Nov. 23 1963: The first JFK conspiracy theory, paid for by a CIA officer

On November 23, members of the Cuban Student Directorate, a CIA-funded organization based in Miami, published a special edition of their monthly magazine, Trinchera (Trenches), in which they linked the accused assassin Lee Oswald to Cuban president Fidel Castro.

This was the first JFK conspiracy scenario to reach public print.

According to declassified CIA records, it was paid for by undercover officer, George Joannides.

The leaders of the Directorate, also known by its Spanish acronym DRE, received $51,000 a month from the CIA, according to this April 1963 memo found in the JFK Library in Boston.

Within the CIA, the Directorate was known by the code name AMSPELL. The group was “conceived, created and funded by the Agency in September 1960 and terminated in December 1966,” according to an CIA memo, dated April 1967.

“Members were used through 1966 as political action agents for publishing propaganda … and producing radio propaganda and special propaganda campaigns,’ the memo states.

Joannides, chief of psychological warfare operations in the CIA’s Miami station, handled contacts with the group, according to his July 31, 1963, job evaluation. In return for CIA support, the group engaged in “intelligence collection, political action and propaganda.”

The DRE publication emphasized remarks Oswald had made during debate on a New Orleans radio program with DRE delegate Carlos Bringuier in August 1963. Oswald and Castro, the group, concluded were “the presumed assassins.”

The CIA recently admitted for the first time that Joannides maintained a residence in New Orleans, while stationed in Miami.

Thus the first JFK conspiracy theory, paid for by the CIA, was published within 24 hours of Kennedy’s murder.



CIA admits undercover officer lived in New Orleans (Nov. 11, 2013)

 5 Decades Later Some JFK FIles Still Sealed (Associated Press, Aus. 18. 2013)

Justice Dept. denies CIA officer was honored for coverup (JFK Facts,Dec. 17, 2012)

Court uphold public benefit of disclsoure about CIA officer in JFK story (JFK Facts, June 19, 2013)

CIA Still Cagey About Oswald Mystery (New York Times, October 17, 2009)

Morley v. CIA: Why I sued the CIA for JFK assassination records (JFK Facts, Feb. 23, 2013)





  1. […] broadsheet less than 48 hours after JFK’s death, declaring that Oswald and Castro were the “presumed assassins.” The group was funded under a covert program with the code name AMSPELL. A declassified […]

  2. Jerry Lazar says:

    The best new book on JFK’s assassination is an imaginative and meticulously researched alternate-history novel in which he DOESN’T get assassinated … but instead survives the Dallas ambush and then (with his attorney-general brother Bobby) tries to solve the mystery of who tried to kill him and seek revenge… They become the original conspiracy theorists!… The climax is shocking but entirely plausible — not a sci-fi time-travel fantasy… It’s called “Surrounded By Enemies : What if Kennedy Survived Dallas?”, by award-winning screenwriter and journalist Bryce Zabel… And this novel contains more truth than most non-fiction JFK assassination accounts!….Check it out at and … 

  3. Mitch says:

    In Gaeton Fonzi’s seminal work “The Last Investigation” a similar story is related. Antonio Veciana, a founder of the Cuban exile group Alpha 66, stated that his contact, career CIA Operative David Atlee Phillips, tried connecting Lee Harvey Oswald to Cuba within days of the assassination.

  4. Ronnie Wayne says:

    Joannides paid for the very first conspiracy disinformation through a CIA undercover sponsored organization less than a day after the assassination??? That’s a pretty damning FACT. Knowing it I don’t see how anyone could not feel that the files on him in particular should not be available to the people of the United States of America. Ultimately they are Our files and even the CIA works for us.
    Please sign the link.
    Also, I’ve thought for a while now the 51K a month was a lot of money back then. Anyone out there in the financial field know how much that is in today’s money?

    • Fearfaxer says:

      I believe that $51K should be multiplied by a factor of at least 6 to get an approximate idea of its worth in today’s dollars. Assuming that’s correct, we’re talking about over $3.5 million a year. Very few people in those days made as much as $51,000 in an entire year.

      And as Jeff has often discussed but doesn’t mention here is that Joannides was called out of retirement to be CIA’s liaison with the HSCA. No one connected to the House Committee was informed that Joannides had had any link to the anti-Castro Cubans who’d encountered Oswald in New Orleans in 1963.

  5. Lancer63 says:

    Any connection between Joannides and Onassis ?

  6. Hans Trayne says:

    oops..I meant McAdams.

  7. Hans Trayne says:

    According to Professor John Adams & his groupies, Joannides is to be considered just another ‘kook’ or ‘buff’ for spinning conspiracy ‘fairytales’.

  8. Paulf says:

    Surely they only had the best of motives. Right?

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