Spitfire List Web site and blog of anti-fascist researcher and radio personality Dave Emory.

For The Record  

FTR #1005 What the Hell Does Dave Emory Mean by “The So-Called Progressive Sector”?

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This broad­cast was record­ed in one, 60-minute seg­ment.

“In the ’60’s, we had Mar­tin Luther King with ‘I Have a Dream.’ Now, we have Jesse Jack­son with ‘I Have a
Scheme.’ “–Mort Sahl

Jesse Jack­son and Mar­tin Luther King, short­ly before the mur­der: “Friend­lies were not wear­ing ties.”

Intro­duc­tion: The third of his land­mark books about the assas­si­na­tion of Mar­tin Luther King, Dr. William Pep­per’s The Plot to Kill King is a well-writ­ten, inves­tiga­tive tour de force. In this pro­gram, we read excerpts of his book high­light­ing the duplic­i­ty and, in some cas­es, very pos­si­bly lethal treach­ery of some icon­ic, so-called “pro­gres­sive” polit­i­cal fig­ures.

In his inves­ti­ga­tion of King’s mur­der­ers, he detailed the appar­ent role of the late Rus­sell Lee Adkins, a mem­ber of the Dix­ie Mafia in Mem­phis, Ten­nessee. (The Dix­ie Mafia is dis­tinct from the Mafia, per se, that oper­at­ed in the South, although–as Pep­per makes clear–they worked with Mafiosi like New Orleans capo Car­los Mar­cel­lo and Mar­cel­lo asso­ciate Frank Lib­er­to, like Adkins, an oper­a­tor in Mem­phis.)

In The Plot to Kill KingPep­per presents a depo­si­tion of Ron­nie Lee Adkins, Rus­sel­l’s son.  

In the depo­si­tion, Adkins alleged that the room switch to a room over­look­ing the swim­ming pool at the Lor­raine Motel was effect­ed by Jesse Jack­son. In AFA #8, we high­light­ed how this switch placed King in a per­fect posi­tion for the assas­sin to shoot him. This room switch was essen­tial for the suc­cess­ful killing of Dr. King.

  1. ” . . . . . . . . Clyde Tol­son, Hoover’s Deputy (whom Ron­nie was told to call ‘Uncle Clyde’ from the first time he came to vis­it them in the 1950s) flew into the old air­port where the old Nation­al Guard planes were based. . . .”
  2. ” . . . . Ron said that O.Z. dis­pensed mon­ey to, among oth­ers, Solomon Jones, Jesse Jack­son and Bil­ly Kyles. The mon­ey was paid for their obtain­ing and pass­ing on infor­ma­tion. Tol­son told his father that Jones, Jack­son, and Kyles were also paid infor­mants of the F.B.I. paid out of the Mem­phis office, but the mon­ey that came from Tol­son was sep­a­rate from the mon­ey they received from [Mem­phis Police and Fire Depart­ment head and for­mer FBI agent Frank] Hol­lo­man and the Mem­phis FBI Office. The Adkins mon­ey envelopes were wrapped up with rub­ber bands and paper with ini­tials on it, ‘BK,’ ‘JJ,’ and so forth. . . .”
  3. ” . . . . . . . . Ron stat­ed (under oath) that when Dr. King returned to Mem­phis on April 3, Jesse Jack­son was instruct­ed to arrange for the room change from the low­er pro­tect­ed room 202, to the bal­cony room 306. . . .”
  4. ” . . . . . . . . Years lat­er, when he asked his moth­er what the prob­lem was with Jones, she said that Jack­son (which was sub­se­quent­ly con­firmed by Junior) was pay­ing for every­thing. He was in charge of the mon­ey. . . .”

In FTR #46, we accessed William Pep­per’s first book on the King assas­si­na­tion, Orders to Kill. In that vol­ume, Pep­per set forth a Spe­cial Forces “A” Team deployed to Mem­phis to kill Dr. King and his aide Andrew Young. Pep­per repris­es that infor­ma­tion in this book, includ­ing infor­ma­tion giv­en to the Green Beret snipers by a Mem­phis Police oper­a­tive that “Friend­lies weren’t wear­ing ties.” In that con­text check out Jesse Jack­son, pho­tographed along­side Dr. King before the mur­der: ” . . . . . . . . War­ren [one of the snipers] report­ed that he had spo­ken over the radio with an MPD offi­cer whose first name he believed was Sam, who was the head of the “city TAC.” (This had to be Inspec­tor Sam Evans, head of the MPD tac­ti­cal units.) War­ren said that Sam pro­vid­ed details about the phys­i­cal struc­ture and lay­out of the Lor­raine. He also told War­ren that “friend­lies were not wear­ing ties.” War­ren took this to mean there was an infor­mant or infor­mants inside the King group. . . .”

Pep­per devotes much text to analy­sis of the active sup­pres­sion of the truth by media out­lets. A CNN  “doc­u­men­tary” about the King assas­si­na­tion host­ed by Soledad O’Brien con­sist­ed large­ly of bla­tant dis­in­for­ma­tion.

