Secret JFK document #3: the DRE/AMSPELL file

DREAmong the 1,100 secret CIA documents related to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy is an 86 page file of the anti-Castro group, Directorio Revolucionario Estudantil (DRE)

The group, commonly known as the Cuban Student Directorate, had a curious double role in the JFK assassination story–a role that the CIA chose to conceal from both the Warren Commission in 1964 and the House Selection Committee on Assassinations (HSCA) in the late 1970s.

The deception was not minor: CIA-funded DRE was the first organization to call public attention to accused assassin Lee Oswald–before JFK was killed.

What the CIA hid from JFK investigators was its secret financial relationship with the front group used to publicize Oswald’s pro-Castro activities.

The DRE was an instrument of the CIA. Known inside the agency by the code name AMSPELL, the group’s leaders met regularly in 1963 with George Joannides, the chief of psychological warfare operations in Miami. According to other CIA records, Joannides gave the group $51,000 a month in 1963, the equivalent of $150,000 today.

First JFK Conspiracy Theory
The first JFK conspiracy theory, paid for by CIA

The group, led by former University of Havana students, had a curious role in the JFK assassination story. In August 1963, the group’s leaders in New Orleans called public attention to pro-Castro activities of Lee Oswald. They got into a fight with Oswald; got arrested with him; debated him on a local radio show; and issued a press release calling for investigation of his activities

After JFK was killed, the DRE leaders were the first publicize Oswald’s pro-Castro activities and link the suspected assassin to Cuba. Using CIA funds, they published the first JFK conspiracy theory, calling Oswald and Castro “The Presumed Assassins.”

The CIA refuses to release more than 50 secret records related to Joannides’ handling of the DRE in 1963, and to his job as liaison to the HSCA in 1978.

Joannides did not reveal his actions in 1963 to the congressional investigators, which HSCA general counsel Robert Blakey said was “obstruction of Congress,” a felony. HSCA investigator Dan Hardway explains how the CIA man stonewalled Congress.

Defenders of the official theory that Oswald alone killed JFK for no known reason have no explanation for Joannides’ working relationship with Oswald’s antagonists or why the CIA concealed it from investigators.

The CIA has not offered one either, stating only that disclosure of Joannides’ operations fifty three years ago would harm U.S national security in 2017,

The 86-page file on DRE/AMSPELL operations is scheduled to be released in October 2017.

This file probably does not contain any information about Oswald. It probably will reveal much more about the CIA officers directing the DRE/AMSPELL operations, possibly including Joannides and David Phillips.

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