George Joannides

George Joannides, the son of a journalist, was born in Athens, Greece, on 5th July, 1922. His family arrived in New York in 1923. After graduating from the City College he received a law degree from St. John's University. He worked for the Greek language National Herald before moving to Washington in 1949 to work for the Greek Embassy Information Service.

He joined the Central Intelligence Agency in 1951 and later became chief of the Psychological Warfare branch of the CIA's JM/WAVE station in Miami. In this role he worked closely with the Directorio Revolucionario Estudiantil (DRE), a militant right-wing, anti-Communist, anti-Castro, anti-Kennedy, group. This was a group that Lee Harvey Oswald was in contact with in New Orleans in August 1963. Journalist Jefferson Morley says he knows of no evidence that Joannides was in contact with Oswald during this period.

When John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Richard Helms appointed John M. Whitten to undertake the agency's in-house investigation. After talking to Winston Scott, the CIA station chief in Mexico City, Whitten discovered that Lee Harvey Oswald had been photographed at the Cuban consulate in early October, 1963. Nor had Scott told Whitten, his boss, that Oswald had also visited the Soviet Embassy in Mexico. In fact, Whitten had not been informed of the existence of Oswald, even though there was a 201 pre-assassination file on him that had been maintained by the Counterintelligence/Special Investigative Group.

John M. Whitten and his staff of 30 officers, were sent a large amount of information from the FBI. According to Gerald D. McKnight "the FBI deluged his branch with thousands of reports containing bits and fragments of witness testimony that required laborious and time-consuming name checks." Whitten later described most of this FBI material as "weirdo stuff". As a result of this initial investigation, Whitten told Richard Helms that he believed that Oswald had acted alone in the assassination of John F. Kennedy.

On 6th December, Nicholas Katzenbach invited Whitten and Birch O'Neal, Angleton's trusted deputy and senior Special Investigative Group (SIG) officer to read Commission Document 1 (CD1), the report that the FBI had written on Lee Harvey Oswald. Whitten now realized that the FBI had been withholding important information on Oswald from him. He also discovered that Richard Helms had not been providing him all of the agency's available files on Oswald. This included Oswald's political activities in the months preceding the assassination and the relationship Joannides had with the Directorio Revolucionario Estudiantil.

Photograph that Shane O'Sullivan claims shows Gordon Campbell and George Joannides at the Ambassador Hotel on the night Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated. Journalist Jefferson Morley who uncovered the Joannides story - and the only known autheticated photos of Joannides - asserts emphatically and unequivocally that neither Gordon Campbell nor George Joannides are the men depicted in this photograph. Morley notes that Campbell died in 1962 and that there is no corroborated evidence that Joannides was in Los Angeles in June 1968.
Photograph that Shane O'Sullivan claims shows Gordon Campbell and George
Joannides at the Ambassador Hotel on the night Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated. Journalist Jefferson Morley who uncovered the Joannides story - and the only known autheticated photos of Joannides - asserts emphatically and unequivocally that neither Gordon Campbell nor George Joannides are the men depicted in this photograph. Morley notes that Campbell died in 1962 and that there is no corroborated evidence that Joannides was in Los Angeles in June 1968.

John M. Whitten had a meeting where he argued that Oswald's pro-Castro political activities needed closer examination, especially his attempt to shoot the right-wing General Edwin Walker, his relationship with anti-Castro exiles in New Orleans, and his public support for the pro-Castro Fair Play for Cuba Committee. Whitten added that has he had been denied this information, his initial conclusions on the assassination were "completely irrelevant."

Richard Helms responded by taking Whitten off the case. James Jesus Angleton, chief of the CIA's Counterintelligence Branch, was now put in charge of the investigation. According to Gerald D. McKnight (Breach of Trust) Angleton "wrested the CIA's in-house investigation away from John Whitten because he either was convinced or pretended to believe that the purpose of Oswald's trip to Mexico City had been to meet with his KGB handlers to finalize plans to assassinate Kennedy."

George Joannides (centre) in Vietnam in 1973.
George Joannides (centre) in Vietnam in 1973.
George Joannides in 1973.
George Joannides in 1973.

In 1976 Thomas N. Downing began campaigning for a new investigation into the assassination of John F. Kennedy. Downing said he was certain that Kennedy had been killed as a result of a conspiracy. He believed that the recent deaths of Sam Giancana and Johnny Roselli were highly significant. He also believed that the Central Intelligence Agency and the Federal Bureau of Investigation had withheld important information from the Warren Commission. Downing was not alone in taking this view. In 1976, a Detroit News poll indicated that 87% of the American population did not believe that Lee Harvey Oswald was the lone gunman who killed Kennedy.

Coretta Scott King, was also calling for her husband's murder to be looked at by a Senate Committee. It was suggested that there was more chance of success if these two investigations could be combined. Henry Gonzalez and Walter E. Fauntroy joined Downing in his campaign and in 1976 Congress voted to create a 12-member House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA) to investigate the deaths of Kennedy and King.

Joannides was appointed as the agency's liaison to the HSCA. The CIA did not reveal to the committee that Joannides had played an important role in the events of 1963. Some critics believe that Joannides was involved in a conspiracy to link Lee Harvey Oswald with the government of Fidel Castro.

On 16th May, 1978, John M. Whitten appeared before the HSCA. He criticised Richard Helms for not making a full disclosure about the Rolando Cubela plot to the Warren Commission. He added " I think that was a morally highly reprehensible act, which he cannot possibly justify under his oath of office or any other standard of professional service."

Whitten also said that if he had been allowed to continue with the investigation he would have sought out what was going on at JM/WAVE. This would have involved the questioning of Ted Shackley, David Sanchez Morales, Carl E. Jenkins, Rip Robertson, George Joannides, Gordon Campbell and Thomas G. Clines. As Jefferson Morley has pointed out in The Good Spy: "Had Whitten been permitted to follow these leads to their logical conclusions, and had that information been included in the Warren Commission report, that report would have enjoyed more credibility with the public. Instead, Whitten's secret testimony strengthened the HSCA's scathing critique of the C.I.A.'s half-hearted investigation of Oswald. The HSCA concluded that Kennedy had been killed by Oswald and unidentifiable co-conspirators."

