cyril wecht mlk rfk 2018 event logo

On the unique occasion of the 50th anniversary this spring of the assassinations of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, an unprecedented array of scientific, legal and historical experts will convene at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh from May 3 to 4 to describe the shocking shortcomings by law enforcers and the media in reporting on the deaths.

The conference will feature, among others, experts who will describe their belief that those convicted of the killings, James Earl Ray for MLK's death and Sirhan Sirhan for RFK's, were patsies who, according to scientific and witness evidence, could not possibly have killed the iconic 1960s leaders in the separate shootings.

cyril wecht hands up capa npc st johnThe 17th annual forensics conference is organized by the Cyril Wecht Institute of Forensic Science and Law, based at the university.

The institute's namesake, the eminent forensic pathologist and longtime Allegheny County Coroner Cyril Wecht, M.D., J.D., has for decades provided medical evidence regarding deaths. In a photo by Noel St. John, Wecht is shown at right during a news conference last year at the National Press Club where Wecht described the public interest in disclosure of suppressed records regarding the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy in Dallas.

Wecht, chairman of the group Citizens Against Political Assassinations (CAPA), among more than a dozen civic projects, was age 86 last year when he performed more than 530 autopsies. A longtime consultant, medical school professor, lawyer and prolific author, Wecht has been a world-renowned leader in disputing official accounts of the deaths of MLK, RFK and his brother JFK, among others.

Advance registration for in-person and remote audiences for the conference is here, with general instructions. A more specific registration site is here. Registration for the general public is $100 apiece. A distance videoconference option is available also. Advance registration closes at noon Wednesday, May 2. But registration later is available on a walk-in basis if space is available at the university hall.

"Often lost in the shadows of the JFK assassination," conference organizers said in previewing the event, "are the equally history-altering events of five years later — the brutal slayings of U.S. Senator and likely Democratic presidential nominee Robert F. Kennedy and the nation's pioneering civil rights leader, the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. Together, their murders contributed to the unmooring of American political life and the widespread distrust of government that poisons our national dialogue still."

Sirhan SirhanAmong other expert speakers will be Dr. William F. Pepper, a friend of both slain leaders, and later an attorney defending both Ray and Sirhan (who is shown at left after his arrest and below right in a prison photo from last year). Sirhan was eligible for parole beginning in the early 1980s.

But Sirhan has been repeatedly denied parole every five years or even the chance for an evidentiary hearing for reasons that authorities do not specify in detail. Sirhan's supporters say his initial trial was deeply compromised when his attorney was secretly charged with an unrelated felony and conceded Sirhan's guilt without putting on an even minimally diligent defense.

Sirhan SirhanAfter long study Pepper became convinced the defendants were innocent of firing fatal shots, and not just innocent because of legal technicalities.

Pepper argues that Ray and Sirhan were framed and that the real killers have been protected in ongoing cover-ups that would implicate "law enforcement" and otherwise sorely embarrass even now authorities and a compliant news media if ever exposed. 

Pepper, representing surviving members of the King family, won a civil jury verdict to that effect in 1999, a year after Ray died in prison.

Pepper now represents Sirhan in a pending demand for a new trial or a first-time evidentiary hearing. Pepper made that filing last July to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights of the Organization of American States (ICHAR).

As we reported here last July in Petition To OAS: Sirhan wrongfully convicted in 1968 RFK Murder, the filing was made after the California Parole Board repeatedly denied Sirhan's similar requests for the chance to prove his innocence. Kennedy was shot at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles on June thomas noguchi6, 1968. The killing was just after Kennedy won the California Democratic primary that positioned him to win as a fighting progressive both his party's nomination and, according to many commentators, the presidency in November.

Among other experts speaking at the conference will be Dr. Thomas T. Noguchi (shown at left), the Los Angeles County chief medical examiner in 1968. Noguchi found that Kennedy was hit by three bullets fired from the rear, including a fatal bullet to the rear of the head that had been fired from less than one inch away.

paul schrade after shootingPaul Schrade, a friend and presidential campaign aide of Kennedy's who was walking with the senator when Sirhan shot Schrade in the forehead, is among those speaking at the Pittsburgh conference (via a videoconference). Schrade is shown at right on the floor of the hotel's pantry after the shooting.

