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Jefferson Morley has an article up at the Washington Monthly asking readers to support the National Security Archive's call for President-elect Barack Obama to "issue a new executive order on FOIA creating a presumption of disclosure and a policy of releasing information without litigation." Sixty organizations have already signed NSA's request, including People for the American Way, Federation of American Scientists, Electronic Frontier Foundation, and the Association of American Publishers.

Morley, a 15-year editor and staff writer at The Washington Post, and now National Editorial Director at the Center for Independent Media, has his own reasons for wanting access to records. He has been at the forefront of an effort to get the CIA to release records related to the assassination of John Kennedy.

The campaign to get the CIA to release the records, which according to the JFK Records Act should have been declassified, has been supported by both pro-conspiracy and pro-Warren Commission experts on the assassination, including Anthony Summers; Gerald Posner; Don DeLillo; the late Norman Mailer; Federal judge John Tunheim, who formerly chaired the Assassination Records Review Board; and former chief counsel of the House Select Committee on Assassinations, G. Robert Blakey.

According to an article by Morley at a few years back:

According to declassified CIA records corroborated by interviews, Joannides secretly financed exiled Cuban agents who collected intelligence on Lee Harvey Oswald three months before Kennedy was killed. Fifteen years later, Joannides was called out of retirement by the CIA to serve as the agency's liaison to the House committee looking into Kennedy's assassination. While working with the committee, the spy withheld information about his own actions in 1963 from the congressional investigators he was supposed to be assisting. It wasn't until 2001, 38 years after Kennedy's death, that Joannides' support for the Cuban exiles, who clashed with Oswald and monitored him, came to light.

"[Joannides'] behavior was criminal," said Blakey, the former House committee counsel who was deceived by the CIA agent. "He obstructed our investigation."

"The agency is stonewalling," said Posner, whose bestselling book supported the Warren Commission's finding that Oswald, alone and unaided, killed Kennedy. "It's a perfect example of why the public has so little trust in the CIA's willingness to be truthful."

Joannides died in 1990, nine years after receiving the CIA’s Career Intelligence Medal for "exceptional achievement." His story is little known, and neither is the suit against the CIA for the records. Meanwhile, it's been a year since an appellate court demanded the CIA explain why it has not produced the records requested. The CIA has responded with arrogant silence. Another ruling on the case is at least a year away.

In particular, Morley and others want to see the "17 monthly reports that [George] Joannides was supposed to file about his secret operations in 1962-64," when he was "chief of the agency’s so-called 'psychological warfare' operations [which] aimed to bring about Castro’s overthrow."

For many years, any informed speculation or research into the causes and facts behind the assassination of President John F. Kennedy has been relegated to the dustbin of tomfoolery and tinfoil, considered the hobby-horse of conspiracy addicts and general paranoid nut-cases. This unfortunate situation has been furthered by both the population of narcissists and publicity-seekers who irresponsibly spread rumors and legend on the JFK assassination, and by the secrecy that still surrounds important elements of the case. The secrecy serves to undermine serious attempts to get to the truth. This is why Morley's suit against the CIA has been supported by all sides in the assassination "industry."

Anyone who has been knee-jerk resistant to any serious discussion of the JFK assassination has not been following the serious research being done on the case in the last fifteen years or so. One example is the work of a long-time Army intellgence officer and former executive assistant to the director of the National Security Agency (NSA -- yeah, that other NSA), John M. Newman, who wrote Oswald and the CIA, documenting Lee Harvey Oswald's ties to the intelligence community.

Most recently, Morley's book, Our Man in Mexico: Winston Scott and the Hidden History of the CIA, received favorable coverage at the well-known conspiracy rag, Harper's. From the Amazon product description:

Morley reveals the previously unknown scope of the agency's interest in Oswald in late 1963, identifying for the first time the code names of Scott's surveillance programs that monitored Oswald's movements. He shows that CIA headquarters cut Scott out of the loop of the agency's latest reporting on Oswald before Kennedy was killed. He documents why Scott came to reject a key finding of the Warren Report on the assassination and how his disillusionment with the agency came to worry his longtime friend James Jesus Angleton, legendary chief of CIA counterintelligence. Angleton not only covered up the agency's interest in Oswald but also, after Scott died, absconded with the only copies of his unpublished memoir.

