Tag Archives: Coretta Scott King

FBI Tried to Set Up Coretta Scott King for Assassination by Mississippi KKK in 1966

Happy Martin Luther King Day!  We honor the memory of Dr. King, a brave martyr in the long struggle to achieve equal rights for black workers in the racist hellhole of the United States of America.

As the recent worldwide protests against the wanton disregard for the lives of black workers by the US government and its police state agencies can attest, the struggle for equal rights for black workers in the USA is far from over.  The Independent Workers Party of Chicago seeks to create an integrated revolutionary Trotskyist workers party to organize the US working class to smash racism and the capitalist system that requires it in order to divide and conquer the workers movement and to maintain the class rule of the numerically tiny US capitalist class. The capitalist system needs to foment racism in order to function properly; it must keep the working class at each others’ throats so the capitalists can continue to exploit the workers effectively, squeezing profits from its wage-slaves while we fight among ourselves. Capitalism needs racism like a fish needs water! In order to smash racism we must first overthrow the capitalist system that creates, enforces and reinforces racism 24/7/365. To believe that we can smash racism while keeping capitalism is to believe in the impossible!

Every Martin Luther King Day workers in the US and all around the capitalist world are subjected to wall-to-wall propaganda from the US government and US capitalist enterprises cynically pretending to to pay “tribute” to MLK.  The racist, warmongering capitalists pay the tribute to Martin Luther King, Jr. that vice always pays to virtue, wiping their bloodstained hands with the mantle of the civil rights movement led by MLK, while simultaneously subjecting black workers to the same old racist “last hired, first fired” treatment as well as by unleashing their murderous racist cops on the black population – beating, imprisoning and murdering any black worker who dares to stand up for her or his rights against the racist cops and government. In fact, in this supposedly egalitarian, democratic, anti-racist, capitalist US of A, a black worker is murdered every 28 hours by the capitalists’ racist cops, security guards or vigilantes! Who are they trying to kid?

The truth is, while they pretend today that they all loved him, in fact, while Martin Luther King was alive, the capitalists’ US Government and their police agencies did all they could to destroy Martin Luther King, Jr. and the civil rights movement he led and they tried to either co-opt or assassinate its leaders.  The capitalists ordered the FBI to savagely attack the civil rights movement, setting up their infamous Counter-Intelligence Program (COINTELPRO) operation to “disrupt, discredit and destroy” every element of the civil rights movement.  For Martin Luther King and his wife Coretta, this presented itself as a mysterious, savage campaign orchestrated by persons unknown (it turned out to be the FBI)

to destroy Martin Luther King, Jr. personally by driving him to commit suicide.  The FBI sent him and his family racist cartoons, death threats and did everything they could to make their lives a living hell.  The US Government’s annual Martin Luther King Jr. “lovefest” is in fact a cynical attempt to whitewash the true history of their decades-long and continuing attempts to keep the black population of the USA “in their place” as a reserve army of low-paid workers forced to live in segregated ghettoes patrolled by vicious, racist cops who think nothing of gunning down black workers of any age or sex.

Both Martin Luther King, Jr. and his wife Coretta Scott King were the subject of illegal FBI wiretaps and surveillance throughout their careers as civil rights activists.  Their phones were tapped in their home and offices; their friends were approached to act as FBI informants; paid informants were directed to infiltrate the King entourage and to get as close to the family as possible in order that the FBI could be kept appraised of their every move, so as to be able to disrupt the civil rights movement as completely and effectively as possible.  Presidents from Democratic darling of the liberals John F. Kennedy to Republican Richard Nixon oversaw this wall-to-wall campaign of harassment and intimidation waged against the Kings before and after MLK was murdered in 1968.  After the murder, the US Army’s Intelligence Unit monitored the movements of the Kings as they exercised their Constitutional rights to conduct political activities around the US.

DOCUMENT: US Army Intelligence unit carried out domestic espionage against Coretta Scott King, 7 August 1968

In honor of Martin Luther King Day, we publish recently declassified FBI files which show that, in the 1960s, on at least one occasion, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) informed police agencies in the Deep South in advance not only that Martin Luther King’s wife, Coretta Scott King, would be traveling by car through the jurisdictions of these notoriously racist cops but that the FBI was NOT requesting these police agencies to provide her with any protection at all.

