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How Government Treated Those For Whom We Now Celebrate Holidays

March 2014

By William Faloon,

William Faloon
William Faloon

Martin Luther King Day is usually a slow time, so I decided to investigate this man for whom I knew relatively little about.

What struck me was how harshly our government persecuted Martin Luther King, Jr. and the number of times he was arrested for doing what he is now celebrated for.

I then began to note other American holidays that are based on individuals who were persecuted by whatever “authority” existed in their time.

Of course not every oppressed visionary gets a holiday. Preston Tucker, inventor of the first safe automobile, was arrested and almost did significant jail time. The big auto companies did not want to compete against Tucker’s safer cars, so they instigated a federal prosecution that stripped him of his assets and almost his liberty.1 (Most of Tucker’s safety features are federally required in today’s cars.)

How Government Treated Those For Whom We Now Celebrate Holidays
Martin Luther King, Jr.
Prisoner #7089
Montgomery, Alabama
February 24, 1956

Linus Pauling won the Nobel Peace Prize for leading the effort to ban above-ground testing of nuclear bombs. Dr. Pauling knew the radiation released into the atmosphere would have lethal consequences. The government rewarded Pauling by stripping him of his passport and threatening prison if he did not reveal who was helping him. This was done under the government’s theory that those against above-ground nuclear bomb testing were communist sympathizers. (The federal government admitted in 2002 that above-ground nuclear bomb testing caused at least 15,000 American cancer deaths.)2

Galileo was convicted of heresy at an inquisition trial for the crime of teaching that the earth is not the center of the universe. To avoid execution, Galileo renounced what he knew to be true and was given a “lenient” sentence of lifetime confinement.3

Galileo was not the first to figure out the solar system. Giordano Bruno was convicted of heresy for his teachings that the earth revolved around the sun. Bruno was burned alive at the stake.4

People today often forget the brutality with which visionaries were persecuted. We at Life Extension® don’t. This article will examine atrocities perpetrated against those who dared to challenge conventional dogma and how this relates to the sluggish pace of medical progress.

“On June 15, 1591, in the spectacular closing of the infamous North Berwick witch trials, Euphemia MacLean…was burned alive on Castle Hill in Edinburgh by the order of King James VI because, among other things, she had tried to assuage the pains of labor.

In the 16th century, pain relief during labor was considered to be witchcraft. It was believed that there was a physiological advantage to pain during labor.”5

—New England Journal of Medicine

August 6, 2009

Martin Luther King, Jr. graduated from high school at the age of 15 and received his doctorate at age 26.6 He first gained public attention when he led a 381-day boycott of the Montgomery, Alabama bus system. This happened after Rosa Parks was arrested for refusing to give up her seat to a white man.7 During the Montgomery bus boycott, Dr. King was arrested, his home bombed, and he was placed under FBI surveillance.6

When leading a non-violent protest in Atlanta, Georgia, Dr. King was arrested and sentenced to four months in jail. Pressure from John and Robert Kennedy secured his release.8

Martin Luther King, Jr. and Linus Pauling  

The FBI by this time had assembled a full-time task force to disrupt and destroy Martin Luther King, Jr.9

The FBI’s harassment campaign included mailing an anonymous letter that threatened to expose Dr. King’s personal lifestyle choices. Dr. King interpreted this letter as an attempt to make him commit suicide.10

Despite high profile arrests and the FBI’s disinformation campaign, Dr. King became the youngest man ever to receive the Nobel Peace Prize. Dr. King was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964.11,12 Linus Pauling received his Nobel Peace Prize in 1962.11

Both Linus Pauling and Martin Luther King, Jr. were targets of harsh government persecution.

How FBI Targeted Martin Luther King, Jr.

How FBI Targeted Martin Luther King, Jr.  

For decades, the FBI operated a series of covert projects aimed at surveying, infiltrating, discrediting, and disrupting domestic political organizations.13

These covert operations took place between 1956 and 1971.13 Tactics have been alleged to include discrediting targets through psychological warfare, harassment, wrongful imprisonment, smearing individuals using forged documents, planting false reports in the media, and illegal violence.14-16

The FBI’s stated motivation was “protecting national security, preventing violence, and maintaining the existing social and political order.”14

One of the most abusive of all FBI programs was directed against Dr. King.13 FBI records show significant resources targeted groups and individuals that the FBI deemed “subversive,” including Martin Luther King, Jr. and others associated with the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, and other civil rights organizations.14

FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover issued directives ordering FBI agents to “expose, disrupt, misdirect, discredit, or otherwise neutralize” the activities of these organizations and their leaders.15

Under the direct influence of Hoover, many civil rights groups, particularly those focused on racial equality, were reclassified. Hoover’s justification for these illegal orders was his belief that civil rights groups were infiltrated by communists.16

The Southern Christian Leadership Conference was founded in 1957 and within 10 years, the FBI began monitoring and targeting the group for “intensified attention,” focusing particularly on its leaders, including Martin Luther King, Jr.16,17

FBI Goes Ballistic When King Says “I Have a Dream.”

