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FTR #246 Update on America’s Political Assassinations

Lis­ten:
MP3 One Seg­ment [1]

Amer­i­ca’s polit­i­cal assas­si­na­tions of the 1960’s and 1970’s (a major focal point of Mr. Emory’s work over the years) have exert­ed a major effect on Amer­i­can soci­ety, and they over­lap much of this coun­try’s his­to­ry over the last sev­er­al decades.

1. The pro­gram begins with a sto­ry about the indict­ment of two sus­pects in the 16th St. Bap­tist Church bomb­ing, one of the most noto­ri­ous crimes of the 1960’s civ­il rights strug­gle. (The New York Times, 5/18/2000, p. A1.)

2. That bomb­ing (on Sep­tem­ber 15, 1963) has evi­den­tiary trib­u­taries run­ning in the direc­tion of the assas­si­na­tions of Pres­i­dent Kennedy and Mar­tin Luther King. Review­ing infor­ma­tion from RFA‑8, the pro­gram sets forth excerpts of an inter­view with Joseph Adams Mil­teer (a mem­ber of the Nation­al States Rights Par­ty, an explic­it­ly racist and fas­cist Amer­i­can polit­i­cal par­ty.) (From The Assas­si­na­tions: Dal­las and Beyond, edit­ed by Peter Dale Scott, Paul L. Hoch, and Rus­sell Stetler, Vin­tage Press, copy­right 1976.)

3. The inter­view high­light­ed in this seg­ment was con­duct­ed by an under­cov­er Mia­mi police infor­mant on Novem­ber 10, 1963 — twelve days before Pres­i­dent Kennedy’s assas­si­na­tion. In addi­tion to describ­ing plans to kill Dr. King and Pres­i­dent Kennedy by ambush­ing them from upper-sto­ry win­dows with high-pow­ered rifles, Mil­teer linked the impend­ing crimes with the bomb­ing of the 16th St. Bap­tist Church bomb­ing. (Idem.)

4. The first attor­ney for James Earl Ray (the pat­sy in the assas­si­na­tion of Mar­tin Luther King) was Arthur Hanes, Sr. In addi­tion to being the may­or of Birm­ing­ham (Alaba­ma) when the 16th St. Bap­tist Church bomb­ing occurred, Hanes rep­re­sent­ed Robert Cham­b­liss, the Ku Klux Klan mem­ber con­vict­ed of the crime. Hanes resigned his posi­tion as a spe­cial agent for the FBI, because he con­sid­ered the Bureau’s posi­tion on civ­il rights to be too lib­er­al. He also worked as a con­tract agent for the CIA in con­nec­tion with the Bay of Pigs inva­sion, itself inex­tri­ca­bly linked to the JFK assas­si­na­tion.

5. Next, the pro­gram notes the death of Loyd Jow­ers, the for­mer Mem­phis cafe own­er who claimed [2] he hired some­one oth­er than James Earl Ray to kill Dr. King. (San Jose Mer­cury News, 5/23/2000, p. 5B.)

6. Seri­ous­ly ill for some time, Jow­ers had been suc­cess­ful­ly sued for wrong­ful death by the King fam­i­ly in con­nec­tion with Dr. King’s killing. (Idem.)

7. Short­ly after Jow­ers’ death, the Jus­tice Depart­ment upheld the ver­dict that Ray was the lone-nut assas­sin of Dr. King, despite mas­sive evi­dence to the con­trary. (The New York Times, 6/10/2000, p. A8.)

8. Inter­est­ing­ly (and per­haps sig­nif­i­cant­ly) just two days before the Jus­tice Depart­ment announced its con­clu­sion, Ernest H. Avants was indict­ed by a fed­er­al grand jury in the mur­der of a civ­il rights work­er in 1966. (The San Fran­cis­co Exam­in­er, 6/8/2000, p. A19.)

9. The killing was con­nect­ed to a pos­si­ble con­spir­a­cy against the life of Dr. King. (Idem.) Attor­neys for Sirhan Sirhan recent­ly moved to over­turn his con­vic­tion in con­nec­tion with the assas­si­na­tion of Robert Kennedy. (San Fran­cis­co Chron­i­cle, 5/26/2000, p. A6; Los Ange­les Times, 5/26/2000, p. A15.)

10. Sirhan’s coun­sel pre­sent­ed a num­ber of points that were set forth in RFA#9. Among those points: there was more than one shoot­er; evi­dence of extra bul­lets and guns was destroyed by the LAPD; wit­ness­es were intim­i­dat­ed or ignored by LAPD; phys­i­cal evi­dence was either altered and/or sub­sti­tut­ed; indi­ca­tions that Sirhan had been placed under mind con­trol were ignored. (Idem.)

11. The pro­gram con­cludes with dis­cus­sion of the pos­si­ble assas­si­na­tion of John F. Kennedy, Jr. [3] JFK, Jr. was the focus of a kid­nap threat, in which the fact that he had no body­guards was high­light­ed. (The New York Times, 6/20/2000, p. A 15.)

12. The evi­dence of the cause of Kennedy’s crash remains ambigu­ous. (The New York Times, 6/24/2000, p. A16.) As dis­cussed in FTR#175, Kennedy had been dis­cussed as a poten­tial fig­ure on the Demo­c­ra­t­ic tick­et for the year 2000. (Record­ed on 8/27/2000.)