How Hoover’s FBI Murdered Martin Luther King Jr.

And Then Created a Cover-up with Help from Famed Novelists

(Or . . . How the Fallacious Meme Originally Created by William Bradford Huie Lives on Today in the Official Historical Archives of the United States of America)

The premise of my book Who REALLY Killed Martin Luther King Jr.? can be summarized thusly: Michael Kors Stainless... Check Amazon for Pricing.

Under the authority of FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, with the acquiescence and active support of Lyndon B. Johnson, the highest-level officials of the FBI – with help from select other federal, state and local entities – carried out the plan to murder Dr. King in Memphis.  Then, employing three famed novelists (William Bradford Huie, Gerold Frank and George McMillan, in that order) to construct the cover-up, they placed the blame for the entire plot, and murder, on the programmed “patsy” James Earl Ray, an unwitting man who made a brief appearance at the scene of the crime – but who was already on his way out of town minutes after the time King was shot.

Moreover, as detailed within the book, William Bradford Huie was the first, most essential framer, hand-picked by Hoover himself to create a narrative that would eventually become the basis of the FBI’s “investigation”– one that conveniently pointed Lady Justice’s finger away from the real plotters and towards the unwitting patsy, James Earl Ray. There is a plethora of FBI correspondence within the Weisberg collection at the referenced website that demonstrates their continuing interest in monitoring Huie’s mission, some of which is purposely designed to invoke the appearance that the FBI generally – and Hoover specifically – distrusted him; that was only one of many signs that they left behind “just for appearances.”.”  The tranche of FBI documents released in 2017 reveals how the surveillance constantly increased, such that daily updates were being sent to the “S.O.G.” in the final weeks and months before the assassination detailing how the elaborate plan to “neutralize” King was progressing (See HERE for the original plan).

Clearly, Huie’s narrative was intended from the start to become what would eventually be the basis of the FBI’s “investigation,” one that conveniently pointed Lady Justice’s finger away from the real plotters and towards the unwitting patsy, James Earl Ray. The proof of that was the extent to which Huie’s book became the “Bible” that was repeatedly cited throughout the original investigation – and again, hundreds of times by the House Select Committee (HSCA) ten years later.

The latest of Dr. William F. Pepper’s three books on this subject, The Plot to Murder Martin Luther King Jr., forms the basis of the charge, through the legally-sworn depositions he took from the son of one of the original plotters, Russell Adkins Sr.  That testimony described the connections, from Hoover through his assistant Clyde Tolson, directly to the Dixie Mafia that controlled the Memphis area from which the plot to kill MLK sprang.

Further, that premise is also based upon the unusual speed with which Ray made his choice of former FBI agent Arthur Hanes as his first lawyer; and, even more importantly, how Hanes had already entered into a legal agreement with the novelist William Bradford Huie, who had been a friend of Hoover for at least two decades.  That contract provided Huie full access to Ray’s confidences to his legal counsel – a very imaginative idea but one that created a huge conflict-of-interest against Ray from the start. Donse Rose Flower Bear... Check Amazon for Pricing.

Researcher Mark Lane (as one of Ray’s later attorneys), even stated that he believed Huie took it upon himself to set up the arrangement, when he “immediately contacted Hanes” after Ray’s arrest and offered to pay him a “substantial sum” indirectly, through Ray, if as part of the deal he got the exclusive rights to Ray’s story.[1] It is noteworthy to point out that both Arthur Hanes and William Bradford Huie had long associations with high-level officials of the FBI – in Huie’s case directly with J. Edgar Hoover, for at least two decades previous as detailed within the book.  Lane’s thesis is expanded within my book, such that BOTH Hanes and Huie are shown to have been recruited even before Dr. King was murdered.

The Weisberg digital collection includes 62 FBI files relating to Huie’s activities, as well as news clippings of his statements on his continuing research covering two more decades (see the following endnote). In many of them, it appears that Huie’s public statements were intended primarily for James Earl Ray’s eyes – because Huie knew that Ray had come to distrust him for using his “insider” knowledge indiscreetly. Though Huie thought that Ray would find some reassurance that his views were being represented in the pending first magazine article, correctly portraying him as a “patsy,” that backfired on him when Huie stated just weeks before it was published, October 16, 1968 on the Johnny Carson Tonight Show, that the plotters had paid “a lot of money” (implicitly to the “assassin” – i.e. Ray) for the killing.[2] Ray had always insisted that he was unaware of such a plot, that he was only assisting his new acquaintance “Raoul” in smuggling work.

Huie’s comments on Carson’s show, followed by the first LOOK magazine article, were enough to cause Ray to become very upset, deciding to fire his attorney, Arthur Hanes, as a means to also rid himself from Huie as well. That was a huge mistake, because it opened the way for the entrance of Percy Foreman of Houston, an old friend of both Lyndon Johnson and J. Edgar Hoover. Johnson and Hoover then finagled H. L. Hunt to bribe Foreman with a $125,000 payment (nearly a million dollars today) to take over Ray’s “defense” and convince him to plead guilty – as further detailed below.

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Had James Earl Ray been shot at the scene, as the plan intended, an entirely different cover-up would have been constructed by the three novelists, one that would have undoubtedly ended the public’s curiosity forever .  But Ray threw a huge monkey wrench into the FBI’s plan when he left his position in front of Jim’s Grill to refuel his car; before he attempted to return to the scene, King had been shot, and Raul had dumped his bedcover with his rifle and other belongings in an adjacent storefront (even several minutes before the shooting). When he drove back towards the area, the police were closing the streets around the Lorraine Motel, and he skedaddled out of town. Plan A had to suddenly be thrown out and an alternate Plan B cobbled together “on the fly,” which required a major re-write of the cover-up.

