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JFK Assassination Files Released Partially

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JFK Files October Release


Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article titled “JFK files: government releases classified assassination documents – live” was written by Alan Yuhas in New York, for theguardian.com on Thursday 26th October 2017 23.46 UTC

At least one document, a 1975 “summary of facts” details various CIA attempts to assassinate foreign leaders – part of the line of inquiry into whether the JFK assassination was planned by Cuba or the USSR.

Fidel Castro is front and center in the file; many historians have documented the various attempts on his life by the agency. The document says the CIA tried considered working with “mafia resources”, among other means.

The commission has determined that agents of the CIA were involved in planning in this country with certain citizens and others to seek to assassinate [Cuban] Premier [Fidel] Castro. The commission has also determined that the CIA was involved in shipping arms from this country to persons in the Dominican Republic, who sought to assassinate Generalissimo Trujillo (who himself had been involved in an attempt to assassinate the president of Venezuela.) [sic]

The commission has not found evidence of any other attempts to assassinate any other foreign leader which had significant overt activities within the United States. However, the nature of the activity and the degree of secrecy and compartmentation within the agency is such that it is difficult to find evidence of this kind unless specific facts are brought to the attention of an investigating body.”

According to the document, the CIA considered killing Congolese leader Patrice Lumumba and Indonesian president Sukarno, as well.

Archives release documents

The National Archives have released 2,891 previously secret files related to the JFK assassination, which you can download and look through here.

We’ll begin searching through them now, and uploading documents with context to the blog.

Only a few hours before a 25-year deadline was set to expire, the White House confirmed that it would release nearly 3,000 previously secret documents related to the 1963 assassination of John F Kennedy.

We’re now waiting on the National Archives to upload the documents online, which was promised shortly after a presidential memo. We’ll start sifting through them as soon as they’re available.

In that memo, Donald Trump blocked the release of an unknown number of files, saying he had “no choice” but to accept the concerns of agencies such as the FBI and CIA. For days, he had hyped the release of the documents as a victory for the public that would be “so interesting!”

On Thursday, though, he said that he had to bow to “national security, law enforcement, and foreign affairs concerns” raised by the agencies. He ordered a 180-day review for the agencies to reconsider their redactions, meaning another deadline for documents: 26 April 2018.

Officials said they would not comment on conspiracy theories, including one propagated by Trump, about the father of a sitting senator. “Honestly we’re not going to comment on the content of the files,” the official said. “It’s the practice of the National Archives to leave it up to the researchers.”

We’d like your help too. The JFK files will be published online here. If you’re reading through the documents and you spot an interesting fact or snippet you think we’ve missed, it would be great if you could let us know. We’ve set up a form here for contributions.

Trump: I have no choice but to keep files secret

The White House has released the memo signed by Donald Trump to release some 2,800 documents and keep another several hundred secret.

“I have no choice – today – but to accept those redactions rather than allow potentially irreversible harm to our Nation’s security,” the president says.

You can read the entire memo, including the president’s order to review the classified status of documents over the next 180 days, below.

The American public expects — and deserves — its Government to provide as much access as possible to the President John F. Kennedy Assassination Records (records) so that the people may finally be fully informed about all aspects of this pivotal event. Therefore, I am ordering today that the veil finally be lifted. At the same time, executive departments and agencies (agencies) have proposed to me that certain information should continue to be redacted because of national security, law enforcement, and foreign affairs concerns.

I have no choice –today — but to accept those redactions rather than allow potentially irreversible harm to our Nation’s security. To further address these concerns, I am also ordering agencies to re-review each and every one of those redactions over the next 180 days. At the end of that period, I will order the public disclosure of any information that the agencies cannot demonstrate meets the statutory standard for continued postponement of disclosure under section 5(g)(2)(D) of the President John F. Kennedy Assassination Records Collection Act of 1992 (44 U.S.C. 2107 note) (the “Act”).

Accordingly, by the authority vested in me as President and Commander in Chief by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, I hereby certify that all information within records that agencies have proposed for continued postponement under section 5(g)(2)(D) of the Act must be temporarily withheld from full public disclosure until no later than April 26, 2018, to allow sufficient time to determine whether such information warrants continued postponement under the Act.

This temporary withholding from full public disclosure is necessary to protect against harm to the military defense, intelligence operations, law enforcement, or the conduct of foreign relations that is of such gravity that it outweighs the public interest in immediate disclosure.

