Monday, April 24, 2023

The Case of the Missing Cliché Continued

Rick O’Shea, Private Detective, still on the case of the missing cliché and not enjoying it at all. I’ve been in so much hot water since I went P.I., that I am truly a hardboiled Dick which isn’t all it is cracked up to be.

The goons were coming back to finish the job; I could see them about half a block away. The tire irons they carried didn’t look very friendly. Reached under my arm for the good friend I keep close to my heart. Drained it dry and threw it away. Then I took my revolver out and screwed a silencer on it. This time I was ready for them.

They didn’t see the revolver until it was too late. Three shots, three dead toughs. I rolled the bodies down the bank of a conveniently located stream and covered them with conveniently located brush. It would be a day or two before anyone found them. We don’t get buzzards this far into the city, at least not feathered ones.

She hadn’t given me a contact number but tracking the broad wasn’t that difficult. The spinach in her teeth when she was in my office gave her away. There was a Vegan restaurant nearby. First place to look. I knew she wasn’t a vegan because she didn’t tell me she was and obviously meat was still on her menu. I hoped they would remember her. They did. She came in a couple times a week for a decent salad, they said. My idea of a decent salad is a rare 20 oz prime rib, but I didn’t say it.

They heard someone call her Lori. Should have been Lorry. They’d no idea where she lived other than nearby so I would have to stake this place out until she showed up. Steaking it out would have offended the staff. I sat in the corner booth for an hour each side of lunch and drank free-range organic coffee. Tasted like it had been wrung out of Jon Arbuckle’s sock and at the price, I knew I wouldn’t even be drinking cheap Scotch for a while.

The cook/waiter/busboy was pale and skeletal. Good thing people like him eat so healthily otherwise they might be dead. I’m a person of balance. I eat four donuts at a time, so my hips, butt and belly stay in balance. And much prefer females the size of Built for comfort not for speed as the saying goes.

Fortunately, Lori was a creature of habit like the nuns who tried to educate me a millennium back. Three days later she entered the café. She didn’t waltz in but more of a slow two-step. I’d love to dance with her as long as she had power steering. She saw me immediately and came over to my table with a smile on her face.

I grabbed her arm and said, “Let’s get out of here. There’s a pub around the corner that is more my style”. It was owned by two Irishmen, Gerald Fitzpatrick and his partner, Patrick Fitzgerald. They served Guinness and Old Bushmills. Irish whiskey instead of Scotch whisky. When we each had a glass in front of us, she began where I’d cut her off at the salad bar. (As his master descended the ladder, the little dog jumped, caught his foot in the trigger and shot him just below the hayloft…but as the new bride said when she got out of her honeymoon bed to bake a cake, “I digress.”)

“Well, did you enjoy it?”

“Enjoy what? Watching you and your boyfriend bump uglies or the uglies bump me? Didn’t you hire the bully boys that beat me to a pulp, then came back later to finish the job. And missed?”

“I did not! I would never do such a thing!”

“Yeah? So who were they? Who hired them? And why did you hire me? I’m tired of games and you owe me an explanation and a cool grand. I should charge you double.”

“My ex-husband hired them. He is a jealous type. I should have warned you about him but that would have given the game away. The guy I was with is just someone I promised a good time to if he met me at a time and place. I’m not a woman to turn a man’s head unless I’m going break his neck. I‘ve seen you around the neighbourhood and thought you might be useful. I hired you and fed you a line of bull, expecting my ex and his friends to try to kill you. I never meant for you to get killed. I was hoping you would kill him.”

“You could have just hired me to kill him.”

“That’s illegal. This way it was you in self-defense and I’ve got an alibi. And I would certainly have made it worth your while.” She smiled seductively. No spinach in her teeth this time.

This woman didn’t have a case; she was a case. Just what I needed, a nutcase with a murderous ex likely to show up with more hoods when he discovered his missing muscle. And I’m supposed to kill him. For a lousy thousand bucks and future benefits.

“Pay me and if your ex shows up again, I’ll think about your further offer.” Like that was going to happen. She peeled off the bills, gave me her address and phone number this time and I split out of there like a turpentined cat.

