How The Government Killed Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Before scoffing at this headline, you should know that in 1999, in Memphis, Tennessee, more than three decades after MLK’s death, a jury found local, state, and federal government agencies guilty of conspiring to assassinate the Nobel Peace Prize winner and civil rights leader. The same media you would expect to cover such a monumental decision was absent at the trial, because those news organizations were part of that conspiracy. William F. Pepper, who was James Earl Ray’s first attorney, called over 70 witnesses to the stand to testify on every aspect of the assassination. The panel, which consisted of an even mix of both black and white jurors, took only an hour of deliberation to find Loyd Jowers and other defendants guilty. If you’re skeptical of any factual claims made here, click here for a full transcript, broken into individual sections. Read the testimonies yourself if you don’t want to take my word for it.
It really isn’t that radical a thing to expect this government to kill someone who threatened their authority and had the power to organize millions to protest it. When MLK was killed on April 4, 1968, he was speaking to sanitation workers in Memphis, who were organizing to fight poverty wages and ruthless working conditions. He was an outspoken critic of the government’s war in Vietnam, and his power to organize threatened the moneyed corporate interests who were profiting from the war. At the time of his death, he was gearing up for the Poor People’s Campaign, an effort to get people to camp out on the National Mall to demand anti-poverty legislation – essentially the first inception of the Occupy Wall Street movement. The government perceived him as a threat, and had him killed. James Earl Ray was the designated fall guy, and a complicit media, taking its cues from a government in fear of MLK, helped sell the “official” story of the assassination. Here’s how they did it.
The defendant in the 1999 civil trial, Loyd Jowers, had been a Memphis PD officer in the 1940s. He owned a restaurant called Jim’s Grill, a staging ground to orchestrate MLK’s assassination underneath the rooming house where the corporate media alleges James Earl Ray shot Dr. King. During the trial, William Pepper, the plaintiff’s attorney, played a tape of an incriminating 1998 conversation between Jowers, UN Ambassador Andrew Young, and Dexter King, MLK’s son. Young testified that Jowers told them he “wanted to get right with God before he died, wanted to confess it and be free of it.”
On the tape, Jowers mentions that those present at the meetings included MPD officer Marrell McCollough, Earl Clark, an MPD lieutenant and known as the department’s best marksman, another MPD officer, and two men who were unknown to Jowers but whom he assumed to be representatives of federal agencies. While Dr. King was in Memphis, he was under open or eye-to-eye federal surveillance by the 111th Military Intelligence Group based at Fort McPherson in Atlanta, Georgia. Memphis PD intelligence officer Eli Arkin even admitted to having the group in his own office. During his last visit to Memphis in late March of 1968, MLK was under covert surveillance, meaning his room at the Rivermont was bugged and wired. Even if he went out to the balcony to speak, his words were recorded via relay. William Pepper alleges in his closing argument during King v. Jowers that such covert surveillance was usually done by the Army Security Agency, implying the involvement of at least two federal agencies.
Jowers also gave an interview to Sam Donaldson on “Prime Time Live” in 1993. The transcript of the interview was read during the trial, and it was revealed that Jowers openly talked about being asked by produce warehouse owner Frank Liberto to help with MLK’s murder. Liberto had mafia connections, and sent a courier with $100,000 to Jowers, who owned a local restaurant, with instructions to hold the money at his restaurant.
John McFerren owned a store in Memphis and was making a pickup at Liberto’s warehouse at 5:15 p.m. on April 4th, roughly 45 minutes before the assassination. McFerren testified that he overheard Liberto tell someone over the phone, “Shoot the son of a bitch on the balcony.” Other witnesses who testified included café owner Lavada Addison, who was friends with Liberto in the 1970s. She recalled him confiding to her that he “had Martin Luther King killed.” Addison’s son, Nathan Whitlock, also testified. He asked Liberto if he killed MLK, and he responded, “I didn’t kill the nigger but I had it done.” When Whitlock pressed him about James Earl Ray, Liberto replied, “He wasn’t nothing but a troublemaker from Missouri. He was a front man … a setup man.”
The back door of Loyd Jowers’ establishment led to a thick crop of bushes across the street from the Lorraine Motel balcony where Dr. King was shot. On the taped confession to Andrew Young and Dexter King, Jowers says after he heard the shot, Lt. Earl Clark, who is now deceased, laid a smoking rifle at the rear of his restaurant. Jowers then disassembled the rifle, wrapped it in a tablecloth and prepared it for disposal.
The corporate media says it was James Earl Ray who shot MLK, and he did it from the 2nd floor bathroom window of the rooming house across the street from the Lorraine Motel. The official account alleges the murder weapon was dropped in a bundle and abandoned at Dan Canipe’s storefront just before he made his getaway. But even those authorities and media admit that the bullet that tore through MLK’s throat didn’t have the same metallurgical composition as the bullets in the rifle left behind by James Earl Ray. And Judge Joe Brown, a weapons expert called to testify by Pepper in the 1999 trial, said the rifle allegedly used by James Earl Ray had a scope that was never sighted in, meaning that the weapon in question would have fired far to the left and far below the target.
The actual murder weapon was disposed of by taxi driver James McCraw, a friend of Jowers. William Hamblin testified in King v. Jowers that McCraw told him this story over a 15-year period whenever he got drunk. McCraw repeatedly told Hamblin that he threw the rifle over the Memphis-Arkansas bridge, meaning that the rifle is at the bottom of the Mississippi river to this day. And according to Hamblin’s testimony, Canipe said he saw the bundle dropped in front of his store before the actual shooting occurred.
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