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I came across a site that stated, “In 1999, Dr. Martin Luther King’s family won a civil lawsuit proving the U.S. government was responsible for his assassination. It wasn’t reported by the mainstream media.”

This totally blew my mind because I had not heard of such a thing. So I began to search. The following is from the New York Times Archives entitled, “Memphis Jury Sees Conspiracy in Martin Luther King’s Killing” by By Emily Yellin (love the name :P), published on 9 December 1999:

A jury in a civil suit brought by the family of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. decided today that a retired Memphis cafe owner was part of a conspiracy in the 1968 killing of Dr. King.

The jury’s decision means it did not believe that James Earl Ray, who was convicted of the crime, fired the shot that killed Dr. King.

After four weeks of testimony and one hour of deliberation, the jury in the wrongful-death case found that Loyd Jowers as well as “others, including governmental agencies” had been part of a conspiracy. The jury awarded the King family the damages they had sought: $100, which the family says it will donate to charity.

The family has long questioned Mr. Ray’s conviction and hoped the suit would change the legal and historical record of the assassination.
“This is a vindication for us,” said Dexter King, the youngest son of Dr. King.

He said he hoped history books would be rewritten to reflect this version of the assassination.

Mr. Jowers, 73 and in failing health, owned Jim’s Grill in 1968, a restaurant opposite the motel where Dr. King was shot and just below the second-floor rooming house from which, according to James Earl Ray’s confession in 1969, Mr. Ray fired the single shot that killed Dr. King. Mr. Ray, who recanted his confession, hinted at a conspiracy. He died in prison last year while serving a 99-year sentence.

Mr. Jowers, in a 1993 television interview, said that he had hired a Memphis police officer to kill Dr. King from the bushes behind his restaurant. Mr. Jowers said he had been paid to do so by a Memphis grocery store owner with Mafia connections.

In an unlikely alliance, the King family was represented in the case by William Pepper, who had been Mr. Ray’s lawyer. The King family maintains that Mr. Pepper’s version of the assassination is the one that gets at the real truth behind Dr. King’s death, not the official version with Mr. Ray as the gunman.

Mr. Pepper said federal, state and Memphis governmental agencies, as well as the news media conspired in the assassination.

Mr. Jowers’s lawyer, Lewis Garrison, had said since the trial began that he agreed with 80 percent of Mr. Pepper’s conspiracy theories and disagreed only on the extent of his client’s involvement. In his closing argument today, Mr. Garrison repeated what he had said through the trial that his client participated in the conspiracy but did not know that it was a plot to kill Dr. King.

One juror, David Morphy, said after the trial, “We all thought it was a cut and dried case with the evidence that Mr. Pepper brought to us, that there were a lot of people involved, everyone from the C.I.A., military involvement, and Jowers was involved.”

John Campbell, an assistant district attorney in Memphis, who was not part of the civil proceedings but was part of the criminal case against Mr. Ray, said, “I’m not surprised by the verdict. This case overlooked so much contradictory evidence that never was presented, what other option did the jury have but to accept Mr. Pepper’s version?”

And Gerald Posner, whose recent book, “Killing the Dream” made the case that Mr. Ray was the killer, said, “It distresses me greatly that the legal system was used in such a callous and farcical manner in Memphis. If the King family wanted a rubber stamp of their own view of the facts, they got it.”

Source

The following is from the United States Department of Justice website:

VII. KING V. JOWERS CONSPIRACY ALLEGATIONS

A. The King v. Jowers Trial

In November 1999, trial commenced in King v. Jowers, a wrongful death civil action filed by Dr. Pepper on behalf of Dr. King’s wife and children. Jowers was the only defendant and thus the only other party to the lawsuit. At the conclusion of the nearly four week trial, the jury adopted a verdict offered by the parties finding that Jowers and “others, including government agencies” participated in a conspiracy to assassinate Dr. King.

We reviewed the trial’s evidence in connection with our ongoing investigation of the Jowers and Wilson allegations. We also conducted additional witness interviews and searched for and reviewed records as warranted by the evidence.

In Sections IV and VI of this report, we discussed the evidence presented in King v. Jowers related to the Jowers allegation, as well as the relevant, additional investigation we initiated. Much of the information we considered in those sections was not presented to the jury. For instance, the parties did not introduce Jowers’ many inconsistent claims, the inconsistent statements of several critical witnesses, or information that contradicted and undermined the trial evidence. As to the Wilson allegations, no evidence, other than newspaper articles recounting Wilson’s claims, was offered. Accordingly, after considering the trial evidence in light of all available, relevant information, we still conclude that the Jowers and Wilson allegations are not credible and that there is no Raoul. See Sections IV, V, and VI above.

We also considered evidence from King v. Jowers suggesting the existence of various conspiracies broader than the one claimed by Jowers. These conspiracies purportedly included government agents and two African American ministers who were associates of Dr. King. The evidence never linked Jowers or his alleged co-conspirators to any federal agency or the United States military, even though the plaintiffs maintained that Dr. King’s assassination was the result of a government-directed conspiracy and Jowers was the only party sued.

Nonetheless, we examined the trial evidence relating to these far-ranging conspiracy claims. We found that it was both contradictory and based on uncorroborated secondhand and thirdhand hearsay accounts. Nor did we find any credible, concrete facts to substantiate any of the conspiracy allegations. Because there was no reliable evidence presented at trial relating to a conspiracy to assassinate Dr. King involving either Jowers, the government, African American ministers, or anyone else, and because we know of no information to support such allegations, we find no justification for further investigation.

To explain our conclusion, we have summarized the trial evidence relating the purported conspiracies and analyzed that evidence in view of the results of our investigation and other relevant information that was not presented in King v. Jowers.

B. Evidence Alleging The Involvement Of The Federal Government

1. Hearsay Evidence

Most of the witnesses and writings offered to support the various government-directed conspiracy claims relied exclusively on secondhand and thirdhand hearsay and speculation. Additionally, none of these allegations were ever linked together. Rather, the hearsay evidence alleged that various government agencies participated in assorted assassination plots that are actually contradictory.

One allegation came from an acquaintance of Jowers who testified regarding a double hearsay account of an alleged conversation in a barbershop in which a supposed FBI agent remarked that the CIA was responsible for the assassination. Unrelated to this allegation, other hearsay evidence presented a different conspiracy, one to silence Ray after he pled guilty. One of Ray’s former attorneys related a double hearsay account from two deceased inmates suggesting that, ten years after the assassination, Ray was the target of a government-directed murder contract. A former government official further testified that he heard an unconfirmed rumor that FBI snipers were dispatched when Ray escaped from prison.

The deposition of a person identified only as “John Doe” related yet another conspiracy claim. The unknown deponent recounted his alleged participation in a Mafia-assisted plot initiated by the President and Vice President of the United States. Finally, several authors, a newspaper article, and notes of alleged witness interviews offered various hearsay allegations that the United States military was somehow involved in the assassination. These allegations included a claim by an unidentified source that, while conducting military surveillance of Dr. King, his military team witnessed the assassination and even photographed a man with a rifle leaving the scene.

2. Eyewitness Testimony

In contrast to the several, disparate hearsay accounts presented at trial, only three witnesses provided firsthand information relating to any of the conspiracy allegations. Significantly, these witnesses did not directly support any of the hearsay claims that the government participated in the assassination, but merely recounted their observations of conduct suggesting that Dr. King may have been under government surveillance.

James Smith, formerly a Memphis police officer, testified that he understood that Dr. King was under government surveillance during the sanitation workers’ strike in Memphis in March 1968, two weeks before the assassination. Smith reported that he observed a van filled with radio equipment outside the Rivermont Hotel where Dr. King was staying. Smith said that he heard from unidentified sources that the occupants of the van were federal agents conducting electronic surveillance.

Eli Arkin, a former Memphis police intelligence officer, answered questions about the presence of military personnel in Memphis. Arkin testified, consistent with what he previously related to us, that in March or April 1968, Army intelligence agents worked in his office while he was gathering information about the sanitation strike. According to Arkin, the agents never explained what they were doing and merely observed and took notes.

Finally, Carthel Weeden, then the captain of Fire Station No. 2 across from the Lorraine, testified that on the morning of the assassination, two men who identified themselves as Army personnel said they wanted to conduct photographic surveillance. He reported that he showed them to the fire station’s roof. When we spoke to him after the trial, Weeden advised that, while he was sure he took military personnel to the roof, it was possible that he did so on a day before — not on the day of — the assassination. He also told us that he did not know how long the men remained on the roof.

3. Analysis of the Evidence Alleging the Involvement of the Federal Government

When critically analyzed and considered in light of other relevant information, the trial evidence does not establish that federal agents were involved in a conspiracy to assassinate Dr. King. Rather, it consists of speculation or secondhand and thirdhand hearsay accounts that remain totally unsubstantiated or contradicted. After considering all available information, including numerous facts not presented to the King v. Jowers jury, we have concluded that none of the assorted conspiracy allegations warrant any further investigation.

a. Allegations of CIA and FBI involvement in a conspiracy

William Hamblin, a former cab driver who knew both Jowers and his friend James McCraw, testified regarding a double hearsay account that the CIA was responsible for the assassination. Hamblin reported that while he was a barber in Memphis in 1968, his boss, Vernon Jones, now deceased, told him about a comment made by a long-standing customer, referred to only as “Mr. Purdy.” Hamblin testified that Jones said that in response to Jones’ question — “who do you think did it?” — Mr. Purdy answered — “the CIA.” Hamblin also maintained, without explaining the basis for his knowledge, that Mr. Purdy was an FBI agent. See Section IV.F.2. above for other allegations made by Hamblin.

Hamblin did not claim to have heard the alleged conversation between Jones and Purdy. There was no evidence presented that the conversation actually occurred or that Hamblin’s unexplained belief that Mr. Purdy was an FBI agent was correct. Nor was any evidence offered to show that Mr. Purdy’s alleged opinion was based upon fact rather than conjecture. Accordingly, Hamblin’s testimony is nothing more than an unconfirmed report of idle barbershop speculation.

A limited amount of other trial evidence was offered in an attempt to suggest that the FBI and the CIA were involved in the assassination. Several witnesses made vague accusations that the FBI failed to investigate thoroughly or suppressed evidence related to the murder and that its leadership wanted Dr. King killed. No specific trial evidence, however, supported these accusations and we found nothing to confirm the speculation.