This amounted to a clear attempt by the FBI to set up Mrs. King for arrest – or much worse – as she traveled across country on her way to participate in various Civil Rights Movement events taking place around the US.  In 1966 the police agencies of Mississippi were loaded with Ku Klux Klan members – and the FBI damned well knew this.  To inform these redneck cops in advance of Mrs. Kings itinerary was essentially setting her up to be murdered.  Two years later, with the assassination site itself swarming with undercover cops and FBI agents, Martin Luther King was murdered in broad daylight, right in front of their eyes – and they saw nothing.  It appears that as part of the FBI’s long-running attempts to destroy MLK personally, they gave the green light on at least one occasion to the Klan-ridden cops of Mississippi to “take out” his wife.

In November of 1966, Mrs. King planned to make a trip by car to Grenada, Mississippi car to to give a vocal recital at a benefit for the Grenada County Freedom Movement – and the FBI immediately knew about her trip and moved to set her up.  Today, it might not be a well-remembered name from the days of the Civil Rights era, but there is no way that Hoover and the FBI in 1966 would have been unaware of the deeply racist nature of the police in that part of Mississippi that Mrs. King would pass through on her way to Grenada.  Quite the contrary!

Grenada was one of the towns that had been on the route of James Meredith’s 220-mile-long “March Against Fear”  from Memphis, Tennessee to Jackson, Mississippi which took place earlier that very same year.   Meredith was the man who had created a massive uproar when he, an Air Force veteran, dared to apply to attend the University of Mississippi in 1962.  It took a U.S. Supreme Court ruling, a threat to arrest the Governor of Mississippi, 500 U.S. marshals and a battalion from Fort Campbell, Kentucky to be deployed before the university would “allow” him to attend!  To say that the FBI “knew of” James Meredith would be a massive understatement: Meredith was internationally famous.

Originally, Meredith did not want any of the national civil rights organizations to be involved in the “March Against Fear” and he asked that only black men would participate in the march.  When Meredith was shotgunned 3 times by a white racist on the 2nd day of the march (- amazingly, he survived), the major civil rights organizations immediately came to his aid and took over the organization and leadership of the trek to Jackson.  According to the Wikipedia article on the “March Against Fear”, “The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party (MFDP), the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) and the Human Rights Medical Committee took part, with the Deacons for Defense and Justice from Louisiana providing armed protection.”  They combined the protest with voter registration drives in the towns they passed through.  When they got to Grenada and started their voter registration activities, the Grenada “town fathers” pretended to cooperate, and appointed black registrars to oversee the program.  However, as soon as the marchers left the town, the newly created registration rolls of the names and addresses of black voters were burned by the town’s racist leaders.

In spite of all this, when Mrs. King planned to drive to Grenada later that same year to give a vocal recital at a benefit for the Grenada County Freedom Movement, the FBI (which knew of her plans in advance thanks to the wiretaps US Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy had ordered to be installed on the phones of key civil rights activists – especially Stanley Levison) informed the local Grenada cops as well as the Mississippi Highway Patrol that she was on her way – and that the FBI did not expect them to provide any protection for her!  The Jackson, MS office of the FBI was apparently given the green light to inform the local cops of detailed information the FBI had acquired about her planned movements, including the precise time that she was expected to be leaving the benefit!

DOCUMENT: FBI sets up Coretta Scott King in Grenada, MS, 13 November 1966

The evidence of this plot is contained in this November 12, 1966 document from FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover to the FBI office in Jackson, MS.  In it,  Hoover advises the FBI – in Jackson, Mississippi! – to “ADVISE MISS. HIWAY PATROL AND GRANADA [MISS. – IWPCHI] POLICE OF MRS. KING’S PRESENCE IN MISS. AND TAKE NO FURTHER ACTION.  THESE AGENCIES SHOULD BE ADVISED WE ARE MERELY PASSING ON THIS INFORMATION AND NOT REQUESTING PROTECTION FOR MRS. KING”.  Hoover quite pointedly did not order the Jackson office to inform the local racist cops that the FBI would be providing protection either, implying – not at all subtly – that the local crazies were free to launch an attack on Mrs. King and her entourage.  There really is no other way to interpret these orders from Hoover.

