The Murder of Martin Luther King Jr.

by John Edginton and John Sergeant

{Editors’ Note: In April 1988, John Edginton, a British
independent film maker, began an inquiry into the circumstances
surrounding the death of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Edginton had
just completed a film about King’s life (“Promised Land”) and was
intrigued by comments by King’s friend, the Rev. Ralph Abernathy,
that King was murdered by government forces. By January 1989,
Edginton had gathered enough evidence disputing the official
verdict that BBC Television agreed to fund a documentary: “Who
Killed Martin Luther King?” John Sergeant joined the team as
associate producer. The film aired in England in September 1989
and on cable television in this country in March 1990. The
following article is derived from information gathered in their
investigation and raises questions about government complicity in
the assassination of the civil rights leader.}

Introduction

Equivocation, uncertainty, and doubt have never been fully
dispelled with respect to the untimely death of Martin Luther
King Jr. in 1968. This could be put down in part to the intensity
of public suspicion over the killing of President John F.
Kennedy
. But suspicions linger primarily because of the
inherently unconvincing nature of the official version of the
events.

In an apparently {bona fide} effort to lay these ghosts to rest,
the House of Representatives Select Committee on Assassinations
(HSCA) concluded an investigation in 1979 which reaffirmed the
guilt of convicted assassin James Earl Ray but conceded the
probable existence of a conspiracy behind him – headed by a group
of St. Louis businessmen with ties to organized crime. It
referred its leads to the Justice Department which quietly closed
the case in 1983.

However, new revelations clearly demand official answers. The
case should now be reopened and the whole 22-year-saga of James
Earl Ray’s conviction and imprisonment should now be rigorously
reviewed.

The first important new revelation involves Jules Ron Kimble, a
convicted murderer serving time in a federal prison in Oklahoma.
In a recent interview, Kimble admitted being intimately involved
in a widespread conspiracy that resulted in the assassination of
King. He said that this conspiracy involved agents of the FBI and
the CIA, elements of the “mob,” as well as Ray. In the late
1970s, investigators of the HSCA interviewed Kimble but,
according to their report, he denied any knowledge of the murder.
Now, for the first time, Kimble publicly admits participating in
the assassination. [1. Kimble made this admission while being
interviewed for the film documentary {Who Killed Martin Luther
King?} The interview took place at the El Reno Federal
Penitentiary, El Reno, Oklahoma, in June 1989.]

Kimble, a shadowy figure with ties to the U.S. intelligence
community and organized crime, corroborates much of Ray’s self-
serving story. He alleges that Ray, though involved in the plot,
did not shoot King and was in fact set up to take the fall for
the assassination. [2. {Ibid}.]

Jules Kimble, in implicating the mob and CIA in the
assassination, claims to have introduced Ray to a CIA identities
specialist in Montreal, Canada, from whom Ray gained four
principal aliases. In August 1989, a former CIA agent serving in
Canada around the time of the King assassination, confirmed that
the CIA did indeed have such a false identities specialist
operating out of Montreal in the late 1960s. [3. Telephone
interview with ex-CIA agent who requests anonymity, August 1989;
in-person interview in December 1989.]

An investigation by Dr. Philip Melanson revealed that the
identities that Ray adopted during the period of the
assassination were far more elaborate than previously realized.
Melanson concluded that in at least one instance, Ray’s alias
could only reasonably have derived from a top secret security
file accessible only to military and intelligence agencies. [4.
See Philip Melanson, {The Murkin Conspiracy} (New York: Praeger,
1989).]

Finally, Ray who has been protesting his innocence for over 20
years, has always claimed that he was set up for the
assassination by a mysterious “handler” called Raoul whom he had
first encountered in Montreal nine months before. The former CIA
agent who served in Canada named the agency’s Montreal identities
specialist at the time as Raoul Maora. [5. {Op. cit.}, n. 3.]

Jules Ron Kimble cannot be dismissed out-of-hand. For a start he
has a long record of mob activity and violence, often with
political overtones. He is currently serving a double life
sentence in El Reno, Oklahoma, for two murders he admits were
political. He has proven links to the Louisiana mob empire of
Carlos Marcello (frequently accused of involvement in political
assassination) and admits to having done mob-related work in New
Orleans, Montreal, and Memphis during the late sixties – three
key cities in Ray’s odyssey. [6. A July 1989 phone interview with
a Baton Rouge police detective confirmed Kimble’s close ties to
organized crime. State investigator Joe Oster also investigated
Kimble because of allegations of Kimble’s involvement in the
murder of union leader Victor Busie. In this investigation, Oster
found that Kimble had ties to the Ku Klux Klan and organized
crime.]

