Join us in our campaign to have the Joannides files released from the archives.
To understand the part George Joannides plays in the assassination of John F Kennedy we have to go right back to the start.
George Efythron Joannides (July 5, 1922 - March 9, 1990) was a CIA officer who was in charge of the Psychological Warfare branch of the Agency’s JM/WAVE station in Miami. George was also in 1978, the CIA’s liaison with the House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA). They pulled him out of retirement for this job.
Declassified CIA records show that Joannides obstructed two official JFK investigations by not disclosing what he knew about contacts between his Cuban agents and Kennedy’s accused killer. Most records of his activities in the summer of 1963 are still classified.
What they neglected to tell the HSCA was that Joannides had been in charge of directing and financing the Directorio Revolucionario Estudantil (DRE), or Cuban Student Directorate. In this role he used the names: ‘Howard,’ Mr.Howard’ and ‘Walter Newby’. The DRE were a group of Cuban exiles who interestingly enough had a great deal of contact with Lee Harvey Oswald in the months before the assassination of JFK, and while our George Joannides was at their helm.
Washington Post reporter Jefferson Morley writes “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.” Jefferson Morley and Jim Lessar have been in a decade long court battle with the CIA to have the Joannides records released under the JFK Records Act of 1992.
Through this court battle Morley and Lessar have learned that George Joannides kept a home in New Orleans, 1962-64. His name was in the New Orleans ‘63 phonebook. Although, the Government has recently ‘changed their mind’ about this.
The first conspiracy theory was paid for by Joannides and the DRE in Miami. Within hours of JFK’s death on November 22, 1963, members of the Cuban Student Directorate, linked suspected assassin Lee Oswald to Cuban president Fidel Castro. They were “the presumed assassins.” The allegation was published in a special edition of the group’s publication, Trinchera (Trenches)dated November 23, 1963. This was the first JFK conspiracy theory to reach public print. According to declassified records, it was paid for by decorated undercover CIA officer, the late George Joannides. What Joannides thought of the DRE’s use of CIA funds to publicize its view of Oswald is unknown.
Within the CIA, the Directorate was known by the code name AMSPELL. The group was ‘conceived, created and funded by the Agency in September 1960 and terminated in December 1966” according to a CIA memo, dated April 1967.The DRE, received $51,000 a month from the CIA, according to one CIA memo.
In July 1981 (after his stint as liaison for the CIA with the HSCA), Joannides was awarded the ‘Career Intelligence Medal’. I’ll just let you think about what that might have been awarded for…
In 2013 the Boston Globe wrote “There is a body of documents that the CIA is still protecting, which should be released. Relying on inaccurate representations made by the CIA in the mid-1990s, the Review Board decided that records related to a deceased CIA agent named George Joannides were not relevant to the Kennedy assassination. Subsequent work by researchers, using other records that were released by the board, demonstrates that these records should be made public.”
Operation Liberate Joannides Files (Formerly: Operation Educate Tom Hanks) has been tasked with an ongoing public pressure campaign to the Archives in Maryland where the files are held, to have them released in the public’s interest- in accordance with the JFK Records Act of 1992.
The Archives has an obligation to the public to immediately review and release the George Joannides files, regardless of CIA objections. Judge John Tunheim, former Assassinations Records Review Board (ARRB) chair, told the Boston Globe that the CIA’s “treachery” prevented their release. In the Boston Herald he wrote that the agency made “inaccurate representations” about the Joannides files to the ARRB.
"This abuse of power must be rectified and only the Archives can do so." -Jefferson Morley.
As National Archivist, David Ferriero recently wrote on his blog: “When people have open access to government information, they are able to hold government accountable for its actions. This is an essential part of our democracy.” Let’s remind him of this.
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