THE Trial of the Century:
The Martin Luther King Conspiracy
Exposed in Memphis
by Jim Douglass
According to a Memphis jury's verdict on December 8,1999, in
the wrongful death lawsuit of the King family versus Loyd
Jowers "and other unknown co-conspirators," Dr. Martin Luther
King Jr. was assassinated by a conspiracy that included
agencies of his own government. Almost 32 years after King's
murder at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis on April 4, 1968, a
court extended the circle of responsibility for the
assassination beyond the late scapegoat James Earl Ray to the
United States government.
I can hardly believe the fact that, apart from the
courtroom participants, only Memphis TV reporter Wendell Stacy
and I attended from beginning to end this historic
three-and-one-half week trial. Because of journalistic neglect
scarcely anyone else in this land of ours even knows what went
on in it. After critical testimony was given in the trial's
second week before an almost empty gallery, Barbara Reis, U.S.
correspondent for the Lisbon daily Publico who was there
several days, turned to me and said, "Everything in the U.S. is
the trial of the century. O.J. Simpson's trial was the trial of
the century. Clinton's trial was the trial of the century. But
this is the trial of the century, and who's here?"
I experienced in that courtroom ranged from
inspiration at the courage of the Kings, their
lawyer-investigator William F. Pepper, and the witnesses, to
amazement at the government's carefully interwoven plot to kill
Dr. King. The seriousness with which U.S. intelligence agencies
planned the murder of Martin Luther King Jr. speaks eloquently
of the threat Kingian nonviolence represented to the powers
that be in the spring of 1968....
and fear of King deepened, Lawson said, in response
to his plan to hold the Poor People's Campaign in Washington,
D.C. King wanted to shut down the nation's capital in the
spring of 1968 through massive civil disobedience until the
government agreed to abolish poverty. King saw the Memphis
sanitation workers' strike as the beginning of a nonviolent
revolution that would redistribute income. "I have no doubt,"
Lawson said, "that the government viewed all this seriously
enough to plan his assassination."...
the lesson of the King assassination is that our
government understands the power of nonviolence better than we
do, or better than we want to. In the spring of 1968, when
Martin King was marching (and Robert Kennedy was campaigning),
King was determined that massive, nonviolent civil disobedience
would end the domination of democracy by corporate and military
power. The powers that be took Martin Luther King seriously.
They dealt with him in Memphis.
years after Memphis, we know that the government
that now honors Dr. King with a national holiday also killed
him. As will once again become evident when the Justice
Department releases the findings of its "limited
re-investigation" into King's death, the government (as a
footsoldier of corporate power) is continuing its cover-up --
just as it continues to do in the closely related murders of
John and Robert Kennedy and Malcolm X.
. . . FULL STORY
Living Systems and Holarchy
All Levels Expressing Their Needs
Living Systems, the Internet and the Human Future
by Elisabet Sahtouris
The problem I encounter most in trying to talk about living systems to
people is our society's failure to understand living systems. Why is it that
our culture, which is made up of people who are alive (so presumably we are
a living system), knows so little about living systems? The answer has to do
with the coincidence of the rise of science and the rise of the Industrial
Revolution, such that our scientific models were all taken from the heady
true that we evolve our technology as we understand more, but our
understanding of life has been limited by the pretense that nature is
complex machinery. We have failed to investigate living systems in their
own right, without the assumption that they are mechanical, until very
self-interest of ordinary people, of local economies and of
nations that aren't represented in the WTO is coming out more
strongly all the time. It's a process of glocalization! That's
exactly how living systems work, with all levels expressing their
needs. It's not about making a choice between having either
healthy local economies or having a healthy world economy.
That's not possible. That would be like your body trying to run
itself at the expense of its organs!
. . . FULL TEXT
Hibakusha Wins in
Claims of Thousands of Nuclear
Victims of the World Justified
On July 18, 2000, the Supreme Court of Japan dismissed the
final appeal of the defendant, the Minister of Health and
Welfare, on the Nagasaki A-bomb Matsuya Lawsuit. The court
reconfirmed the Nagasaki District Court and the Fukuoka
High Court rulings that Hideko Matsuya's disability was
caused by radiation from the atomic bomb and ordered the
Ministry to withdraw its rejection of Matsuya's application
for official recognition of her disabilities as A-bomb induced.
Matsuya's victory was made possible by the nationwide support
she has received.