Schrade has since argued that Sirhan could not have killed Kennedy. Schrade is shown below left after California officials rejected Sirhan's requests last year. The photo is by an AP pool reporter, the only one allowed to cover the parole board's hearing.

Paul Schrade Associated Press poolRecords, evidence and hence news coverage of the RFK, MLK and JFK has been sharply limited through the years, which is why independent researchers look forward especially to conferences led by scientifically credentialed speakers.   

Although Nogochi tends to focus on his realm of scientific expertise, others like Wecht (a consultant to Noguchi during the autopsy), Pepper and Schrade have argued that Noguchi's finding is one of several indicators of Sirhan's innocence in killing RFK, although he was clearly at the scene shooting with a gun. "Sirhan did not fire the bullet that caused Senator [Robert] Kennedy’s death,” Wecht has said.

Witnesses and photographic evidence place Sirhan as being several feet away from Kennedy and to the front during the shooting. Sirhan, suspected by many as being a victim of hypnosis and other mind-control, has said he cannot remember the circumstances of the shooting. But his defense counsel concede that Sirhan fired some shots. 

Another speaker at this week's conference will be Philip Van Praag, an audio engineer and author who analyzed a tape that he says shows that far more shots were fired at RFK than Sirhan's gun contained.

This editor, who has published comprehensive "Readers Guides" to both the RFK and MLK assassinations, will moderate the RFK experts' panel that closes  the conference's first day. That day, May 3, focuses on the RFK assassination.

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President Kennedy, First  Lady Jacqueline Kennedy, Texas Gov. John Connally and his wife Nellie Connally greet crowds in Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963.

President Trump on April 26 announced that some documents related to the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy would be released in coordination with his schedule and others would be delayed until at least 2021 for what he called "national security" reasons.

donald trump august 19 2015 croppedThe White House announcement provided few details but a separate one by the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) stated that some 19,000 documents would be released.

On April 26, several noted JFK research experts were privately commenting that the announcements were confusing and aggravating for researchers because, much like in the past, the Trump administration did not make readily apparent which documents had been released previously at least in part.

To provide a prompt alert to this breaking news, the Justice Integrity Project excerpts below the NARA announcement and several news stories below in reverse chronological order, beginning with April 26. More thorough analysis will follow soon.

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oenearthlogo OpEdNews published on an exclusive basis April 9 the following report by Justice Integrity Project editor Andrew Kreig previewing a filing to be made the following day demanding a criminal grand jury investigation of evidence regarding the 9/11 attacks. That column achieved a remarkable 2,100 "Likes" on Facebook, along with more than 14,000 page views, as of this writing on April 12. The column is reprinted below, with slight updates to reflect that the petition was filed. Other coverage is shown in an appendix at bottom.

The WTC Tower immediately below illustrates "ejections" or "squibs" marked by arrows that, according to the petition-filers, provide a small part of the evidence of pre-placed explosive materials causing the collapses. So does molten steel, they say, which most logically could come from thermite or thermate, not from airplane fuel. The photo below at right shows examples of molten steel.

9 11 wtc squibs Custom 2

 

A federal grand jury should investigate the collapses of the World Trade Center Twin Towers during the 9/11 attacks, as well as WTC 7, according to a petition that an expert lawyers group filed on April 10 in New York City's federal court.

The 54-page petition and its 57 exhibits detail the evidence that explosives were used to destroy the WTC buildings during the attack on Sept. 11, 2001. The non-profit Lawyers' Committee for 9/11 Inquiry demands that the U.S. attorney's office for the Southern District of New York convene and submit the evidence in the petition to a grand jury.

The petition's executive summary and full text are now posted on the Lawyers' Committee website.

"The failure of our government to diligently investigate this disturbing evidence that has emerged over the past sixteen years regarding what occurred at the World Trade Center on 9/11," commented Executive Director Mick Harrison, "has contributed to the erosion of trust in our institutions."

9 11 molten wtc2 pouring Custom 2The lawyers, whose petition is supported by numerous 9/11 family members of victims and first responders, detailed evidence (see below) that they say requires a criminal investigation by prosecutors in the office led by Interim U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman (shown below, at left).

geoffrey berman sdnyPresident Trump and Attorney Gen. Jeff Sessions in January named Berman to be the interim U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York. Berman's experience includes extensive work as a federal attorney, as well as two years as a law partner of former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani.