After dis­cussing the dis­heart­en­ing CNN doc­u­men­tary Pep­per high­lights media com­plic­i­ty in the cov­er-up of this coun­try’s polit­i­cal assas­si­na­tions, not­ing that many so-called pro­gres­sive com­men­ta­tors and out­lets adhere to this cen­sor­ship. ” . . . . The remain­ing, miss­ing point of this pic­ture of dis­in­for­ma­tion and infor­ma­tion con­trol is the coop­er­a­tive activ­i­ty of a num­ber of seem­ing­ly pro­gres­sive, inves­tiga­tive jour­nal­ists and researchers. These are a coterie of estab­lish­ment lib­er­al pro­fes­sion­als who come on to assist the gov­ern­men­t’s posi­tion in cas­es and extreme­ly sen­si­tive issues like polit­i­cal assas­si­na­tion. These indi­vid­u­als have usu­al­ly devel­oped respect and cred­i­bil­i­ty with­in the pro­gres­sive com­mu­ni­ty over a peri­od of time as activist oppo­nents of offi­cial gov­ern­ment posi­tions and actions. They have this devel­oped cred­i­bil­i­ty; thus, when they elect to support–or just ignore–the offi­cial gov­ern­ment posi­tion on a par­tic­u­lar issue or action, they have the abil­i­ty to under­cut dis­sent. . . .”

One of the indi­vid­u­als cit­ed by Pep­per is Daniel Ells­berg, although he does not men­tion him by name in the excerpt we read. Pep­per refers to Ells­berg, specif­i­cal­ly, in ear­li­er dis­cus­sion in his book.

Ells­berg leaked the Pen­ta­gon Papers, which were then pub­li­cized by The New York Times, as well as The Wash­ing­ton  Post, both very close­ly linked to the CIA.

As dis­cussed in FTR #978, among oth­er pro­grams, we not­ed that the Pen­ta­gon Papers were them­selves “sec­ond-lev­el” cov­er-up, false­ly main­tain­ing that there was con­ti­nu­ity from the Kennedy admin­is­tra­tion to the John­son admin­is­tra­tion with regard to Viet­nam war pol­i­cy.

Dou­glas Valen­tine has writ­ten exten­sive­ly about the U.S. nation­al secu­ri­ty estab­lish­ment. Best known for his sem­i­nal work on the Phoenix pro­gram in Viet­nam, he has recent­ly pub­lished The CIA as Orga­nized Crime.

In his recent vol­ume, Valen­tine notes Daniel Ells­berg’s long-stand­ing links to the CIA and the inability/unwillingness of what he calls “The Com­pat­i­ble Left” to talk about St. Ells­berg’s con­nec­tions to Lan­g­ley.

This under­scores why Mr. Emory has, for so long, referred to the “so-called pro­gres­sive sec­tor.”

  1. ” . . . .  Peter Dale Scott had also been mar­gin­al­ized as a result of his 1972 book, The War Con­spir­a­cy, and his 1993 book Deep Pol­i­tics and the Death of JFK. Peter sup­port­ed me, and a few years after the Phoenix book was pub­lished, I men­tioned to him that I was writ­ing an arti­cle, based on my inter­views with Scot­ton and Conein, about Ells­berg’s deep polit­i­cal asso­ci­a­tion with the CIA. . . .”
  2. ” . . . . [Alfred] McCoy [author of The Pol­i­tics of Hero­in in South­east Asia] accused CIA offi­cers Ed Lans­dale and Lou Conein of col­lab­o­rat­ing with Cor­si­can drug smug­glers in 1965, at the same time Ells­berg was work­ing close­ly with them. But when I inter­viewed him, Ells­berg insist­ed that these CIA offi­cers were not involved in the drug traf­fic, despite over­whelm­ing evi­dence to the con­trary. . . .”
  3. ” . . . . But more impor­tant­ly, by  cov­er­ing up his own CIA con­nec­tions, he’s reas­sur­ing the bour­geoisie that sub­scribes to these media out­lets that every­thing they assume about their lead­ers is right. And that’s how sym­bol­ic heroes mis­lead the way. . . .”
  4. ” . . . . If Ells­berg were to reveal the CIA’s secrets, he would no longer have the same reas­sur­ing effect on the lib­er­al bour­geoisie. So his spon­sors nev­er men­tion that he had an affair with the mis­tress of a Cor­si­can drug smug­gler in Saigon. That’s not in the book or the movie. He denies his CIA bud­dies were involved in the drug trade, even though they were. . . .”

Pep­per con­cludes the main body of his text with obser­va­tions about the role of the pow­er elite and the news media in per­pet­u­at­ing the social and eco­nom­ic sta­tus quo: ” . . . . Look decid­ed to pub­lish my work, but in the inter­im, Bill met with New Orleans DA Jim Gar­ri­son, and was shak­en by Gar­rison’s evi­dence of the involve­ment of the CIA in the assas­si­na­tion of John Kennedy. Right after the Gar­ri­son meet­ing, he called Bob Kennedy around 1:00 a.m., and Bob con­firmed the con­clu­sion, but said he would have to get to the White House in order to open the case. Bill Atwood had a heart attack about three hours lat­er, around 4:00 a.m., and left LookNeed­less to say, nei­ther my piece nor Gar­rison’s were pub­lished, and the asso­ciate edi­tor, Chan­dler Brossard, who brought us to Atwood, was let go. . . .”

1a. The third of his land­mark books about the assas­si­na­tion of Mar­tin Luther King, Dr. William Pep­per’s The Plot to Kill King is a very well-writ­ten, inves­tiga­tive tour de force. In this pro­gram, we read excerpts of his book high­light­ing the duplic­i­ty and, in some cas­es, very pos­si­bly lethal treach­ery of some icon­ic, so-called “pro­gres­sive” polit­i­cal fig­ures.

