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Taking Back Our History
A Key Element in The Big Picture

27 July 2018

Len Osanic has hosted and produced, a weekly internet radio show running continuously for over 18 years. His tireless focus on providing significant, uninterrupted air time to highly qualified lawyers, forensic pathologists, authors, historians, and journalists is exemplary. His guests present invaluable critical analysis based on their own work and research covering the facts of and reasons for the U.S. political assassinations of the 1960s as well as the history and influence of U.S. intelligence agencies on this society within the context of national security state structures formalized after World War II.

The following is a transcript of the 9th episode concluding a just-published video series, Fifty Reasons for Fifty Years, PostScript 1968. The series, written and produced by Len Osanic and Jeff Carter and presented by Len, affords a succinct distillation of the elementary facts involving the 1968 state killings by our US military-intelligence system and its supporting civilian police structures and oligarchs of Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy.

Len Osanic: Over the years Black Op Radio has dedicated time to interviewing and archiving a wide range of people who have, with considerable effort, added information regarding the assassinations of the 1960s. We should not underestimate these contributions to gain a better understanding of the big picture. These historians have approached the topic from many different perspectives. They reveal the consequences of these events over time. This series helps to reveal how the official story differs from the facts in each case. In conclusion, here is more invaluable information from the historians such as author Jim DiEugenio:

You had the assassination of John F Kennedy in 1963. You had the assassination of Malcolm X in 1965. Then, in 1968, within the space of about seven or eight weeks, you had the assassinations of both King and Robert Kennedy. If you weren’t there it was so different than the political spectrum we have today. You had Malcolm X who was an out-and-out radical. You had King who was this brilliant [champion for] redistribution of wealth and getting out of Vietnam. Then you had Robert Kennedy with his so-called Nothing Campaign. He used to call it that because his votes were the poor people, the minority groups, etc. Between the Kings and John F. Kennedy, essentially, the back of segregation was broken in the United States.

After the last two assassinations, the murder of King and RFK, that’s how we got Richard Nixon and that’s what completely changed the complexion of this country. I don’t think there’s anybody who was around back then who actually thinks that Nixon would have won that election.

What would have happened in the United States if those four guys would have lived, you would have had a real reconstruction that we didn’t have back at the end of the Civil War. You’d have had a real economic and sociological overturning of the system. But that wasn’t allowed to happen because of those assassinations. And in fact what you had was the opposite: the morale of the country gone haywire. Then of course all the horrendous things that Nixon did while in office, the combination of Vietnam and Watergate.

Because Nixon was impeached who became president? Good old Warren Commissioner Jerry Ford. Mr. Coverup Guy in the Warren Commission becomes president. If you study the neoconservative movement in the United States it began under Ford.
There were a couple of young guys on Ford’s staff who really didn’t like the fact that Kissinger wanted more arms agreements. They didn’t like the fact Nixon had visited China. They didn’t like the fact Nixon had visited Moscow.
They didn’t like détente. And the names of these two men were Donald Rumsfeld and Richard Cheney.

The big picture is, it was Bobby Kennedy’s murder that brought on these lunatics. These are the same guys who are going to surface again in the Reagan administration, in the George Bush administration, and these are the same guys who are going to surface in W’s administration and have brought this country so much grief. And it’s all because of what happened to Bobby Kennedy that night at the Ambassador.

Len Osanic: The researchers, historians are the ones who locate and read the documents and can stitch together the evidence from various sources. In many ways they have helped to change the consensus. Researchers such as Lisa Pease and Larry Hancock.

Lisa Pease: My other beef with historians and histories, they think that history can be told and then set in stone. And it can’t because new information continues to surface. In almost every aspect—and especially when you have something that’s a political nature or possibly covert or intelligence related nature—things are closely held and secrets don’t come out right away. But some of them do leak out later and it’s important that there be some sort of ongoing revisionism to account for that. And sometimes people lie on the record for historical purposes early on and then those lies get repeated as if they are the truth. It is up to historians to go back and revisit and question everything from the top. Because if they’re lying about this what else are we being lied to about? And that’s why I pursue this.

The world is not as presented. The world is usually quite different than it is presented to us. The real truths are not the ones you’re going to find on the front page of the New York Times because it’s not in the Times’ financial interests, always, to go up against the national security state, or Wall Street, or important players on the world scene.

It’s very hard to get the truth about things that really matter. It’s very easy to get the truth about who’s winning in the playoff game tonight. But when it comes to things of genuine deep political significance we’re not necessarily going to get the truth from our mainstream sources.