As to the CIA, a witness testified that an undercover officer, who at the time of the assassination worked for the Memphis Police Department, was hired by that federal agency several years later. See Section IV.D.2.b.(2) above. Thus, it was implied that the CIA may have been involved in a conspiracy. Additionally, an unidentified source, who was not credited by the newspaper reporter who heard his story, alleged that his National Guard reconnaissance team was met in Memphis on the day of the murder by someone who “smelled like” a CIA agent. See Section VII.B.3.d. below. After reviewing the historical record, including CIA records, some of which were classified, we found nothing to substantiate the speculative claims that the CIA was involved in a conspiracy.

b. Allegations of a government conspiracy to silence Ray

Reverend Walter Fauntroy, former delegate to the United States House of Representatives, testified regarding a rumor. Fauntroy, who headed the HSCA probe of the King assassination, stated that at the time of Ray’s escape from prison in 1977, he “heard” that FBI snipers had been sent to Tennessee. Fauntroy emphasized, “I don’t know that. I have no evidence, but that’s what we heard and that alarmed us.”

Attorney April Ferguson, who assisted Mark Lane in representing Ray during the HSCA hearings, testified about a related, double hearsay account from two inmates regarding an alleged contract to kill Ray. According to Ferguson, in January 1979, she met a now deceased, incarcerated extortionist, William Kirk, who told her that another now deceased inmate, Arthur Baldwin, advised him of a supposed $5000 contract to murder Ray. Ferguson added that Kirk told her, without providing any specifics or sources for his information, that he “got the impression that * * * Baldwin was working as an agent or informer for the federal government.”

We did not find anything to confirm either hearsay allegation about the plots to kill Ray. Reverend Fauntroy correctly cautioned in his testimony that he knew of no evidence to support the rumor he had heard. In fact, Ray was in the custody of the government for over 30 years and died of liver disease in 1998.

We did determine that Baldwin assisted the government in federal investigations that were unrelated to the assassination in return for a reduced sentence for his own criminal activity. We are aware, however, of no information to substantiate the inference that Baldwin was thus involved in a government-directed plot to kill Ray. The former United States Attorney, who used Baldwin as an informant, advised that, because of Baldwin’s poor credibility, he relied on Baldwin’s information only when it could be independently corroborated.

We found nothing to corroborate the hearsay account of Kirk’s allegation of Baldwin’s claim. Moreover, it is not uncommon for inmates to make false accusations with some hope of personal gain.

c. Allegation of a conspiracy involving the President and Vice President

During the trial, Garrison, on behalf of Jowers, presented a “John Doe” deposition outlining a conspiracy involving the Mafia and implicating both the President and Vice President of the United States. The unidentified deponent, whose name was withheld for unexplained “security reasons,” claimed to have worked for the Houston Post in 1968. His deposition provides that he was contacted by a former treasurer of the United Auto Workers at the request of a bookmaker acquaintance and offered $400,000, allegedly to be supplied by the union, “to satisfy Mr. [Hubert] Humphrey and Mr. [Lyndon] Johnson by making Martin Luther King * * * ‘shut up’ about the Vietnam War * * * by just taking him out.” According to the deposition, the deponent accepted the offer, and along with the assistance of several others, including Raoul and Mafia figure, Carlos Marcello, assassinated Dr. King.

The deposition provides details as to how the murder was allegedly accomplished. It states that on April 4, 1968, the deponent and others flew to Memphis from a secret airstrip owned by Marcello. Upon arrival, a woman from Belize, South America, now deceased, drove them to downtown Memphis and dropped off Raoul near Mulberry Street. Raoul then went into a building and left a bag outside. Afterwards, Raoul drove to New Orleans, picked up Ray in Atlanta, and flew with him to Canada. The deposition also alleges that after “the actual shooting of King took place [from] behind * * * a brushy little wall,” the woman from Belize “c[a]me around and pick[ed] up the shooter” in a Chevrolet Corvair. The shooter, along with the deponent, flew back to the Mafia airstrip and, while passing over the Mississippi River, threw the rifle into the river.

While the “John Doe” deposition presented the most detailed evidence alleging a government-directed conspiracy, no live witness testimony or documentary or physical evidence corroborated any part of its allegations. Conveniently, Doe remained unidentified for “security reasons” and virtually all of his alleged co-conspirators are supposedly dead. Moreover, many of Doe’s claims are contradicted by otherwise established facts. For example, none of the many witnesses at the Lorraine, nor the police who immediately responded, saw a woman drive by and pick up the shooter, and Ray never claimed that he flew to Canada with Raoul. Thus, this far-fetched, anonymous story has no indicia of reliability and is not credible.

d. Allegations of military involvement in a conspiracy

The King v. Jowers trial included evidence relating allegations of United States military involvement in the assassination. Although no evidence specifically alleged that military personnel killed Dr. King, hearsay accounts and speculation suggested that military personnel were somehow connected to the assassination and actually witnessed it.

Dr. Pepper introduced redacted copies of notes purporting to document interviews with unidentified military sources who claimed to have observed the assassination.(78) One set of notes records allegations by an unidentified source, claiming that he was one of two soldiers with the 902d Military Intelligence Group who was on the rooftop of Fire Station No. 2 conducting surveillance of Dr. King at the time of the assassination. This source reported that he observed and his partner photographed the assassination and “a white man with a rifle” on the ground leaving the scene. According to the notes, the source offered to approach his partner to attempt to obtain the alleged photographs for $2,000.

Another set of notes purported to document the allegations of a different unnamed source that he was one of two guardsmen with an Alabama National Guard unit, the 20th Special Forces Group (SFG), who was watching Dr. King and Ambassador Young from another rooftop near the Lorraine and observed the assassination. That source also claimed that his team coordinated with the Memphis police and someone he assumed to be with the CIA.

In a 1993 newspaper article from the Memphis Commercial Appeal, which was also introduced, reporter Stephen Tompkins asserts, without citing sources for the specific claims, that in the late 1960s, the 20th SFG conducted military intelligence surveillance of Dr. King and others from the civil rights movement. The article further provides that, on the day before the assassination, the 111th Military Intelligence Group (MIG) “shadowed [Dr. King’s] movements and monitored radio traffic from a sedan crammed with electronic equipment” and that “[e]ight Green Berets from an ‘Operation Detachment Alpha 184 Team’ were also in Memphis carrying out an unknown mission.”

Douglas Valentine, who authored a book about CIA intelligence operations during the Vietnam war, presented hearsay testimony from another unidentified source. He related that while writing his book, he learned that a single unnamed source allegedly involved in the military’s anti-war surveillance “heard a rumor” that the 111th MIG was conducting surveillance of Dr. King in Memphis on April 4, 1968, and took photographs of the assassination. Valentine advised us after the trial that he could not recall the identity of the person who told him the rumor but thought it was a former military enlisted man.

Another writer, Jack Terrell, who claimed to have worked with a CIA-directed group supplying arms and military software to the Contra rebels in Honduras in the 1980s, offered a hearsay opinion of a deceased source. Terrell testified that in the 1970s, as a private businessman, one of his employees, J.D. Hill, now deceased, claimed to have been with the 20th SFG in the 1960s. According to Terrell, Hill, who was a “strange person” with a drinking problem, expressed the “view” that in 1968 he had been trained specifically to participate in a military sniper mission to assassinate Dr. King that was canceled without explanation.

(1) Allegations regarding the military that are relevant to Jowers’ claim

Although none of the King v. Jowers conspiracy allegations were directly linked to Jowers’ allegations, some of the evidence relating to claims of military involvement suggests the existence of witnesses and/or physical evidence that could support Jowers’ contention that the assassin fired from behind Jim’s Grill. As a result, we searched for witnesses from the military and physical evidence that might confirm Jowers’ allegation.

We found no evidence — no witness, document or photograph — to confirm the hearsay allegations that military personnel witnessed or photographed the assassination. Rather, we found evidence to establish that those allegations are not credible.

Initially, we obtained an un-redacted copy of the interview notes that were introduced at trial. It named the man who claimed that he and another soldier witnessed and photographed the assassination. We also learned that former Memphis Commercial Appeal reporter Stephen Tompkins, who did not testify in King v. Jowers, authored the interview notes. Accordingly, we interviewed Tompkins.

Tompkins confirmed that he prepared the notes based on his interview of a source whose identity he was unable to substantiate. He emphasized that he did not believe the account related by the source and that, had he been called as a witness at the trial, he would have stated his belief to the jury.(79)

Tompkins explained that he was unable to corroborate any information provided by the source, who identified himself as Jacob Brenner, including whether that was the man’s real name. In addition, Tompkins said he found no evidence to substantiate that the 902d Military Intelligence Group (Brenner’s alleged unit) ever conducted surveillance of Dr. King or was in Memphis. Rather, he determined that the 902d MIG’s mission did not include domestic intelligence work. Tompkins also advised that he never interviewed Brenner’s alleged partner, who purportedly photographed both the assassination and the man with a rifle, because Brenner never named him. Nor did he ever speak to Colonel John Downie, the commander of the 902d MIG to whom Brenner claimed the photographs were given, because Downie was no longer alive.

Tompkins said that he was skeptical about Brenner’s story based upon more than his inability to corroborate it. Brenner asked for increasing amounts of money for the photographs that he claimed would substantiate his story. According to Tompkins, when initially meeting Brenner in Chicago, he wanted $2,000 for the photographs; later in Miami, he escalated the demand to at least $10,000. Concluding Brenner did not have any photographs, Tompkins said he advised Dr. Pepper not to pay. In the end, Tompkins described Brenner as a “slimeball” whose story was no different than numerous false stories he had heard from conspiracy buffs asking for money.

Notwithstanding Tompkins’ assessment of Brenner’s credibility and story, we investigated whether military personnel from the 902d MIG or from some other unit were on the roof of Fire Station No. 2, observed the assassination, or photographed a man with a rifle after the shooting.

Official records reflect that the 111th MIG and the Tennessee National Guard were the only military units which had personnel in Memphis on the day of the assassination. We found no record to indicate that any other military unit, including the 902d MIG, had personnel in Memphis on April 4, 1968. The Department of Defense also confirmed Tompkins’ understanding that the 902d MIG did not conduct domestic intelligence work. Finally, we found no written record of any surveillance of Dr. King at the Lorraine Motel by military personnel from any unit.(80)

In addition to reviewing records, we located and interviewed five surviving members of the 111th MIG who were in Memphis on April 4, 1968. They all claimed they were not aware that military personnel from any other unit, including the 902d MIG, were in Memphis around the time of the assassination. Jimmie Locke, then a Major and the 111th MIG’s ranking officer in Memphis at the time of the assassination, advised that under the military’s standing operating procedures he would have been advised if personnel from another unit were in his area. He specifically stated that, even if the other unit’s operation was covert, he would have been advised of the personnel’s presence, if not their mission.

Additionally, no one from the 111th MIG had firsthand knowledge that any military personnel were in the vicinity of the Lorraine on the day of the assassination or that military personnel ever conducted surveillance of Dr. King. Steve McCall, then a Sergeant and investigator with the 111th MIG, did remember, however, somehow hearing that agents from his unit were being dispatched to the Lorraine on the day of the assassination to watch Dr. King and his party. McCall could not recall the source for this information or any other details, including whether anyone actually went to the Lorraine and, if they did, who they were, when they went, or what they did.

