By Jeremy Kusmarov
Covert Action Magazine
Powerful new evidence of a government-abetted conspiracy has prompted King family members to demand a reopening of the investigation into his murder.
Everyone knows that James Earl Ray shot Martin Luther King, Jr., right? The U.S. government says so. All the school textbooks say so. And it is enshrined as unquestioned gospel in the pages of Wikipedia.
But the official story is full of holes. Instead, mounting evidence suggests that King may have been murdered as part of a conspiracy planned and/or abetted by the FBI in coordination with local Memphis police personnel. In this scenario, Ray served as a patsy, like critics allege Lee Harvey Oswald was in the JFK assassination. The real shooter, according to these accounts, struck King not from the boardinghouse bathroom—allegedly from where Ray shot him—but from bushes behind the Lorraine Motel—the King assassination’s version of the grassy knoll.
This article lays out that evidence—as it may soon be laid out in court and a congressional committee—if the King family’s demands to reopen the murder investigation continue to gain traction. What follows is a reconstruction of the events leading up to King’s murder, and the subsequent purported attempts by local and national government officials to cover up their involvement and pin it on a patsy named James Earl Ray.
At 6:01 p.m. on April 4, 1968, Martin Luther King, Jr., was struck in the face by a bullet as he was leaning over the balcony of his room at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee.
An hour later he was declared dead at nearby St. Joseph’s Hospital.
Police authorities fingered James Earl Ray—a career criminal from Alton, Illinois, who had escaped from the Jefferson City, Missouri, penitentiary in April 1967—as the lone assassin.
A well-known crime scene investigator determined that the shot from the rooming house bathroom could not have struck King unless Ray had hung out the window or smashed a ten-inch-deep hole in the wall for his rifle to fit into—the angles were all wrong.
The prosecution’s main witness, Charles Quitman Stephens, had been arrested 155 times mostly for alcoholism and was dead drunk at the time of the shooting, according to his wife, landlady, a homicide detective who interviewed him (Tommy Smith) and a cab driver who picked him up.
In 1999, a mixed-race jury presiding over a wrongful death civil suit by the King family in Memphis reached a unanimous verdict that King was assassinated as a result of a conspiracy involving the U.S. government.
King’s widow, Coretta Scott King, said afterwards that “there is abundant evidence of a major, high-level conspiracy in the assassination of my husband.” The jury found that the mafia and various local, state, and federal government agencies “were deeply involved in the assassination…. Mr. Ray was set up to take the blame.”
Ray’s Intelligence Background
After James’s [prison] escape, he came in contact with a mysterious figure named Raoul, who provided Ray with phony documents in Montreal, Canada, after the two met at the Neptune Bar.
Jules Ricco Kimble, a convicted killer who worked for organized crime, the Klu Klux Klan and CIA in the French separatist struggle in Quebec, told investigators that he flew Ray to Montreal and brought him to a CIA identities specialist who provided Ray with his aliases.
A retired CIA agent later said that the CIA identities specialist in Montreal was named Raoul Miora.
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.
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. King was considered “a Negro who repeatedly preached the message of Hanoi and Peking.”
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.