Larry Hancock: To understand the MLK investigation and political context you’ve certainly got to understand Hoover’s attitude and his actions against MLK. Hoover ordered his own people to filter the information off the investigation that was being given to the Justice Department. The Justice Department at least had some interest in some of the leads they were pursuing and Hoover finessed them and made sure that when they got reports they were very superficial. They didn’t contain the more explosive stuff.

The King assassination, and the inquiry there, shows how things can very well be controlled at the top, at headquarters. Because, especially in the case of the FBI and the King investigation, all of the field office work was channeled up to a couple of Hoover’s senior people. And the only people that made the judgments on what was going to happen with that investigative work were there at Hoover’s, quote unquote, seat of government. These were people that were in their jobs because of Hoover’s orientation and they’re going to stay in their jobs that way. You can see how the calls are being made and how they close out the leads. For they’re just not going to do anything that’s not going to be in the direction that Hoover wants.

Lisa Pease: Police records, FBI, CIA records, should not be allowed to remain secret. Especially not secret as long as they did in all these cases. If the RFK files and the LAPD files and the trial transcript, if that stuff had been made public, like in 1970, we would have solved this case and people would be in jail. That’s how strong the evidence is.

In a five-year period we lost John Kennedy, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, Robert Kennedy. In five years we lost four of the top voices for change on the left. And believe me the rest of the left got the message and no one has been as brave since.

Len Osanic: Black Op Radio has also been a platform to hear from people who have played a direct role in these investigations. People such as Dr. Cyril Wecht and William Pepper who can speak with authority on the topics.

    Cyril H. Wecht, M.D., J.D.

Cyril Wecht: Our government, they made a decision—the people in charge back then—that they were not going to get into the Kennedy assassinations. It would be too traumatic, too disruptive in our American political system. It would have led to a total, total opening of all the clandestine activities. It would have been No Holds Barred if it ever came out that the government, or government officials, or ex-government officials, were involved in the assassination of a president, of a president-to-be. And of course that’s what the assassination of Bobby Kennedy was about. Just as the assassination of his brother five years before. They made a decision: This is best for the country.

Even in the United States Congress then, with the House Select Committee on Assassinations, established in 1977, to investigate the JFK and Dr. Martin Luther King assassinations, they concluded that most probably there was a conspiracy involved with John F, Kennedy, This is the United States Congress. This is a bipartisan committee of the top people.

What was done? Not a damn thing was done. Well if they weren’t going to do anything and respond to a special congressional committee, then what are they going to do, the federal government, in response to anybody else, any other group? They don’t have to do anything.

William Pepper: The magistrate, in his own report, admits that Sirhan was in front of Bob Kennedy; in front of him. Proving our case that Sirhan could not possibly have shot Bob from the rear. The evidence is there. Anyone wants to see it, anyone who wants to look at it, they can. We urge everyone to do that.


The question is how long will they be allowed to cover this up? Will it be covered up throughout all of history? That’s really what the goal is.

I worked for Bob Kennedy. I was a Citizen’s Chairman in Westchester County, New York when he ran for the Senate. I didn’t get involved lightly in this case. Neither did I in the King case because I knew Martin and was close to him the last year of his life. These are serious commitments. This is not the work of a loony conspiracy person.

William F. Pepper and Martin Luther King at 1967 Labor Day NCNP Convention

These two political assassinations have determined the course of history like no other in our lifetime, indeed perhaps in the history of this Republic. And where we are today, in terms of the consolidation of the control of media and information, in terms of the militarization of police, in terms of the disparity between the wealthy—severely wealthy—and the poor people in our country, and in terms of the failing infrastructure and the breakdown of democracy in America; all of that has placed us in a worse situation than we were back in 1968 when these two potentially great leaders were alive.

Sirhan Sirhan & William Pepper, 2 Feb 2016

Political assassinations have existed throughout all of the history of human society. It’s an ultimate tactic that is used when you cannot co-opt, compromise, or control in some way a leader or an emerging dissenting force. The ultimate way of stopping that individual, of course, is through assassination. In the ’60s we saw four of those.

These assassinations in particular, one could view them as being preludes. What has emerged following the 60s through the ’70s and up to the present time is a development of an oligarchic state in America.

Len Osanic: It is quite a coup when you can murder political rivals, control the state to the point that there never is an honest investigation, and the guilty never stand trial. What does this mean for our society? Authors such as David Ratcliffe and James Douglas can expand the topic in a more philosophical direction.