Significantly, one witness from the 111th MIG also told us that he was on the roof of Fire Station No. 2 before — but not on the day of — the assassination. James Green, then a Sergeant and investigator, recalled going to the fire station on the day that Dr. King’s advance party arrived in Memphis, perhaps March 31st . He claims he went with another agent from his unit, whom he could not now recall, to scout for locations to take photographs of persons visiting the King party at the Lorraine Motel at a later time, if necessary. According to Green, someone from the station may have shown them to the roof, where he and the other agent remained for 30 to 45 minutes before determining it was too exposed a location from which to take photographs.(81) Green stated he never returned to the roof or the vicinity of the Lorraine and never conducted surveillance of or photographed Dr. King. He also advised that he never heard that any other military personnel were in the area of the Lorraine on the day of the assassination or conducted surveillance of Dr. King.

We also interviewed all surviving firemen who worked at Fire Station No. 2 at the time of the assassination. No fireman, other than Weeden, had any knowledge about the presence of military personnel at the fire station.

While we found no reason to disbelieve Captain Weeden’s recollection that he led two Army agents to the station’s roof or Green’s account to support it, we found nothing to confirm that military personnel were in fact at that location on the day of the assassination. Further, when we interviewed Weeden after the trial, he acknowledged that his memory of an event 30 years ago might be inexact, and, thus, it was possible that he took the military personnel to the roof sometime before — not the day of — the assassination. He added that he had never spoken with anyone about his recollection until Dr. Pepper interviewed him “before [Pepper] wrote his book” in 1995. Accordingly, Green’s recollection that military personnel went to the roof on a different day than the assassination appears accurate.

We likewise found physical evidence to contradict Jacob Brenner’s story that he or anyone else was on the fire station’s roof at the time of the assassination. Attachments 4a and 4b, photographs taken by television producer Joseph Louw of the police responding to the shooting, clearly depict the fire station’s roof most probably within a minute of the shooting. The photographs were taken through the window of Louw’s balcony room, which was two doors from where Dr. King lay mortally wounded. Had Brenner or someone else been on the roof photographing the assassination when Louw was taking his photographs, they would necessarily appear in them. Louw’s photographs, however, show no one on the roof.

After examining all relevant information, we have concluded that the King v. Jowers hearsay evidence that military personnel witnessed and photographed both the assassination and a man with a rifle as he left the scene is not credible. We found no evidence to support the allegation. Rather, we discovered information to contradict it, including Louw’s photographs and the assessment of the only person who heard the story, Tompkins, that it is not worthy of belief.

(2) Other allegations regarding the military

We have also concluded that allegations in a second set of interview notes relating to military personnel also authored by Tompkins and introduced at trial are not credible. Those notes reflect the claims of two men, who alleged that they were sent to Memphis with the 20th Special Forces Group of the Alabama National Guard, met a Memphis police officer and someone appearing to be a CIA agent, and witnessed the assassination. Although Tompkins declined to provide the names of the guardsmen, asserting that they are news sources whose identities he is obliged to protect, he nonetheless advised that he was unable to corroborate their story and doubted their credibility.(82)

Tompkins recounted that, during his investigation for the Memphis Commercial Appeal in the early 1990s, he received information that the 20th SFG had been in Memphis at the time of the assassination.(83) His inquiry led to a man then living in Mexico, who claimed to have been a guardsman with that unit and on the roof of a building (not the fire station) watching Dr. King at the time of the assassination. Tompkins said that the guardsman introduced him to another man in Mexico who allegedly was the team’s observer. Tompkins emphasized that the guardsman claimed that he was only conducting “reconnaissance” and not deployed as a sniper to shoot Dr. King. (84)

Tompkins told us that he never found anything to corroborate the allegations of the guardsman and his observer and no longer believes them.(85) He stated that the guardsman, like Brenner, wanted money in exchange for documents that he claimed would substantiate his story. Because Tompkins and his newspaper did not credit the story, they did not attempt to purchase the alleged documents or publish the account. Later, according to Tompkins, he gave money from Dr. Pepper to the guardsman for the documents (he did not recall the amount), but the guardsman never provided them. Tompkins explained that he did not think the guardsman was “on the level” and that what he related may have been “just bullshit” and ” made up.” Tompkins summed up his evaluation of the guardsman by saying that he “would not testify under oath that [the guardsman] was truthful,” and, in his view, it would “be a waste of taxpayers’ dollars” to travel to Mexico to speak with him.

We found no evidence to corroborate the allegations of the guardsman or his purported observer. We could find no record or witness to confirm that the 20th SFG or any other military unit besides the 111th MIG and the Tennessee National Guard was in Memphis at the time of the assassination or anything else alleged. Moreover, according to the National Guard Bureau of the Department of Defense, the 20th SFG was never authorized to engage in surveillance or any other activities against civil rights leaders.

Additionally, one critical fact mentioned by the guardsman that was subject to verification proved to be false. According to Tompkins, the guardsman said his team leader, an officer whom he named, accompanied the team to Memphis. Tompkins’ interview notes also make several references to the team leader’s activities in Memphis on the day of the assassination. In 1997, the team leader, who was supposedly dead, came forward to contest the accusations. He denied both being in Memphis on April 4, 1968, and knowing that other personnel from the 20th SFG were there, and provided an account of his whereabouts on the day of the assassination. We are aware of nothing to contradict the team leader’s denial.(86)

We also considered both Tompkins’ claim in his 1993 article that the 111th MIG monitored Dr. King in Memphis on the day before the assassination with “a sedan crammed with electronic equipment” and police officer James Smith’s alleged March 1968 observations of a van, which he heard was involved in surveillance. Tompkins advised that, while witnesses told him they had heard electronic surveillance occurred, no one claimed to have actually observed it. Nor did we find any record or witness to support the allegation that the 111th MIG even had such electronic surveillance equipment. Additionally, 111th MIG Sergeant James Green, who admitted being on the fire station’s roof, acknowledged that approximately two weeks after the assassination he was operating a sedan in Memphis crammed with communication, not surveillance, equipment. According to Green, local law enforcement officers were aware of his presence and the radio equipment.

Finally, we assessed the testimony of both author Douglas Valentine that an unidentified source heard a rumor that the 111th MIG photographed the assassination and writer Jack Terrell that his now deceased employee talked about a canceled 20th SFG mission to kill Dr. King. We found neither witnesses’ testimony significant in view of its hearsay nature and in light of the information discussed above. According to Valentine, an unidentified source conveyed a rumor and, according to Terrell, another source, who was unreliable and is now deceased, expressed an unsubstantiated opinion. As with many hearsay accounts, after critical examination of the relevant facts, these secondhand accounts proved inaccurate.

In conclusion, we found no evidence that military personnel saw, photographed, or were even present at the time of the assassination. Neither the guardsmen’s allegation nor Jacob Brenner’s story is credible. At the same time, we were unable to determine definitively whether the military conducted surveillance of Dr. King on the day of the assassination. We found no conclusive evidence that they did. Other information, however, establishes that the military did carry out surveillance of Dr. King and many other civilians participating in civil disobedience in the 1960s. (87) Because such surveillance, which Congress later condemned, was so pervasive, the mere possibility that the military may have spied on Dr. King on the day of the assassination does not suggest its complicity in the murder. In fact, we found nothing to indicate that surveillance at any time had any connection with the assassination.

C. Evidence Alleging The Involvement Of Dr. King’s Associates

Dr. Pepper also introduced evidence during the trial to suggest that two African American ministers, who were associates of Dr. King, conspired to kill him. Testimony was presented to imply that Dr. King’s associates facilitated the assassination by luring Dr. King to the Lorraine Motel where he had never stayed, changing his room assignment from an interior to an exposed balcony room, dismissing a portion of his security, leading him to the balcony at exactly 6:00 p.m., and leaving him alone and exposed to allow the assassin an unobstructed shot.(88)

We reviewed the trial testimony relating to these claims. Based on an analysis of all relevant information, including numerous facts not presented to the jury, we have concluded that the allegation that two of Dr. King’s associates conspired to kill him is not credible and does not warrant further investigation.

1. Dr. King and the Lorraine Motel

During the trial, evidence suggested that Dr. King’s stay at the Lorraine was out of the ordinary and intentionally directed by insiders to assist the assassination. For example, Jerry Williams, a former Memphis police officer, one of the African American officers who provided security for Dr. King’s previous visits to Memphis, testified that Dr. King had never stayed overnight at the Lorraine because of security concerns. Reverend James Lawson, an associate of Dr. King’s, also testified that Dr. King “mostly stayed” at “white” motels, rather than the motels patronized by African Americans, like the Lorraine.

Supporting the theory that one of Dr. King’s associates deliberately moved him to a balcony room to facilitate the assassination, Leon Cohen testified that on the day after the assassination he heard that Dr. King’s room assignment at the Lorraine had been changed by someone within his own organization. Cohen, who claimed to be a friend of the Lorraine’s owner, Walter Bailey, testified that Bailey told him that a male member of Dr. King’s group called from Atlanta the day prior to Dr. King’s arrival to change his interior courtyard room to an exposed, balcony room. According to Cohen’s hearsay account, Bailey was adamantly against the move because of his concerns for Dr. King’s security.

The historical record contradicts the trial testimony that Dr. King’s final stay at the Lorraine was unusual. The motel owner, Walter Bailey, now deceased, told investigators on several occasions that Dr. King was a frequent overnight guest at the Lorraine. For example, on the day of the assassination, Bailey told the FBI that Dr. King had stayed at his motel on approximately 12 occasions since 1958. In 1969, Bailey similarly told investigators for James Earl Ray that Dr. King had stayed at the Lorraine on and off for the past 15 years.

Others corroborate Bailey’s official statements about Dr. King’s frequent patronage of the Lorraine. Bailey’s daughter Caroline Champion, who worked at the motel, advised our investigators that Dr. King stayed there “many times.” Dr. King’s close friend and colleague, Reverend Ralph Abernathy, told the HSCA under oath that he and Dr. King stayed in room 306 at the Lorraine so often that it was referred to as the “King-Abernathy suite.” Memphis police officer Edward Redditt, who also provided security for Dr. King during an earlier visit, corroborated the recollections of Bailey, Champion, and Abernathy that Dr. King had previously stayed at the Lorraine. Accordingly, contrary to the trial testimony, other information from several reliable sources demonstrates that Dr. King was a frequent overnight guest at the Lorraine. Thus, there is nothing suspicious about his being at the Lorraine on April 4, 1968.

