KILL THE MESSENGER: Did J. Edgar Hoover Order the Assassination of Martin Luther King Jr? (Part 2) – By Jeremy Kuzmarov

Source – covertactionmagazine.com

Did J. Edgar Hoover Order the Assassination of Martin Luther King Jr? (Part 2) – By Jeremy Kuzmarov

(…Continued From Part 1)

Ewen Cameron and MK-ULTRA

While serving as Ray’s handler in Montreal, Kimble said that the two were ordered to go to McGill University’s Memorial Institute to undergo hypnosis.[67]

The Memorial Institute was the home of subproject 68 of the CIA’s MK-ULTRA brainwashing program run by Dr. Ewen Cameron—the lead CIA mind-control expert in Canada.[68]

Winnipeg woman brainwashed in Montreal psychiatric hospital hopes new year  brings new compensation | CBC News
Dr. Ewen Cameron, Director of the Allan Memorial Institute at McGill University from 1950 to 1965. [Source: cbc.ca]

An Inside Job

Kimble said that the assassination was carried out by a team of covert intelligence operatives who had an unmarked van with sophisticated electronic radio equipment that could oversee the crime scene and monitor and broadcast on police radio channels.

Two snipers with the team used rifles identical to Ray’s, while other members obtained Memphis Police Department uniforms. The two snipers concealed themselves in the bushes behind the boarding house; one was a backup, the other shot King. The rifles were then concealed in a prearranged hiding place behind the boarding house where they were retrieved by other operatives.

The two snipers afterwards jumped down onto the sidewalk from the bushes and mingled with the other uniformed officers who were rushing about. A voucher had been established for the police imposters. If anyone asked who they were, they were told to call a certain police captain who would vouch for the “new men on the force.”[69]

Secret Army Intelligence Team

The 902nd Military Intelligence Group under the command of Colonel John W. Downie—LBJ’s CIA Vietnam briefer—had been deployed to Memphis at the time of King’s visit with orders to shoot to kill him and aide Andrew Young [later mayor of Atlanta] on command.[70] King was considered “a Negro who repeatedly preached the message of Hanoi and Peking.”

The 902nd Military Intelligence Group had been involved in gun-running with mobster Carlos Marcello; weapons stolen from Army bases were delivered to Marcello and the proceeds were used to help fund black operations.[71] According to two sources, the 902nd included “Klan guys who hated niggers.” A Green Beret said that nobody in it had “any hesitancy about killing the two sacks of shit [King and Young].”[72]

Another Green Beret who participated in a clandestine training course in riot control and surveillance identified a CIA/NSA agent whom he had recognized from his time in Vietnam climbing down a wall behind the Lorraine Motel just after King was shot.[73]

A contact in the CIA had given Downie’s team a detailed area of operations map, pictures of cars used by the King group and Memphis police radio frequencies. It carried camera equipment and took up positions overlooking the Lorraine Motel and monitored King’s telephone conversations from Room 306 and other communications. They obtained pictures that caught the shooter as he was lowering his rifle and Jowers running back toward the rooming house. These were given to Colonel Downie and never revealed publicly.[74] The secret agent who snapped the photos said that the shooter was not Ray.[75]

Ties to Dallas ’63?

In the days after King’s killing, FBI agent Don Wilson came across a 1966 Mustang with Alabama plates in Atlanta and opened the car door. An envelope and some papers fell out, which he kept hidden for the next 29 years.

One piece came from a 1963 Dallas telephone directory. The telephone numbers on the page included those of the family of H.L. Hunt and had the name Raul, the letter J, and a Dallas telephone number, which turned out to be the number of the Vegas Club which, at the time, was run by Jack Ruby, the killer of Lee Harvey Oswald.

H. L. Hunt | National Portrait Gallery
H.L. Hunt [Source: npg.si.edu]

The second paper was a payoff list and included Raul’s name and a date for payment. A third piece of paper had a telephone number and extension of the Atlanta FBI field office.[76]

FBI’s War Against King

YOUNG, Andrew Jackson, Jr. | US House of Representatives: History, Art &  Archives
Andrew Young [Source: history.house.gov]

Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg swore in an affidavit that, during a 1978 conversation with Brady Tyson, then an aide to UN Ambassador Andrew Young, Tyson said that a group of off-duty and retired FBI officers, including a sharpshooter, working under the personal direction of J. Edgar Hoover, killed King and then covered it up.[77]

Brady Tyson. Image courtesy of
Brady Tyson [Source: library.brown.edu]

According to Ron Adkins, Hoover’s right-hand man, Clyde Tolson—who allegedly was routinely given money by Hoover to perform criminal deeds including local contract killings—planned King’s assassination beginning in May 1964 on a cruise to Southampton, England, with Russell Adkins, Sr., Ron’s father and a Memphis city engineer, Klansman, and fixer for the Dixie mafia.[78]

Clyde Tolson and J. Edgar Hoover.
Clyde Tolson, left, with J. Edgar Hoover. [Source: slate.com]

Part of the plot involved Tolson’s providing envelopes of money to be paid to informants and $25,000 to the warden of the Missouri state prison, Harold Swenson, to arrange for Ray’s escape.[79]

Hoover had considered King an enemy of the state. In December 1963, less than a month after the assassination of President Kennedy, FBI officials had met in Washington to explore ways of “neutralizing King as an effective Negro leader.”[80]

Hidden microphones were placed in Dr. King’s hotel rooms in an attempt to pick up evidence of extramarital sexual activity, break up his marriage, or blackmail him.

Martin Luther King Jr.'s slaying sparked violence in Port City - News - The  Daily News - Jacksonville, NC
Protester in Massachusetts in 1965 quoting Hoover to the effect that King was a troublemaker and liar. [Source: jdnews.com]

The Bureau also engaged in surreptitious activities and burglaries against Dr. King and SCLC.[81] In a letter sent to King in 1964 calling King a “colossal fraud,” the FBI even encouraged him to commit suicide.

