TBR News February 28, 2016

Feb 28 2016

The Voice of the White House

Washington, D.C., February 28, 2016: “The key factors that spawned international terrorism show no signs of abating over the next 15 years.

Facilitated by global communications, the revival of Muslim identity will create a framework for the spread of radical Islamic ideology inside and outside the Middle East, including Southeast Asia, Central Asia and Western Europe, where religious identity has traditionally not been as strong.

This revival has been accompanied by a deepening solidarity among Muslims caught up in national or regional separatist struggles, such as Palestine, Chechnya, Iraq, Kashmir, Mindanao, and southern Thailand, and has emerged in response to government repression, corruption, and ineffectiveness.

Informal networks of charitable foundations, and other mechanisms will continue to proliferate and be exploited by radical elements; alienation among unemployed youths will swell the ranks of those vulnerable to terrorist recruitment.

It is estimated, acccording to a CIA evaluation, that by 2020 al-Qa’ida will be superceded by similarly inspired Islamic extremist groups, and there is a substantial risk that broad Islamic movements akin to al-Qa’ida will merge with local separatist movements.

Information technology, allowing for instant connectivity, communication, and learning, will enable the terrorist threat to become increasingly decentralized, evolving into an eclectic array of groups, cells, and individuals that do not need a stationary headquarters to plan and carry out operations. Training materials, targeting guidance, weapons know-how, and fund-raising will become virtual (i.e., online).

Terrorist attacks will continue to primarily employ conventional weapons, incorporating new twists and constantly adapting to counterterrorist efforts. Terrorists probably will be most original not in the technologies or weapons they use but rather in their operational concepts—i.e., the scope, design, or support arrangements for attacks.

Strong terrorist interest in acquiring chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear weapons increases the risk of a major terrorist attack involving WMD.

The greatest concern is that terrorists might acquire biological agents or, less likely, a nuclear device, either of which could cause mass casualties.

Bioterrorism appears particularly suited to the smaller, better-informed groups. The CIA  also expect that terrorists will attempt cyber attacks to disrupt critical information networks and, even more likely, to cause physical damage to information systems.”

Conversations with the Crow

On October 8th, 2000, Robert Trumbull Crowley, once a leader of the CIA’s Clandestine Operations Division, died in a Washington hospital of heart failure and the end effects of Alzheimer’s Disease. Before the late Assistant Director Crowley was cold, Joseph Trento, a writer of light-weight books on the CIA, descended on Crowley’s widow at her town house on Cathedral Hill Drive in Washington and hauled away over fifty boxes of Crowley’s CIA files.

Once Trento had his new find secure in his house in Front Royal , Virginia, he called a well-known Washington fix lawyer with the news of his success in securing what the CIA had always considered to be a potential major embarrassment. Three months before, July 20th of that year, retired Marine Corps colonel William R. Corson, and an associate of Crowley, died of emphysema and lung cancer at a hospital in Bethesda, Md. After Corson’s death, Trento and his Washington lawyer went to Corson’s bank, got into his safe deposit box and removed a manuscript entitled ‘Zipper.’ This manuscript, which dealt with Crowley’s involvement in the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, vanished into a CIA burn-bag and the matter was considered to be closed forever

After Crowley’s death and Trento’s raid on the Crowley files, huge gaps were subsequently discovered by horrified CIA officials and when Crowley’s friends mentioned Gregory Douglas, it was discovered that Crowley’s son had shipped two large boxes to Douglas. No one knew their contents but because Douglas was viewed as an uncontrollable loose cannon who had done considerable damage to the CIA’s reputation by his on-going publication of the history of Gestapo-Mueller, they bent every effort both to identify the missing files and make some effort to retrieve them before Douglas made any use of them.

Douglas had been in close contact with Crowley and had long phone conversatins with him. He found this so interesting and informative that he taped  and later transcribed them.

These conversations have been published in a book: ‘Conversations with the Crow” and this is an excerpt.



Conversation No. 118

Conversation No. 87

Date: Sunday, June 15, 1997

Commenced: 11:20 AM CST

Concluded: 11:45 AM CST

GD: Well, and a happy Father’s Day to you, Robert, although you aren’t my father.

RTC: Yes, Greg and his people will be coming by later but we have time for a little chat. If they come, I’ll have to get off but people are always about an hour late these days.