That probably explains why it took several weeks for the FBI to regroup.  It took two weeks, until April 19th, for them to (purportedly) figure out the real name of the person then known as Eric S. Galt, despite the fact that they had immediate access to the fingerprints on the gun, the binoculars and the transistor radio (which also contained Ray’s inmate number scratched onto its case) and other items found in the bundle outside the doorway of Canipe’s, dropped there by Ray’s phantom “handler” Raul (whose name was of course verboten by the highest level FBI officials from the get-go – and quickly dismissed within Huie’s narrative for obvious reasons). In the meantime, they were still looking for the man named “Eric Galt,” with only a sketchy physical description of the wanted man, not even an artist’s drawing. EVER FAITH Women&rsquo... Buy New $17.99 (as of 06:02 UTC - Details)

According to the contemporaneous researcher Harold Weisberg, a Memphis police official complained two weeks after the murder about the absence of artist sketches or photos; the FBI had even denied having one, though they had prepared a composite sketch.  All the “confusion” was probably the result of the concern that finding him too quickly might reveal that they had known exactly who he was from the start, having had a hand in his selection when he was still imprisoned in Jefferson City, Missouri. The police in Memphis, Atlanta, Birmingham, and Los Angeles complained of numerous discrepancies in the descriptions of “Galt” and how the FBI had frozen out the local police, saying “they didn’t know what to look for.”[3]

*  *  *

The three novelists would have access to the same assortment of background pieces that had undoubtedly already been gathered, focused on the presumably-dead suspect’s redneck-cum-hillbilly family.  These would still be pulled off the shelf to paint him with the same broad brush: “That he was an unapologetic racist who hated all blacks, especially Martin Luther King Jr., whom he had stalked on many occasions across the South until he caught up with King in Memphis, where he shot him dead.”  That meme, created during Plan A, stuck through to Plan B:  Indeed, it remains the center-piece of the official narrative even today, even though none of it was true, as established by many researchers including the preeminent Dr. William F. Pepper as endorsed by members of the King family, notably Dr. King’s late widow, Coretta Scott King and Dexter King, whose opinion was featured in the New York Times article to be shown below.

To illustrate the point – that the background research seemed to be complete and “on the shelf” ready to be distributed to newspapers, magazines and broadcast media practically overnight – how likely is it that reporters could track down old school photos of Ray and, within a week, publish them, along with extensive interviews with people who knew him then?  The logistics of that would require considerable time: From the point at which Ray was finally “identified” (publicly) on April 19th, to approximately April 27th –when the May 3rd edition of Life magazine (shown below) would be in the printing stage, then readied for distribution (to get them in the mail or distributed to newsstands four to five days before the printed publication date, as was the custom) a number of essential events would have  had to occur: The search for Ray’s class photo(s) in rural Alton, Illinois; identifying the people who had known him decades before, then conducting the interviews with them; writing the first drafts of the articles;  then dispatching them via air to the senior editors of Life magazine in New York; and finally sending them to the cover designers to create them, and getting them into the printing presses. But there was one other problem that must have caused a bit of delay: The arguably absurd idea of putting a photo on the cover that did not even show James Earl Ray’s face, only the hair on his head and one eyeball, when there was a better alternative available.

Merely making the rather provocative decision to use a photo that didn’t fully show Ray’s face – rather than one that did – must have taken some amount of deliberation on the part of senior editors, probably even the highest-level executives.  Someone very high in the management hierarchy must have made that rather strange choice, given the audacity of the act – which ran the risk of belying the magazine’s intent to “frame” Ray for his mischievous childhood – with the implicit suggestion that the confusing photo portended the face of a future murderer of a world figure, despite the fact that the person highlighted by that photo was not even the person being accused.

Clearly, only someone unabashedly duplicitous, but of significant authority for policy-making decisions, could have authorized such a major act of misdirection to move the reader’s attention to the “mean kid” to Ray’s right (left in the photo below) – and away from little Jimmy, who was hiding behind some other kid in that photo.  Had they used the more appropriate photo, showing Ray’s cute smiling face, the entire meme of the story about a “mean kid” would have needed to be discarded.

Furthermore, if Ray had been shot dead sitting in his Mustang as he waited for Raul, by a policeman assigned to that task (or his designated backup), the King family would have probably been among the first to accept the official story, never getting the opportunity to meet the suspect, as MLK’s son Dexter King did, declaring then that Ray was no racist and had not been the shooter who killed his father.

Had that scenario played out as scripted, no one would have been the wiser, and the case probably would have been successfully put to bed forevermore.  It would have been so “obvious” as to what happened that no one would have questioned why there were so many unresolved anomalies, such as the destroyed ballistics evidence and the fact that the Memphis Police Department even destroyed their (180) files in 1978, right after it was announced that the House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA) would be reinvestigating the murder; that the state’s star witness, Charlie Stephens, was actually too drunk to have been credible, even if he had sobered up when put on the witness stand; or that Stephen’s common-law wife discredited his testimony by claiming the man at the scene was much smaller than the suspect, Ray – for just a few examples of the numerous – probably uncountable – contradictions as detailed within the book.[4]

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