Above is the video of me confronting Matt Rothschild, then-Editor of The Progressive magazine, asking why he is hiding the truth about who really killed Martin Luther King Jr. and why. Below is a transcript of my interview with William Pepper, the King family attorney, who won a civil lawsuit proving the US government killed Dr. King.
So…happy MLK Day! I’m ready for the revolution whenever you are.
William Pepper solves the murder of Martin Luther King, Jr. – the government did it, the media’s covering it up
Recorded for Kevin Barrett’s Truth Jihad Radio Jan. 15, 2017 – a big thank-you to Charley for the transcription!
Dr Kevin Barrett: Welcome to Truth Jihad Radio, the radio show that’s actually an all-out struggle for truth. I’m Kevin Barrett, bringing on great guests talking about the most important stories that you’re not likely to hear about in the mainstream media. One of the most important stories in the history of the last century is the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King. And we have one man, more than anyone else, to thank for getting the truth about that incredibly important event out to the world. And that man is my guest William Pepper. William Pepper has been on this case for decades. He was a friend of Dr. King. It’s a long story, admirably summarized in his new book The Plot to Kill King, which is an update of his previous two books, Act Of State, and…what was the first one?
Dr. William Pepper: Orders to Kill.
Dr Kevin Barrett: Orders To Kill. Yeah, I have a copy. Milwaukee Public Library, discard copy of that. Anyway, this new book, The Plot to Kill King, is pretty much a definitive statement. It’s a brilliant piece of work, one of the all-time great historical pieces of detective work. So it’s an honor to have William Pepper on the show. Welcome, Bill. How are you?
Dr. William Pepper: Thank you. Thank you Kevin. I’m fine. I’m pleased to be with you.
Dr Kevin Barrett: It’s quite amazing, isn’t it, when we start looking beneath the surface of some of these history-changing events, what we find crawling around underneath.
Dr. William Pepper: It certainly is. In fact, this work and the Robert Kennedy one, which I agreed to represent Sirhan on, has made me cognizant of the fact that political assassination has been one of the major change agents throughout all of history—to such an extent that I think I’ll work on an analysis of political assassinations in history. I’m staggered by the social, economic, and political, changes that have resulted from the removal of leaders and dissidents at various times in human history going back, of course, well before the Crucifixion of Christ. So it’s worth considering in a broader scope. And of course in our lifetimes we’ve experienced a number of assassinations. The killing of Martin Luther King was a seminal event in terms of a negative impact of our way of life.
Dr Kevin Barrett: When I was being attacked by the mainstream media as a 9/11 truth researcher and soon to be ex-professor, I was attacked partly for having mentioned that I thought these political assassinations of the ‘60’s, notably the Kennedys and Dr. King, were obviously not done by lone nuts as we were told. I responded to their attacks by saying something like:
Well, call me a ‘conspiracy theorist,’ but I don’t think Julius Caesar was stabbed by a lone nut.”
It’s obvious that there are so many motives for power players to kill people in political assassinations. And yet we have this orthodoxy that it’s always a lone nut. And even people as smart as Noam Chomsky tell us: “Oh, it doesn’t really matter whether the Kennedys or King or anybody like that lives or dies. It’s all a big distraction and we should just accept the official story.” And he says similarly idiotic things about 9/11 and other false flags. How could someone like Chomsky not get it?
Dr. William Pepper: Well, I think Chomsky gets it. I think he just refuses to acknowledge it. And whatever his particular reasons are, he just will not deal with the truth when it comes to certain issues. Political assassination is one. I’ve had more than one conversation with him and it’s been somewhat embarrassing, because he clearly knows more than he’s willing to admit, for whatever reason. He and a lot of Left thinkers go only so far. And activists even. And broadcasters and political figures also go just so far, and they won’t go any further, and that’s a matter of great frustration. Because you then are coming up against (censorship) not only in the mainstream media but also in the progressive media, which itself is serving the cause of injustice.
Dr Kevin Barrett: Well, and I think there might be a number of reasons for that. One of them is that people in supposed opposition groups can actually have their career skids greased by cooperating with the authorities and the bad guys. You have some pretty awful information in your book about heroes of the Left like Jesse Jackson and Ralph Abernathy. These people are seen as dissidents, but they got their public position by cooperating nefariously with the other side. And I imagine that there’s quite a lot of that in the so-called alternative media.
Dr. William Pepper: Yeah. I think that’s certainly the case. And the cooperation I think is in many ways worse, and more deceitful, because a lot of these people pretend to be something they’re not. They serve the existing ruling class and the ruling forces in a much more insidious way than the mainstream media does. So that’s difficult to overcome. And that’s why people like you, Kevin, and the work that you do and the broadcasting that you do, is in many ways a voice in the wilderness—and sometimes in the darkness. But it’s very important to keep your work going with respect to these events.