Giuliani became nationally famous, including selection as Time Magazine's "Man of the Year," for his visible role after 9/11. But he is known also for having authorized the removal and disposal of WTC steel debris in heavily guarded shipments to China.

Petitioners conducted a press conference at 1 p.m. Tuesday on the steps of New York's City Hall in Manhattan. Those who want to add their names to the petition can sign up online here. New names will be displayed on the next filing, which will supplement the one filed this week.

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As the 50th anniversary of the April 4 murder of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. approaches, the Washington Post published on its front page this week a news report quoting the King Family and other experts as expressing doubt about the official story that the convicted killer acted alone, or even at all, to  kill the nation's pre-eminent civil rights leader of modern times.

This is the way that Tom Jackman, an experienced reporter, began his in-depth analysis titled The Past Rediscovered: Who killed Martin Luther King Jr.? His family believes James Earl Ray was framed:

In the five decades since Martin Luther King Jr. was shot dead by an assassin at age 39, his children have worked tirelessly to preserve his legacy, sometimes with sharply different views on how best to do that. But they are unanimous on one key point: James Earl Ray did not kill Martin Luther King.

For the King family and others in the civil rights movement, the FBI’s obsession with King in the years leading up to his slaying in Memphis on April 4, 1968 — pervasive surveillance, a malicious disinformation campaign and open denunciations by FBI director J. Edgar Hoover — laid the groundwork for their belief that he was the target of a plot.

The story represented a major breakthrough in mainstream news coverage, according to King’s friend Dr. William F. Pepper, whom Jackman quoted extensively because of Pepper's decades of work as a street-savvy investigator, an attorney, and a best-selling author seeking to solve the murder.

Pepper's 2003 William Pepper Act of Statebook An Act of State, shown at left and featuring King and his wife Coretta Scott King on the cover, is the second of a trilogy by Pepper documenting evidence that conspirators murdered the civil rights leader to stop his evolving social movement. At the time of the 1968 assassination, that movement was expanding from a largely civil rights movement with roots in the Jim Crow Deep South to nationwide anti-war and economic justice crusade that some believe threatened the nation's power structure, not just bigots.

Pepper, also a noted human rights advocate who has taught at Oxford University, worked with King family members who also believe that a plot by power brokers to remove King from the American political scene included a media-assisted frame-up of the accused killer Ray, a petty criminal and eighth-grade dropout who could be vilified as a lone-nut murderer.

“The article,” Pepper told the Justice Integrity Project regarding Jackman's Post piece, “is a major breakthrough for the mainstream media, which has refused to cover the truth about the murder of Dr. King."

"Hopefully," Pepper continued in an exclusive interview with the Justice Integrity Project, "this initiative will extend to others in the mainstream media who will be reporting on the 50th anniversary in June on the death of Robert F. Kennedy, whose accused killer Sirhan Sirhan was another patsy like James Earl Ray.”

William Pepper and Martin Luther King Jr.Pepper, a friend also of Kennedy, is shown with King in a 1967 photo by Ben Fernandez as Pepper and King conferred before King's keynote speech at the National Conference for New Politics in Chicago. King was evolving his message then to a much broader movement than anti-segregation efforts in the South.

Pepper was a journalist and political activist in the 1960s and later found himself in the unusual position of becoming convinced that the convicted killers Ray and Sirhan of Pepper's friends King and Kennedy were innocent of their deaths  as shown by ballistics evidence.

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On March 28, a New York federal judge issued a major ruling helping to hold Saudi Arabian defendants accountable for the 9/11 terror attacks. The pre-trial ruling on behalf of family members of 9/11 victims largely reversed a previous ruling granting defendants sovereign immunity. Also, the ruling thwarted the Saudi government, whose Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman visited U. S. power brokers the past week to discuss major arms and oil deals and strategic interests.

terri strada 9 11 capitol resizedThe victory for 9/11 family members stemmed from their determination with the support of grassroots truth-seekers and several bold congressional leaders who ultimately won majorities for a recent law, JASTA. Several of these figures are shown in the adjoining photo during at 2016 press conference on Capitol Hill. They include 9/11 widow Terri Strada (national chair for 9/11 Families and Survivors United for Justice Against Terrorism, her daughter Kaitlyn and the three main congressional supporters of the families in their fight for the legal right to obtain suppressed records implicating Saudis. MSNBC interviewed Terry Strada March 30 in the segment: Judge Allows Suit Alleging Saudi Arabia Financed 9/11 Attacks To Move Forward.

