The answer to the first question is probably not many, although every man, woman and child should be. The answer to the second question is probably no; the history books America’s schoolchildren read omit the 1999 MLK Assassination civil trial. That the trial, a truly historic event, and the findings and jury decision, are yet relatively unknown 15 years later is wrong. When American students read about the life and death of MLK and are not given facts about the 1999 trial, they are being given a false history.
Inclusion of the 1999 trial in history books must be viewed as beyond any debate because it happened legally and legitimately, plus, most importantly, inclusion allows students (not to mention the world) to learn the complete truth. If one considers this matter from the standpoint of an academic historian loyal to accurate description of past events, this is obviously unacceptable.
The family of Martin Luther King called on attorney William Pepper to represent them and James Earl Ray for the trial. Mr. Pepper worked closely with MLK in the last year of his life, and it was after studying the work of then-journalist Pepper on his time covering the Vietnam War that led MLK to oppose the war. Pepper had published his work in a powerful “Ramparts” magazine article, which MLK read and led to Pepper and MLK’s close association.
Years after Martin Luther King’s death in 1968, another close associate and friend Ralph Abernathy asked William Pepper to travel with him to interview James Earl Ray in prison. After hours of talking directly to Ray, Pepper became convinced the man was innocent of the assassination. It took many more years before in 1999 the civil trial was held in Memphis – the first and only trial for James Earl Ray, and the first and only trial on the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King.
The following interview of William Pepper occurred around a year ago, and in it he describes what happened leading to the 1999 civil trial in Memphis, his subsequent, and current, involvement in the murder of Robert F. Kennedy through representing the accused assassin Sirhan Sirhan, and his thoughts on why Martin Luther King, Robert Kennedy and President John Kennedy were killed.
William Pepper told the story behind MLK’s assassination and the 1999 civil trial in his book “An Act of State”.
John 8:32 “Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free”.
The updated book is better than the original because it includes a post 9-11 Afterword.
So many people are going to consider this book to be a provocation, a conspiracy theory, revisionist, etc. I will start with three compelling reasons to take this seriously:
1. The author is a recognized barrister in England and lawyer in the US. His reputation is impeccable, and he is respected by heads of state and of international organizations concerned with human rights.
2. The author brought a civil suit in which it took the jury less than one hour of deliberation after all the facts had been laid out, to find for the plaintiffs (the King family survivors) and agree that the US Government was complicit in his murder.
3. The evidence of US Government complicity in crimes against humanity as well as high crimes and misdemeanors of all sorts, is now over-whelming within the non-fiction literature. Cover-ups are the norm.
Here are my flyleaf notes:
+ King was leading a coalition of peace and civil rights in 1967, one that expanded to address economic injustice and the rights of indigenous people’s everywhere, but especially in Viet-Nam. This “new politics,” like the third party politics of today, was so threatening to the Mafia, to banks and corporations, and to the US political and FBI leadership committed to “because we say so, right or wrong,” that he was ordered killed.
+ The author tells us that by 1970 King’s moral authority was directly challenging the moral bankruptcy of the American “state,” which King aptly described as “the greatest purveyor of violence on Earth.” (See my review of The Fifty Year Wound: How America’s Cold War Victory Has Shaped Our World and also Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA)
+ Unlike others who accepted the government’s fictional account at face value, the author actually interviewed James Earl Ray in prison, and over time clearly established both Ray’s veracity, and additional evidence.
+ The FBI burglarized Martin Luther King over 20 times.
+ Less than one month after the John F. Kennedy assassination (he was warned and discounted the warning delivered by his brother), the FBI made Martin Luther King its top target, focusing on “neutralizing King as an effective leader.” (The cover-up is exposed in Someone Would Have Talked: The Assassination of President John F. Kennedy and the Conspiracy to Mislead History)
+ At least two funded “hits” on King were discovered, but the one that succeeded involved Frank Liberto, a Mafia boss in the food business, who evidently forgave a major debt from Lloyd Jowers who served as the on-site cut-out for the weapon but did not do the shooting himself. Links are discussed between the FBI, the Mafia, and local police.
+ The local police pulled back all assigned security, took black officers off watch, and evidently arranged to have King moved from a protected inner courtyard room to an upper room directly in the line of sight from the bushes where the shooter was planning to be.
+ 30 years seems to be the magic time period that must pass before individuals sworn to secrecy to protect political malfeasance realize they should ease their consciences before death.
+ The book includes an appendix that shows the many times the Department of Justice willfully lied or omitted evidence in its own investigation.
+ The author presented nine areas to a court that found for the plaintiff; they are listed on page 108:
01 the background to the assassination
02 the local conspiracy
03 the crime scene
04 the murder weapon
05 Raul (the handler)
06 the broader conspiracy
07 the cover up–its scope and activities
08 the defendant’s prior admissions
The King family sought damages of just $100. Far more important to them was the verdict of the jury: the US Government, and particularly the FBI and US Army counterintelligence elements acting against US citizens on US soil, were complicit in the murder (assassination) of Martin Luther King.
The author places King is direct opposition to the materialism and the secularization of life to include a loss of morality in US foreign policy. Specifically mentioned in this book are King’s objection to US Government support for dictators. (See my review of Breaking the Real Axis of Evil: How to Oust the World’s Last Dictators by 2025)
The author states that he could not have obtained a trial date, much less a verdict, without the full engagement of the King family. Their participation was of inestimable value, he says. He then goes on to describe how the media, which did not attend the trial, slandered (broadcast) and libeled (print) the family and the memory of Martin Luther King. [This is the same media that refused to run $100,000 cash in advance information advertisements against the elective war on Iraq.]
The author specifically warns of the discreet movement in 2007 of the Violent Radicalization Act allowing the White House to redirect the National Guard from any state to any other state, and believes that there is now an explicit fear among “the elite” of impending and complete system collapse and a public rebellion of consequence.
I have a note from the book, that Martin Luther King was branded a traitor. So also was General Tony Zinni, USMC (Ret), the most recently retired Commander in Chief of the U.S. Central Command, and the single most knowledgeable authority at the time on Iraq, Iran, the Middle East, the Pakistan wild card, and Afghanistan. My bottom line: we are lied to; the “experts” are not expert and pander for access–it is time we assert the collective intelligence of We the People.
Completely unexpected to me, but relevant in the context of other books I have been reading, is the author’s outline of how King and all that he stood for called into question the entire-military industrial complex and the misdirection of most of our money toward waging war. (See my review of War is a Racket: The Antiwar Classic by America’s Most Decorated Soldier and of the DVD Why We Fight)
The last page of the body of the book, page 288, has this quote that I marked:
“Martin King firmly believed that non-violent civil disobedience was the best strategy to obtain justice. There is little doubt in my mind that massive non-violent civil disobedience has the potential to shut down the nation, and compel substantive social, economic, political, and cultural change, leading to the reconstruction of the Republic with a focus on the needs of people rather than capital. His dream lives on in each of us who internalized it.”