Dr Kevin Barrett: Well, it’s interesting that even though one’s career skids may not be as greased by doing honest work on these issues, in a way it’s easier to actually have an honorable and moderately prominent position by just being honest. Because it’s shocking how few people are doing this—how little competition there is. I’m sure you’ve noticed this in your work on Dr. King. Martin Luther King is so lionized; there are streets named after him in every city. We honor his memory every year. And yet, how many people out there really have been trying to get to the truth about what happened to him? So you kind of had an opening there because, who else had that kind of courage and tenacity and really wanted to do it?
Dr. William Pepper: Well, Kevin, it became a slippery slope for me. I didn’t intend to do this. When they killed Martin and eventually arrested James Earl Ray, I thought they had the right guy. That was my naiveté, right? I didn’t question that. And it was really nine years later when (Ralph) Abernathy asked me—for his own reasons, for his own purposes, by the way—asked me to go up to the prison and interrogate Ray, with him present, and put him through his story, that I began to question the official account. Because for the first time over a very stressful period of five hours, James Earl Ray had to deal with a lot of hard questions. And he did so in a way that raised issues in my mind. So I then said: well, maybe I’ll begin to look into this a little more. And I started making these trips clandestinely to Memphis and talking to people and looking at this. But this was nine years after the fact when I started around 1977, ’78. It was really ‘78 when I began. And the more I got into it, the more I realized that we were not being told the truth. That there was a cover-up. That James Earl Ray…we all believed, in that room, when I finished with him at Horse Shoe Mountain Penitentiary, we all believed at that point in time that he was not the shooter. That became pretty clear. But what we didn’t know was what role he might have played, what knowing role he might have played. So as I would visit him, continually, from ’78, onward in prison, he kept asking me to represent him. And I just refused. I said:
We know you weren’t the shooter. But I don’t know the role you might have played. So I can’t take you on as a client and really represent you until I’m sure you had no knowing involvement in this assassination.”
And that took 10 years. That took 10 years of work, just to clear my own thinking that James Earl Ray was not involved in a knowing way but was a real patsy that had been set up to take the fall. So that’s when I began to represent him, in 1988. And then the focus for a period of years was to try to get him an evidentiary hearing or a new trial. And we took it all the way to the Supreme Court. And we failed, as we are likely to do with Sirhan. We are now in a pending motion for fiduciary for Sirhan with the Supreme Court. And if it wasn’t for an unscripted television trial that was aired in 1993, with a former federal judge and a heavyweight prosecutor before a randomly selected jury from all over the country—we tried this case for 10 days in 1993—if it wasn’t for that trial… It took the Jury 7 ½ hours to come up with a verdict of Not Guilty. Yeah, Not Guilty for James Earl Ray. It took 7 ½ hours with the evidence that we had back then in ‘93. Then the doors started to open and people started to come forward. And that’s when the investigation led to the first book, Orders To Kill, and a good deal of new evidence and information. And of course from ’93 it’s continued. From ‘93 to 2016. (James died in ’98.) But then we held a civil trial that nobody knows about, Kevin, by the way.
Dr Kevin Barrett: Yeah, I’m still having problems with this. There’s a video of me confronting Matt Rothschild, the editor of The Progressive magazine, on Martin Luther King Day a few years back, asking him why, in the talk he had just given at the Spring Street, Wisconsin Public Library, he made no mention of the fact that we have very strong documentation on who really killed King: government people with the mafia. Why don’t you even mention this? And there’s a trial, with a jury verdict supporting this! And he just sort of muttered some vague bromide. I think he said “I’m not sure William Pepper is right about this.”
Dr. William Pepper: Who was this?
Dr Kevin Barrett: Matt Rothschild. He just resigned this year, as the editor of Progressive Magazine. One of the leading left magazines.
Dr. William Pepper: We had this trial in 1999, the year after James died, and I represented the King Family. And we and the King Family sued Lloyd Bowers who had been boxed in clearly as someone who had been involved in the shooting. In fact he was out in the bushes with the shooter and the spotter and took the rifle back into his kitchen in the rear of his grill and broke it down in front of a witness who eventually came forward, 30 years later, and told that story. We tried the case over 30 days, 70 witnesses, and pretty clearly put forward all the evidence that we had up to that point. And that was now, of course, 17 years ago. And it was not covered by the mainstream media. The King family, Coretta, Andy Young and everyone would testify. (The plan was that ) they would stay in the court room. But when the heavy evidence started to come forward, they left. Court TV was supposed to cover it and this was the trial of the century. They were going to cover it, but they didn’t. They only covered it to show up. The mainstream media just shut down with respect to this. The evidence is in the trial transcript and the trial videos. We filmed it. You know, it is still available. And it was staggering but not surprising. By that point in time we realized we were going to be blocked out. Murdoch, at one point, won the auction for the first book, Orders to Kill. I don’t know if people know that. Harper Collins won the auction. And they were going to publish it. They paid a reasonable option fee. And at the last minute, Murdoch instructed the president of his company to talk to me over a telephone conference. I was working in London at the time. And they wanted me to take out one chapter before they would publish the book, and they would make me a millionaire and then I could put the information from that chapter into another book, a subsequent book. But it was going to affect their bottom line to the extent that they couldn’t allow it into this particular publication. And I told them: Why are they in book publishing, if that’s the case? Bottom lines of other entities of the Murdoch Empire were determining what they could publish and what they couldn’t.