In his inves­ti­ga­tion of King’s mur­der­ers, he detailed the appar­ent role of the late Rus­sell Lee Adkins, a mem­ber of the Dix­ie Mafia in Mem­phis, Ten­nessee. (The Dix­ie Mafia is dis­tinct from the Mafia, per se, that oper­at­ed in the South, although–as Pep­per makes clear–they worked with Mafiosi like New Orleans capo Car­los Mar­cel­lo and Mar­cel­lo asso­ciate Frank Lib­er­to, like Adkins, an oper­a­tor in Mem­phis.)

In The Plot to Kill KingPep­per presents a depo­si­tion of Ron­nie Lee Adkins, Rus­sel­l’s son.  

In the depo­si­tion, Adkins alleged that the room switch to a room over­look­ing the swim­ming pool at the Lor­raine Motel was effect­ed by Jesse Jack­son. In AFA #8, we high­light­ed how this switch placed King in a per­fect posi­tion for the assas­sin to shoot him. This room switch was essen­tial for the suc­cess­ful killing of Dr. King.

The Plot to Kill King by William Pep­per; Sky­horse Pub­lish­ing [SC]; Copy­right 2016 by William Pep­per; ISBN 978–1‑5107–2962‑9; pp. 238–252.

A crit­i­cal wit­ness came for­ward near the end of 2009 and agreed to be deposed. The extra­or­di­nar­i­ly long depo­si­tion was tak­en n Decem­ber 10, 2009, in Mem­phis, Ten­nessee, pur­suant to the Ten­nessee Rules of Civ­il Pro­ce­dure and pur­suant to Post Judg­ment Notice by the plain­tiffs in the case of Coret­ta Scott King, et al., against Loyd Jow­ers et al.

The wit­ness, Ron­nie Lee Adkins, a.k.a. Ron Tyler, was deposed, with his coun­sel Stephen Toland present. As we shall see, it was Mr. Adkin­s’s tes­ti­mo­ny that unveiled the fatal con­nec­tion of [for­mer F.B.I Direc­tor J. Edgar] Hoover/[former FBI offi­cial and Hoover’s live-in lover Clyde] Tol­son, the Dix­ie Mafia and the MPD [Mem­phis Police Depart­ment] and asso­ci­at­ed oper­a­tives in the assas­si­na­tion of Dr. King. . . .

. . . . Clyde Tol­son, Hoover’s Deputy (whom Ron­nie was told to call “Uncle Clyde” from the first time he came to vis­it them in the 1950s) flew into the old air­port where the old Nation­al Guard planes were based. . . .

. . . . Hoover’s deputy, Tol­son came to vis­it four or five times a year for such pur­pose. Rn said that his father took some of the mon­ey and gave it to O.Z. Evers to pay some of their guys for par­tic­u­lar jobs or infor­ma­tion. O.Z. and Rus­sell Sr. spoke rough­ly every oth­er day. O.Z. pro­vid­ed infor­ma­tion about the move­ments and accord­ing to Ron, the “com­ings and goings of Mar­tin Luther King. This was in the [sic] ear­ly 1960.”

Ron said that O.Z. dis­pensed mon­ey to, among oth­ers, Solomon Jones, Jesse Jack­son and Bil­ly Kyles. The mon­ey was paid for their obtain­ing and pass­ing on infor­ma­tion.

Tol­son told his father that Jones, Jack­son, and Kyles were also paid infor­mants of the F.B.I. paid out of the Mem­phis office, but the mon­ey that came from Tol­son was sep­a­rate from the mon­ey they received from [Mem­phis Police and Fire Depart­ment head and for­mer FBI agent Frank] Hol­lo­man and the Mem­phis FBI Office. The Adkins mon­ey envelopes were wrapped up with rub­ber bands and paper with ini­tials on it, “BK,” “JJ,” and so forth.

His father gave part of that mon­ey to Jesse Jack­son, and he gave part of that mon­ey to Bil­ly Kyles. . . .

. . . . Ron stat­ed (under oath) that when Dr. King returned to Mem­phis on April 3, Jesse Jack­son was instruct­ed to arrange for the room change from the low­er pro­tect­ed room 202, to the bal­cony room 306. Ron said that O.Z. called Jesse and told him to arrange the change of room. When asked how he knew this, he said that his moth­er called O.Z. “on Junior’s instruc­tions” and got O.Z. to act. O.Z. then called Wal­ter Bai­ley, who owned the motel, and told him that Jesse was com­ing to see him, and ” . . . . Jesse went down there and talked to the man and, or his wife Lurlee . . . . and had him move Mar­tin and Ralph up to 306.” 

Ron said that Frank Hol­lo­man had giv­en the instruc­tions to Junior who in turn passed them to his moth­er, who called O.Z. He said his mom sent him to the garage to get his dad­dy’s phone­book and bring it in the house because she had to reach O.Z. Ron said he brought in the phone book and she called O.Z. while stand­ing ” . . . . right beside her when she made the call.” She told O.Z. she need­ed to talk to him right away. He said he would call her back. She sat down in a chai and wait­ed. When he called she said they need­ed to get Dr. King moved and they need­ed to get hold of Jesse or some­one to get it done. They Solomon Jones but decid­ed they could­n’t trust him so he got Jack­son to do it. . . .

. . . . Years lat­er, when he asked his moth­er what the prob­lem was with Jones, she said that Jack­son (which was sub­se­quent­ly con­firmed by Junior) was pay­ing for every­thing. He was in charge of the mon­ey.