<img src="https://i0.wp.com/covertactionmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/11/lessemgreater-andlsquoyou-are-doneandrsquo-less-emgreater-the-letter.jpeg?resize=600%2C736&ssl=1&quot; alt="<em> ‘You Are Done’:
Suicide letter sent to King by the FBI in 1964. [Source: nytimes.com]

The FBI enjoyed very close connections with the Memphis PD.

E.H. Arkin founded MPD’s intelligence unit in 1967 under the tutelage of FBI agent William Lawrence, who headed the FBI Memphis Field Office’s domestic intelligence operations which surveilled King.[82]

A person wearing glasses

Description automatically generated with medium confidence
William Lawrence [Source: 601.commercialappeal.com]

The head of the MPD at the time of King’s assassination, Frank Holloman, was a 25-year FBI veteran from Mississippi who was in charge of director J. Edgar Hoover’s Washington office from 1952 to 1959. In the mid-1960s, Holloman headed the FBI’s Atlanta office when it was the nerve center of surveillance and skullduggery directed against King.[83]

Frank Holloman [Source: memphislibrary.org]

A law-and-order conservative who railed against “long-haired, foul-smelling hippies” and “hostile forces in Black Memphis,” Holloman promoted aggressive police tactics against Blacks during the sanitation workers strike whom he accused of adopting “guerrilla warfare” and oversaw an expansion of MPD’s internal security division.[84] The Tri-State Defender called Holloman an “advocator of genocide of Black people,” and included a cartoon depicting him firing his pistol under the shelter of hooded Klansmen.[85]

Holloman said that his first priority as police chief was to ensure that “there was always a ‘two-way street in terms of the flow of information’ between the MPD and FBI.”[86] He was the one to move the Black firemen and pull Black detective Ed Redditt away from protecting King—and, according to witnesses interviewed by William Pepper, was involved in numerous other aspects of the planning of King’s death.[87]

FBI Gets King to Stay at the Lorraine Motel—and Switch His Room

On March 29, 1968, the FBI issued from headquarters a COINTELPRO (Counterintelligence Program) memorandum, written by G.C. Moore, chief of the racial intelligence section, to William C. Sullivan, Assistant Director in charge of the intelligence division, that was designed to influence King to stay at the Lorraine Motel when he returned to Memphis on April 3.

The memo recommended placement of a news item with the Bureau’s friendly sources which would read as follows:

The fine Hotel Lorraine in Memphis is owned and patronized exclusively by Negroes but King didn’t go there after his hasty exit [from] the demonstration of March 28. Instead, King decided the plush Holiday Inn Motel, white-owned, operated and almost exclusively white patronized, was the place to “cool it.” There will be no boycott of white merchants for King, only for his followers.[88]

National Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Motel – US Civil Rights Trail
The FBI made sure that King stayed at the Lorraine Motel during his visit to Memphis so that the assassination plot against him could be consummated. [Source: civilrightsall.com]

A retired New York Police detective later uncovered that King was initially supposed to stay in a secluded room in the motel, #202, but was moved to Room 306 with an exposed balcony after the concierge received a call supposedly from SCLC in Atlanta asking for the change in room. According to William Pepper and Phillip Nelson, the caller was actually an FBI infiltrator inside SCLC who acted under the orders of police chief Holloman and had been paid through an intermediary. The infiltrator or possibly infiltrators also had the task of getting King out of his room onto the balcony before 6 PM and making sure he was wearing a tie so he could be identified by the assassin.[89]

Coverup

After King’s death, the FBI took charge of the investigation from the MPD, even though the murder was a state and not federal crime. There was an inexplicable 30-minute delay—which enabled the killers to get away. Obvious leads and significant witnesses were subsequently ignored or dismissed, and the Bureau’s files sanitized.[90] An autopsy of King—amazingly—was never conducted.[91]

To help convince the public of Ray’s guilt, the FBI had William Bradford Huie—editor of The American Mercury[92] literary magazine—write a book on Ray that depicted him as a deranged lone gunman.

http://encyclopediaofalabama.org/images/m-5454.jpg
William Bradford Huie [Source: encyclopediaofalabama.org] ]

A conservative Alabaman, Huie had known J. Edgar Hoover since the 1930s. He claimed that Ray was a vicious southern racist who had stalked King, which was untrue. Huie was given access to Ray by his first lawyer, Arthur Hanes, Sr.– a former FBI and CIA agent and the mayor of Birmingham when Eugene “Bull” Connor ordered the use of police dogs and fire hoses against civil rights protesters.[93]

https://www.bhamwiki.com/wiki/images/4/4b/Art_Hanes_1963.jpg
Arthur Hanes, Sr. [Source: bhamwiki.com]

Cartha DeLoach, the FBI agent placed in charge of the investigation, had written a memo to J. Edgar Hoover suggesting that the FBI “quietly sponsor a book” that would tell the “true story of the King case” and “advise friendly newsmen” on a “strictly confidential basis” that Coretta Scott and Ralph Abernathy “were deliberately trying to keep King’s assassination in the news by pulling the ruse of maintaining the King murder was definitely a conspiracy and not committed by one man in order to keep the money coming to Ms. King.”[94]

Cartha D. 'Deke' DeLoach, top FBI deputy to Hoover and high-profile crime  fighter - The Washington Post
Cartha DeLoach [Source: washingtonpost.com]

Captain Ed Atkinson, an aide to Memphis PD chief Frank Holloman, said that he overheard the discussion of two FBI agents at the bathroom window at the rear of the rooming house after the killing in which one of the agents said that the tree branch would have to be cut because no one would ever believe that a shooter could make the shot from that point with the tree in the way.

