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Congress pushing to crack unsolved civil rights crimes

Associated Press - June 12, 2007 6:33 PM ET

CAPITOL HILL (AP) - Congress is moving toward setting aside $100 million to create a Justice Department unit devoted to investigating unsolved murders from the civil rights era.

A bill named in honor of slain black teenager Emmett Till would establish a division of FBI agents and federal prosecutors who would focus strictly on the racially motivated slayings.

Today, the widows of murdered NAACP field officer Medgar Evers and civil rights worker Michael Schwerner told a House panel that Congress must act quickly to resolve these cases before memories and evidence fade even more. (Emphasis added)

The legislation would dedicate ten million dollars a year for ten years, as well as another 1.5 million per year to improve federal coordination with local and state law enforcement agencies.

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

http://www.walb.com/Global/story.asp?S=664...mp;nav=menu37_3

http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/20...old-cases_N.htm

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Congress pushing to crack unsolved civil rights crimes

Associated Press - June 12, 2007 6:33 PM ET

CAPITOL HILL (AP) - Congress is moving toward setting aside $100 million to create a Justice Department unit devoted to investigating unsolved murders from the civil rights era.

A bill named in honor of slain black teenager Emmett Till would establish a division of FBI agents and federal prosecutors who would focus strictly on the racially motivated slayings.

Today, the widows of murdered NAACP field officer Medgar Evers and civil rights worker Michael Schwerner told a House panel that Congress must act quickly to resolve these cases before memories and evidence fade even more. (Emphasis added)

The legislation would dedicate ten million dollars a year for ten years, as well as another 1.5 million per year to improve federal coordination with local and state law enforcement agencies.

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

http://www.walb.com/Global/story.asp?S=664...mp;nav=menu37_3

http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/20...old-cases_N.htm

Hello Michael,

Just wanted to call attention to the Friday, June 15, Associated Press report out of Jackson, Mississippi by Emily Wagster Pettus.

JACKSON, Miss. - A federal jury yesterday convicted reputed Klansman James Ford Seale of kidnapping and conspiracy in the 1964 deaths of two black teenagers in southwest Mississippi.....

BK

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Kennedys assassination itself is arguably an unsolved Civil Rights case that could fall within the parameters of this bill. Similarly some suspicious deaths and other issues, that if pursued under this bill opens an avenue to documents and witnesses.

_______________

A tragedy is that the 'reputed' Klansman, Seale, did not do it alone. There were direct participants and accessories before and after the fact.

It was the search for the Mississippi Three that led to the finding of these two bodies, as well as numerous other unidentified bodies and body parts in the swamps and rivers of the areas searched.

Megar Evers murder, a few hours after Kennedys televised Civil Rights speech, was at the time called the first modern USofA Political Assassination. There are numerous conections with it to the Kennedy assassination, such as the way the investigation was conducted and the arguments that were applied in the case that led to the intial acquittal of Byron that if applied to a live Oswald court case would have acquitted him as well.

Walker and other Southern notables visited Byron in court, shaking his hand and offering encouragement.

Meanwhile it led to a lifelong friendship between Medgars brother Charles and RFK.

_____________________

http://www.mdah.state.ms.us/arlib/contents...62|1|1|1|28968|

(image)

Edited by John Dolva
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Hello Michael,

Just wanted to call attention to the Friday, June 15, Associated Press report out of Jackson, Mississippi by Emily Wagster Pettus.

JACKSON, Miss. - A federal jury yesterday convicted reputed Klansman James Ford Seale of kidnapping and conspiracy in the 1964 deaths of two black teenagers in southwest Mississippi.....

Thanks, Bill. Certainly Seale's conviction is an important outcome. I did see your mention of it in the Oswald's Ghost thread. And as you know, I have much respect for your past and continuing efforts in the Kennedy murder case. You commented and I replied:

The wheels of justice grind slow, but continue to grind.
For me, the wheels of justice in President Kennedy's murder began grinding to a halt that November 1963 weekend.

Those wheels came to an almost full stop with the issuance and public acceptance of the Warren Report.

Where the hell is the justice? I sure haven't seen any in forty-four years. The valiant efforts of individual researchers in the private sector are admirable, but their findings continue to be ignored by the United States government.

I'll believe the wheels of justice (re political assassinations in the sixties) are still grinding when I see some tangible results of same. I realize that there are people out there still trying, giving their best efforts in that direction, but they continue to face too many obstacles in my opinion.

By and large, the American public couldn't be more apathetic about learning the truth, let alone achieving justice in these matters.

My whole point was Congress is considering funding $100 million for civil rights cases and not a dime for political assassinations. One doesn't need a weatherman.