As the first ruling of
the Supreme Court, this judgment holds great international
significance. It gives strong impact supporting the claims
of not only A-bomb victims, but also nuclear victims all over
the world on their deaths and suffering caused by nuclear
tests, weapons development/production and accidents at
nuclear-related facilities. With this decision addressing
properly the reality of long-distance A-bomb victims and
pointing out the unreasonableness of the process by which
official recognition was granted, the very ground for
governments' denial to providing compensation to these
nuclear victims has now been lost.
. . . FULL STORY
Abolition 2000 Report Card
Annual Progress toward a Nuclear-Free World
For the last four years, we have issued an Abolition 2000
report card assessing progress toward a nuclear weapons free
world. Five years after the Abolition Statement was released
at the UN, we take stock of the state of the Nuclear World,
and of efforts to abolish nuclear weapons.
. . . FULL STORY
Japan maps out path
to nuclear-free world
Japan has proposed a road map for eliminating
the world's nuclear arsenal in a draft resolution
submitted to the disarmament committee of the UN
Millennium General Assembly. The Japanese government
worked on the draft resolution -- titled "A path to
the total elimination of nuclear weapons" -- following a
commitment the world's nuclear-armed nations made at the U.N.
nuclear nonproliferation conference last May to eliminate their
nuclear arsenals as an "unequivocal undertaking."
. . . FULL STORY
Shell to face US lawsuit
for Saro-Wiwa execution
Anglo-Dutch oil company fails to have
a multi-million pound civil claim by Nigerian emigres
thrown out by N.Y. appeal court
Allegations that the oil multinational Shell aided and abetted the torture
and murder of Nigerian activists including the executed writer Ken
Saro-Wiwa will be tested by a full jury trial in New York, after the oil
company's attempts to have the case thrown out were rejected.
will also stand accused of orchestrating a series of raids by the
Nigerian military on villages in the Ogoni region that left more than
1,000 people dead and 20,000 homeless.
and eight others were arrested in 1994 after a fatal attack on
former leaders of their Movement for the Survival of Ogoni People (Mosop).
In a case that shocked the world, and was widely reported to be a legal
farce, they were found guilty of the murders by military tribunal and
executed in November 1995.
the case of the "Ogoni Nine", as they became known, has come back to
haunt the Dutch and British owners of Shell Nigeria.
The lawsuit was lodged by the Center for Constitutional Rights in New York
on behalf of three Nigerian emigrs to the US, including Saro-Wiwa's
brother Dr Owens Wiwa, and a woman identified as "Jane Doe" to protect her
claims could run to tens of millions of pounds in damages against
the oil company. "We believe Shell facilitated Saro-Wiwa's execution,"
said Jenny Green, of the Center for Constitutional Rights, after the
judgment. "We believe there is a basis in US law to hold Shell
. . . FULL STORY
No Longer Afraid
For Nigerian activist Sowore Omoyele,
democracy is worth the risk
As a 10-year-old boy, Sowore watched as a battalion of 300
military police attacked and ransacked his village. During
the raid the soldiers arrested his half-brothers and their
mother, and raped his 17-year-old cousin.
was in front of her and they did this. I saw it happen,"
he recalls. "That night I silently promised myself that when
I grew up I was going to fight back." Nigeria's ruling clique
had gained a resourceful and stubborn young foe.
if stubbornness means standing against the authorities
that occupy the political space illegally, I think I can
describe myself as a stubborn person," Sowore acknowledges
with a smile. "It is just a matter of not allowing the
threats, the intimidation, the attempt on my life to stop me
from carrying on with what I think is desirable for the good
of my people. I am no longer afraid."...
honestly, I think the situation in Africa is grossly
underreported in the U.S.A. But I think all of us who believe in
pulling Africa out of the woods have a duty to enlighten
people in this part of the world. There are well-intentioned
people in the United States who, if they have adequate
information, can put pressure on policymakers to encourage
democracy in Nigeria."...
is the most potent force in the hands of those who
wish to maintain power," he offers. "It allows them to
silence dissent. I think I owe the public a duty to talk
about my experience because the more we expose them, the
weaker they become."
. . . FULL TEXT
Campaign to Stop Torture:
Action Stops Torture AND
Int'l Campaign Against Torture
at a Crossroads -
New Ways Forward
by Tim Cohen-Mitchell
From time immemorial to the Middle Ages, from
the Great Depression to the inflation-riddled 1970's, communities
across the globe have put their ingenuity to work in designing
their own monetary systems when existing ones falter or no longer
serve their needs or values.
Today, community currencies
are again on the move. With the marked shift toward economic
globalization and the decline in community cohesion has come
a new generation of monetary systems created not by central bankers
but by communities.