John M. Whitten also told the HSCA that James Jesus Angleton involvement in the investigation of the assassination of John F. Kennedy was "improper". Although he was placed in charge of the investigation by Richard Helms, Angleton "immediately went into action to do all the investigating". When Whitten complained to Helms about this he refused to act.

Whitten believes that Angleton's attempts to sabotage the investigation was linked to his relationship with the Mafia. Whitten claims that Angleton also prevented a CIA plan to trace mob money to numbered accounts in Panama. Angleton told Whitten that this investigation should be left to the FBI. When Whitten mentioned this to a senior CIA official, he replied: "Well, that's Angleton's excuse. The real reason is that Angleton himself has ties to the Mafia and he would not want to double-cross them."

Whitten also pointed out that as soon as Angleton took control of the investigation he concluded that Cuba was unimportant and focused his internal investigation on Oswald's life in the Soviet Union. If Whitten had remained in charge he would have "concentrated his attention on CIA's JM/WAVE station in Miami, Florida, to uncover what George Joannides, the station chief, and operatives from the SIG and SAS knew about Oswald."

Joannides left the CIA in 1979. He began a law practice in Washington and apparently he specialized in immigration matters. George Joannides died in Houston in March 1990.

It was only after his death that it was revealed that Joannides was in contact with Directorio Revolucionario Estudiantil (DRE) in 1963. G. Robert Blakey, chief counsel of the House Select Committee on Assassinations, was furious when he discovered this information. He issued a statement where he said: "I am no longer confident that the Central Intelligence Agency co-operated with the committee.... I was not told of Joannides' background with the DRE, a focal point of the investigation. Had I known who he was, he would have been a witness who would have been interrogated under oath by the staff or by the committee. He would never have been acceptable as a point of contact with us to retrieve documents. In fact, I have now learned, as I note above, that Joannides was the point of contact between the Agency and DRE during the period Oswald was in contact with DRE. That the Agency would put a 'material witness' in as a 'filter' between the committee and its quests for documents was a flat out breach of the understanding the committee had with the Agency that it would co-operate with the investigation."

In recent years investigators into the assassination of John F. Kennedy such as G. Robert Blakey, Jefferson Morley, Anthony Summers, John McAdams, John M. Newman, David Kaiser, Michael Kurtz, Oliver Stone, David Talbot, Cyril H. Wecht, David R. Wrone and Gerald Posner have campaigned for the CIA to release the files concerning the activities of Joannides in 1963.

In October, 2006, Judge Richard Leon upheld the CIA's right to block disclosure of records about Joannides's operational activities in August 1963. As Rex Bradford pointed out: "Judge Leon upheld the CIA's right to block disclosure of records about Joannides's operational activities in August 1963. That's when Joannides' agents in a Cuban exile student group had a series of encounters with accused assassin Lee Harvey Oswald and used U.S. government funds to call attention to his pro-Castro activities."

While researching a documentary, Shane O'Sullivan discovered a news film of the Ambassador Hotel on the day Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated. Bradley Ayers and other people who knew them, identified David Sanchez Morales, Gordon Campbell and George Joannides as being three men in the hotel that day. An article about this story appeared in The Guardian and on BBC Newsnight on 20th November, 2006.

Journalist Jefferson Morley who uncovered the Joannides story - and the only known autheticated photos of Joannides - asserts emphatically and unequivocally that neither Gordon Campbell nor George Joannides are the men depicted in this photograph. Morley notes that Campbell died in 1962 and that there is no corroborated evidence that Joannides was in Los Angeles in June 1968.

© , September 1997 - April 2014

Primary Sources

(1) Washington Post (14th March, 1990)

George E. Joannides, 67, a retired lawyer at the Defense Department who later established a private law practice in Washington, died March 9 at St. Luke's Hospital in Houston, where he had undergone heart surgery.

Mr. Joannides, Potomac resident, was born in Athens. He came to this country when he was 1 year old, and he grew up in New York City. He graduated from the City College of New York and received a law degree from St. John's University.

Before moving to Washington in 1949 he worked for the National Herald, a Greek-language newspaper published in New York.

In Washington, Mr. Joannides worked for the Greek Embassy Information Service for a year. In 1951, he went to work for the Defense Department. His assignments included service in Vietnam and Greece. He retired in 1979.

When he left the government, Mr. Joannides began a law practice in Washington in which he specialized in immigration matters.

(2) G. Robert Blakey statement on the Central Intelligence Agency in 2003.

I am no longer confident that the Central Intelligence Agency co-operated with the committee. My reasons follow:

The committee focused, among other things, on (1) Oswald, (2) in New Orleans, (3) in the months before he went to Dallas, and, in particular, (4) his attempt to infiltrate an anti-Castro group, the Directorio Revolucionario Estudiantil or DRE.

These were crucial issues in the Warren Commission's investigation; they were crucial issues in the committee's investigation. The Agency knew it full well in 1964; the Agency knew it full well in 1976-79. Outrageously, the Agency did not tell the Warren Commission or our committee that it had financial and other connections with the DRE, a group that Oswald had direct dealings with!

What contemporaneous reporting is or was in the Agency's DRE files? We will never know, for the Agency now says that no reporting is in the existing files. Are we to believe that its files were silent in 1964 or during our investigation?

I don't believe it for a minute. Money was involved; it had to be documented. Period. End of story. The files and the Agency agents connected to the DRE should have been made available to the commission and the committee. That the information in the files and the agents who could have supplemented it were not made available to the commission and the committee amounts to willful obstruction of justice.

Obviously, too, it did not identify the agent who was its contact with the DRE at the crucial time that Oswald was in contact with it: George Joannides.

During the relevant period, the committee's chief contact with the Agency on a day-to-day basis was Scott Breckinridge. (I put aside our point of contact with the office of chief counsel, Lyle Miller) We sent researchers to the Agency to request and read documents. The relationship between our young researchers, law students who came with me from Cornell, was anything but "happy." Nevertheless, we were getting and reviewing documents. Breckinridge, however, suggested that he create a new point of contact person who might "facilitate" the process of obtaining and reviewing materials. He introduced me to Joannides, who, he said, he had arranged to bring out of retirement to help us. He told me that he had experience in finding documents; he thought he would be of help to us.