Ron said he did not know about any role that Aber­nathy might have played, but I always won­dered why Ralph jus­ti­fied the move to room 306 by false­ly say­ing that they had always stayed in that room, when in fact they nev­er had used that room overnight.

The Rev­erend Bil­ly Kyles was instruct­ed to get Dr. King out of room 306 at pre­cise­ly 6:00 p.m. Ron said that his moth­er also told him that O.Z. told Kyles to get Dr. King out of the room at 6:00 p.m. Jesse was also sup­posed to be out there but he got “chick­en shit” and went down to the park­ing area. His con­trol of the mon­ey explains how he had the author­i­ty to force the Invaders out of the motel before the assas­si­na­tion. If, in fact he was con­trol­ling the SCLC mon­ey and paid for their rooms, he would have had the pow­er to do so. . . .

1b. In FTR #46, we accessed William Pep­per’s first book on the King assas­si­na­tion, Orders to Kill. In that vol­ume, Pep­per set forth a Spe­cial Forces “A” Team deployed to Mem­phis to kill Dr. King and his aide Andrew Young. Pep­per repris­es that infor­ma­tion in this book, includ­ing infor­ma­tion giv­en to the Green Beret snipers by a Mem­phis Police oper­a­tive that “Friend­lies weren’t wear­ing ties.” In that con­text check out Jesse Jack­son, pho­tographed along­side Dr. King before the mur­der:

The Plot to Kill King by William Pep­per; Sky­horse Pub­lish­ing [SC]; Copy­right 2016 by William Pep­per; ISBN 978–1‑5107–2962‑9; p. 129.

. . . . War­ren [one of the snipers] report­ed that he had spo­ken over the radio with an MPD offi­cer whose first name he believed was Sam, who was the head of the “city TAC.” (This had to be Inspec­tor Sam Evans, head of the MPD tac­ti­cal units.) War­ren said that Sam pro­vid­ed details about the phys­i­cal struc­ture and lay­out of the Lor­raine. He also told War­ren that “friend­lies were not wear­ing ties.” War­ren took this to mean there was an infor­mant or infor­mants inside the King group. . . .

2. Pep­per devotes much text to analy­sis of the active sup­pres­sion of the truth by media out­lets. A CNN  “doc­u­men­tary” about the King assas­si­na­tion host­ed by Soledad O’Brien con­sist­ed large­ly of bla­tant dis­in­for­ma­tion.

The Plot to Kill King by William Pep­per; Sky­horse Pub­lish­ing [SC]; Copy­right 2016 by William Pep­per; ISBN 978–1‑5107–2962‑9; pp. 310–311.

. . . . In the sec­ond  half of the pro­gram, the dis­in­for­ma­tion ran ram­pant; just a few exam­ples illus­trate this point. Since this evi­dence has been dis­cussed in detail else­where, the read­er’s suf­fer­ance is request­ed as I repeat it in order to con­trast the litany of facts with CNN’s dis­grace­ful dis­tor­tion.

The fail­ure to match the  throw-down rifle to the death slug became “incon­clu­sive.” What does that mean? There was no bal­lis­tics match. The  gun was not, and could not, be regard­ed as the mur­der weapon, and was intro­duced into evi­dence as such. Yet it remains mount­ed in the Civ­il Rights Muse­um as pre­cise­ly that–now with CNN’s bless­ing.

We  had four wit­ness­es, who saw fig­ures in the bush­es (one a New York Times reporter, Earl Cald­well), two observed the shoot­er com­ing down over the wall, anoth­er (Rev­erend James Orange) saw smoke kicked up and ris­ing from the ris­ing from the bush­es, and anoth­er who saw the own­er of the Grill which backed onto the Lor­raine Motel, rush  from the bush­es past her into  his kitchen, still  car­ry­ing the  smok­ing gun he  book from the shoot­er. CNN con­vened all of this evi­dence into one “unre­li­able” wit­ness.

The next morn­ing that crime scene was cut down and cleaned. The CNN report sup­port­ed the offi­cial sto­ry that the shot came from the bath­room win­dow, so what­ev­er hap­pened to the bush­es was deemed unim­por­tant. It was well-known that we had a reli­able wit­ness who saw the bath­room door open with a light on, min­utes before the shoot­ing, and no one inside. It was emp­ty, of course, because the shot came from the bush­es. A clip from a CBS inter­view with a roomer who saw some­one run­ning down the hall was cut off just before the reporter showed him a pho­to of James and he said that was not the man he saw. The man car­ry­ing the throw-down bun­dle of items that James was told to leave in the room (which also con­tained the throw-down gun) dropped them in a door­way and got into the sec­ond Mus­tang and drove away.

We had a wit­ness who iden­ti­fied that Mus­tang as hav­ing Arkansas plates. It was parked south of  James’s Mus­tang. We had two wit­ness­es (one from the Corps of Engi­neers) and signed state­ments, evi­denc­ing that James drove away from the room­ing house about twen­ty min­utes before the shoot­ing. All of this was known and put under oath, and ignored by CNN.