I blew half the grand on a bottle of 30-year-old Glenmorangie. Figured I owed it to myself. I am sitting at my desk, sipping very slowly on a glass of the amber liquid, with the blind pulled and the door locked, contemplating giving up my life of sin and becoming a TV evangelist.

Then there was a knock on the door…

Thursday, April 13, 2023

Who Assassinated Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

April 4th was the 55th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. I decided to do a blog post about it and ended up going down a very deep rabbit hole. I finally had to quit looking for material and go with what I had. It took me until today to sort and write. Getting the pertinent stuff in without writing a book was a challenge. This is my attempt. 

Fifty-Five years ago, on April 4th, 1968, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was murdered on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis Tennessee. The official verdict was that it was done by a lone gunman. James Earl Ray, a petty thief and escaped convict, who pleaded guilty and died in prison. However, a great many things did not add up leaving the identity of the actual assassin open for debate.

It takes a great deal of proof to convince me about many official versions of controversial events. Too many official accounts cover up or ignore crucial details. Top Secret is not to protect the nation but to cover someone’s ass. It isn’t just Russia where people inconvenient to the powers are eliminated. Journalist Michael Hastings died in a flaming car wreck. JFK? I am convinced that events went down as the Warren Commission described them and as confirmed by Philip Shenon’s book, “A Cruel and Shocking Act”. The question is who put the idea in Oswald’s head and made it stick? RFK? I’ll look at that closer to his assassination date.

Throughout the upheaval of the 1960s, the US government waged an all-out covert war against the black freedom movement. The FBI’s campaign of illegal surveillance, harassment, blackmailing, subversion, and violence—including the extrajudicial execution of Black Panther leader Fred Hampton in Chicago in 1969—under the auspices of COINTELPRO is largely a matter of historical record.

The FBI, in particular J. Edgar Hoover, hated MLK. After King made his “I have a dream” speech in 1963, Hoover called him the most dangerous and effective Negro leader in the country.” The FBI kept him under constant surveillance hoping to find Communist influence. They didn’t find any, but they did learn about his philandering, which they used against him. They were obsessed with neutralizing his influence in the civil rights movement, tracking his flights, tapping his phone, and harassing him to the point of sending an anonymous letter suggesting he commit suicide.

King made powerful enemies by opposing the war in Vietnam as contractors were making too much money to want the war to stop. But what really made him dangerous was The Poor People’s Campaign of 1968, which demanded that the government address the employment and housing problems of the poor, both Black and White, throughout the United States. The Idea that if King was able to convince poor Blacks and Whites that they had enough in common to unite and fight together for justice, terrified the establishment that survived by pitting one against the other. King had to be stopped. Conveniently, a lone deranged racist gunman, James Earl Ray, allegedly shot King at 6:01 pm on April 4th, 1968.

Ray’s first lawyer, Haines began digging into some of the questionable assertions of the Memphis police. Ray was persuaded to change lawyers. He pleaded guilty on the advice of his new lawyer, Percy Foreman, who assured him he would get a retrial in two weeks. Foreman immediately disappeared, leaving Ray $500 to hire another lawyer.

Consequently, the official investigations stopped, and no trial was held. None of the evidence that might have cleared him and incriminated the guilty party (parties) was ever made public. For the rest of his life, Ray was unsuccessful in getting a new trial. All official government investigations, thereafter, including one by the House Select Committee on Assassinations under chief counsel Robert Blakey found Ray acted as the lone assassin.

However, in 2012, G. Robert Blakey, who had been the staff director to the HSCA, admitted that he had been misled by the CIA, which had failed to disclose that a government liaison to the HSCA, George Joannides, had a CIA background. Blakey told the (Jackson, Miss.) Clarion-Ledger that “reasonable people today, not just conspiracy theorists, believe that more individuals than James Earl Ray were involved in King’s assassination.

Dr. William Pepper, lawyer, civil rights activist, and a friend of Matin Luther King Jr., interviewed Ray in 1978 and was convinced of his innocence. He spent almost 40 years tracking down witnesses and compiling evidence that exonerated James Earl Ray and pointed to an evil conspiracy. His third and final book “The Plot to Kill King” published in 2016 is the culmination of his investigations.

