RFK, MLK Friend To Speak July 19 In DC About Media Flaws, Failures

 

Dr. William F. Pepper, the famed human rights lawyer, author, and attorney who has defended post-conviction the accused killers of his friends Sen. Robert F. Kennedy and the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., will speak July 19 at the National Press Club about the central responsibility of news organizations to report the news fairly and without self-censorship.

william pepper mlkPepper, shown with King in a 1967 photo, will describe how the media have repeatedly failed to inform the public of the ongoing injustice in the Sirhan case, among other such politically charged prosecutions. Without a free, independent press, Pepper says, "the rule of law and an informed public cannot function" in a democratic society.

Pepper is filing a 200-page petition this week to the Organization of American States (OAS) accusing the California and U.S. governments of violating the due process rights of accused Kennedy killer Sirhan Sirhan, who is shown in a California prison system photo after being held without parole since RFK's killing on June 5, 1968.

Sirhan SirhanPepper is delivering a 7 p.m. lecture to the Sarah McClendon speaker society located at the club for more than a quarter of a century. The society is named after McClendon, a pioneering female White House correspondent from Texas who died in 2003 after a long career.

Pepper's lecture and a book signing are open to the press and public. The talk is preceded by an optional no-host, Dutch-treat dinner beginning at 6:30 p.m. at the club, which is located at 529 14th St., NW near the corner of F Street in downtown Washington, DC.  

James Earl Ray 1955 prison

Pepper is an American lawyer and English barrister. A 1960s friend of Kennedy and King, he came to believe after long study that their accused killers were patsies who were wrongly accused for political reasons. In 1999, he won a civil judgment on behalf of the King family with a jury finding that convicted killer James Earl Ray (shown in a mug shot) was not the real killer. That news was so little reported that it was as if it were suppressed, critics say.

On July 19 before his talk, he plans to file a petition to the Organization of American States (OAS) seeking justice for his imprisoned client Sirhan. The filing describes Sirhan as wrongfully convicted of the 1968 assassination of Kennedy, the late New York U.S. senator and Democratic presidential candidate. 

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Seeking a new trial for Sirhan or an evidentiary hearing, Pepper's petition against the U.S. government is being filed with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), an OAS body. The filing alleges that the California and U.S. justice systems violated Sirhan's right to a fair trial, as required under the OAS Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man.

By treaty, the IACHR may review U.S. cases and those from 34 other nations when domestic remedies have been exhausted.

The Justice Integrity Project arranged details of Pepper's visit from his New York City office to the nation's capital. We shall publish more during coming days about his press club lecture, petition to the OAS, and new evidence.

In the meantime, our Readers Guide To RFK Assassination: Books, Videos, Archives provides a comprehensive listing of major books, films, and research archives representing all major points of view on the Robert Kennedy assassination, plus avenues for further research. It is excerpted below. Additional information is welcome.

Pepper's Works

Pepper, born in 1937, has taught human rights law at Oxford University and maintained a legal practice with clients that have included governments and top leaders.

Pepper was Kennedy’s Westchester County campaign chairman in the 1964 race for a New York seat in the U.S. Senate. Kennedy won that race, providing a platform to launch his insurgent campaign for the 1968 Democratic presidential nomination in the midst of the highly divisive Vietnam War.

William Pepper and Martin Luther King Jr.King, most famous for his civil rights protests against voting and other Jim Crow restrictions against blacks, contacted Pepper in 1967 after seeing a photo essay that Pepper had published in Ramparts Magazine entitled "The Children of Vietnam." The essay depicted victims of napalm in Vietnam.

Pepper has said the contact contributed to King's increasing opposition to the Vietnam War. Pepper was present at King's April 4, 1967 Riverside Church speech in which King launched a strong campaign against the war. The photo of Pepper and King above right (and shown also at the top of this column) was taken by Ben Fernandez as Pepper and King conferred before King's keynote speech in 1967 at the National Conference for New Politics (NCNP) in Chicago.

William Pepper The Plot To Kill King

King was assassinated on April 4, 1968 on a motel balcony in Memphis, TN. Authorities convicted James Earl Ray, a racist ex-convict. Ray recanted his confession to the killing, but failed in his appeals and died in prison.

Pepper's books include the acclaimed The Plot To Kill King (2016), third in a series on the King assassination. It contains the evidence that Pepper first presented in the civil trial in Memphis in 1999. Pepper's three books on the King assassination name names of alleged killers and cover-up artists and draw on sleuthing that includes his own first-hand work.

Why This Matters

Pepper's lecture could hardly be more timely. Many Americans believe that the nation is undergoing a leadership crisis both in terms of elected officials and also encompassing such watchdog institutions as the media. Many news outlets are harshly criticized on varied grounds, including partisanship, over-deference to authorities on matters like the RFK and MLK killings, or as outright "fake news" outlets that lack meaningful accountability.

Pepper is among those experts who believe that Sirhan was present at RFK's death and fired a gun at the senator, but did not kill him according to ballistics and other evidence.

Sirhan Sirhan

Sirhan, 73, is shown at left in a mug shot after his arrest at the scene of the shooting. He was born in Palestine and emigrated at age 12 with his family to the United States, settling in the Pasadena region of California. His family had a Christian background.

He was a slightly built man who had been a race track exercise rider before suffering a bad fall and having to undergo medical treatment and find a new career. That led to a long and largely unexplained absence from his close-knit family before the Kennedy shooting.

Pepper's theme that Sirhan fired shots at the murder scene but not the fatal bullet is buttressed by evidence in the petition and that we shall explore here in coming days.

Some experts believe Sirhan had been victim of brainwashing during his absence from the family home.