I was not told of Joannides' background with the DRE, a focal point of the investigation. Had I known who he was, he would have been a witness who would have been interrogated under oath by the staff or by the committee. He would never have been acceptable as a point of contact with us to retrieve documents. In fact, I have now learned, as I note above, that Joannides was the point of contact between the Agency and DRE during the period Oswald was in contact with DRE.

That the Agency would put a "material witness" in as a "filter" between the committee and its quests for documents was a flat out breach of the understanding the committee had with the Agency that it would co-operate with the investigation.

The committee's researchers immediately complained to me that Joannides was, in fact, not facilitating but obstructing our obtaining of documents. I contacted Breckinridge and Joannides. Their side of the story wrote off the complaints to the young age and attitude of the people.

They were certainly right about one question: the committee's researchers did not trust the Agency. Indeed, that is precisely why they were in their positions. We wanted to test the Agency's integrity. I wrote off the complaints. I was wrong; the researchers were right. I now believe the process lacked integrity precisely because of Joannides.

For these reasons, I no longer believe that we were able to conduct an appropriate investigation of the Agency and its relationship to Oswald. Anything that the Agency told us that incriminated, in some fashion, the Agency may well be reliable as far as it goes, but the truth could well be that it materially understates the matter.

What the Agency did not give us none but those involved in the Agency can know for sure. I do not believe any denial offered by the Agency on any point. The law has long followed the rule that if a person lies to you on one point, you may reject all of his testimony.

I now no longer believe anything the Agency told the committee any further than I can obtain substantial corroboration for it from outside the Agency for its veracity. We now know that the Agency withheld from the Warren Commission the CIA-Mafia plots to kill Castro. Had the commission known of the plots, it would have followed a different path in its investigation. The Agency unilaterally deprived the commission of a chance to obtain the full truth, which will now never be known.

Significantly, the Warren Commission's conclusion that the agencies of the government cooperated with it is, in retrospect, not the truth.

We also now know that the Agency set up a process that could only have been designed to frustrate the ability of the committee in 1976-79 to obtain any information that might adversely affect the Agency.

Many have told me that the culture of the Agency is one of prevarication and dissimulation and that you cannot trust it or its people. Period. End of story.

I am now in that camp.

(3) Gerald D. McKnight, Breach of Trust (2005)

One of the most closely held of Helms's secrets had to do with George E. Joannides, the JM/Wave contact officer for the DRE in 1963. Helms never revealed that the CIA was funding the directorate when the DRE had contact with Oswald, who was publicly agitating in favor of the Castro revolution in New Orleans during the months of July and August. Joannides probably knew more about Oswald and his relationship with the DRE and other anti Castro exile groups in New Orleans than anyone else in the government. It was Helms who assigned Joannides to the CIA's Miami station because he was skilled in psychological warfare and disinformation operations. It was Helms who assigned veteran clandestine officer John Whitten to head up the CIA's in-house investigation of the Kennedy assassination and then withheld from him important information from Oswald's pre assassination file. When Whitten protested, Helms removed him and turned the investigation over to Angleton. It might have been just another awkward coincidence that David Atlee Phillips, the DRE's first contact officer, was chief of covert action in the Cuban Section of the CIA's Mexico City station when Oswald arrived in Mexico City in September 1963."

Thomas Powers's biography of Richard Helms, The Man Who Kept the Secrets, could not have had a more fitting title. Helms kept Joannides and his DRE connections secret through four investigations into the Kennedy assassination." Joannides's name did not publicly surface until the 1990s, when the so-called JFK Act led to the establishment of the Assassination Records Review Board (ARRB). Over a four-year period the ARRB, empowered to declassify JFK files, dislodged somewhere between four and five million pages of declassified documents. Joannides's record was one of those files, and his personnel records revealed that he had been the DRE's contact officer when the CIA claimed it had no contact with the directorate in 1963. But his file was purged, according to the Washington Post's Jefferson Morley, who is the researcher responsible for introducing Joannides into the historiography of the JFK assassination. Morley described the file as "thin." There were no reports in the Joannides file for the entire seventeen months that he was the DRE's contact officer. All that his personnel file revealed is that Joannides was paying the directorate for "intelligence" and "propaganda." John Tunheim, now a federal judge in Minneapolis, chaired the ARRB. After reviewing all the CIA suppression and stonewalling surrounding the Joannides story, Tunheim remarked to Morley, "[This] shows that the CIA wasn't interested in the truth about the assassination.

All the indicators strongly point toward Oswald having been connected to an American intelligence source. There is persuasive circumstantial evidence that Oswald was building a pro-Castro cover as part of an intelligence plan that ultimately took him to Mexico City. What we know today of his activities in Mexico City far exceeds what the Warren Commission chose to include in its report, out of design but more significantly because the CIA saw to it that the evidence was not available to the Commission and its staff lawyers.

(4) Letter signed by a group of authors including G. Robert Blakey, Anthony Summers, John McAdams, Gerald Posner, in the New York Review of Books (18th December, 2003)

As published authors of divergent views on the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, we urge the Central Intelligence Agency and the Department of Defense to observe the spirit and letter of the 1992 JFK Assassination Records Act by releasing all relevant records on the activities of a career CIA operations officer named George E. Joannides, who died in 1990.

Joannides's service to the US government is a matter of public record and is relevant to the Kennedy assassination story. In November 1963, Joannides served as the chief of the Psychological Warfare branch in the CIA's Miami station. In 1978, he served as the CIA's liaison to the House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA).

The records concerning George Joannides meet the legal definition of "assassination-related" JFK records that must be "immediately" released under the JFK Records Act. They are assassination-related because of contacts between accused assassin Lee Harvey Oswald and a CIA-sponsored Cuban student group that Joannides guided and monitored in August 1963.

Declassified portions of Joannides's personnel file confirm his responsibility in August 1963 for reporting on the "propaganda" and "intelligence collection" activities of the Directorio Revolucionario Estudantil (DRE), a prominent organization known in the North American press as the Cuban Student Directorate.

George Joannides's activities were assassination-related in at least two ways.

(1) In August 1963, Oswald attempted to infiltrate the New Orleans delegation of the DRE. The delegation - dependent on $25,000 a month in CIA funds provided by Joannides - publicly denounced Oswald as an unscrupulous sympathizer of Fidel Castro.