Per­haps the most egre­gious action involved the use of the aged cap­tain of the fire sta­tion, diag­o­nal­ly oppo­site the motel. When I learned from the mil­i­tary source that a Psy-Ops unit of two pho­tog­ra­phers was on the roof of the sta­tion, and one of my inves­ti­ga­tors inter­viewed both army pho­tog­ra­phers,  I sought out the cap­tain of the fire sta­tion, ten years before the doc­u­men­tary. At that ear­li­er time he tes­ti­fied under oath that he put them on the roof, watched  them  unpack their still  cam­eras, and then left them there. He nev­er saw them again. Then nine years lat­er, CNN puts on this old man who is clear­ly con­fused about what he did back then and may not even have remem­bered his court­room tes­ti­mo­ny. They use that inter­view along with a pho­to­graph of the roof tak­en at a time when the sol­diers would have had ample time to dis­ap­pear to assert that they were nev­er there.

It gets worse. When, dur­ing my inter­view, I sug­gest­ed to the CNN reporter that they inter­view the cap­tain about the pres­ence of these Psy-Ops pho­tog­ra­phers, I was told that he had died. They obvi­ous­ly did not want me to speak with him. He was still alive. There was more of the same, but sure­ly, this is enough to con­sti­tute an insult to the mem­o­ry and lega­cy of Dr. King, an injus­tice to James Earl Ray, and a vio­la­tion of every tenet of fair and objec­tive report­ing.

3. After dis­cussing the dis­heart­en­ing CNN doc­u­men­tary Pep­per high­lights media com­plic­i­ty in the cov­er-up of this coun­try’s polit­i­cal assas­si­na­tions, not­ing that many so-called pro­gres­sive com­men­ta­tors and out­lets adhere to this cen­sor­ship.

The Plot to Kill King by William Pep­per; Sky­horse Pub­lish­ing [SC]; Copy­right 2016 by William Pep­per; ISBN 978–1‑5107–2962‑9; pp. 311–313.

At this point, it appears entire­ly rea­son­able, in light of this sor­did his­to­ry, of dis­in­for­ma­tion with col­lab­o­ra­tion between main­stream media and the gov­ern­ment, to con­clude that the more we learn about con­tem­po­rary pub­lish­ing and news report­ing in the Unit­ed State., the more accu­rate does it appear was Carl Bern­stein’s con­clu­sion in Rolling Stone in Octo­ber 1977 about the extra­or­di­nary degree of influ­ence and con­trol over–and actu­al work­ing pres­ence in all aspects of print, audio, and visu­al media by the intel­li­gence com­mu­ni­ty and its assigned agents. The will­ing­ness of cor­po­rate media to col­lab­o­rate and the con­sol­i­da­tion of that col­lab­o­ra­tion has, for the most part, made it impos­si­ble for a free and inde­pen­dent press to oper­ate in this Repub­lic.

The remain­ing, miss­ing point of this pic­ture of dis­in­for­ma­tion and infor­ma­tion con­trol is the coop­er­a­tive activ­i­ty of a num­ber of seem­ing­ly pro­gres­sive, inves­tiga­tive jour­nal­ists and researchers. These are a coterie of estab­lish­ment lib­er­al pro­fes­sion­als who come on to assist the gov­ern­men­t’s posi­tion in cas­es and extreme­ly sen­si­tive issues like polit­i­cal assas­si­na­tion. These indi­vid­u­als have usu­al­ly devel­oped respect and cred­i­bil­i­ty with­in the pro­gres­sive com­mu­ni­ty over a peri­od of time as activist oppo­nents of offi­cial gov­ern­ment posi­tions and actions. They have this devel­oped cred­i­bil­i­ty; thus, when they elect to support–or just ignore–the offi­cial gov­ern­ment posi­tion on a par­tic­u­lar issue or action, they have the abil­i­ty to under­cut dis­sent.

Specif­i­cal­ly, how does a new untold his­to­ry ignore the evi­dence of offi­cial involve­ment in a wide range of polit­i­cal assas­si­na­tions at home and abroad, along with a wide range of cor­po­rate dom­i­na­tion of the pub­lic life of the Repub­lic, and gov­ern­men­tal involve­ment in crimes against human­i­ty across the globe?

A well-known and respect­ed Boston–area pro­fes­sor, who is high­ly regard­ed for his well-informed crit­i­cism of US gov­ern­ment for­eign pol­i­cy, has always min­i­mized the sig­nif­i­cance of our his­to­ry of polit­i­cal assas­si­na­tions. He told me that he had no idea that any­one had done the work I had under­tak­en on the Dr. King assas­si­na­tion. By that time, I had pub­lished two books on the case, set­ting out the evi­dence of Ray’s inno­cence and the exis­tence of a con­spir­a­cy.

And he said he was not aware. [This is almost cer­tain­ly Noam Chom­sky, whose work on gen­er­a­tive lin­guis­tics–which “made him as an academician–was accom­plished on a grant from the Pen­ta­gon. Chom­sky’s work fea­tures promi­nent­ly in Pen­ta­gon research and operations.–D.E.]

Anoth­er inves­tiga­tive jour­nal­ist well up on the lad­der of cred­i­bil­i­ty in the pro­gres­sive com­mu­ni­ty, also com­ment­ed, fac­tu­al­ly incor­rect­ly, on why and how Dr. King decid­ed to oppose the war.

Anoth­er, a patron saint of oppo­si­tion to the Viet­nam War, took it upon him­self to issue a mis­lead­ing affi­davit in the case and, sub­se­quent­ly to ques­tion the authen­tic­i­ty of the cable giv­en to Steve Tomp­kins by the grunt mem­bers of the Alpha 184 Unit. In this last instance I was warned long ago by Colonel Fletch­er Prouty to be wary of this per­son as a result of Fletcher’s analy­sis of his ear­li­er high pro­file rev­e­la­tions. [From pre­vi­ous dis­cus­sion, it is appar­ent that Pep­per is refer­ring to Daniel Ells­berg.]