Pepper became convinced of Sirhan's innocence in 2007. The attorney argues that Sirhan was, like Ray, a convenient patsy for the real killers, who must have worked with rogue officials to divert public attention from evidence pointing elsewhere.

RFK Portrait 1964The dinner will be in the club's 14th floor Cosgrove Room. Attendees can obtain free parking after 5 p.m. by purchasing dinner at the club and receiving validation of a parking receipt from the cooperating PMI Garage at 1325 G Street, N.W. (between 13th & 14th Sts.).

"You surely won't want to miss this timely, unique and indeed historic presentation," commented McClendon Group Chairman John Edward Hurley. "So plan to be with us....and please remember to bring a friend and a reporter!" 

 

Contact the author Andrew Kreig

 

Key Justice Integrity Project Columns

Justice Integrity Project, Revelations Prove JFK, RFK Murder Cover-ups, Andrew Kreig, Nov. 26, 2016. Disclosures and analysis at two research conferences last weekend in Dallas confirmed the U.S. majority popular opinion that conspirators murdered President John F. Kennedy in a 1963 plot that authorities have continued to cover up. Similar analysis shows a cover-up in the 1968 assassination of the leading Democratic presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy (shown in a file photo). The combination illustrates the ongoing danger to American presidents since then of attempted assassination, which continues to threaten independent leaders and ultimately democracy itself.

Justice Integrity Project, Readers Guide To RFK Assassination: Books, Videos, Archives, Andrew Kreig, June 1, 2016. This "Readers Guide to the RFK Assassination" presents key books, videos, documents, websites and other archives most relevant to 1968 Democratic Presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy's murder on June 6, 1968.

The materials focus heavily on remaining questions about responsibility and motive for Kennedy's shooting at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles shortly after his victory in the California Democratic primary appeared to pave the way for his presidential nomination. Included also in this guide is research that explores the assassination's current implications for the U.S. justice system and other governance.

Justice Integrity Project Readers Guides

Justice Integrity Project, Readers Guide To RFK Assassination: Books, Videos, Archives. Andrew Kreig, June 1, 2016. This "Readers Guide to the RFK Assassination" presents key books, videos, documents, websites and other archives most relevant to 1968 Democratic Presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy's murder on June 6, 1968.

Robert F. KennedyThe materials focus heavily on remaining questions about responsibility and motive for Kennedy's shooting at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles shortly after his victory in the California Democratic primary appeared to pave the way for his presidential nomination. Shown below is his victory speech shortly before he was gunned down while leaving via a kitchen pantry to avoid crowds.

Included also in this guide compiled by our Justice Integrity Project is research that explores the assassination's current implications for the U.S. justice system and other governance.

The materials contain varied perspectives in a style common to other topics in our series, which includes guides to the assassinations of President Kennedy in 1963 and the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. on April 4, 1968.

Readers of each can find abundant evidence of covert official involvement, including in the crimes and cover-up. But we provide also books and other evidence supporting Robert Kennedy Victory Speech Ambassador Hotel, June 6, 1968the official verdicts. In the case of RFK's murder, a jury found in 1969 that Sirhan Sirhan acted alone to kill Kennedy and wound five others with shots fired in the hotel's pantry.

Thus, our operative principle in this project is to raise informed questions aggressively but also to provide sufficient evidence for readers to reach your own conclusions.

The continued public suspicions about the deaths of JFK, MLK and RFK (as the victims were known) have been fostered by the highly irregular legal procedures involving each death, including suppression of relevant documents and fear among witnesses and investigators.

Related News Reports

Among major in-depth news reports on the case were those provided by CNN's Back Story in 2009 and Who What Why in 2016, excerpted below.

CNN BackStory, Robert Kennedy Assassination: Candidate was killed 41 years ago, Host Michael Holmes and Senior Writer Brad Johnson, June 5, 2009 (8:52 min., with YouTube version here: CNN Uncovers Possible RFK Second Gun Evidence). Experts and witnesses re-examine one of the nation’s most notorious assassinations with the help new audio evidence suggesting that more than one shooter fired during the killing, contrary to official accounts. The evidence is from long overlooked tape recording by a print journalist, Stanislaw Pruszynski, a print journalist, which experts now call "The Pruszynski Recording." Back Story host Michael Holmes interviews CNN International senior writer Brad Johnson on how he uncovered the Pruszynski Recording, the only known audio recording of the Robert F. Kennedy shooting by the long-presumed sole gunman Sirhan Sirhan.  This segment aired on the 41st anniversary of Senator Kennedy's assassination,

The following appeared in this BackStory segment (listed in order of their first appearance):

Michael Holmes
Host, CNN’s BackStory
 
Robert F. Kennedy
U.S. Presidential Candidate / U.S Senate Member  
 
Estelyn Duffy LaHive
RFK Assassination Witness
 
Roger Katz
RFK Assassination Witness
 
Diane Sawyer
Co-Host, ABC’s Good Morning America
 
Mika Brzezinski
Co-Host, MSNBC’s Morning Joe
 
Brad Drazen
Anchor, WVIT TV News
 
Voice of Amy Parmenter
Reporter, WVIT TV News
 
Robert Vaughn
Film & TV Actor / Friend of Robert F Kennedy
 
Philip Van Praag
Audio Expert
 
Brad Johnson
Senior Writer, CNN International  
 
Todd Kosovich
Prosecutor / Friend of Brad Johnson
 
Spence Whitehead
Audio Expert
 
Joe LaHive
RFK Assassination Witness
 
Paul Schrade
RFK Shooting Victim / Friend of Robert F. Kennedy

 

 


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