Investigative records from the period confirm Kimble to have been
involved with the underworld and the KKK, to have been in
Montreal in the summer of 1967, and to have been called in for
questioning in connection with the Kennedy assassination by then-
New Orleans District Attorney, Jim Garrison. During this
questioning, Kimble admitted being linked to the local FBI and
CIA and Garrison accepted this admission as true. [7. Statement
taken from Jules Kimble by New Orleans District Attorney Jim
Garrison on October 10, 1967.]

Like his contemporary, Lee Harvey Oswald, Jules Kimble had been
living in Crescent City, California during the early 1960s and
was associating with gangsters, segregationists, the FBI and, he
forcefully asserts, the CIA. He is known to have been in contact
with David Ferrie, the dead CIA flier who has been repeatedly
implicated in the assassination of John Kennedy. [8. {Ibid}.]

Most astonishingly, Jules Ron Kimble is not dismissed out-of-hand
by James Earl Ray. When Ray was recently confronted with the
alleged connection, he said that Kimble may have been one of two
mysterious figures he saw on the afternoon of the assassination
but he wasn’t sure. Ray then asked if Kimble was in prison (which
he was) but rejected Kimble’s allegations about their connection
as some sort of “government disinformation.” [9. Interview with
James Earl Ray, June 1989, Brushy Mountain State Penitentiary,
Tennessee.]

Although James Earl Ray, now 60, stands convicted of shooting
Martin Luther King, most observers agree the truth of what really
happened has never been established. New evidence from Kimble,
compounded with other recent revelations, establish that the
issue is not whether government operatives were involved in the
King assassination but rather how high up the chain of command
the conspiracy ran.

The Lone Gunman

In late March 1968, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. came to
Memphis to support the city’s striking sanitation workers who
were predominantly black. He led a march of 6000 protesters which
disintegrated into violence between police and demonstrators,
giving conservative forces the opportunity to scorn King’s
doctrine of nonviolent political struggle. Determined to prove
the sanitation workers’ protest could be peaceful, King returned
to Memphis on April 3rd to lead a second march.

On April 4, a few minutes before 6 p.m., Dr. King walked out on
the balcony outside his second-floor room at the Lorraine Motel.
He was scheduled to attend a dinner at the local Reverend Billy
Kyles’s house and was bantering with his chauffeur down in the
parking lot below. At 6:01 p.m. there was a shot. A high-velocity
dum-dum bullet hit Dr. King in the neck, severing his spinal
column and leaving a massive exit hole. One hour later, in St.
Joseph’s Hospital in Memphis, King died.

Public suspicions over the investigation of Dr. King’s death
surfaced almost immediately. In 1968 there was already a growing
body of opinion at odds with the official explanation that Lee
Harvey Oswald had been the lone assassin of John F. Kennedy. In
Memphis, King too had been shot with a high-velocity rifle,
ostensibly from a window. Moreover, like Dallas, the
assassination had taken place under the noses of the authorities
in broad daylight.

Soon after his murder, questions surrounding the assassination of
King began to emerge. How had so many police arrived so quickly
on the scene – within moments of the shot being fired – yet
failed to spot the assassin either arriving or departing? Who, in
an apparent attempt to distract police radio control, had
broadcast a hoax car chase involving a Mustang on citizens band
radio less than half an hour after the police radio announced the
suspect car to be a white Mustang? If, as the police claimed, the
shot had come from the bathroom window, why did at least three
people claim to have seen a gunman in the bushes across the
street?

The official scenario of how Ray shot King is as follows: Ray was
supposed to have checked into a rooming house on Main Street, the
back of which faces the Lorraine Motel; established a sniper’s
post in the bathroom; shot Martin Luther King; panicked and
dropped his belongings on the sidewalk as he fled the rooming
house, leaving the rifle to be discovered with his fingerprints
on it; and then raced out of Memphis in a white Mustang.