The guest column below is by a grassroots supporter of the families and full disclosure, Les Jamieson, a founder of the website HR 14 that advocated for years for release of a suppressed "28-page" segment of the 2002 9/11 report from the Joint Inquiry into Intelligence Community Activities before and after the Terrorist Attacks of September 11, 2001.

This column, which originally appeared at the 9/11 Truth Action Project site, is part of ongoing coverage by the Justice Integrity Project. An appendix below provides links to recent and background materials.  

 

By Les Jamieson

Since 2002, the 9/11 families have been litigating against Saudi Arabia and related entities whom they've charged with responsibility in the 9/11 attacks, according to Jersey widow, Lori Van Auken.

saudi logo CustomFor years, the complex case has dealt with major setbacks, mainly due to rulings that went along with the Saudi defense team's claims that the plaintiffs had insufficient evidence and that Saudi Arabia was protected by sovereign immunity.

Declassification of the 28 pages on July 15, 2016 and passage of the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA) that September changed everything. A convergence of events leading to the 15th anniversary of the attacks brought momentum that even the power of the security state could not withstand.

Within a month after passage of JASTA, families filed an amended complaint that reinstated Saudi Arabia, plus two additional family lawsuits. Then an appeal by the plaintiffs in response to release of Saudi Arabia was won. However, the Saudi defense team moved for dismissal again. These events culminated in a hearing in January.

On Wednesday, March 28, Judge Daniels, who had previously released the Saudi's from the lawsuit, has denied their motion to dismiss and ruled in favor of the 9/11 families.

The tide has turned. The suit against Saudi Arabia can finally move forward to the discovery stage, which is what they sought to avoid at all costs. Now a family of oil billionaires and their official entities with the power to affect the global economy and balance of power in the Middle East, will be held to account.

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guns march for lives march 24 2018 digital globe

Aerial photo by Digital Globe showing at center about half of the gun control protesters from Third to Sixth Streets on Pennsylvania Avenue NW in Washington, DC, with the main sound stage shown as a white rectangle on the Avenue at photo's bottom center near Third Street.

Led by schoolmates of shooting victims, hundreds of thousands of gun protesters packed Pennsylvania Avenue facing the Capitol Building in downtown Washington, DC March 24 during the March for Our Lives, a powerful, well-planned and otherwise impressive challenge to the nation’s political establishment.

Extensive news coverage (excerpted in an appendix below) showed how huge attendance, enthusiasm and eloquent speakers created strong momentum for gun control and other political activism.

This commentator will leave those overviews to others, aside from the excerpts below.

My focus will be to draw on experience organizing many annual trade association conventions and other events, including some in the nation’s capital, to focus more narrowly on the exceptional logistics that contributed to the march’s success.

guns ak djt sign 3 24 18 cropped IMG 4478 Custom 3I observed a number of these factors also as a participant. My office at Seventh and Pennsylvania Avenue NW was almost at the center of the parade route. I had planned merely sample the street scene, much like almost innumerable other parades and protests on that route (including the presidential Inaugural every four years).

But by the end, I found myself inspired to retrieve a discarded sign from a sidewalk near the Trump International Hotel at 11th Street and talk to passersby for more than two hours about the relevant issues, as indicated at right.

The sign that I was holding at left says "When the kids act like leaders and the leaders act like kids, you know change is coming."

Most striking on the scene was the eloquence of the event speakers and the enthusiasm of the large crowd. Not every advocate in life is going to be a strong public speaker. But these young speakers were either exceptionally inspired to rise to the occasion or somehow vetted in advance by the organizers.

Even more remarkable for a civic gathering, the talks were brief and the overall program actually ended about five minutes earlier than the scheduled end at 3 p.m. (following a noon start). 

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