When George Joannides died in 1990, the obituaries said he was an attorney at the Department of Defense. We know now that in 1963, Joannides oversaw anti-Castro Cuban exiles for the CIA. Three months before the Kennedy assassination, New Orleans-based Cubans scuffled with and appeared on television with Lee Harvey Oswald.
In 1976, when the House Select Committee on Assassinations re-opened the JFK investigation, its CIA liaison was none other than George Joannides, his previous role unknown at the time. The gatekeeper for Oswald/CIA intel went through a CIA agent with knowledge of the alleged gunman months before Nov. 22, 1963.
We know these things – Joannides’ history, the CIA memos on Oswald dating back to 1959 and including notes through October 1963 – because of Oliver Stone’s JFK. Stone has never again approached a film of such magnitude or creativity, but JFK was a hit and openly challenged our government to come clean.
Because of the movie’s impact, thousands of documents have been unearthed, and it’s through those documents that journalist Jefferson Morley first stumbled onto George Joannides and found a longer, more troubling paper trail. If, 50 years later, the National Archives still won’t hand over the rest of the JFK papers, what does that say? Whether Oswald pulled the trigger or not, whether there was a conspiracy beforehand or not, there’s at least a cover up. Everyone’s dead now; the only reason not to release what’s left is to protect institutions like the CIA. So that’s where we are.
Commemorating the 50th anniversary of the assassination, JFK has been repackaged on Blu-ray and is being shown as part of the Cinemark Theaters Classic Movie Series on Sunday and Wednesday. Even is the government had ignored it, it’s worth seeing JFK is possibly the best-edited movie ever made, a brave, sprawling masterpiece that asked questions we still can’t get answered.
JFK, Kevin Costner, Joe Pesci, Tommy Lee Jones. Directed by Oliver Stone. Rated R, 189 minutes. Will be shown at the Century Theaters at Sam’s Town, South Point Hotel and Casino, Santa Fe Station and Suncoast on 2 p.m. Sunday, and 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Wednesday. Released on Blu-ray this week.