Suspicions of conspiracy in the murder of King did not diminish
with the capture of Ray, though officials continued to maintain
he was a lone assassin. On the contrary, expectations of major
revelations at Ray’s forthcoming trial were very high. But these
expectations were never gratified. The public was kept ignorant
of many anomalies and peculiarities in the case, some of which
were even ignored by investigators.

The most prominent of these inconsistencies in the state’s case
was the self-contradictory and inconsistent testimony of its
chief witness, Charlie Stephens. Stephens, who the state claims
saw Ray emerging from the bathroom, did not recognize Ray in a
photo he was shown shortly after the assassination. The state
also failed to mention that Stephens was an alcoholic and was
drunk the afternoon of the King murder.

Why Did Ray Plead Guilty?

It has never been established where the idea of Ray’s guilty plea
originated but certain facts stand out. Ray’s lawyers in the
original trial were Hugh Stanton Sr., the Shelby County Public
Defender and Percy Foreman. It is interesting to note that
earlier Stanton had acted as lawyer to Charlie Stephens – the
prosecution’s chief witness. No one in the judicial system,
however, saw his acting as Ray’s attorney as a conflict of
interest.

In December 1967, Foreman proposed to prosecutor Phil Canale that
Ray could be convinced to plead guilty in exchange for a slightly
reduced sentence and no death penalty. Canale was favorable to
the idea and consulted with the King family lawyer, Harry Wachtel
(former Governor of Tennessee), officials at the Justice
Department, and finally the Attorney General. Everyone agreed
that the guilty plea was a splendid idea. It was Foreman’s job to
convince Ray. [10. Interview with Phil Canale, Memphis,
Tennessee, June 1989; interview with Dr. William Pepper, Memphis,
Tennessee, June 1989.]

Ray would have none of it. And it took more than two months for
him to cave in, despite all manner of tactics employed to
pressure him and his family into agreeing. Foreman even assured
Ray in a letter that there was a 100% chance he would be found
guilty and a 99% chance of the electric chair (even though the
state’s case was very weak and no one had gone to the chair in
Tennessee in more than a decade). Ray also discovered he could
not change his lawyer again and that Foreman was doing nothing to
develop a defense. Finally Ray somehow believed that if he
pleaded guilty he could dismiss Foreman, demand a new lawyer, and
receive a new trial. [11. {Ibid}.]

The so-called trial took place suddenly on March 10, 1968 and
following a lengthy list of charges the state would have tried to
prove, Ray pleaded guilty as arranged and was sentenced to 99
years. He immediately petitioned for a new trial, which was
denied, and has been petitioning on every conceivable ground ever
since, also to no avail.

In 1974, however, Ray succeeded in prying from the state an
evidentiary hearing. The hearing was to determine whether Ray had
enough grounds for a new trial based on his being negligently
represented by attorney Percy Foreman. Harold Weisberg, a veteran
of the John Kennedy case and a writer, was taken on as an
investigator on Ray’s legal team.

Major Inconsistencies in the State’s Evidence

Weisberg’s investigation was a searching and vigorous one.
Although he differs with many experts in his conclusions – he
believes Ray to be totally innocent, a fall guy or “patsy” – many
of his arguments about the weakness of the official case and the
existence of a conspiracy remain persuasive to this day. Through
his relentless pursuit of FBI documentation under the Freedom of
Information Act, Weisberg found many documents which revealed
numerous irregularities in the Bureau’s investigation. Among
other inconsistencies, the state’s examination of the alleged
murder weapon is very revealing.

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An internal FBI report on the bullet which killed King said that
it was too mangled to compare against the rifle that allegedly
fired it. The report states that “… its deformation and absence
of clear cut marks precluded a positive determination.” Yet the
evidence presented at Ray’s “trial” gave the impression that the
“death slug” was proven to have been fired from the rifle. [12.
Internal FBI ballistics report, released under the Freedom of
Information Act, dated April 17, 1968.]

Weisberg consulted with a ballistics expert who examined the
bullet and concluded that there were indeed sufficient markings
on it to make test-fire comparisons. The ballistics expert is
adamant about the fact the FBI could and should have carried out
such tests. [13. Herbert McDonnell, the ballistics expert who
made this claim, is regarded as a leading authority. He presented
these views in an interview conducted June 1989, Memphis,
Tennessee.]

