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Tag: martin luther king

FBI’s Obsession with MLK Paints Falsehoods about Civil Rights Leader

Atty. Gen. Robert Kennedy With Martin Luther King Jr. Photo via DOJ.

Atty. Gen. Robert Kennedy With Martin Luther King Jr. Photo via DOJ.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Just three weeks before the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated, the FBI declared in a newly released analysis that the civil rights leader was “a whole-hearted” communist who had a series of affairs, including with folk singer Joan Baez

But historians quickly denounced the 20-page document, dated March 21, saying the FBI’s obsession with King resulted in numerous falsehoods that were later discounted.

The FBI report, which was among the 676 files that the National Archive released Friday, provide detail about one of King’s closest advisers, Stanley Levison, a New York lawyer and businessman who helped finance the Communist Party before meeting the civil rights leader in 1956.

martin luther king fbi documentThe document claimed King was heavily influenced by Levison.

“The course King chooses to follow at this critical time could have momentous impact on the future of race relations in the United States,” the document’s introduction reads. “And for that reason this paper has been prepared to give some insight into the nature of the man himself as well as the nature of his views, goals, objectives, tactics and the reasons therefor.”

But David Garrow, a Pulitzer Prize-winning author and historian, dismissed the allegations as false, saying they are the result of then-FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover’s unhealthy, if not delusional, obsession with the civil rights leader. 

“The number one thing I’ve learned in 40 years of doing this, is just because you see it in a top-secret document, just because someone had said it to the FBI, doesn’t mean it’s all accurate,” Garrow told The Washington Post, citing the infamous dossier that contains salacious allegations against President Trump. 

Garrow pointed out that King had been under heavy FBI surveillance throughout the 1960s and never found evidence of communist connections.

If anything, the document, titled “MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR., A CURRENT ANALYSIS,” provided more insight into the FBI’s preoccupation with the Communist Party and attempts to discredit King.

“I think the number one takeaway historically is how, even in March of 1968, the FBI continues to be bizarrely preoccupied with how important the Communist Party USA is. ... The Communist Party, by 1968, is of no importance to anything,” Garrow said. “These incredibly exaggerated statements of communist influence are exactly what the FBI wants to hear.”

What Hoover failed to pass on to President Lyndon B. Johnson was that King had distanced himself from communists.

“There are things I wanted to say renouncing communism in theory, but they would not go along with it. We wanted to say that it was an alien philosophy contrary to us, but they wouldn’t go along with it,” King told adviser Bayard Rustin in May 1965, when King, Garrow wrote.

JFK Files Prompt Calls to Publicly Release Files on Civil Rights Killings

Martin Luther King Jr.

Martin Luther King Jr.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Tune into 910AM the Superstation at 11 a.m Friday for a discussion on the release of files on civil rights killings. 

The long-awaited release of secret John F. Kennedy assassination files has prompted a push for the FBI to release secret or redacted files on killings during the civil rights era.

Students from Highstown High School in New Jersey lobbied Congress to make the files public.

“This issue is not as prominent within the mainstream media, but it should be,” one of the students, senior Zabir Rahman, told the Clarion Ledger. “The families of the victims of these atrocious crimes deserve justice if they can get it and some measure of closure.” 

The students used the JFK Records Collection Act of 1992 as a model for what they called the “Cold Case Records Collection Act of 2017,” which would create an independent review board to coordinate the release of classified records on civil rights killings.

Many of the killings are detailed in FBI files that remain largely redacted. They include the KKK’s 1964 killing of civil rights workers James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner and the 1959 lynching of Mack Charles Parker.

FBI records on the 1968 assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. also contain redactions.

Activists also are calling on redacted files relating to the 1965 assassination of Malcolm X.

Civil rights lawyers said the largely secret files make it difficult to solve cold cases.

The measure to release the files was introduced in March by U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush, an Illinois Democrat, and is under consideration by the House Government Reform and Oversight Committee.

So far the bill has received bipartisan support. Also backing the bill is Cynthia Deitle, a former FBI special agent who ran the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Cold Case Division.

“The Civil Rights Cold Case Records Collection Act of 2017 is a crucial piece of legislation that must be passed by Congress and signed by President Trump,” she Deitle in a statement. “We as a society can no longer wait for vital records housed within the FBI to stay within their exclusive control. The federal government needs to release the records to researchers, academics, journalists and others who are devoted to finding the truth as to what happened to thousands of individuals who were murdered as a result of racially-motivated homicides. We have the ability, with passage of this act, to rewrite history and bring justice long delayed.”

Former FBI Director Hoover Would Have Been Suspicious of Comey’s Speech on Race

FBI Director James Comey

By E.J. Dionne
Washington Post

Last week’s speech by FBI Director James Comey at Georgetown University was remarkable on its own terms, but revolutionary in the context of his agency’s history. You wonder if the late J. Edgar Hoover would have accused Comey of subversive intent.

“All of us in law enforcement must be honest enough to acknowledge that much of our history is not pretty,” Comey said. “At many points in American history, law enforcement enforced the status quo, a status quo that was often brutally unfair to disfavored groups.”

