Justice Integrity Project
Did the CIA try to thwart the nation’s last investigation of President Kennedy’s assassination?
“The CIA not only lied, it actively subverted the investigation,” says G. Robert Blakey, the former general counsel of the House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA), which issued its report in 1979.
“It is time that either Congress or the Justice Department conducts a real investigation of the CIA,” Blakey continued speaking at a conference last month. “Indeed, in my opinion, it is long past time.”
Blakey, shown at left, urged the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) to comply promptly with a federal law unanimously passed by congress in 1992 requiring release of JFK records.
Archives leadership refuses to release the documents until 2017 without CIA or presidential approval. The CIA has said it lacks resources to process the documents earlier to protect national security.
But at what point does refusal to cooperate with a murder investigation signify a broken system?
As part of our ongoing Justice Integrity Project Readers Guide to the JFK murder, today’s column examines Blakey’s allegations. They are a recent example of the intelligence community's ongoing resistance to congressional oversight. A future column will soon examine evidence that accused assassin Lee Harvey Oswald had secret working relationships with the CIA and FBI.
Today, we focus on the late CIA officer George Joannides, at right, the agency's liaison to Blakey's HSCA staff as it reexamined the validity of the Warren Commission report on JFK's murder.
Blakey’s written statement here attacked Joannides for obstructing the congressional probe under the pretense of help. Blakey announced his views Sept. 26, 2014 at a three-day conference in Bethesda, MD organized by the non-profit Assassination Archives and Research Center (AARC).
The AARC conference title was “The Warren Report and the JFK Assassination: Five Decades of Significant Disclosures.” Supreme Court Chief Justice Earl Warren had led the seven-member commission, which included former CIA Director Allen Dulles among its membership of high-ranking federal officials and former officials.
The commission announced that Oswald, 24, had acted alone in killing Kennedy with three shots from behind.
Looking ahead, Blakey and two fellow congressional researchers, Edwin Lopez and Dan Hardway, said at the AARC conference they will seek missing CIA records about JFK under the federal Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) later this fall — unless the Archives complies with their recent request.
The Justice Integrity Project announces an updated catalog of leading books and major official reports about President John F. Kennedy's assassination in 1963 and its continuing importance.
The Readers Guide is continuously updated, with special attention to the unique historical event of the 50th anniversary of the Warren Commission published in the fall of 1964.
The Assassination Archives and Research Center (AARC) convened a major conference on the Warren Commission anniversary from Sept. 26 to 28, 2014 at the Bethesda Hyatt Regency Hotel. This editor spoke at the conference during three segments, including opening comments on the continuing importance of the JFK murder in understanding current events. The talks drew on my book, Presidential Puppetry, which revealed that President Obama's advisors feared a "revolt" if he dared prosecute CIA officials for lawbreaking during the Bush administration.
A separate group, the JFK Historical Group, convened a conference also on the topic and on the same dates from Sept. 26 to 28, 2014 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Alexandria, VA.
More than two thousand books are estimated to have been published in whole or part on the Kennedy assassination, according to AARC President James H. Lesar, who co-founded the non-profit in 1984.
The most significant of those books as measured by such factors as sales and expert citations are listed below in an appendix, regardless of whether the authors' point of view criticizes or defends such conventional interpretations as the Warren Commission report. This format follows the original goal of this Readers Guide, which was to provide at the outset a catalog of relevant materials.
This installment below is not meant for casual reading. Instead, it is best regarded as a reference source for readers looking for something specific in terms of a book or major report. Other installments of the Readers Guide cover the most relevant films and other videos, researcher centers, and events. Other installments provide interpretative columns.
A former Cuban exile anti-Castro militant told a conference audience Sept. 26 in a blockbuster revelation that he saw accused presidential assassin Lee Harvey Oswald with their mutual CIA handler six weeks before the killing and there would have been no anti-Castro movement in Cuba without the CIA funding.
Antonio Veciana, the acknowledged leader of the Alpha 66 assassination squad of Cuban exiles in the early 1960s, made the statements in a dignified but emotion-laden manner at this year's major conference analyzing the Warren Commission report on murder of President John F. Kennedy Nov. 22, 1963 in Dallas. Alpha 66 is alleged to have tried to kill Cuban leader Fidel Castro on two occasions, but Veciana, a onetime certified public accountant for a wealthy Cuban in the years before the revolution, has never been been charged with an attempt.
Separately, the general counsel of the last major government investigation into the killing issued a statement saying the CIA had deceived him and the rest of the public during the late 1970s inquiry into the validity of the Warren report. Former House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA) General Counsel G. Robert Blakey issued the statement during the conference Sept. 26-28 organized at the Bethesda Hyatt Regency Hotel in Bethesda, MD by the Assassination Archives and Research Center (AARC).
