MARTIN LUTHER KING - THE FATAL SHOT CAME FROM A DIFFERENT DIRECTION
On April 4, 1968, while standing on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel, Dr. Martin Luther King was assassinated.
The official story is that a single man, James Earl Ray, was staying at a rooming house located at 422 South Main Street.
In the back of this rooming house was a shared bathroom with a window that looked out onto the swimming pool of the Lorraine Motel.
According to the government, James Earl Ray shot Dr. Martin Luther King from that window. There is, needless to say, no physical evidence to prove this charge. James Earl Ray spent his life in prison based solely on a coerced confession which he immediately retracted. None of the ballistics tests, which were performed on the rifle James Earl Ray allegedly used, were able to link that rifle to the actual bullet that killed Dr. Martin Luther King. Dr. King's family does not think James Earl Ray was the killer, and recently won a civil court case proving there was a conspiracy.
Now, thanks to writer Ted Wilburn, in a story which follows, new evidence has surfaced to prove that the government and the media have been lying to the public about the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King.
Just moments after Dr. Martin Luther King was killed by a sniper's bullet, a photographer took the above picture. Dr. King lies on the balcony floor. The witnesses are all pointing in the direction the fatal shot was fired from. There is no confusion among the witnesses as to where the source of the shot was. They are not confused by echoes. There is no uncertainty. All three witnesses are pointing in exactly the same direction.
The official story is that these men are pointing at the bathroom window in the rear of the rooming house from which James Earl Ray is supposed to have fired a gunshot.
But is that where the witnesses are pointing?
As part of the research, Ted Wilburn went back to the Lorraine Motel, to the very spot where Martin Luther King was shot, and took a photograph of the crime scene location that shows a great deal of the surroundings.
Indicated at left is the actual window of the rooming house from which the government maintains that James Earl Ray shot Martin Luther King.
A line has been drawn from the rooming house window back to the balcony on which the pointing witnesses were photographed. Note the end of the line near the fire extinguisher and the intersection of the line with the top of the pale blue door.
Using the fire extinguisher and the top of the door as landmarks, a line is drawn on a detail of the photo taken just moment after the shooting, indicating the direction back to the window of the rooming house.
As can be seen, NONE of the witnesses are pointing towards the window of the rooming house at 422 South Main Street!
Note the small green circle marking the corner of the roof right above where Dr. King was killed.
The above photograph was taken from inside the bathroom of the rooming house at 422 South Main Street, looking through the window through which James Earl Ray is supposed to have shot Dr. King. At the very top of the photo can be seen the balcony of the Lorraine Motel. A small green circle identifies the roof corner marked in the detail from the picture right after the shooting. From this vantage point, we can confirm that the angle from the bathroom window to where Dr. King was killed is nearly level, as is indicated by the dotted red line on the detail photo.
The evidence in the photo taken just moments after the assassination is unequivocal. The claim that the witnesses are pointing to the rooming house where James Earl Ray was staying is a complete fabrication. The gunfire came from another direction high above the bathroom window.
Here follows Ted's story.
Overlooked evidence in the murder of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Ted Wilburn: Special Correspondent to What Really Happened.
Here is my brief biography and an overview of events, which led me to my discovery of this overlooked evidence, and of what it exists.
Theodore Carlton Wilburn; Date of birth, 11-30-33; Native Tennessean; Native Memphian; Native American. Occupation: 38 year AT&T employee now retired.
For the first twenty years of my life I rode the Memphis Area Transit Authorities (MATA) means of transportation from South Memphis to Downtown Memphis. First it was the #12 Florida trolley car. After that it was the #12 Florida electric bus after the city upgraded its means of transportation. The #12 Florida name was derived from the fact that the southern segment of the route was Florida Street that ended in South Memphis where I spent the first two decades of my life. I mention this because old #12 that I customarily rode passed by the rooming house located in the 400 block of South Main Street from where James Earl Ray allegedly shot Dr. King.
The day Dr. King was killed, April 4, 1968, I was at work on my 4:00pm to 12:00 o'clock midnight shift. Shortly after 6:00pm I heard the news of Dr. King being shot as it was broadcast over the radio. I recall that the Memphis Police Department was quick to discover an open bathroom window in the rooming house where James Earl Ray rented a room. That news quickly made the Memphis newspapers, The Commercial Appeal, and The Memphis Press Scimitar. But there was also news that there was a tree standing between the bathroom window of the rooming house and the Lorraine Motel balcony where Dr. King was standing when he was shot. How much foliage was on the tree is unknown to me because I have never seen any pictures that show that area of the murder location. However, it was early spring when trees begin to develop leaves. My curiosity of Dr. King's death was never satisfied because of this.
The Lorraine Motel was converted into the National Civil Rights Museum which was dedicated June 30-July 4, 1991, and opened September 28,1991 per its web site. Work on the conversion actually began about eighteen months earlier as I can best determine at this time. Miss Jackie Smith, a resident at the Lorraine, had to be evicted before construction could begin. She took up residence on the sidewalk of Mulberry Street and to this day has been boycotting the museum. She is a true "street person" whose worldly goods consist of a sofa, a chair, a shopping cart, a few clothes, and some picture albums about the conversion of the Lorraine Motel into the National Civil Rights Museum, etc. Miss Smith is now in her twelfth year of boycotting the museum. Why, you may ask, is she doing this? Her complaint, which she personally voiced to me, is that the construction cost of turning the motel into a museum was some nine million dollars that would have been better spent had it been used to make public housing out of the Lorraine.
My curiosity about Dr. King's assassination was acutely aroused in January of 1994 when I went to The Memphis Commercial Appeal in mid January to get a back issue of their December 1993 Christmas week paper. While the CA clerk retrieved a copy of the paper for me from storage I began looking through the CA's book, I AM A MAN, for sale there at their counter. It is a picture book of the Memphis Sanitation Workers strike of 1968, the reason for Dr. King's presence in Memphis when he was shot. Page 101 is a picture of the murder scene.
