Sunday, October 21, 2007

BOB EDGAR

One of the nost interesting people I've met on the job lately was Bob Edgar, the new president and CEO of Common Cause.

My preview of a speech he gave in Albuquerque Saturday can be found HERE.

In addition to his new job, Edgar has been a Congressman, a candidate for U.S. Senate, the head of the National Council of Churches, and a Methodist pastor.

Edgar was in the news back in 2000 when, with the NCCC went to Cuba to bring the grandmothers of Elian Gonzales to the U.S. in an effort to bring the child back to his homeland and his father. (Don't get me started on that issue. As a divorced father who went through a custody battle in the '80s, it's pretty obvious where my sympathy was. Besides I thought it was pretty ironic that the same people screaming about "family values" all the time were the ones who wanted to keep Elian away from his dad.)

But the part of Edgar's resume that fascinated me the most was the fact that he was a member of House Select Committee on Assassinations, which in the mid-'70s investigated the killings of President Kennedy and the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

Although that wasn't the topic of his speech, or the reason Common Cause set up the interview with me, I couldn't resist asking him about the assassinations.

“I interviewed James Earl Ray,” Edgar said. He said he believes that Ray shot King, but if he was aided it was by members of his own family, who, Edgar said might have been interested in collecting a $50,000 bounty offered by white supremists who wanted King dead.

As for the JFK assassination, Edgar said he dissented on the committee’s conclusion that the president was killed by a conspiracy based on police radio recordings of apparent gunfire. Improved accosutic technology, he said, has since cast doubt on the committee’s consclusion, Edgar said.

“If there was a conspiracy, I believe it might have been related to Jack Ruby and Lee Harvey Oswald,” he said. “I don’t think it was a Mafia hit. Some Mafia higher-ups wanted Kennedy dead. But if they did it, they would have hired a pro, not someone like Oswald.”

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