We have no idea if any members of the Mississippi police agencies that had been informed of Mrs. King’s travels to their state made any attempt to attack Mrs. King on or around November 13, 1966.  Maybe they did and we just don’t know about it; maybe they were suspicious that they were being set up by the Feds.  Maybe they just didn’t have enough advance notice of her itinerary to launch an attack.  But whatever the reason, it was not because the FBI was going out of its way to protect Mrs. King.

Capitalism uses racism to divide and conquer the working class, making it harder for workers to organize across racial lines in order to fight the capitalists endless attempts to smash unions, disrupt anti-racist and socialist workers parties and squeeze more profits out of us thereby.   The pro-capitalist political parties of the capitalist class – the Republicans and the Democrats, as well as the Green Parties and other reformist parties – all defend the capitalist system, which means that they can not be transformed into effective weapons in the workers struggle to smash racism.  We need to build an integrated revolutionary socialist workers party that understands that racism can’t be done away with under the capitalist system.  Capitalism needs racism in order to survive; it will take a workers socialist revolution to overthrow the capitalist system before we can even begin to wipe out racism here in the USA and around the world.  Join us!

Workers of the World, Unite!

Independent Workers Party of Chicago

 

UPDATED: Get your copy of the US Army’s New “Civil Disturbances” Manual for 2014

[Note: We have added another document – 2007’s “Military Intelligence – US Army Intelligence Activities”  to the end of the article – IWPCHI]

Until recently, US citizens have been spared the kind of savage military response to attempts by workers to defend their rights such as we have seen this year meted out so brutally by the Israel Defense Force (IDF) against the Palestinian people in Gaza. But as the State of Missouri’s response to the uprising against police state murder in Ferguson shows, it looks like this kind of military intervention is going to be increasingly used against dissidents here in the US as well.

It is a little-known fact that throughout the civil rights struggle in the US, the FBI, whose own savage COINTELPRO tactics wantonly violated the Constitutional rights of US workers who legally fought for their rights, routinely kept the US military districts all over the US informed of their plans and activities.

In this document, the FBI, which is spying on both the anti-Vietnam War Movement and the late wife of Martin Luther King, Coretta Scott King, notes that the referenced memo (LHM means “Letterhead Memorandum” in FBI-speak) will be disseminated to several US military intelligence divisions in the various military districts…

as has been done with the rest of the world

(as has been done with the rest of the world)

…which the United States is divided into.

US Military Intelligence spied on Coretta King and antiwar activists

The U.S. Army Intelligence Command (USAINTC) is “the Army counterintelligence element formed in 1965 to conduct operations in the continental United States. The command had been allotted substantial personnel to carry out its mission. Its seven Military Intelligence groups controlled a network of 300 field and resident offices across the nation.” [Source: globalsecurity.org: “U.S. Army Intelligence Command and the Home Front“] In the FBI document above, we see that the 111th Military Intelligence Group, as well as the Naval Investigative Service [NIS – now known as the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS)] and the Air Force’s Office of Special Investigations (OSI) were being kept informed by the FBI as to the activities of the antiwar left and the key civil rights activists legally exercising their constitutional rights to protest and organize. Since the end of the Civil War, the US military has been used most significantly on behalf of the US capitalist class in order to smash labor strikes whenever the oligarchs’ private security forces have been overwhelmed by working class militancy.

The National Guard was famously used against black workers in the uprisings that broke out across the nation in the wake of the assassination of Martin Luther King as well as in the efforts to quell the antiwar protests at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago in 1968.

In a 2009 article for the US Army’s “Joint Center for Operational Analysis Journal” entitled “The Role of Federal Military Forces in Domestic Law Enforcement“, Retired Col. John R. Brinkerhoff provided a concise historical overview with a couple of surprises:

“Federal military troops have been used often to enforce the laws of the Nation. In the past two hundred fifteen years, the Army and, to a lesser extent, the Marine Corps has enforced the laws in over 167 incidents, or about 0.75 times per year on the average. Federal troops have been called on to quell insurrections, enforce unpopular federal laws, govern the seven states of the defeated Confederacy, protect minorities from harm, quell race riots, police the lawless West, guard the borders, break strikes, protect key assets against sabotage, seize and operate war plants, enforce civil rights laws, operate the postal service, and protect the population from lawless elements. (See U.S. Army Center of Military History, The Role of Federal Military Forces in Domestic Disorders, 1789-1878 (1988).)