4a. Ells­berg has long main­tained links to the CIA, and the so-called “pro­gres­sive sec­tor will not dis­cuss this.

Ells­berg leaked the Pen­ta­gon Papers, which were then pub­li­cized by The New York Times, as well as The Wash­ing­ton  Post, both very close­ly linked to the CIA.

As dis­cussed in FTR #978, among oth­er pro­grams, we not­ed that the Pen­ta­gon Papers were them­selves “sec­ond-lev­el” cov­er-up, false­ly main­tain­ing that there was con­ti­nu­ity from the Kennedy admin­is­tra­tion to the John­son admin­is­tra­tion with regard to Viet­nam war pol­i­cy.

Dou­glas Valen­tine has writ­ten exten­sive­ly about the U.S. nation­al secu­ri­ty estab­lish­ment. Best known for his sem­i­nal work on the Phoenix pro­gram in Viet­nam, he has recent­ly pub­lished The CIA as Orga­nized Crime.

In his recent vol­ume, Valen­tine notes Daniel Ells­berg’s long-stand­ing links to the CIA and the inability/unwillingness of what he calls “The Com­pat­i­ble Left” to talk about St. Ells­berg’s con­nec­tions to Lan­g­ley.

This under­scores why Mr. Emory has, for so long, referred to the “so-called pro­gres­sive sec­tor.”

The CIA as Orga­nized Crime by Dou­glas Valen­tine; Clar­i­ty Press [SC]; Copy­right 2017 by Dou­glas Valen­tine; ISBN 978–0‑9972870–2‑8; pp. 31–32.

 . . . . Peter Dale Scott had also been mar­gin­al­ized as a result of his 1972 book, The War Con­spir­a­cy, and his 1993 book Deep Pol­i­tics and the Death of JFK. Peter sup­port­ed me, and a few years after the Phoenix book was pub­lished, I men­tioned to him that I was writ­ing an arti­cle, based on my inter­views with Scot­ton and Conein, about Ells­berg’s deep polit­i­cal asso­ci­a­tion with the CIA. Peter is Ells­berg’s friend, and even though the arti­cle had the poten­tial to embar­rass Ells­berg, he arranged for me to inter­view him. Peter gave me Ells­berg’s num­ber and I called at a pre-arranged time. And the first thing Ells­berg said to me was, “You can’t pos­si­bly under­stand me because you’re not a celebri­ty.” . . . .

4b.   The CIA as Orga­nized Crime by Dou­glas Valen­tine; Clar­i­ty Press [SC]; Copy­right 2017 by Dou­glas Valen­tine; ISBN 978–0‑9972870–2‑8; pp. 32–33.

 . . . . I expe­ri­enced the same thing [mar­gin­al­iza­tion by what Mr. Emory calls “the so-called pro­gres­sive sec­tor”] when I wrote my arti­cle about Ells­berg. No one on the Amer­i­can left would pub­lish it. Even­tu­al­ly, Robin Ram­say pub­lished it in Lob­ster mag­a­zine in Great Britain. The arti­cle was titled “The Clash of the Icons” and demon­strat­ed that Ells­berg and Al McCoy [the author of The Pol­i­tics of Hero­in in South­east Asia—D.E.] held con­tra­dic­to­ry posi­tions about the CIA’s rela­tion­ship with drug traf­fick­ers in Viet­nam.” McCoy accused CIA offi­cers Ed Lans­dale and Lou Conein of col­lab­o­rat­ing with Cor­si­can drug smug­glers in 1965, at the same time Ells­berg was work­ing close­ly with them. But when I inter­viewed him, Ells­berg insist­ed that these CIA offi­cers were not involved in the drug traf­fic, despite over­whelm­ing evi­dence to the con­trary. . . .

4c.   The CIA as Orga­nized Crime by Dou­glas Valen­tine; Clar­i­ty Press [SC]; Copy­right 2017 by Dou­glas Valen­tine; ISBN 978–0‑9972870–2‑8;p. 33.

 . . . . Main­tain­ing Ells­berg’s image is most­ly a busi­ness deci­sion, because Ells­berg is what the Mafia calls “a mon­ey-mak­er.” If one of these Com­pat­i­ble Left media out­lets has Ells­berg talk at a peace con­fer­ence it’s spon­sor­ing, a hun­dred fans will pay cash to see him. The Com­pat­i­ble Left is a busi­ness ven­ture that’s depen­dent on the cap­i­tal­ist soci­ety with­in which it oper­ates. At the same time, Ells­berg is a sym­bol of the illu­sion that change is pos­si­ble with­in the sys­tem. He calls for reform, yes, and like the Com­pat­i­ble Left, he backs many impor­tant pro­gres­sive pro­grams. But more impor­tant­ly, by  cov­er­ing up his own CIA con­nec­tions, he’s reas­sur­ing the bour­geoisie that sub­scribes to these media out­lets that every­thing they assume about their lead­ers is right. And that’s how sym­bol­ic heroes mis­lead the way. . . .

4d.   The CIA as Orga­nized Crime by Dou­glas Valen­tine; Clar­i­ty Press [SC]; Copy­right 2017 by Dou­glas Valen­tine; ISBN 978–0‑9972870–2‑8; pp. 33–34.