In this picture Dr. King is lying on his back on the walkway with his feet stuck beneath the wrought iron balcony railing. His legs are bent at his knees forming an inverted "V"; his back lying flat on the walkway that turns left and passes the side of room 306 where he was staying. The balcony turns right again at room 307, which is offset from room 306 by a distance of nearly the length of the room. I belabor this point because it is important to know the physical layout of the rooms to determine where Dr. King was actually lying immediately after being shot.
I had no prior knowledge that day in mid January of 1994 that the CA's book I AM A MAN existed. But I left the CA with their book and newspaper less some twenty-five dollars and went to the city library located at Peabody & McLean to do some genealogy research. As I passed a display of books about Dr. King in the library's history department one book caught my attention, The FBI & Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., by Mark Lane. Picking it up I opened it to within about three pages of Dr. Jerry Francisco's autopsy report testimony he gave at Ray's trial about a year after the murder.
Dr. Francisco stated that the death bullet entered Dr. King's body on the right side of his face, traveled downward right to left through his neck, and lodged beneath the skin close to his left shoulder blade. That information is consistent with where the eyewitnesses (one of whom is Reverend Andrew Young) in the murder scene are pointing. Finding this interesting I went to a copy machine and copied the page with Dr. Francisco's statement regarding his autopsy report.
In the murder picture Rev. Young is actually looking in the direction of his pointing finger, but I couldn't see any rooming house where he or the others with him were pointing. Page 107 of I AM A MAN is a picture of the Lorraine Motel taken from inside the bathroom window of the rooming house.
The write-up on page 106 about this picture says "Officers soon discovered the bathroom window at 418 1/2 S. Main through which they say James Earl Ray aimed when he shot Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Also on page 106 there is a statement made by Charlie Stephens who lived in the room next to the one rented by Ray. Stephens is quoted here as having said this after he heard the shot: "I went to the door and walked out into the hall. I could see the man in the offset in the hall. He had in his hand something wrapped in a newspaper." Even though Stephens doesn't mention Ray by his name its obvious that Ray is the person to whom he refers.
My curiosity now fully aroused I left the library and went home, got my Pentax K1000 camera and a supply of film, and drove directly to the Lorraine Motel which was then open to the public as the National Civil Rights Museum. There I found Miss Jackie Smith living on the street in her 5th year of boycotting the museum. It was she who pointed out the bathroom window of the rooming house from where police officers claimed Dr. King was shot. It was not even close to where Andrew Young and the other witnesses were pointing! I used two rolls of film that day taking pictures of the area from the street, the courtyard of the museum, and the Lorraine balcony.
Over the next few weeks I used up several more rolls of film photographing the area. Twice I paid the entrance fee and was allowed to use my camera inside the museum. On my third trip to the museum the employees were very helpful. One of them took me up directly to room 307 and unlocked the door and we went out on the balcony where I used up another roll of film. Incidentally, room 307 is the one next to room 306 (Rev. King's room) where the offset of the rest of the rooms begins.
This museum employee who escorted me to the balcony even posed for me pointing exactly like the eyewitnesses are pointing in the murder picture. I put several of these together to form a panorama.
These pictures were taken during the summer when the trees behind the rooming house were in full leaf. Consequently none of the rooming house is visible in my panorama. I was never able to get the museum employees to cooperate with me again to take pictures from the balcony during the winter when all the leaves were gone.
One of my photographs I took from the Lorraine balcony is a wide-angle view. The bathroom window of the rooming house is visible in this picture because I got it when there were no leaves on the trees.
When I took this picture in January of 1994 it didn't occur to me to take enough shots to make a panorama. It is among the first pictures I took when I didn't know what I was looking for. The blue tiled facade of the museum entrance was blocking my view of a building in the direction where the eyewitnesses were pointing when the murder scene picture was taken. So I took a few steps backward until it came into view and then I took my wide-angle picture. I still didn't know what it was even after I saw the developed photo, but it didn't take me long to find out that it was the top of the Fred P. Gattis building elevator shaft. This part of the Gattis Building is actually a penthouse that houses the motor and control equipment for its freight elevator.
There are two structures in the murder scene photo in the direction where the eyewitnesses were pointing. The closest one is a chimney on the rear wall of the Lorraine Hotel where the Lorraine Motel building begins. The farthest one is the Gattis penthouse. My telephoto shot of the penthouse shows that it was a perfect location for an assassin to fire on Dr. King from and not be seen. The hotel chimney was much too small and too close to accommodate a killer in such a manner (as the Gattis penthouse) that he wouldn't be seen. The Gattis penthouse is obviously the only structure in the entire area whose location supports the eyewitnesses' silent testimony and Dr. Francisco's autopsy report. The bathroom window where police officers claimed the bullet was fired from obviously does not support the eyewitnesses' pointing fingers or the doctor's autopsy report. James Earl Ray could not have been in two places at the same time (1) the rooming house, and (2) on top of the Gattis penthouse. Obviously, someone other than Ray was the killer and he fired on Dr. King from atop the Gattis penthouse.
From my collection of photos I produced five pages of pictures of my discovery, and a three-page explanatory document. Each page is numbered, and each photo is numbered and identified for cross-reference to the written document.
Attorney William Pepper, Ray's London based lawyer, was in Memphis in April of 1994. One Sunday evening I received a phone call from a private investigator, Kenneth Herman, who was working for Pepper and his associate attorney, Wayne Chastain. They had learned of my discovery and wanted to see what I had. I had provided Jackie Smith a copy of my pictures and document shortly after I completed them. I learned from her that someone in the Memphis Police department, another private investigator from Jackson, Mississippi, and someone from Twentieth Century Fox had been there and asked her for copies of my work.