Dr Kevin Barrett: Which chapter did they insist on keeping out?
Dr. William Pepper: It was the chapter that dealt with the military. The involvement of the military.
Dr Kevin Barrett: Of course.
Dr. William Pepper: They couldn’t do that. He said he was having problems with 20th Century Fox, with the FCC, and he had some IRS problems. He just couldn’t afford to antagonize the government any more. So they gave me that ultimatum. I actually agonized over it because I know they would have put the book out and they would have done quite well with it. But they were taking out a very important part. It was an integral aspect of the story.
The military didn’t kill Martin King but they were there as backups and they were there as photographers for the purpose of documenting everything that went on.
So I eventually decided that I couldn’t do that. And I walked away from them and went to a small house and of course didn’t get much publicity and was not reviewed at all. In fact a New York Times reviewer slipped at one point and told Carolyn Graff, a PR person, that he had a review ready but he was told to pull it. First time in 25 years. He was told to pull the review. So. So much for that. But that’s the nature of the story. And then the trial. At that trial it took the jury only 59 minutes to find for the King family. This was a Memphis civil case. The evidence was so powerful about the government even at that point. Now 17 years later The Plot To Kill King is the end of the story. That’s it. There’s nothing more that I can or am able to do or need to do with respect to how Martin King was killed. The King family drew a great deal of comfort from the results of the trial but now I think…Coretta died and Ulanda died…and I think the rest of the story would have been devastating to them because I never anticipated learning what I have learned about that assassination and how it actually took place. Who all were involved and who were the traitors to Martin King.
Dr Kevin Barrett: This new book ties up some loose ends from the previous books. If memory serves. I read your books in a different order (from the order they were published). I think I read Orders To Kill, actually, after I had read the previous books. In any case, it’s interesting. It looks like you actually nailed the shooter this time, Frank Strausser. The likely shooter. I don’t think you’d mentioned his name as the shooter, last time I had you on the show.
Dr. William Pepper: No. No I didn’t. I wasn’t sure about that. And not only was I not totally sure, there was a witness who was the key witness against Strausser, so far as I was concerned, and he was still alive. And Strausser showed up at his home every once in a while and parked outside, and some very ominous things occurred whenever the case was being discussed or arose in the public eye. I was afraid they would kill this guy. And so I had to hold back some years on putting forward the details of the shooter. And I had lunch with him, as you know. I cover that in the book. He didn’t eat but I …
Dr Kevin Barrett: I’m surprised you had any appetite.
Dr. William Pepper: I did have the lunch, and it cost me a little bit of money to get him there, because he needed money. And it was an interesting kind of confrontation. But as it turns out he doesn’t know or didn’t know. I don’t know if he knows now. He didn’t know at the time that Martin King wasn’t killed by his bullet. The assassination actually took place in the hospital.
Dr Kevin Barrett: That’s right. And that’s another kind of loose end you tied up. I don’t recall that from the earlier books.
Dr. William Pepper: No, no, no. I learned that very late, that Martin King was alive in the Emergency Room and was killed by the chief of surgery.
Dr Kevin Barrett: Right. That’s very interesting. It reminds me a bit of an interview I did with an author of a book on the assassination of Princess Dianna. (How They Murdered Princess Diana: The Shocking Truth by John Morgan.)
She was actually killed in the ambulance on the way to the hospital. She would clearly have lived had they had not done that. Whereas in the case of Dr. King, it sounds like it was probably a fatal bullet. But they didn’t know that, so they were just going to make sure. The hospital was crawling with feds… Why don’t you go ahead and briefly summarize that?
Dr. William Pepper: Well, the Chief of Surgery at St. Joseph’s Hospital was a doctor called Breen Bland. He was also coincidentally the family doctor for the Dixie Mafia family who worked with Hoover and in particular, directly with Clyde Tolson.
Dr Kevin Barrett: Was that the Adkins Family?
Dr. William Pepper: Yeah, the Adkins Family. Tolson would carry money and instructions into Memphis on a regular basis. He met with the Adkins family and Russell Adkins Sr. who was the head of that Family and who obviously had a longer term relationship with Hoover and with Tolson, and went on two trips with Toleson as the planning (for the King assassination) proceeded. Breen Blatt was the Family doctor for them. And he was at the home a short time before the assassination. And present at that meeting was one of my key witnesses, who was the son of the Dixie Mafia leader, the son of Russell Adkins. Tyler Adkins. Ron Tyler Adkins. And he used to sit in on a lot of these meetings as his father was educating him in the ways of their world from the time he was about six years old when he attended his first lynching. So he came forward and told me of the conversation between his father and Dr. Bland. Bland had said to the father:
“Just make sure if he is not killed by the bullet that you get him to St. Joseph’s Hospital.”
So arrangements were made for him to go to St. Joseph’s “because we’ll make sure he doesn’t leave there alive.” So that was one part of the evidence of Bland’s involvement. And the second of course was this marvelous surgical nurse who was working in the emergency room (who said) Bland came by with two men in suits, and he came into the room and he said:
“Stop working on that nigger and let him die.”