After undergoing hypnosis, Atkinson identified Memphis police Captain Earl Clark as the one who called for the cutting down of the tree branch.

Drawing King to Memphis

The sanitation workers strike in Memphis started after two Black sanitation workers, Echol Cole and Robert Walker, were crushed to death in the back of a garbage truck on February 1st after taking temporary shelter from a hard rain by kneeling inside the back of the truck.

According to Ron Adkins, whose father Russell ran the Memphis city garbage dump, Cole and Walker did not die because of an accident; “somebody pulled the hammer, pulled the lever on the truck and mashed them up in there.”[95]

Sanitation workers inspect a garbage truck similar to the one in which Cole and Walker were killed on February 1, 1968—deaths which started the sanitation workers strike that drew King to Memphis. Courtesy of the Preservation and Special Collections Department, University Libraries, University of Memphis. [Source: mlk50.com]

The motive behind the killings was to precipitate the strike that would draw King to Memphis—the ideal place for him to be killed. Memphis was ideal because of the close connection between J. Edgar Hoover and Memphis police Chief Holloman and the hostility toward King exhibited by Memphis Mayor Henry Loeb—a segregationist whose family had made a fortune in the dry-cleaning business exploiting Black labor.

Furthermore, Tennessee’s governor, Buford Ellingtone, was a close friend of President Lyndon B. Johnson, a Hoover ally who also wanted King dead.[96]

Ellington’s involvement in the coverup was demonstrated when he fired the state’s commissioner of corrections, Harry S. Avery, after he had begun to investigate King’s death when he came across a letter to Ray typed on McGill University letterhead, which Avery believed might have been related to how Ray was able to obtain his aliases and some Canadian passports.[97]

From the author’s personal collection. Governor Buford Ellington (left) with his friend President Lyndon B. Johnson
Buford Ellington, left, with his friend Lyndon B. Johnson. [Source: knoxfocus.com]

Ghouls in White Smocks

After more than four decades, Johnton Shelby came forward relaying the story of his mother, Lula Mae, who was a surgical aide at St. Joseph’s Hospital that took part in Dr. King’s emergency treatment.

The morning after King’s death she had gathered her family to tell them that, as doctors were working to save King, one of the orderlies, John Billings, following doctors instructions, left the room to “find the men in charge.” When he returned with them, the doctors said there was nothing more they could do to save King and then instructed the rest of the staff to leave the room and not talk about what had occurred.

St. Joseph Hospital
St. Joseph’s Hospital in Memphis where King died. [Source: memphislibrary]

According to Lula Mae, who was the last to leave the room, King was still alive at that time. As she made her way out of the room, the head of surgery—Dr. Breen Bland, a pioneer in blood transfusions and polio vaccinations—and a couple of men in suits told the doctors to “stop working on that nigger and let him die.”

Dr George Breen Bland Sr.
Dr. Breen Bland [Source: findagrave.com]

She also heard spitting sounds and turned around just in time to see doctors spitting on King and removing his ventilator tube while putting a pillow over his face to ensure that he died.

Ron Adkins, under oath, stated that he had been with his father, and after he died, his older brother Russell Adkins Jr., when his father and brother discussed the plan with Dr. Bland and Frank Holloman regarding the need to take King to St. Joseph’s Hospital if he had not been killed. Ron recalled that Dr. Bland was prepared to give King a certain lethal injection if it became necessary.[98]

Poor Buddy

On the night of April 4, cab driver Louis Ward went straight to the airport after hearing of King’s shooting and met a fellow driver he knew as Buddy, who said he had gone to the Lorraine Motel shortly before 6 p.m. to pick up a passenger with an enormous amount of luggage.[99]

As they finished loading up his taxi in the Lorraine parking lot, Buddy—who was in his early sixties—turned to look to the area of dense brush and trees opposite the motel. The passenger then punched him on the arm to distract him and told him to look up at King on the balcony where he appeared to be a sitting duck for any would-be assassin.

At that precise moment, King was struck by the fatal bullet, Buddy saw a man [thought to be Earl Clark] come down the wall from the balcony empty handed and get into a black and white Memphis PD car which was stopped at the middle of the intersection between Mulberry and Huling.

The passenger at this time became irritable, saying he had to leave immediately because otherwise the ambulance and other cars would box them in, and he had a plane to catch.

When Ward asked about Buddy a few days later, three or four other drivers in the main taxi office told him they understood he had fallen or been pushed from a speeding car from Route 55 on the other side of the Memphis-Arkansas Bridge late in the evening of April 4 and was dead.[100]

A Pile of Corpses

John Larry Ray—who spent 18 years behind bars after being framed for a crime he says he did not commit—wrote that “the coverup of the King assassination left a pile of corpses in its wake.”[101]

Three months after Jimmy Hoffa’s lawyer, Z.T. Osborn, Jr., decided to help James Earl Ray with his case, he abruptly committed “suicide”—which his wife did not believe.[102]

Z.T. Osborn, Jr. [Source: outlet.historicimages.com]

Two judges considering Ray’s request for a retrial—W. Preston Battle and William E. Miller—died of suspicious heart attacks.[103] Just before he died, Battle had received a request for a new trial from one of Ray’s new attorneys, Richard J. Ryan, which was refused by Battle’s successor, Judge Arthur Faquin, Jr., in contradiction to existing Tennessee law.[104]

Picture of
[Source: findagrave.com]

The Church Committee hearings later revealed that the CIA had developed a “heart attack gun” which could deliver a tiny frozen needle that, upon entering the body, would deliver a toxin that induced a heart attack but then became undetectable at autopsy.[105]

The CIA Heart Attack Gun. In reality, a lot more terrifying than… | by  Andrei Tapalaga ✒️ | History of Yesterday
Frank Church holding the CIA’s heart attack gun at 1975 hearings. [Source: historyofyesterday.com]

In July 1969, King’s brother, the Reverend Alfred Daniel King, was found dead in his home after an apparent swimming pool accident (“accidental drowning”). By all accounts, he was a fantastic swimmer.[106]

The emergency responders said upon arrival, “Ain’t no water in his lungs, he was dead before he hit the water.” King’s wife, Naomi, said “Absolutely, he was murdered. He was an excellent swimmer. There was no water in his lungs. He was in the fetal position. He had a bruised forehead. Rings around his neck. And he was in his underwear. He was murdered.”