I do agree that there is potential peripheral evidence to the JFK case that might be uncovered during a comprehensive civil rights investigation, or as John Dolva wrote:

"Kennedy's assassination itself is arguably an unsolved Civil Rights case that could fall within the parameters of this bill. Similarly some suspicious deaths and other issues, that if pursued under this bill opens an avenue to documents and witnesses."

I must also remark that given the U.S. government's abysmal track record, there may not be great cause for optimism.

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Hello Michael,

Just wanted to call attention to the Friday, June 15, Associated Press report out of Jackson, Mississippi by Emily Wagster Pettus.

JACKSON, Miss. - A federal jury yesterday convicted reputed Klansman James Ford Seale of kidnapping and conspiracy in the 1964 deaths of two black teenagers in southwest Mississippi.....

Thanks, Bill. Certainly Seale's conviction is an important outcome. I did see your mention of it in the Oswald's Ghost thread. And as you know, I have much respect for your past and continuing efforts in the Kennedy murder case. You commented and I replied:

The wheels of justice grind slow, but continue to grind.
For me, the wheels of justice in President Kennedy's murder began grinding to a halt that November 1963 weekend.

Those wheels came to an almost full stop with the issuance and public acceptance of the Warren Report.

Where the hell is the justice? I sure haven't seen any in forty-four years. The valiant efforts of individual researchers in the private sector are admirable, but their findings continue to be ignored by the United States government.

I'll believe the wheels of justice (re political assassinations in the sixties) are still grinding when I see some tangible results of same. I realize that there are people out there still trying, giving their best efforts in that direction, but they continue to face too many obstacles in my opinion.

By and large, the American public couldn't be more apathetic about learning the truth, let alone achieving justice in these matters.

My whole point was Congress is considering funding $100 million for civil rights cases and not a dime for political assassinations. One doesn't need a weatherman.

I do agree that there is potential peripheral evidence to the JFK case that might be uncovered during a comprehensive civil rights investigation, or as John Dolva wrote:

"Kennedy's assassination itself is arguably an unsolved Civil Rights case that could fall within the parameters of this bill. Similarly some suspicious deaths and other issues, that if pursued under this bill opens an avenue to documents and witnesses."

I must also remark that given the U.S. government's abysmal track record, there may not be great cause for optimism.

Frankly, I would love to see a bunch of experienced investigators and ex-intell types like John Newman and others who would know where to look and know what they were looking at with appropriate power to search BUT Congress would screw up a one car funeral on a one way street. If Oswald was a lone nut and Ruby a small time hood-what's to hide?

Talked to several retired FBI guys re: many of those civil rights murders and the problem was not that they didn't know who the killers where but that there was insufficent evidence for court

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Makings its way into law, the Emmett Till Bill Passes House after hearings on the hill.

The two who voted against were Lynn Westmoreland and Libertarian Ron Paul

-BK

[/u]http://www.dailyherald.com/news/illinoisstory.aspid=3249

http://www.tuscaloosanews.com/article/2007...p;tc=&t=

[/u]

http://wwhttp://www.annistonstar.com/opinion/2007/as-insight-0603-jflemingcol-7f02s0207.

htmw.waltontribune.com/story.lasso?ewcd=1a02c65455da41f4://http://wwhttp://www.annistonstar.co...a02c65455da41f4://http://wwhttp://www.annistonstar.co...a02c65455da41f4://http://wwhttp://www.annistonstar.co...a02c65455da41f4

Here's a good one by John Fleming. BK

42 years later, the release of civil rights-era FBI files might hold key to unsolved By John Fleming

Editor at large

06-03-2007

In the late summer of 2004, I started working on a story about a shooting that happened nearly 40 years earlier.

The death of Jimmie Lee Jackson was intriguing to me because historians agree that it helped spark the Selma-to-Montgomery march, an event that — depending on their view of the civil rights movement — either provided courage or shamed members of Congress into passing the Voting Rights Act that August.

It was not an unimportant event. Yet there was very little written about it. Histories of the era gave it a few paragraphs, a couple of pages at most. There was a nighttime march in Marion, a riot ensued and a melee took place in a local restaurant where an Alabama State Trooper ended up shooting Jackson in the stomach. He died a few days later at a Selma hospital.

Not much more was known, including the name of the trooper.

One of the first things I did when I started working on this story was contact the FBI. I went through the normal procedure of making a Freedom of Information Act request for any information the bureau might have on Jimmie Lee Jackson. After a few weeks, a letter came back telling me that no records were found.

I did not believe this at the time. I knew J. Edgar Hoover's men were anywhere and everywhere during the civil rights movement trying to out-do John Doar's men from the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department. But then, when I met and interviewed the trooper, James Fowler, I began to think the FBI didn't do an investigation.

Fowler, who has maintained that the shooting was in self-defense, told me flatly that no one, including FBI agents, ever talked to him about the Jimmie Lee Jackson incident.

