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Date: Sun, 01 Jun 2003 17:45:23 -0400
Subject: COPA Needs Your Support This Year
COPA has an ambitious agenda on this triple anniversary year, but we need your help to carry it off. Here's why:
"Who Killed the Dreamer?"
Our Memphis conference in April, though small, was a success. We were given a special place in the April 4th Foundation's annual commemorative march to honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his civil rights struggle in Memphis, where he met his death. Our events were mentioned from the podium to an audience of over 6,000 young and adult African-Americans at a rally held at Union Temple Church, where Dr. King gave his last sermon. Our speakers included Dr. William Pepper, Esq. and Lloyd Garrison, Esq., the attorneys who conducted the civil trial that finally brought the real evidence in King's murder into court. Clay Carson, who is the archivist for the King Papers Project at Stanford University invited researchers to submit documentary evidence for the 14th volume of the collection, which will focus on the assassination. Attendees at the Organization of American Historians annual conference were presented with a display of assassination books, as well as information about our regional meeting, and some attended. T Carter and Lyndon Barsten presented exhaustively documented new research concerning James Earl Ray's military background and movements, indicating he might have been a victim of government experimentation long before being set up as the patsy in the killing of Dr. King. Jerry Ray's new attorney, Barry Bachrach updated us on efforts to re-test the alleged murder rifle, which is now property of the National Civil Rights Museum in the old Lorraine Motel where King was shot. The exhibit has expanded to include the rooming house, thus memorializing a second false sniper's nest at the site of an assassination. Unfortunately, the actual location of the gunman has been graded and destroyed, and re-creation of the crime would now be extremely difficult.
Our upcoming regional meeting from June 6-8 in Los Angeles will commemorate the 35th anniversary of the Robert F. Kennedy murder at the Ambassador Hotel. We will be holding our presentations and staying at the nearby Radisson Hotel on Wilshire Blvd. Speakers will include William Turner, Lawrence Teeter, Esq., Paul Schrade, Philip Melanson, Jim DiEugenio, Lisa Pease, Dr. David Mantik and others, presenting the history and latest evidence in the case. We have also secured a COPA group rate at a special dance performance on Saturday, June 7, 8:00 pm at the Ambassador Hotel (reserve at www.collagedancetheatre.org). This event is co-sponsored by Citizens for the Truth About the Kennedy Assassinations.
"And We Are All Mortal"
June 10 will mark the 40th Anniversary of the famous graduation speech, given by President John F. Kennedy at American University, calling for an end to the cold war and the nuclear arms race between the US and the USSR. COPA will hold its third anniversary event at 12:00 noon at the special plaque on campus that honors the event. (Southwest corner of the campus, at the south end of the football field). We have invited Rep. Dennis Kucinich to speak, as well as the campus chaplain. Kennedy's call for something other than a "Pax Americana," just months before his assassination, has a special resonance today. AU campus is at Ward Circle - Massachusetts and Nebraska Ave., NW.
"Four Decades of Deceit - JFK, MLK, RFK, Why?"
This November will also see the 40th anniversary of the murder of John F. Kennedy in Dallas. COPA will be holding its annual regional meeting from November 21-23 at Dallas's Hotel Lawrence, near Dealey Plaza At the same time, we are co-sponsoring a conference in Pittsburgh, PA, and we will be video-conferencing as much as we can of key events there. We will hold our annual Moment of Silence on the Grassy Knoll as well at 12:30 pm on November 22. Our speakers are still being lined up, but will include Ronnie Dugger, Paris Flammonde, Bill Kelly, Philip Melanson, Joe Biel and others.
From November 20-22 at the Cyril H. Wecht Institute of Forensic Science and Law, located at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, a special forum will be held on the forensic issues in the JFK assassination. Highlight speakers will include Senator Arlen Specter, Dr. Cyril H. Wecht, Dr. Michael Baden, Dr. Gary Aguilar, Mark Lane, Judge John Tunheim, Robert Tannenbaum, Josiah Thompson, David Wrone, Joan Mellon, Walt Brown, John Newman, and Zachary Sklar. (Reservation and schedule information will be posted at www.forensics.duq.edu.)
COPA's recent work
In addition, COPA has continued to push for full release of records to the JFK collection and assisted with research into the files at National Archives II. T Carter continues work to get legislation introduced that will release all files on the life and death of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. She helped to draft a bill that was put into the record at the last minute by outgoing Rep. Cynthia McKinney. We are currently seeking serious sponsors for the bill in this Congress among the Congressional Black Caucus. The bill will have the support of former HSCA members Walter Fauntroy and Bob Edgar, Jesse Jackson, Jr. and Martin Luther King III, among others.
Due to the growing interest in the real events of September 11, 2001 and their authorship, sparked by a call in November that year by Peter Dale Scott at our regional meeting. COPA co-founder John Judge created the Independent Network of Deep Politics Researchers, to share pertinent information on 9/11 from published and online sources with other researchers. (See www.ratical.org for a posting of those articles). This has recently grown into the establishment of the 9/11 CitizensWatch, co-founded by John Judge and Kyle Hence, an activist who has worked tirelessly to raise the unanswered questions of that event. This watchdog group is performing a function similar to COPA's role with the JFK Assassination Records Review Board, working to influence the course of the official investigation of the new National Commission on Terrorist Acts Upon the United States. (See www.911citizenswatch.org for information and links).
COPA has also supported independent efforts to re-inter JFK's remains for forensic examination, and to petition for a new Grand Jury examination of the murder. Researcher Bill Kelly is working on presenting a mock grand jury hearing at our Dallas event. COPA members have explored compiling a tabloid-style newsprint edition of the latest evidence in the assassinations to alert the public of the need to resolve these cases.
We need you
COPA was created by and for the research community. Since our 1998 National Conference, COPA has run on a very minimal budget, holding regional meetings that barely financed the next year's event, with many costs paid out of pocket by the organizers. Given our broader agenda this year, which includes four separate meetings in as many cities, and our plan to link the Pittsburgh and Dallas conferences by video, we cannot hope to accomplish all this without your support. A few donors made the Memphis conference a success, however our resources following the conference could not pay for a full mailing to announce the rest of the events. COPA recently reopened a small bank account for donations, but we are struggling to meet the costs of the LA conference already.
COPA cannot exist without you. Please make as generous a donation as you can to our work today. Just send a check to COPA, P.O. Box 772, Washington, DC 20044. Donations to COPA are not tax-deductible. We hope to see you at one or more of this year's events. Please help us make them happen.