And then shortly thereafter he ordered everyone out of the emergency room. And as they were going out she heard them hacking up phlegm in their mouths. Like (makes that sound). That type of sound. And it caught her attention. And she turned around and looked over her shoulder and saw the three of them spit on the body of Dr. King. And then the catheter was removed from him and Bland took a pillow and suffocated him. Put it over his face and suffocated him. That’s how he ultimately died. Now it’s true that he might not have survived the wound anyway. But he was living. He was there and they just didn’t want to take the chance, obviously, that he could continue alive. So they finished him off right there in the hospital.
Dr Kevin Barrett: And this is important for the same reason that your chapter on the military’s involvement was important in casting light on just how powerful and pervasive and secret these deep state forces are that set up this assassination, and orchestrated it so carefully. It helps us understand a lot about the way these connections work. How these people exercise power. In fact if I were back in the university, teaching a course on the deep state, I would definitely use your book as a textbook case. It helps us understand the mechanisms involved: how these people communicate with each other, what’s their mentality, which groups they’re in. And some of the tangential group affiliations are interesting. You mentioned that the Adkins father is a 32nd degree Freemason. And that strikes me as interesting, in that these Freemasonic groups often seem to be used as cover for criminal activity. And they swear these draconian secrecy oaths. There’s the story of the CIA money laundering, moving heroin money through the Vatican Bank. (See my interview with Paul Williams, author of Operation Gladio, archived at http://noliesradio.org/archives/99787 ) . That was all organized through the P2 Masonic Lodge. It seems that these kinds of secret criminal organizations that form the deep state have particular kinds of connections. Your book illustrates these so perfectly.
Dr. William Pepper: Yes. I think that’s true, and I think what I’m beginning to learn about other assassinations throughout history is that these methods and relationships are duplicated and present time and time again. And yes, Martin King probably would have died, but it’s not clear. It’s not clear that was the case.
But I did ask Cyril Wecht and Michael Baton, two friends, both pathologists, to look at the autopsy report and the wounds. And jointly they believe that he might not have survived that wound because it hit the spine. Or just nicked the spine. But nevertheless they were not going to take any chances, so he was not going to leave the emergency room.
And of course, he didn’t. So that’s staggering. For me it’s a staggering truth. Because we are dealing not just with a political power structure; here, we’re dealing with a profession, and a betrayal of the basic tenets of that profession, which is to save lives and to care and to help and not to kill. And here it’s turned on its head as a senior member of the profession, in that city, was responsible for causing death and not preserving life.
Dr Kevin Barrett: And speaking of betraying oaths and betraying the gist of one’s profession, how about the military and CIA people who were supposed to be defending the country? And the NSA, which is only supposed to be eavesdropping on foreign spies? And yet they tracked down James Earl Ray, illegally and unconstitutionally. And the FBI, and the international police. Their job is to work against crime and enforce the law, not work with organized crime and systematically violate the law. The level of gross maleficence and dereliction of duty involved here is mind-boggling.
Dr. William Pepper: Yes. Yes it is. And the interrelationships as well, of course are staggering. And the ruling forces of the society use all of these agencies and powers of government, ultimately, to perpetuate their own rule, their own special interests and their own brand of autocracy, which now appears to be, with this regime change orientation of particularly the current administration, now seems to be attempting to go worldwide, in terms of influence and domination.
Dr Kevin Barrett: One of the other professions that has completely gone AWOL and violated every tenet of its ideals and its real purpose is journalism and publishing. You get into this at the very end of this book. You have a section on disinformation, covering all of the nonsense that’s been written and the deliberate lies about this assassination. It’s quite ironic, isn’t it, that (Gerald) Posner, the go-to guy for those trying to support the lone nut theory of these 60’s assassinations, has now been revealed as a crass plagiarist. He just lifts things. So, please summarize the disinformation chapter.
Dr. William Pepper: With respect to this case, it started virtually immediately with Gerald Frank’s book (An American Death). And of course, local newspaper and magazine articles were put out demonizing James Earl Ray. And the disinformation continued, right from the beginning, 1968 – ’69, all the way up to the present time. And there was a more recent book put out by a well-regarded liberal broadcaster: Tavis Smiley. And he put out this book on the killing of King (Death of a King). And of course he never bothered to called me and speak with me. A friend of a colleague of mine in Birmingham, Alabama went to a book signing and lecture that he gave and asked him why he had never taken into consideration some of the work and the facts that I had uncovered on this case. And he sort of dropped his eyes, apparently, and shuffled a little bit, and then said, well that was beyond my remit. Beyond my limit.
Dr Kevin Barrett: Above my pay grade.
Dr. William Pepper: Type of thing. You know. And that does say it all. We’ve had one journalist after another, throughout this entire, sordid affair, you know, almost 50 years now, they have attempted to cover this up. If anyone has the opportunity to read The Plot To Kill King they will see the evidence that is clearly there. And what I tried to do, Kevin, with this book, is that I insisted on putting in all of the relevant depositions I took of statements under oath. I included them, in their entirety, so no one could say that I had taken something out of context and that I was misinforming them. Naturally I summarized the most important sections and statements in the narrative. But the really significant depositions are there in their entirety. So people can go and check what I have said and what the witness said under oath.
