by the REELZCHANNEL network, starts principal photography in Dallas this week. A veteran police detective Colin McLaren will solve the crime, according to the producers. The unimaginative title makes a bold promise, often heard, less often fulfilled.
But the ambition is widely shared. Other would-be cultural arbiters who have definitive JFK film projects scheduled for release in the fall include Tom Hanks, Bill O’Reilly, and David Mamet. None of them is a cop, so McLaren may have an opening.
The spirit of Dallas: Let’s plant an ‘uplifting’ message near the spot where JFK was killed.
The city of fathers of Dallas plan to plant a memorial plaque to President John F. Kennedy near the spot where he was shot dead 50 years ago, reports the Dallas Morning News.
This foolhardly but revealing proposal captures Dallas civic culture at is most clueless. Whatever its intentions, the idea of an “uplifting” plaque in the place where John F. Kennedy — a man, a husband, a father, a veteran of war, a visionary liberal, and a leader — died in a hail of bullets is not only in supremely bad taste. It also may also violate National Park Service regulations requiring that the area be preserved as it appeared 50 years ago.
The South Tampa Tribune rebukes the Associated Press for its recent story on the JFK anniversary. An editorialist for the newspaper Web site noted that the reporter gave credence the “buffoon theorized that Kennedy’s limo driver shot him, as part of an effort to cover up proof of an alien invasion.”
“Shame on the AP for trafficking in such drivel and thus trivializing those who don’t support a lone-assassin theory,” said the Tampa news site. “It was awful timing for bad editing.”
Peter Mandel, author of children’s books, has a sad piece in the Huffington Post about how happy memories of his father who died when he was eight have been clouded by JFK conspiracy theorists. One can only sympathize. The sins of the father should never be visited upon the son.
Mandel’s father, Paul Mandel, was a Life magazine staff reporter who wrote an erroneous story about Abraham Zapruder’s film of JFK’s assassination in 1963. Some unprofessional writers jumped his mistake and published stupid, unsubstantiated claims about him and even stupider claims about his death from cancer in 1965. Megan Knuth usefully picks apart this rubbish at John McAdams’ JFK Web site.
Variety reports that Cate Blanchett will star in feature film about the assassination of JFK called “Blackbird,” directed by David Mamet. The film joins Tom Hanks’ “Parkland” and Leonardo DiCaprio’s “Legacy of Secrecy” as coming big-screen interpretations of the tragedy in Dallas 50 years ago.
Based on the description in Variety, “Blackbird” sounds like “Argo” meets Oliver Stone:
The most interesting disclosure Stone has made so far concern his conversations with former President Richard Nixon. As the Daily Beast reported:
“According to Stone, Nixon “never flatly said who was responsible [for Kennedy’s death]. But he would say, ‘Both Johnson and I wanted to be president, but the only difference was I wouldn’t kill for it.”
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.