Veciana said he is convinced the CIA organized the president's murder and that he saw Oswald meeting with a CIA official in Dallas because Veciana arrived at his meeting fifteen minutes too early. Veciana said he believes Oswald was a CIA operative whom the agency decided to blame for a killing it organized in a complex plot.
Veciana said his CIA handler was the late David Atlee Phillips, shown in a file photo above at right. Phillips was a high-ranking CIA official who used the cover named "Maurice Bishop" during his many meetings with Veciana. Earlier this year, Veciana confirmed to researcher Marie Fonzi, widow of his friend the author Gaeton Fonzi, that "Bishop" was "Phillips." But Veciana has never previously answered questions in a public forum.
The CIA placed Phillips in charge of the CIA's Cuba operations after the newly created agency recruited him from newspaper work in 1950s. According to biographers, Phillips, a former actor born in Texas, used hundreds of aliases in his CIA work, which included a role in the CIA's covert overthrow in 1954 of the left-wing government of Guatemalan leader Jacobo Arbenz Guzman. After retirement from the CIA Phillips organized thousands of fellow intelligence officers into the politically influential Association of Former Intelligence Officers. The group quietly helped support the political career of former CIA Director George H.W. Bush and Bush allies, among other endeavors.
Veciana, 85, spoke through a translator and with a son by his side. He said he was trained as a CPA and admired "Bishop" and the CIA deeply for many years.
Now, however, he said he wanted to set the record straight because he has come to admire also Kennedy, whom and he and Phillips once regarded as a "traitor" for allowing communist Cuban leader Fidel Castro to remain in power.
Former Top JFK Investigator Rebukes CIA For Cover-up
Blakey, shown in a file photo from his longtime work as a professor of law at Notre Dame University, spoke Sept. 27. He reiterated his statement read by former colleagues the previous day, and answered questions. His statement is available via a link at the top of the AARC site here. Blakey's committee issued a report in 1979 on behalf of the House scrutinizing the original 1964 Warren report.
The two admissions were part of an explosive agenda for the conference, which I helped open with an address on why the 50th anniversary of the Warren report is a unique, historic opportunity to solve the nation's most important murder, one whose after-effects continue to the present with the unchecked power of the CIA as a secret government.
I amplified on that theme on Sept. 27 in an afternoon panel "Why Won't the Media Cover the Story?"
The remarks drew from my recent book research for Presidential Puppetry: Obama Romney and Their Masters, which documents on the record how all recent presidents, including Barack Obama, were involved with CIA or FBI covert information-gathering operations before they entered politics.
These kinds of under-reported relationships foster the ascendancy of the nation's leaders -- including in business, politics, academics and the media -- in ways unknown to the general public. The methods? For those in the media and academia, it's by facilitating book contracts, university posts, television appearances and consultancies for those with pro-Warren themes and thwarting others seeking to offer contrary evidence, such as Oswald's role as a CIA and FBI under-cover operative.
As previously reported here and elsewhere, the CIA used Operation Mockingbird to control messaging at major news organizations in the 1950s and 1960s. Also, the CIA generated a now-declassified memo in April 1967 instructing its operatives to use major newspapers and broadcast outlets to describe critics of the Warren Commission as "conspiracy theorists" unfit for belief or employment.
The conference panel agreed for the most part that ownership and top management of mainstream news organizations have thwarted for the most part meaningful coverage of vital discrepancies in the Warren report. To do so would call into question a half century of slanted and biased government statements and reporting. However, one panelist said Warren report critics need to do a far better job in reaching out in a professional manner to journalists and their outlets.
Among the conference highlights, a team of professional actors provided a dramatic reading Sept. 27 of a long-secret transcript of a Commission meeting in January 1964 in which commissioners secretly addressed the threat that two newspaper reporters posed. According to Texas law enforcement officials, the reporters had discovered that the supposed "lone nut" Oswald was actually an FBI paid asset from the time he returned to the United States following his sojourn in the Soviet Union through the time of the JFK assassination.
Seventeen authors and film makers who have researched the 1963 murder of the President Kennedy are scheduled for meet-the-author book signings as part of a major conference on the 50th anniversary of the Warren Commission report.
The lead off author is Dr. John M. Newman, at right, a professor, former National Security Agency official, and one of the opening featured speakers opening on Friday “The Warren Report and the JFK Assassination: A Half Century of Significant Disclosures."