David Ratcliffe: John Kennedy was working to end the Cold War. Martin Luther King was working to really challenge the nation on Vietnam. Malcolm X was preparing to enter in through the UN a not civil rights but looking at the human rights violations of a huge part of the populace of the United States. Robert Kennedy had been so changed by what he had lived through starting after November 22nd 1963. Those people were tremendously vital in what they were willing to stand and die for. And it’s very, very painful to look more deeply at what does it really mean that our culture basically has gone along with those murders?

James Douglass: The why of all of this is a critical question. Just as in the case of the subtitle of the book JFK and the Unspeakable is why he died and why it matters. Why King died is because he had taken a stand against the Vietnam War and against poverty in the United States and the economic system over it that was considered unacceptable. Unacceptable for a person of King’s prominence and conscience and ability to get people together in resistance to outrageous policies. That’s the key thing.

Martin Luther King had a vision for Humanity: the Beloved Community of a just and peaceful global society and he was prepared to move toward that as he said in his CBC lectures in 1967 where he articulated his final vision. It was published as a book after his death, The Trumpet of Conscience. He said he was hoping to bring whole cities to a halt, beginning with Washington D.C., through massive nonviolent civil disobedience until poverty could be eliminated from not only the United States but from other parts of the world and war and injustice. He had a big vision.

That was really the beginning of my investigation. The impact that King’s assassination had on my life and the recognition that his vision, a hopeful, a nonviolent, a redemptive vision for all of humanity, it went to the point where the powers that be were not going to allow it to be carried out. That’s why we should be demanding that the truth be recognized and spoken.

David Ratcliffe: There’s a lot of incoherence and disassociated psychotic rampant unconsciousness afoot on Earth now. And as bad as it seems, as hopeless as it might seem, there is always the chance that any of us can make our own unique special contributions as William Pepper did in visiting Vietnam as a freelance journalist, writing what he did, what that spawned and engendered.

There’s no limit to the possibilities that all of us can summon from what we’ve been given in these lives, these incredibly mysterious and magical and utterly ineffable lives that we’ve been given to live here at this specific time. Just can’t overemphasize the hope, as Jim Douglass would describe very much: the hope that we are still here and still alive and still struggling. That is hopeful. As difficult as it seems, we’re still here and we can still apply ourselves in ways that carry on the work of the peacemakers that preceded us.

Martin Luther King Massey Lectures
Conscience for Change
November & December 1967

Sponsored by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), the Massey Lectures were created to honour The Right Honourable Vincent Massey, former Governor-General of Canada, and an energetic advocate for the humanities in Canada. Inaugurated in 1961 the annual CBC Massey Lectures “enable distinguished authorities to communicate the results of original study on important subjects of contemporary interest”.

In November and December 1967 Martin King delivered five lectures on CBC Radio with the collective title of “Conscience for Change.” Transcriptions of his presentations were initially published through CBC as a book with the same title. After Martin King was assassinated it was republished as The Trumpet of Conscience with a Foreward by Coretta Scott King. A 2010 edition published by Beacon Press contains a New Foreward by Marion Wright Edelman.

Recordings of the five lectures are available here: Martin Luther King Jr. Massey Lectures. The 5 lectures focus on:

  1. Impasse in Race Relations
  2. Conscience and the Vietnam War
  3. Youth and Social Action
  4. Nonviolence and Social Change
  5. A Christmas Sermon on Peace

In Impasse in Race Relations, Martin King expresses his vision first of a national and then a global nonviolent revolution against the increasing concentration of financial wealth in the U.S. corporate state and its encompassing military power. Beginning at 22:13: “Nonviolent protest must now mature to a new level to correspond to heightened black impatience and stiffened white resistance. This higher level is mass civil disobedience. There must be more than a statement to the larger society. There must be a force that interrupts its functioning at some key point. That interruption must, however, not be clandestine or surreptitious. It is not necessary to invest it with guerrilla romanticism. It must be open and, above all, conducted by large masses without violence. If the jails are filled to thwart it, the meaning will become even clearer.... Mass civil disobedience as a new stage of struggle can transmute the deep rage of the ghetto into a constructive and creative force. To dislocate the functioning of a city without destroying it can be more effective than a riot because it can be longer-lasting, costly to the larger society, but not wantonly destructive. Finally, it is a device of social action that is more difficult for the government to quell by superior force.”