One of Weisberg’s most powerful arguments concerns the crime
scene itself. How, he wonders, did the assassin, who would have
had to stand in a bathtub to fire at King, manage to take a
single shot, run from the bathroom into the bedroom, bundle up
the rifle and a bizarre collection of personal belongings into a
blanket (ensuring that the belongings but not the bathroom or the
bedroom had his fingerprints on them), run the length of the
rooming house, down a flight of stairs, dump the bundle in the
street, walk calmly to his waiting Mustang and drive away within
the one to two minutes it took uniformed officers to reach the
same location?

Official records as to precisely what took place on the street
outside the rooming house – Main Street, one block west of the
motel – in those critical minutes, are astonishingly chaotic.

At Ray’s trial in 1969, testimony was given by Inspector N.E.
Zachary of the Memphis Police Department that he found the rifle
and the bundle first. By the time of the 1974 evidentiary
hearings (after various books had researched the question), the
state conceded that another officer, Sheriff’s Deputy Bud
Ghormley was first to discover the bundle.

Yet Ghormley, in turn, has been contradicted by Sheriff’s Deputy
Vernon Dollahite. Dollahite, now chief of detectives, insisted
that he was the first onto Main Street and first to see the
bundle. Dollahite has been consistent in his story from the
beginning. After one of his early FBI interviews, they calculated
that the time he took from the shot being fired to his arrival on
Main Street was 1 minute 57 seconds.

The extraordinary factor in Dollahite’s testimony is that though
alert for anything unusual as he raced around the corner onto
Main Street, he not only missed the Mustang pulling away, he did
not even see the bundle with the rifle in it. Only after he had
entered Jim’s Grill beneath the rooming house, told everyone to
stay put, and come out again, did he spot it lying in a doorway a
few yards away. He and the FBI agreed that whomever was about to
dump the bundle had probably seen him coming, hidden behind the
staircase door until he had gone into the grill, then run onto
the street throwing down the bundle while Deputy Dollahite was
inside.

There is an obvious problem with this scenario. How could Ray run
out of the doorway, throw down the incriminating bundle, and then
manage to climb into a white Mustang and drive off unnoticed
within the seconds it took Dollahite to emerge from Jim’s Grill
just feet away?

The judge at the evidentiary hearing took more than a year to
conclude that Ray had no grounds for a retrial. The defendant’s
guilt or innocence was immaterial to the issue at hand, he said.

Spying on King

By 1977, with the revelations by the Church Committee of major
abuses by U.S. intelligence agencies, public opinion about the
political assassinations of the 1960s had reached such heights
that Congress was forced into forming the House Select Committee
on Assassinations to investigate the murders of John F. Kennedy
and Martin Luther King Jr.

Beset with political problems and threats to its funding, the
HSCA nonetheless did manage to address, if inconclusively and
frequently inadequately, the majority of the issues and points
raised by critics of the official story in the King case. Its
final report dated March 29, 1979 concluded that James Earl Ray
was indeed guilty of killing Martin Luther King Jr. but there had
been co-conspirators after all. An informant’s report in the
FBI’s St. Louis office, previously overlooked, led to the
discovery that a $50,000 bounty for the death of Martin Luther
King Jr. had been offered in that city in 1967. [14. Final Report
of the U.S. House of Representatives Select Committee on
Assassination (hereafter referred to as the {HSCA Report}) (New
York: Bantam, 1979).]

However, blaming the King assassination on a conspiracy of St.
Louis organized crime figures, with Ray acting as the killer,
leaves many disturbing questions unanswered. One of these
questions is, how could Ray simply walk into a predominantly
black section of Memphis teeming with police, informants, and
undercover agents, shoot King and then leave unmolested? The
extent of the police surveillance on King was remarkable and the
notion that Ray shot King and escaped undetected is even more
remarkable. Recently, the true nature and extraordinary extent of
the official presence in Memphis in April 1968 became clear.