That suggested there was no investigation, but later I found one of the only FBI agents still alive who was familiar with the case. He told me he remembered signing off on a report, although he could not remember its contents.

So I kept digging until I eventually found a kindly archivist at the Justice Department who unearthed a four-page, 1965 memorandum that referred to an FBI case file on the incident.

The archivist also mentioned in passing that someone had requested the same file in 1979, a Judy Richardson.

The likely Ms. Richardson who asked for that file, I figured after a bit of research, was a producer for the television documentary Eyes on the Prize. When I tracked her down at a production company in Boston, she couldn't remember that particular file since she handled truckloads of them for the documentary, but she helpfully steered me to the Washington University Film and Media Archive in St. Louis.

"Talk to them, if they have what you are looking for they will find it, you can count on that," she said.

Perhaps the FBI of 1979 was a more open place, not as obsessed with secrecy or perhaps simply more organized. Whatever the reason, Ms. Richardson did have better luck. In two short days, the archivists at Washington University found, copied and express-mailed a 159-page FBI file to my front door.

The hard-working agents of the FBI did do an investigation after all. And right there in the middle of it was an explanation for why they never talked to Fowler. It wasn't that they didn't want to or have cause to. It was, according to Hoover himself, because Col. Al Lingo, then the head of the Alabama State Troopers, forbid his troopers to be interviewed by the FBI because he didn't trust "the damn department."

In the meantime, this file became a lot more important when a Perry County grand jury indicted Fowler in early May for murder in the case. Suddenly the file's contents were potentially important not only to a journalist trying to write a story, but to the defense and the prosecution as well. Something in that file may help determine the guilt or the innocence of James Fowler.

Because I need to have a reaction to what may be new information in the case, the prosecution and the defense now have a copy of this file, complements of Washington University and The Anniston Star — and not, I might add, the FBI.

There's the rub. If the Justice Department is really serious about reopening old civil rights-era killings as it has announced, then the FBI should at least make files available to those who have a legitimate need to look at them. Yes, that includes journalists.

At a conference in Boston a few weeks ago, titled "Crimes of the Civil Rights Era," former FBI agents, former attorneys from the Civil Rights Division and former U.S. prosecutors all said the press was, and is, vital in bringing these cases to the forefront.

I have been critical of the FBI for not interviewing Fowler so many years ago. My criticism should have been leveled at Al Lingo instead. But I had no way of knowing that without seeing the file. And without knowing the file's contents, the district attorney and Fowler's attorney had no way of knowing about a statement Jackson made to FBI agents, or the statements of a supervising nurse at the hospital where he died, or the statements of eyewitnesses. Even though most, if not all, of this information may not be allowed into evidence, at the very least it should have been made available to a district attorney convening a grand jury

There is another reason why opening old FBI records will become increasingly more important.

Congress probably will move this year to begin debate on the "Unsolved Civil Rights Crime Act." The legislation — nearly everyone on Capitol Hill calls it the "The Till Bill," named after Emmett Till, who was murdered in Mississippi in 1955 — would provide millions of dollars a year to pay for cold-case units in the Criminal Division of the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division and in the FBI to investigate unsolved civil rights-era murders.

If the bill passes, a lot of people will be busy. The Southern Poverty Law Center alone has a list of some 70 names that its researchers believe were the victims of racially-motivated killings during the civil rights era. There may be many more. That's big work, even for a well-funded Justice Department effort.

Making the records available through normal FOI procedures and streamlining those efforts could make things easier for everyone, including the defense. The family of Jimmie Lee Jackson, the people of Marion and James Fowler deserved to know the whole story years ago. It is too bad for everyone involved that it has taken this long for such a crucial FBI file to come to light.

Related articles: Special Section: The Death of Jimmie Lee Jackson

About John Fleming: John Fleming is The Star's editor at large. Contact John Fleming: E-mail:

johnfleming2005@bellsouth.net

Edited by William Kelly
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This story is making news and I wanted to bump it up.

Once the law is passed and the Federal Task Force is formed, they can't start with JFK.

BK

Bill, is any lobbying being done to include political assassinations in the bill? I know John Dolva believes the bill could include them as it stands, but I doubt anyone is going to stick their neck out and try and make that case. The issue needs to be forced into at the current debate.

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This story is making news and I wanted to bump it up.

Once the law is passed and the Federal Task Force is formed, they can't start with JFK.

BK

Bill, is any lobbying being done to include political assassinations in the bill? I know John Dolva believes the bill could include them as it stands, but I doubt anyone is going to stick their neck out and try and make that case. The issue needs to be forced into at the current debate.

Hi Greg,

If this bill does get passed by both houses of Congress and is signed by the President, it most certainly would include JFK, whose civil rights were violated, and there is no question of federal jurisdiction. And since the accused assassin's motives were never ascertained, the deep South Dallas murder could have been sparked by JFK's changing civil rights policies.