In 1999, Pepper and the King family launched a civil suit against the Memphis restaurant owner, Lloyd Jowers, who claimed that he had been paid by a local mobster to organize King’s assassination. He testified that organizational meetings were held in his restaurant. The jury heard from 70 witnesses and took 59 minutes to decide that James Earl Ray was not the person who murdered King. They ruled that local, state, and federal government aided by members of the New Orleans Marcello crime family, were responsible.

Witnesses have testified to and/or evidence has been found for all of the following:

  • Clyde Tolson, longtime assistant to J Edgar Hoover and his man in Memphis, delivered $25,000 cash via the mob, to the warden of the Missouri prison where Ray was held. He was allowed to escape, made his way to Atlanta and eventually to Montreal, where he met a man named Raul, a CIA operative who became Ray’s handler.
  • Raul involved Ray in some small gun running ventures. Ray was sent to Birmingham for one such deal to buy a hunting rifle with a scope, specifically a 30-06, after Ray initially bought a .243 calibre.
  • Ray, at 3:00 pm on April 4th, on instructions from Raul, booked a room on the second floor of Bessy’s Boarding House, a cheap flophouse across the street from the Lorraine Motel on April 4th, with a bar called Jim’s Grill, owned by Lloyd Jowers, on the street level. Ray allegedly fired the shot from the window of the public bathroom on the second floor.
  • The distance from the bathroom window to the balcony was about a 200-yard shot, easy for a skilled marksman but difficult for a novice. Ray had never fired a rifle in his life. The rifle was not sighted in. The bullet recovered from King’s body was never matched to the rifle and was in fact cut up by the FBI.
  • After shooting King, in the three minutes before the nearest policeman arrived on foot, Ray allegedly took the rifle apart, put it in a briefcase, threw it and a few belongings in a blanket and fled down the stairs and to his car. On the way he dropped the blanket and rifle in front of the Canipe Amusement Company, next door to the rooming house.
  • Ray’s fingerprints were found on the rifle and a few other things in the blanket but not in the room he rented at the flop house.
  • Ray said he was told by Raul to leave the rifle and go somewhere as there were things that needed to be done before the deal went down. Ray was three blocks away when the shot was fired. As he drove back to the boarding house, he saw all the activity and police cars and decided he had better make a run for it.
  • The fatal shot came from the bushes beside the rooming house, possibly Memphis Police Lt. Earl Clark, a skilled marksman and associate of Frank Liberto, a member of the Marcello crime family of New Orleans. Immediately after the shot, a man was seen coming from the bushes into the street and mingling with the crowd. Inexplicably, The bushes were cleared away the next day by Memphis city workers.
  • Jowers’ girlfriend said immediately after the shot, Jowers came in the back door of Jim’s Grill with a rifle which he hid under the counter, and which was picked up later, allegedly by Raul.
  • The day of the shooting, the Memphis Police Department did not provide the usual security for King and other security squads were kept several blocks away. Orders allegedly came from Washington.
  • The FBI immediately took control of the case though it was clearly the jurisdiction of the Memphis Police. In the years following his death, documents related to Martin Luther King Jr.’s murder case were doctored or destroyed, and all files of FBI surveillance on King were sealed for 50 years.
  • After the shooting, Ray drove to Atlanta, then flew to Europe, ending up in Portugal where he stayed until he ran out of money. He went back to England where he was arrested in July 1968 and extradited to America. Where did he get the money to stay on the run as long as he did?
  • Ray used four aliases of real people who looked like him who lived in Toronto. How did he get them?
  • In 1995, new evidence had convinced Memphis criminal court Judge Joe Brown to approve a new trial but before he could sign the papers he was removed by the state.
  • The son of Russel Adkins, member of the Dixie Mafia, testified that meetings to organize the assassination took place in their house. Participants included the Memphis Mayor and Chief of Police, and FBI agent Tolson.
  • John McFerren, Black owner of a small grocery and gas business, said he was in Frank Liberto’s warehouse buying produce for his store when he overheard Liberto on the phone telling someone to shoot him when he is on the balcony, go to New Orleans and get the rest of your money. . .”