I can't say where Pepper & Chastain or the others heard about it. Anyway, I met with Pepper and Chastain later that same Sunday when Herman called me. I hand passed Pepper a copy of the same five pages of photographs and document that I gave Jackie Smith and carefully explained it all to him and Chastain. I never heard anything more from either of them, but I did visit with Herman twice at his home. He was interested then, but a year or so later when I called him he was very rude. He let me know that he was no longer interested in Dr. King's murder because nobody was paying him for his services.
Pepper's book Orders to Kill, his conspiracy theory first edition, was printed in 1995. I bought a copy in 1996 after discovering it in a bookstore at Corpus Christi, Texas. Pepper had been in possession of my photographs and three-page document for about a year before his book was published, but he made no mention of any of my material in his book. However, I found a map of the murder area, a photo of Dr. King's body lying in the morgue with the shape of the bullet showing beneath the skin on his left shoulder blade, and comments about the bullet being all in one piece when it was removed. The bullet I've seen in TV specials and in Pepper's book is in three pieces.
The bullet I've seen in TV specials and in Pepper's book is in three pieces. It's a mystery to me that the death bullet is claimed to have been in one piece when removed from the body, sent to the FBI in one piece, but came back from the FBI in three pieces.
The map in Pepper's book shows the geographical layout of the murder location, with the exception of the Gattis Building penthouse. It also shows where the bushes and trees behind the rooming house are located. So I made two copies of the map, enlarged them, and drew in the Gattis Building. I marked the maps to show the penthouse, the rooming house, the Lorraine balcony, and a Memphis fire station communication tower at Main Street and Butler Avenue toward the left of the balcony.
The fire station tower is considerably higher than the penthouse and the balcony. I mention it for this reason: If there was a conspiracy in Dr. King's murder there would be the possibility that someone with access to the top of the communications tower would have observed that the penthouse overlooks the balcony.
But my writing is not to promote conspiracy theories. It is to show certain facts that were missed during investigations. My triangulations drawn in Pepper's map show that the trees and bushes behind the rooming house do not block the view between any two of the three buildings I mention, the Penthouse, the balcony, and the fire station tower. However, the tree does completely block the view of the balcony from the rooming house when it has leaves on it, and partly when it is bare.
The city cut down the trees and bushes the day after the murder so there may not be any pictures that show how much foliage there was. But it was April and people were walking around in their shirt sleeves at the murder location shortly after Dr. King was shot. A police officer was also standing in front of the rooming house in his shirt sleeves guarding a bundle of things allegedly belonging to James Earl Ray. See page 105, I AM A MAN.
I mention this because it shows that the temperatures were warm enough for trees to start putting forth leaves and the possibility that they blocked the view of the balcony from the rooming house. The city cut down the trees & bushes the day after the murder, but they grew back. So the tree in my pictures isn't the same tree that was growing there the day Dr. King was killed, but it is (or rather was) growing where it blocks the view as my pictures show. In 1999 the City of Memphis again cleared the trees and bushes from behind the rooming house as it did April 5, 1968.
A Commercial Appeal article of 5-7-98 tells about the museum's plans to take in the rooming house and some other buildings on South Main Street to expand its exhibits. Mr. Ellis Chappell had owned and lived in the rooming house for some twenty years where he had his art studio, as I understand the CA's article.
This article about Chappell and the museum's intentions to take his building for expansion purposes appeared only two days after Janet Reno made her 5-6-98 appearance at the Memphis museum. (More about that later). I called Chappell on the phone the following Saturday morning and talked with him for about a half-hour. He was very upset over his predicament. As I recall he informed me that he had the options of either selling out to the museum or face having his building condemned by the City of Memphis to get him out. It was also my understanding that he wasn't being offered a good price for his property. The CA article also had this to say about the intended purchase of Chappell's property: "Autozone founder and civil rights benefactor J. R. Pitt 'Hyde' Jr. intends to buy Chappell's building and donate it to the Lorraine Foundation, which operates the museum, said Beverly Robertson, museum executive director."
June 2, 1997 I wrote to Ray at River Bend Prison at Nashville, TN where he was incarcerated. I let him know about my discovery and sent him copies of some of my photos.
I also told him about a Commercial Appeal story of 4-10-97 about a three-judge panel in Memphis that wanted to see evidence of his innocence before they would consider reopening his case. (Only judge Joe Brown is mentioned in this 4-1-97 CA article).
I received a letter from Ray dated 6-15-97 giving me the names of attorneys William Pepper and Wayne Chastain indicating that he wanted me to give my discovery to them. I wrote to Ray again on 6-18-97 and informed him that Pepper and Chastain had had my discovery material since April of 1994. After that I received a second letter from Ray asking me if he could call me as a witness if his case should be reopened. I wrote to Ray again agreeing to appear for him as a witness.
The Memphis CA's story 4-10-97 story also mentions that Ray had a defense attorney named Jack McNeil. (Fourth paragraph). Their story says that McNeil was pleased with the three-judge ruling and that Ray's defense team was expected in court at the end of the week. Ray told me in his letter of 6-15-97 that he never heard of Jack McNeil except in the papers. Ray got McNeil's name wrong in his letter to me. He wrote McCain, but it's spelled right in the newspapers and in my letter to him.
As for the scientific evidence that three judge panel wanted to see, these things are day-one documentation, (1) the eyewitnesses fingers pointing at the Gattis penthouse and, (2) Dr. Francisco's autopsy description of the bullet through Dr. King's body that agrees with the eyewitnesses' pointing fingers.
After my correspondence with Ray I received a phone call from another lawyer, Andrew Hall, who said he was representing Ray. He wanted to know if I had any expertise in criminology. I sent him a copy of my materials, but never heard from him again. Hall was later mentioned several times in the Memphis Commercial Appeal.