. . . FULL STORY
Saying No To Power
by William Mandel
is on how the American people, in all its segments individually and
jointly, young and old, female and male, home-owners and renters, those
who work for wages and salaries and those who are or think of themselves
as do the self-employed; well or poorly educated; white, Black, Latino,
Asian-American, Native American, the "normal" and the disabled, have
learned to defend their own interests in the past century and to gain
improvements in their status. That includes staying out and getting out
of wars, and attaining necessary objectives outside our country by
peaceful means and even when military means are unavoidable.
. . . TEXT
Echoes of Vietnam
by Rachel Massey
Proponents of the "war on drugs" would like us to believe that
the more acres of South American countryside we spray with
herbicides, the fewer North American children will fall prey to
drug pushers. But studies show that herbicide spray campaigns are
ineffective at stemming the flow of drugs. So long as there is a
demand for drugs, someone somewhere will supply them. Therefore
crop eradication programs simply waste tax dollars. Furthermore,
a 1999 report by the U.S. General Accounting Office (GAO), a
federal agency, concluded that crop eradication efforts to date have
failed. According to the GAO, the U.S. State
Department escalated its support for aerial spray campaigns in
1996, and during the 1997-98 period, over 100,000 hectares
(254,000 acres) of the Colombian countryside were sprayed. But
during this same period, net coca cultivation in Colombia increased 50
. . . FULL STORY
Columbia Military Aid
From The Private Sector
[T]he Clinton administration quietly has hired [MPRI,] a
high-level group of former U.S. military personnel whose
job far exceeds the narrow focus of the drug war....
the hiring of MPRI was approved by Congress, it raises
serious questions about the propriety of U.S. intervention in the affairs of a
sovereign state, of American civilians participating in a foreign war, and
whether the United States can guarantee the Colombian military will not
misuse the assistance it receives from MPRI....
and the Pentagon both denied requests by the Times to review the MPRI
contract, which is renewable each year. MPRI spokesman Ed Soyster, a retired
Army lieutenant general and former director of the Defense Department's
Defense Intelligence Agency, compared the need for secrecy in Colombia with
the need for secrecy in Vietnam. I was in Vietnam, I wouldn't
want to tell you about my operation," he
said. "If the enemy knows about it, he can counter it."
. . . FULL STORY
Medical Irradiation and Human Health
A Series from The X-rays and Health Project
Featuring the new book, Radiation from
in the Pathogenesis of Cancer and Ischemic Heart Disease
8 Key Points: Your Stake
in the Patients'
Right-to-Know about X-Rays
Radiation from Medical Procedures
(699 pages) provides the first powerful evidence that the U.S. population's
accumulated exposure to medical x-rays is a necessary co-actor in causing over
half the deaths from cancer, and over half the deaths also from ischemic
(coronary) heartdisease. Since the study's publication in November 1999, no
one has shown that it overestimates the impact of x-rays in causing cancer
and coronary heart disease. Some people say "it must be an overestimate,"
but they have never shown how. Some of the critics have never even looked at
The right time to start action on the "Doses Down Now"
policy is today, because achievements in your locality can benefit
your family and your community within 18-24 months, without waiting for
statewide or nationwide success. Any locality can get its x-ray doses down,
regardless of how slowly other regions might make progress. The "Doses
Down Now" policy is a proven way to prevent some of the cancer problem,
not a "maybe."
. . . FULL STORY
Fear and Patients' Right-
Deserving Public Response
The goal of the X-Rays and Health Project (XaHP) is to reduce
the x-ray dose per x-ray procedure, to the minimum level
consistent with obtaining the medical and dental benefits. The
reason for dose-reduction is that x-rays increase the risk of
consequential mutations, even when each x-ray exposure occurs
at low doses....
our opinion, a medical degree confers an especially strong
duty to examine evidence bearing on life and death very
carefully, before urging anyone to ignore it.
that persons with such a degree hear about a new
study whose conclusion is that millions of future cases of
cancer and coronary heart disease could be prevented by
reducing x-ray dosage per x-ray procedure. Such a benefit would
hardly be trivial! Without examining and refuting the new
evidence, can physicians ethically urge anyone to ignore it?
What about the very great harm that such advice may cause?
. . . FULL STORY
The Patients' Right-to-Know Policy Statement
Taking Control of Our Lives
Freedom and Sovereignty
NOAM CHOMSKY SETS THE CONTEXT
These issues go back centuries, back to the earliest modern
democratic revolutions in 17th century England and in
the North American colonies a century later. In both cases,
the Democrats were defeated -- not completely and certainly not
permanently by any means.