The JFK assassination may never be "solved" -- indeed, Morley isn't seeking to solve it, he says -- but the truth about the involvement of the CIA, which was covered up at the time, and still to this day, speaks volumes about the real influence of the CIA in our country's affairs, and the price we pay when any governmental agency is able to run a rogue operation, unaccountable to any governmental agency.

In 1976, the New York Times wrote the following on its front page (no link -- I had to purchase the article -- emphasis is added):

Washington, Jan. 25 -- The House Select Committee on Intelligence has concluded following a year-long investigation that the Federal intelligence agencies, as they are currently constituted, operate in such secret ways that they are "beyond the scrutiny" of Congress, according to the panel's final report....

The expenditures of [intelligence] funds, the report said, were largely unchecked by Congress and even by the Office of Management and Budget.

The year was 1976. The House report was written by what is known today as the Pike Committee. It was contemporaneous with the famous Church Report from the Senate. The CIA protested making the Pike report public, and as a result, it was never officially published, or made available by the government. (Maybe someone could get Obama or Pelosi to finally release it!)

Please support the National Security Archive's call for President-elect Obama to make transparency and openness in government a top priority. From their action page:

The Obama administration can act quickly after taking office in January to reverse the secrecy trend of the last eight years and restore openness in the executive branch, according to a set of new proposals posted online... by the National Security Archive. More than 60 organizations joined the recommendations, which call on President-elect Obama to restore efficiency and openness to the Freedom of Information Act process, reform the classification system to reduce overclassification and facilitate greater declassification, and ensure that presidential records are handled in accordance with the law and Congress’ intent.

Also posted at Invictus

Originally posted to Valtin on Mon Dec 08, 2008 at 08:15 PM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (46+ / 0-)

    Is there place at Daily Kos for a serious diary that includes any discussion of the JFK assassination, without the usual crowd piling on.

    We'll see if "change" is in the air, or not.

    Either way, I hope readers will support the National Security Archive and dozens of other groups in writing to President-elect Obama to act on reversing the Bush Administration's secrecy edicts.

    War is the statesman's game, the priest's delight, The lawyer's jest, the hired assassin's trade Invictus

    by Valtin on Mon Dec 08, 2008 at 08:17:59 PM PST

  •  Interesting (5+ / 0-)

    We'll see how Obama views this.  Interesting the statement from the NSA "reverse the secrecy trend of the last 8 years".  Seems like it's the last 60 years.
    I wonder if Gerald Posner is changing his mind.  

    •  I don't think Posner's changed his mind (8+ / 0-)

      But I think it makes his work look bad if something as egregious as this is allowed to stand... like, what are they hiding? etc.

      Of course, probably none of this current controversy would have happened if the CIA hadn't burned Congress by putting a man as liaison to the House Committee who was so intimately involved in some of these affairs, and then covered it up. That's when you see writers from the Post, Salon, the NY Review of Books, etc., get involved. They aren't your typical "conspiracy" buffs.

      War is the statesman's game, the priest's delight, The lawyer's jest, the hired assassin's trade Invictus

      by Valtin on Mon Dec 08, 2008 at 08:28:44 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Man, I hope you get a ton of traffic. (12+ / 0-)

    Jefferson said, in effect, that if we can't trust the people with the real story, then we shouldn't be democrats in the first place.  Something like a quarter of the first ten years of the Atomic Energy Commission docs are still unavailable.

    This would be a great community-building project for schools too.  I'd love to make the FBI's infiltration of the Black Panthers the go-to research project for inner city U.S. history where I'm at.

    A bunch more people would pay attention, that's for sure.  Thanks for your work.

    I bow to those who seek the truth; I flee from those who have 'found' it.

    by SERMCAP on Mon Dec 08, 2008 at 08:27:19 PM PST

    •  A lot of hidden history (9+ / 0-)

      That's for sure. It took a South Korean truth commission to uncover U.S. complicity in the massacre of over a 100,000 by S. Rhee's regime at the start of the Korean War. Associated Press then "broke" the story domestically.