A person with a mustache

Description automatically generated with medium confidence
A.D. King—yet another victim of the “deep state.” [Source: peacetourism.org]

In 1971, Bill Sartor, a 32-year-old writer for Life and Look magazines on the trail of the Marcello/Liberto organized crime connection to King’s death, was murdered in Waco, Texas, the night before he was to interview a nightclub owner linked to Marcello. Sartor was given a lethal dose of methaqualone—slipped into his drink.[107]

William C. Sullivan [Source: worthpoint.com]

Six years after Sartor’s death, former FBI assistant director of intelligence William Sullivan was shot and killed by a man (Robert Daniels) who mistook him for a deer while deer-hunting. The killing occurred shortly before he was scheduled to testify before the HSCA about his former boss, J. Edgar Hoover’s, hatred of King.[108]

Getting Away with Murder

Martin Luther King, Jr.’s assassination was a major negative turning point in American history.

It sparked riots that played into Richard Nixon’s call for law and order, deprived the civil rights and Vietnam anti-war movements of its greatest leader, and destroyed prospects for an inter-racial movement of the poor. Afterwards, two U.S. Army brigades were until 1971 stationed on permanent standby to deal with domestic unrest as part of Operation GARDEN PLOT.

A picture containing text, outdoor, person, sidewalk

Description automatically generated
Storefront signs commemorating King in Chicago in the wake of his assassination. [Source: chicago.suntimes.com]

King had prophesied that a world starved of love—in which human caring and the spiritual dimension are de-emphasized—would become one of material scarcity, massive inequality, overly stressed environmental systems, and social disintegration.

Martin Luther King Jr., who was on a tour of the South to recruit volunteers for his "Poor People's Campaign", spoke to an overflow crowd at Mason Temple on March 18, 1968.
Martin Luther King, Jr., speaking at the Mason Temple, April 3, 1968. [Source: usatoday.com]

The men who killed King were very clearly starved of love. The evidence indicates that they continue to enjoy impunity for their crime because the U.S. government will never admit that it was behind the killing of a national treasure.