[…]

“A major source of confusion is the Posse Comitatus Act, which many people believe-incorrectly-prohibits the use of federal troops to enforce the law in the United States.

“What was originally no more than a way to prevent US attorneys and local sheriffs to require federal troops to enforce the law has become, in popular myth, a general proscription of any use of federal troops to enforce the law. This general belief is belied by the fact that despite the Posse Comitatus Act, Presidents after 1878 have used federal troops to enforce the laws when they saw fit to do so. Presidents have used the Posse Comitatus Act as an excuse to reject or avoid actions they did not want to do, but have not hesitated to work around the act to do what they wanted to do. During the labor riots of the late 19th Century, Presidents used federal troops to intervene in labor disputes under the pretext of protecting federal property. During World War I, President Woodrow Wilson breached the actual terms of the Posse Comitatus Act by allowing his subordinates to use troops without first obtaining his authorization. During World War II and for three decades thereafter, federal troops were frequently involved in law enforcement actions, such as surveillance, search, detention, and arrest in the course of authorized domestic operations. Federal troops not only enforced the law of the land, including making arrests and detaining lawbreakers, but they were expected to do so by a generally grateful public. The real intent of the original Posse Comitatus Act was to restore to the President sole authority to authorize the use of federal military forces to enforce the law in the United States.

“The real effect of the Posse Comitatus Act has been to slow down the response time for the use of federal troops.” [ibid.]

More information on this subject can be had by looking up the term “Operation GARDEN PLOT” which is “the DoD Civil Disturbance Plan, the generic Operations Plan [OPLAN] for military support related to domestic civil disturbances.”

This April, the US Army published a new “Techniques Publication” on how to handle civil disturbances. This document lays out in no uncertain terms just how our “heroes in uniform” have been handling “disturbances” created by our working class brothers and sisters courageously fighting for their rights under US military occupation in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere.

We have confirmed that this document is genuine and comes from the US Army’s own website. In it are described many of the most notorious tactics used by the military and cops against political activists, including “extraction teams” and methods to “establish lethal overwatch” by placing snipers on tall buildings overseeing the likely sites where “disturbances” might take place.

Army Techniques Publication 3-39.33 – Civil Disturbances

This all sounds very scary, but even this extreme example of police state terror has its limitations, as has been belatedly discovered by every despot who was overthrown in a revolution led by an enraged working class and/or peasantry. After all, the National Guard and the rest of the armed forces of the US are composed of our brothers, sisters, sons and daughters, and and also of poor and minority workers, who join the military not out of love for the ruling class and its government but out of desperation to find means to survive, especially at times of high unemployment. The army, therefore is very unlike the cops who more consciously hire on as the front-line defenders of capitalist private property, knowing in advance that they will be used to break strikes and to brutalize workers on a daily basis as part of their “jobs”. To the rank-and-file members of the military appeals can be made that they refrain from opening fire on their fellow workers.

Using the military to quell domestic disturbances can very easily lead to a rapid demoralization of the working-class members of the armed forces, their joining the insurrection, arresting their officers and turning the heavy guns of the military against the ruling class itself. If led by a revolutionary socialist vanguard party dedicated to the overthrow of the capitalist system, this can lead to the collapse of the government and the accession of the working class to power. In the great Russian Revolution of 1917, almost the entire Czarist army went over to the side of the Bolsheviks, who alone among all the opposition parties had promised to end the bloodbath of WWI – and who followed through on that promise upon their seizure of power. Brute force is an effective deterrent to attempts at the overthrow of the government – until it finally fails to work… at which time, as we have seen repeatedly throughout history, the end finally comes for the hated government and ruling class that has dared to attempt to extend their tenacious hold on to power by slaughtering “their own” workers in the streets of “their own” cities.

Workers of the World, Unite!

Independent Workers Party of Chicago

UPDATE:  We’ve run across another interesting unclassified US Army document entitled: “Military Intelligence – US_Army_Intelligence_Activities“.  It’s a good overview of the extent of the US Army’s domestic and international espionage activities. – IWPCHI