GD: You must be lucky. People tell me they will call me back in a few minutes but it takes about a week. Of course the usual apologies about dinosaurs trampling around in their petunia beds or the sad fact that Grandmamma was attacked by a rabid lemur while in church. Otherwise, they would have gotten back to me sooner. I always tell them that this or that important person wanted to talk with them and I am so sorry they missed them or that I had found a buyer for their house but he got another place in the meantime. People are so rude these days. If you promise them something, you’d better come through but if they promise you something, forget about it. Unless, of course, it suits them to do something. And I get swamped by wrong numbers and often by bill collectors. I love to mess with their tiny minds. If come old lady calls at two in the morning,  looking for Maudy Mae, I tell them, in sadness, that Maudy passed last night and the viewing will be tomorrow. Or other such like. When bill collectors call for me, I put on a Slavic accent and tell them that this is a new phone number and I don’t know who they are talking about.

RTC: (Laughter) You are such a creative trouble-maker, Gregory.

GD: Well, they have it coming. Or telling some man who calls for Alice that she is up with a customer and I’ll have her call him back when she’s done.

RTC: (Laughter) Nasty.

GD: Oh, yes, but I do enjoy my fun. I don’t initiate bothering people but they had best not bother me.

RTC: Your antics must amuse the people who listen in on you.

GD: Yes, that’s no surprise. Do they listen to you, Robert? RTC: No, they wouldn’t dare.

GD: But if they listen to me and I am talking to you, what then? RTC: They shut down their system. At least until we stop talking. Of course they are concerned about my talking to you. I know that because I have been repeatedly warned against talking to you. You, Gregory, are a loose cannon and someone who not only does not respect our system but actively works against some of it. You gave Kimmel some very valuable documents that would materially assist his family in their quest to rehabilitate the reputation of Admiral Kimmel but Tom is not going to ever use them or allow them to be used by his family because if it ever became public that these came from you and that you got them from our friend Müller, the head of the Gestapo and a later Georgetown resident, all hell would break loose. Loyalty to his job takes precedence over loyalty to his family. No, Gregory, take it for granted that a close eye is kept on you at all times. They want to know what you have, where it is and what you plan to do with it.

GD: Yes, none of this surprises me but what is astonishing to me is how utterly stupid and predictable all of their approaches are. I mean we pay their salaries and for the money they get, they are a bunch of stupid sheep.

RTC: Unkind but no doubt true. But still, I caution you against saying anything on the phone about documents from Müller or myself, about what they might contain or, and most important, where you have them. We all know what you will eventually do with them but the first concepts are the most important. If they find out what you have, the next step is to either con you out of them or simply do a black bag job on them by breaking in and removing them. And if you leave home for any period of time, if you have incriminating or dangerous material on your computer  hard drive, take it with you or remove it from your home computer and hide it in a safe place.

GD: Now we have good advise. I assume they’ll get to my publisher and convince him to find other subjects and authors to deal with.

RTC: Oh yes, and perhaps they will assist him with sales by making his books prominent in various government-owned book shops. You know how it goes. We all think, Gregory, that there are three basic branches of government here. The executive, the legislative and the judicial. Correct? GD: Yes, we all learned that in school, along with reams of useless propaganda.

RTC: But there is a fourth branch of our government, Gregory, one I am personally well acquainted with. I would call it the Power Elite after the Mills book. And they, not the first three, run this country. This Elite is comprised of big business like the automotive companies, the big banks and other private financial institutions like the Federal Reserve and, of course, the insurance business. Yes, the insurance business. The biggest casino in the world. Everything with them is betting. They bet you’ll live past a certain age and further enrich them with premium payments. They bet you won’t drive your car into the back of a school bus and further enrich them with premium payments. Now, some people think the media is part and parcel of this but I assure you, our media works for the Power Elite. Cross them and the vital advertising is cut off and the paper collapses. Cross them and the unions suddenly strike the paper or the price of their paper goes way up. Oh yes, the media are servants of the middle level.

GD: I have always had trouble with the insurance people. I made the mistake of using Allstate….

RTC: Jesus, you poor fellow.

GD: Oh yes, I know. Do they pay out? No, they use every excuse to avoid any payment. Your family was staying in a motel until the renovators had finished rewiring their insured house? The house caught fire? Too bad, dudes, Allstate said, you weren’t living in the house when it caught fire so we don’t pay. A real case, in Wisconsin as I recall. The courts didn’t see it Allstate’s way so after long and expensive litigation, Allstate had to pay. My lawyer hates them and has compiled a thick file of such crap. I assume the others are just as bad.