 . . . . But there are no heroes, and sys­tem does­n’t work for every­one, like it rewards Amy Good­man at Democ­ra­cy Now! Or like it rewards [Glenn] Green­wald and [Jere­my] Scahill [of Pierre Omid­yar’s Inter­cept].

If Ells­berg were to reveal the CIA’s secrets, he would no longer have the same reas­sur­ing effect on the lib­er­al bour­geoisie. So his spon­sors nev­er men­tion that he had an affair with the mis­tress of a Cor­si­can drug smug­gler in Saigon. That’s not in the book or the movie.He denies his CIA bud­dies were involved in the drug trade, even though they were. He won’t talk about the CIA war crimes he wit­nessed or the con­tra­dic­tions of cap­i­tal­ism. . . .

5. Pep­per con­cludes the main body of his text with obser­va­tions about the role of the pow­er elite and the news media in per­pet­u­at­ing the social and eco­nom­ic sta­tus quo.

The Plot to Kill King by William Pep­per; Sky­horse Pub­lish­ing [SC]; Copy­right 2016 by William Pep­per; ISBN 978–1‑5107–2962‑9; pp. 311–313.

. . . . Final­ly, it is a mat­ter of pub­lic record that, over the years, I have been can­celed by a num­ber of lib­er­al/pro­gres­sive-host­ed NPR pro­grams and not invit­ed to count­less oth­ers. One of the lat­ter, sup­port­ed, I under­stand, by the Ford Foun­da­tion, reg­u­lar­ly gives a forum to Jesse Jack­son around the anniver­sary time of the assas­si­na­tion, while I have nev­er been inter­viewed. Regard­ing Rev­erend Jack­son, Dex­ter King and I were sched­uled to appear on the Lar­ry King Show and he showed up to join us. His pres­ence was appar­ent­ly man­dat­ed from above.

In the event that the mis­in­for­ma­tion and omis­sions dis­cussed above were sim­ply pro­duced by over­sight, neglect, or naivete and not the result of sin­is­ter col­lab­o­ra­tion, I have not used the names of the actors. It is also impor­tant to note that many of the small, select­ed sam­ple of pro­gres­sive com­men­ta­tors and pro­grams to which I have referred do cov­er issues and events not avail­able any­where else. In this respect they pro­vide a gen­uine pub­lic ser­vice.

Nev­er­the­less, there are lines they will not cross and polit­i­cal assas­si­na­tions are a no-go area, as is 9/11.

Assas­sins and their mas­ters come and go, live and die, but their agen­cies and cor­po­rate mas­ters live on in a world where the media image mak­ers and infor­ma­tion providers of the day are con­front­ed with mort­gage pay­ments, tuition and med­ical bills, loans and cred­it rat­ings, all geared to trea­sured lifestyles and sta­tus.

Con­sid­er­ing the pre­vi­ous exis­tence of some inde­pen­dence in main­stream media enti­ties, the cur­rent con­sol­i­da­tion of con­trol and sup­pres­sion of ideas, facts, and events, vir­tu­al­ly across the board, is lam­en­ta­ble and one more major indi­ca­tion of the death of democ­ra­cy in the Amer­i­can Repub­lic.

For exam­ple, as not­ed ear­li­er I recall in ear­ly 1967, the will­ing­ness of Look mag­a­zine, under Bill Atwood, to pub­lish my Ram­parts arti­cle and pho­tographs: “The Chil­dren of Viet­nam.”

As not­ed else­where, though I believe it worth repeat­ing, as an exam­ple of the lengths those in pow­er will go to enhance their inter­ests, when I went to Look’s offices for a lengthy meet­ing, I was greet­ed by Bill with the state­ment, “You may be inter­est­ed in know­ing that I had a vis­i­tor last week.” I asked who it was, and he said “Aver­ill Har­ri­man” (for­mer New York gov­er­nor and Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty leader).  Bill said, “He brought me greet­ings from Pres­i­dent John­son, along with a request for a favor from the pres­i­dent.” I asked what was the pres­i­den­t’s request, and he said, “The pres­i­dent would like you not to pub­lish any­thing Bill Pep­per writes.” Bill con­tin­ued, “Now how does that make you feel? You are not yet thir­ty years old and the Pres­i­dent of the Unit­ed States is wor­ried about what you are writ­ing.”

I said, “I’m more inter­est­ed in how you respond­ed.”

He said, “I told him that I was going to meet with you next week, and if we were con­vinced with what you had to say, we were going to publish–and give the Pres­i­dent my best regards.”

Look decid­ed to pub­lish my work, but in the inter­im, Bill met with New Orleans DA Jim Gar­ri­son, and was shak­en by Gar­rison’s evi­dence of the involve­ment of the CIA in the assas­si­na­tion of John Kennedy.

Right after the Gar­ri­son meet­ing, he called Bob Kennedy around 1:00 a.m., and Bob con­firmed the con­clu­sion, but said he would have to get to the White House in order to open the case.

Bill Atwood had a heart attack about three hours lat­er, around 4:00 a.m., and left Look.

Need­less to say, nei­ther my piece nor Gar­rison’s were pub­lished, and the asso­ciate edi­tor, Chan­dler Brossard, who brought us to Atwood, was let go.

Peo­ple with courage and inde­pen­dence like Atwood increas­ing­ly became rare in the cor­po­rate, main­stream media world, and now, near­ly half a cen­tu­ry lat­er, are vir­tu­al­ly nonex­is­tent.