      War is the statesman's game, the priest's delight, The lawyer's jest, the hired assassin's trade Invictus

      by Valtin on Mon Dec 08, 2008 at 08:31:25 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  That's why I don't get people who don't (8+ / 0-)

        believe our government could do such things.  There's proof, and they are obviously covering up further proof.

        •  A whole industry on this societal amnesia (9+ / 0-)

          And it's certainly not unique to America.

          I recommend interested readers check out Robert Jay Lifton and Greg Mitchell's book, Hiroshima in America: A Half-Century of Denial, on the reaction of this country to the atomic bomings. Their discussion on "psychic numbing" is very illuminating.

          War is the statesman's game, the priest's delight, The lawyer's jest, the hired assassin's trade Invictus

          by Valtin on Mon Dec 08, 2008 at 08:36:57 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I'll check it out, but now you've got (5+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            devtob, khloemi, Valtin, Matrix Dweller, MsGrin

            me interested in JFK, again!  I read Posner's book but I need to catch up on what's happened since.  I never questioned Hiroshima until about 10 years ago.  Now I'm convinced it was as barbaric act as any in human history.

            •  Even more so, when you dig into (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              the history and find that the Japanese tried to surrendler twice but were ignored.  Truman was determined to drop those bombs.

              One reason was to show the world--mainly Russia--that we had them and weren't afraid to use them (see what badasses we are?) the other was to study the effects of radiation poisoning on a race of people most Americans considered "sub-human".

          •  Strong comment on evil of sheltering Americans (6+ / 0-)

            from the truth -- I just read it in another diary and think it's worth sharing:


            War is Hell, a hell of such diverse and horrible suffering most people just cannot imagine. The U.S. public in particular has been sheltered. I cannot find the reference now, I think it was perhaps Ernie Pyle, that found infantry in North Africa was deeply resentful of that sheltering. They themselves had run into something that shocked them. "Training" had in no way prepared them for what really happened when German artillery and armor really got going on their fragile bodies. Then they realized the censors "made pretty" the real war. Men "died instantly" when in reality they sometimes sat dazed trying to stuff their guts back into the belly ripped by a shell or  were still screaming truncated at the hip. They resented the fact the people on the "Home Front" all wrapped up in their own little sacrifices of rationing and shortages were being kept clueless.

            That sheltering is downright evil. To "protect" delicate sensibilities the legend of the quick deaths, the movie toppling over or sinking to the knees with a mild grimace was put forth. As a result of all this sheltering we have a population far, far to enamored with a "military solution" to problems. I've noted right here on this site people "not looking" at photos as too horrible. Well they should look! Maybe next time they will be even less likely to listen to the drums of war before every other option is gone and the alternative is national suicide. And here we've done it again. No photos at Dover AFB and such.

            The only foes that threaten America are the enemies at home, and those are ignorance, superstition, and incompetence. [Elbert Hubbard]

            •  Good ole paternalism (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              devtob, Matrix Dweller

              This goes hand-in-hand with American Exceptionalism. Too much realism gives way to hard scrutiny of just what our foreign policy has been and what our corporate legions are doing to the world. Pretty soon you're butt deep in Smedley Butler's world.

              The truth is we are tortured by the truth.

              by walkshills on Mon Dec 08, 2008 at 11:59:06 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

      •  So are you an investigative reporter? (5+ / 0-)

        And if so, do you need someone who can churn out the words and edit for style and continuity?

        Hint, hint.  Again, thanks for your work here.  Nearly 90% of my students at any given time are Koreans, who are fanatical about learning English and about being ready for college(at least the parents are fanatical).  I posted a poll a week or so ago about 'Truth and Rec' commissions, but the diary was a dud.

        Ah, well.  It was about Henry Ford's friendships with Germans of a certain ilk.

        I bow to those who seek the truth; I flee from those who have 'found' it.

        by SERMCAP on Mon Dec 08, 2008 at 08:34:42 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Let the sun shine in! (8+ / 0-)

    We need some daylight here to cleanse our country.  Dirty secrets must out.

    If there isn't some nasty stuff being hidden, then why keep it secret?

    And after all we've seen from Bushco in the past 8 years, we have grown up enough to know the truth!