RTC: Not all of them so blatant but if you have health insurance and get cancer, they call it a pre existing condition and cancel you right in the middle of chemotherapy and you die. Too bad but they take comfort in all the money they saved.

GD: But how do these crooks, these bribe merchants, stay in power? RTC: They have people like the CIA on their side, of course. And the NSA and the FBI. These people, and I know this from the inside, help the Power Elite stay in power by spying on their enemies, actual and possible, to warn them of danger and to avert it by destroying or neutralizing it. And there are benefits. Say that Company A is one of our boys. We, or the NSA or whatever, spies on Companies B and C, the big rivals of A and when we learn secrets that could benefit A, we quickly pass it back to them. They, in turn, write checks that can be so comforting on cold nights. And all of this applies to the stock market, often rigged by boom and bust cycles, who also pay like slot machines. No, Gregory, the conspiracy people like to take the crumbs we throw out and worry the bone of the Kennedy assassination or the sinking of the Maine while other, more serious, matters go ignored. I was the liaison between the Company and big business and I know very well whereof I speak. The murder of Allende is nothing compared with the enormity of the greed and corruption that saddles everyone in the country but Congressmen and preachers And the burden gets heavier by the day. They spy on all of you, to keep order, to prevent disorder, to discredit enemies, to steal money, to punish people like you. Yes, all of this. The NSA watches everyone in this country. If you make a phone call to your cousin in England, they NSA listens in. If you get a money transfer from a Swiss bank, they know about it before your bank does. If you take a trip to France to take in the sights, they know the flight numbers, the hotels and the car rentals. Go to Switzerland, and they know what you put into a bank account. Go to the local library and check out a book they don’t like and they know about it. Buy a car, rent a car, buy a house, rent a house and they can find out about it in seconds if they want to. They have direct contact and full cooperation with all the major credit agencies. They all swap information of all of you so every credit card purchase, every deposit or withdrawal, every overdue card payment, all of this they can find out in seconds. And they want, and will eventually get, more and more power until the public is sucked dry like a school child attending a convocation of vampires. They are very powerful Gregory, but so huge and so all encompassing that no one without inside information on them would ever believe any of it.

GD: Robert, since you were in with these people, do you have any supportive documents on this? RTC: A footlocker full. Trento is far more interested in this than he is in the trivia like the revolution in Iran or our part in the killing of the Diem brothers. I am safe but you are not. Joe is safe because if he ever got his hands on any of this, believe that Langley would have the originals, uncopied, on the day he got them.

GD: And the pat on the pointy head? RTC: And the pat on the pointy head and, don’t forget, the Presentation Pen Set. They love those pen sets.

GD: With such baubles men are led. Napoleon said that about the Legion of Honor.

RTC: I think the pen sets cost about twenty dollars each but my, what they can buy, Gregory. Such loyalty and, more important, such service.

GD: But such systems fall of their own hubris and their own weight. They fall, Robert, and great will be the fall thereof.

RT: Not on my watch, Gregory, not on mine. I served and got my rewards and now I am awaiting a not unexpected but hopefully natural death. I have my memories.

GD: And you also have your documents, Robert.

RTC: Yes, I do. Well, if Trento gets the really important ones, they will be accompanied by the Divine Plato on a one way trip to Langley and the burn bags. Plato gets jobs but Joe gets the pen set.

GD: Rather than go on about Müller, I think I would rather nut the Power Elite. Müller is dead but all of the rest of them ought to be either dead, or serving life sentences in a Mohave Desert work camp.

RTC: And if they went, they would be replaced by a legion of others just waiting in the wings, wetting their panties in anticipation.

GD: Of the spoils of peace.

RTC: No, of war against everyone else.

(Concluded at 11:45 AM CST)

Russian military: Reports of Syrian town attacked by militants coming from Turkey

February 28, 2016


The Russian ceasefire monitoring center near Latakia says it is verifying reports of an attack on the Kurdish town Tell Abyad in northern Syria carried out by militants coming from Turkey.

The reports came overnight and claim that the forces coming from Turkey are using heavy artillery, according to Lt. Gen. Sergey Kuralenko, who heads the center for Syrian reconciliation.

This information was verified though multiple channels, including representatives of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), [a rebel alliance that includes Kurds, Arabs and other ethnic groups and operates in the region],” he said.