  1. See Michael K. Honey, Going Down Jericho Road: The Memphis Strike, Martin Luther King’s Last Campaign (New York: W.W. Norton, 2007); Michael Eric Dyson, I May Not Get There with You: The True Martin Luther King Jr. (New York: The Free Press, 2001); William F. Pepper, The Plot to Kill King: The Truth Behind the Assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. (New York: Skyhorse Publishing, 2016), xvi, xvii. The Johnson administration disbanded the National Conference for New Politics which promoted the King-Spock ticket by having infiltrators adopt an anti-Israel platform that alienated Jewish financiers.
  2. On Ray’s background, see Clay Blair, Jr., The Strange Case of James Earl Ray: The Man Who Murdered Martin Luther King (New York: New York Times Company, 1969); William Bradford Huie, He Slew the Dreamer: My Search for the Truth about James Earl Ray and the Murder of Martin Luther King (W.H. Allen/Virgin Books, 1970); and James Earl Ray, Who Killed Martin Luther King Jr.? The True Story by the Alleged Assassin, with foreword by Jesse Jackson and Mark Lane (Washington, D.C.: National Press Books, 1992).
  3. William F. Pepper, Orders to Kill: The Truth Behind the Murder of Martin Luther King (New York: Carroll & Graf, 1995), 39.
  4. Ray used the alias John Willard and rejected a room in the south of the house for one with a view of the Lorraine Motel.
  5. Phillip F. Nelson, Who REALLY Killed Martin Luther King Jr.? The Case Against Lyndon B. Johnson and J. Edgar Hoover, with new foreword by Edgar F. Tarro (New York: Skyhorse Publishing, 2018), 210.
  6. William F. Pepper, An Act of State: The Execution of Martin Luther King (London: Verso, 2003). Martin Luther King III holds the same view as his mother, telling reporters in 1986 that “in my opinion it had to be a conspiracy of some kind. It’s probably a fact—but that’s just my opinion—that the intelligence community played a role. I know whatever happened it was a serious, massive effort.” Philip H. Melanson, The Martin Luther King Assassination: New Revelations on the Conspiracy and Cover-up, 1968-1991 (New York: Shapolsky Publishers Inc., 1989), 185.
  7. Foreman told a woman he was attracted to named Gloria that Ray was innocent but “had to be sacrificed.” Pepper, An Act of State, 56. Ray had been subjected to inhumane prison conditions, deprived of access to fresh air, natural light, privacy or basic hygienic or toiletry functions—which was designed to coerce from him a guilty plea.
  8. Jeff Cohen, “The Assassination of Martin Luther King,” in Government by Gunplay: Assassination Conspiracy Theories from Dallas to Today, Sid Blumenthal and Harvey Yazijian, eds., with introduction by Philip Agee (New York: Signet, 1976), 50. Foreman began negotiating for a guilty plea before undertaking an investigation of the evidence in the case.
  9. John Larry Ray and Lyndon Barsten, Truth at Last: The Untold Story Behind James Earl Ray and the Assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. (Guilford, CT: The Lyons Press, 2008), 162, 183. The crime scene investigator was named Herb McDonnell who had also analyzed the murders of Fred Hampton and Robert Kennedy. The bathroom wall was too close to have allowed the Remington rifle enough room to sit at an angle that could fire to Room 306 at the Lorraine. In 2012, during a $27.5 million renovation to the Lorraine Motel and Bessie Brewer’s rooming house, the bathroom was remodeled to make it appear more like a sniper’s nest from where the shot that killed King could have been legitimately fired.
  10. Melanson, The Martin Luther King Assassination, 169. Memphis PD officer J.E. “Bud” Ghormley also went from Fire Station #2 behind the Lorraine Motel to South Main along with a patrolman named Gross in under two minutes and saw nobody running from the flophouse—even though it surely would have taken Ray longer than two minutes to put his bundle together—containing the rifle, radio, cans of beer and other assorted items—and flee. Ray and Barsten, Truth at Last, 115.
  11. Pepper, An Act of State, 48. Witnesses saw no police cars parked in that spot. The drop would have been a detour of time and motion for Ray who was unlikely to have willfully incriminated himself. Besides the murder weapon, the bedsheet included his prison radio with his inmate number on it. Melanson, The Martin Luther King Assassination, 113.
  12. Pepper, An Act of State, 227; Ray, Who Killed Martin Luther King Jr.? 134; Pepper, Orders to Kill, 137; Melanson, The Martin Luther King Assassination, 110, 111.
  13. Harold Weisberg, Frame-Up: The Assassination of Martin Luther King, with a postscript by James Earl Ray, rev. ed. (New York: Skyhorse, 1993), 440.
  14. The bedsheet was filled with beer bottles and some bobby pins, which a fleeing killer would never likely have taken pains to try and preserve.
  15. Pepper, An Act of State, 15, 116; Ray, Who Killed Martin Luther King Jr.? 11; Weisberg, Frame-Up, 160, 161.
  16. Pepper, An Act of State, 196. Roy Davis said that “he would not like to rely on him [Stephens] as my only witness.” [NOTE: Who is Roy Davis?]
  17. Pepper, An Act of State, 15; Pepper, Orders to Kill, 153.
  18. Walden said that Ray was not the man who emerged from the bathroom after the shooting, and that she had been offered $100,000 to lie and pinpoint Ray as the man she saw. When she refused to do so, she was whisked away to an insane asylum outside the city, which she claims was an attempt to silence her. She had no history of psychiatric problems and later won release from court after ten years of incarceration. Ray, Who Killed Martin Luther King Jr., 11. Gerald Posner—in Killing the Dream: James Earl Ray and the Assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. (New York: Random House, 1995), 234—claims that Walden was an alcoholic and uncredible witness who was admitted to the psychiatric hospital after she had been taken to the hospital because she hurt her foot. Riddled with anxiety, she was examined by a staff psychiatrist who said she found her to be suffering from psychotic depression and was suicidal. She was diagnosed with schizophrenia, chronic brain syndrome induced by alcoholism and delusional behavior and suffered from confabulations, or a desire to concoct stories to fill a gap in her memory. Lawyer Mark Lane, however, discovered that a series of illegal actions by the police and hospital was the basis of Walden’s confinement and that the real reason, according to her attorney C.M. Murphy, was to “safeguard their case against Ray”—meaning that it was about forcibly preventing exculpatory evidence that would point to Ray’s innocence.
  19. Pepper, Orders to Kill, 94. The man she saw went out the rear door and not front.
