FBI surveillance of Martin Luther King had its upside?

FBI tracked King's every move

(CNN) -- FBI wiretaps have "given us the most powerful and persuasive source of all for seeing how utterly selfless Martin Luther King was," as a civil rights leader, according to a leading civil rights scholar.

The FBI's interest in King intensified after the March on Washington in 1963, witnessed by more than 200,000.

1 of 2 "You see him being intensely self-critical. King really and truly believed that he was there to be of service to others. This was not a man with any egomaniacal joy of being a famous person, or being a leader," said Pulitzer Prize-winning scholar David Garrow in a recent interview with CNN.

Hoping to prove that Martin Luther King, Jr., was under the influence of Communists, the FBI kept the civil rights leader under constant surveillance.

The agency's hidden tape recorders turned up almost nothing about communism.

But they did reveal embarrassing details about King's sex life -- details the FBI was able to use against him.


David Garrow says Pepper's evidence is "Bullshit"

The Assassin's Name Is James Earl Ray
Published: April 2, 1997


Surreal -- as well as sad -- hardly even begins to describe this scene last week at the state prison in Nashville where Mr. Ray is serving his sentence. Dexter Scott King's conduct is so misinformed and irresponsible that it threatens to betray his father's legacy.

Content Is King
Dexter King is a King for the '90s.

By David Plotz
Posted Sunday, March 16, 1997, at 3:30 AM ET


Dexter says the family has always doubted that Ray was the killer, and he cites "compelling new evidence" of Ray's innocence collected by Ray attorney William Pepper. Biographer Garrow, himself a student of the assassination, calls Pepper's evidence "complete, utter, hilarious bullshit. ... The fact that Dexter and Mrs. King take Pepper seriously is sad."

Third Inquiry Affirms Others: Ray Alone Was King's Killer
Published: March 28, 1998


"This report once again conclusively depicts how the conspiracy theories being put forward by Mr. Pepper on behalf of James Earl Ray are demonstrably false," David Garrow, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of books on Dr. King and the civil rights movement, said. "When the same people over and over again have put forward accusations that time and time again are disproven, at some point serious journalists and historians should stop responding."

Shadows of Death and Secrets Lengthen in King Assassination Case
Published: February 20, 1997


Another close student of the King assassination, David J. Garrow, the author of "Bearing the Cross," a King biography that won a Pulitzer Prize, contends that "98 percent of what has come out in recent years about the King killing, especially this stuff from Pepper, has absolutely no worth."

From William Pepper's "An Act of State" (p 86)

In fact, the paper [NYTimes] subsequently published an op-ed piece by David Garrow viciously attacking Dexter (King) and the family, alleging the had betrayed Dr. King's legacy. For nearly a generation now, Garrow has surfaced whenever there is a move to open up the case. Though an historian who has written extensively on the FBI COINTELPRO activities against Martin, he has never himself investigated the assassination but is one of a long list of publicists who have vigorously supported the government's position.

KPFA's Guns and Butter with Bonnie Faulkner

An Act of State with William Pepper, author of "An Act of State: The Assassination of Martin Luther King", his second book on the King case. William Pepper was a close political associate of Dr. King's in the last year of his life. Pepper represented James Earl Ray on appeal of his conviction for the murder of Dr. King. This presentation was given in Long Beach, California in January 2003, after the publication of the book. Part Two continues Pepper's presentation, and concludes with a 45 minute question and answer session.

May 31, 2006 - Part 1
(57:59 Min - 16 Meg)

June 6, 2006 - Part 2
(56:29 Min - 16 Meg)

* source = http://www.kpfa.org

An Act of State: The Execution of Martin Luther King, New and Updated Edition
By William F. Pepper

Product Description

The definitive account of the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr, published on the 40th anniversary of his death.

Martin Luther King, Jr. was the most powerful and eloquent champion of the poor and oppressed in US history, and at the height of his fame in the mid-sixties seemed to offer the real possibility of a new and radical beginning for liberal politics in the USA. In 1968, he was assassinated; the movement for social and economic change has never recovered.

The conviction of James Earl Ray for his murder has never looked even remotely safe, and when William Pepper began to investigate the case it was the start of a twenty-five year campaign for justice. At a civil trial in 1999, supported by the King family, seventy witnesses under oath set out the details of the conspiracy Pepper had unearthed: the jury took just one hour to find that Ray was not responsible for the assassination, that a wide-ranging conspiracy existed, and that government agents were involved.

An Act of State lays out the extraordinary facts of the King story—of the huge groundswell of optimism engendered by his charismatic radicalism, of how plans for his execution were laid at the very heart of government and the military, of the disinformation and media cover-ups that followed every attempt to search out the truth. As shocking as it is tragic, An Act of State remains the most compelling and authoritative account of how King's challenge to the US establishment led inexorably to his murder.

Back Cover:

"For a quarter of a century, Bill Pepper conducted an independent investigation of the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. He opened his files to our family, encouraged us to speak with the witnesses, and represented our family in the civil trial against the conspirators. The jury affirmed his findings, providing our family with a long-sought sense of closure and peace, which had been denied by official disinformation and cover-ups. Now the findings of his exhaustive investigation and additional revelations from the trial are presented in the pages of this important book. We recommend it highly to everyone who seeks the truth about Dr. King's assassination."

-Coretta Scott King

"No one has done more than Dr. William F. Pepper to keep alive the quest for the truth concerning the violent death of Martin Luther King who in courageous and important words once said 'The greatest purveyor of violence on earth is my own government.' In An Act of State, Bill Pepper argues that very government violence was turned on America's greatest prophet of non-violent change."

-Ramsey Clark, US Attorney General, 1967-69