Jan 24, 2012



On December 8, 1999, a jury in Memphis, Tennessee, reached the verdict that
Martin Luther King Jr. was killed as a result of a conspiracy involving the FBI, CIA,
U.S. Army, Memphis police and the Mafia. After a five week trial which presented 70
witnesses, the jury (made up of six blacks and six whites) rejected the official
position that the civil rights titan was shot by a lone assassin, James Earl Ray, who
was jailed for 99 years for the crime and died in 1998. The verdict concluded a
wrongful death civil lawsuit brought by the King family against Loyd Jowers, owner
of Jim‚s Grill, a Memphis cafe located next to the scene of the shooting when it took
place on April 4, 1968. The jury found Jowers guilty as one part of a large
conspiracy created by government agencies. Jowers admitted his role but insisted
that he did not know the identity of the target.

Coretta Scott King, Martin's widow, hailed the verdict as "a great victory for justice
and truth." She added: "there is abundant evidence of a major high level conspiracy
in the assassination of my husband and the civil court's unanimous verdict has
validated our belief." Dexter King, one of Martin's four children, said that his father
was killed "because he challenged the establishment." He called the official
investigation into Martin's murder, "the most incredible cover-up of the century."

The case for conspiracy and the inadequacy of the lone assassin theory seem
obvious. The state had no significant evidence implicating Ray. According to the
official version, Ray shot King from the bathroom window of a rooming house
located next to the Lorraine Motel where the civil rights leader was staying. King
was on the motel's second floor balcony at 6:01 pm on April 4, 1968, when a bullet
struck his chin, knocking him to the ground. He died in hospital an hour later. The
authorities never matched the bullet that killed King to the rifle they claim Ray used.
Charles Stephens, the state's only eye witness who claimed to have seen Ray leave
the rooming house soon after the shot, was too drunk to even stand up at the time.
There was a tree branch between the bathroom window and the balcony that made
a clear shot impossible. Ray was not a trained marksman and the scope on the rifle
was not sighted which means that it could not have hit any target. Six witnesses
claimed that the shot came from bushes behind the rooming house. Jim's Grill was
located under the rooming house and its back door opened on to the bushes. Ray
was jailed not due to evidence but because he pleaded guilty. He recanted 3 days
later and spent the rest of his life trying to get a trial. Under Tennessee law Ray had
the right to a trial but this was consistently denied. Ray claimed that his guilty plea
was coerced by Percy Foreman, his lawyer at the time, who threatened him with the
death penalty.

Ray was a petty criminal who had bungled almost every robbery he committed. In
the King murder, he claimed to have been set up by a man named Raul (of
Portuguese origin) who, he said, directed his movements after Ray escaped from
prison in April 1967. Ray first met Raul in Montreal in August and agreed to work for
him after he was promised travel papers. Raul was a gunrunner with links to Carlos
Marcello, the Mafia boss of New Orleans. Raul had Ray smuggling contraband
across the U.S.-Canadian border and going to different U.S. cities to make
deliveries. On April 3, 1968, Raul met Ray in Memphis. Raul had already asked Ray
to buy a Remington 30.06 rifle with a telescopic sight. Ray was then told to get
accomodation at the rooming house next to the Lorraine Motel and leave the rifle
there. On the afternoon of April 4, Raul asked Ray to "go to the movies" for three
hours. After 6:01 pm, Ray heard on his car radio that King had been shot and the
police were looking for a white man in a white Mustang (the make of his car). Ray
escaped to Toronto and then flew to London (England) where he was caught.
Sidney Carthew, a seaman, testified that he met Ray and Raul together in
Montreal's Neptune Bar in the summer of 1967.

Jowers also identified Raul. According to him, King's assassination was planned by
three Memphis Police Department (MPD) officers in Jim's Grill over 2 days. The
officers were Earl Clark, Johnny Barger and Marrell McCollough. Jowers was asked
to help in the plot by Frank Liberto, a produce dealer with Mafia connections to
whom he owed money. Liberto told Jowers to hold $100,000 for him. Minutes after
the bullet hit King on April 4, Jowers was handed a smoking rifle at the back door of
Jim's Grill by Earl Clark, the MPD's best marksman. Jowers believes Clark killed
King. Raul picked up the rifle and the money the next day, according to Jowers.
William Pepper, the King family's lawyer, actually found Raul living in Yonkers, New
York. He was asked to appear in court but refused. Barbara Reis, journalist for
"Publico", the main newspaper in Portugal, testified that a source connected to
Raul's family told her that agents of the U.S. government had visited them three
times. The source added that the government was "protecting" the family and
monitoring their phone.