  20. Pepper, An Act of State, 15; Ray, Who Killed Martin Luther King Jr.? 160.
  21. Pepper, An Act of State, 15. Curiously, Ray’s Mustang getaway car was found overflowing with ashes and cigarette butts though Ray had been a lifelong non-smoker and was a fanatic for cleanliness. Michael Newton, The King Conspiracy (Los Angeles, Calif.: Holloway House Publishing, 1987), 8.
  22. Ray and Barsten, Truth at Last, 113, 114. Two eyewitnesses, William Reed and Ray Hendrix, who had earlier looked at Ray’s Mustang, claimed to have seen it driven by a man resembling Ray turn the corner on South Maine Street in front of them around 5:45 p.m.
  23. Ray and Barsten, Truth at Last; Blair, Jr., The Strange Case of James Earl Ray, 97. Posner, Killing the Dream, 91, 135, includes interviews of people Ray was in jail with who said he was a racist and pointed to Ray’s valorization of Hitler during World War II and Northern and Southern Rhodesia to where he tried to escape after King’s killing. The credibility of these testimonies has been put into question, however, and other of Ray’s cellmates in prison and others who knew him insist he was not a racist and could not have killed King. Posner claims that Ray once said, after watching King in the Jefferson City prison on television, that he would kill King. However, it was later confirmed by the warden that prisoners could only watch tv starting in 1970. Pepper, Orders to Kill, 242, 243.
  24. Ray never fired a gun in any of the robberies in which he participated and never upgraded his marksmanship skills from his days in the U.S. Army. Researcher Philip Melanson writes that there was no evidence that Ray “had ever shot at another human being much less killed one, or that he was violence prone. Yet he allegedly became a cold-blooded killer for hire.” Melanson, The Martin Luther King Assassination, 123.
  25. Nelson, Who REALLY Killed Martin Luther King Jr.? 159.
  26. Pepper, Orders to Kill, 136, 210. Jim Reid, a Memphis Press-Scimitar reporter and photographer, took a picture of the cutting.
  27. Pepper, An Act of State, 12; Jesse Ventura, with Dick Russell, American Conspiracies: Lies, Lies and More Dirty Lies That the Government Tells Us (New York: Skyhorse Publishing, 2010), 57. One of those witnesses was Andrew Young.
  28. Newton, The King Conspiracy, 50. The man, according to Carter, then threw the gun into the bushes, put the barrel into his jacket and melted into the crowd.
  29. Pepper, An Act of State, 115. Catling said that she was never interviewed by any law enforcement officials. She lived close to the scene of King’s death for 32 years though, inexplicably, nobody knocked on her door until Ray’s attorney, William Pepper, did in November 1999. At the time, she said she was relieved to get the information off her chest and had been burdened all these years because she knew that an innocent man was in prison. Catling also said that right after the shooting she witnessed a white man running from an alley halfway up Huling Street, which ran to a building connected to the rooming house. He arrived at a car parked on the south side of Huling and facing east, got in, and drove quickly away, turning left onto Mulberry and going right past her and the Memphis police officers opposite her who were manning the barricade. She was surprised that the police paid no attention to him and did not try to prevent him from leaving the area. The man, she said, was not Ray, as he was heavier than Ray.
  30. Pepper, An Act of State, 12.
  31. Pepper, An Act of State, 117. Memphis police dog officer J.B. Hodges discovered footprints from the bushes to the rooming house which were never identified or explained.
  32. Pepper, An Act of State, 18, 132, 133.
  33. Mark Lane and Dick Gregory, Code Name “Zorro”: The Murder of Martin Luther King, Jr. (Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall Inc., 1977), 279.
  34. Pepper, An Act of State, 18, 193; Melanson, The Martin Luther King Assassination, 172.
  35. The FBI had told Redditt that he was under the threat of assassination but then cabled the MPD that this threat was a mistake. Despite being told the latter, the MPD still kept Redditt under home confinement. The source of the alleged threat—the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party—gives indication of the underlying political agenda at play.
  36. Pepper, An Act of State, 18. Something else unexplained was that the Invaders, a black group trying to address local needs in the city, was given an order to leave the motel ten minutes before King was shot.
  37. Pepper, An Act of State. A skeptical view of Spates’s claims about Jowers is found in Posner, Killing the Dream, 282. Posner claims that Spates, who was only seventeen at the time, never worked at Jim’s Grill and was not reported by police as having been at the grill at the time of King’s killing when they had interviewed patrons and staff there just after the killing. He also claims that Jowers was motivated by the potential for financial gain and that his story was false.
  38. Pepper, An Act of State, 23, 32, 33, 47, 160. The customers were talking, drinking and playing shuffleboard and barely noticed Jowers.
  39. Pepper, An Act of State, 26, 214. Akins also allegedly threatened Betty Spates and her sister Bobbi who knew too much about the killing. Posner, Killing the Dream, 282. Jowers told Akins about his involvement in the assassination after he had been drinking. An FBI agent told Bill Hamblin that the CIA had ordered King’s killing.
  40. Pepper, An Act of State, 119.
  41. Pepper, An Act of State, 26. The HSCA inexplicably failed to interview McFerren.
  42. Pepper, An Act of State, 28.
  43. Pepper, An Act of State, 145.
  44. Clark died in 1987. His wife concocted an alibi for Earl that broke down under scrutiny. Pepper, An Act of State, 152, 153.
  45. Pepper, The Plot to Kill King.
  46. Pepper, An Act of State, 13, 94; Pepper, Orders to Kill, 130, 152; Melanson, The Martin Luther King Assassination, 171; Honey, Going Down Jericho Road, 405. McCollough supplied Lt. Eli Arkin, his MPD intelligence division control officer, with regular reports on the Invaders. One police officer later said that he was so strident in his statements that officers who did not know he was an agent “would have given their eye teeth to have him locked up.” The Invaders promoted violence and participated in provocative acts during the sanitation workers strike as part of an effort to discredit King.
  47. Pepper, The Plot to Kill King, 223, 224, 227, 228. Curtis was intimidated into silence after the killing.
  48. Pepper, The Plot to Kill King, 232, 234.
  49. Ray and Barsten, Truth at Last, 18, 19, 20.