But the intention of the bill is clearly to take over the never-before investigated murders of blacks in the south, where the local law enforcement was often directly invovled in the crime and never bothered to adequately investigate.

The bill is clearly written so that new divisions are created in the Justice Depatment, new special prosecutors with special investigatory powers, and financial support for an inter-agency and multi-govermental (Federal/State/County/Municipal) Task Force, the kind of Task Force that is formed to investigte organized crime, terrorist and espionage cases.

Exactly the type of Task Force needed to investigate, solve and prosecute political assassinations.

A similar, though different Task Force was set up in the Justice Department in the 70s to investigate and prosecute Nazi war criminals.

Perhaps a mix of both approaches would work for JFK, and a permanent criminal investigative - counter-intelligence CI type of Task Force could be established to prosecute political assassinations, begin with those outstanding cold cases, but on standby to take over the investigtion of the next one, when it happens.

Hopefully this bill will become law and those cases are moved on, which will give momentum for JFK.

BK

Edited by William Kelly
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Emmett Till* - (Sep 7 2005 topic post)

http://educationforum.ipbhost.com/index.ph...;hl=emmett+till

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Alvin Sykes came late to the saga of Emmett Till, but the Kansas City human rights activist has as much as anyone to do with the reopening of the investigation into the 1955 murder.

Without Sykes' persistence and network of connections, it's unlikely that the case would have gotten the renewed attention of federal and Mississippi authorities, say those who have worked closely with him during a quarter-century-long quest to resolve unpunished civil rights crimes.

"He is tenacious as a bulldog, and he doesn't know the meaning of 'no,'" said Don Burger, a retired racial conflict mediator for the U.S. Justice Department.

Burger, of Waukee, Iowa, joined with Sykes in founding the Emmett Till Justice Campaign, which successfully lobbied the Justice Department to put the FBI back on the hunt in 2004.

Until a few years ago, however, Sykes knew only the basic details of the black 14-year-old's brutal death, which is credited with helping to catalyze the civil rights movement.

Sykes felt the case first tug at him in 1981, after he had persuaded the Justice Department to investigate and successfully prosecute a hate crime for which the perpetrator had been acquitted in a Missouri state court.

The victim was Steven Harvey, a 27-year-old black jazz saxophonist, who was beaten to death in 1980 with a baseball bat by a white ex-Marine. Harvey's widow, Rhea, told Sykes it was the second hate crime in her family. The first was Emmett Till, to whom Rhea Harvey was distantly related.

Till's name, however, didn't attract Sykes' full attention until December 2002, when an article in a black-oriented Kansas City weekly newspaper detailed the books and films being done about the case. He read about Mamie Till Mobley, Emmett's mother, who had been trying since 1956 to get the case reopened. That was also the year Sykes was born.

"Like it was, wow, this woman has spent the equivalent of my lifetime pursuing this one thing," said Sykes.

Sykes contacted Mobley and talked her into chairing the Emmett Till Justice Campaign. Mobley died two days after giving the effort her blessing.

Sykes has made the cause his passion ever since, with help from Burger and others, such as filmmaker Keith Beauchamp. Beauchamp's documentary, "The Untold Story of Emmett Till," contends that there were other people, some still living, who were involved in Till's murder other than the two white men, Roy Bryant and J.W. Milam, who were acquitted by an all-white Tallahatchie County jury.

As with the Steven Harvey murder, Sykes had to persuade the Justice Department that it had jurisdiction to look into the case, even if they would have to rely on state officials to prosecute it. His research turned up two precedents - a federal investigation during the 1970s into the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy, and the Clinton administration's re-examination in the late 1990s of the 1968 assassination of Martin Luther King.

"If it was good enough for Kennedy, and it was good enough for King, it was good enough for Emmett Till," Sykes said.

Sykes is one of the more unlikely characters in the latest chapter of the Till murder and its aftermath.

Sykes was taken at the age of 8 days from his 14-year-old biological mother and placed with a 48-year-old unmarried domestic worker. At 12, he got his first taste of the civil rights movement, snitching on vandals who were setting fires around his Kansas City neighborhood in the aftermath of the King assassination. Fearing in part for his safety, his adoptive mother shipped Sykes off to Boys Town, a home for troubled and neglected children in Nebraska.

At 16, back in Kansas City, Sykes dropped out of school and starting teaching and training himself on the intricacies of the law. Raised Catholic, he became a Buddhist at 18.

He developed a passion for helping crime victims, having himself experienced that sense of helplessness at a young age. When he was 11, Sykes said, he was sexually assaulted twice by a man and woman who lived across the street. They were never charged.

