Sunday, April 06, 2008

Who Killed Martin Luther King?

by Maria Gilardin
Dissident Voice
April 4th, 2008

This article is based on the work of a remarkable man. Dr. William Pepper is an attorney, author, and friend of Martin Luther King and his family. In February 1967 King had asked to meet a young man whose work as a journalist in Vietnam showed the terrible impact on the civilian population. King wept and never wavered in his opposition to the war. That young man was Bill Pepper. He became James Earl Ray’s lawyer and assembled the evidence that exonerated Ray — some of which is described below.

Six-oh-one p.m., April 4th, 1968, Martin Luther King has been felled by a single shot.

In 1977 the family of Martin Luther King engaged an attorney and friend, Dr. William Pepper, to investigate a suspicion they had. They no longer believed that James Earl Ray was the killer. For their peace of mind, for an accurate record of history, and out of a sense of justice they conducted a two decade long investigation. The evidence they uncovered was put before a jury in Memphis, TN, in November 1999. 70 witnesses testified under oath, 4,000 pages of transcripts described the evidence, much of it new. It took the jury 59 minutes to come back with their decision that Loyd Jowers, owner of Jim’s Grill, had participated in a conspiracy to kill King, a conspiracy that included J. Edgar Hoover and the FBI, Richard Helms and the CIA, the military, the Memphis Police Department (MPD), and organized crime. That verdict exonerated James Earl Ray who had already died in prison.

The news of the verdict, in one of the most important national security trials in modern history, was suppressed. And to this day — with very, very few exceptions — the public does not know that this trial took place and what the outcome was.

William Pepper’s 2003 book, An Act of State, The Execution of Martin Luther King, published by Verso, gave a detailed report of the trial. The book was systematically ignored. Pepper said in February 2003 that he had been personally turned down by reviewers for major media. They did not want to put their jobs and reputation on the line.

The New York Times refers to Pepper’s work as “nonsense” in the context of their favorable reviews of Gerald Posner’s book on the King assassination, Killing the Dream. Richard Bernstein praised Posner for stating once and for all that: “James Earl Ray murdered the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.”

In a new attempt to break the silence Verso has just issued An Act of State in paperback. Also, for the first time, parts of the never before seen video record of the 1999 trial are being released on Youtube.

What was so dangerous about the 1999 Memphis trial that it had to be suppressed? The evidence presented — under oath and on the record — made it abundantly clear that the reports of the 1997 House Select Committee on Assassinations, of the Civil Rights Commission appointed by Clinton’s AG Janet Reno, and the New York Times were all wrong. James Earl Ray did not murder King.

With the guilty verdict for Loyd Jowers the jury came closer than anybody before to the identity of the real killer. Jower’s actions in preparation of the assassination and on the day itself, together with the testimony from witnesses who had never been heard before, allowed a minute by minute reconstruction of how and why the crime was committed.

Apparently nobody, not the Mafia, the Memphis Police, the FBI, the CIA, or the Army Military Intelligence teams were taking any chances. If the Mafia contract had not succeeded, someone else was prepared to kill King. When King stepped out on that balcony at the Lorraine Motel he did not know that he was under complete surveillance and that more than one gun was aimed at him.

On December 8, 1999, Dr. William Pepper made his closing statement to the jury in Memphis. Martin Luther King, he said, had become more than a civil rights organizer, and more even than a voice against the war on Vietnam. Pepper explained why King had become so dangerous to the ruling powers that a decision was taken at the highest level that he was not to leave Memphis alive.

Read more here.

© 2008 Dissident Voice and Maria Gilardin

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