(2) After Kennedy was killed three months later, on November 22, 1963, DRE members spoke to reporters from The New York Times and other news outlets, detailing Oswald's pro-Castro activities. Within days of the assassination, the DRE published allegations that Oswald had acted on Castro's behalf.

The imperative of disclosure is heightened by the fact that the CIA has, in the past, failed to disclose George Joannides's activities. In 1978, Joannides was called out of retirement to serve as the agency's liaison to the House Select Committee on Assassinations. The agency did not reveal to the Congress his role in the events of 1963, compromising the committee's investigation.

(5) Letter signed by a group of authors including G. Robert Blakey, Anthony Summers, John McAdams, Gerald Posner, John M. Newman, David Kaiser, Michael Kurtz, Oliver Stone, David Talbot, Cyril H. Wecht, David R. Wrone in the New York Review of Books (11th August, 2005)

It is disappointing to learn that the Central Intelligence Agency filed motions in federal court in May 2005 to block disclosure of records related to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy forty-one years ago.

In response to the journalist Jefferson Morley's lawsuit brought under the Freedom of Information Act, the CIA is seek-ing to prevent release of records about a deceased CIA operations officer named George E. Joannides.

Joannides's story is clearly of substantial historical interest. CIA records show that the New Orleans chapter of a Cuban exile group that Joannides guided and monitored in Miami had a series of encounters with the accused assassin Lee Harvey Oswald three months before Kennedy was murdered. Fifteen years later, Joannides also served as the agency's liaison to the House Select Committee on Assassinations. He did not disclose his role in the events of 1963 to Congress. The public record of the assassination and its confused investigatory aftermath will not be complete without his story.

The spirit of the law is clear. The JFK Records Act of 1992, approved unanimously by Congress, mandated that all assassination-related records be reviewed and disclosed "immediately."

When Morley filed his lawsuit in December 2003, thirteen published JFK authors supported his request for the records in an open letter to The New York Review of Books.

Eighteen months later, the CIA is still stonewalling. The agency now acknowledges that it possesses an undisclosed number of documents related to Joannides's actions and responsibilities in 1963 which it will not release in any form. Thus records related to Kennedy's assassination are still being hidden for reasons of "national security."

As published authors of divergent views on the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, we say the agency's position is spurious and untenable. Its continuing non-compliance with the JFK Records Act does no service to the public. It defies the will of Congress. It obscures the public record on a subject of enduring national interest. It encourages conspiracy mongering. And it undermines public confidence in the intelligence community at a time when collective security requires the opposite.

We insist the CIA observe the spirit of the 1992 JFK Assassination Records Act by immediately releasing all relevant records on the activities of George Joannides and any records at all that include his name or relate in any way to the assassination story - as prescribed by the JFK Records Act. The law and common sense require it.

G. Robert Blakey , former general counsel, House Select Committee on Assassinations

Jefferson Morley, journalist

Scott Armstrong, founder National Security Archive

Vincent Bugliosi, author and former prosecutor

Elias Demetracopoulos, retired journalist

Stephen Dorril, University of Huddersfield

Don DeLillo, author of Libra

Paul Hoch, JFK researcher

David Kaiser, Naval War College

Michael Kurtz, Southeastern Louisiana University, author of Crime of the Century

George Lardner, Jr., journalist

Jim Lesar, Assassination Archives and Research Center

Norman Mailer, author of Oswald's Tale

John McAdams, moderator, alt.assassination.jfk

John Newman, author of Oswald and the CIA

Gerald Posner, author of Case Closed

Oliver Stone, director JFK

Anthony Summers, author of Not in Your Lifetime

Robbyn Swan, author

David Talbot, founding editor, Salon.com

Cyril Wecht, former coroner, Alleghany County, PA

Richard Whalen, author of Founding Father

Gordon Winslow, former archivist of Dade County, Florida.

David Wrone, University of Wisconsin, Stevens Point, author The Zapruder Film

(6) Jefferson Morley, The George Joannides Coverup (19th May, 2005)

People interested in the JFK story will be interested to know that the CIA is due to file papers in court tomorrorow, May 20, to block release of certain JFK assassination-related documents.

The records in question concern a deceased CIA officer named George Joannides. At the time of Kennedy's death, Joannides was the Chief of Psychological Warfare branch of the Agency's JM/WAVE station in Miami.

Among his primary responsibilities were guiding, monitoring and financing the Revolutionary Cuban Student Directorate or DRE, one of the largest and most effective anti-Castro groups in the United States. CIA records show, and the group's former leaders confirm, that Joannides provided them with up $18-25,000 per month while insisting they submit to CIA discipline. Joannides, in his job evaluation of 31 July 1963, was credited with having established control over the group.

Five day later, Lee Harvey Oswald wandered into the DRE's New Orleans delegation, setting off a string of encounters between the pro-Castro ex-Marine and the anti-Castro exiles. Members of the DRE confronted Oswald on a street corner. They stared him down in a courtroom. They sent a DRE member to Oswald's house posing a Castro supporter. They challenged him to a debate on the radio. They made a tape of the debate which was later sent to Joannides. And they issued a press release calling for a congressional investigation of the thoroughly obscure Oswald. This, at a time, when the DRE had been warned to clear its public statements with the Agency.

What, if anything, Joannides made of the encounters between his assets in the DRE and the future accused assassin is unknown. Former leaders of the DRE are divided on the question.

Within an hour of Oswald's arrest on Nov. 22, 1963, the DRE leaders in Miami went public with their documentation of Oswald's pro-Castro ways, thus shaping early press coverage of the accused assasssin. Joannides told the group to take their information to the FBI.

Joannides connection to Oswald's antagonists was not disclosed to the Warren Commission.

In 1978, Joannides was called out of retirement to serve as CIA liaison to the House Select Committee on Assassinations. Joanndides did not disclose his role in the events of 1963 to investigators. HSCA general counsel Bob Blakey says that Joannides's actions constituted obstruction of Congress, a felony. Joannides's support for the DRE was uncovered by the Assassination Records Review Board in 1998. Joannides died in 1991.

I filed suit against the CIA in December 2003 seeking records of Joannides's activities in 1963 and 1978. In December 2004, the CIA gave me about 150 pages of heavily redacted and obviously incomplete records from Joannides's personnel file. The Agency informed me that it retains an unspecified number of records about Joannides actions that it will not release IN ANY FORM.