    Bush hijacked the US with lies about 9/11 and crashed it into Iraq, killing over 500,000 human beings. So far, he's avoided arrest and prosecution.

    by Zydekos on Mon Dec 08, 2008 at 08:44:45 PM PST

    •  Oh (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      devtob, walkshills

      and did I say the Sunlight Foundation supports the NSA call as well?

      Yeah, and Sunshine Center of the North Carolina Open Government Coalition, and a group called "Sunshine Week".

      That's a lot of light!

      War is the statesman's game, the priest's delight, The lawyer's jest, the hired assassin's trade Invictus

      by Valtin on Mon Dec 08, 2008 at 08:58:10 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  the important point (13+ / 0-)

    here, I think, is that the Obama administration should reverse the abusive attitude towards FOIA requests that the Bush administration has.  I'm not sure if we need to change the statute, but I know we need to change that.

    I am not convinced by the JFK stuff, but the important point is that there's no reason to keep the stuff secret 45 years later.  Release it all and let the people know whatever the truth might be.

    I am aware of all internet traditions

    by mcfly on Mon Dec 08, 2008 at 08:45:42 PM PST

  •  Time for a reckoning (5+ / 0-)

    There is and will always be a role for intelligence gathering, covert ops, and the like. There will always be a need for secrecy. But what we have, in fact, is a shadow government that requires that our public officials and our press mislead us (intentionally or not) into believing untrue things about what are nation is doing, what its interests are, and where. Gossips run around saying that Hillary Clinton's State Department will be a rogue operation because, well, that's what happens when the press hears "Clinton," but the real rogue operation is the National Security State.

    It needs a serious cleaning and a hard, cold reality check. And several answers to a lot of longstanding questions need to come out in full.

    I hope Obama can do that, but honestly I worry that if he pokes the wrong hive there will be another "Bay of Pigs thing."

    No laws but Liberty. No king but Conscience.

    by oldjohnbrown on Mon Dec 08, 2008 at 09:14:40 PM PST

    •  Taking on the National Security State (5+ / 0-)

      is the real story of our time. The economy is intricately interwoven with the perpetual war agenda. This aspect of the current economic crisis gets little to no exposure in the "responsible" press. The efficient cause of the current disaster may be deregulation, speculation, and illegal forms of trading (made legal), but the larger cause is a massive government out of control on so many levels that the citizenry has little input. The national election was the time to get our voices heard. The HOPE is that Obama will be sensitive to that and govern accordingly.  I, like others, are sceptical, but not totally pessimistic. I look foward to the next year (especially that portion that begins after Jan. 20).

      War is the statesman's game, the priest's delight, The lawyer's jest, the hired assassin's trade Invictus

      by Valtin on Mon Dec 08, 2008 at 09:43:09 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Obama's not going to do anything that will upset (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      devtob, Valtin

      the apple cart, including getting control over our clandestine agencies.  

      They need to be rebuilt from the ground up, to prevent rogue operations, such as the one that killed JFK, and others that overthrow sovereign nations' governments because they aren't friendly to our kind of democracy.

  •  A majority of Americans (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    walkshills, Valtin, Matrix Dweller

    disbelieve the Warren Commission cover-up, that was obviously aided and abetted by the CIA and the FBI.

    Presidents of both parties have come and gone since then, and done little or nothing to open up files on the JFK conspiracy.

    The corporate media have also done nothing in this regard.

    Whoever got away with killing Kennedy must have had powerful friends.

    The Republicans want to cut YOUR Social Security benefits.

    by devtob on Mon Dec 08, 2008 at 09:43:29 PM PST

    •  Mostly agree (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      devtob, walkshills

      But I think the JFK Records Act was an outstanding piece of legislation, crafted under Clinton and signed by Bush I, it has allowed a lot of new information to come to light. Of course, the corporate media has mostly ignored it, as you point out.

      War is the statesman's game, the priest's delight, The lawyer's jest, the hired assassin's trade Invictus

      by Valtin on Mon Dec 08, 2008 at 10:04:00 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  They are all complicit now (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      devtob, Valtin

      and are fearful of the backlash. The truth must be horrible indeed, for them to expect that much backlash 46 years after the event.

      There is no one left from that time to seek retribution against, save the government institutions that aided and abetted the crime and the cover up.