  50. Ray and Barsten, Truth at Last, 20. Barsten found that some of the men listed as being part of the unit were not actually there. In 1970, when Congressman L. Mendel Rivers (Dem.-S.C.) tried to access Ray’s Army records, he was stonewalled and told there were sensitive medical aspects that could not be disclosed. In Ventura, American Conspiracies, 62.
  51. Nelson, Who REALLY Killed Martin Luther King Jr., 96.
  52. Ray and Barsten, Truth at Last, 23, 103. Barsten found one surviving 7892nd Regiment medical file indicating that a soldier named Neal Thompson was given the hypnotic drug phenobarbital. John Larry Ray believes the shooting of Washington may have been part of a drugging operation and asks whether James’s psychological makeup was the reason he was chosen to be a patsy years later in the murder of Martin Luther King, Jr.
  53. Ray and Barsten, Truth at Last, 27.
  54. Ray and Barsten, Truth at Last, 28.
  55. Ray and Barsten, Truth at Last, 50.
  56. Ray and Barsten, Truth at Last, 53.
  57. Ray and Barsten, Truth at Last, 54. Members of Nash’s family blamed his death on U.S. intelligence agencies.
  58. Ray and Barsten, Truth at Last, 56, 57, 62. Peterson wrote a book on hypnosis. In the early 1970s, Freedom magazine published an article asserting that mind-control operations were being run in the Fulton, Missouri, prison where Ray was treated.
  59. Ray and Barsten, Truth at Last, 62.
  60. Ray and Barsten, Truth at Last, 73; Nelson, Who REALLY Killed Martin Luther King Jr. Ray’s brother John Larry was told through the criminal grapevine that his brother’s escape from prison was orchestrated by Richard Helms and the CIA and its agents, such as Wilkinson, who ran the prison.
  61. Not knowing anything about rifles, Ray bought the wrong one and had to go back. He was also sent by Raoul on undisclosed missions to Los Angeles and Nuevo Laredo, Mexico.
  62. Pepper, An Act of State, 77. Galt had a top-secret security clearance. Union Carbide was, at the time, engaged in high-security research projects controlled by its U.S. parent.
  63. Pepper, Orders to Kill, 435; Melanson, The Martin Luther King Assassination, ch. 5.
  64. Ray had been told to go to Memphis for a gun-smuggling operation that Raoul said would make him rich.
  65. Joe Davis, “The King Assassination: Was James Earl Ray a Patsy?” Ann Arbor Sun, January 22, 1976, https://aadl.org/node/200647; Ray and Barsten, Truth at Last, 104. Perhaps not coincidentally, Grace Walden identified the man leaving the rooming house as a Louisiana State trooper, who may have been the same Raoul.
  66. Melanson, The Martin Luther King Assassination, 177, 178, 179; Ray and Barsten, Truth at Last, 84. When Melanson questioned Ray about Kimble, he became very nervous. Kimble reportedly had contacts with CIA flyer David Ferrie who was allegedly implicated in the Kennedy assassination.
  67. Ray and Barsten, Truth at Last, 28. Kimble’s claims are partially corroborated by his then-girlfriend Marcelle Mathieu. A Canadian reporter, Andy Salwyn found witnesses who placed Kimble in Montreal in the summer of 1967, at the same time as Ray, and he provided this information in a detailed report to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP).
  68. See Alfred W. McCoy, A Question of Torture: CIA Interrogation from the Cold War to the War on Terror (New York: Metropolitan Books, 2005).
  69. Ray and Barsten, Truth at Last, 104. He also said that someone other than Ray dropped the bundle in front of the Canipe Amusement Company. Adding some credence to Kimble’s theory, in 1975, Memphis PD officer Eddie Redditt was flown to Washington to identify Memphis PD officers at the scene—and left to wonder why he had to fly all the way to Washington to do so. The trip would make sense if the FBI was nervous that the identities of the police at the scene of King’s death could be revealed or fraud uncovered.
  70. Stephen G. Tompkins, “Army Feared King, Secretly Watched Him: Spying on Blacks Started 75 Years Ago,” The Commercial Appeal, Memphis, Tennessee, March 21, 1993, https://ratical.org/ratville/JFK/ArmyFearedKing.html. Army Intelligence opened its file on King in 1947 with a photograph showing him and other Morehouse College students leaving a meeting of Mrs. Dorothy Lilley’s Intercollegiate Council. Lilley was a suspected Communist. In 1917, Army intelligence had spied on King’s maternal grandfather, Reverend A.D. Williams, who was a founder of the Atlanta chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), which army intelligence officers believed was “an agitative pro-Soviet organization for propagandizing the Negroes,” according to a 1926 report by Lt. Col. Walter O. Boswell, Army Intelligence executive officer at the War Department.
  71. Pepper, The Plot to Kill King, 135.
  72. Pepper, An Act of State, 68. Downie had advised LBJ to get out of Vietnam, prompting LBJ to pound the table and say, “I cannot get out of Vietnam, John, my friends are making too much money.” These friends included Texas oil barons H.L. Hunt and Clint Murchison and George Brown, CEO of Brown & Root.
  73. Pepper, Orders to Kill, 432. Memphis police who participated in the clandestine training course in riot control and surveillance believed it was a cover for a covert intelligence operation run by its instructor, nicknamed Coop, who dropped out of sight just before King’s assassination.
  74. Pepper, An Act of State, 161; Pepper, Orders to Kill, 419-430. Downie was commander of the 902nd Military Intelligence Group, a unit based inside the Department of Defense. Posner disputes the existence of this team in chapter 32 of Killing the Dream. CIA operative Jack Terrell, a whistleblower in the Iran-Contra scandal, testified at the 1999 civil trial that his friend J.D. Hill was part of an army sniper team deployed to Memphis on April 4, though their mission was canceled. Hill died suspiciously in a murder that was blamed on his wife but had the appearance of a professional killing. Hill was known to drink heavily and may have begun to talk to others about the Memphis operation.
  75. Pepper, Orders to Kill, 434. After the assassination, police picked up a man named Ted Andrews wearing a dark suit who looked like Ray and was staying in Bessie Brewer’s rooming house. He had a background in the U.S. Navy—which the FBI deleted information about. Andrews never established a proper alibi and remains a figure of suspicion. Melanson, The Martin Luther King Assassination, 117-123.
  76. Pepper, An Act of State, 101.
  77. Pepper, Orders to Kill, 89.
  78. Pepper, The Plot to Kill King, 238; Nelson, Who REALLY Killed Martin Luther King Jr., 82, 83. Russell Adkins, Sr., died in 1967. His son Russell, Jr., a 30-year Marine Corps veteran, took over in the planning of King’s killing after his death. Ron served six years in the U.S. Marine Corps. He said that, until he was nine years old, his father took him to meetings including with Tolson, Mayor Henry Loeb, and mobsters Frank Liberto and Carlos Marcello.