Dr Kevin Barrett: And the Appendix is about half the bulk of the book.
Dr. William Pepper: Yes. That’s the reason for the length of the book. It’s because of the depositions. The statements are there. And I insisted on making those available to readers. And also to history.
Dr Kevin Barrett: You know, history is really the key thing here. They’re still trying to cover this up after 50 years. Vast resources of our tax dollars and perhaps, who knows what other types of funds from CIA drug trafficking. You just never know these days, with Afghanistan back in business pumping out so much heroin that’s being carried back on military planes. There’s a lot of criminal money floating around and apparently a fair bit of it is funding disinformation to try to keep these things covered up, even though 50 years have gone by. I guess there’s no statute of limitations on murder; but still, why are they so concerned here? Is it because, like (9/11 Commission czar) Phillip Zelikow, a self-proclaimed expert on the creation and maintenance of public myths, says, that these public myths shape public perception and that they’re crucial to the social order and that’s why they have to be maintained by whatever means, using vast piles of money, up to and including murders of witnesses, intimidation and threats, and tons of books pumped out full of lies.
What’s so important about this that after 50 years they have to keep making this effort to cover it up?
Dr. William Pepper: Well, that’s a longstanding question that I’ve had. And I finally think I’ve pretty much resolved it to my own satisfaction. It is because, although individuals are dead, having all passed away in a case like this, nevertheless the agencies survive. The agencies of government that function on the basis of public credibility and public funding for their work, continue to require that their credibility be maintained, sustained, enhanced, because they continue to serve the interests of the ruling class of the society. And if the ruling forces are to continue to be perpetuated in power in the way that they have been now for so very long, these agencies are there to make sure that is the case. That is the way it is. That is how they rule. Their control is perpetuated. And yet if the agencies, themselves who are doing this come under attack and lose public support and credibility, then the whole system—Zelikow is right on this—goes under. The whole system begins to shake and, perhaps, begins to come apart at the seams. Truth perpetually threatens to begin to build a revolutionary atmosphere within the system, within the society itself. So I think that’s basically what it is. It’s the perpetuation of ruling class control, through the use of public funding and actions of public agencies.
I mean, James Earl Ray was profiled and chosen as a patsy. What we never knew before was that, in fact, his escape (from prison) was paid for by money that Hoover sent in with Tolson and Tolson gave to Old Man Adkins who drove to the prison. $25,000.00 in a bag.
Drove to the prison with his son. Who became one of my key witnesses, obviously. And the son rode along. And the purpose of them going to the prison was to turn that money over to the warden so he would organize James Earl Ray’s escape. Which he did. They came in around November, December of 1966. And they organized the escape on April 25th of ’67. And then kept James moving around. They kept him under control and put a handler on him until they were ready to use him. They were going to use him. Martin was going to be hit in Los Angeles, and they sent the eight-man military team into Las Angeles. And James Earl Ray was kept in Los Angeles for quite a period of time. And then suddenly, my Army witnesses, two of them who were part of the team, were suddenly told to move out of Los Angeles. They did not know why. They went to New Orleans and prepared for Memphis. And Memphis was chosen as the place where Frank Holerman, who used to work in Hoover’s office and had been a special agent in charge in that area before, became now the director of police and fire in the City of Memphis. When Old Man Adkins died, Holerman really was the moving force and liaison with Hoover and with the Mafia for the purpose of getting the shooter, who was the best shot on the Memphis Police Force. So it was all very carefully done. I wondered why they moved it out of Los Angeles. And then of course, it struck me. They were going to hit Bobby Kennedy there two months later. It wouldn’t do to have two back-to-back political assassinations in the same city, so they had to change the location.
Dr Kevin Barrett: There’s a similar story involving the JFK assassination in which there were plans to hit him in Miami and Chicago—was it Miami before and then Chicago afterwards? And they ended up doing it in Dallas. Again another sign of how carefully, how elaborately, these things are planned out. In the case of Dr. King’s assassination, the killing was fully documented by these Army psy ops photographers stationed on the rooftops. You speculate that this was done partly to give them control of the aftermath so they would be able to see exactly who was where. And of course that became important. They had take out that cabby. So they were blanketing the rooftops with snipers and camera men, then having the hospital full of participants in the killing. So if he’s not killed by the bullet, he’s killed at the hospital. They really tried to cover all their bases. And then the cleanup afterward and the taking out of witnesses. It’s just amazing how elaborate all this is. You’d think it would be too elaborate to work. And you’d think that people would talk. And they do. They talk to you and tell the stories and they’re fully credible. But because of the media and academia that we have, many people just don’t know about it.
Dr. William Pepper: That’s right and that is a big problem, because of the Fourth Estate, I guess you would call them. The access of public information to the public, generally, is so critical because they create and perpetuate historical myths, and that’s all the people hear. That’s all people hear from the mainstream media. That’s all people hear from the progressive media, really, for the most part. I know the publishers will try to get me on a variety of different programs like Bill Maher and of course, Amy Goodman. Amy has always refused to deal with this.