17th century England, much of the population did not
want to be ruled by either king or parliament.... As their
pamphlets put it, they wanted to be governed "by countrymen like
ourselves that know our wants," not by "knights and gentlemen
[that] make us laws, that are chosen for fear and do but oppress
us, and do not know the people's sores."
same ideas animated the rebellious farmers of the
colonies a century later. But the constitutional system was
designed quite differently. It was designed to block that
heresy. The goal was, "to protect the minority
of the opulent from the majority" and to
ensure that "the country is governed by those who own it."
Those are the words of the leading framer, James
Madison, and the president of the Continental Congress and first
Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, John Jay.
Their conception prevailed but the conflicts continued. They
continually take new forms. They are alive right now.
However, elite doctrine remains essentially unchanged.
forwarding to the 20th century -- I'll keep here to the
sort of liberal progressive side of the spectrum; it's harsher
on the other side. The population are regarded as "ignorant and
meddlesome outsiders" whose role is to be "spectators," not
"participants," apart from periodic opportunities to choose among
the representatives of private power. These are what are
called elections. In elections, public opinion is considered
essentially irrelevant if it conflicts with the demands
of the minority of the opulent who own the country. We're seeing
that right now in fact.
. . . . FULL TEXT
by Robert McChesney
It's very important to understand that the rise
of a global commercial media system, dominated by a handful of
corporations, is a mandatory and necessary part of the global
neo-liberal economic project. It's not just a coincidence that
they happen at the same time. It is not a fluke. It's a
mandatory part for several reasons.
you need to have a global commercial media market to
establish global markets for consumer goods. That means
advertising over television. That's a relatively recent
phenomenon. That's the hallmark, in fact, of this emerging
global media system that I'm going to be talking about.
commercial media is ideal at spreading a certain type of
consumer ideology that is highly conducive to the type of
world that is being built in the name of neo-liberalism and
globalization. This ideology
is one that is fundamentally depoliticizing and demoralizing
and anti-democratic in any fundamental respect...
Part of the neo-liberal project is a
deregulation of ownership restrictions and requirements and
public service requirements on media across the world in
various nations. This deregulation has opened up the
possibility for capitalists to move in and get larger and
larger and larger in ways that were simply illegal ten or
twenty years ago in the United States as well as most
nations in the world....
The struggle to
democratize our media, to reclaim our
culture, has to be a mandatory part of our broader struggle to
democratize our societies. It is simply inescapable. That's why
in our organizing activities we have got to organize around
issues of opening up our media by breaking up these big
companies, preserving non-profit and non-commercial spaces, and
making them healthy, viable and dominant in our society.
. . . FULL TEXT
Australian academic Alex Carey once wrote that "the twentieth
century has been characterized by three developments of great
political importance: the growth of democracy, the growth of
corporate power, and the growth of corporate propaganda as a means
of protecting corporate power against democracy."
societies like ours, corporate propaganda is delivered through
advertising and public relations. Most people recognize that
advertising is propaganda. We understand that whoever paid for and
designed an ad wants us to think or feel a certain way, vote for a
certain candidate, or purchase a certain product. Public
relations, on the other hand, is much more insidious. Because it's
disguised as information, we often don't realize we are being
influenced by public relations....
Mainstream, corporate news media
are dependent on public relations. Half of everything in the news
actually originates from a PR firm. If you're a lazy journalist, editor,
or news director, it's easy to simply regurgitate the dozens of press
releases and stories that come in every day for free from PR firms....
relations is now inseparable from the business of
lobbying, creating public policy, and getting candidates elected to
public office. The PR industry just might be the single most powerful
political institution in the world. It expropriates and exploits the
democratic rights of millions on behalf of big business by fooling the
public about the issues....
industry perverts democracy. We try to
help citizens and journalists learn about how they're being lied to,
manipulated, and too often defeated by sophisticated PR campaigns. The
public-relations industry is a little like the invisible man in that old
Claude Rains movie: crimes are committed, but no one can see the
perpetrator. At PR Watch,
we try to paint the invisible manipulators
with bright orange paint. Citizens in a democracy need to know who and
what interests are manipulating public opinion and policy, and how.
Democracies work best without invisible men.