One of the main indicators of conspiracy was the removal of all security for King in
Memphis during April 3- 4. A detail made up of black police officers assigned to King
on previous visits to Memphis was not deployed this time. Similarly, two black
firemen were removed from the fire station overlooking the Lorraine Motel on April 3,
as was black detective Ed Redditt who was surveilling King from there. Police
emergency tactical units were also pulled back from around the motel giving the
assassin lots of room to escape. All police personnel disappeared from the motel an
hour before the murder. After the shooting, no All Points Bulletin describing the
suspect was issued nor was a "Signal Y" which would block off exits from the city.
Both of these are standard police procedures. A door-to-door investigation in the
Lorraine Motel area was never carried out by authorities and many witnesses were
not questioned. By order of the police the bush area from where, according to six
witnesses, the shot came, was cut down the next day. This destroyed the crime

The state also claimed that Ray was driven by racism to kill King but there is no
record of Ray displaying racist or violent behaviour. He had no motive to kill King.
There is lots of evidence, however, to indicate that U.S. federal government
agencies were out to get King. He was extensively surveilled by the FBI, CIA and
Army Intelligence, as a dangerous radical who threatened national security. All three
agencies believed that King had communist ties. J. Edgar Hoover, FBI director,
hated King intensely and wanted him "neutralized" by almost any means. When
King won the Nobel Peace Prize, Hoover publicly called him, "the most notorious liar
in the country." A Senate report stated in 1976 that the FBI tried "to destroy Dr.
Martin Luther King." William Sullivan, FBI assistant director, considered King "the
most dangerous and effective negro leader in the country." King's phones were
tapped, his movements watched, his rooms bugged and his entourage infiltrated.
The FBI threatened him, blackmailed him, launched a media disinformation
campaign to discredit him, and sent him a letter suggesting that he commit suicide.
A main goal of the FBI's Counterintelligence Program (COINTELPRO) which was
aimed at eliminating black nationalist groups, was to prevent the rise of a black
"messiah." FBI memoes also discussed finding a black leader to replace King. The
final obscenity of U.S. "justice" was that the FBI which clearly wanted King dead
was given the task of investigating his murder. Hence the official devotion to the
baseless lone assassin theory for the last thirty two years. Judge Joe Brown who
presided over one of Ray's appeals, called the FBI's investigation into King's killing

In its surveillance of King, the FBI collaborated with Army Intelligence which had
been spying on the King family for three generations, since 1917. There were seven
U.S. Army Military Intelligence Groups (MIGs) spread out over the U.S., and six of
them surveilled King as he toured the country. The Army maintained a massive
domestic spy system which included 304 intelligence offices in the U.S. and national
security dossiers on 7 million Americans. In a series of articles in the "Memphis
Commercial Appeal" in March 1993, reporter Steve Tompkins detailed the
"increasing hysteria"of Army intelligence chiefs over the national security threat they
thought King posed. Tompkins stated that army intelligence was "...desperately
searching for a way to stop him..." Particularly alarming was King's opposition to the
Vietnam War which he denounced as On April 4, 1967, as an "imperialist assault on
Third World peasants." He equated the use of new weapons against the
Vietnamese to the testing of "new tortures in the concentration camps of Europe" by
the Nazis. King's condemnation of the Vietnam War made him the leader who could
merge the anti-war and civil rights movements. He announced his intention to lead a
Poor Peoples' March (of all races) to Washington D.C. in the spring of 1968 and
shut down the government if it did not stop the war in Vietnam and take steps to end
poverty in the U.S. The Army received reports stating that "King will create massive
civil disobedience in [Washington] and in ten to fifteen major cities in the U.S. in the
spring of 1968." The Army was not prepared for such upheaval. According to Major
General William Yarborough, assistant chief of staff for army intelligence, there were
"too few reliable troops to fight in Vietnam and hold the line at home."

Army surveillance of King continued until his assassination. Carthel Weeden, a
former captain with the Memphis Fire Department, testified at the Jowers trial that
on the afternoon of April 4, 1968, two men approached him at the fire station across
from the Lorraine Motel, and showed the identification of U.S. Army officers. The
men carried photographic equipment and positioned themselves on the rooftop of
the fire station which gave them a clear view of King and the assassin. Any
photographs could be in Pentagon archives. According to former National Security
Council operative, Jack Terrell, the army went beyond surveillance. Terrell testified
that his close friend J.D. Hill who was part of the 20th Special Forces Group
confessed to him that he had been a member of an Army sniper team in Memphis
ordered to shoot an "unknown" target on April 4. The snipers were being transported
to Memphis when their mission was suddenly cancelled. Hill stated that upon
learning of King's murder the next day, he realized that the team must have been
part of a backup operation to kill King if another sniper failed.

The U.S. government's murder of arguably "the greatest American who ever lived"
signified that in violently propping up vicious right-wing dictatorships all over the
Third World (as in Vietnam), the U.S. itself had become one of the biggest banana
republics with no possibility for peaceful social change. Martin Luther King was a
leader of international stature who spoke for the poor of the world and militantly
confronted a system based on their slaughter. This pitted him against the most
genocidal establishment on Earth. The state murder such a great man only
increased the power of his example.

 One of the great testaments to truth and justice courageously rendered by an exceptional patriot, William Pepper.  His findings should be taught in every civics classroom in America, broadcast by PBS, and printed in every newspaper across this country until all citizens are made aware of just how corrupt and vile has become their government, its intelligence agencies, and its military-industrial complex. Help spread the word via emails & kinks to this post please.

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