Thus JFK assassination records are kept secret in 2005 in the name of "national security."

The records that CIA gave me are not reassuring. They show that Joannides travelled to New Orleans in connection with his CIA duties in 1963-64. They also show that he was cleared for two highly sensitive operations in December 1962 and June 1963. The nature of these operations is unknown.

It would be premature and foolish to speculate on what George Joannnides was doing in New Orleans in 1963. What is certain is that he had a professional obligation to report on the activities of the DRE in August and November 1963, especially as they related to Oswald. The CIA is legally obliged to make such records public. Instead, they are stonewalling in court. This is a disappointing, if not disturbing.

I am interested in hearing from JFK researchers willing to publicly support a call to Congress to enforce the JFK Records Act. I know that the Joannides records are not the only assassination-related material that is being illicitly withheld so I am also interested in hearing from researchers about specific groups of records, known to exist, that have not been released.

Whatever one's interpretation of November 22, 1963, I think we can all agree that these records should be made public immediately.

(7) Rex Bradford, Mary Ferrell Foundation, George Joannides Ruling (2nd October, 2006)

Oct 2, 2006: Jefferson Morley's lawsuit to obtain CIA records of officer George Joannides was dismissed last Friday by Judge Richard Leon (see judge's opinion). Joannides was the former chief of anti-Castro psychological warfare operations in Miami in 1963, which included oversight of the DRE, the Cuban exile group whose members knew Lee Harvey Oswald in New Orleans. For background on the Joannides story, see our Unredacted interview with journalist Jeff Morley (pictured at left) and AARC President Jim Lesar.

Judge Leon upheld the CIA's right to block disclosure of records about Joannides's operational activities in August 1963. That's when Joannides' agents in a Cuban exile student group had a series of encounters with accused assassin Lee Harvey Oswald and used U.S. government funds to call attention to his pro-Castro activities.

At the time, CIA records show that Joannides was guiding and monitoring the Cuban Student Directorate and providing it with up to $25,000 a month. When JFK investigators later questioned Joannides about his knowledge of Oswald and the events of 1963, he stonewalled. In fact, the CIA had placed him in a position as liaison with the House Select Committee on Assassinations, without informing them of Joannides' prior role. When G. Robert Blakey, the House Committee's Chief Counsel, learned of this recently, he wrote a scathing response which begins: "I am no longer confident that the Central Intelligence Agency co-operated with the committee."

The dismissal of the Morley lawsuit shows that, with the demise of the Assassination Records Review Board, there is a problematic lack of enforcement of the JFK Assassination Records Collection Act.

(8) Shane O'Sullivan, Did the CIA kill Bobby Kennedy?, The Guardian (20th November, 2006)

At first, it seems an open-and-shut case. On June 5 1968, Robert Kennedy wins the California Democratic primary and is set to challenge Richard Nixon for the White House. After midnight, he finishes his victory speech at the Ambassador hotel in Los Angeles and is shaking hands with kitchen staff in a crowded pantry when 24-year-old Palestinian Sirhan Sirhan steps down from a tray-stacker with a "sick, villainous smile" on his face and starts firing at Kennedy with an eight-shot revolver.

As Kennedy lies dying on the pantry floor, Sirhan is arrested as the lone assassin. He carries the motive in his shirt-pocket (a clipping about Kennedy's plans to sell bombers to Israel) and notebooks at his house seem to incriminate him. But the autopsy report suggests Sirhan could not have fired the shots that killed Kennedy. Witnesses place Sirhan's gun several feet in front of Kennedy, but the fatal bullet is fired from one inch behind. And more bullet-holes are found in the pantry than Sirhan's gun can hold, suggesting a second gunman is involved. Sirhan's notebooks show a bizarre series of "automatic writing" - "RFK must die RFK must be killed - Robert F Kennedy must be assassinated before 5 June 68" - and even under hypnosis, he has never been able to remember shooting Kennedy. He recalls "being led into a dark place by a girl who wanted coffee", then being choked by an angry mob. Defence psychiatrists conclude he was in a trance at the time of the shooting and leading psychiatrists suggest he may have be a hypnotically programmed assassin.

Three years ago, I started writing a screenplay about the assassination of Robert Kennedy, caught up in a strange tale of second guns and "Manchurian candidates" (as the movie termed brainwashed assassins). As I researched the case, I uncovered new video and photographic evidence suggesting that three senior CIA operatives were behind the killing. I did not buy the official ending that Sirhan acted alone, and started dipping into the nether-world of "assassination research", crossing paths with David Sanchez Morales, a fearsome Yaqui Indian.

Morales was a legendary figure in CIA covert operations. According to close associate Tom Clines, if you saw Morales walking down the street in a Latin American capital, you knew a coup was about to happen. When the subject of the Kennedys came up in a late-night session with friends in 1973, Morales launched into a tirade that finished: "I was in Dallas when we got the son of a bitch and I was in Los Angeles when we got the little bastard." From this line grew my odyssey into the spook world of the 60s and the secrets behind the death of Bobby Kennedy.

Working from a Cuban photograph of Morales from 1959, I viewed news coverage of the assassination to see if I could spot the man the Cubans called El Gordo - The Fat One. Fifteen minutes in, there he was, standing at the back of the ballroom, in the moments between the end of Kennedy's speech and the shooting. Thirty minutes later, there he was again, casually floating around the darkened ballroom while an associate with a pencil moustache took notes.

The source of early research on Morales was Bradley Ayers, a retired US army captain who had been seconded to JM-Wave, the CIA's Miami base in 1963, to work closely with chief of operations Morales on training Cuban exiles to run sabotage raids on Castro. I tracked Ayers down to a small town in Wisconsin and emailed him stills of Morales and another guy I found suspicious - a man who is pictured entering the ballroom from the direction of the pantry moments after the shooting, clutching a small container to his body, and being waved towards an exit by a Latin associate.

Ayers' response was instant. He was 95% sure that the first figure was Morales and equally sure that the other man was Gordon Campbell, who worked alongside Morales at JM-Wave in 1963 and was Ayers' case officer shortly before the JFK assassination.

