THE MURDER OF DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR.–Unspoken Details
THE MURDER OF DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR.–Unspoken Details–PART ONE
by Sherman H. Skolnick
Over a period of more than four decades, my associates and I have learned a lot about two activities in particular. About reporters and journalists in the mass media. And about various movements and persons supposedly promoting equal rights.
Self-taught in Law and legal research, but not comfortable to become a member of the Bar, I became widely known in the 1960s. In Illinois, in the federal courts, I brought and won a whole series of voting cases to re-do malapportioned voting districts. Some voting districts had 50 per cent more people than other districts, diluting their vote. Although not an attorney, I was grudgingly allowed to represent the entire class of aggrieved voters. Because of various court hearings, I was often for a minute or so on the evening TV local news.
I constantly risked jail for so-called “contempt of court”. Why? I often put the judges’ financial corruption in their faces in Court. I documented, for example, how the Chief District Judge in one of my numerous voting cases, was an official of a so-called “foundation” set up as a money laundry by a known hoodlum and thus, the Chief Judge was subject to blackmail. [The Albert Parvin Foundation, of which a U.S. Supreme Court Justice, William O. Douglas, was the President.] When I confronted the Chief Judge in Court, he had two Court bailiffs suddenly grab my wheelchair and try to turn it upside down. This was witnessed by 18 news reporters in Court for the voting case. Their stories about this, if any, never got on the air or in print. My suit against the bailiffs for assault and battery was torpedoed by the banker-judges in Chicago’s federal appeals court.They alleged in their published ruling [Skolnick vs. Guadagno et al.] that the Law does not permit damage cases against court personnel.
I became known as “Mr. One Man, One Vote”, a take-off on the slogan for reapportionment. In those days this type of case required a special three-judge panel in the U.S. District Court. With such cases, I tied up 24 judges, more than all they had in the courthouse. The Judges were sore at me. Media types, who I got to know by way of such cases, seeing I am an independent, surviving on a shoe-string, and not tied to corporate interests, confided in me. In effect, I became their “Father Confessor”. They knew I would risk jail but would never give out their identity in their lifetime. They communicated with me on the sly, sometimes at an out-of-the-way, all night eatery. I found out and fingered:
1. A CBS Network bigshot with a sideline of illegally selling babies from Europe to couples in the U.S. who could not have children.
2. An NBC Network Vice-President in the dope traffic. Hushed up, it was publicly instead blamed onto a lower level technician who was railroaded into prison as a scapegoat. 3. Hot items reporters are working on which they know endanger their jobs and their career in the media. They knew and know, that off-the-record, I will aid them in some way.
4. The buying and selling of TV jobs. One TV reporter, with a three-year contract, said he cannot be fired but was. “I bought my job, it is mine, dammit. Don’t you know of a lawyer that will sue?” He thus protested to me. Sensitive to his plight, I quietly told him such suits are not allowed, being against Public Policy. Sort of like a bank robber himself robbed by corrupt police on the way from the stick-up; he cannot sue for theft. As I found out from him and others, it is a wide-spread media policy: you have to pay 15 per cent in front in cash, of the first year’s contract. One-third goes to the union business agent. One-third goes to the “celebrity” lawyer specializing in arranging such deals. [I fingered six such lawyers in Chicago.] And one-third of the bribe goes to the station manager or news director. The IRS is well aware of all this but uses the details as blackmail to get the mass media to say nice things about America’s fearful Gestapo, the IRS.
In 1988, I got into a big ruckus with “60 Minutes” CBS Program boss Don Hewitt by confronting him with the details. His team vowed to keep me off the air forever and to shut me up. [Without public access Cable TV I would not be seen “on the air”.]
An honest, hard-hitting reporter, Ted Smart, I knew from NBC’s Chicago outlet, WMAQ-TV, Channel 5. “I got the goods, Sherman. I can prove it. The FBI was implicated in the assassination of Dr.King” he confided to me. “Ted, it’s a death warrant and you know it. Cool it.” I responded. My pal, Ted Smart, was murdered on the night before July 4, 1970. Another journalist, Louis Lomax, on the track of the same data, was murdered about three weeks later.
Playing an evil role as to the murder of Dr. King and its aftermath, was Rev. Jesse Jackson. He falsely claimed he had been up on the motel balcony and that Dr. King died in his arms. In 1975, Barbara Reynolds, a reporter for the Chicago Tribune, wrote a book about Rev. Jackson, “The Man, The Myth, and the Movement”. It was loaded with eye-opening details. It surely painted Jesse as a charlatan and scoundrel. Such as, the tricks he used to reportedly put the arm on local businesses. The tricks he used to replace Dr. King. Some claim the reputed Dr. King blood on Jesse’s shirt was actually chicken blood.
As the book was coming out, I spoke to Barbara Reynolds. She met me at a restaurant near Tribune Tower. She kept looking apprehensively at the door. “Jesse is going to run me out of this town. I can’t stay here anymore” she told me. Someone came to the door and looked right at her. Frightened, she fled our table. Three weeks after the publication of her book, it was withdrawn. I have one of the few copies of the original book. In the early 1990s, Barbara Reynolds finally went public with what happened to her and her long-suppressed book. The Establishment had been plainly protecting their man, Rev. Jackson. She told of her plight while on “Tony Brown’s Journal” TV Program. About that time her book was re-issued but not widely mentioned.