The suggestion that one of Dr. King’s associates moved him to Room 306 on the balcony level to make him a target for the assassin is also contradicted by well-documented accounts. When interviewed by the FBI the day of the assassination, Bailey said that he had no knowledge that anyone had acted in a suspicious manner and absolutely no information or thoughts on the assassination. He likewise expressed no concern about Dr. King’s room assignment in statements to Ray’s investigators and specifically told them that there was no advance registration for Dr. King, who was not registered until Reverend Lawson’s arrival on April 3, 1968. Had Bailey actually received instructions, with which he disagreed, to change Dr. King’s room, it is inconceivable that he would have related that fact only to Cohen and not to any of the several investigators, including those representing Ray, who interviewed him.

Moreover, Reverend Abernathy’s testimony to the HSCA about the “King-Abernathy suite” (balcony Room 306) completely contradicts Cohen’s testimony. Reverend Abernathy further testified that during the April 3-4, 1968 visit, he and Dr. King were moved to Room 306 at their own request as soon as it was vacated by another guest. Accordingly, we found nothing to support a conclusion that some unidentified associate of Dr. King deliberately moved him to a balcony room to facilitate his assassination.

2. Dr. King’s Security

Evidence was also presented to suggest a plot to facilitate the removal of Dr. King’s security. We discussed most of this trial evidence, along with other related information not presented in the trial, when we considered general accusations that security was removed in Section IV.D.2.b.(1) above. However, two additional pieces of evidence were presented in King v. Jowers in an effort to suggest that Dr. King’s associates assisted the alleged plot to remove his security.

Philip Mellanson, a professor and author, testified that Memphis Police Inspector Sam Evans, now deceased, told him that he ordered tactical units away from the Lorraine at the request of a specific “Memphis Minister” associated with Dr. King, whom he named.(89) In addition, other witnesses testified about their belief that the eviction of the Invaders, a group of young Memphis, African American activists, from their room at the Lorraine minutes before the shooting facilitated the assassination. One former Invader, Charles Cabbage, testified that he was told that another minister, the “SCLC Minister,” a ranking member of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, ordered that his group be immediately ejected.

We found nothing to support Mellanson’s hearsay account that the “Memphis Minister” was the specific source of the request to remove tactical units. When we interviewed the “Memphis Minister,” he denied ever making such a request. Moreover, the fact that TACT Unit 10 remained in the vicinity across the street at the fire station undermines the inference that the “Memphis Minister” conspired with law enforcement. See Section IV.D.2.b.(1)(a) above.

Likewise, nothing supports a conclusion that the eviction of the Invaders from the Lorraine, allegedly at the direction of the “SCLC Minister,” is related to the assassination. We found no evidence that the Invaders had anything to do with Dr. King’s security. Rather, according to associates of Dr. King and former Memphis police officers, the Invaders were young, African American activists who were attempting to associate with Dr. King. Accordingly, even if the Invaders were evicted from the Lorraine by the “SCLC Minister” or some other SCLC staff person, such action would not have diminished Dr. King’s security.

Moreover, Charles Cabbage’s recent trial testimony is inconsistent with his testimony to the HSCA. Twenty years ago, Cabbage testified that did not recollect the specific sequence of events leading to the Invaders’ departure from the Lorraine but that they decided to leave on their own because the SCLC would not pay their room bill. Cabbage told the HSCA that “one of the [SCLC] staffers,” whose name he did not provide, somehow advised him that “they [the SCLC] were no longer going to pay for the room, and we [the Invaders] were already overdue and that left no alternative but for us to check out.”

Cabbage’s recent testimony is also uncorroborated and contrary to the recollections of others. Significantly, in Cabbage’s recent testimony in King v. Jowers, he claimed that it was Reverend James Orange who evicted the Invaders, telling him that the “SCLC Minister” wanted them to leave immediately. When we spoke with Orange after the trial, he told us he did not recall receiving that instruction from the “SCLC Minister” or anyone else. Also, when we interviewed the “SCLC Minister,” a friend and associate of Dr. King’s, who has led a life of public service, he denied the accusation and claimed that he did not recall that the Invaders were even staying at the Lorraine. We are aware of nothing to contradict his denial. Accordingly, the record does not support the inference presented at trial that African American ministers associated with Dr. King facilitated the assassination by removing his security.

3. Dr. King’s Presence on the Balcony

During the trial, the “Memphis Minister” was also called as a witness and questioned so as to create the impression that he had deliberately lured Dr. King to the balcony of the Lorraine at precisely 6:00 p.m. and left him exposed and alone so that he could be shot. This claim is consistent with the view expressed to us by Dr. Pepper and Dexter King prior to trial. To support this contention, the plaintiffs’ attorney questioned the “Memphis Minister” regarding his conduct before the shooting and confronted him with words from his speech at ceremonies commemorating an anniversary of the assassination. In the speech, as he described the events of the assassination, the “Memphis Minister” recounted that just before the shot he “moved away [from Dr. King] so he [the assassin] could have a clear shot.”

According to a number of witnesses interviewed by our investigation and previous investigations, Dr. King walked out of Room 306 onto the balcony of the Lorraine just before 6:00 p.m. in the company of the “Memphis Minister.” Dr. King conversed with several of his other associates, who were assembled in the parking lot below as they all were preparing to go to dinner. When the “Memphis Minister” walked a few steps away from Dr. King, the assassin fired. As discussed in Section IV.D.1.a.(1) above, we determined that Dr. King’s appearance on the balcony at 6:00 p.m. for a 5:00 p.m. dinner engagement could not have been anticipated with enough certainty to plan the time of the assassination.

The notion that the “Memphis Minister” was involved in the assassination and inadvertently revealed his participation during a public speech is far-fetched. The minister’s comment, “I moved away so he could have a clear shot,” considered in the context of his speech, appears nothing more than an inartful attempt to explain the sequence of events and the fact that Dr. King was shot when he moved away from the speaker’s side. It hardly amounts to an inadvertent confession.

In any event, we are aware of no information to support the accusation that the “Memphis Minister” led Dr. King to the balcony and moved away to allow the assassin to shoot. We confronted the “Memphis Minister” with the accusation and he denied it. We are also aware of nothing that would have motivated him to assist a conspiracy to murder a friend and associate, while his public life demonstrates his integrity and dedication to non-violence.

D. Conclusions Regarding The King v. Jowers Conspiracy Claims

The evidence introduced in King v. Jowers to support various conspiracy allegations consisted of either inaccurate and incomplete information or unsubstantiated conjecture, supplied most often by sources, many unnamed, who did not testify. Important information from the historical record and our investigation contradicts and undermines it. When considered in light of all other available relevant facts, the trial’s evidence fails to establish the existence of any conspiracy to kill Dr. King. The verdict presented by the parties and adopted by the jury is incompatible with the weight of all relevant information, much of which the jury never heard. Accordingly, the conspiracy allegations presented at the trial warrant no further investigation.

VIII. CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATION

After reviewing all available materials from prior official investigations and other sources, including the evidence from King v. Jowers, and after conducting a year and a half of original investigation, we have concluded that the allegations originating with Loyd Jowers and Donald Wilson are not credible.

We found no reliable evidence to support Jowers’ allegations that he conspired with others to shoot Dr. King from behind Jim’s Grill. In fact, credible evidence contradicting his allegations, as well as material inconsistencies among his accounts and his own repudiations of them, demonstrate that Jowers has not been truthful. Rather, it appears that Jowers contrived and promoted a sensational story of a plot to kill Dr. King. See Sections IV.F. and G. above.

Likewise, we do not credit Donald Wilson’s claim that he took papers from Ray’s abandoned car. Wilson has made significant contradictory statements and otherwise behaved in a duplicitous manner, inconsistent with his professed interest in seeking the truth. Important evidence contradicting Wilson’s claims, including the failure of James Earl Ray to support Wilson’s revelation, further undermines his account. Although we were unable to determine the true origin of the Wilson documents, his inconsistent statements, his conduct, and substantial evidence refuting his claims all demonstrate that his implausible account is not worthy of belief. Accordingly, we have concluded that the documents do not constitute evidence relevant to the King assassination. See Section V.K. above.

The weight of the evidence available to our investigation also establishes that Raoul is merely the creation of James Earl Ray. We found no evidence to support the claims that a Raoul participated in the assassination. Rather, a review of 30 years of speculation about his identity presents a convincing case that no Raoul was involved in a conspiracy to kill Dr. King. See Section VI.G. above.

In accordance with our mandate, we confined our investigation to the Jowers and the Wilson allegations and logical investigative leads suggested by them, including those concerning Raoul, who is central to both allegations. We however considered other allegations, including the unsubstantiated claims made during the trial of King v. Jowers that government agencies and African American ministers associated with Dr. King conspired to kill him. Where warranted, we conducted limited additional investigation. Thus, we evaluated all additional allegations brought to our attention to determine whether any reliable substantiation exists to credit them or warrant further inquiry. We found none. See Section VII above.

Similarly, we considered the suggestion of the House Select Committee on Assassinations and the Shelby County District Attorney General to investigate whether James Earl Ray’s surviving brothers may have been his co-conspirators. We found insufficient evidentiary leads remaining after 30 years to justify further investigation. Finally, while we conducted no original investigation specifically directed at determining whether James Earl Ray killed Dr. King, we found no credible evidence to disturb past judicial determinations that he did.

Questions and speculation may always surround the assassination of Dr. King and other national tragedies. Our investigation of these most recent allegations, as well as several exhaustive previous official investigations, found no reliable evidence that Dr. King was killed by conspirators who framed James Earl Ray. Nor have any of the conspiracy theories advanced in the last 30 years, including the Jowers and the Wilson allegations, survived critical examination.

We recommend no further federal investigation of the Jowers allegations, the Wilson allegations, or any other allegations related to the assassination unless and until reliable substantiating facts are presented. At this time, we are aware of no information to warrant any further investigation of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Source

This makes one wonder about other conspiracy theories. Who really killed Kennedy (and Lincoln, for that matter)? If these conspiracy theories are true, then what is area 51?

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Ethan YoungIf you haven’t already heard the name Ethan Young, get ready. The Tennessee high school student will soon be a household name thanks in no small part to a speech that’s gone viral. In just five minutes, the high school senior systematically takes apart the Common Core education initiative, which is so controversial that thousands of parents kept their kids home from school today to protest it.

Whether you agree with his argument or not, it’s nice to see a teenager taking a stand. But Young isn’t just well-spoken. He’s well-researched.

Check out some of the highlights of his impressive speech, given at a Knox County School Board meeting:

1. I stand before you because I care about education, but also because I want to support my teachers. And just as they fought for my academic achievement, so I want to fight for their ability to teach.

2. Standards-based education is ruining the way we teach and learn.

3. Much like No Child Left Behind, the program promises national testing and a one-size-fits-all education, because hey, it worked so well the first time.

4. If everything I learn in high school is a measurable objective, I have not learned anything.

5. Somewhere our Founding Fathers are turning in their graves — pleading, screaming, and trying to say to us that we teach to free minds. We teach to inspire. We teach to equip, the careers will come naturally.

Source

healthcare-gov

Has anyone applied for healthcare via https://www.healthcare.gov/ or over the phone?