I put my script aside and flew to the US to interview key witnesses for a documentary on the unfolding story. In person, Ayers positively identified Morales and Campbell and introduced me to David Rabern, a freelance operative who was part of the Bay of Pigs invasion force in 1961 and was at the Ambassador hotel that night. He did not know Morales and Campbell by name but saw them talking to each other out in the lobby before the shooting and assumed they were Kennedy's security people. He also saw Campbell around police stations three or four times in the year before Robert Kennedy was shot.

This was odd. The CIA had no domestic jurisdiction and Morales was stationed in Laos in 1968. With no secret service protection for presidential candidates in those days, Kennedy was guarded by unarmed Olympic decathlete champion Rafer Johnson and football tackler Rosey Grier - no match for an expert assassination team.

Trawling through microfilm of the police investigation, I found further photographs of Campbell with a third figure, standing centre-stage in the Ambassador hotel hours before the shooting. He looked Greek, and I suspected he might be George Joannides, chief of psychological warfare operations at JM-Wave. Joannides was called out of retirement in 1978 to act as the CIA liaison to the House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA) investigating the death of John F Kennedy.

Ed Lopez, now a respected lawyer at Cornell University, came into close contact with Joann-des when he was a young law student working for the committee. We visit him and show him the photograph and he is 99% sure it is Joannides. When I tell him where it was taken, he is not surprised: "If these guys decided you were bad, they acted on it.

We move to Washington to meet Wayne Smith, a state department official for 25 years who knew Morales well at the US embassy in Havana in 1959-60. When we show him the video in the ballroom, his response is instant: "That's him, that's Morales." He remembers Morales at a cocktail party in Buenos Aires in 1975, saying Kennedy got what was coming to him. Is there a benign explanation for his presence? For Kennedy's security, maybe? Smith laughs. Morales is the last person you would want to protect Bobby Kennedy, he says. He hated the Kennedys, blaming their lack of air support for the failed Bay of Pigs invasion in 1961.

We meet Clines in a hotel room near CIA headquarters. He does not want to go on camera and brings a friend, which is a little unnerving. Clines remembers "Dave" fondly. The guy in the video looks like Morales but it is not him, he says: "This guy is fatter and Morales walked with more of a slouch and his tie down." To me, the guy in the video does walk with a slouch and his tie is down.

Clines says he knew Joannides and Campbell and it is not them either, but he fondly remembers Ayers bringing snakes into JM-Wave to scare the secretaries and seems disturbed at Smith's identification of Morales. He does not discourage our investigation and suggests others who might be able to help. A seasoned journalist cautions that he would expect Clines "to blow smoke", and yet it seems his honest opinion.

As we leave Los Angeles, I tell the immigration officer that I am doing a story on Bobby Kennedy. She has seen the advertisements for the new Emilio Estevez movie about the assassination, Bobby. "Who do you think did it? I think it was the Mob," she says before I can answer.

"I definitely think it was more than one man," I say, discreetly.

Morales died of a heart attack in 1978, weeks before he was to be called before the HSCA. Joannides died in 1990. Campbell may still be out there somewhere, in his early 80s. Given the positive identifications we have gathered on these three, the CIA and the Los Angeles Police Department need to explain what they were doing there. Lopez believes the CIA should call in and interview everybody who knew them, disclose whether they were on a CIA operation and, if not, why they were there that night.

Today would have been Robert Kennedy's 81st birthday. The world is crying out for a compassionate leader like him. If dark forces were behind his elimination, it needs to be investigated.

(9) David Talbot & Jefferson Morley, The BBC's Flawed RFK Story (July, 2007)

On November 20, 2006 - the day that would have been Robert Kennedy's eighty-first birthday -- the BBC program Newsnight aired a startling report alleging that three CIA operatives were caught on camera at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles on the night of Kennedy's assassination. The story suggested that they were involved in his killing. The BBC broadcast, produced by filmmaker Shane O'Sullivan, identified the three CIA operatives as George Joannides, David Morales and Gordon Campbell. All three were known to have worked for the Agency in Miami in the early 1960s when the White House ordered up a massive, not-so-secret effort to overthrow Fidel Castro's communist government in Cuba...

We spent six weeks interviewing dozens of people from Washington DC to Florida to California and Arizona who knew Joannides, Morales and Campbell at different times in their lives. We spoke with former CIA colleagues, retired State Department officials, personal friends and family members...

Several people who had worked with Joannides over the years said the man in the Ambassador Hotel photograph was identical to the man they knew. But other former colleagues disagreed, as did relatives and close friends. Helen Charles, widow of Greek Embassy spokesman George Charles who was one of Joannides' closest personal friends in Washington for four decades, said the man in the BBC photo was not Joannides. "That's not George," said Mitzi Natsios, widow of a fellow Greek-American CIA colleague who knew Joannides well. Robert and Louise Keeley, a retired State Department officer and his wife, who worked and socialized with Joannides in Greece in 1965-68, also said they did not recognize the man depicted in the BBC report. "That is not my uncle, I can tell you that," said Timothy Kalaris, a nephew of Joannides who lives in the Washington area. "I don't know how anybody who ever knew him could say that's him." Photographs of Joannides, whose picture has never been published before, show him at a June 1973 CIA party in Saigon where he served as chief of political action operations. Joannides wears glasses as did the man in the BBC report but he has a more pointed jaw, larger ears, a different hairline, and a more olive complexion. The CIA also declined to release Joannides’ travel records. Most likely he was in Athens in June 1968.

(10) Jefferson Morley, The Man Who Did Not Talk (November, 2007)

Perhaps the single most intriguing story to emerge from the JFK files concerns a career CIA officer named George Joannides. He died in 1990 at age 67, taking his JFK secrets to the grave in suburban Washington. His role in the events leading up to Kennedy's death and its confused investigatory aftermath goes utterly unmentioned in the vast literature of JFK's assassination. Vincent Bugliosi's otherwise impressive 1,600 page book debunking every JFK conspiracy theory known to man mentions him only in an inaccurate footnote. In 1998, the Agency declassified a handful of annual personnel evaluations that revealed Joannides was involved in the JFK assassination story, both before and after the event.

