I conducted the last live, interview with James Earl Ray to be published, ever.
I interviewed Ray at the Lois M. DeBerry Special Needs Facility, a medical annex of the Riverbend Maximum Security Prison in Nashville, March 25, 1998. The interview was published April 5, 1998, and Ray died from liver disease April 23, 1998.
Along with the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, the murder of Martin Luther King Jr. is arguably the most pivotal event of 20th century American history. While some believe Ray did assassinate King, others strongly contend he did not pull the trigger.
Right off the bat, the last sentence of the preceding paragraph labels me a conspiracy theorist.
Without reserve, I will state that alleging conspiracy is metaphorically akin to dismantling a bomb: Make the wrong move, and it explodes and either irreparably injures or kills all involved.
Truly enough, some cry conspiracy minus a smidgeon of evidence.
However, on the flipside, many denounce the possibility of a conspiracy when the evidence is so overwhelming that it slaps them in the face. I ask you: Is one not just as ludicrous and narrow-mindedly dangerous as the other?
That said, I will attempt to serve up to you my own dish on the David Petraeus and Paula Broadwell sex scandal. Mind you, though, this is not about sexual behavior, for illicit trysts have been going on since the beginning of mankind.
Instead, this is a raw, objective take on the current American mindset and value system.
Hopefully, the following will help rather than hurt.
At first, I had a difficult time believing that a married man who achieved four-star generalship in the U.S. Marine Corps and CIA directorship by the relatively young age of 60 would be such a poor judge of character.
How could he have taken on a 40-year-old married woman as a mistress, especially one who is loose-cannoned enough that she would send death-threatening, career-ending e-mails that could easily be traced back to her?
By all accounts, Broadwell inserted herself into Petreaus’s midst. Surely to goodness, a man of Petreaus’s status noticed instances of red-flag behavior early on. Even members of Patraeus's staff had warned him that Broadwell was trouble. As we say in the country, though, Petraeus apparently was thinking with his “small head.”
The key questions are: Did Petraeus admit to the affair only because he was backed into a corner and had no other choice? Or did he believe it was the right thing to do? After all, is it not OK for these CIA guys to lie in the name of national security?
My bet answer is that Petraeus never would have uttered a word had he not been forced to do so.
At first, I did not want to believe a woman of her age, resume, and position would self-servingly do something so high-school-girl silly. However, after I learned she and Petreaus, knowing they were under investigation and would be in the spotlight, had attended a formal event — as a couple, pray tell — I was forced to alter my opinion.
And to drive a nail into the coffin, Broadwell wore a revealing, near-backless gown to the same gala. Petraeus and Broadwell have been described as brazen and reckless. A logical assumption is Broadwell is so deep into her own ambitions that she no longer can see the simple realities on the surface, easily seen by all others.
Did neither Petraeus nor Broadwell have someone in their corner with whom to consult on such critical matters?
Did no one pull them aside to say, "Hey, now. You two can't be cavorting around in public like that."
Did all those close to Petraeus back off because they realized catastrophic fallout was coming? Or, maybe, were those who advised Petreaus so damn lazy and lackadaisical that they just stood around and allowed it to happen?
If the answer is a collective yes, then what does all this say about the tough guys when the going gets tough?
I've Jill Kelley labeled her the "double-ass socialite" because, reportedly, she's in debt up to her ass and wears skirts up to her ass, all in a great effort to be a member of the Tampa, Fla., social scene. As news footage irrefutably establishes, Kelley attended Tampa high-end social functions with Petraeus and his wife, and she was acquainted with them to some degree.
For sure, Kelley has trophy looks and appeal, and one can fathom why Broadwell would be jealous.
However, to be fair, we must factor in these variables: Though married to a supposedly prominent cancer surgeon, she is heavily in debt and had a VIP clearance to go onto MacDill Air Force Base, located in Tampa.
I can assure you that the base is a heavy-duty epicenter for U.S. military operations and clearances are — should be, at least — hard to come by. Still, she supposedly worked for free as some kind of liason when on the base. Why?
Did she have had too much time on her hands?
Were commanders and security guards so smitten by her that they just waved her on in? Based on what we know, she is dangerously resourceful and conniving, and she used her assets (pun intended) to create this many-tentacle, far-reaching conspiracy, merely to land book deals, movie deals, hit the talk-show circuit, make millions, pull herself out of debt and continue the high-end lifestyle?
This is a bit of a stretch, but could there be any chance that she, in fact, is a deep-cover operative of sorts who in some way or the other plays a legitimate role in maintaining national security?
Initially, I was going to give her the benefit of this question because I tend to take up for the underdog. But, I shifted stances after learning she had sent Gen. John Allen thousands of e-mails. Other than it being work-related necessary, I harbor great reservations with people — particularly the likes of four-star generals — who spend the majority of their time sending and answering texts and e-mails.
Anyone care to bet that Broadwell and Kelley will receive seven-figure offers from Playboy to do a nude layout? How about I up the ante and bet you that one, if not both, will in fact do such a girlie magazine layout? After all, the cover page of the Dec. 3 issue of People magazine features a photo of Broadwell, the bottom hem of her dress well above her knees, with the title sex-themed title.
Kelley also appeared on the front page of the Nov. 15 edition of USA Today, probably the most widely circulated newspaper in the world, accompanied by the headline title: “Mansion, fancy parties masked deeper trouble.”
Frederick Humphries, an agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, seemed to be on the up and up when the story first broke. Not, however, I wager this could cause him some career trouble at the bureau.
Kelley bringing the Petraeus-Broadwell scandal to him was like tossing a bucket of crap on him: It'll take a while to clean up the mess and for the smell to go away, regardless noble intentions. It's hard to do the right thing in these type situations.
My opinion changed when I saw where Humphries, based with the FBI office in Tampa, had e-mailed Kelley a shirtless photo of himself, smiling and standing between two headless dummies, the photo taken on a shooting range.
So, just what is the relationship between Humphries and Kelley?
It has been reported that Humphries and his wife ran in the same social circles Kelley and her husband. I can understand a rookie agent sending a shirtless photo of himself to sexy Kelley, but a married, seasoned, 47-year-old agent - no way.
Did Humphries not realize that he was threatening both his own career and the integrity of the bureau by such behavior?
In light of these questions, "The Addams Family," television show comes to mind.
The 1960s sitcom featured a family of very bizarre people and things who lived in a very weird environment and had very strange habits. The show, obviously, was a paradoxical comedy. Still, in 1993, there was a big-screen movie titled, "The Addams Family Values," made.
A line in the theme song for both said, "They're creepy and they're kooky."
I will end with this question: In the year 2012, are collective American values and capabilities more at Addams Family level than those of four-star generals and CIA directors?