I would really like to hear about your experiences.

or is it?

At first it was anti-Israel. Now it’s anti-Jews. It is no longer safe for South African Jews in South Africa. The next mark of the radical parties will be all non-Muslim whites, then all whites, then all black elites, then the remaining residents will war amongst themselves when their leaders will no longer have any scapegoats to redirect the populace’s attention from the real problems. Anyone remember Rwanda? Will there still be a South Africa in two decades time or will the state burst asunder into tribes fighting over false ideals and remaining resources?

South Africa has the ability to provide a decent standard of living and a good level of education to all its citizens. It breaks the heart that the elite care not for their most precious resource, their citizens.
bds

The Germans have a word – ‘Schadenfreude’ – which, loosely translated, means to take satisfaction in the discomfort of another. This is exactly what many South African Jews are feeling as we witness Nathan Geffen, Doron Isaacs, Stephen Friedman et al., try to scramble and disassociate themselves from the anti-Semitic utterances of their bedfellow Muhammed Desai, who recently led crowds in a rendition of the chilling mantra, “Shoot the Jew.”

Anyone sufficiently naïve to think that this noble call to action died with the defeat of the Nazis has received a clear signal that it continues to exist, even amongst those who are openly supported by members of our very own community.

Not that this comes as any surprise to those of us who can tell the difference between fact and fiction. The depth of the hatred directed at Jews both in South Africa and abroad, if not clearly evident, lies just beneath the surface, waiting to pop out at the slightest provocation.

Before I’m accused of oversensitivity as the target of a supposedly innocuous chant calling for my death, allow me to remind Desai that the equally harmless call to “Kill the Boer” contributed to a fair number of murders of white farmers over the past two decades.

There is little more unpredictable than the actions of an uncontrolled mob.

Until now, Jewish supporters of the BDS campaign have ducked and dived behind the claim that the focus of their organization is primarily directed at Israel’s supposed ill-treatment of the Palestinians, and ending the occupation of the West Bank. The villain was always Zionism, never Jews as such.

Happy to work for a good, recognizable cause, many intrepid Jewish do-gooders climbed on board. Nothing makes one feel better than to have a banner to wave and an underdog to support, particularly when you’re doing it from the safety of an armchair thousands of kilometers away from the site of the action.

Despite the clear warning bells, which included some hostile, anti-Jewish comments from Zwelithini Vavi, Bongani Masuku, and that doyen of the ANC, Ahmed Kathrada, our brave, committed activists, chose to plow ahead. These threats were not directed at them; they were not a component of the target. After all, were they not the ‘good Jews’ with the good cause and the right friends?

Of course, the analogy is clear;: Germany 1933-45. There were no ‘good Jews,’ only good dead ones.

What a shock to suddenly find yourself on the outside looking in. What a strange sensation to have to face the cold reality of a leading light within the BDS movement, Muhammed Desai, defending the call to shoot Jews because, according to him, “the word ‘Jews’ was not meant in a literal fashion.”

In fact, Desai claimed that the call to kill Jews was “just like you would say kill the Boer at [a] funeral during the eighties [and] it wasn’t about killing white people, it was used as a way of identifying with the apartheid regime.”

Perhaps Desai can explain that to Amy Biehl, Dr. Melville Edelstein, and the 3,000 white farmers murdered in an orgy of killing following the acquisition of new-found freedom.

Desai should also explain how the word “Jews” can be used in any sense other than the “literal.”  It is certainly no verb, adverb, nor adjective.

One can only imagine the outcry and retribution that would follow were Jews to sing, “Kill the Muslim.”

What doesn’t appear to penetrate Desai’s limited intellect is that when a mob with a cause (however misguided) is presented with an appealing and emotive slogan, the line separating rhetoric from violence is thin indeed. Ask the millions of Jews who died in the pogroms of Eastern Europe.

In their scramble to either justify or condemn this embarrassing outrage, some strange things have been said which do no more than raise further questions. For example, Professor Farid Esack, writing on behalf of the board of BDS South Africa, expressed his opposition to “any and all incitement to violence and racism – including anti-Semitism and Zionism- even if it were to come from within our ranks.”

In the context of his statement, Esack is saying that “Zionism” should not be subject to racism. This is an open admission by Esak that Zionism is not the monster that it is portrayed as being, but is in fact the respectable movement that it is.

Thank you Dr. Esack! Your supporters will be delighted with your acknowledgment of Israel’s respectability.

However, ‘the Lord giveth and the Lord taketh.’ And close behind this admission, Esack ensures that we clearly understand that it is “unfortunate but not unexpected that supporters of Israel will focus on the singing of this song. …  [as the] purpose and context [of the protest] … were and remain the larger struggle against Israeli apartheid, Israel’s illegal Occupation and its violation of Palestinian rights.”

The fact that Israel’s occupation is, according to International Law, not illegal; that Israel does not practice apartheid by any stretch of the imagination; and that Palestinian rights may be being violated, but are violated more severely by the Palestinian Authority, is obviously not understood by Esack.

Esack’s claim that it is unfortunate that supporters of Israel will focus on the singing of the song prompts the question: “Unfortunate for who?”

Unfortunate for the veracity of the BDS movement, which sails on the so-called victories of ‘persuading’ visiting performers to cancel their tours of Israel through threats and coercion, or the visit by Professor Steven Hawkins, who has yet to explain how he can hypocritically allow himself to use an Israeli designed microchip that enables him to speak?

The victories of BDS are small and hollow, and, other than an inconvenience, do little to nothing in advancing the cause they claim to pursue. Their actions, as we have now seen, are grounded in bigotry, hatred, and intolerance. In calling for the killing of Jews, they have revealed the evil within their ranks and the corruption of their aims.

Another Jewish advocate of BDS, political analyst Professor Steven Friedman, has rushed to say, “A series of organizations that support the boycotts have made it clear they don’t think it’s a remotely acceptable slogan. … It is very important that those of us who support the boycott make it clear it’s about the denial of rights and the denial of self-expression and self-government for the Palestinian people. It’s not targeted at a particular ethnic group.”

But that’s not true, Professor, otherwise what was sung would not have been sung. What do you not understand about “Shoot the Jew?” All the spin in the world cannot change what has been said and against whom. Even as an avowed opponent of Israel, you, as a fellow Jew, must feel a little niggle of discomfort at the thought that such bigotry can surface so easily from the mouth of one of the leaders of an organization that you openly support.

Finally, prominent anti-Israel activists, Nathan Geffen and Doron Isaacs lamely bleat that, “Anti-Semitism, besides being personally insulting to us, scores an own-goal. It undermines the struggle for Palestinian freedom.”How touching. Perhaps you need to reassess who your real friends might be.

My closing question to those Jews who swell the ranks of BDS is simple:  With the identification of the undeniable true feelings of your fellow travelers, where is your self respect?

Source

Malala

Nobel Peace Prize nominee Malala Yousafzai discusses the importance of education in diffusing terrorism and empowering women.

Source

Malala Yousafzai is a Pakistani school pupil and education activist from the town of Mingora in the Swat District of Pakistan’s northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. She is known for her activism for rights to education and for women, especially in the Swat Valley, where the Taliban had at times banned girls from attending school. In early 2009, at the age of 11–12, Yousafzai wrote a blog under a pseudonym for the BBC detailing her life under Taliban rule, their attempts to take control of the valley, and her views on promoting education for girls. The following summer, a New York Times documentary was filmed about her life as the Pakistani military intervened in the region, culminating in the Second Battle of Swat. Yousafzai rose in prominence, giving interviews in print and on television, and she was nominated for the International Children’s Peace Prize by South African activist Desmond Tutu.

On 9 October 2012, Yousafzai was shot in the head and neck in an assassination attempt by Taliban gunmen while returning home on a school bus. In the days immediately following the attack, she remained unconscious and in critical condition, but later her condition improved enough for her to be sent to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in BirminghamEngland for intensive rehabilitation. On 12 October, a group of 50 Islamic clerics in Pakistan issued a fatwā against those who tried to kill her, but the Taliban reiterated its intent to kill Yousafzai and her father.

The assassination attempt sparked a national and international outpouring of support for Yousafzai. Deutsche Welle wrote in January 2013 that Malala may have become “the most famous teenager in the world.” United Nations Special Envoy for Global Education Gordon Brown launched a UN petition in Yousafzai’s name, using the slogan “I am Malala” and demanding that all children worldwide be in school by the end of 2015 – a petition which helped lead to the ratification of Pakistan’s first Right to Education Bill. In the 29 April 2013 issue of Timemagazine, Yousafzai was featured on the magazine’s front cover and as one of “The 100 Most Influential People in the World“. She was the winner of Pakistan’s first National Youth Peace Prize and was nominated for the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize. On 12 July 2013, Yousafzai spoke at the UN to call for worldwide access to education, and in September 2013 she officially opened the Library of Birmingham. Yousafzai is the recipient of the Sakharov Prize for 2013.

Source

The following is an email that I received:

Yesterday, eight days into the Republican government shutdown, President Obama spoke from the White House about the need for Republicans in Congress to stop threatening another recession just to sabotage Obamacare, stop demanding ransom just for doing their jobs, and just vote to reopen the government. He talked about the toll this shutdown is already taking on our country and the economy, and warned against the dire consequences of a default if Congress doesn’t act to prevent an economic shutdown.

Keeping the government running and paying the nation’s bills aren’t bargaining chips or a matter of negotiation – they’re a fundamental part of Congress’s job. Here’s how the President put it yesterday:

“If you’re in negotiations around buying somebody’s house, you don’t get to say, ‘Well, let’s talk about the price I’m going to pay, and if you don’t give the price then I’m going to burn down your house.’ That’s not how negotiations work…. In the same way, members of Congress — and the House Republicans in particular — don’t get to demand ransom in exchange for doing their jobs. And two of their very basic jobs are passing a budget and making sure that America is paying its bills.”

Watch the President’s statement here, and then pass it on to your friends:

Watch: President Obama's statement on the government shutdown

As the President has made clear — and the press has reported — the government could be reopened, today, with the votes of reasonable Republicans and Democrats if Tea Party Republicans would allow a simple yes-or-no vote on a Senate-passed compromise bill to fund the United States government. It’s time for Congress to just vote and end this government shutdown now.

“Since much of the implementation of ObamaCare is a function of the discretionary appropriations process, including the operation of the “mandatory spending” portions of the law, and since most of the citizens we represent believe that ObamaCare should never go into effect, we urge you to affirmatively de-fund the implementation and enforcement of ObamaCare in any relevant appropriations bill brought to the House floor in the 113th Congress, including any continuing appropriations bill.”