Dr Kevin Barrett: Likewise with 9/11.
Dr. William Pepper: Yes, that’s right. And yes and these are issues they will not touch. And a lot of that has to do with funding, where their funds come from. And they do have their limits. Just like Smiley said: Well, I have my limits. Hey. They have their limits. But the point is: It’s such a betrayal of the role of journalism. Of journalists. There are virtually no exceptions in the mainstream today. That I can see. There was, of course, Bill Attwood. When I returned from Vietnam I came to know Bill Attwood, and had enormous respect for Bill when he was managing editor and publisher of Look Magazine. I think I tell that story in the book. Because to me it’s so striking, the courage of this man. A real genuine American patriot who was going to publish my writings and photographs on Vietnam which is what brought Dr. King to me initially. He was going to publish them in Look Magazine. And Lyndon Johnson went so far as to send Avril Harriman in to see him the week before he was to meet with me. And he said to me—you probably remember the story if you read it in the book.
Dr Kevin Barrett: You must be pretty important. A guy under 30, to have the President come after you.
Dr. William Pepper: How do you feel about that? I was 30 years old. And (Attwood said) “the President of the United States doesn’t want me to publish anything that you write and sends Avril Harriman in to ask me to do this favor.” Of course I said to him, “Well, thank you for that, but I’m more interested in what you said to Governor Harriman.” And he said, “Oh, I told him: ‘Give the President my best regards and we were going to see you next week and if we believed what you were saying, we were going to publish.’” But where do you find a man like that in the media today who has that kind of clout?
Dr Kevin Barrett: Didn’t he suddenly have a heart attack and after a little shuffle at Look Magazine the article didn’t come out?
Dr. William Pepper: Well, he called Bob Kennedy at one in the morning after he had a meeting, the subsequent meeting to the one with me.
The following week after he had met with me, he had a meeting with (New Orleans DA and JFK assassination conspiracy prosecutor) Jim Garrison. And Attwood called Bob Kennedy and said: “This meeting with the District Attorney in New Orleans has just shaken me to my shoes with the evidence the CIA killed your brother.” And Bobby reportedly said to him, “We know that Bill, but I’ve got to get the White House in order to reopen this.” And that was a little after one in the morning. Then he had a heart attack at 4 a.m. Three hours later.
Dr Kevin Barrett: That’s pretty fast work.
Dr. William Pepper: Well, I don’t have any evidence that there was anything nefarious and sinister about that heart attack. And I don’t know, Bill may have had a bad heart. But I know he was very stressed by this information and it was almost too much for a loyal patriotic American to believe. Anyway he had that heart attack. And some years later I called his widow. He lived on quite a while afterward but he was gone from Look Magazine. He published roving articles and things like that but he was gone. And after he died I called his widow and she said; well, Bill really respected you and your work and what you were trying to do as a young man, way back then, but please don’t ask me in any way to get involved because I have children still who are being raised in this country. So you can draw from that what you can. But I try very hard not to speculate about things like that. And sometimes it’s very hard for me, because I was very close, for example, to Hugo Chavez, President of Venezuela. I was able to save his life once. And Hugo and I became very close, and I traveled with him all over the world. And when he died of cancer—it took 18 months to kill him. And to this day I have very distinct suspicions about how that happened, because I know the government has the capability. The agency has the capability of inducing cancer, and they demonstrated that with Jack Ruby way back, you know. I have inside sources in the government and out of the government in Venezuela, telling me of how these things can be done and so it troubled me.
Dr Kevin Barrett: They found radioactive material in a chair he was supposed to sit in, in New York, according to Venezuelan security. I actually wrote this up right after he died. I got a viral article on Press TV pointing out the obvious. All these left leaning, anti-American, Latin American leaders suddenly get cancer at the same time. The coincidence theorists certainly have their work cut out for them these days.
Dr. William Pepper: Yeah. There’s no question about that. And what’s happened in Latin America and South America, largely because of Hugo’s inspiration and activism and commitment, has not been favorable for American special interests in the hemisphere.
Dr Kevin Barrett: And that’s another example of how political assassinations change history. Because these rare individuals have a combination of charisma and competence. Charisma is probably the most important factor, because there are plenty of competent people without charisma, and without it you can’t do much in terms of affecting history. Dr. King had that magical charisma that had powerful effects in motivating people. And likewise, Hugo Chavez, and the Kennedy brothers. And these are the people they take out.
Dr. William Pepper: That’s exactly right. And they were never going to let—in retrospect they were never going to let Martin King leave Memphis. Never. He was going from Memphis into Mississippi to start the long march into Washington. He was going to bring half a million people that were going to camp in Washington. This was not a march. They were going to camp. And they were going to go up and talk to their legislators and try to get social programs funded and change the war budget. And the military, I think, quite correctly accessed the situation as dire. Half a million people in the nation’s capital were going to become increasingly frustrated and angry. And they were afraid they were going to have a revolution on their hands that they couldn’t put down. Westmorland wanted another 200 thousand more in Vietnam. They didn’t have them. They didn’t have the kind of troops to put down this kind of revolution. And they saw what had happened in France.
