On MLK & Conspiracy Theory
Today, instead of viewing historic news reels and MLK speeches, I listened to attorney William Pepper’s talk on his investigation of the assassination of Martin Luther King (Part one and Part two @ KPFA, Berkeley). Mr. Pepper, a long time associate of Dr. King and his family, spoke extensively on his interviews with James Earl Ray and the years of research regarding that disturbing night at the Lorraine Motel.
There is the official story and accounts far from complete, and new evidence presented in 1993 through of all places, a mock trial presented on HBO. The King Family stated publicly the DOJ conducted a “limited” investigation into the murder. It’s been left to independent researchers and King associates to continue – often without funding – to follow leads, conduct interviews, and ferret through mounds of documentation.
What came up for me as I listened to Mr. Pepper – in light of what I have read regarding the assassination over the years – is a question: why is showing an interest in this assassination considered conspiracy thinking?
In my mind, until a verifiable in-depth account of events leading up to April 4, 1968 are presented, I will continue to believe this case is fundamentally an information problem that concerns challenging issues of power, trust, information integrity, and perhaps secrecy in terms of buried or restricted agency information.
Based on my own research and observations, conspiracy theory creation has a relationship with power, knowledge, censorship, secrecy, bureaucracy, and history as “we know it.” Although I peripherally raised these issues in Government Secrecy, this book wasn’t the really place to hammer out theories on this complex research problem. But quickly, here, on this special day, I wanted to say something about an imperfect man who continues to inspire. I believe knowing the truth regarding MLK’s murder matters a great deal in the way that information is intimately tied to justice.