Read more at:
http://meadows.house.gov/uploads/Meadows_DefundLetter.pdf

la-tot-cartoons-pg-tea-party-sen-ted-cruz-is-eager-to-force-government-shutdown

“Before Meadows sent off his letter to Boehner, he circulated it among his colleagues, and with the help of the conservative group FreedomWorks, as well as some heavy campaigning by Senators Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, and Mike Lee, seventy-nine like-minded House Republicans from districts very similar to Meadows’s added their signatures.”

Source

“The Continuing Resolution (CR) that allows funding for the federal government expires on September 30th and must be renewed in order for the doors to stay open in Washington. The CR is the best chance we will get to withdraw funds from ObamaCare. This can be done by attaching bills by Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) or Congressman Tom Graves (R-GA) to the CR, which will totally defund ObamaCare.”

Source

Bill and Ted

On my post, Revocation of Independenceralphfisher, rightly so, chided me for not adding a proper source.

Therefore, I began to investigate.

Many people believe that the original version of my post was written by Monty Python’s John Cleese. At first, I believed it so. Now is a different story and I have no idea who really wrote the original verson of the post. Was it really Alan Baxter of Rochester, U.K., or was it someone else?

According to Snope.com, among other sites, it wasn’t John Marwood Cleese. This is what they posted 26 August 2013 (Enjoy):

Origins:   Just as most any anonymous piece of cynically humorous satire about American politics and culture ends up eventually being attributed to comedian George Carlin, so the same kind of material gets credited to English comic John Cleese when it evinces a British viewpoint on American affairs. Unlike his fellow Monty Python trouper Terry Jones, however, Mr. Cleese doesn’t generally pen this sort of political levity.

The genesis of this article is a long and convoluted one. It evidently originated on with one Alan Baxter of Rochester, U.K., who wrote and posted a much shorter, four-item version to an internal newsgroup hosted by his employer in November 2000, as a wry commentary on the recently concluded (but far from decided) U.S. presidential election:

London, 8th November 2000.
To the citizens of the United States of America,

Following your failure to elect either a half decent candidate or man-monkey as President of the USA to govern yourselves and, by extension, the free world, we hereby give notice of the revocation of your independence. Her Sovereign Majesty Queen Elizabeth II will resume a monarch’s duties over all states, commonwealths and other territories. To aid in the transition to a British Crown Dependency, please comply with1 the following acts:

1. Look up “revoke” in a dictionary
2. Learn at least the first 4 lines of “God save the Queen”
3. Start referring to “soccer” as football
4. Declare war on Quebec

Tax collectors from Her Majesty’s Government will be with you shortly to ensure the acquisition of all revenues due (backdated to 1776).

Thank you for your cooperation and…have a nice day!

This was soon reworked and expanded into a ten-item version:

NOTICE OF REVOCATION OF INDEPENDENCE

To all the citizens of the United States of America,

In the light of your failure to elect a President of the USA and thus to govern yourselves, we hereby give notice of the revocation of your independence, effective today.

Her Britannic Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, will resume sovereign duties over all states, commonwealths and other territories. Except Utah, which she does not fancy. Your new Prime Minister (The Rt. Hon. Tony Blair, MP for the 97.85% of you who have until now been unaware that there is a world outside your borders) will appoint a minister for America without the need for further elections. Congress and the Senate will be disbanded. A questionnaire will be circulated next year to determine whether any of you noticed.

To aid in the transition to a British Crown Dependency, the following rules are introduced with immediate effect:

1. You should look up “revocation” in the Oxford English Dictionary. Then look up “aluminium”. Check the pronunciation guide. You will be amazed at just how wrongly you have been pronouncing it. Generally, you should raise your vocabulary to acceptable levels. Look up “vocabulary”. Using the same twenty seven words interspersed with filler noises such as “like” and “you know” is an unacceptable and inefficient form of communication. Look up “interspersed”.

2. There is no such thing as “US English”. We will let Microsoft know on your behalf.

3. You should learn to distinguish the English and Australian accents. It really isn’t that hard.

4. Hollywood will be required occasionally to cast English actors as the good guys.

5. You should relearn your original national anthem, “God Save The Queen”, but only after fully carrying out task 1. We would not want you to get confused and give up half way through.

6. You should stop playing American “football”. There is only one kind of football. What you refer to as American “football” is not a very good game. The 2.15% of you who are aware that there is a world outside your borders may have noticed that no one else plays “American” football. You will no longer be allowed to play it, and should instead play proper football. Initially, it would be best if you played with the girls. It is a difficult game. Those of you brave enough will, in time, be allowed to play rugby (which is similar to American “football”, but does not involve stopping for a rest every twenty seconds or wearing full kevlar body armour like nancies). We are hoping to get together at least a US rugby sevens side by 2005.

7. You should declare war on Quebec and France, using nuclear weapons if they give you any merde. The 97.85% of you who were not aware that there is a world outside your borders should count yourselves lucky. The Russians have never been the bad guys. “Merde” is French for “shit”.

8. July 4th is no longer a public holiday. November 8th will be a new national holiday, but only in England. It will be called “Indecisive Day”.

9. All American cars are hereby banned. They are crap and it is for your own good. When we show you German cars, you will understand what we mean.

10. Please tell us who killed JFK. It’s been driving us crazy.

God Save the Queen!

The “Revocation” piece escaped into the wider world of the Internet a week later when Peter Rieden of Farnborough, U.K., added three more entries to a slightly revised the list (bringing the total to thirteen) and posted it to the USENET newsgroup sci.military.naval on 15 November 2000:

The following is the text of a message which was communicated to President Clinton at 07:30 (EST) today:

NOTICE OF REVOCATION OF INDEPENDENCE

To the citizens of the United States of America from Her Britannic Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II.

In the light of your failure to elect a President of the USA and thus to govern yourselves, we hereby give notice of the revocation of your independence, effective today. Her Sovereign Majesty Queen Elizabeth II will resume monarchical duties over all states, commonwealths and other territories. Except Utah, which she does not fancy. Your new prime minister (The rt. hon. Tony Blair, MP – for the 97.85% of you who have until now been unaware that there is a world outside your borders) will appoint a minister for America without the need for further elections. Congress and the Senate will be disbanded. A questionnaire will be circulated next year to determine whether any of you noticed.

To aid in the transition to a British Crown Dependency, the following rules are introduced with immediate effect:

1. You should look up “revocation” in the Oxford English Dictionary. Then look up “aluminium”. Check the pronunciation guide. You will be amazed at just how wrongly you have been pronouncing it. Generally, you should raise your vocabulary to acceptable levels. Look up “vocabulary”. Using the same twenty seven words interspersed with filler noises such as “like” and “you know” is an unacceptable and inefficient form of communication. Look up “interspersed”.

2. There is no such thing as “US English”. We will let Microsoft know on your behalf. Future adult suffrage will be based in part on successful completion of compulsory spelling examinations which will focus on words like “colour” and “visualise” whose mis-spelling is endemic in the American colonies.

3. You should learn to distinguish the English and Australian accents. It really isn’t that hard.

4. Hollywood will be required occasionally to cast English actors as the good guys.

5. You should relearn your original national anthem, “God Save The Queen”, but only after fully carrying out task 1. We would not want you to get confused and give up half way through.

6. You should stop playing American “football”. There is only one kind of football. What you refer to as American “football” is not a very good game. The 2.15% of you who are aware that there is a world outside your borders may have noticed that no one else plays “American” football. You will no longer be allowed to play it, and should instead play proper football. Initially, it would be best if you played in the girls leagues; it is a difficult game. Those of you brave enough will, in time, be allowed to play rugby (which is similar to American “football”, but does not involve stopping for a rest every twenty seconds or wearing full kevlar body armour like nancies). We are hoping to get together at least a US rugby sevens side by 2015.

7. You should declare war on Quebec and France, using nuclear weapons if they give you any merde. The 98.85% of you who were not aware that there is a world outside your borders should count yourselves lucky. The Russians have never been the bad guys. “Merde” is French for “shit”.

8. July 4th is no longer a public holiday. November 8th will be a new national holiday, but only in England. It will be called “Indecisive Day”.

9. All American cars are hereby banned. They are crap and it is for your own good. When we show you German cars, you will understand what we mean.

10. As a sign of penance 5 grams of sea salt per cup will be added to all tea made within the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, this quantity to be doubled for tea made within the city of Boston itself.

11. From November 1st only proper British Bitter will be referred to as “beer”, and European brews of known and accepted provenance will be referred to as “Lager”. The substances formerly known as “American Beer” will henceforth be referred to as “Near-Frozen Gnat’s Urine”, with the exception of the product of the American Budweiser company whose product will be referred to as “Weak Near-Frozen Gnat’s Urine”. This will allow true Budweiser (as manufactured for the last 1000 years in Pilsen, Czech Republic) to be sold without risk of confusion.

12. From November 1st the UK will harmonise petrol (or “Gasoline” as you will be permitted to keep calling it until April 1st 2001) prices with the former USA. The UK will harmonise its prices to those of the former USA and the Former USA will, in return, adopt UK petrol prices (roughly $6/US gallon – get used to it).

13. Please tell us who killed JFK. It’s been driving us crazy.

Thank you for your co-operation.

The “Revocation of Independence” quickly spread far and wide on the Internet through e-mail forwards, newsgroup posts, and mailing lists, and within days newspapers in the U.K. were running even longer, fifteen item versions, such as the following:

The Supreme Court of Florida has instructed me to post the following to ensure strict balance in these turbulent times.

NOTICE OF REVOCATION OF INDEPENDENCE

To the citizens of the United States of America,

In the light of your failure to elect a President of the USA and thus to govern yourselves, we hereby give notice of the revocation of your independence, effective today. Her Sovereign Majesty Queen Elizabeth II will resume monarchial duties over all states, commonwealths and other territories. Except Utah, which she does not fancy. Your new prime minister (The Right Honourable Tony Blair, MP for the 97.85% of you who have until now been unaware that there is a world outside your borders) will appoint a minister for America without the need for further elections. Congress and the Senate will be disbanded.

A questionnaire will be circulated next year to determine whether any of you noticed.

To aid in the transition to a British Crown Dependency, the following rules are introduced with immediate effect:

1. You should look up “revocation” in the Oxford English Dictionary. Then look up “aluminium”. Check the pronunciation guide. You will be amazed at just how wrongly you have been pronouncing it. The letter ‘U’ will be reinstated in words such as ‘favour’ and ‘neighbour’, skipping the letter ‘U’ is nothing more than laziness on your part. Likewise, you will learn to spell ‘doughnut’ without skipping half the letters. You will end your love affair with the letter ‘Z’ (pronounced ‘zed’ not ‘zee’) and the suffix “ize” will be replaced by the suffix “ise”. You will learn that the suffix ‘burgh is pronounced ‘burra’ e.g. Edinburgh. You are welcome to respell Pittsburgh as ‘Pittsberg’ if you can’t cope with correct pronunciation. Generally, you should raise your vocabulary to acceptable levels. Look up “vocabulary”. Using the same twenty seven words interspersed with filler noises such as “like” and “you know” is an unacceptable and inefficient form of communication. Look up “interspersed”. There will be no more ‘bleeps’ in the Jerry Springer show. If you’re not old enough to cope with bad language then you shouldn’t have chat shows. When you learn to develop your vocabulary then you won’t have to use bad language as often.