"I did not know there were people you could go to for help," Sykes said.

His grasp of the nuances of civil rights laws is unparalleled, according to Burger, the retired Justice Department mediator.

"He can stand on his own with the most gifted lawyers from Yale and Harvard," Burger said.

Sykes does his work without a vehicle (a visual impairment in one eye keeps him from driving) or much income.

Technically, as president of the Emmett Till Justice Campaign, he is supposed to receive a salary of $27,500 a year, but the organization hasn't had the money to pay it.

Sykes believes his biggest contribution to the Till investigation was getting federal and state prosecutors to talk. A pivotal meeting occurred in Oxford in February 2004, where Joyce Chiles, the district attorney for Leflore, Sunflower and Washington counties, agreed to request the Justice Department's help in the investigation. That allowed the FBI not only to get involved but to add the possibility of prosecution to its digging.

"Joyce Chiles made this a real investigation with real consequences," Sykes said.

Sykes' powers of persuasion extends beyond the Till case.

He planted the seed in the mind of Sen. Jim Talent, R-Mo., to create an office within the Department of Justice to investigate and prosecute unsolved murders from the civil rights era.

That legislation has 22 bipartisan co-sponsors, including both of Mississippi's Republican senators, Thad Cochran and Trent Lott. Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., is one of the lead sponsors in a companion measure that is expected to be introduced in the House next month.

Sykes also came up with the legislation's nickname - the "Till bill."

Sykes said he has no preconceived notions about whether anyone still living collaborated in the murder of Till.

"You will never get from me names of people who were allegedly involved. We want a complete and fair investigation," he said.

He said the evidence could just as likely exonerate aged suspects as it could show reason to prosecute.

"There may be people out there who have been falsely accused."

To those in Mississippi who question the wisdom of resurrecting the racially sensitive case, Sykes cites the example of the June conviction by a Neshoba County jury of Edgar Ray Killen for his involvement in the 1964 slaying of three civil rights workers. That successful state prosecution of the former Klansman has removed, according to Sykes, the stigma that had clung for 41 years to Philadelphia, Miss., site of the infamous crime.

"Already around the world, Philadelphia means something different than it did a month ago," Sykes said during a July interview. "You see it as a beacon of hope for truth and justice."

He said the only way that Mississippi can move out of the long shadow of Emmett Till's death is by bringing to light the full truth of what happened 50 years ago.

"There are more people in Mississippi in the end who will feel better about this coming to a conclusion one way or another rather than to just hang there and fester."

* http://www.zwire.com/site/news.cfm?newsid=...04621&rfi=6

# http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Civil_Rights_Movement

@ https://www.choicesvideo.net/guidebooks/WAV/Heroes1.pdf

POLITICAL ASSASSINATION

@ : "Jim Crow” laws created a legally inferior status in the South for African Americans, who were denied equal justice and social services. In addition, African Americans suffered sporadic and vicious outbreaks of “lynch law” — people would seize suspected criminals (many of them innocent) and murder them, often after terrible tortures. Sometimes the “crime” for which a black person was murdered hardly qualified for that term. Such was the case of Emmett Till. Because he had allegedly insulted a white woman on a summer day in 1955, two white men assumed they had license to kill him. If they thought they would get away with it, they were correct, because they were never convicted. But if they thought Emmett Till would be forgotten, they couldn't have been more wrong.

Medgar Evers, as field secretary for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), was at the forefront of the movement to get blacks to register to vote. This made him a prime target for segregationists. His murder in 1963 was the first racial killing to garner national attention since the killing of Till eight years before. After his death, an interesting shift in vocabulary signaled an important change in perception. His murder was not referred to as a “lynching,” but a “political assassination**,” a recognition that violence against blacks had become something that had to be taken much more seriously and that it had deep political implications. Had Emmett Till and Medgar Evers met their deaths 50 years earlier, their names would probably have been forgotten. But times were changing in America, and their murders ignited a spirit of protest that would not die."

**Medgar was assassinated, only a few hours after viewing Kennedy's famous mid '63 Civil Rights speech on TV.

RFK flew immediately to Medgar's brother, Charles, side and they became lifelong friends,

Charles was with RFK when he was assassinated.

To his mind JFK, MLK and RFK were all assassinations coming from the same sources.

I understand Charles is still alive.

Emmett Till's coffin was laid in state so people could pay their respects. Because of his injuries his mother was asked to close the coffin. She replied No, "Let them see what they hane done".

A decade later, Jackie was asked to change her blood stained clothing. She echoed Till's mother with No, "Let them see what they have done".

:::::::::::::::::::::::::

Comment; Could Sykes be the man to help relaunch an investigation?

"Sykes' powers of persuasion extends beyond the Till case.