Ray died in prison April 23, 1997, at age 70 without ever seeing his case reopened, only ten months after I first wrote to him
Pepper was eventually interviewed on ABC's TV Turning Point. In his interview Pepper was questioned about claims he made of a U.S. Government conspiracy to kill Dr. King, and particularly about Major Billy Eidson who he said was in charge of it. Pepper confirmed his accusations to ABC's host, Forrest Sawyer. Sawyer then called Billy Eidson and Former U.S. General Henry Cobb into the conference room for a face to face meeting with Eidson's accuser, William Pepper. General Cobb had charge of the 20th Special Services Group in Alabama & Major Eidson was under his command. Cobb and Eidson disputed Pepper's claim of their being involved in any conspiracy. Pepper thought Eidson was dead when he wrote accusations about him in his "conspiracy" book, Orders to Kill, but he was very much alive. Major Eidson filed suit against Pepper for libel in Charleston, South Carolina in 1997 according to a Memphis Commercial Appeal article of 03-09-99.
New York Times reporter Earl Caldwell was also interviewed on ABC's Turning Point program, which aired the same evening as Pepper's interview. Caldwell talked about Dr. King's driver Solomon Jones telling him that he (Jones) saw someone in the bushes and saw the "puff of smoke from the shot being fired from there," however, modern ammunition uses a charge of smokeless powder.
During these past six years I have reported my discovery to the authorities from Memphis to Washington, DC, including President Clinton and Attorney General Janet Reno. I have had no response from any of them except Tennessee Governor Don Sundquist and ABC News 20/20.
They indicated that they weren't interested. My letter to Reno was sent to her on June 12, 1997. Although I didn't hear anything from her I learned from Jackie Smith that she was in Memphis at the museum on Tuesday, May 5, 1998. Her picture appeared in the Memphis Commercial May 6. I arrived in Memphis the next day to visit my daughters and grandchildren. Miss Smith informed me then that Reno walked out on the balcony looking over the murder area. In the CA photo Reno is pictured with Dr. Benjamin Hooks, museum board chairman, and Rev. Samuel Billy Kyles. The three of them are looking out the window over the wreath that marks the balcony where Dr. King was shot to death. The room they are in is 307. Dr. King's room was 306.
Now as a matter of interest, there aren't three levels of rooms in the Lorraine, and there never were. Miss Jackie Smith informed me that the Lorraine Hotel's rental rooms started at 100 on the second floor because the ground level consisted of a restaurant, offices, and some guest rooms for their personal friends. When the Motel was constructed the ground level rooms started at 200 and the upper level rooms started at 300.
Last June 1999 I was in Memphis again visiting my daughters & grandchildren. Late one evening I was with my daughter Terri at an office supplies store on Union when I ran into Dr. Benjamin Hooks and his wife Mrs. Frances Hooks. With Terri looking on I took the liberty of showing them my two wallet sized photos of: (1) the murder scene, and (2) my wide angle picture of the murder area. After briefly explaining to them that these photos tell a different story about where the fatal bullet was fired from, I asked Dr. Hooks if he had any interest in my discovery. He told me "No."
Among those to whom I have sent my discovery materials from which I have had no response are:
April 30, 1997, Mrs. Corretta Scott King.
Life Magazine, owner of the murder scene photograph, 6-7-97
Memphis Mayor, W. W. Herendon, 5-13-97
The Commercial Appeal, 6-21-97
Memphis Judge Joe Brown, 5-12-97
Modern Maturity Magazine, 5-22-97 (Because they ran a story about Dr. King's murder featuring Rev. Andrew Young, one of the eyewitnesses in the murder photograph)
Janet Reno, 6-12-97
President Clinton, 6-18-97
With as much interest as these have publicly shown in Dr. King's murder I thought that by now I would have had some positive acknowledgments, but I haven't. However, besides all these people to whom I have showed this evidence I have also shown it to some police officers, doctors, lawyers, ministers, personal friends, family members, and complete strangers, not a few. So far I have not had one disagreeing comment from anybody to whom I have personally shown this evidence. I have given this information free to everybody I have contacted. It is not for sale. All my letters to these people have been sent by certified mail - at my personal expense. I have not made any accusations or issued any conspiracy theories as others have done, nor do I intend to.
NEW! Letter from Jackie Smith.
Jackie Smith, the homeless lady mentioned in the article above, read about herself at this web site and sent Ted Wilburn the following letter.
This just in from Reuter'sTuesday March 24 11:07 AM EST
New Evidence Revealed in King Assassination
ATLANTA (Reuters) - A former FBI agent who investigated the 1968
assassination of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. was to present
on Tuesday what he claimed was evidence never before disclosed in the case.
Donald Wilson, who left the FBI in 1987, was one of two agents who on April
10, 1968, impounded a white Ford Mustang belonging to James Earl Ray, who
confessed to the killing but later recanted, saying the case was a
conspiracy involving federal agents.
Wilson said Monday he found and kept two slips of paper from the car, which
was found in Atlanta's Capitol Homes housing project, that may support Ray's
claim of a government conspiracy in the April 4, 1968, assassination.
"This is very significant," King's son, Dexter King, told The Atlanta
Constitution. "The evidence that he has will go a long way toward disputing
the official story."
Ray, 70, was sentenced to life in prison for killing King He has been
diagnosed with liver cancer. The King family said it supports his request
for a new trial.
Wilson said he did not reveal the evidence earlier because he did not trust
some of the investigators in the case. He said he also feared for his
He said he contacted the King family after hearing the slain civil rights
leader's wife Coretta Scott King ask Tennessee officials in 1997 to let
Ray's case go to trial.
Wilson, who heads a career management company, was to present the evidence
to Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard because the documents were
found in Atlanta and Howard has jurisdiction.