The Oli­garchy’s media ascen­dan­cy has been wit­ness to Democ­ra­cy’s demise.

6. Over the years, we  have not­ed peo­ples’ reluc­tance and/or inabil­i­ty to adjust their views and per­spec­tives in light of new infor­ma­tion that would man­date such a cor­rec­tion.

We have con­cep­tu­al­ized that dynam­ic as “Infor­ma­tion ver­sus Con­fir­ma­tion.”

Rather than hav­ing their views gov­erned by infor­ma­tion, many peo­ple’s out­looks are inclined in the direc­tion of input that con­firms their prej­u­dices or views.

Infor­ma­tion pre­sent­ed in The Broth­ers: John Fos­ter Dulles, Allen Dulles and Their Secret World War by Stephen Kinz­er frames this dynam­ic in the con­text of con­tem­po­rary cog­ni­tive and social psy­cho­log­i­cal the­o­ry.

The Broth­ers: John Fos­ter Dulles, Allen Dulles, and Their Secret World War by Stephen Kinz­er; St. Mar­t­in’s Grif­fin [SC]; Copy­right 2013 by Stephen Kinz­er; ISBN 978–0‑8050–9497‑9; pp.320–321.

 . . . . In the twen­ty-first cen­tu­ry, dis­cov­er­ies about how the brain works set off a mini-boom of books seek­ing to con­vey these dis­cov­er­ies to lay read­ers. They com­prise a leap in understanding—not sim­ply of psy­chol­o­gy and human behav­ior, but of a force that, at times, influ­ences world his­to­ry. The Cold War was one of those times. All of these obser­va­tions, made by sci­en­tists and researchers, are strong­ly applic­a­ble to the Dulles broth­ers.

  •  Peo­ple are moti­vat­ed to accept accounts that fit with their pre­ex­ist­ing con­vic­tions; accep­tance of those accounts makes them feel bet­ter, and accep­tance of com­pet­ing claims makes them feel worse.

  • Moral hypocrisy is a deep part of our nature: the ten­den­cy to judge oth­ers more harsh­ly for some moral infrac­tion than we judge our­selves.

  • Group­think leads to many prob­lems of defec­tive deci­sion mak­ing, includ­ing incom­plete sur­vey of alter­na­tives and objec­tives, fail­ure to exam­ine the risks of the pre­ferred choice, poor infor­ma­tion search, selec­tive bias in pro­cess­ing infor­ma­tion, and fail­ure to assess alter­na­tives.

  • We are often con­fi­dent even when we are wrong . . . . Dec­la­ra­tions of high con­fi­dence main­ly tell you that an indi­vid­ual has con­struct­ed a coher­ent sto­ry in his mind, not nec­es­sar­i­ly that the sto­ry is true.

  • Cer­tain beliefs are so impor­tant for a soci­ety or group that they become part of how you prove your iden­ti­ty. . . . The truth is that our minds just aren’t set up to be changed by mere evi­dence. . . .

7. The pro­gram con­cludes with the read­ing of a poem by Robin­son Jef­fers, that sums up Mr. Emory’s feel­ings on this coun­try, its cit­i­zens and its insti­tu­tions.

“Be Angry at the Sun” by Robin­son Jef­fers

That pub­lic men pub­lish false­hoods
Is noth­ing new. That Amer­i­ca must accept
Like the his­tor­i­cal republics cor­rup­tion and empire
Has been known for years.

Be angry at the sun for set­ting
If these things anger you. Watch the wheel slope and turn,
They are all bound on the wheel, these peo­ple, those war­riors.
This repub­lic, Europe, Asia.

Observe them ges­tic­u­lat­ing,
Observe them going down. The gang serves lies, the pas­sion­ate
Man plays his part; the cold pas­sion for truth
Hunts in no pack.

You are not Cat­ul­lus, you know,
To lam­poon these crude sketch­es of Cae­sar. You are far
From Dan­te’s feet, but even far­ther from his dirty
Polit­i­cal hatreds.

Let boys want plea­sure, and men
Strug­gle for pow­er, and women per­haps for fame,
And the servile to serve a Leader and the dupes to be duped.
Yours is not theirs.

Discussion

2 comments for “FTR #1005 What the Hell Does Dave Emory Mean by “The So-Called Progressive Sector”?”

  1. My father main­tained since 11–22-63 JFK’s mur­der was a con­spir­a­cy and the FBI, the Hunt broth­ers, and sev­er­al oth­er intelligence/business enti­ties were involved. He also bemoaned that pro­gres­sives in the media did not chal­lenge the War­ren Com­mis­sion and its enablers.
    I was 14 years old, and grew up with the idea that the gov­ern­ment exe­cut­ed and lied about JFK’s (and sub­se­quent­ly MLK’s & RFK’s) mur­ders.

    Fast for­ward to today, where I am so puz­zled when I read com­ments in social media that NYT, MSNBC, Chuck Todd, etc should “do their jobs” with regards to cov­er­age of Trump and the Rus­sians (among many oth­er Trump/Rethuglican relat­ed sub­jects.) I reply that they are doing their jobs, which is to read the scripts hand­ed to them.

    Posted by Kathleen | May 19, 2018, 4:38 pm
  2. They are all just Hol­ly­wood faces that read head­lines.

    Posted by Roberto Maldonado | May 19, 2018, 5:54 pm

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