And remember, a hundred cities burned that year. And so they were terrified. They were never going to let Martin bring that mob to Washington. It would have been uncontrollable. And that’s what determined it, in my view.
Yes, his anti-war position, certainly, was an important factor in the bottom line of a number of corporations; but I think they feared that unleashed mob in Washington. That was something they had to prevent.
Dr Kevin Barrett: And this leads to the question: What can we do about this, if charismatic leaders, when they arise with the potential to galvanize the masses, are taken out? Maybe we need this new kind of leaderless model. A leaderless resistance. You know, people like me, doing a show called Truth Jihad Radio… I’m probably not setting myself up to get millions of people marching behind me to Washington DC. And there are lots of people like that out there. We’re all doing our part, but none of us rise to the level where they’re going to have to send hundreds and hundreds of people after us. You know, teams on rooftops. Control hospitals. Send out multiple backup sharpshooters after us. That stuff costs a lot of money. So leaderless resistance is one strategy. Another is getting in people’s faces with cameras. And that leads me to wonder whether some of these people you’ve talked to, including the apparent shooter, the man that killed Dr. King, Frank Strausser—he’s still alive! He’s still out there! Could ordinary people with cameras try to get to people like Strausser? Get some other people who are still alive who know things to talk and really flesh this out and put it on the internet and get viral youtube videos out there and try to spread this knowledge.
Dr. William Pepper: Well I mean, certainly I would encourage all of that. I would encourage as much revelation as possible. As much information to be disseminated as possible. And as directly as possible. And I think the real hope that we have as an alternative to the mainstream media is the social media. And I’m very impressed with some of the social media commentators and political people—particularly young people, who are just so galvanized to try to make a difference and to affect change. Bernie Sanders capitalized on that and gave it a focus for a period of time.
Dr Kevin Barrett: And then led his sheep back into Hillary’s fold.
Dr. William Pepper: I think that is what has happened. A great number of them are going back in because of the horrific fear of electing a Donald Trump. But, I mean, Hillary is so much a part of the ruling establishment and has been so involved in and in my view, the perpetuation of war that the smoothness of the liberal façade is not readily discernable, certainly not by progressive types, mainstream media, like MSNBC people and that sort of thing, but I have no time. Anyone who really knows how such a pseudo change artist works, who was very much one of the architects of regime change in foreign policy. I am in particular antipathy toward her because on one of my trips with Hugo I spent some time with Moammar Gadhafi and Gadhafi took me to show me the bed where his four year old child was killed by a missile fired by Reagan’s instructions from offshore. The highest standard of living in that whole region was in Libya. The highest degree of education, the most prominent physicians, women in virtual equality with men under Gadhafi. Yes, he was tough and he was brutal himself in terms of dissidents. There’s no question about that. But there’s another side to what was going on for the Libyan people, and how he was taken out because he was uncontrollable. He was going to capitalize a Bank for All of Africa that was to rival the IMF and the World Bank and take away Western control.
Dr Kevin Barrett: And a new currency, as well. Not just a bank. The gold-backed dinar and silver dirham. That’s the dream of us radical Muslim troublemakers. In the Islamic World, by religion we are required to pay our Zakat in gold and silver coinage. This money system that we have now is completely haram. It’s just as forbidden as anything else that’s forbidden under Islam. So obviously the Islamic world is sitting on the world’s biggest pile of energy supplies. It’s a no brainer. It needs to unite to create a real commodity currency and take down the Rothschild fiat usury currency Empire. It looked like Gadhafi was taking a baby step in that direction and that’s why he was killed.
Dr. William Pepper: Yes, it was a major reason to get rid of him. And they have been unable to control Assad for a long time. Although they used him. The Agency used Assad dungeons for torture. He had cooperated with them for a long time.
Dr Kevin Barrett: So had Gadhafi. Gadhafi came in from the cold years before they killed him (by giving up his nuclear weapons program). There’s a famous line…I think it was Kissinger. Yeah, it was Kissinger who said “it’s dangerous to be an enemy of the United States. But to be its friend, now that is fatal.”
Dr. William Pepper: (Laughing.) Yeah. And he should know because of his criminality around the world. So what you’re suggesting, in terms of expanding revelation of the real demons in our society and their practices, is very important. But until there is an actual revolution… Until you and others like you who are providing the seed bed for revolution—because that’s really what you’re doing. What revelation would really do, as well—is to make more and more people aware, until there is an actual movement of masses of people toward roads to power, with money and numbers. The money and the numbers then are the main force for revolutionary change. And I don’t know how far away we are away from that, actually.
Dr Kevin Barrett: One big economic crisis.