CNN - THE JAMES EARL RAY RIFLE DID NOT FIRE THE BULLET THAT KILLED MARTIN LUTHER KING!
July 11, 1997
Web posted at: 11:47 a.m. EDT (1547 GMT)
MEMPHIS, Tennessee (CNN) -- Markings on some of the test bullets fired
from the rifle believed used in the killing of Martin Luther King Jr.
do not match the markings on the bullet that killed King, according to
an affidavit filed by confessed killer James Earl Ray's attorneys.
The results of bullet tests, conducted in May, were read in court by
Judge Joseph Brown .
Lawyers for Ray, who sought the tests in a bid to prove his innocence,
are asking Brown to approve additional tests on Ray's .30-06 hunting
"A comparison was conducted of the bullet material removed from Dr.
King with the 12 test bullets that could be adequately analyzed,"
Brown said, reading from a report on the test firings.
"This comparison revealed that the gross and unique characteristic
signature left on the 12 test bullets by the James Earl Ray rifle was
not present on the death bullet."
IF JAMES EARL RAY DID NOT KILL MARTIN LUTHER KING, THEN WHO DID?
PART 1: COINTELPRO
Back in the 60's, the FBI's COINTELPRO program specifically targeted the civil rights movement for harassment and disruption. Not lawful investigation, but actual criminal acts committed by the FBI designed to deny the black population (along with Native Americans, the anti-war movement, and the early feminist movement) their civil rights.
That no limits were set on the type of actions directed against the central figures of the civil rights movement is illustrated by the following quote from an FBI document made public by the Freedom Of Information Act.
"Concerning the first proposal submitted by Detroit,
counterintelligence action by San Francisco to capitalize on Huey P.
Newton's favorable stand toward homosexuals has already been
authorized by the Bureau. The second Detroit proposal to consider
directing an anonymous communication to Newton accusing David Hilliard
of stealing BPP funds and depositing them in foreign banks does have
merit and the Bureau does not concur with San Francisco's observation
that this would have little effect since there is no record that
Hilliard is skimming large amounts of money. Purpose of
counterintelligence action is to disrupt BPP and it is immaterial
whether facts exist to substanciate the charge. If facts are present
it aids in the sucess of the proposal but the Bureau feels that the
skimming of money of money is such a sensitive issue that disruption
can be accomplished without facts to back it up."
-from Sept. 16, 1970 Airtel from Hoover informing his COINTELPRO
operatives that outright lies were appropiate content for anonymous
Among the "outright lies" committed by the FBI against the civil rights movement was a fraudulent coloring book distributed by the FBI but blamed on the Black Panthers by the all-too-willing media. Scans of the book are at http://whatreallyhappened.com/~rivero/POLITICS/COINTELPRO/coloring.html.
The coloring book was chosen because this attack came long before the Black Panthers became militant, when their primary activities were the 60's equivilent of food banks, free food for children, and the desire for local control of the schools.
The fact that mostly white households were receiving the coloring book in the mail should have been the tipoff that the coloring book was not what it was claimed to be. But those were innocent days, when the true nature of our government was still well hidden from the general population, and the media was always assumed to tell the truth (those days are forever gone as the last poll taken shows that the media is trusted by only 5% of all Americans).
The coloring book was filled (as you san see at the above URL) with highly racist, overtly anti-white and anti-police illustrations that so angered the white population that they stopped listening to the black's legitimate political grievences, which is what the FBI intended. The manufactured image of the Black Panthers as racists educating their children to hate whites legitimized open political repression.
Individuals who had become prominant supporters of the civil rights movement were targeted for similar "outright lies". No more tragic example exists than the FBI's scheme to deliberatly ruin the career of actress Jean Seberg, a vocal and financial supporter of civil rights.
Jean Seberg, a well known actress in the 60s, starred in such films as "Saint Joan", "Airport", "Dead of Summer", "Paint Your Wagon", "Pendulum", "A Fine Madness", "Moment to Moment", "Lilith", and "The Mouse That Roared" along with dozens of films made in France. Jean Seberg was married to French Diplomat Romain Gary and was carrying his child when the Los Angeles office of the FBI sent the following memo to Washington D.C."Bureau permission is requested to publicize the pregnancy of Jean
Seberg, well-known movie actress by (name deleted) Black Panther (BPP)
(deleted) by advising Hollywood "Gossip-Columnists" in the Los Angeles
area of the situation. It is felt that the possible publication of
Seberg's plight could cause her embarrassment and serve to cheapen her
image with the general public.
" 'It is proposed that the following letter from a fictitious person
be sent to local columinists:
"I was just thinking about you and remembered I still owe you a favor.
So ---- I was in Paris last week and ran into Jean Seberg, who was
heavy with baby. I thought she and Romaine [sic] had gotten together
again, but she confided the child belonged to (deleted) of the Black
Panthers, one (deleted). The dear girl is getting around!
" 'Anyway, I thought you might get a scoop on the others. Be good and
I'll see you soon.
"Usual precautions would be taken by the Los Angeles Division to
preclude identification of the Bureau as the source of the letter if
approval is granted."
(Note the comment about "usual precautions"; yet another indicator that such smear campaigns, then and now, are common operations).
Permission was granted (but with the suggestion that the smear be delayed until Jean Seberg's pregnancy was in a very obvious condition), and the rumor started by Los Angeles Times propagandist Joyce Haber. The story was picked up by Newsweek and the international press. The shock of the story was so severe that Jean Seberg suffered a miscarriage. The funeral for the child was held with an open casket, so that the lie stood revealed in it's most tragic form. Jean Seberg, her baby dead and her career shattered by this outright lie, attempted suicide several times, finally succeeding in a French Hotel.
(The name which was redacted from the above memo during the FOIA process is thought by many to have been Raymond Hewit, a Black Panther leader. His "outright lie" was far more direct. The FBI typed up a letter on official FBI stationary identifying Hewit as an informant and planted it where other Black Panthers would find it in the hopes that Hewit would then be killed.)