2. There is no such thing as “US English”. We will let Microsoft know on your behalf. The Microsoft spell-checker will be adjusted to take account of the reinstated letter ‘u’ and the elimination of “-ize”.

3. You should learn to distinguish the English and Australian accents. It really isn’t that hard. English accents are not limited to Cockney, upper-class twit or Mancunian (Daphne in Frasier). You will also have to learn how to understand regional accents – Scottish dramas such as “Taggart” will no longer be broadcast with subtitles. While we’re talking about regions, you must learn that there is no such place as Devonshire in England. The name of the county is “Devon”. If you persist in calling it Devonshire, all American States will become “shires” e.g. Texasshire, Floridashire, Louisianashire.

4. Hollywood will be required occasionally to cast English actors as the good guys. Hollywood will be required to cast English actors to play English characters. British sit-coms such as “Men Behaving Badly” or “Red Dwarf” will not be re-cast and watered down for a wishy-washy American audience who can’t cope with the humour of occasional political incorrectness.

5. You should relearn your original national anthem, “God Save The Queen”, but only after fully carrying out task 1. We would not want you to get confused and give up half way through.

6. You should stop playing American “football”. There is only one kind of football. What you refer to as American “football” is not a very good game. The 2.15% of you who are aware that there is a world outside your borders may have noticed that no one else plays “American” football. You will no longer be allowed to play it, and should instead play proper football. Initially, it would be best if you played with the girls. It is a difficult game. Those of you brave enough will, in time, be allowed to play rugby (which is similar to American “football”, but does not involve stopping for a rest every twenty seconds or wearing full kevlar body armour like nancies). We are hoping to get together at least a US rugby sevens side by 2005. You should stop playing baseball. It is not reasonable to host an event called the ‘World Series’ for a game which is not played outside of America. Since only 2.15% of you are aware that there is a world beyond your borders, your error is understandable. Instead of baseball, you will be allowed to play a girls’ game called “rounders” which is baseball without fancy team strip, oversized gloves, collector cards or hotdogs.

7. You should declare war on Quebec and France, using nuclear weapons if they give you any merde. The 97.85% of you who were not aware that there is a world outside your borders should count yourselves lucky. The Russians have never been the bad guys. “Merde” is French for “5hit”. You will no longer be allowed to own or carry guns. You will no longer be allowed to own or carry anything more dangerous in public than a vegetable peeler. Because we don’t believe you are sensible enough to handle potentially dangerous items, you will require a permit if you wish to carry a vegetable peeler in public.

8. July 4th is no longer a public holiday. November 8th will be a new national holiday, but only in England. It will be called “Indecisive Day”.

9. All American cars are hereby banned. They are crap and it is for your own good. When we show you German cars, you will understand what we mean. All road intersections will be replaced with roundabouts. You will start driving on the left with immediate effect. At the same time, you will go metric with immediate effect and without the benefit of conversion tables. Roundabouts and metrication will help you understand the British sense of humour.

10. You will learn to make real chips. Those things you call French fries are not real chips. Fries aren’t even French, they are Belgian though 97.85% of you (including the guy who discovered fries while in Europe) are not aware of a country called Belgium. Those things you insist on calling potato chips are properly called “crisps”. Real chips are thick cut and fried in animal fat. The traditional accompaniment to chips is beer which should be served warm and flat. Waitresses will be trained to be more aggressive with customers.

11. As a sign of penance 5 grams of sea salt per cup will be added to all tea made within the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, this quantity to be doubled for tea made within the city of Boston itself.

12. The cold tasteless stuff you insist on calling beer is not actually beer at all, it is lager. From November 1st only proper British Bitter will be referred to as “beer”, and European brews of known and accepted provenance will be referred to as “Lager”. The substances formerly known as “American Beer” will henceforth be refered to as “Near-Frozen Knat’s Urine”, with the exception of the product of the American Budweiser company whose product will be referred to as “Weak Near-Frozen Knat’s Urine”. This will allow true Budweiser (as manufactured for the last 1000 years in Pilsen, Czech Republic) to be sold without risk of confusion.

13. From November 1st the UK will harmonise petrol (or “Gasoline” as you will be permitted to keep calling it until April 1st 2001) prices with the former USA. The UK will harmonise its prices to those of the former USA and the Former USA will, in return, adopt UK petrol prices (roughly $6/US gallon – get used to it).

14. You will learn to resolve personal issues without using guns, lawyers or therapists. The fact that you need so many lawyers and therapists shows that you’re not adult enough to be independent. Guns should only be handled by adults. If you’re not adult enough to sort things out without suing someone or speaking to a therapist then you’re not grown up enough to handle a gun.

15. Please tell us who killed JFK. It’s been driving us crazy.

Tax collectors from Her Majesty’s Government will be with you shortly to ensure the acquisition of all revenues due (backdated to 1776).

Thank you for your cooperation.

Curiously, U.S. newspapers tended to run a fifteen-item version as well, but one that was much terser and made significantly different “demands” to which the U.S. was required to comply:

To the citizens of the United States of America: In light of your failure to elect anybody as President of the USA, and thus to govern yourselves and, by extension, the free world, we hereby give notice of the revocation of your independence, effective today.

Her Sovereign Majesty Queen Elizabeth II will resume monarchical duties over all states, commonwealths and other territories including New Jersey.

To aid in the transition to a British Crown Dependency, please comply with the following acts:

1. Look up “revocation” in the now official Oxford Dictionary. Start spelling English words correctly.

2. Learn at least the first four lines of “God Save The Queen.”

3. Start referring to “soccer” as football.

4. Declare war on Quebec and France.

5. Arrest Mel Gibson for treason.

6. Close down the National Football League. Learn to play rugby.

7. Enjoy warm, flat beer and steak and kidney pudding.

8. Train waitresses to be more aggressive with customers and not to tell you their names before you eat.

9. July 4th is no longer a public holiday; this has been replaced with Nov. 5.

10. All members of this British Crown Dependency will be required to take six weeks annual vacation and observe statutory tea breaks.

11. Driving on the left side of the road is now compulsory. Recall all vehicles to effect the change immediately.

12. Report to our Consulate General in New York for your new passport and job allocation.

13. Have Meg Ryan report to Prince Andrew’s bedchamber.

14. Add the royal insignia to the top of the Washington Monument and the Queen’s Christmas speeches to the Lincoln Memorial.

15. Stop referring to the World Series of Baseball and instead call it the National Series of USA, Cuba and Japan.

Tax collectors from Her Majesty’s Government will be with you shortly to ensure the acquisition of all revenues due (backdated to 1776).

Thank you for your cooperation and have a nice day.

Predictably, the satire spawned a variety of U.S. “rebuttal” versions:

The Supreme Court of Florida has instructed me to post the following to ensure strict balance in these turbulent times.

DECLARATION OF ANNEXING THE BRITISH ISLES AS PART OF THE USA

To the imperialist British colonizers.

In the light of your indecision over joining a common European Currency, your dissatisfaction with the European Union, your bickering with European Governments and the fact that you already almost speak our language and refuse to speak any other European languages, you are to be annexed as a State of America. Your state code will be GB. Zip codes will be assigned to replace your old postal districts. The state capital will be Stratford-upon-Avon which is a lot prettier than London. Princess Diana will be declared a saint. You have already assimilated so much American culture that you are unlikely to notice the transition. To aid in the assimilation, the following rules are introduced with immediate effect:

1. Look up “aluminum” in any good American Dictionary. Check the spelling and pronunciation guide. We discovered it, we named it, you are mispronouncing it. Learn to live with it. You are, of course welcome to your idiosyncratic and illogical place-names such as Edinburgh, if you wanted it pronounced ‘Eddinburra’ you have spelled it that way in the first place. You will quit using words such as “fortnight”. The correct term is “a two week period”. You will learn words such as “credenza”, “intern” and “chad”.

2. There is no such thing as “UK English”. UK English is the relic of a defunct colonialist power which attempted to impose British English linguistic superiority on a nation which has a higher number of English speakers.

3. Your film-makers should learn to distinguish the American and Canadian accents. American accents are not limited to redneck drawls or New York accents. Mainland Americans have more than enough accents to cope with in our own country, so all British dramas will now bear subtitles, especially those made in impenetrable dialects such as Scottish, Scouse or Geordie. To make life easier for mainland America, all British films and TV programs must use American vocabulary and accents; Scotch characters will wear plaid, Irish characters will have shamrocks on them, Welsh characters will not be used since we don’t have Welsh Americans, and English characters will wear bowler hats and pinstripes.

4. The British film industry will no longer portray all Americans as cowboys, rednecks, trailer trash or Beverly Hills billionaires. Hollywood will continue to use “Mockney” and “Posh” British accents as this makes it easier for viewers to identify which characters are British. You can have Hugh Grant back. He’s a lousy actor and we don’t want him either. All British films will be made in Hollywood where the weather and scenery are better. Your film industry is already unable to make a halfway-decent film which doesn’t contain a American in the starring role. All American characters should be ‘good guys’.

5. You will learn your new national anthem “The Star Spangled Banner”. It shall be sung every morning at kindergarten, high school, university and your places of work. Your Union Flag will be hung up any damn way we wish so stop bitching about it being upside down. If there was meant to be a right way up you should have made it simpler. All Union flags will be replaced by the Stars and Stripes over a 12 month period of time.

6. You should stop playing soccer and rugby. There is no need to have two games, one of which is confusingly like Football and one of which is called football but patently isn’t real football. If it doesn’t require 45 pounds of padding, it isn’t football. You should also stop playing cricket. Americans can’t understand the rules. If you insist on playing this game which is only played by former British colonies, you will introduce a simplified scoring system, timeouts, colored strips and cheerleaders to make it more interesting. Any match which takes longer than 90 minutes will be declared a draw.

7. In films, as in real life, we decide who the bad guys are. The bad guys are those guys who don’t do as we tell them. They are also the guys who attract the biggest audiences into movie theaters. You will cease using the word “cinema”. They are “movie theaters”. The snippets of forthcoming films are not “trailers” they are “teasers”.

8. November 5th is no longer a day for fireworks. July 4th is the appropriate fireworks festival. If you want a big fireworks party on November 5th, we will help you to blow up your Houses of Parliament. You won’t be needing them any longer; Disneyland London will be situated there. Hunting with packs of dogs is also banned. Instead, you will go hunting with a pick-up truck, some six-packs of beer, two coonhounds and enough guns and ammo to equip a private militia. There is also no such activity as “caravanning”. It is properly called “camping”. The thing boy scouts do with tents and bedrolls is called “tenting”.