  •  The lies, as well as the secrecy, must stop! (6+ / 0-)

    This is a photo of  Warren Commission Counselor Arlen Specter (today a U. S. Senator) creatively aligning the the bodies  for (stand-ins representing) Kennedy and Gov. John Connally to create the fraudulent myth that just 1 single bullet caused all the wounds to Connally (his ribs, wrist, and thigh) as well as the wounds to Kennedy's back and throat.  

    This became known as the "magic bullet" or  "single bullet" theory, upon which the whole Warren Commission rests.   But is it correct?   Below, is a  still frame taken from the Abraham Zapruder film.

    Notice that Kennedy is obviously hit in the throat.   Gov. Connally, however, has not yet  been hit.   In addition,  the bodies are not even aligned in the way that the Warren Commission said that they were at this moment.    

    Even several frames later on  (at frame 272),  Gov. Connally is still  holding onto his hat and has not yet himself been struck by gunfire.

    This was the Warren Commision's fraudulent illustration of the back & throat wounds.

    As you might guess by now, this did not fit the description of Kennedy's wounds either. Kennedy's own death certificate described a wound to the back and the photographic evidence shows this also.

    How could they get  this wrong?    Warren Commission member,  Gerald Ford, (later to be made Nixon's unelected VP - who then pardoned Nixon for his numerous crimes) altered the description of  Kennedy's real wounds.   This made the "magic bullet" senario more theoretically plausible,   but as we already saw from the Arlen Specter photo and Zapruder film  - Kennedy and Connally were clearly hit by separate bullets.

    The staff of the commission had written originally (and correctly as the jacket photo shows):  "A bullet had entered his back  at a point slightly above the shoulder and to the right of the spine."

    But Gerald Ford had the description changed to falsely state: "A bullet had entered the back of  his neck  at a point slightly to the right of the spine."

    Then there is the matter of the fact that the Kennedy Limousine also was struck in the windshield  (also a frontal shot). This is yet one more bullet (and evidence of multiple gunman), an inconvenient truth that was totally unaccounted for and covered up.

    Representative Hale Boggs,  Senator John Sherman Cooper, and Senator Richard Russell of the Warren Commission all disagreed with the "magic bullet" theory and wanted the Report to contain a dissent.   Earl Warren refused.   Earl Warren himself was later quoted as saying "the whole truth may not be known in our lifetime", which of course then begs the question:   Why should anyone believe this lie (Warren Commission) any longer.

    This shot had nothing, absolutely nothing to do with Lee Oswald.

    On the day of the assassination, Kennedy's assistent press secretary, Malcom Kilduff described to the assembled press at the hospital just where Kennedy was hit.

    Malcom Kilduff stated:
    "It was a simple matter of a bullet right through the head" as he pointed to  his right temple.

    "I now fully understand that only the powers of the presidency will reveal the secrets of my brothers death."
             -Robert Kennedy, June 3, 1968

     "We have not been told the truth about Oswald."
          - -Hale Boggs, Warren Commission member

    "The fingerprints of intelligence (U.S. Intelligence) were all over Lee Harvey Oswald."
          -Senator Richard Schweiker, Church Committe investigator (Sen. Frank Church)

    "All tyranny needs to gain a foothold, is for
    people of good conscience to remain silent."
         --Thomas Jefferson

    by FreeSociety on Mon Dec 08, 2008 at 09:51:36 PM PST

  •  Glad you brought this up, Valtin. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    devtob, Valtin, Matrix Dweller

    I had the thought that the president-elect may need to do this as a preventative.

    The national security sector has gotten away with more than murder over the last five decades and has never been called on it in any meaningful manner. Just nips and tucks around the edges, nothing penetrating to the core of what has transpired since the end of WWII. The only really relative thing is what the banking community has done in that same period.

    WRT JFK and the continuing propaganda war, what has been interesting has been the perspective of an ex-poster here (who has her own real history blog) in delineating who is on which side. That there is something still at stake is without doubt; it wouldn't have continued to this date if it were nothing. I think the republicans have far more to lose in this matter than the democrats, although neither may be entirely blameless.

    BTW I changed my sig line and it is of some perspective in these matters.

    Thanks once more for your insight and your work.

    The truth is we are tortured by the truth.

    by walkshills on Tue Dec 09, 2008 at 12:24:13 AM PST

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