Tuesday, April 08, 2014


There are some stories that will be forever new. For example: In 2003, a lot of people reacted to The Da Vinci Code as though nothing like it had appeared in print before, even though Holy Blood, Holy Grail had appeared roughly twenty years earlier. (Nine years from now, some literary entrepreneur can sell the yarn yet again, to similar gasps.)

The Daily News has just printed a story about Al Sharpton's work as an FBI informant, a revelation which we are supposed to consider electrifying.
Sharpton’s role as an FBI informant was first disclosed in 1988 — but The Smoking Gun obtained hundreds of pages of secret court filings and FBI memos that provide stunning new details of his cooperation. The documents depict Sharpton operating easily in an underworld of violence and corruption, helping the feds collect essential information.
Why not spill the rest of the beans? "Sharpton versus The Mob" seems a very dashing story. "Sharpton snitching on black luminaries" seems rather more tawdry.

In an earlier post, I quoted from a book called Overworld by Larry Kolb, the son of an intelligence officer tasked by the CIA's Miles Copeland to worm his way into Muhammed Ali's entourage. Ali suspected that his entourage included at least one federal snitch (not counting Kolb -- who, for some reason, doesn't seem to think of himself as a snitch):
Reverend Al was just Reverend Al. Around so much of the time, and usually so quiet you barely even noticed when he was there and when he wasn't.

Then one afternoon I was in the Soup Burg on Madison Avenue at 73rd...reading the sports section of New York Newsday I'd found on my stool when I sat down. And when I finished with the sports and flipped the paper over tot he front page, there was a big black-and-white photograph of Reverend Al looking shifty and a huge headline: THE MINISTER AND THE FEDS.
Al Fuckin' Sharpton, I thought in surprise as I stared into his face. I should've known. Al Sharpton! Muhammad had always said the government had someone spying on him or, as he liked to put it, that there was a "nigger in the woodpile."
Not how I would have phrased it, but Muhammed Ali may do that which others may not. It's worth noting that Sharpton was flipped by the feds after he was busted in a coke deal in 1983. He was caught on tape talking about laundering dirty money with a mafioso who had himself been flipped.

It occurs to me if these sorts of aggressive tactics had been used against the "malefactors of great wealth" who gifted us with the 2008 economic crisis, Goldman Sachs probably wouldn't exist anymore.

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