9. Roundabouts will be banned. What is the point of turning left in order to turn right? They are confusing to Americans and are death traps. You will start driving on the right with immediate effect. Most of the world drives on the right already. You will be allowed to turn right on a red light if safe to do so though you must check local county legislation as this is not permitted in all areas.

10. Those things which you call chips are cholesterol-soaked abominations. You will start to eat fries – light fluffy potato in crisp coating. If you want to eat British-style fried potato sticks you will need a certificate from your doctor and good medical insurance. Beer is to be served cold. The warm, flat drink you call beer is properly termed ‘ale’ and the FDA have determined it to be unfit for human consumption. You will also learn the difference between crackers, cookies and biscuits to avoid causing unnecessary confusion to mainland Americans.

11. All inter-personal communications between family members, even if resident in the same house, must be through a lawyer. It is compulsory to sue somebody at least once per year – be inventive. It is compulsory to have therapy three times each week and to recover false memories of your childhood which allow you to sue your parents and/or your therapist. Therapy will take the place of speaking to family members. You will be given compulsory courses on how to become dysfunctional. Name your children after interesting medical conditions.

12. You will not have guns. In the eyes of Mainland Americans you are wayward children. Children are not permitted to play with firearms unless they have a legitimate reason to do so i.e. they plan to gun down the population of a small town (self-defense) or slaughter every living creature within a mile radius (hunting).

Thank you for your co-operation. You will be assimilated.

I love that last sentence!

Another popular response to the “Revocation” piece was this one:

SUBJECT: NOTICE OF REVOCATION OF INDEPENDENCE

To the citizens of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland:

We welcome your concern about our electoral process. It must be exciting for you to see a real Republic in action, even if from a distance. As always we’re amused by your quaint belief that you’re actually a world power. The sun never sets on the British Empire! Right-o chum!

However, we regretfully have to decline your offer for intervention. On the other hand, it would be amusing to see you try to enforce your new policy (for the 96.3% of you that seem to have forgotten that you have little to no real power). After much deliberation, we have decided to continue our tradition as the longest running democratic republic. It seems that switching to a monarchy is in fact considered a “backwards step” by the majority of the world.

To help you rise from your current anachronistic status, we have compiled a series of helpful suggestions that we hope you adopt:

1. Realize that language is an organic structure, and that you aren’t always correct in your pronunciation or spelling. Let’s use your “aluminium” example. Sir Humphrey Davy (an Englishman) invented the name “aluminum” (note spelling) for the metal. However, in common usage the name evolved into “aluminium” to match the naming convention of other elements. In 1925 the United States decided to switch back to the original spelling and pronunciation of the word, at which point we dominated the aluminum industry. We’d also like to point out that the process of actually producing aluminum was developed by an American and a Frenchman (not an Englishman).

However, we’d like to thank you for the Oxford English Dictionary. It’s an interesting collection, considering that over 10,000 of the words in the original edition were submitted by a crazy American civil-war veteran called Dr. William Charles Minor.

2. Learn to distinguish the American and Canadian accents, and then we’ll talk about the English and Australian accent issue.

3. Review your basic arithmetic. (Hint 100 – 98.85 = 1.15 and 100 – 97.85 = 2.15)

4. If you want English actors as good guys, then make your own movies. Don’t rely on us for your modern popular culture. We liked “Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels”, “Trainspotting”, and “The Full Monty”. We’ve also heard good things about this “Billy Elliot”. But one good movie a year doesn’t exactly make a cultural powerhouse. However, you’re doing pretty well with music, so keep up the good work on that front.

5. It’s inefficient to have a national anthem that changes its title whenever your monarch dies. Let’s not forget that your national anthem has an extremely boring tune. We suggest switching to that Rule Brittania ditty, it’s toetapping. Or maybe Elton John could adapt “Candle In The Wind” again for you guys.

6. Improve at your national sport. Football? Soccer? This just in: United States gets fourth place in men’s soccer at the 2000 Summer Olympics. United Kingdom? Not even close. By the way, impressive showing at Euro 2000. You almost managed to get through the tournament without having your fans start an international incident.

7. Learn how to cook. England has some top notch candy. Salt ‘n’ Vinegar chips are quite yummy. However, there’s a reason why the best food in your country is Indian or Chinese. Your contributions to the culinary arts are soggy beans, warm beer, and spotted dick. Perhaps when you finally realize the French aren’t the spawn of satan they’ll teach you how to cook.

8. You’re doing a terrible job at understanding cars. The obvious error is that you drive on the wrong side of the road. A second problem is pricing, it’s cheaper to buy a car in Belgium and ship it to England than to buy a car in England. On the other hand, we like Jaguars and Aston Martins. That’s why we bought the companies.

9. We’ll tell you who killed JFK when you apologize for “Teletubbies”.

Thank you for your time. Yu can now return to watching bad Australian soap operas.

P.S. — Regarding WW2: You’re Welcome.

All of this brings us to the end of 2004, when the U.S. went through another close, controversial, contested presidential election (although one not nearly as close, controversial, or contested as the 2000 version), which once again resulted in a victory for the Republican candidate, George W. Bush. One of the multiplicity of variants of the four-year-old “Revocation of Independence” satire was dusted off, British funnyman John Cleese’s name was appended to the end, and the cycle of forwarding started all over again, only this time with a recognizeable name attached to the piece. Many, many people have had a hand in shaping the multiple variations of this bit of humor that now exist, but John Cleese himself is one of the few who hasn’t.

Was the original author Alan Baxter of Rochester, U.K., or was it someone else? If anyone figures out who did write the original version, please let me know.

Source

About.com also states that Alan Baxter penned (typed) the “Notice of Revocation of Independence” 8 November 2000.

Source

Fri, May 04, 2012 Iyyar 12, 5772

An Israeli and a Palestinian scathed by South Africa apartheid rhetoric

Despite their limited knowledge of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, South Africans have many prejudices that are being fueled by anti-Israel groups

By Benjamin Pogrund and Bassem Eid

The two of us, an Israeli and a Palestinian, went to South Africa recently to speak about the Middle East. For understandable reasons, South Africa is a major source for the “Israel is apartheid” accusation; it stems from the fact that many South Africans, especially blacks, relate Israel’s treatment of Palestinians to their own history of racial discrimination.

And indeed, in the several dozen meetings we addressed, we repeatedly heard the apartheid accusation. No, we replied: Apartheid does not exist inside Israel; there’s discrimination against Arabs but it’s not South African apartheid. On the West Bank, there is military occupation and repression, but it is not apartheid. The apartheid comparison is false and confuses the real problems.

As we traveled around the country, it became clear to us that South Africans generally have limited knowledge about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. But they hold many prejudices and these are fed and manipulated by organizations that are vehemently anti-Israel – to the extent of calling for destruction of the Jewish state, as the Palestinian Solidarity Campaign, the Muslim Judicial Council and the Russell Tribunal have done. Black trade unions join in the attacks and so do some people of Jewish origin.

Our host was the South African Jewish Board of Deputies. During 10 days we spoke on five university campuses, at several public meetings and to journalists, and were on radio programs, including one aired by a Muslim station.

We were shown an e-mail calling for protests against our visit: It seemed that the anti-Israel hard-liners were upset by an Israeli and a Palestinian speaking on the same platform and promoting peace. But there were no protests: The worst we experienced was a knot of about six people standing quietly outside one meeting. We were also warned to expect “tough questions,” but we didn’t hear any. Instead, the large audiences – people of all colors, and mainly non-Jews – were attentive and wanted information about the current state of play in the conflict.

There were some hostile comments such as the silly sneer that Israel is “terrified of a few suicide bombers” and that it is “hogwash” to call Hamas a terrorist organization. In a more serious vein were repeated references to the Palestinian “right of return.” It cannot be said whether those who spoke were genuinely responding to the plight of the refugees, or were cynically using it as a reasonable-sounding slogan although it in effect calls for elimination of the Jewish state.

Nelson Mandela’s words in support of Palestinian freedom were flung at us (and also appear in propaganda leaflets issued by Palestinian-supporting organizations ). He was quoted as saying: “But we know too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians.” Mandela did indeed say that, on December 9, 1997, on the occasion of Palestinian Solidarity Day, and it still resonates strongly among South Africans. But it’s actually half of what he said in the context of a call for freedom for all people. He also explained the greater context and the dishonesty of the propagandists in singling out Israel: “… without the resolution of conflicts in East Timor, the Sudan and other parts of the world.”

Other falsities we heard were that only Jews are allowed to own or rent 93 percent of the land in Israel, and that Israel’s restrictions on marriage (which in actuality derive from Jewish, Muslim and Christian religious authorities ) are the same as apartheid South Africa’s prohibition of marriage – or sex – across color lines.

There was also an earlier statement by the South African Council of Churches in support of Israel Apartheid Week in which it claimed that “Israel remained the single supporter of apartheid when the rest of the world implemented economic sanctions, boycotts and divestment to force change in South Africa.” That, of course, is nonsense: Israel did trade with apartheid South Africa – but so did the entire world, starting with oil sales by Arab states, and including the United States, United Kingdom, France, Belgium, the Soviet Union and many in Africa.

BDS, the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, is noisily vocal and gets publicity in South African media. While we were there it ran Israel Apartheid Week programs on several university campuses. But the movement did not garner wide support; some scheduled speakers did not even turn up. Its boast that more than 100 universities worldwide took part in the week doesn’t amount to much: Apartheid weeks have been going on for eight years and out of the 100 this year, 60 were held on American campuses (out of 4,000 universities and colleges in that country ). Not much progress there.

We did not pre-plan what we were going to say. But a consensus emerged: First, we both spoke in bleak terms about peace prospects in the near future; second, we each castigated our own leaderships for double-talk and pretense, and for their lack of boldness and vision, and we pointed to the growth of Jewish settlements on the West Bank as undermining the chances for an agreement.

We stressed that we welcomed interest in our part of the world – but warned that some members of Palestinian solidarity movements have never visited the occupied territories, and they damage the Palestinian cause abroad because they act out of ignorance, and foster division and hatred between Arabs and Jews. They do not help to bring peace.

Our strangest meeting was with scores of Congolese who asked us to explain why their conflict – ongoing since 1960 with a toll of perhaps more than 7 million people dead – receives less attention in South African and other media than does the Israeli-Palestinian struggle. It was painful listening to their recital of mass rapes and murders. But it was difficult to empathize with them when one speaker blamed the Jews, whom he said controlled the world and the media, and when a former army officer asked us for money to go and fight the Congolese government.

Bassem Eid is director of the Palestinian Human Rights Monitoring Group and a former researcher for B’Tselem. Benjamin Pogrund, South African-born, was founder of Yakar’s Center for Social Concern in Jerusalem.

  • Published 10:55 04.05.12
  • Latest update 10:55 04.05.12

Source

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