Following Seberg's death, the Los Angeles Times, the key instrument of her torment, issued a statement by the FBI."The days when the FBI used derogatory information to combat advocatesThe Senate committee that looked into COINTELPRO disagreed, however.
of unpopular causes have long since passed. We are out of that
business forever.""Cointelpro activities may continue today under the rubric of
(From my own experiences in Hollywood following my interest in the Vincent Foster murder, I can attest that the Senate committee has a far more accurate grasp of reality. Threats, smears, and blacklisting are still the tools of choice for the FBI.)
Disinformation was not the limit of the FBI's tactics against the civil rights movement. While officially critical of the KKK, the FBI's "White Hate" program let it be known that KKK attacks against certain black leadership targets would not result in any reprisals.
All of the covertness and subterfuge was to allow COINTELPRO to stifle dissent while maintaining the illusion that the nation was a democracy with a still-functioning Bill Of Rights. However, no matter how many times the word "Democracy" gets drummed into our ears as we grow up, common sense will tell you that the mere existence of a secret police force, able, willing, and permitted to destroy the lives of citizens at will, proves we live in a dictatorship.
PART 2: MARTIN LUTHER KING
No single figure of the "unpopular" civil rights movement attracted the ire of the FBI more than Martin Luther King. Several attempts were made to discredit him and to drive him to suicide so that a more "tractable" synthetic leader could be manufactured to take his place; someone who would provide a focus for the black population, but who who could be counted on not to cross certain lines (and I note that when the children of Dr. King went public with their belief that James Earl Ray was actually innocent, the most vocal criticism of them came from the Reverend Jesse Jackson).
Martin Luther King first became a target of the FBI following the riots in Albany, Georgia, when the New York Times ran an article critical of the overt racism the FBI was demonstrating, and Dr. King went on record as agreeing with that assessment.
Notice that in all cases, the appellation "hate-group" was used as psychological justification for the actions being undertaken, even against clearly pacifist organizations such as Dr. King's.SAC, Albany August 25, 1967
PERSONAL ATTENTION TO ALL OFFICES
[From] Director, FBI
BLACK NATIONALIST - HATE GROUPS
[...] The purpose of this new counterintelligence endeavor is to
expose, disrupt, misdirect, discredit, or OTHERWISE NEUTRALIZE [emphasis
added] the activities of black nationalist hate-type organizations and
groupings, their leadership, spokesmen, membership, and supporters, and
to counter their propensity for violence and civil disorder. The activities
of all such groups of intelligence interest to the Bureau must be followed
on a continuous basis so we will be in a position to promptly take advantage
of all opportunities for counterintelligence and inspire action in instances
where circumstances warrant. The pernicious background of such groups,
their duplicity, and devious maneuvers must be exposed to public scrutiny
where such publicity will have a neautralizing effect. Efforts of the
various groups to consolidate their forces or to recruit new or youthful
adherents must be frustrated. NO OPPORTUNITY SHOULD BE MISSED TO
EXPLOIT THROUGH COUNTERINTELLIGENCE TECHNIQUES THE ORGANIZATIONAL AND
PERSONAL CONFLICTS OF THE LEADERSHIPS OF THE GROUPS AND WHERE POSSIBLE AN
EFFORT SHOULD BE MADE TO CAPITALIZE UPON EXISTING CONFLICTS BETWEEN COMPETING
BLACK NATIONALIST ORGANIZATIONS. [emphasis added] When an opportunity is
apparent to disrupt or NEUTRALIZE [emphasis added] black nationalist, hate-
type organizations through the cooperation of established local news media
contacts or through such contact with sources available to the Seat of
Government [Hoover's office]*, in every instance careful attention must be
given to the proposal to insure the targetted group is disrupted, ridiculed,
or discredited through the publicity and not merely publicized...
You are also cautioned that the nature of this new endeavor is such
that UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES SHOULD THE EXISTENCE OF THE PROGRAM BE MADE
KNOWN OUTSIDE THE BUREAU [emphasis added] and appropriate within-office
security should be afforded to sensitive operations and techniques considered
under the program.
No counterintelligence action under this program may be initiated
by the field without specific prior Bureau authorization. [Emphasis in orig.]
* [EDITOR'S NOTE: "Seat of Government" (SOG) is an official designation
created by J. Edgar Hoover to refer to his own office. Hoover was director
of the FBI for some 40 years, even receiving a special exemption from
compulsory retirement by President Ford (blackmailable because of the same
reason he was appointed Vice President under Nixon; his connections to
the coverup of the JFK assassination). The "SOG" appelation is
indicative of his egotistical view of his power, which saw presidents come
PART 3: THE ASSASINATION
Years later, the growth and popularity of the civil rights movement, along with Martin Luther King's persistant ability to survive the various COINTELPRO operations launched against him, prompted this memo.
BLACK NATIONALIST - HATE GROUPS
RACIAL INTELLIGENCE 3/4/68
For maximum effectiveness of the Counterintelligence Program, and
to prevent wasted effort, long-range goals are being set.
1. Prevent the COALITION of militant black nationalist groups. In
unity there is strength; a truism that is no less valid for all its
triteness. An effective coalition of black nationalist groups might be the
first step toward a real "Mau Mau" [Black revolutionary army] in America,
the beginning of a true black revolution.
2. Prevent the RISE OF A "MESSIAH" who could unify, and
electrify, the militant black nationalist movement. Malcolm X might have
been such a "messiah;" he is the martyr of the movement today. Martin
Luther King, Stokely Carmichael and Elijah Muhammed all aspire to this
position. Elijah Muhammed is less of a threat because of his age. King
could be a very real contender for this position should he abandon his
supposed "obedience" to "white, liberal doctrines" (nonviolence) and embrace
black nationalism. Carmichael has the necessary charisma to be a real
threat in this way.
