Monday, January 20, 2014

MLK: Government Surveillance Target

Gov't used Surveillance of MLK in Bid to Destroy Him: Now they want us to just Trust Them
Something to remember today as we reflect on Martin Luther King Jr.'s legacy.  The Feds at the time had this peaceful man under constant surveillance. Now we have more deomestic surveillance than ever before, and it is foolish to think that no leader would use it to blackmail, marginalize or destroy political opponents.  How would a President Christie* use those powers?  Or the wonderful people he appoints?
Now that MLK is recognized by all but a tiny minority of Americans (Dick Cheney being in the minority) as a national hero, it is sometimes hard to remember that the Establishment treated him in his own lifetime like a criminal conspirator. He merely demanded the end of Jim Crow Apartheid and equal rights and opportunities for African-Americans with whites in every state of the union. As a result of this entirely reasonable demand, required by the 14th Amendment, he was placed under 24 hour a day surveillance by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. As with everything in the Cold War, the pretext was that King might have Communist associates. Just as the NSA grabbing our metadata today is justified by the pretext that all 310 million of us might have al-Qaeda associates. King's powerful "I have a Dream" speech from the steps of the Capitol provoked a frothing at the mouth Hoover to swing into full action against him. One of Hoover's aides wrote in a memo after that 1963 event, "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."

* Fortunately, as regular readers know, Chris Christie will never be President.

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