A former U.S. Justice Department official, who once held a key position, responded to my questions about the Rev. Jesse Jackson. “I examined Jesse’s secret file locked up in our office. I shouldn’t be talking about this”, he leaned over and spoke in a low voice. “It was a stack of paper several feet high”, he added. Impatient, I asked, “So what did it show?” And he confirmed what I found out from other sources over the years,”Jesse has been an FBI informant most of his adult life”. “So he’s a government fink” I added. “Absolutely. My boss knew, I knew it” he said as he cut-off the discussion.
Starting about 1970, my associates and I became very knowledgeable about the financial dirty business of Rev.Jackson. We had volunteered as consultants to a group made up of 25 thousand would-be home owners, Afro-Americans. They called themselves the South Side Contract Buyers League. In those years, mortgage companies “red-lined” certain neighborhoods, such as where blacks lived. No mortgages were to be issued in such areas. So, desperate to live in their own home instead of an apartment, the blacks were forced to buy “on contract”. An examination of the area and the contracts showed the blacks were paying TWICE THE MARKET PRICE for the homes they were occupying. It was blatant racial discrimination.
The South Side Contract Buyers League had an office a few feet away from Jesse Jackson’s office which was an abandoned movie theater. For a while Jesse paid no attention to them. He failed their repeated requests for aid. The Buyers League members organized a payment boycott. One morning the Cook County Sheriff, Joe Woods [brother of Rose Mary Woods, Nixon’s secretary that reportedly doctored up the mysterious 18-1/2 minute Watergate tape] was set to evict Buyers League members, all at once, for engaging in a payment boycott. For that purpose, the Sheriff arranged with the phone company and the electric company to shut off the entire area so blacks would have no lights and could not communicate with each other about the mass eviction. Residents in the area who were not even members of the group also had their phones and electric all cut off. After the eviction, the whole area looked like a war zone. Household goods scattered on the street. Fronts of houses crashed in. Windows and doors smashed, all around the house.
The leaders of the Buyers League found out that my associates and I were investigating and researching the lawyers who sold them out in Court, the banker-judges trying to control the blacks, and such. So I was invited to be the guest speaker at a huge mass meeting in a large Church. There was about 650 people packed in there. I detailed to them the dirty financial forces and public officials that were their sworn enemies, and what I suggested be done.
As I continued to make suggestions and show up at most every session in Court, Rev. Jesse Jackson pulled a trick on the leaders of the Buyers League, to get them falsely jailed. He had a group of ruffians, he called “Black Men Moving”, who filled up the Courtroom and shouted slogans and would not be still, and stood next to the leaders of the Buyers League. Instead of blaming Jesse who was present, the Judge arrested the leadership and had them locked up in the basement of the Courthouse. At that point, Jesse crossed the street to the Mayor’s office apparently to work a deal to take over the Buyers League now that the leaders were jailed.
A group of Buyers League women showed up as I was sitting in front of Jesse in the Mayor’s outer office. “Rev.Jackson, you do not represent the Buyers League”. Jesse must have thought I was just another wilted, foolish “liberal”, and snarled at me and shouted, “What are you doing here white face?” Although angered how he was trying to psych me out with black-white slogans, I simply said, “Rev. Jackson, the leaders have told me that you repeatedly refused to help them. Why?”
Jesse went into the Mayor’s inner office as the women, by now alarmed, pounded on the Mayor’s office door, “Jesse, come out of there! YOU are NOT our leader!” they screamed at the door. As Jesse came out, he walked past me, and with a vicious look, turned to me, “I am going to get you for this!” Little if anything about this was mentioned in print or on the air. But my confronting Jesse on his trick apparently got the Buyers League leaders released from the court basement jail.
The various strategies that I suggested resulted in the Buyers League members being issued mortgages at half the price of the contracts. That is, a mortgage for the true, not inflated, value of the homes.
Resentment built up, however, against Rev. Jesse Jackson in the black community. Well-informed black business people began meeting me on the sly. I became an authority on Jesse’s rise to be a multi-millionaire. We compiled files with details. The Federal Government apparently gave him a 16-room house to live in a swank neighborhood not far from the University of Chicago. The pressfakers often said Jesse lives in the “ghetto”. They never showed a picture of his mansion.
Jesse reportedly owned a private garbage truck business, Cross City Scavengers. The traditional mafia apparently made a deal with him, allowing him to horn in on their trade. They reportedly allowed him to empty off his garbage trucks in dumps under the control of the Mob. Jesse reportedly shook down a major food store chain in Chicago, claiming “discrimination”. They apparently set him up in numerous businesses as a pay-off, concealed from the IRS. He reportedly got a major interest in a dairy that supplied–now get this–Grade “B” milk instead of Grade “A”, foisted by strong-arm methods on certain stores and restaurants. He likewise used his gangster-like methods to reportedly force his orange juice company products on various stores.
