The death of Daniel Ellsberg on June 16 should be a reminder that every big business war requires wholesale lying. In 1971 it was Ellsberg, along with Anthony Russo, who brought the Pentagon Papers into the open.
These documents revealed the falsehoods that successive presidential administrations told to sell the U.S. war against Vietnam. Among them was the big lie that small Vietnamese boats attacked U.S. naval vessels in August 1964.
That alleged incident was the excuse for the “Gulf of Tonkin” congressional resolution that President Johnson used to escalate the war massively.
Both Ellsberg and Russo faced decades of jail time for telling the truth. Their revelations came when the anti-war and Black liberation movements were shaking the capitalist power structure.
It was because of these movements, along with disagreements within the capitalist class itself, that charges were dropped against the two whistleblowers.
Julian Assange is not so lucky. The journalist faces decades in prison for exposing U.S. war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Lies aren’t enough to conduct bloody wars for Big Oil. Anti-war voices and movements have to be suppressed.
Thousands were jailed by the white supremacist President Woodrow Wilson for opposing World War I. Among them was the socialist Eugene Debs, who received nearly a million votes when he ran for president from prison.
The U.S. Army spied on the grandfather of the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. for denouncing lynching in a sermon.
Just before the U.S. entered World War II, the feds framed the socialist leaders of Teamsters Local 544 in Minneapolis for attempting to overthrow the government.
And during World War II, Elijah Muhammed and over 40 other members of the Nation of Islam were railroaded to prison. FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover wanted Black newspaper editors jailed for exposing racism in the segregated U.S. armed forces.
Thousands of draft resisters were jailed or exiled during the Vietnam War. One of these heroes is Eddie Oquendo, who formed Blacks Against Negative Dying (BAND) in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood in Brooklyn, New York.
Open the files on Dr. King and Malcolm X!
Exactly one year after Dr. King declared that the United States was “the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today,” he was gunned down in Memphis on April 4, 1968. Coretta Scott King said, “There is abundant evidence of a major, high-level conspiracy in the assassination of my husband.”
The official story of Malcolm X’s assassination is also unbelievable. Two of the convicted assassins, Muhammad Aziz and Khalil Islam, were exonerated on Nov. 18, 2021. They had been framed in a 1966 show trial.
Muhammad Aziz, now over 80 years old, spent 20 years in prison. Khalil Islam, who died in 2009, served 22 years and never got to see his name cleared.
There were many reasons why the racist ruling class wanted Malcolm X killed. The wealthy and powerful considered his travels to Africa and ties with revolutionary movements there to be dangerous.
J. Edgar Hoover sent a telegram to the New York FBI office on June 6, 1964, demanding that they “do something about Malcolm X.” Eight months later, Malcolm X was murdered.
The Pentagon had special reasons to silence Malcolm X. In 1965 and 1966, one-fifth of all U.S. combat deaths in Vietnam were Black soldiers and marines.
Malcolm’s friend, Muhammad Ali, risked going to prison because he refused to kill Vietnamese people.
The military brass must have feared Malcolm X leading a draft resistance campaign that would eventually find support not only from the Black community but also from Asian, Indigenous, Latinx, and working-class white people as well.
Two months after Malcolm X was murdered, President Johnson sent 42,000 U.S. troops to invade the Dominican Republic. Over three thousand Dominicans were killed.
Malcolm X would have denounced this invasion.
The Pentagon Papers, which were finally declassified in 2011, don’t mention the assassinations of Dr. King and Malcolm X. We have to demand the truth while defending truth-tellers like Julian Assange.
We have to defend all those under attack. The FBI is now trying to frame African People’s Socialist Party Chairman Omali Yeshitela as well as Penny Hess and Jesse Nevel.
The Uhuru 3 face years in jail for opposing the U.S. war in Ukraine against the Russian Federation. See how you can help at www.handsoffuhuru.org
Florida Gov. DeSantis wants to lock up five members of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) for opposing his racist agenda. The Tampa 5 are Chrisley Carpio, Laura Rodriguez, Gia Davila, Lauren Pineiro and Jeanie Kida. See NAARPR.org for more information on this dangerous frame-up.
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