Retired Memphis police officer Sam Evans confirmed that King’s
chauffeur and the manager of the Lorraine Motel were paid police
informants. It is also known that Marrell McCoullough, one of the
first to reach King’s fallen body, although ostensibly a member
of the radical black group, the Invaders, was in fact an
undercover agent of the Memphis Police Department. [15. This was
not revealed by investigators in 1968 but was acknowledged by the
HSCA after writers like Mark Lane and Dick Gregory had drawn
attention to it. See Mark Lane and Dick Gregory, {Codename Zorro:
The Murder of Martin Luther King, Jr.} (New York: Pocketbooks,
1977).

The so-called Intelligence Unit of the Memphis Police Department
(MPD) had been planting bugs and agents at all the strategy
meetings of the sanitation workers and the Invaders.
Nevertheless, they continue to deny having had any source, human
or electronic, at the heart of the Southern Christian Leadership
Conference (SCLC) (the group King headed) that day. A senior
police officer claimed that military intelligence and the U.S.
Secret Service had also deployed agents throughout Memphis. [16.
Interview with investigative journalist Wayne Chastin in June
1989.]

It is now known that a member of the SCLC and leaders of the
local NAACP were in the pay of the FBI. And another figure close
to the SCLC – Jay Richard Kennedy – had been reporting his fears
of communist control over King to the CIA. [17. This information
was revealed in documents released under the Freedom of
Information Act and published by David Garrow in {The FBI and
Martin Luther King, Jr.} (New York: Penguin, 1983). It was also
discussed by Kennedy for the first time on camera in an interview
conducted in June 1989.]

Despite the presence of numerous people engaged in the
surveillance of King, apparently not one of them spotted the
assassin arriving, shooting Dr. King, or escaping the scene.

Given that the Memphis Police Department had in the past provided
extensive security for Dr. King on previous visits and was aware
of the vulnerability of the Lorraine Motel, it seems incredible
that a contingent of police bodyguards assigned to King on his
arrival should have been removed the day of the shooting,
apparently without the knowledge of the police chief, Frank
Holloman.

Just two hours before the assassination the MPD’s patrolling “TAC
Units,” each comprising three cars, were pulled back five blocks
from the vicinity of the Lorraine Motel. Police chief Holloman
claimed that he did not know of that decision until afterwards.
Inspector Sam Evans, who was in charge of the units, denied that
they were pulled back, even though it is now an acknowledged
matter of public record. [18. This point of fact was established
in the HSCA investigation. However, when interviewed in June
1989, Sam Evans continued to deny it.]

Furthermore, immediately after the shooting, no “All Points
Bulletin” was issued which might have ensured that the major
escape routes out of Memphis were sealed. No satisfactory
explanation has ever been provided for that failure.

In another bizarre incident, on the day of the assassination, an
erroneous message was delivered by a Secret Service agent to the
Memphis Police headquarters stating that there had been a death
threat against a black police detective. The detective, Ed
Redditt, was stationed at a surveillance post next to the
Lorraine Motel. Shortly after the first message, a corrected
message arrived saying that the threat was a hoax but the police
intelligence officer who received it nevertheless, went to where
Detective Redditt was stationed and ordered him to go home. This
was two hours before the assassination. Why did the intelligence
officer send Redditt home even though he knew the threat to be
false? When we approached the officer, who has now left the
police force, he refused to be interviewed. [19. See G. Frank,
{An American Death} (New York: Doubleday, 1972).]

Some of these circumstances are explained by the police as a
series of coincidences, errors, and oversights. Some are not
explained at all. While the HSCA’s final report fell short of
accusing the police of complicity in the assassination, it
lambasted the Memphis Police Department for incompetence and
latent racism.

Perhaps the HSCA’s final conclusion would have been different if
it had obtained undoctored intelligence reports from the Memphis
Police Department. While doing research for his book “The Murkin
Conspiracy,” Philip Melanson, obtained an MPD intelligence report
regarding the King assassination. When he compared it to the same
report published by the HSCA, he found that all the footnotes and
most of the references to undercover police agents in Memphis had
been deleted from the HSCA version. Numerous paragraphs were
missing and certain sentences were rewritten to play up the
violent nature of Memphis civil rights activists and strikers.
[20. {Op. cit.}, n. 4, p. 80.] Why didn’t the HSCA get the
originals? When confronted with this discrepancy, Representative
Louis Stokes (Dem.-Ohio), the former Chair of the HSCA, admitted
that he did not know that the Memphis Police Department had
provided the Committee with altered documents. [21. Interview
with Representative Louis Stokes, Washington, D.C., June 1989.]