He explained why he keeps on his desk a copy of Attorney General Robert Kennedy’s approval of Hoover’s request to wiretap Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.: “The entire application is five sentences long, it is without fact or substance, and is predicated on the naked assertion that there is ‘Communist influence in the racial situation.’” He calls agents’ attention to the document, he said, “to ensure that we remember our mistakes and that we learn from them.”

And who would think an FBI director would cite Everyone’s a Little Bit Racist, a song from the Broadway hit Avenue Q? His point: “Many people in our white-majority culture have unconscious racial biases and react differently to a white face than a black face.”

Yet Comey was unabashedly pro-cop. He fondly recalled his grandfather, William J. Comey, who rose to head the Yonkers, New York, police department. “Law enforcement is not the root cause of problems in our hardest-hit neighborhoods,” the FBI director said. “Police officers — people of enormous courage and integrity, in the main — are in those neighborhoods, risking their lives, to protect folks from offenders who are the product of problems that will not be solved by body cameras.”

To read more click here.

AG Eric Holder to Unveil Stiff New Racial Profiling Protocols After Ferguson

Attorney General Eric Holder in Orlando

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

Speaking at a church where Martin Luther King once preached, Attorney General Eric Holder announced Monday that he soon will be unveiling stringent new protocols for reducing profiling by federal law enforcement, Time reports.

The new protocols would represent the first change to racial profiling guidelines on the federal level in more than a decade.

“In the coming days, I will announce updated Justice Department guidance regarding profiling by federal law enforcement, which will institute rigorous new standards—and robust safeguards—to help end racial profiling, once and for all,” Holder said at the first of several planned regional community discussions in the aftermath of the Ferguson grand jury decision. “This new guidance will codify our commitment to the very highest standards of fair and effective policing.”

Although President George W. Bush barred racial profiling through the Justice Department’s Guidance Regarding the Use of Race by Federal Law Enforcement Agencies, he left exemptions for national security.

Holder, who has said he was the target of racial profiling, said more changes are needed.

“We are dealing with concerns that are truly national in scope and that threaten the entire nation,” Holder told the thousands of attendees. “Broadly speaking, without mutual understanding between citizens–whose rights must be respected–and law enforcement officers–who make tremendous and often-unheralded personal sacrifices every day to preserve public safety–without that trust, without that interaction, there can be no meaningful progress. Our police officers cannot be seen as an occupying force disconnected from the communities they serve. Bonds that have been broken must be restored. Bonds that never existed must now be created.”

FBI Letter to MLK Reveals How Much J. Edgar Hoover Hated the Civil Rights Leader

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

It’s well-known that notorious FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover loathed civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.

That has never been made clearer than in an uncensored letter from Hoover to King that was recently found among the former director’s archives, the New York Times wrote.

In the letter, Hoover calls King “a colossal fraud” and “a dissolute, abnormal moral imbecile.” The letter is based on King’s lively sex life, which had been known only by his inner circle.

“You are finished,” Hoover wrote. “It is all on the record – your sexual orgies.”

Hoover warned there was “but one way out for you,” possibly referring to suicide.

“You better take it before your filthy, abnormal fraudulent self is bared to the nation.”

Despite Hoover’s obsession with spoiling King’s reputation, history tells a different story. King is remembered as a vigilant leader of nonviolence and equality. Hoover, on the other hand, has a reputation as a bully with little concern for civil liberties.

Martin Luther King Jr.’s ‘Dream’ Speech Prompted FBI to Launch Spying Campaign

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

While Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech inspired African Americans in 1963, the FBI was worrying aloud whether the civil rights leader was gaining too much influence and popularity, Bloomberg reports.

Two months after the speech, then-Attorney General Robert Kennedy approved a campaign to spy on King in an attempt to smear his reputation.

“The FBI’s program to destroy Dr. King as the leader of the civil rights movement entailed efforts to discredit him with churches, universities and the press,” read a 1976 U.S. Senate report nicknamed, “Church Committee.”

The urgency was clear, Bloomberg reported.

“Personally, I believe in the light of King’s powerful, demagogic speech” that “he stands head and shoulders over all other Negro leaders put together when it comes to influencing great masses,” said William Sullivan, head of the FBI’s domestic intelligence division during the King surveillance program. “We must mark him now, if we have not done so before, as the most dangerous Negro of the future in this Nation from the standpoint of communism, the Negro and national security.”

The campaign also included an investigation into “community influence on the Negro,” an Oct. 1, 1963 memo read.

“FBI officials viewed the speech as significantly increasing King’s national stature,” Pulitzer Prize winning historian David Garrow told Bloomberg. King was viewed as “measurably more ‘dangerous’ in the FBI’s view.

Confirmed: Civil Rights Era Photographer Ernest Withers Served as FBI Informant

stanford edu photo

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

The civil rights era photographer Ernest Withers has been officially confirmed as a one-time FBI informant, reports the Blog of LegalTimes.

The FBI in the past has long-refused to confirm or deny Withers’s status as an informant, but it accidentally confirmed Withers’ work in documents it released to a newspaper, a federal judge in Washington said on Tuesday.

U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson of the D.C.  ruled today against the U.S. Justice Department in a spat between a newspaper reporter and the FBI over access to the agency’s file on Withers.

To read more click here.

Remembering the FBI’s Campaign Against Martin Luther King — “The Most Dangerous Negro”