The Assassination Archives and Research Center (AARC) organized the event from Sept. 26 to 28 at the Bethesda Hyatt Regency Hotel, which is near the District of Columbia border at the Metro stop in Bethesda, MD. The public can attend the author signings in the Embassy Suite without paying the conference admission fee.
Newman, shown at right, has been an adjunct political science professor at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, VA since January 2013. The retired major in the U.S. Army holds a doctorate, worked in Army intelligence from 1974 to 1994, and served as Assistant to the Director at the NSA from 1988 to 1990. His books include “JFK and Vietnam: Deception, Intrigue, and the Struggle for Power” and “Oswald and the CIA.”
He plans to preview his next book, in which he alleges significant new information about official involvement in the president's murder and a cover-up.
Among the other authors signing books in a schedule listed below are best-selling investigative reporter Anthony Summers, shown at left.
Summers is a former senior BBC journalist based in Ireland and the author of nine major non-fiction books, including the just-republished Not In Your Lifetime that he will sign. His investigative work has ranged from the fate of the last Russian Tsar in 1918 to Britain’s Profumo sex/spy scandal, to the John F. Kennedy assassination, to the September 9/11 attacks.
Another long-distance traveler will be Dr. Ernst Titovets, at right, who journeys from his native Belarus. As a student, Titovets became the best friend in Minsk of accused JFK assassin Lee Harvey Oswald, who defected to the Soviet Union from 1959 until his return to the United States 1962. As a U.S. Marine, Oswald had learned fluent Russian and held a higher-than-normal security clearance. Some researchers believe Oswald participated in a false defector program. They say this pose enabled Oswald to penetrate the Iron Curtain during the Cold War albeit with a keen eye from the Soviets on his behavior, and then continue intelligence/law enforcement work back in the United States as a supposed pro-Castro advocate.
Titovets is a medical school professor who holds both doctoral research and medical doctor degrees. He will launch the 2014 updated edition of his 2010 memoir Oswald: Russian Episode. Tiitovets, whose medical specialty is neurology, argues that the Lee Harvey Oswald he knew was a friendly and relatively normal young man and not the angry, prospective killer widely portrayed by the Warren Commission and the commission's supporters.
Among U.S. best-selling authors are Russ Baker, author of Family of Secrets about the Bush Dynasty, and Dr. Joan Mellen, a Temple University professor who has authored 22 books.
The authors and film makers will sign copies of their work in the hotel's Embassy Suite, which is open to the public without admission charge.
Overall, some 45 expert speakers will reveal or discuss recent findings differing from the Warren Commission’s 1964 report ascribing President Kennedy’s murder to Oswald as a sole assassin firing from the rear. Other authors include Jim DiEugenio (whose collaborator Lisa Pease will also speak), Marie Fonzi (widow of noted JFK investigator Gaeton Fonzi), Robert Groden, Eric Hamburg, Dr. David Kaiser, Jonathan Morley, Andy Thibault, Dr. Donald Thomas, and Prof. Lamar Waldron, plus film maker Patrick Speer.
In another no-cost dimension of the conference, Los Angeles-based actor Brian Connors and a group of fellow actors will dramatize the long-secret Jan. 22, 1964 Warren Commission Executive Session where Allen Dulles told his fellow commissioners that the CIA and FBI would lie to them to protect their perceived self-interests.
A long-suppressed transcript of the meeting shows how the commissioners led by then-Supreme Court Chief Justice Earl Warren dealt with the 1964 threat at the beginning of the commission's work that two newspaper reporters would reveal that Oswald had been paid $200 a week by the FBI before the killing.
Revelation of Oswald's FBI relationship threatened to thwart conventional wisdom promulgated by authorities immediately after JFK's murder Oswald, a former Marine, was a misfit, murderer and "lone nut" -- instead of the "patsy" Oswald claimed to be before he was murdered in police custody two days after his arrest.
The dramatization shows how Dulles, whom Kennedy had forced out of the agency in 1961 as part of shake-up the president intended, advised his fellow commissioners to deny any relationships that might have existed between the FBI, CIA and Oswald.
This no-cost reading is scheduled at 5:45 p.m. on Sept. 27, shortly before a separate banquet featuring a filmed message from the convention audience from director Oliver Stone and then remarks by his collaborator, Dr. Peter Kuznick of American University following a display of the JFK segment of their 2012 Showtime documentary, "The Untold Story of the United States."
Kuznick will comment on their work in his keynote remarks, and then sign books and video, beginning approximately 9:15 p.m. Stone, producer and director of the iconic film JFK, has been working in Germany on his next movie, "The Snowden Files." It portrays whistleblower and former NSA and CIA employee Edward Snowden.