The Role of the FBI

It is also enlightening to look at FBI actions both prior to and
after the King assassination. Former Atlanta FBI agent Arthur
Murtagh has given some indication of the prevailing mood at the
Bureau in King’s home city.

Murtagh related in an interview that “Me and a colleague were
checking out for the day when the news came over the radio that
Dr. King had been shot. My colleague leapt up, clapped his hands
and said `Goddamn, we got him! We finally got him.'” When asked
if he was sure of this statement Murtagh was adamant that his
colleague said “we,” not “they.” [22. Interview with Arthur
Murtagh, June 1989.]

For years, through its COINTELPRO operations, the FBI had been
spying on, bugging, falsifying letters, and sowing discontent
among the leadership of the SCLC in an attempt to discredit and
“neutralize” Dr. King. [23. See Garrow, {op. cit.}, n. 17; also
see HSCA report.]

Suddenly, after the King assassination, the FBI began what was
called the greatest, most expensive inquiry in Bureau history –
the hunt for King’s killer. All the technical and human resources
of Hoover’s FBI focused on the bundle of evidence conveniently
left at the crime scene – a bundle which only pointed to one man
– Eric Galt, a.k.a. John Willard, a.k.a. Paul Bridgman, a.k.a.
George Sneyd, whose real name is James Earl Ray. At the same
time, white racist groups braced themselves for an FBI assault,
but to their astonishment no one asked them any questions. “It
was strange,” recalled white supremacist J.B. Stoner, “[It was]
almost as if they knew they didn’t have to look this way.” [24.
Interview with J.B. Stoner, Atlanta Georgia, April 1989.]

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The HSCA, like the Justice Department which had already conducted
an investigation into the FBI’s handling of the King
assassination, found no evidence of a coverup. In the end, the
Committee did conclude that the Bureau had contributed to a moral
climate conducive to the murder of Dr. King, but it stopped short
of accusing the Bureau of actual involvement in the killing. [25.
{Op. cit.}, n. 14.]

Evidence nonetheless exists suggesting that elements within the
FBI may have played a significant role in the political
assassination. Consider, for instance, Myron Billett’s story.

In early 1968, Myron Billett was the trusted chauffeur of Mafia
chief Sam Giancana. Giancana asked Billett to drive him, and
fellow mobster Carlos Gambino, to a meeting at a motel in upstate
New York. Other major Mafia figures from New York were there as
well as three men who were introduced as representatives from the
CIA and FBI. There were a number of subjects on the agenda,
including Castro’s Cuba. [26. Interview with Myron Billett,
Columbus Ohio, June 1989.]

According to Billett, one of the government agents offered the
mobsters a million dollars for the assassination of Martin Luther
King Jr. Billett stated that Sam Giancana replied, “Hell no, not
after you screwed up the Kennedy deal like that.” As far as
Billett knows, no one took up the offer.

Billett relayed this information in an interview conducted just
weeks before he died of emphysema. Given his condition, there
appears to be no particular reason for him to lie. While his
allegations are mentioned in the HSCA’s final report, it makes no
judgement as to their validity – the HSCA report simply states
that is was unable to corroborate his story.

There is another instance in which FBI agents were heard
discussing bounties and the recruitment of professionals to kill
King. In September 1965, Clifton Baird, a Louisville, Kentucky
policeman was informed by fellow officer Arlie Blair of a
$500,000 offer to kill Dr. King. Louisville was the home of
King’s brother, the Reverend A.D. King. Baird said he overheard
other police officers and several FBI officers discussing the
contract. The next day, Baird tape-recorded Blair referring to
the contract again. Later, the HSCA heard the tape and verified
its authenticity. [27. {Op. cit.}, n. 14.]

FBI agent William Duncan, liaison with the Louisville Police,
admitted that the discussion had taken place and named two other
agents who would confirm it. But he also claimed the offer was
initiated as a joke by police Sergeant William Baker. Both of the
other FBI agents denied any knowledge of the conversation and
Baker had died. The HSCA ran out of leads. [28. {Ibid.}]

There are also witnesses afraid to discuss what really happened
on the day of the assassination due to continuing harassment and
intimidation. For example, ever since a black Tennessee grocery
store owner named John McFerren first told his story, he has been
threatened, burgled, beaten up, and shot at. Now he is very
reluctant to tell it again.