After the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom in 1963, where his famous “I have a dream…” speech was given, Dr. King was singled out as a major FBI target. Under pressure from Hoover to focus not simply on communist infiltration of the civil rights movement, but on King specifically, FBI counter intelligence director Sullivan wrote:

In the light of King’s powerful demagogic speech. . . . We must mark him now, if we have not done so before, as the most dangerous Negro of the future in this nation from the standpoint of communism, the Negro, and national security.”18

Soon after Dr. King’s famous “I have a dream...” speech, the FBI was systematically bugging King’s home and his hotel rooms.18

In July–August 1967, the FBI intensified its focus on Dr. King and other civil rights leaders and organizations. FBI offices were instructed to “disrupt, misdirect, discredit, or otherwise neutralize the activities of Black Nationalist ‘hate-type’ organizations.”16 A particular target was the Poor People’s Campaign, a national effort organized by Dr. King and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. The FBI monitored and disrupted the campaign on a national level, while using targeted smear tactics locally to undermine support for the campaign.16

Why Dr. King Was Deemed To Be A “Hate Type”

In 1976, a Select Senate Investigative Committee led by Senator Frank Church reviewed what documents it could obtain from the FBI’s multi-decade campaign that targeted a wide range of groups including those that sought out protection for women’s rights and those protesting the Vietnam War.

According to this Senate Committee, nonviolent organizations and individuals were targeted because the FBI believed they represented a “potential” for violence. The Black Nationalist counter intelligence program, according to its FBI supervisor, included “ a great number of organizations that you might not today characterize as Black Nationalist but which were in fact primarily black .”16

Thus, the nonviolent Southern Christian Leadership Conference led by Martin Luther King was labeled by the FBI as a Black Nationalist “hate group” and subjected to relentless government attack.16

Excerpts From Dr. King’s Famous Letter Written While He Was Confined In A Birmingham, Alabama Jail
Excerpts From Dr. King’s Famous Letter Written While He Was Confined In A Birmingham, Alabama Jail

Martin Luther King, Jr. was arrested for his part in organizing a protest against racial segregation in Birmingham, Alabama. The charges included demonstrating without a permit. While incarcerated, Dr. King wrote a letter on the margins of newspapers, which was the only paper his jailers gave him. These bits and pieces of paper were smuggled through his lawyers and became known as the “Letter from the Birmingham Jail.” The purpose of this letter was to explain to other clergymen why he led a protest instead of fighting the segregation battle solely in the courts. Below are a few excerpts from Dr. King’s famous “Letter from the Birmingham Jail”:

My Dear Fellow Clergymen,

While confined here in the Birmingham City Jail, I came across your recent statement calling our present activities “unwise and untimely.”

I cannot sit idly by in Atlanta and not be concerned about what happens in Birmingham. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.

I guess it is easy for those who have never felt the stinging darts of segregation to say wait. But when you have seen vicious mobs lynch your mothers and fathers at will and drown your sisters and brothers at whim; when you have seen hate-filled policemen curse, kick, brutalize, and even kill your black brothers and sisters with impunity; when you see the vast majority of your 20 million Negro brothers smothering in an airtight cage of poverty in the midst of an affluent society; when you suddenly find your tongue twisted and your speech stammering as you seek to explain to your six-year-old daughter why she can’t go to the public amusement park that has just been advertised on television, and see the tears welling up in her little eyes when she is told that Funtown is closed to colored children, and see the depressing clouds of inferiority begin to form in her little mental sky, and see her begin to distort her little personality by unconsciously developing a bitterness toward white people; when you have to concoct an answer for a five-year-old son who is asking in agonizing pathos: “Daddy, why do white people treat colored people so mean?” when you take a cross country drive and find it necessary to sleep night after night in the uncomfortable corners of your automobile because no motel will accept you; when you are humiliated day in and day out by nagging signs reading “white” men and “colored” when your first name becomes “nigger” and your middle name becomes “boy” (however old you are) and your last name becomes “John,” and when your wife and mother are never given the respected title of “Mrs.” when you are harried by day and haunted by night by the fact that you are a Negro, living constantly at tip-toe stance, never quite knowing what to expect next, and plagued with inner fears and outer resentments; when you are forever fighting a degenerating sense of “nobodiness”—then you will understand why we find it difficult to wait.

Yours for the cause of Peace and Brotherhood,

Martin Luther King, Jr.19