The hidden history of the first JFK conspiracy theory

Last week, Joseph Lazzaro of International Business Times followed up on a JFK Facts story with some historical perspective.

Lazzaro wrote:

“In 1964, CIA Deputy Director Richard Helms, ‘the man who kept the secrets,’ and [George] Joannides’ boss, never told the Warren Commission that Kennedy’s alleged assassin had scuffled with the CIA-backed Cubans in New Orleans. Helms also never disclosed that Joannides — and other CIA agents who were under his supervision and funding — had helped communicate the story of Oswald’s pro-Castro activities.”

“It wasn’t until 1998 — when the CIA was forced to disclose Joannides’ support for Oswald’s antagonists among the anti-Castro students — that the public learned of this psychological warfare operation. The Agency has resisted further disclosure about the nature, focus and objective of Joannides’ operations in 1963 ever since.”

via JFK Assassination: First JFK Conspiracy Theory Was Paid For By The CIA.

15 thoughts on “The hidden history of the first JFK conspiracy theory”


  2. Considering that the facts of the incredible, utterly outrageous CIA “domestic terrorism” of Operation Northwoods were released over a decade ago…. how much WORSE than THAT must the remaining CIA files be concerning the JFK assassination, that are still being withheld?

  3. Great to see the Joannides issue picked up again even if it’s still not the mass media. Could it be the word is spreading to FREE THE FILES in spite of them?

  4. Walt Brown, Ph.D.

    Oswald’s “scuffle” [Victim arrested in protest…] was no secret to anyone in 1964. Neither was the sponsorship of the assailants, because anyone as anti-Castro as Bringuier, Hernandez, and Cruz was most assuredly on the CIA pad, because the CIA was desperate for such assets. The story here is that the victim was arrested in order to complete a pro-Castro resume, and that the FBI interviewed someone in a $10 event. Walt Brown, “JFK Master Chronology.” Curious fact: That event may well be the defining moment for Oswald prior to 11/22 in 1963. The same day, August 9, was the defining moment for JFK: his baby died, and he decided no more children would die in order to force him to write letters about casualties from Vietnam. Symmetry is magnificent…

    1. Walt,

      Is there a factual basis for believing a fundamental reason for killing Kennedy was to provide a pretext for invading Cuba and overthrowing Castro?

      If so, did (does) Castro know that?

      1. JFK was killed because the CIA’s very existence was threatened by his presidency. He is on record as having wanted to “break the CIA into little pieces.” And…

        1. He denied air cover for the Bay of Pigs invasion.
        2. He fired Allen Dulles.
        3. He vetoed Operation Northwoods, a secret until 2000 and a pet project of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
        4. He further “betrayed” the anti-Castro rebels by cutting a deal with Khrushchev during the Cuban Missile Crisis, including a promise not to invade Cuba.

        Factual basis? I’d just say, “Connect the dots.”

      2. Arnaldo M Fernandez

        It wasn´t the only reason, but one of them. Castro didn´t know that as a proven fact, but was well aware that killing Kennedy posed a threat to Cuba and the CIA-Cuban exile coalition will immediately mud the waters for twisting the crime against him. By that time Castro was already applying the best defensive strategies: penetrating the CIA and the Cuban exile.

      3. Yes, there was false info about Oswald defecting to CUba in 1959 sent to the US Strike Force Command at Fort MacDill in Florida. That base was in the forward phalanx of any attack on Cuba.

        (Destiny Betrayed second edition, p. 362)

    2. For those who might not know–Oswald, when arrested for “disturbing the peace” for the 15 minute scuffle, asked to speak to an FBI agent when arrested. One came and spent 90 minutes with him. Quite a move for a “communist” eh?

  5. It seems to me that there is something about Oswalds clashes with the DRE ( an organisation “conceived, created and funded by the Agency”) which the CIA does not want us to know about.

    The CIA omitted this information from their Oct 10 1962 cable to their colleagues in Mexico.
    The CIA did not inform either the WC or the HSCA of their sponsorship of the DRE.
    The CIA did not inform the HSCA of the role of George Joannides in 1963. George Joannides was the CIA case officer to the DRE in 1963 who was later made a liason point to the HSCA for the viewing of CIA records. This feels even more outrageous when you consider that the HSCA and the CIA had a pre-investigation agreement that CIA personnel who were operational in 1963 could not be involved in the committee’s investigation.

    So, what was it about Oswalds clashes with the DRE that made the CIA lie to and mislead official investigations into the murder of a President?
    We do not know because the CIA are still, 50 years later, illegally withholding files relating to George Joannides. What certainly cannot be ruled out is that this was some kind of covert CIA operation involving Oswald.

    What this shows to me is that the WC and HSCA were flawed investigations and their conclusions cannot be relied upon.
    Neither investigation knew about the CIA sponsorship of the DRE, or the role of George Joannides, so this angle was not investigated at all.

    It is a sobering thought that 50 years after it occurred, a full, open and honest investigation into the murder of a president has yet to happen.

    1. “The CIA omitted this information from their Oct 10 1963 cable to their colleagues in Mexico.”

      That’s a very good point. Even in a secret, internal memo and BEFORE the assassination, higher-ups in the CIA were obfuscating the facts of the NO interactions with Oswald and its sponsorship of the DRE.

  6. It’s so obvious that the plotters picked Oswald as the fall guy for one reason – he could be made to appear an agent of Castro and maybe even the KGB, and if everything went according to plan (it didn’t), the new President would be forced into a war with Cuba and possibly a preemptive nuclear strike on the USSR.

    7/20/1961 At a National Security Council Meeting, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. Lyman Lemnitzer and CIA director Allen Dulles presented a plan for a preemptive nuclear attack on the Soviet Union “in late 1963, preceded by a period of heightened tensions.” President Kennedy walked out of the meeting, saying to Secretary of State Dean Rusk, “And we call ourselves the human race.”

    Several more times during his presidency JFK was pressured to accept the idea of hitting the USSR with a first strike while the US still had an overwhelming advantage in ICBMs. But LBJ and the rest of the Establishment used the fear of “40 million dead Americans” and a new McCarthyism to cover up the whole thing and blame it on a lone nut.

    When Philippine Senator Benigno Aquino was assassinated in 1983, it was blamed on a “communist,” Rolando Galman, though it was later proved he was actually shot by security forces standing behind the Senator.

  7. This pretty much puts egg on the faces of those who say: “Look, you conspiracy nuts have had FIFTY YEARS to find conspiracy and you haven’t found any.”

    As Gaeton Fonzi and others have shown, it’s taking a long time for all of the information to come out.

    I would say to the Lone Nutter Warren Commisars: “CIA had had FIFTY YEARS to sit on old Oswald-related files — if Oswald is as provable a lone nut as you all say, release ALL of the files on him. Let’s see what CIA has been hiding for all these years. Quit procrastinating—Free the damn files!”

  8. Given Oswald’s pro-Castro activities in New Orleans in the summer of 1963, the W.C. easily enough could have painted Oswald as a Castro sympathizer and presumed agent.

    Joannides apparently tried to paint this picture post-assassination.

    Cuba fell off the national radar screen after the assassination; and within two years, Viet Nam had (in a cold war sense) taken its place.

    It’s easy for me to imagine LBJ having this sort of conversation with a plot leader pre-assassination: “I can’t give you Cuba, but I can and will give you Viet Nam.” Whether or not such a conversation ever took place, that’s essentially how things played out.

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