On the afternoon of the assassination, McFerren was at a Memphis
produce store when he overheard the store’s manager say on the
phone “Get him on the balcony, you can pick up the money from my
brother in New Orleans and don’t call me here again.” The man on
the phone was Frank Liberto. His brother, Sal, who lived in New
Orleans, was associated with Mafia kingpin Carlos Marcello. As
incredible as it seems, the FBI did not pursue McFerren’s
allegation after they initially questioned Liberto and he denied
it. [29. Interview with John McFerren, Memphis, Tennessee, June
1989. It should be noted that because McFerren is terrified of
retribution, he refuses to be interviewed on camera.]

These connections, and other evidence that members of the Mob
were involved in the assassination, were discovered by
investigative reporter Bill Sartor. While doing research for a
book, Sartor had gone undercover and infiltrated the peripheries
of both the Memphis and the New Orleans Mafia. Sartor died
mysteriously in Texas as he was completing his first draft and
two autopsies failed to reveal the cause of death.

There are other Memphis locals, particularly in the vicinity of
the Lorraine Motel and Jim’s Grill, who are still afraid to talk
or who have suddenly changed their original stories. At least one
of them is still visited from time to time by a man reminding him
to stay silent. There is also the allegation that someone posing
as an advance security person appeared at the Lorraine Motel two
days before the assassination and ordered Dr. King’s room changed
from the ground floor to the first. Finally there was the known
presence in Memphis on the day of the assassination as well as a
week after, of a notorious anti-Castro mercenary and CIA contract
employee. Years later, when questioned about why he was in
Memphis on the day of the assassination, he admitted “it was my
business to be there.”

The CIA and False Identities

It is not disputed that the CIA took a very active interest in
Martin Luther King Jr. Documents released under the Freedom of
Information Act reveal an extensive and ongoing CIA scrutiny of
the thoughts, actions, and associates of the civil rights leader
throughout the 1960s. One of those reporting back to the CIA was
Jay R. Kennedy, a writer and broadcaster prominent in the civil
rights movement. Kennedy fervently believed that King’s
opposition to the war in Vietnam was orchestrated by Peking-line
communist agents.

There are other compelling questions about the complicity of the
CIA in the King assassination. For example, although James Earl
Ray never visited Toronto before April 1968, he used four
identities belonging to individuals living within a few miles of
each other in that city. Each of the four bears a rough physical
resemblance to Ray. Of these the most elaborate alias was that of
Eric Galt, a name Ray used extensively through the period before
the assassination. Only on April 4th, the day of the
assassination, did he abandon Galt’s name and begin to use the
other three. [30. Interview with Ray, {op. cit.}, n. 9.]

The Galt alias was not merely the result of a fraudulently
obtained birth certificate – it was the wholesale usurping of the
real Eric Galt’s history and physical identity. Evidence shows
that James Earl Ray had travelled in the same U.S. cities as the
Canadian Eric Galt, had access to Galt’s signature, and even
inquired into emigrating to southern Africa – a place where Eric
Galt had relatives. [31. See William Bradford Huie, {He Slew the
Dragon} (New York: Delacorte Press, 1970).] Moreover Ray has
scars on his forehead and his hand, as does the real Eric Galt.
Two months before the assassination Ray had plastic surgery on
his nose. Galt revealed that he, too, had had plastic surgery on
his nose.

Eric Galt is, moreover, an expert marksman.

The question arises: How could Ray or his co-conspirators acquire
such a detailed profile of this alter ego? According to Eric
Galt, there is only one place where all the pertinent information
is collected together – his highly classified security clearance
file in the Union Carbide factory in Toronto, where, in the mid-
1960s, he was working on a top secret U.S. defense project. [32.
Interview with Eric Galt, Toronto Canada, June 1989.]

Fletcher Prouty, a former Pentagon colonel and author of “The
Secret Team,” was responsible for providing military support for
CIA covert operations in the early 1960s. Prouty finds these
revelations highly significant: [33. Interview with Fletcher
Prouty, Alexandria, Va, June 1989.] “The Royal Canadian Mounted
Police (RCMP) [which at that time included the Canadian
equivalent of the CIA] would have compiled this file and besides
them and Union Carbide, the only people with access to it would
have been U.S. intelligence.”