These are just a few of the unanswered questions, testimony, statements, and evidence leading to the conclusion that James Earl Ray was not the assassin but was King's murder was carried out by parties unknown or unproveable. 

By the late 60s there was an erosion of support for the civil rights movement. After King was killed, riots broke out in over 100 cities, as Blacks dealt with their feeling of loss and hopelessness. The majority of non-Blacks, instead of dealing with the issues that created the Black ghettos, believing that the protesters were merely bad people, determined simply to stop any further uprisings by any means possible. Thus Nixon and Ronald Reagan ran on 'law and order" leading to the mass incarceration of Blacks. 

Investigation Points to FBI Conspiracy to Silence Martin Luther King Jr.

The FBI’s secret memos show an agency obsessed with ‘neutraliz(ing)’ MLK

Did the FBI Kill MLK?

Did The FBI Orchestrate MLK Jr's Assassination | The Conspiracy Show | Documentary Central

Investigator Gary Revel’s Probe into Martin Luther King Assassination Leads to New Book & Movie

MLK Plot | American Black Journal Clip

Who killed Martin Luther King Jr.? His family believes James Earl Ray was framed.

‘I Am a Man’: The ugly Memphis sanitation workers’ strike that led to MLK’s assassination.

William Pepper - The Execution of Martin Luther King



The Week That Made Modern America


Sunday, April 2, 2023

Grayden and Lucky - my two good boys

 Since I last posted, Tanya and I took the bus to Edmonton to visit my son and his family. Mostly to visit my grandson Grayden whom I last saw in August and whom Tanya had never met. Thank goodness for WhatsApp video calling. Tanya stayed three days and came home as Lucky was at our friend Ed's place and she figured five days was enough. Bus from Regina to Edmonton is a full 10 hours but a return trip is only $240 CAD. Flying is impossibly expensive. 

And like any holiday, it takes days to catch up on things left undone while away.

Grayden has learned so many things and learns something new every day at that age. He will be 8 months tomorrow (3rd) and will pull himself up and stand on the couch by himself, and yesterday learned to crawl forward. He was crawling backwards and rolling as means to move around. While he has ample toys, he prefers real things. Like the TV remote and knows which one works the TV and which one does not. 

He quite loved his Babushka and missed her when she left. He is usually all smiles for everything but is cutting teeth, he has two with more soon, and sometimes fusses about that. He likes the TV on because of colour and action. So I got to watch lots of Disney Pixar movies. I would say UP was my favourite.

So here are pictures of my smiling boy:

Look waaaaay up

He loves his Baba Tanya

And his Grandpa Al

Saying goodbye at the bus stop

He is always happy in the morning

Lucky, our three and a half year old German Shepherd, is the most expensive non registered dog in Regina. Getting him here will keep us broke for the next few years and keeping him here isn't cheap either. I raised four kids at less cost than this dog. Our new veterinary clinic is 2 km from our house so I walked him down Friday for his annual vaccinations and internal and external parasite control. I raised four kids at less cost than this dog. But he is one of the family so. . .

Lucky is very protective and likes to look out the window and bark at anything that moves on the street. When walking his, he will often bark and lunge at large vehicles like buses, trucks or big pickup trucks. If someone is walking towards us he will bark and lunge. If they are working he will ignore them. He never bites anyone but doesn't need to as he is 36 kg and very scary. If neither Tanya and I are around or he escapes to the street, he is friendly as can be. 

Tanya speaks to him in Russian and he understands her very well. Get the ball, where is your toy, and so on. He listens to her but not to me. Sleeping on the bed is his greatest pleasure. Until he gets too warm when he moves to the floor. If I get up in the night, I find him lying by my pillow where it is warm, with his sad brown eyes daring me to move him. 

His favourite toy is a #3 soccer ball which he can carry in his mouth. He has several bouncy balls and will catch them when thrown but always goes back to the soccer ball. We couldn't find it for two days. It was under the couch. How he managed to do that is beyond us. He must have pushed it very hard to make it fit. He has plush toys, some with squeakers. He will shake them like a rat but has never destroyed one. 

Lucky likes his head on the pillow

Chewing on an ice block

His favourite toy - a soccer ball

Our backyard

He puts a ball in a shoe then carries the shoe around