He planted the seed in the mind of Sen. Jim Talent, R-Mo., to create an office within the Department of Justice to investigate and prosecute unsolved murders from the civil rights era."

Edited by John Dolva
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Thanks for those clips John, especially these parts:

...Sykes believes his biggest contribution to the Till investigation was getting federal and state prosecutors to talk. A pivotal meeting occurred in Oxford in February 2004, where Joyce Chiles, the district attorney for Leflore, Sunflower and Washington counties, agreed to request the Justice Department's help in the investigation. That allowed the FBI not only to get involved but to add the possibility of prosecution to its digging.

"Joyce Chiles made this a real investigation with real consequences," Sykes said.

Sykes' powers of persuasion extends beyond the Till case.

He planted the seed in the mind of Sen. Jim Talent, R-Mo., to create an office within the Department of Justice to investigate and prosecute unsolved murders from the civil rights era.

That legislation has 22 bipartisan co-sponsors, including both of Mississippi's Republican senators, Thad Cochran and Trent Lott. Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., is one of the lead sponsors in a companion measure that is expected to be introduced in the House next month.

Sykes also came up with the legislation's nickname - the "Till bill."

Sykes said he has no preconceived notions about whether anyone still living collaborated in the murder of Till.

"You will never get from me names of people who were allegedly involved. We want a complete and fair investigation," he said.

He said the evidence could just as likely exonerate aged suspects as it could show reason to prosecute.

"There may be people out there who have been falsely accused."

......

**Megar was assassinated only a few hours after viewing Kennedy's famous mid '63 Civil Rights speech on TV.

RFK flew immediately to Medgars brother, Charles, side and they became lifelong friends, Charles was with RFK when he was assassinated. To his mind JFK, MLK and RFK were all assassinations coming from the same sources. I understand Charles is still alive.

Emmett Tills coffin laid in state so people could pay their respects. Because of his injuries his mother was asked to close the coffin. She replied No, "Let them see what they hane done".

a decade later, Jackie was asked to change her blood stained clothing. She echoed Till's mother with No, "Let them see what they have done".

:::::::::::::::::::::::::

Comment; Could Sykes be the man to help relaunch an investigation?

"Sykes' powers of persuasion extends beyond the Till case.

He planted the seed in the mind of Sen. Jim Talent, R-Mo., to create an office within the Department of Justice to investigate and prosecute unsolved murders from the civil rights era."

BK: Sykes, as someone who has already succeeded in getting a bill through committee and onto the floor of the House, has done more than we have since the JFK Act of 1992, fifteen years ago.

I believe our next victory will be in Congress as well, unless Morley succeeds v. CIA in court, but before Congress will once again deal with a full fledged investigation it must settle up with congressional oversight of the JFK Act.

Getting a prosecutor like Joyce Chiles to request FBI assistance certainly expanded the limits of the possible.

The Medgar Evers case would never have been legally revived if it wasn't for a young, determined, nieve assistant DA to make a case, and similar cases were eventually made in other murders, some with and others without federal assistance.

That Dallas has a new Country Sheriff, a black women with an alternative lifestyle, and a new District Attorney, who is reviewing old convictions and reversing them based on new evidence, and New Orleans has a new DA as well, there is a new window of opportunity to jump start a new investigation at that level.

But do we really want the FBI to come in and take over once such a case is opened and a grand jury conviened to examine the evidence? While there might be new blood in the legal, district attorney level, I think the FBI is still run by corrupt beauracratic sleezebags protecting the old Hover image.

In addition, in order to convince the prosecutors to take the case, it would be absolutly necessary to approach the case with an open mind, and heed Sykes advice not to blame the CIA/mob/Cubans/KGB or anyone for any crimes. You take a conspiracy case based on books to a DA and they won't even listen to you. Something most "conspiracy theorists" find hard to do.

Sykes said he has no preconceived notions about whether anyone still living collaborated in the murder of Till.

"You will never get from me names of people who were allegedly involved. We want a complete and fair investigation," he said.

He said the evidence could just as likely exonerate aged suspects as it could show reason to prosecute.

"There may be people out there who have been falsely accused."

Keeping it simple and tacking on a catchy name, like the Till Bill, also helps.

Certainly watching the Till Bill go through the legal hoops is a learning process and its pitfalls should be avoided and its successful tactics should be tried.

Sykes is certainly a hero who should get his salary paid for doing this, as he is creating new jobs for dozens of attorneys.

BK

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"But do we really want the FBI to come in and take over ..."

No, and I don't think that is ths purpose. It's a Justice Department Initiative, and they presumably case by case can subpoena persons with access to documents that overlap into other issues. Also, as a group researchers would be following the proceedings, the knowledge had can direct the Prosecutors to areas to look at. One problem may be that, as the JFK assassination is technically an open case in Texas law, then files can be deemed open and therfore the existence of them be out of bounds to FOI's but possibly not to Federal Authorities. Perhaps some internship should be considered by researchers? Lots of boring tedious legwork to do.