In November 1963, Joannides was serving as the chief of psychological warfare operations in the CIA's Miami station. The purpose of psychological warfare, as authorized by U.S. policymakers, was to confuse and confound the government of Fidel Castro, so to hasten its replacement by a government more congenial to Washington. The first revelation was that Joannides had agents in a leading Cuban student exile group, an operation code-named AMSPELL in CIA files. These agents had a series of close encounters with Oswald three months before JFK was killed.

The second revelation was that the CIA's Miami assets helped shape the public's understanding of Kennedy's assassination by identifying the suspected assassin as a Castro supporter right from the start.

The third revelation, the one that is most shocking, is that when Congress reopened the JFK probe in 1978, Joannides served as the CIA's liaison to the investigators. His job was to provide files and information to the House Select Committee on Assassinations. But far from being a helpful source and conduit, Joannides stonewalled. He did not disclose his role in the events of 1963, even when asked direct questions about the AMSPELL operation he handled.

When the story of the Joannides file emerged, former HSCA chief counsel G. Robert Blakey was stunned by the audacity of Joannides's deception. Blakey, a former federal prosecutor, thought the Agency had cooperated with Congress's effort to look into JFK's murder. Twenty-three years later he learned that the CIA bureaucrat ostensibly assisting his staff was actually a material witness in the investigation. "The Agency set me up," reported the Washington Post.

Blakey, now a law professor at Notre Dame, says Joannides's actions were "little short of outrageous. You could make a prima facie case that it amounted to obstruction of Congress, which is a felony."

Blakey has long argued that organized crime figures orchestrated Kennedy's assassination. The revelation of Joannides's unknown role has given him second thoughts about the CIA's credibility.

"You can't really infer from the Joannides story that they [the CIA] did it," he says. "Maybe he was hiding something that is not complicitous in a plot but merely embarrassing. It certainly undermines everything that they have said about JFK's assassination."

In November 1963, Joannides was serving as the chief of psychological warfare operations in the CIA's Miami station. The purpose of psychological warfare, as authorized by U.S. policymakers, was to confuse and confound the government of Fidel Castro, so to hasten its replacement by a government more congenial to Washington. The first revelation was that Joannides had agents in a leading Cuban student exile group, an operation code-named AMSPELL in CIA files. These agents had a series of close encounters with Oswald three months before JFK was killed.

The second revelation was that the CIA's Miami assets helped shape the public's understanding of Kennedy's assassination by identifying the suspected assassin as a Castro supporter right from the start.

The third revelation, the one that is most shocking, is that when Congress reopened the JFK probe in 1978, Joannides served as the CIA's liaison to the investigators. His job was to provide files and information to the House Select Committee on Assassinations. But far from being a helpful source and conduit, Joannides stonewalled. He did not disclose his role in the events of 1963, even when asked direct questions about the AMSPELL operation he handled.

When the story of the Joannides file emerged, former HSCA chief counsel G. Robert Blakey was stunned by the audacity of Joannides's deception. Blakey, a former federal prosecutor, thought the Agency had cooperated with Congress's effort to look into JFK's murder. Twenty-three years later he learned that the CIA bureaucrat ostensibly assisting his staff was actually a material witness in the investigation. "The Agency set me up," reported the Washington Post.

Blakey, now a law professor at Notre Dame, says Joannides's actions were "little short of outrageous. You could make a prima facie case that it amounted to obstruction of Congress, which is a felony."

Blakey has long argued that organized crime figures orchestrated Kennedy's assassination. The revelation of Joannides's unknown role has given him second thoughts about the CIA's credibility.

"You can't really infer from the Joannides story that they [the CIA] did it," he says. "Maybe he was hiding something that is not complicitous in a plot but merely embarrassing. It certainly undermines everything that they have said about JFK's assassination."

"We are going to kill Castro"

In July 1963, George Efythron Joannides turned 41 years old. He was a 10-year veteran of the clandestine service who presented himself as a lawyer for the Defense Department. He dressed well, spoke several languages and enjoyed the confidence of CIA Deputy Director Richard Helms. In his cables, he was identified as "Walter Newby." To his Cuban friends in Miami he was "Howard" or "Mr. Howard."

Joannides's chief job responsibility in 1963 was handling AMSPELL, a program of CIA support for the Directorio Revolucionario Estudiantil, also known as the Cuban Student Directorate. By 1962, the DRE was perhaps the single biggest and most active organization opposing Fidel Castro's regime. In Miami, Joannides was giving the leaders of the group up to $25,000 a month in cash for what he described as "intelligence collection" and "propaganda."

In August 1963, the DRE's New Orleans chapter had taken a vocal and very public interest in an itinerant ex-Marine named Lee Harvey Oswald because of his blatantly pro-Castro politicking. Oswald was 23 years old, an erratic but street-smart schemer who knew how to make his way in the world. He lived in the Soviet Union for a couple of years and was married to a Russian woman, the former Marina Prusakova. He wrote letters to left-wing political organizations and drifted from job to job. And then in early August 1963 he attempted to infiltrate the DRE.

Oswald approached Carlos Bringuier, a 29-year-old lawyer who served as the group's spokesman in the Crescent City. Oswald offered to help train DRE commandos to fight the communist government in Cuba. A few days later, when the DRE boys saw him on a street corner passing out pamphlets for the Fair Play for Cuba Committee (FPCC), a notoriously pro-Castro group, they picked a fight with him.

Bringuier took an interest in Oswald. He directed a DRE member to go to Oswald's house and pose as a Castro supporter to learn more about his background. Bringuier also debated Oswald on a local radio program, and sent a tape of the debate to DRE's Miami headquarters. He also sent one of Oswald's FPCC pamphlets. Bringuier went so far as to issue a press release on Oswald, calling for a congressional investigation of the then-obscure ex-Marine. "Write to your congressman for a full investigation on Mr. Lee H. Oswald, a confessed 'Marxist,'" the DRE spokesman wrote on August 21, 1963.

Did George Joannides of the CIA ignore Bringuier's prescient and potentially life-saving call for investigating Oswald? Bringuier, now retired and living in Texas, refused to be interviewed for this article. He said he never received money from the CIA and said he did not know Joannides or "Howard." But other DRE members were more forthcoming.

"He definitely knew about what we we're doing with Oswald," says Isidro Borja, a Miami businessman who was active in the DRE in 1963. "That was what he was giving us the money for -- for information we had."

