MARTIN LUTHER KING

In July of 1975, I noted in passing headlines in the local Atlanta papers that the City Commissioner of Public Safety, Reginald Eaves, had for some time been quietly investigating anew the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Although I had admired King while I held John Kennedy in contempt, I was then so preoccupied with things I was ferreting out here and there about the Presidential assassination that I failed to take much notice. For articles about the John Kennedy murder now seemed to be appearing everywhere.

From time to time I was meeting to compare notes with a staffer on The Great Speckled Bird who had written about the Southern Rim.

Without mentioning my man in New Orleans with the bald head and links to Carlos Marcello, I sought further evidence that the Cowboys of the military-industrial complex had murdered Kennedy in their war with the Yankees of the Northeastern Establishment. Marcello, as well as Nixon and Howard Hunt, were alleged to belong to this Southern faction. I figured the man I remembered and feared had to be in there somewhere as well.

Then I encountered an article in a scandal tabloid that disturbed me more than anything else, again for largely subjective reasons. For no particular reason, it seems, one of their correspondents who was probing links between Carlos Marcello and the John Kennedy murder had blown his brains out with a .38 caliber pistol. As it happened, this resident of Baton Rouge, Louisiana named Joe Cooper was left-handed and the weapon was found in his right hand.

A woman I knew met with much the same fate in 1964, just before I returned to New Orleans for a visit after a year's absence. She was the former girlfriend of the man with whom I had discussed murdering the President.

Then early one morning the phone rang. On the other end of the line was the American Civil Liberties Union lawyer who was the only person to whom I had confided the conversations summarized in my notes. One afternoon, I had regaled him with a rambling, slightly hysterical account of my worst suspicions.

Now he asked me, "Have you been following this investigation by Eaves of the Martin Luther King assassination?"

I admitted I had not.

"You might want to look into it," he said. "Their witness seems to be talking about some of the same people you mentioned to me in connection with Carlos Marcello."

That afternoon I obtained an Atlanta newspaper and read the article pertaining to what was fast becoming a controversial investigation. A young man who supplied accurate information to the police about a narcotics ring was also insisting that just previous to the murder of Martin Luther King, he had overheard one of its members say of King: "I'm going to shoot that damned nigger in the head and frame a jailbird for it, just like I did with Kennedy."

Had the word "jailbird" been a post-hypnotic trigger planted in my unconscious to release a flood of memories, results could not have been more dramatic. For one of the things my own suspect had discussed with me all those years ago was framing a jailbird for the John Kennedy murder. In fact, I recalled now that I was the one who talked him out of it. Moreover, he had also talked about assassinating Martin Luther King.

No longer in doubt that my man, known to me as Gary Kirstein, possessed advanced knowledge of the John Kennedy murder, I went into action. First I typed up a number of brief memos about our conversations and distributed them almost at random, in order to assure that if I was fatally silenced there would be evidence to indicate why.

Thereafter I endeavored to contact my prospective attorney, only to discover that he was out of town.

Convinced that I should act fast but unsure of what to do next, I wound up taking my information to the office of the Commissioner of Public Safety. That was after I first attended a party where I was given a funny-tasting marijuana cigarette that made me feel uninhibited and talkative, and then questioned intensively by a group of inquisitive individuals. And it was after, within a few days of the first incident, I again met one of the people from that party, who handed me a pipeload of marijuana that blistered the inside of my mouth when I started to inhale the smoke.

Commissioner Eaves then announced a press conference wherein he stated that he would reveal startling new evidence in the King case. But when the day of the conference arrived, he said he was dropping the probe -- because, he said, his chief witness, Robert Byron Watson, refused to take a lie detector test.

I was baffled and frightened.

Then the newspapers announced the disappearance of labor leader Jimmy Hoffa, and I recalled that the man I knew as Gary Kirstein once asked me what I thought about letting Hoffa in on a conspiracy to assassinate Kennedy.

Greg Hill, my former New Orleans roommate, arrived in Atlanta for a visit to find me nearly hysterical. At least once he had met Gary, remembering as I did that we had suspected him of stealing a typewriter from our apartment.

Greg also drew my attention to a magazine article asserting that countercultural publisher Paul Krassner had uncovered links between the Kennedy assassination and the Manson family.

Twelve days after I had taken my information to the Atlanta police, ski-masked bandits pulled a stick-up at a party both Greg and I were attending, and stole his identification and mine -- taking only money from other guests.

From that day in early August of 1975 until the day of this writing in 1982 my life has been a constant series of similar misadventures -- including poisonings, threats and bribe offers, intense psychological harassments, mysterious interrogations and occasional reminders of those fateful conversations with the unusual man I call that man "Brother-in-law."

I am not at all certain that his name was really Gary Kirstein. There is every reason to surmise he was not using his own name, and I remember him most as the "brother-in-law" of a French Quarter character named Slim Brooks. And because of Slim's extremely distinctive turn of speech, he himself seldom called Gary "my brother-in-law."

Instead, it was always, "Let's go visit Brother-in-law tomorrow."

I had arrived in New Orleans the day after Mardi Gras in 1961. Except for May, June, July, August and part of September of 1963, I lived there until December 13, 1963. Beginning in the aftermath of the Bay of Pigs, and continuing up to about the time of the Kennedy assassination, Slim must have uttered those words between fifteen and twenty-five times. Since these invitations were far apart and infrequent, I never turned Slim down.

Sometimes Brother-in-law would come to the French Quarter the next day and get us. More often, Slim would arrange in advance to borrow his car and then would drive us to Brother-in-law's house out in the country.

If it was difficult to take what Brother-in-law said about his plans to murder the President seriously, that is partly because it was difficult to take Slim Brooks seriously. Not that Slim didn't seem honest. On the contrary, he seemed too honest to get himself involved with anyone heavy enough to actually go out and assassinate a President -- if Slim would have to lie about it afterwards.

To suspect Slim of being a conspirator seemed too paranoid for words.

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CONFESSION TO CONSPIRACY TO ASSASSINATE JFK

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