The question of how Ray came to acquire these identities provided
the original link to Jules Ron Kimble, the man who has confessed
to us that he aided Ray in the assassination.

Who is Raoul?

Ray claims that the mysterious “Raoul” hired him to carry out
assignments in Montreal in late July 1967. This sparked an
interest in {Toronto Star} reporter Andre Salwyn, who sought
corroboration to this claim after Ray’s arrest. Salwyn conducted
an exhaustive search of the neighborhood in which Ray had
allegedly been seen drinking with an American stranger. He found
that there had indeed been a man with similar characteristics to
Ray’s description of Raoul living there at different times during
the previous year. He was known as Jules “Ricco” Kimble and was
said by his girlfriend to have had a car with rifles in the trunk
and a radio tuned into the police band. Salwyn checked phone
records and discovered that Kimble regularly contacted numbers in
New Orleans. [34. Salwyn testified before the House Select
Committee on Assassinations; see also, Melanson, {op. cit.}, n.
4, p. 44.]

But the phone numbers disappeared, and Salwyn was never allowed
to pursue the story. The HSCA did manage to come across Kimble
ten years later and they investigated. They found an FBI file on
him; and a CIA file; and an RCMP file.

Joe Oster, a Louisiana state investigator, conducted extensive
surveillance of Kimble in 1967, and claims that there is a week
in July 1967 when nobody can account for Kimble’s whereabouts.
[35. {Op. cit.}, n. 6.] This is the period in which Ray claims to
have met “Raoul” in Montreal.

When interviewed in 1967, Kimble claimed to have been a low-level
CIA courier and pilot. [36. Statement to Garrison, {op. cit.}, n.
7.] When we talked to him from prison, Kimble confirmed that he
had worked for the CIA as well as organized crime and also made
the following allegations: [37. {Op. cit.}, n. 1.]

+ He claims that the HSCA did know all about his role in the
assassination (more even than he could remember), producing
documents, photographs, and files which proved his association
with James Earl Ray, an association he then admitted. However,
all files relating to the HSCA investigation have been sealed for
50 years.

+ Kimble also stated that on the orders of a Louisiana FBI agent,
he flew James Earl Ray from Atlanta to Montreal in July 1967
where Ray was provided with an identities package by a CIA
specialist in Mont Royal, Montreal. An ex-CIA agent with
knowledge of Agency operations in Canada in the 1960s recently
confirmed in an off-the-record interview that there was an Agency
“asset” specializing in “identities” in Montreal in 1967. His
name was Raoul Maora.

+ Kimble said that he then accompanied Ray to a CIA training camp
in Three Rivers, Canada where Ray was taught to shoot. It was
there that the two men were seen together by Kimble’s former
girlfriend.

+ At the same time, an assassination team was assembled to kill
King. Kimble claims that he flew two snipers into Memphis using a
West Memphis airfield belonging to a CIA front company. He said
that the only involvement that Ray had in the assassination was
to serve as a decoy.

+ Finally, Jules Kimble stated that elements of the Memphis
Police Department did cooperate in the assassination but that the
actual operation was coordinated by a high-ranking intelligence
official based in Atlanta.

What is the validity of Kimble’s assertions? The evidence
presented here, and the many questions it raises, suggests one
thing: Those responsible for the murder of Martin Luther King Jr.
have yet to be caught and convicted of this political
assassination. There is strong evidence that shows agents within
the U.S. intelligence apparatus could have played a major role in
King’s murder. If that is the case, then the U.S. government
could be guilty of not only covering up details of the
assassination, but of the murder itself. The only way to answer
these questions is through a complete and thorough investigation.
The documents from the HSCA should be unsealed and a new probe
begun. It is long past time for that to happen.

—-End of article———————————————–

Don


-* Don Allen *- InterNet: dona@bilver.UUCP // Amiga..for the best of us.
USnail: 1818G Landing Dr, Sanford Fl 32771 X/ Why use anything else? 🙂
UUCP: ..uunet!tarpit!bilver!vicstoy!dona KING George Bush?? Just say NO!
UFO’s in commercials….is the GOVT getting us ready for OCTOBER of 1992?

 

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