To get a flavor of the dangerous psychological warfare that George Joannides was waging at that time take a look at the cover of See, a men's magazine from the fall of 1963. "The CIA Needs Men -- Can You Qualify?" asked one headline. Next to this recruitment pitch was a poster, "Wanted Dead or Alive: Fidel Castro for Crimes Against Humanity." The article inside, bearing a byline of a DRE member, was headlined "We are going to kill Castro." In the article, the group announced it was offering a $10 million reward "for the death of the Cuban tyrant."

(11) Jefferson Morley, The Man Who Did Not Talk (November, 2007)

Now let us put the crime scene in a larger context, the context of CIA intelligence gathering and psychological warfare operations in late 1963. Let us return now to the man who didn't talk.

What was George Joannides's reaction to Oswald's appearance at the Dallas scene?

"We called him right away," says Tony Lanuza, a Miami businessman who was active in Cuban politics in 1963. He served as the coordinator for the far-flung delegations of the Cuban Student Directorate. When he and his friends heard that a man named Oswald had been arrested for killing Kennedy, Lanuza immediately recalled the confrontations between Carlos Bringuier and the obnoxious interloper from the Fair Play for Cuba Committee the previous August. They rushed to the Directorate's headquarters in South Miami, where someone called their CIA contact to inform him the group had evidence about the communistic ways of Kennedy's killer.

Joannides's first impulse was to consult with his superiors, two months before the DRE was recruiting assassins to kill Castro. What did they know about Oswald was one question that an intelligence officer might want answered.

"He told us to wait an hour," Lanuza recalls. "He had to consult with Washington."

The DRE started calling reporters anyway with the scoop on Kennedy's killer. He was a communist and a Castro supporter. A headline in the DRE's newspaper the next day described Oswald and Castro as "the presumed assassins." When Joannides called back, he told them to take their evidence to the FBI.

The CIA man apparently did not investigate Oswald's Cuban contacts. No former DRE leader can recall any conversations with Joannides about the accused assassin. Joannides did not account for the contacts between the AMSPELL network and the accused assassin, at least not according to the available CIA records. His role as sponsor of Oswald's Cuban antagonists was not disclosed to the Warren Commission. He preserved the U.S. government's ability to "plausibly deny" any connection to the Cuban students who publicized Oswald's pro-Castro ways.

All the while, the DRE leaders continued to feed JFK information to Joannides. The group's records from early 1964 include several memos to CIA contact "Howard" about Jack Ruby's Cuban connections. From New Orleans, Carlos Bringuier sent a report about the ongoing Warren Commission investigation there. That too was passed to Joannides.

On April 1, 1964, the Warren Commission sent Carlos Bringuier a letter informing him that a commission staff would be contacting him soon about taking his testimony about the DRE and Oswald. According to a CIA travel form made public in 2004, Joannides, the DRE's case officer and an attorney, traveled from Miami to New Orleans that same day for unknown reasons.

For the rest of his career, Joannides would be commended for his actions around events related to the Kennedy assassination.

In May 1964, his bosses praised him as a "hard-working, dedicated and effective officer" with a flair for political action operations. His annual job evaluation made no mention of the fact that his AMSPELL assets had tried and failed to call attention to the man who apparently killed Kennedy or that his young friends in the DRE were using agency funds to allege that Oswald acted at Castro's behest. Joannides received the highest possible marks for his service in 1963.

He went on to serve in Athens, Saigon and CIA headquarters. In 1979, after Joannides stonewalled congressional investigators about his knowledge of Oswald he received praise from CIA director Stansfield Turner and other top agency officials. "He was the perfect man for the job," said one.

Two years ago, the CIA acknowledged in a court filing that Joannides had received an even greater honor upon retirement. In March 1981, he received the Career Intelligence Medal, bestowed for "career contributions" to the Agency.

Why Joannides was honored after his Oswald cover-up remains a secret -- for reasons of "national security." In September 2006 federal judge Richard Leon upheld the CIA's arguments in a Freedom of Information lawsuit that it did not have to release the JFK material in Joannides's file. The National Archives then requested the Joannides files from the Agency earlier this year. As of late October 2007, the CIA was still resisting disclosure.

So what can one safely and reliably conclude about the JFK story today?

On the crime scene evidence, reasonable people will differ. To me, the single bullet theory, the forensic linchpin of all arguments for Oswald's sole guilt, has lost scientific validity in the past decade via both Pat Grant and Erik Randich's ballistics analysis and via the sworn testimony of FBI agents Sibert and O'Neill.

The JFK medical evidence is much less trustworthy than was known a decade ago. Photographs have been culled from the collection. Multiple new witnesses say independently and under oath that Kennedy's body and wounds were cleaned up before being photographed for the record. Any indictment of Oswald based on the medical evidence of Kennedy's wounds has been undermined.

The acoustic evidence remains in dispute. In my view, it has not been disqualified until an alternative explanation for the order in the data is confirmed.

The new JFK forensic science, in short, has narrowed the limits of plausible conjecture by eliminating the single bullet theory as an explanation of Kennedy and Connally's wounds and by not eliminating the possibility that the fatal shot was fired from the grassy knoll.

The best minds in forensic science might be able to clarify things, Pat Grant told me in an e-mail following our interview. Grant admitted that he and probably most other experts in the most advanced forensic techniques are not up to date on the acoustic evidence and other JFK evidentiary specimens.

"The evidence should be viewed and examined by a select group of forensic scientists, by invitation only, that best represents the most advanced forensic methods possible today," Grant wrote, adding, "These cannot be encompassed solely by the practices of today's criminalistics labs." He proposed these scientists prepare "a summary report detailing prioritized recommendations for ensuing analyses, their estimations for success of each recommended analysis and the anticipated information to be gained from each."

As for the new JFK evidence from CIA archives, that too awaits clarification. Some of the most basic questions about George Joannides -- what did he know about Oswald and when did he know it? -- cannot be answered as long as the Agency withholds his files from public view. The CIA's insistence, 44 years later, that it cannot declassify those files for reasons of "national security," not only encourages the notion the Agency is still hiding something significant, it also reminds us of the infuriating truth. When it comes to the JFK story we know a lot more than we did a decade ago: We know we still don't have the full story.