Dr. William Pepper: Yeah. The system may just be collapsing of its own weight. And they’re so stupid. The ruling forces are so stupid now because of the greed that has taken hold and has dominated and has just spread such vast inequality. It’s just amazing. It’s amazing! And, you know years ago—because I was fairly close to the Rockefeller family—I was a political reformer in New York. And then when they killed Martin, I went into education, built Star Bell Schools, and I came to know the Rockefellers pretty well. Dated Nelson’s daughter, and was also close—very close—to Abby, David’s daughter. And I wrote my UN Speech at Abby’s, David’s townhouse, without him knowing it, of course. But I used to see them up in Patanaco and I got very troubled at one point early on when I noticed that John McCloy was at that meeting at Murchison’s house the night before Jack Kennedy was assassinated. You’re familiar with that event, I’m sure.
Dr Kevin Barrett: Was Nixon there too?
Dr. William Pepper: Nixon was there. Hoover was there. HL Hunt. All the oilmen. The Mayor of Dallas…
Dr Kevin Barrett: The Mafia, Board of Directors.
Dr. William Pepper: Yeah. They were all there. And Lyndon’s mistress, Madeleine Brown, became a very close friend of mine in her later years. And Madeleine told me the whole story about that meeting, you know. When Lyndon came in and they all went into Murchison’s study. They were in there for about twenty minutes. Lyndon was giving them a briefing on what was going to happen. And when he came out he put his arms around her from behind and he said to her:
“After tomorrow, those son of a bitch Kennedys will never embarrass me again.”
But I was troubled at the fact that John McCloy was there. Now I, of course, know McCloy, from his role as high commissioner in Germany and letting the Nazis out of prison and all of that, and the role of American corporations in supporting Hitler. Going all the way back to the early meetings before Hitler was in power. ’23, ’24 when the Dulles brothers met with Hitler and they were planning a way to make him Chancellor back then. But I was very disturbed by McCloy, because he was Chairman of Chase Manhattan which was a Rockefeller bank, David’s Bank, and why would he be there? I had this view of liberal Republicans as opposed to other kinds of Republicans. And then I realized they were the major bankers for the oil industry. And if Jack Kennedy continued the way he was going, he was going to eliminate the oil depletion allowance. There goes their 27 ½% on every barrel. He was going to withdraw from Vietnam. He was going to do all kinds of nasty things that were going to affect the oil and energy entities of the country.
Dr Kevin Barrett: He was also going to “tear up the CIA and scatter it to the winds.”
Dr. William Pepper: Yes. That’s of course, what he was going to do as well.
So it all of a sudden made sense to me that David Rockefeller—and this is a terrible thing to say, over the radio, because David is still alive. (Editor’s note: he died on March 20 2017, two months after this interview was recorded.) But he must have signed off on the assassination.
Dr Kevin Barrett: Well, David if you’re listening, you’re welcome to come on Truth Jihad Radio and tell your side of the story.
Dr. William Pepper: So, why else would McCloy be there? So at one point, not so long ago, maybe six months ago, I asked Abby and held her and said, would she set up a meeting with her father, because I would like to have a chat with him before he died, because you see he’s over 100 now. And she said no, why do you want to talk to Dad? And I told her. And she said, you know, there’s an attempt to reconcile with the family, and he’s trying to bring the children back closer again. If I did that, if I set up that kind of meeting, or tried to, he would be so upset, and it would probably break down what we’re doing, what we’re trying to do inside the family. And she said please don’t ask me to do that. And I said forget about it. I’m not going to go there. I think I know the answer. Maybe the question is academic anyway.
Dr Kevin Barrett: You do hope these people someday will clear their breasts before they move on to the next world, and help us clarify the facts of history. In some cases they do, but probably more often they don’t. Well, William Pepper, I think we’re at the end of the hour, although I’d love to have you on for another hour or two or three. Maybe do that another time. This is incredible work you’re doing. And we do have to talk about Sirhan, because we’ve never done a show on that. But this was a great resume of your terrific new book The Plot To Kill King, one of the great works of contemporary history. It reads like a detective novel. Why do people read detective fiction when they can read reality nonfiction, synoptic reality nonfiction that’s even more interesting and revealing about how the world really works?
Dr. William Pepper: Well, thank you very much. If you could put on your twitter if you do twitter. If you could do a twitter or Facebook account and just put a reference to the book just say, you know, it might be worthwhile to read.
Dr Kevin Barrett: Don’t worry. I will be spreading this show around by way of all the social networks and doing what I can, including confronting people like Matt Rothschild. Telling them that I don’t care whether you think Bill Pepper’s 100% right. He won that trial. And why are you covering it up? Well, thank you so much William Pepper. You’re doing great work. God bless you. I hope we talk again soon.
Dr. William Pepper: Well Kevin, same to you. Keep on. Keep on please and thank you very much.
Lead out song: “The Good Die Young.”
Dr. Kevin Barrett, a Ph.D. Arabist-Islamologist is one of America’s best-known critics of the War on Terror.
He also has appeared many times on Fox, CNN, PBS, and other broadcast outlets, and has inspired feature stories and op-eds in the New York Times, the Christian Science Monitor, the Chicago Tribune, and other leading publications.
Dr. Barrett has taught at colleges and universities in San Francisco, Paris, and Wisconsin; where he ran for Congress in 2008. He currently works as a nonprofit organizer, author, and talk radio host.