Watching the proceedings closely by researchers can be a valuable contribution. Sometimes what is not revealed where one may expect it should be, is as good as having it revealed. The research, while not necessarily used in court for various reasons, can be freed up. Where it is not, 'ask the question, ask the question...' (quote: Costner in 'JFK').

"Sykes is certainly a hero who should get his salary paid for doing this, as he is creating new jobs for dozens of attorneys"

A bit cynical, methinks, He should get paid. Period. He'll get his reward in time. Still, it's his personal committment, sans payment that is a model to accept as a commendable norm IMO.

"I think the FBI is still run by corrupt beauracratic sleezebags protecting the old Hover image."

They then provide a template a`la Dale Scott's 'negative template' analysis.

Edited by John Dolva
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Just when you thought that Congress has come to its senses with the Emmett Till Bill, two members of the House - Ron Paul (Tx Libertarian) and Lynn Westmoreland (Ga.) voted against the House bill and Sen. Tom Coburn (Rep. Okla), who calls the bill "Shamefull and disqusting," is singlehandedly holding up the vote in the Senate.

Senators Chris Dodd (Conn.) and Pat Leahy (Vt.) are pushing it in the Senate.

BK

http://www.thecarpetbaggerreport.com/archives/11215.html<H2 class=date>June 22, 2007</H2><H3 id=post-11215>://http://www.thecarpetbaggerreport.co...=post-11215>://http://www.thecarpetbaggerreport.co...=post-11215>The Emmett Till Unsolved Civil Rights Crime Act</H3>Posted 2:30 pm | Printer Friendly | Spotlight http://www.thecarpetbaggerreport.com/archives/11215.htmlDigg thisAdd to del.icio.usEmail this

The House passed an important civil-rights bill yesterday with near-unanimous support. The Senate, however, is another matter.

The House passed a bill Wednesday to establish a new division of federal prosecutors and FBI agents focused strictly on cracking unsolved murders from the civil rights era.

The bill, which is also moving swiftly through the Senate, would authorize $10 million a year over the next decade to create the unit in the Justice Department. It also would earmark $2 million per year in grants for state and local law enforcement agencies to investigate cases in which federal prosecution isn’t practical, and $1.5 million more to improve coordination among investigating agencies.

The bill, passed 422-2, is named in honor of Emmett Till, a black 14-year-old from Chicago who was beaten and murdered in Mississippi in 1955 after being accused of whistling at a white woman. His killers were never convicted.

“We must do something to right these wrongs,” said U.S. Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., who sponsored the bill. “We have an obligation…. Let us move to close this dark stain on our nation’s history.”

For decent people, this should be a no-brainer. (In the House, the two nays were from Republican Reps. Lynn Westmoreland of Georgia and Ron Paul of Texas.)

With overwhelming House support, the Bush administration’s blessing, and the support of the Senate, the Emmett Till bill was poised to sail through the chamber and become law.

Until Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) put a hold on the bill and threatened to block it permanently.

I’m tempted to describe this as “shameful,” but it’s actually worse than that. Perhaps “disgusting” is more appropriate.

Coburn said he felt compelled to single-handedly block the legislation because he didn’t want to spend the money on the law-enforcement effort. How much does the initiative cost? About $135 million over 10 years. Coburn voted for the last several Bush budgets, which ran massive deficits, but his opposition to $135 million over 10 years is so strong, he just has to block the bill. What’s more, he doesn’t hesitate to give the White House a blank check for the war in Iraq, but a modest bill on civil rights is too pricey.

I should also add that, unlike the spending Coburn has been supporting the past several years, congressional Dems found a way to pay for the Emmett Till bill — none of this is deficit spending.

Democratic Sens. Chris Dodd (Conn.) and Pat Leahy (Vt.) aren’t giving up.

“My colleagues and I have fought long and hard for this bill in order to bring to justice people who have perpetrated heinous crimes based on racial hatred,” said Dodd. “It has been a bipartisan effort, and I am angry that one of my colleagues is delaying this bill’s passage under false pretense. While we allow another day, another week, another month to pass before enacting this legislation, we allow racist criminals to live the lives of innocent people when they should be apprehended and brought to justice. After so many decades, to further delay justice and solace to the families of the victims of these horrific crimes is simply unimaginable.

“The Senate should not wait another day to take up this important legislation,” Leahy, Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee said. “This legislation provides necessary tools for our federal government, in cooperation with state and local officials, to vigorously investigate and prosecute these cases. As each day passes, new evidence trickles in while older evidence fades and witnesses age. We must have a sense of urgency about these unsolved cases - justice cannot afford to wait.”