Martin’s vision extends beyond this to what such a creative force can address. “If humanism is locked outside of the system, negroes will have revealed its inner core of despotism and a far greater struggle for liberation will unfold. The United States is substantially challenged to demonstrate that it can abolish not only the evils of racism but the tragedy of poverty of whites as well as negroes, and above all the horrors of war that transcend the national borders and involve all of mankind.” (27:17)

Conscience and the Vietnam War includes understanding expressed in his fateful Apr 4, 1967 address, Beyond Vietnam: “I knew that I could never again raise my voice against the violence of the oppressed in the ghettos without having first spoken clearly to the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today: my own government. For the sake of those boys, for the sake of this government, for the sake of the hundreds of thousands trembling under our violence, I cannot be silent.” (7:00) “We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for the victims of our nation, and for those it calls enemy, for no document from human hands can make these humans any less our brothers.” (9:46)

Martin’s indictment of the U.S. warfare state is nightmarishly more on point today, half a century later than when he spoke these words: “We must find new ways to speak for peace in Vietnam and justice throughout the developing world, a world that borders on our doors. If we do not act, we shall surely be dragged down the long, dark, and shameful corridors of time reserved for those who possess power without compassion, might without morality, and strength without sight.” (28:28)

Youth and Social Action examines the unique, traumatic period experienced by those “born and matured in unprecedented conditions” and ”that it has lived...through the effects of four wars.” (3:04) Considering three principal groups that young people splintered into, Martin describes radicals, focusing on the necessity of structural change to eliminate current evils, and hippies, with their dream of peace. “Nonviolent active resistance to social evils, including massive civil disobedience when [there] is need for it, can unite in a new action-synthesis the best insights of all three groups I have pointed out among our young people.” (25:55) “But we do not have much time. The revolutionary spirit is already world-wide. If the anger of the peoples of the world at the injustice of things is to be channeled into a revolution of love and creativity, we must begin now to work, urgently, with all the peoples, to shape a new world.” (29:02)

Nonviolence and Social Change reviews constructive instances of nonviolent discipline and, as Martin explains, “I intend to show that nonviolence will be effective, but not until it has achieved the massive dimensions, the disciplined planning, and the intense commitment of a sustained, direct action movement of civil disobedience on the national scale.” (15:57) He goes on to describe how, “Beginning with the new year, we will be recruiting 3,000 of the poorest citizens from 10 different urban and rural areas to initiate and lead a sustained, massive direct-action movement in Washington.” (17:23)

This program, which came to be called The Poor People’s Campaign, was announced in a press conference on December 4, 1967. In his book, An Act of State, William Pepper describes how the 7,000 (at its peak) protesters who lived in Resurrection City between mid-April and 19 June 1968 comprised less than 2 percent of the 500,000 people Martin King was committed to bringing to Washington that Spring to force the United States government to abolish poverty. (p.7)

A Christmas Sermon on Peace was a live broadcast on Christmas Eve given at Ebenezer Baptist Church where Martin distills our situation: “It really boils down to this: that all life is interrelated. We are all caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny to whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly. We are made to live together because of the interrelated structure of reality.” (6:47) He goes on to describe three words for love in the Greek New Testament, focusing on the third one, agape. “Agape is understanding, creative, redemptive goodwill for all men. Agape is an overflowing love which seeks nothing in return.... When you rise to love on this level, you love all men not because you like them, not because their ways appeal to you, but you love every man because God loves them. This is what Jesus meant when he said, Love your enemies.” (16:56) (See The Assassinations of Martin Luther King and John F. Kennedy in the Light of the Fourth Gospel, by Jim Douglass for deep critical analysis about agape.)

Martin then speaks to the greatest challenge facing all who suffer at the hands of others. “I’ve seen too much hate to want to hate, myself. I’ve seen hate on the faces of too many sheriffs, too many white citizens’ councilors, and too many Klansmen of the South to want to hate, myself. And every time I see it, I say to myself, hate is too great a burden to bear. Somehow we must be able to stand up before our most bitter opponents and say: ‘We shall match your capacity to inflict suffering by our capacity to endure suffering. We will meet your physical force with soul force. Do to us what you will and we will still love you. We cannot in all good conscience obey your unjust laws and abide by the unjust system, because noncooperation with evil is as much a moral obligation as is cooperation with good. And so throw us in jail and we will still love you. Bomb our homes and threaten our children, and, as difficult as it is, we will still love you. Send your hooded perpetrators of violence into our communities at the midnight hour and drag us out on some wayside road and leave us half-dead as you beat us, and we will still love you. Send your propaganda agents around the country, and make it appear that we are not fit, culturally and otherwise, for integration, but we’ll still love you. But be assured that we will wear you down by our capacity to suffer, and one day we will win our freedom. We will not only win freedom for ourselves. We will so appeal to your heart and conscience that we will win you in the process, and our victory will be a double victory.’” (18:57)

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