3. Prevent VIOLENCE on the part of black nationalist groups. This
is of primary importance, and is, of course, a goal of our investigative
activity; it should also be a goal of the Counterintelligence Program to
pinpoint potential troublemakers and neutralize them before they
exercise their potential for violence.
4. Prevent militant black nationalist groups and leaders from
gaining RESPECTABILITY, by discrediting them to three separate segments of
the community. The goal of discrediting black nationalists must be handled
tactically in three ways. You must discredit those groups and individuals
to, first, the responsible Negro community. Second, they must be
discredited to the white community, both the responsible community and to
"liberals" who have vestiges of sympathy for militant black nationalist
[sic] simply because they are Negroes. Third, these groups must be
discredited in the eyes of Negro radicals, the followers of the movement.
This last area requires entirely different tactics from the first two.
Publicity about violent tendencies and radical statements merely enhances
black nationalists to the last group; it adds "respectability" in a different
5. A final goal should be to prevent the long-range GROWTH of
militant black organizations, especially among youth. Specific tactics to
prevent these groups from converting young people must be developed. [...]
Primary targets of the Counterintelligence Program, Black
Nationalist-Hate Groups, should be the most violent and radical groups and
their leaders. We should emphasize those leaders and organizations that
are nationwide in scope and are most capable of disrupting this country.
These targets, members, and followers of the:
Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC)
Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC)
Revolutionary Action Movement (RAM)
NATION OF ISLAM (NOI) [emphasis added]
Offices handling these cases and those of Stokely Carmichael of
SNCC, H. Rap Brown of SNCC, Martin Luther King of SCLC, Maxwell Stanford of
RAM, and Elijah Muhammed of NOI, should be alert for counterintelligence
J. Edgar Hoover
[SOURCE: Brian Glick, _The_War_At_Home: _Covert_Action_Against_U.S._
Activists_And_What_We_Can_Do_About_It_ (Boston: South End Press, 1989)
On April 4th, 1968, one month after the above memo was sent out by Hoover, Martin Luther King was in Memphis Tennessee, trying to pick up the pieces of a peace march that on March 28th had been disrupted by a gang of agents provocateur called "The Invaders," later revealed to be connected with COINTELPRO.
When Martin Luther King announced his return to Memphis, the FBI, with direct approval of J. Edgar Hoover, circulated to friendly press contacts a memo riducling Martin Luther King for staying at the white-owned Holiday Inn instead of the Motel Lorraine, which was black-owned. King fell for the ruse and booked himself into a ground floor room at the motel. An unknown individual, claiming to be King's advance man, changed the booking to the second floor room with the balcony, claiming that King liked to look at swimming pools.
This new room, in the rear of the building and facing open alleys, was a security disaster, wide open to sniper fire from numerous angles.
At 6PM, while standing on the balcony and speaking to his driver, Martin Luther King was shot and killed.
Conveniently placed individuals immediately pointed to the bathroom window of Bessie Brewer's boarding house. Those individuals who claimed that the shot had been fired from a hedge next to the building were ignored and ridiculed. James Earl Ray was arrested, urged to confess by his lawyer, then retracted his confession. He is still in jail, at present dying of liver desease (but probably not fast enough to suit the FBI).
There are numerous reaosns to doubt the official story.
1. James Earl Ray, not unlike his lone-nut cousin Lee Harvey Oswald, was a poor shot in the Army. 2. At Ray's evidentiary hearing, a former FBI ballistics expert testified that not even the most skilled gunman could have accurately fired a rifle in the manner claimed by the government prosecution. According to the expert, to effectively line up the rifle for such a shot, the butt of the rifle would have had to stick six inches into the wall. The prosecution countered that Ray had contorted himself into position around the bathtub in order to make the kill shot, which seems equally incredulous. 3. After the assassination, Wayne Chastain, a reporter at the Memphis Press Scimitar, came across an unpublished Associated Press photograph in the newspaper's files which was taken from the boarding house bathroom window, through which Ray allegedly shot King. The sniper's view was obscured by branches from trees growing between the boarding house and the Motel Lorraine. The City of Memphis ordered the sanitation department to cut those trees down shortly after the assassination, making it impossible to conclusively determine how the tree branches may have interfered in a shot fired from the boarding house bathroom. (Students of one of the other assassinations from that period, that of President John F. Kennedy, will recall how the government of Dallas almost immediately replaced and relocated all the street signs in Dealey Plaza, some of which were reported to have had bullet holes). 4. Only one witness claimed to have seen Ray leaving the boarding house bathroom, a man named Charles Stephens. According to two other sources, Stephens was extremely inebriated at the time. The first three descriptions Stephens gave didn't resemble Ray at all--in fact, Stephens' first two descriptions of the alleged assassin were of a black man. Stephens admitted that he did not get a good look at the alleged assassin. It wasn't until the FBI paid $30,000 in bar tabs for Stephens that he fingered Ray as the hit man. Charles Stephens, it should be noted, did not see the actual shooting. According to another witness, Stephens was busy urinating in some bushes when the killing actually occured. 5. Two other witnesses saw someone leaving the boarding house bathroom. One witness, Bessie Brewer, the owner of the boarding house, could not identify the individual and refused to identify Ray as the man she had rented a room to. The other witness, Stephens' common law wife Grace, said she did get a good look at him, and that it was definitely not James Earl Ray. Grace's drunken husband became the preferred witness. Grace was committed to a mental institution. According to her lawyer, C.M. Murphy, she was committed illegally, and after she was committed, the Memphis prosecutors removed her records from the hospital. After years of imprisonment under heavy sedation, Grace still refused to recant her story. 6. In addition to Brewer, two other witnesses at the boarding house insisted that the man who rented Ray's room looked nothing like James Earl Ray. 7. Less than two minutes after the fatal shot was fired, a bundle containing the 30.06 Remington rifle allegedly used in the assassination and some of Ray's belongings was conveniently found in the doorway of the Canipe Amusement Company next door to the boarding house. Ray would have had to fire the shot that killed King from his contorted position in the bathroom, exit the sniper's nest, go to his room to collect his belongings and wrap and tie it all in a bundle, leave his room, run down the stairs and out of the boarding house, stash the bundle next door, and then get away from the scene unnoticed--all within two minutes! (Again, students of the JFK assassination will recognize a familier pattern in the superhuman running skills attributed to the patsy). 8. A service station manager told an investigator for Ray's defense team that he saw Ray several blocks from the boarding house at the time of the shooting. He was stabbed soon after he started talking to the defense team. After changing his story about his involvement in the assassination, Ray himself was stabbed while in the library of the Brushy Mountain Prison. 9. Martin Luther King's brother, an excellent swimmer, was found drowned in his pool following Martin Luther King's assassination. 10. Finally and most telling, the FBI lab was never able to ballistically match the bullet recovered from the body of Martin Luther King with the James Earl Ray rifle conventiantly found in the doorway.