Note to Republicans: the next time you’re struggling to understand why the GOP struggles to earn the support of African-American voters, remember who opposed The Emmett Till Unsolved Civil Rights Crime Act.

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Just when you thought that Congress has come to its senses with the Emmett Till Bill, two members of the House - Ron Paul (Tx Libertarian) and Lynn Westmoreland (Ga.) voted against the House bill and Sen. Tom Coburn (Rep. Okla), who calls the bill "Shamefull and disqusting," is singlehandedly holding up the vote in the Senate.

Senators Chris Dodd (Conn.) and Pat Leahy (Vt.) are pushing it in the Senate.

BK

http://www.thecarpetbaggerreport.com/archives/11215.html<H2 class=date>June 22, 2007</H2><H3 id=post-

://http://www.thecarpetbaggerreport.co...t;H3 id=post-

://http://www.thecarpetbaggerreport.co...t;H3 id=post-

The House passed an important civil-rights bill yesterday with near-unanimous support. The Senate, however, is another matter.

The House passed a bill Wednesday to establish a new division of federal prosecutors and FBI agents focused strictly on cracking unsolved murders from the civil rights era.

The bill, which is also moving swiftly through the Senate, would authorize $10 million a year over the next decade to create the unit in the Justice Department. It also would earmark $2 million per year in grants for state and local law enforcement agencies to investigate cases in which federal prosecution isn't practical, and $1.5 million more to improve coordination among investigating agencies.

The bill, passed 422-2, is named in honor of Emmett Till, a black 14-year-old from Chicago who was beaten and murdered in Mississippi in 1955 after being accused of whistling at a white woman. His killers were never convicted.

"We must do something to right these wrongs," said U.S. Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., who sponsored the bill. "We have an obligation…. Let us move to close this dark stain on our nation's history."

For decent people, this should be a no-brainer. (In the House, the two nays were from Republican Reps. Lynn Westmoreland of Georgia and Ron Paul of Texas.)

With overwhelming House support, the Bush administration's blessing, and the support of the Senate, the Emmett Till bill was poised to sail through the chamber and become law.

Until Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) put a hold on the bill and threatened to block it permanently.

I'm tempted to describe this as "shameful," but it's actually worse than that. Perhaps "disgusting" is more appropriate.

Coburn said he felt compelled to single-handedly block the legislation because he didn't want to spend the money on the law-enforcement effort. How much does the initiative cost? About $135 million over 10 years. Coburn voted for the last several Bush budgets, which ran massive deficits, but his opposition to $135 million over 10 years is so strong, he just has to block the bill. What's more, he doesn't hesitate to give the White House a blank check for the war in Iraq, but a modest bill on civil rights is too pricey.

I should also add that, unlike the spending Coburn has been supporting the past several years, congressional Dems found a way to pay for the Emmett Till bill — none of this is deficit spending.

Democratic Sens. Chris Dodd (Conn.) and Pat Leahy (Vt.) aren't giving up.

"My colleagues and I have fought long and hard for this bill in order to bring to justice people who have perpetrated heinous crimes based on racial hatred," said Dodd. "It has been a bipartisan effort, and I am angry that one of my colleagues is delaying this bill's passage under false pretense. While we allow another day, another week, another month to pass before enacting this legislation, we allow racist criminals to live the lives of innocent people when they should be apprehended and brought to justice. After so many decades, to further delay justice and solace to the families of the victims of these horrific crimes is simply unimaginable.

"The Senate should not wait another day to take up this important legislation," Leahy, Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee said. "This legislation provides necessary tools for our federal government, in cooperation with state and local officials, to vigorously investigate and prosecute these cases. As each day passes, new evidence trickles in while older evidence fades and witnesses age. We must have a sense of urgency about these unsolved cases - justice cannot afford to wait."

Note to Republicans: the next time you're struggling to understand why the GOP struggles to earn the support of African-American voters, remember who opposed The Emmett Till Unsolved Civil Rights Crime Act.

Edited by William Kelly
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William: "Note to Republicans: the next time you're struggling to understand why the GOP struggles to earn the support of African-American voters, remember who opposed The Emmett Till Unsolved Civil Rights Crime Act."

Good angle to push, particularly as Charles Evers is Republican (to keep the b#&*$rds honest). There probably will be amendments aimed at weakening the bill so a coalition of energetic people (Sykes etc, hook up with him) plus members in the research community and others who read this forum and other sites pushing it may make a differecnce. Write to the people up for election etc etc. Make it an election issue, get grassroots African American groups, ex GI's, others, pushing for a 'no' vote to those who oppose the passage of the bill. (no doubt they already are but any help in the right direction wuldn't go amiss)

(ps : break in transmissin: school hol's here. so the kids got the computer mostly for a couple of weeks)

Edited by John Dolva
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