I hereby direct all agencies that have proposed postponement of full disclosure to review the information subject to this certification and identify as much as possible that may be publicly disclosed without harm to the military defense, intelligence operations, law enforcement, or conduct of foreign relations.

Any agency that seeks to request further postponement beyond this temporary certification shall adhere to the findings of the Act, which state, among other things, that “only in the rarest cases is there any legitimate need for continued protection of such records.” The need for continued protection can only have grown weaker with the passage of time since the Congress made this finding. Accordingly, each agency head should be extremely circumspect in recommending any further postponement of full disclosure of records.

Any agency that seeks further postponement shall, no later than March 12, 2018, report to the Archivist of the United States (Archivist) on the specific information within particular records that meets the standard for continued postponement under section 5(g)(2)(D) of the Act. Thereafter, the Archivist shall recommend to me, no later than March 26, 2018, whether the specific information within particular records identified by agencies warrants continued withholding from public disclosure afterApril 26, 2018.

The Archivist is hereby authorized and directed to publish this memorandum in the Federal Register.

Hello and welcome to our rolling coverage of 2,800 previously classified documents related to the 1963 assassination of president John F Kennedy, a publication with over half a century of speculation, films, novels and conspiracy theories riding along.

A White House official told reporters that the president blocked the release of few hundred records, at least temporarily. Earlier on Thursday president Donald Trump approved requests, mostly by the FBI and CIA, to keep those documents hidden “because of the national security, law enforcement and foreign affairs concerns,” the official said.

Trump ordered the agencies to review those redaction over the course of six months, the official said, to ensure more documents reach the public. The official said he had “no choice” but to accept the agencies’ concerns for the time being, but that he wanted “the veil finally be lifted”.

The National Archives release was mandated by a 1992 law, which set a deadline of 26 October 2017, 54 years after Kennedy was killed by a sniper in Dallas, Texas. Donald Trump has chosen not to block the release of thousands of documents, unless intelligence agencies “provide a compelling and clear national security or law enforcement justification otherwise,” the White House said.

The president seemed excited about the release on Wednesday evening, tweeting:

The documents, numbering around 3,150, are largely a mystery. But researchers do not think they will change the findings of the Warren Commission, tasked in 1963 and 1964 to investigate the assassination. That panel found that Lee Harvey Oswald, a former US marine and then defector to the Soviet Union, was the sole gunman. Oswald was himself murdered while in custody, by Dallas nightclub owner Jack Ruby.

A House panel, in 1979, cast skepticism on the thoroughness of the first investigation, and considered it “likely” that some kind of conspiracy was at work, perhaps involving a second shooter on “the grassy knoll”. The committee’s findings opened the door for theories about the CIA, Cuban or Soviet agents and the mafia.

Officials said on Thursday that they would not comment on conspiracy theories, including one propagated by Trump, about the father of a sitting senator. “Honestly we’re not going to comment on the content of the files,” the official said. “It’s the practice of the National Archives to leave it up to the researchers.”

But the panels’ findings have not deterred private sleuths, the president’s preferred tabloid among them. Many citizen investigators point to Oswald’s six-day excursion to Mexico City, to meet with Cuban and Soviet agents before the assassination, or the short “Zapruder film”, a video made by the handheld camera of Abraham Zapruder. The ambiguity within that video other circumstances of Kennedy’s death have led to a film by Oliver Stone, a novel by Don DeLillo, and scores of documentaries and citizen conspiracies.

The president espoused one such conspiracy theory during his 2016 campaign, telling Fox News in an interview that the father of a rival, senator Ted Cruz, “was with Lee Harvey Oswald prior to Oswald’s being, you know, shot.”

“The whole thing is ridiculous,” Trump said. “What is this, right, prior to his being shot, and nobody brings it up. They don’t even talk about that. That was reported and nobody talks about it. But I think it’s horrible.”

Before and during the campaign, Trump also spread the false conspiracy theory that Barack Obama was not born a US citizen, and the internet myths that an American general fought Islamic terrorists by dipping bullets in pig’s blood and that “thousands” of Muslims in New Jersey cheered the terrorist attacks of September 11 2001.

Conspiracies aside, the newly released documents could provide a trove of new information for historians to pore over, as formerly secret documents related to Kennedy’s presidency have already done in recent years. We’ll be poring through the material here, with expert assistance and reporting from Tom Dart in Dallas.

We’d like your help too. The JFK files will be published online here. If you’re reading through the documents and you spot an interesting fact or snippet you think we’ve missed, it would be great if you could let us know. We’ve set up a form here for contributions.

Updated

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