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COLUMN: JFK files raise more questions than they answer



The ongoing declassification of documents related to the assassination of former President John F. Kennedy has brought one of the great mysteries of United States history back into the public eye. 

Further fanning the controversy has been President Donald Trump’s weird haggling with the national security state over the release of remaining documents. National security agencies, evidenced by some content in the recent declassification, have genuine interest in blocking the embarrassment and actions chronicled in the JFK files. 

Journalists, historians and amateur sleuths alike continue to pore over a documentary record filled with information that not only contradicts longstanding questions about Lee Harvey Oswald but provides alarming information about the covert actions of the CIA. 

The files particularly illuminate details in their efforts to overthrow Fidel Castro and the Cuban government through Mafia assassination and biological warfare

Puzzlingly, establishment journalists appear content downplaying the release. I watched Chris Matthews on MSNBC downplay one of the most bizarre newly serviced details: a memo between CIA Director James Angelton and FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover mentioning an anonymous phone call to a British newspaper twenty minutes before JFK’s assassination that warned of “big news.” 

This isn’t even the most troubling detail found in the files. One Top Secret document floated the idea of staging the bombing of Cuban refugees in Miami “real or simulated” to blame Fidel Castro and justify a coup against his government. 

If anything, this document trove has far more intriguing information about Operation Mongoose, the codename for the CIA’s covert war against Cuba, than the Kennedy assassination. 

It was this network of anti-Castro forces, facilitated by the United States yet betrayed once JFK eased up on overthrowing Castro after the Cuban Missile Crisis, that more than any other group had the means and motivation to kill Kennedy. 

Thinking of the JFK assassination as blowback from a U.S. intelligence operation makes far more sense than even the explanation given by the Warren Commission. Just as the CIA-funded Afghan Mujahedeen would perpetrate 9/11, these anti-Castro, Nicaraguan Contra style forces could have murdered the president. 

One document shared between the CIA and the House Select Committee on Assassinations in the mid-1970s provides a succinct historiography of Operation Mongoose and the anti-Castro paramilitary groups that operated in the southern U.S. during the early 60s. 

It describes these groups as “the movements most active on the military and propaganda front… they actually carried out infiltrations and raids into Cuba, conducted Castro assassination attempts, participated in a multiplicity of arms dealing and possessed the most vociferous and aggressive leaders. These were the groups and individuals who received the crux of the Kennedy administration’s crackdown on anti-Castro operations following the Cuban missile crisis.” 

Further complicating the history of Operation Mongoose is Lee Harvey Oswald’s own associations with anti-Castro groups despite public forays into the public as a pro-Castro Marxist. 

The aforementioned document states that the House Select Committee on Assassinations “found evidence of contact between Oswald and four individuals who were associated with anti-Castro groups.” 

The enigma of Lee Harvey Oswald intensifies thanks to these documents. Questions remain as to why Oswald, a Marine who worked in intelligence reconnaissance in Japan, defected to the Soviet Union and returned to the U.S. with no consequences, then appeared from Mexico City to New Orleans posing as both a pro and anti-Castro activist. 

Conspiracies notwithstanding, these files are a window into the labyrinthian world of U.S. intelligence. Perhaps the biggest takeaway of the JFK files is the depravity and confusion marring the deep state as early as the 60s. 

luwrobin@indiana.edu
@lucas__robinson

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