“After hearing and reviewing the extensive testimony and evidence, which had never before been tested under oath in a court of law, it took the Memphis jury only one (1) hour to find that a conspiracy to kill Dr. King did exist. Most significantly, this conspiracy involved agents of the governments of the City of Memphis, the state of Tennessee and the United States of America. The overwhelming weight of the evidence also indicated that James Earl Ray was not the triggerman and, in fact, was an unknowing patsy… We stand by that verdict and have no doubt that the truth about this terrible event has finally been revealed.” -Statement of King Family on the Justice Department’s “Limited investigation” of the MLK Assassination, January 15, 2007
The assassination of Dr. King was one of the most devastating assaults on democracy and the rule of law in our nation’s sordid history. It came in an environment of FBI COINTELPRO harassment and surveillance of opposition leaders. It came as one incident in a string of assassinations which included Black Panther leaders, Malcolm X, John F. Kennedy and his brother Robert Kennedy. The telltale signs of government cover-up followed each of these events.
The Vietnam Speech
Prior to Dr. King’s assassination, several radical changes had happened. Dr. King had become one of the most articulate, credible, and outspoken critics of the Vietnam War in the US. He had expanded his view beyond African American issues, and had confronted American imperialism head on. This provided a clear motive for those opposed to peace and justice to want Dr. King silenced.
“‘A time comes when silence is betrayal.’ That time has come for us in relation to Vietnam.” -Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., April 4, 1967, “Beyond Vietnam”
Exactly one year to the day before his killing, Dr. King laid out the suppressed history of the Vietnam conflict in astonishing detail.
“The Vietnamese people proclaimed their own independence in… 1945… Even though they quoted the American Declaration of Independence in their own document of freedom, we refused to recognize them. Instead, we decided to support France in its reconquest of her former colony… and we again fell victim to the deadly Western arrogance that has poisoned the international atmosphere for so long… For nine years following 1945 we denied the people of Vietnam the right of independence… Before the end of the war we were meeting eighty percent of the French war costs. Even before the French were defeated at Dien Bien Phu, they began to despair of their reckless action, but we did not. We encouraged them with our huge financial and military supplies to continue the war even after they had lost the will. Soon we would be paying almost the full costs of this tragic attempt at recolonization… there came the United States, determined that Ho should not unify the temporarily divided nation, and the peasants watched again as we supported one of the most vicious modern dictators, our chosen man, Premier Diem… The peasants watched as all of this was presided over by United States influence and then by increasing numbers of United States troops who came to help quell the insurgency that Diem’s methods had aroused… The only change came from America as we increased our troop commitments in support of governments which were singularly corrupt, inept, and without popular support. All the while the people read our leaflets and received the regular promises of peace and democracy and land reform. Now they languish under our bombs and consider us, not their fellow Vietnamese, the real enemy.” -Dr. MLK, Beyond Vietnam
Dr. King was under FBI surveillance as soon as he rose to national prominence. This is not in dispute, and numerous declassified documents show this. This surveillance revealed King’s extra-marital affairs to the government, which the FBI used against King in a blackmail attempt. A surveillance tape was sent along with the following letter (unredacted portions):
“…The American public, the church organizations that have been helping—Protestants, Catholics and Jews will know you for what you are—an evil beast. So will others who have backed you. You are done. King, there, is only one thing left for you to do. You know what it is. You have just 34 days in which to do (this exact number has been selected for a specific reason, it has definite practical significance). You are done. There is but one way out for you. You better take it before your filthy fraudulent self is bared to the nation.” –FBI “anonymous” letter to Dr. King
This blackmail threat urging King to commit suicide was timed just as he was about to receive the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964. For the full text of the notorious FBI-written letter encouraging Martin Luther King Jr. to commit suicide see: From the Secret Files of J. Edgar Hoover, by Athan Theoharis.
This is a very complex case, with many witnesses, and many angles that aren’t entirely clear. What shows is a deliberate cover-up, and highly suspicious irregularities.
James Earl Ray’s original lawyer, who investigated the facts of the case, and is today a judge, describes the circumstances:
“The State’s theory was there was a Browning box, a Browning rifle box, that contained some items of clothing, a radio that had James Earl Ray’s Missouri state penitentiary number on it and a Remmington 760 rifle that James Earl Ray had bought in Birmingham.” -Judge Arthur Haynes Jr., the original lawyer for James Earl Ray
It happened that when the box was placed at the amusement company wall, the owner Mr.Canipe saw a man drop it there, near the entrance, and continue walking down “South Main St. on foot” — and this was TEN MINUTES BEFORE THE SHOT WAS FIRED!
Arthur Haynes was confident he would win the trial. Ray would be found innocent and exonerated.
However, before the opening of James Earl Ray’s murder trial, a new attorney showed up, one Percy Foreman. Foreman — on the eve of trial — told James Earl Ray that he could only represent him if Ray pleaded guilty. Foreman actually offered cash ($500) to James Earl Ray so that he would enter a guilty plea. The judge weighed in that if Ray fired Foreman (after already dismissing Haynes), that his only option would then be a public defender. The $500 payoff was presented to Ray as money that could be used to hire a new attorney in order to overturn his guilty plea.
Ray, a very poor man, was suckered in by Foreman, and Ray allowed himself to be railroaded for the murder of Dr. King. The plea of “guilty” was all that mattered to the media, and was as good as a confession.
A week later, Ray figured out that he had been swindled, and he attempted to get Haynes and his people back on the case, but it was too late. That is how the world was fooled into believing that James Earl Ray shot Dr. King. The corporate media refuses — to this day — to investigate the truth of the matter.
There are a number of other relevant pieces of evidence, which were revealed at the trial of LOYD JOWERS, the co-conspirator referred to above.
1) The large hedges where witnesses saw the sniper were torn out by city workers the next day, a blatant destruction of evidence and tainting of a crime scene.
2) Several (untested) police and (black) firemen were reassigned mysteriously the day before the kiling, so that they would not be in the vicinity of the assassination.
3) Members of the US 20th Special Forces Group, an 8 man sniper team, were alleged to have been present in Memphis that day.
4) Members of the 111th Military Intelligence Group based at Fort McPherson in Atlanta, Georgia were alleged to be in Memphis that day.
5) The FBI admitted there was no trace of gunpowder residue on the window sill which the government claims was used by the shooter.
6) The metallurgical tests of the bullet do not match the bullets recovered with the alleged murder weapon.
7) A cab driver admitted to his rommate that he threw the actual murder weapon into the Mississipi River from a bridge, after the defendant (Jowers) gave it to him to dispose of.
8) The optical scope on the alleged murder weapon was not sighted accurately enough to hit the target. It was completely off, and makes the claim that the weapon was the actual weapon that killed Dr. King highly suspect.
9) A witness heard a local Memphis mobster shouting on the phone that day: “kill him, kill him on the balcony.”