. . . FULL TEXT
The Mythology of
and Contemporary Crisis
of Public Broadcasting
Unfortunately, one central and arguably fatal core problem
exists for public broadcasting: how to coexist with a
capitalist political economy. To some extent this problem is
similar to the tension between participatory democracy and
capitalism. Democracy works best with minimal social inequality
and when people regard the common good as important to their
own well being. But these are two traits the market strongly
discourages. As a rule of thumb, the more egalitarian a
capitalist society, the more responsive and viable its public
stimulates much of the creation of a global media market
is the growth of commercial advertising worldwide, especially
by transnational firms. Advertising tends to be conducted by
large firms operating in oligopolistic markets. With the
increasing globalization of the world economy, advertising has
come to play a crucial role for the few hundred firms that
The corporate media,
with their great wealth and control of access to the mass of
people, are notorious for the leverage they wield over
politicians. It was no surprise, then, in September, 1997, when
the Wall Street Journal declared that the U.S.
commercial broadcasting industry could "claim the crown" as
"the most powerful lobby in Washington.". . . A
key part of this political strength is
reflected in the broadcasters' expert use of public relations.
Indeed, the U.S. broadcast and advertising industries were
arguably the two industries that first developed the art of
"spin" in its modern form during the 1930s, as a way of
smashing their opponents and gaining favorable legislation and
the US Supreme Court considered in
1942 whether advertising should be protected by the First
Amendment from government regulation, the Court
voted 9-0 against the proposition. But
in the past 30 years, that has begun to change--to no small
extent because of the sheer commercialization of culture, as
the market began its spread into every nook and cranny of
social life. When commercialism penetrates everything, and when
noncommercial public life diminishes or merges with
commercialism, the capacity to distinguish between the two is
our time, the emergence of this gigantic, domineering
corporate media system augurs a moment of truth for the First
Amendment and its protection of a free press. Are corporations
the same as people? Do shareholders and executives at
corporations--clearly driven by law to maximize profit
regardless of the social implications--possess the
unconditional right to censor media content? Should investors
be granted the First Amendment right to select and censor
journalists when they have no more concern for the press per se
than they have for any other potentially profitable investment?
Is it right that this capacity to censor be restricted to the
very wealthiest Americans, or their hired hands? How does one
distinguish what speech is necessary for politics--and
thereby absolutely protected by the First Amendment--when it
seems that all speech is increasingly concerned only with
commercial gain, and political democracy is not even a
prerequisite for its existence? And if the First Amendment does
in fact absolutely protect the corporate media, by what logic
should it not also protect corporate advertisers, or food
manufacturers, or commerce in general?...
What is necessary, now more than ever, is to organize on media
issues among the broader population with the aim of expanding
the range of what is possible in Washington and everywhere
else. The key strategic move is to locate those segments of the
citizenry -- preferably the ones already organized, at least
for starters -- that would benefit by a healthy public
broadcasting system and a more democratic media setup. In the
United States, that includes civil rights groups, education and
library groups, children's advocates, journalists, progressive
religious organizations, and organized labor -- especially
organized labor. The participation of labor, due to its size,
its influence, and its historic activism, is absolutely
critical if media reform is to ever become a viable prospect
anywhere in the world.
. . . FULL TEXT
Trashing of the Arctic:
Toxins Destroying Inuits'
Lands, Health and Lives
As we put our babies to our breasts we are feeding them a
noxious, toxic cocktail," said Sheila Watt-Cloutier, a 47-year-old grandmother
who is president of the Inuit Circumpolar Conference. "When women have to thinktwice about breast-feeding their babies, surely that must be a wake-up call to
to the Quebec Health Center, a concentration of 1,052 parts per
billion of PCBs has been found in Arctic women's milk fat. This compares to a
reading of 7,002 in polar bear fat, 1,002 ppb in whale blubber, 527 ppb in seal
blubber, and 152 ppb in fish. The United States Environmental Protection Agencysafety standard for edible poultry, by contrast, is 3 ppb, and in fish, 2 ppb.
At 50 ppb, soil is often considered to be hazardous waste.
. . . FULL STORY
The New Terminators:
A Guide to the
by Bruce Johansen
Anti-sovereignty efforts are not new. They are as old as the colonization
of Turtle Island itself. When John Fleming, Skagit Valley Republican,
persuaded Washington State Republicans to adopt a resolution advocating
the dissolution of reservation governments in their election-year platform
late last spring, the action evoked memories of Andrew Jackson, the Trail
of Tears, and 1950s-era termination efforts. . . .
Fleming is a prototype of the newest wave of termination advocates --
reservation landowners who complain that they are being treated as an
oppressed minority. Members of these groups reject the notion of
semi-sovereign Native nations, as they reject nearly two centuries of
legal precedent in the United States which began with the landmark
Supreme Court rulings of Chief Justice John Marshall in the Cherokee
cases of the 1830s.
. . . FULL STORY