Two JFK corrections for the Internet

Joe Giambrone got some things right and some things wrong in his dispatch last November about my JFK reporting: Where There’s Smoke There’s Fire | Political Film Blog 

1) Giambrone is right to emphasize my view of the JFK assassination story: “The issue is not conspiracy, it is transparency.” He’s wrong to assume this is some kind of political dodge.

“Conspiracy” is an issue discussed in adversarial proceedings in a court of criminal law. There is no ongoing legal proceedings concerning JFK’s assassination. I’m not a prosecutor or a lawyer. As a journalist I don’t find the loaded discourse of “conspiracy” to be appropriate or necessary when talking about the JFK story.

The issue in 2014 for young people confronting national security agencies engaged in mass surveillance the issue is not “Who killed JFK?” That’s an interesting question for us Baby Boomers who have fading memories of JFK.

The political issue for everybody else — and for Baby Boomer too — is whether our national security agencies can be held accountable and transparent today. The JFK story matters today mostly as a test of the U.S. government’s commitment to transparency. It is a test the Obama administration is failing.

Corrrection: This is not deceased CIA officer George Joannides. Source:

2) Giambrone originally posted a discredited photo of a man purported to be “George Joannides” but has since taken it down. Good for him. 

The photo in Giambrone’s blog was first published by journalist Shane O’Sullivan in a BBC broadcast in 2006. David Talbot and I pointed out some problems with this conspiracy theory in 2007 for the O’Sullivan did more research and determined that his identification of Joannides was mistaken.The man in the photo was actually a watch salesman. O’Sullivan corrected his error and that should have been the end of it.

Giambrone corrected his error, and that’s a good thing. The discredited photo still circulates on the Internet.  So let’s get this straight. The man depicted in the photo to the right is NOT George Joannides, the decorated and deceased CIA officer who played a role in the JFK story.

An authenticated and signed photo of Joannides appears in this article.

Please correct this mistake wherever you see it.





  1. Clarence Carlson says:

    Yep. If we had real transparency many of the questions of conspiracy would be easier to address.

    But as long as the CIA insists that it’s keeping 50 year old documents secret on the grounds of national security there will be those who question their motives. Lets remember that one of the best kept secrets of WWII, aside from the Manhattan Project, was the story of Bletchley Park and the decoding of the German Enigma signals. That story was officially released less than 30 years after the end of the war.

    • lysias says:

      When I entered the world of military signals intelligence in 1969, Ultra and Magic were still very highly classified. The secret was finally revealed in 1974.

  2. anonymous says:

    ” He’s wrong to assume this is some kind of political dodge.”

    Political dodge ? Or some kind of dodge? Giambrone is fair:

    “attributing such illegal behavior to institutions avoiding embarrassment or hiding negligence. Establishment journalist Jefferson Morley is an example of this view, as his own conspiracy theory suggests that: “release would show the CIA trying to keep secret its own flawed performance before the assassination” (Porter).

    The majority of the American people don’t see it that way, however. They believe a far more sinister explanation is more likely, and for good reasons. The CIA has a history of criminal activity including overthrowing democracies, torture and politically-motivated murders. The Kennedy killing would not have been an aberration in tactics, only in the choice of target.”

    The targets change but the story is the same. See:
    Indonesia – 1965: Liquidating President Sukarno ..: and 500,000 others

    JFK and Cuba were not aberrations:
    Indonesia, 1957-1958: War and pornography:

    Morley:”The JFK story matters today mostly as a test of the US gov’s commitment to transparency.”

    It’s not just the US gov’s commitment to transparency but the media also. Look at the WPost’s Slimy Assault on Gary Webb and Kill the Messenger:

    Giambrone describes the commitment to transparency very well:
    “In November of 2003, Senator Max Cleland resigned from the 9/11 Commission investigation, directly disparaging it by way of the Warren Commission investigation. Senator Cleland said:

    [T]he Warren Commission blew it. I’m not going to be part of that. I’m not going to be part of looking at information only partially. I’m not going to be part of just coming to quick conclusions. I’m not going to be part of political pressure to do this or not do that”

  3. lysias says:

    Not just commitment to transparency. Also commitment to democratic procedures in choosing leaders and in policy-making. That is also very much an issue today.

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