  79. Nelson, Who REALLY Killed Martin Luther King Jr., 84; Pepper. The Plot to Kill King, 40. Adkins witnessed the $25,000 payoff to Swenson.
  80. Pepper, An Act of State, 11.
  81. Pepper, An Act of State; David J. Garrow, The FBI and Martin Luther King, Jr.: From “Solo” to Memphis (New York: W.W. Norton, 1981).
  82. Melanson, The Martin Luther King Assassination, 74.
  83. Ray, Who Killed Martin Luther King Jr.? 248; Pepper, Orders to Kill, 14; Melanson, The Martin Luther King Assassination, 74; Lane and Gregory, Code Name “Zorro,” 144. Holloman said he was a good friend of Hoover. When the FBI’s Atlanta office that Holloman had headed, heard news of King’s assassination, they yelled “we got Zorro.”
  84. Honey, Going Down Jericho Road, 388.
  85. Honey, Going Down Jericho Road, 360, 370. The MPD killed a Black teenager, Charles Payne, and mercilessly beat many protesters and looters during the sanitation workers strike, invaded people’s homes and called Blacks the n-word. Holloman said that there was a war in the streets of Memphis and that the police had used restraint.
  86. Nelson, Who REALLY Killed Martin Luther King Jr., 68.
  87. Ray, Who Killed Martin Luther King Jr.? 248; Pepper, The Plot to Kill King; Nelson, Who REALLY Killed Martin Luther King Jr., 162.
  88. Pepper, An Act of State, 186, 187.
  89. Pepper, An Act of State, 190, 240; Nelson, Who REALLY Killed Martin Luther King Jr., 162, 203-206.
  90. Pepper, Orders to Kill, 482, 483. Pepper notes that the drunkenness of the state’s main witness, Charlie Stephens, was concealed. Pepper asks where are: the interviews conducted of yellow cab driver Paul, the photographs of the bullet removed from King’s body, the photographs of the scene of the crime as it was at the time, before the bushes at the back of the rooming house and the hedge between the parking lot and the fire station had been cut down?
  91. Nelson, Who REALLY Killed Martin Luther King Jr., xxix.
  92. Founded by H.L. Mencken, The American Mercury was once a great magazine that featured essays by luminaries like F. Scott Fitzgerald, Langston Hughes, William Faulkner, W.E.B. DuBois and Carl Sandburg. According to Phillip Nelson, however, Huie managed to turn the Mercury into an FBI/CIA rag whose roster of writers included J. Edgar Hoover. Before its ultimate demise, it became a chronicle of racism and anti-semitism.
  93. Nelson, Who REALLY Killed Martin Luther King Jr., 104, 105, 380, 381. The FBI additionally sponsored Gerold Frank’s book, An American Death: The True Story of the Assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Greatest Manhunt of Our Time (New York: Doubleday, 1972) and a book by George McMillan who had long connections to the CIA. After leaving the FBI in 1959, Hanes became a security officer with the Hayes Aircraft Corporation in Birmingham while doubling as a CIA agent. The CIA recruited Hayes employees as pilots for the 1961 Bay of Pigs fiasco, and when four. of them died in an abortive raid, Hanes drew the assignment of warning their widows to keep eternal silence. Newton, The King Conspiracy, 174.
  94. Ray, Who Killed Martin Luther King Jr.? 250; Pepper, Orders to Kill, 53.
  95. Nelson, Who REALLY Killed Martin Luther King Jr., 70. Ron called Clyde Tolson “Uncle Clyde.”
  96. Nelson, Who REALLY Killed Martin Luther King Jr., 77.
  97. Nelson, Who REALLY Killed Martin Luther King Jr., 77.
  98. Pepper, The Plot to Kill King, 261, 274; Nelson, Who REALLY Killed Martin Luther King Jr., 197, 198.
  99. William Pepper refers to Buddy as Paul. Buddy’s last name was thought to be Butler.
  100. Pepper, An Act of State, 51, 52; Pepper, The Plot to Kill King, 113. Buddy’s killer was reportedly Chester “Chess” Butler, a master killer used sometimes by Russell Adkins, Sr. Ron Adkins observed the scene in which Buddy’s cab was being loaded with heavy bags and said that he heard Butler confess to killing Buddy in front of his wife, Mildred, the night that he killed him. Adkins said that Chess had been told to take care of Buddy by either Holloman or Russell Jr or Earl Clark, one or the other. Clark was concerned because he thought the driver saw him come down from the wall and turned to face him, and therefore could have identified him.
  101. Ray and Barsten, Truth at Last, 136. 137. John Larry believes that the feds may have killed his friend Margie, who died of a heart attack in her mid-twenties. She had been a liaison between him and the FBI. King’s mother, Alberta, was tragically murdered in a church shooting at Ebenezer Baptist Church in 1974 which was also suspicious.
  102. Ray and Barsten, Truth at Last, 136.
  103. Ray, Who Killed Martin Luther King Jr. 138-140, 163; Ray and Barsten, Truth at Last, 168.
  104. Ryan attributed Faquin’s decision to an FBI-CIA conspiracy.
  105. Nelson, Who REALLY Killed Martin Luther King Jr., 260.
  106. The week after his brother’s death, Alfred had given a powerful sermon at the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta entitled “Why America May Go to Hell.”
  107. Pepper, Orders to Kill, 239; Ventura, American Conspiracies, 58. Sartor, who was on the staff of the Birmingham News, had reported on an alleged meeting between Ray and an associate Charles Stein with members of the Carlos Marcello crime family in New Orleans before King’s assassination. Sartor’s original death certificate was evasive, stating that the cause of death was undetermined. After 21 years, it was acknowledged that he died from an overdose when Sartor was not known to use drugs of any kind. The Waco district attorney had characterized his death as a homicide. Louis Lomax, a Black journalist who was investigating the deaths of both Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr., also died in a suspicious car accident.
  108. Nelson, Who REALLY Killed Martin Luther King Jr., 400. Gary Revel, who worked on the HSCA investigation, wrote to author Phillip Nelson that his “brother and cousin’s husband, Ivan Riley, as well as Sullivan and five other FBI officials who could have been valuable to my investigation died mysteriously or were simply killed during 1977.” Sullivan was a liberal Democrat who came to work one day in 1971 to find the lock on his door changed and nameplate removed. He had begun to speak out, saying that Hoover had greatly overemphasized the threat to national security posed by the American Communist Party while devoting less attention than was warranted to violations of Federal civil rights laws in the South.


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