To mark the 50th anniversary of the Warren Commission report, the Washington Post published a slanted, confusing and needlessly complex retrospective in its Sept. 21 Sunday Outlook section.
The column Meet the respectable JFK conspiracy theorists by author Philip Shenon ignored many major revelations of the past half century regarding the 1963 murder of President John Kennedy. Instead, it focused on minor matters to conclude, once again, that the Warren Commission correctly found that alleged assassin Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone to shoot the president with three shots from the rear.
Yet there are many well-credentialed experts who can explain in simple terms the serious questions remaining about the Warren report -- if not flatly contradicting its conclusions.
The Assassination Archives and Research Center has organized an event from Sept. 26 to 28 at the Bethesda Hyatt Regency Hotel “The Warren Report and the JFK Assassination: A Half Century of Significant Disclosures." It features nearly 50 speakers including me, plus professional actors re-enacting key parts of a long-hidden meeting of the commission.
In 1967, the late New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison, shown at left, shocked the nation with his blunt, eloquent argument that the Warren Commission and the major media had misled the public about the cause of the killing.
Garrison ascribed the murder to a conspiracy of well-connected zealots determined to change American foreign policy by killing the president.
"The conclusion of the Warren Report, that President Kennedy was killed by a lone assassin, is a fairy tale," Garrison said during an NBC News special in July 1967.
"This does not mean," he continued, "that the men on the Warren Commission were aware at the time that their conclusion was totally untrue, nor does it mean necessarily that these men had any sinister motives. It does mean that the conclusion that no conspiracy existed, and that Lee Oswald was the lone assassin is a fiction, and a myth, and that it should be brought to an end."
My column today shows the stark differences between the approaches of Garrison and the Post's Shenon.
Those concerned about public affairs these days may find it beneficial to explore mysterious current events more in the spirit of Garrison, the only prosecutor who indicted anyone in JFK's murder.
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Earl Warren, fifth from the left, presents President Lyndon Johnson the Warren Commission's report on the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Smiling at second to the left is General Counsel Lee Rankin. Third from the right is former CIA Director Allen Dulles, forced out by Kennedy in late November, 1961.
Forty-four prominent authors, medical doctors, academics, lawyers and other research experts will convene from Sept. 26 to 28 to reveal recent findings undercutting the Warren Commission’s 1964 report ascribing President Kennedy’s murder to a sole assassin.
On the unique, historic occasion of the Warren report’s 50th anniversary, experts and surviving witnesses will examine evidence showing the commission was wrong about its core finding, that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone in killing the president with three shots from behind. Polls for decades have shown that most Americans – sometimes well over 70 percent – disbelieve the commission, which was chaired by the late Supreme Court Chief Justice Earl Warren.
“Because of new revelations few serious scholars any longer believe the Warren Report’s core finding on Oswald as a lone killer acting alone,” said Assassinations Archives and Record Center (AARC) President James Lesar. His non-profit group has organized what he calls, “one of the most important JFK assassination conferences in history.”
The three-day conference, “The Warren Report and the JFK Assassination: A Half Century of Significant Disclosures," will be at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Bethesda, MD. It begins Sept. 26, with an evening reception Sept. 25. Find registration and hotel details at: www.aarclibrary.org.
Among those making unprecedented or rare speaking appearances will be: Alpha 66 founder Antonio Veciana, leader of the CIA-backed Cuban exile group that tried to kill Cuban leader Fidel Castro; and Prof. Ernst Titovets, who was Oswald’s best friend in the Soviet Union.
Justice Integrity Project readers know that the mysteries still surrounding the murder prompted us to begin publishing here last year a multi-part "Readers Guide" to JFK books, videos, archives and events. One segment alone has received more than 50,000 hits.
That work has continued. At the conference, I shall describe why the nation's unfinished JFK investigation casts a devastating but largely hidden blight over entire range of United States policy, most directly at the White House, law enforcement, other court oversight and the media.
Other speakers include:
Prof. Robert Blakey, Ed Lopez and Dan Hardway of the House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA), which concluded in 1979 that JFK fell victim to a conspiracy by unspecified parties.
Among others are: Dr. Gary Aguilar, Russ Baker, Brenda Brody, Rex Bradford, Jim DiEugenio, Eric Hamburg, Dr. Peter Kornbluh, Robert Groden, Prof. Joan Mellen, Jefferson Morley, Prof. John Newman, Jerry Policoff, Dr. Randolph Robertson, Prof. Peter Dale Scott, Dr. Wayne Smith, Pat Speer, Anthony Summers, David Talbot, Dr. Donald Thomas, Dr. Cyril H. Wecht, Lamar Waldron, and Dr. David Wrone.