As a mobster-type shakedown, Jesse began marching his troops on a near lakefront restaurant that had a black cook who was QUITE SATISFIED, WELL-PAID, and had no grievance. Jesse demanded the restaurant owner use his Grade “B” milk which the owner refused. Jesse demanded that the owner use Jesse’s garbage removal services at TWICE THE RATE PER BARREL as charged by others in the industry. Jesse demanded that the restaurant use his pesticide services.
The restaurant owner told me how he got rid of Jesse’s shakedown. He matter-of-factly pointed out, “The owner of this building where I lease space for my restaurant is a known hoodlum. He threatened to have Jesse’s office bombed. You know, gangster versus gangster, stay out of my territory, you understand.”
That ended the problem. A gangster firm itself took over the restaurant later and the nearby motel.
A downtown bank that had Jesse’s secret accounts interested me, Amalgamated Bank and Trust. They are a long-time highly-political, reputed mob front. At great risk to themselves and their jobs, some of the bank clerks, on the sly, informed us of how Jesse pulls up in his Rolls Royce, is taken downstairs by a Bank Director especially assigned to reportedly hide Jesse’s transactions, and everyone that works at that Bank is warned that they see nothing.
A small, elite team of federal agents were interested in all these financial rackets. About 1972, using our numerous details and witnessess, they got Rev.Jesse Jackson indicted on federal criminal charges of massive tax evasion and extortion done in the name of human rights. Jesse’s cronies reportedly paid 850 thousand dollars to the Nixon White House to secretly quash the indictment. The money reportedly was conveyed through an Indiana GOP National Committeeman. The Chief Federal Prosecutor set to proceed with the prosecution, was forced out of his office.
I and two friends of mine in the media came to a secret meeting. A former member of the elite federal team ticked off to us how they got Jesse indicted, how he corruptly squelched the charges, and how the matter was covered up. One of the media people got himself a good job with the Wall Street Journal and never wrote what he found out. Do some get their jobs by blackmailing others? The other reporter, from ABC Network, died in a sabotaged plane crash enroute to a Mid-East assignment. His friends are mad how he was steered onto that doomed plane. And I dare mention all of this.
In session 1975-76, was the House Subcommittee on Assassinations, delving into the murders of President Kennedy and Dr. King. A staff member who I knew told me of records they had which will be locked up and not included in the Subcommittee’s Report. The records show, he said, that the FBI hand-picked Rev. Jesse Jackson to replace Dr. King BEFORE King was assassinated BY THE FBI. That Dr. King opposed the Viet Nam War and was threatening to interfere with U.S. foreign policy. Dr. King in a speech he made exactly one year prior to his death said he planned to go to Viet Nam to tell black GIs they should not be killing yellow-skinned people in someone else’s civil war. The staff member led me to understand that the records take the position that Rev. Jesse Jackson is acceptable to Federal agencies like the FBI and CIA, and Dr. King, perceived as a national security risk, was not. These bombshell disclosures will not be publicly divulged for thirty years, he told me.
So, was the late Ted Smart, a murdered reporter, correct? What did Louis Lomax. another murdered reporter, find out? Oh, so you are naive and you think reporters are only murdered in Mexico and Third World countries. Is Barbara Reynolds correct in her book? Rev. Jesse Jackson has plenty to consider and plenty to conceal. Reports are circulating that a key Chinese witness is set to testify that the Clinton White House demanded he come up with several million dollars from Bejing, for the political ambitions of Jesse’s son, Jesse Jackson, Jr., a U.S. Congressman from Chicago’s south side. Junior before becoming a Congressman, worked for the mafia-linked Hotel Workers Union. When grilled on this, on a radio show, Jesse Jr. said he never heard of the mobster who headed the Union for which Junior worked. Yet Junior was paid 59 thousand dollars a year as an alleged “organizer”. Some contend Junior performed little, if any work.
The bottom line: was reputed FBI stool pigeon, Rev. Jesse Jackson, complicit in the murder of Dr. King, whose position Jesse coveted? Stay tuned. More details in further stories on this subject.
Since 1958, Mr.Skolnick has been a court reformer. Since 1963, founder/chairman, Citizen’s Committee to Clean Up the Courts, disclosing certain instances of judicial and other bribery and political murders. Since 1991 a regular panelist, and since 1995, moderator/producer, of one-hour,weekly public access Cable TV Show, “Broadsides”, Cablecast on Channel 21, 9 p.m. each Monday in Chicago. For a heavy packet of printed stories, send $5.00 [U.S. funds] and a stamped, self-addressed business sized envelope [4-1/4 x 9-1/2 #10 size] WITH THREE STAMPS ON IT, to Citizen’s Committee to Clean Up the Courts, Sherman H. Skolnick, Chairman, 9800 South Oglesby Ave., Chicago IL 60617-4870. Office, 7 days, 8 a.m. to midnight, (773) 375-5741 [PLEASE, no “just routine calls]. Before sending FAX, call.