Did the CIA Murder Thomas Merton? A Conversation with Hugh Turley

Hugh Turley Returns to Discuss the Death of One of the 20th Century’s Most Prolific and Respected Spiritual Writers 

(This episode would have aired Friday March 8th, 2019 but it was International Women’s Day and all programming that day was hosted by women. The alternative air date for the March 8th show is Monday, March 18th, at 11:00 am Pacific. The Beloved Community will return to its regular time, every second Friday at 9 am on Friday April 12th at 9 a.m.)

During the first few minutes I offer an update on the cancellation of my interview with Kevin Barrett by management and my appeal to that decision, still in progress after a year.

Hugh Turley returns to the Beloved Community to discuss his work uncovering the mystery of Thomas Merton’s death, December 10th, 1968 in Bangkok, Thailand. Thomas Merton was an intellectual, a prolific writer, and spiritual leader in the anti-war movement of the 60s. While biographers have all accepted the official story in some incarnation or another, that he was accidentally killed by a fan, Turley and co-author David Martin, in their book, The Martrydom of Thomas Merton, show that this official story cannot possibly be true. 

Now that this book has been released and official organizations connected with Merton are aware of this work, what is surprising is how so many of those who admire Merton care so little about honestly exploring the truth surrounding his death.  

On a special time, Monday, March 18th at 11 am Pacific, John Shuck speaks live with Hugh Turley about the facts around the death of Thomas Merton and the struggles Turley and Martin have had in communicating their findings to the public. 

From the cover:

Seldom can one predict that a book will have an effect on history, but this is such a work. Merton’s many biographers and the American press now say unanimously that he died from accidental electrocution. From a careful examination of the official record, including crime scene photographs that the authors have found that the investigating police in Thailand never saw, and from reading the letters of witnesses, they have discovered that the accidental electrocution conclusion is totally false. The widely repeated story that Merton had taken a shower and was therefore wet when he touched a lethal faulty fan was made up several years after the event and is completely contradicted by the evidence. 
 
Hugh Turley and David Martin identify four individuals as the primary promoters of the false accidental electrocution narrative. Another person, they show, should have been treated as a murder suspect. The most likely suspect in plotting Merton’s murder, a man who was a much stronger force for peace than most people realize, they identify as the Central Intelligence Agency of the United States government. 
 
Thomas Merton was the most important Roman Catholic spiritual and anti-warfare-state writer of the 20th century. To date, he has been the subject of 28 biographies and numerous other books. Remarkably, up to now no one has looked critically at the mysterious circumstances surrounding his sudden death in Thailand. From its publication date in the 50th anniversary of his death, into the foreseeable future, this carefully researched work will be the definitive, authoritative book on how Thomas Merton died.

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The Martyrdom of Thomas Merton: Hugh Turley Investigates His Death

December 10th, 2018 marks the 50th anniversary of the death of Thomas Merton. Questions linger.
Was it a heart attack, accident, or murder?

Investigative Reporter, Hugh Turley, makes the case that the conclusion that Thomas Merton died by accident cannot possibly be true. Hugh Turley and David Martin are co-authors of the 2018 book, The Martyrdom of Thomas Merton, An Investigation.

John Shuck speaks live with Hugh Turley on Beloved Community about the death of Thomas Merton, who was an anti-war author and spiritual leader. He died mysteriously on December 10th, 1968 in Thailand.

“Merton was in apparent good health and at the height of his productive powers when he died suddenly and mysteriously while attending a monastic conference, on December 10th, 1968, near Bangkok, Thailand. He was 53 years old. Up to now, no one has examined the circumstances of his death systematically, critically, and what is most important honestly. That is our purpose here.” p. 2.

Hugh Turley, as a volunteer columnist for the Hyattsville Life and Times was winner of the National Newspaper Association award for best serious column, small circulation, non-daily division.

Book’s website – The Martyrdom of Thomas Merton.

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Husayn Means Beauty: The Attraction of the Seventh Century Martyr (ENCORE)

Scholars and religious leaders explore the impact of Husayn and the devotion of the 15-20 million pilgrims who visit his shrine each year. Part 1 of 2.

This is a rebroadcast of an episode that originally aired in May 2018.

I will be attending the pilgrimage to Arbaeen from Najaf to Karbala, Iraq, at the end of October, with a Maulana Mohammad Baig, courtesy of the Husayniah Islamic Society of Seattle.

 On April 28th 2018, The Husayniah Islamic Society of Seattle and Global Initiatives co-sponsored an interfaith educational event called Husayn Day.  The event was a reflection upon Husayn, the martyred grandson of the Prophet Mohammad. Rather than bow to his oppressors, he, along with 72 family members were killed in Karbala, Iraq in 680 CE. He is considered a martyr for justice, truth, love, and resistance. He is a leading figure in Shia Islam and his death is mourned each year by between 15 and 20 million pilgrims who visit his shrine during the forty-day period of mourning from Ashura to Arbaeen.

In the next two episodes, you will hear speeches from the presenters on Husayn and the yearly pilgrimage to his shrine. The presenters include, Dr. John Morrow, Sister Nicole Correri, Sheikh Fadhel Al-Salani, Sheik Ahmed Bahriny, Maulana Mohammad Baig, and me, John Shuck.

The West is largely ignorant about Islam and, in particular, Shia Islam and the person of Hussain. Twenty million people visit his shrine each other. This the largest annual gathering of human beings on planet Earth. Yet, Western media ignores it. According to an article in the Huffington Post by Sayed Mahdi al-Modarresi, “World’s Biggest Pilgrimage Now Underway, And Why You’ve Never Heard of it!” 

Why you have never heard of it probably has to do with the fact that the press is concerned more with negative, gory, and sensationalized tabloids, than with positive, inspiring narratives, particularly when it comes to Islam.

You will hear about it on Progressive Spirit.

In this first episode you will hear from Dr. John Morrow, full professor, author, senior research scholar, public speaker and activist. He is author of a number of numerous articles and books including The Covenants of the Prophet Muhammad with the Christians of the World. Dr. Morrow provided a stirring poetic spiritual biography of Husayn.

You will also hear from Sister Nicole Correri. She is the preeminent female Shia speaker in North America. She will begin a Ph. D. program at Boston University in the Fall.  Sr. Correri told the importance of Zainab, Husayn’s sister, and described her experience attending Arbaeen.

Video of the entire conference.

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The Martyrdom of Gaza: A Conversation with Norman Finkelstein

“On May 14th or May 15th the people of Gaza are going to make their big last effort to break out of prison. And it will be a huge mobilization to try to break down that prison fence, that ghetto fence, that concentration camp fence. And we here have to give our all to make sure to do our best to ascertain and to assure that they succeed.” — Dr. Norman Finkelstein

Dr. Norman Finkelstein speaks with John Shuck about his book, Gaza: An Inquest Into Its Martyrdom. His book was not a “labor of love.” It is in part a coroner’s report. It is a story, backed with detail and research from one of the world’s leading voices on the Israel-Palestine conflict. It is the story of what happened to Gaza. Gaza, the martyred.

But the story is not without hope. The hope, according to Finkelstein, is non-violent resistance, what Israel dreads most.

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