PART 4: THE JAMES EARL RAY RIFLE
The only basis for James Earl Ray's imprisonment is his confession, one offered under coercion by his court-appointed attorney and immediately retracted. There exists no evidence at all that James Earl Ray was the killer of Martin Luther King.
James Earl Ray is now trying to avail himself of a Tennessee law which allows the re-opening of his case in the face of new investigative technologies that might exhonorate him. Here was the initial CNN story (quoted under "Fair Use").Bullet test results due in King assassination
May 21, 1997
Web posted at: 3:14 p.m. EDT (1914 GMT)
CRANBERRY TOWNSHIP, Pennsylvania (CNN) -- Criminal experts might know
by the end of the day whether James Earl Ray Jr.'s hunting rifle was
the murder weapon that killed Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Technicians at the CamScan laboratory were to use a powerful scanning
electron microscope to zoom in on markings made on bullets test-fired
from the hunting rifle found with Ray's fingerprints on it near the
Memphis motel where King was slain in 1968.
The test bullets are to be compared to a bullet taken from King's
body. If tests prove Ray's rifle was not the murder weapon, he can ask
for a hearing on his assertion of innocence. The results, however, may
not be released until June.
Eighteen test bullets were fired from Ray's .30-06 Remington rifle
last week in Rhode Island and taken to the CamScan lab near Pittsburgh
for the analysis.
The tests were completed a month later. Had they concluded that the rifle owned by James Earl Ray had indeed fired the bullet that killed Dr. Martin Luther King, I think it's safe to say that it would have been page one news across the country. Instead, the release of the results has been continually put off, and now is on indefinate hold under the claim that new tests are needed because the rifle was not cleaned properly.
Here is the latest CNN story (quoted under "Fair Use").Sources: Tests fail to rule out King assassination rifle
June 13, 1997
Web posted at: 10:31 a.m. EDT (1031 GMT) Ray photo
MEMPHIS, Tennessee (CNN) -- Defense lawyers for James Earl Ray have
requested a second test-firing of the rifle believed to have killed
Martin Luther King Jr., sources citing a sealed affidavit told CNN.
The defense made its request after testing last month failed to rule
out the rifle as the murder weapon, the sources said. The results of
those tests were to be released June 18, but could now be delayed.
Defense attorney William Pepper, contacted by phone Thursday, said the
defense request does not mean the test results are inconclusive.
"The process is still going on, so there are no conclusions," he said,
adding that he could not comment further due to a gag order on the
Note that the only actual statement made by the defense lawyer is that the tests were NOT inconclusive. All else is attributed to "sources" and commentary about "sealed affidavits". Note also that a gag order has been issued in this case.
The meaning of the hemming and hawing is clear. The test results are not something that the government wishes We The People to be aware of. So, by decree, and with the willing complicity of the ministry of truth (otherwise known as ABCNNBCBS), We The People will not be told.
We will not be told that the tests did not match the bullet that killed Martin Luther King with the rifle owned by James Earl Ray. We will be given excuses, delays, obfuscations, and hopefully we will all forget that tests even took place. Hopefully, James Earl Ray (who has spent his life behind bars solely for the crime of trusting his court appointed attorney) will die soon and solve the government's problems.
The sealing of the affidavits, the issuance of a gag order, and the claim that the complete failure to match the bullet to the rifle doesn't "rule out" the rifle as the murder weapon all underscores the scale of the big lie being protected.
Ballistics tests are an either/or situation. Either the bullet matches or it doesn't. Either the James Earl Ray rifle fired that bullet or it didn't. Legally, if it cannot be proven, it didn't happen.
A report leaked from the court confirms that the second set of ballistics tes showed that there is a manufacturing defect in the James Eal Ray rifle that gouges any bullet it fires. That mark does NOT appear on the bullet that killed Martin Luther King. When the judge ordered one more set of tests to make sure, the Federal government, instead of complying with the court order, had the judge removed from the case March 7th, 1998!
In the 60's, COINTELPRO, with the full knowledge and blessing of the political leadership, destroyed the leadership of the civil rights movement, intentionally, covertly, and with malice of forethought.
In the present, the inheritors of COINTELPRO, with the full knowledge and blessing of the present political leadership, still perpetuate the lies and coverups.
And all of Bill Clinton's postured "apology for slavery" does not change that fact. A photo-op is not absolution.
What does it say about the reality of our nation when the secret police destroy careers and frame innocent people, aided and abbetted by the media and the machinery of so-called law and order?
What does it say about the reality of our nation when a quarter of a century after the murder and frame up took place, a government composed of entirely new individuals willfully perpetuates the lies of the past?
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