Russia has requested clarification from the US-run counterpart of the center based in Amman, citing its influence on Turkey, a member of the US-led coalition fighting the Islamic State terrorist group, the general said.

The Turkish newspaper Hurriyet cited military sources as denying that the Turkish military were involved in any cross-border shelling on Sunday.

Leading world powers have brokered a shaky ceasefire in some parts of Syria, which is expected to be observed by all parties expect hardcore Islamist fighters of IS and Nusra Front.

Turkey is currently leading a crackdown on Kurdish militias from the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which it considers a terrorist organization. While the crackdown is focus on predominantly Kurdish regions in south-eastern Turkey, the clashes occasionally spill across the border into regions of Syria and Iraq held by Kurds.

Kurdish militias in Iraq and Syria are one of the few forces on that successfully opposed the spread of Islamic State and have been supported by the US. Ankara criticized Washington’s attitude, saying America should chose between the Kurds and the Turks.

Switzerland votes on expelling foreigners for minor crimes

Voters will be asked if foreign national guilty of two minor crimes, such as traffic offences, in 10 years, should be expelled

February 28, 2016

Agence France Presse

Switzerland votes in a referendum Sunday on whether foreigner citizens who commit two minor offences, like traffic violations, in the space of 10 years should be automatically deported.

The referendum asks whether any foreign national found guilty of two lower-level infractions, including fighting, money laundering, giving false testimony and indecent exposure, should be expelled.

The vote comes at a time when many European countries are hardening their attitudes to migrants after more than a million arrived on the continent last year.

A quarter of the people living in Switzerland have a foreign passport, the majority of them from European countries.

More than half of Swiss voters backed strengthening rules to automatically expel foreign nationals convicted of violent or sexual crimes in a referendum on the same topic six years ago.

But the populist right-wing Swiss People’s Party (SVP), which won the biggest share of the vote in parliamentary elections last October, has accused parliament of dragging its feet on writing the text into law and watering it down when it did so last March.

Known for its virulent campaigns against immigration, the European Union and Islam, the party has proposed tougher rules, calling for “a real deportation of criminal foreigners”.

The initiative faces stiff opposition, including from the government, parliament and all the other major political parties, who have warned it circumvents the “fundamental rules” of democracy.

If passed, it would dramatically increase the number of offences that could get foreign nationals automatically kicked out of Switzerland, including misdemeanours usually punishable with fines or short prison sentences.

It would also remove a judge’s right to refrain from deportation in cases where it would cause the foreign national “serious personal hardship”.

More than 50,000 people including hundreds of celebrities have signed a petition against the proposals.

A poll by gfs.bern earlier this month found 49% of those questioned opposed the text while 46% were in favour – but with five per cent still undecided, the vote could go either way.

Opponents warn that if the text passes, people born to foreign parents in Switzerland risk being deported to countries they have never lived in, for petty offences.

Swiss voters reject deportation of foreign criminals in referendum

Swiss voters in a referendum have rejected a proposal by a nationalist party to automatically deport foreigers who commit even low-level crimes. The move was welcomed by human rights groups.

February 28, 2016


According to initial projections by Swiss national broadcaster SRF nearly 60 percent of voters partaking in Sunday’s referendum rejected changes to the country’s immigration law designed to facilitate deportations of delinquent foreigners.

The anti-immigration Swiss People’s Party (SVP), the largest single party in the country’s Federal Assembly, had put forward an initiative suggesting that foreigners who were to commit offenses such as rape or armed robbery should be deported after serving their jail term. According to the proposal, individuals would only be expelled for lesser offenses, such as traffic violations, if they committed a second violation within a 10-year time span.

A quarter of the people living in Switzerland have a foreign passport, the majority of whom originate from other European countries. More than 10,000 people could have been affected if the initiative had passed.

A question of national identity

Opinion polls ahead of the referendum suggested a tight vote, with campaigners on both sides using emotional imagery to invoke reactions. The SVP used the visual of a white sheep on top of the Swiss national flag kicking away a black sheep. Opponents meanwhile presented the image of a tattered swastika while placing Switzerland in 2016 next to 1933 Nazi Germany and the official onset of apartheid in South Africa in 1948.

While opponents argue that the initiative sought to circumvent the courts by turning deportations of foreigners into an administrative formality supporters of the plan campaigned behind the idea of national unity.

The Swiss chapter of Amnesty International said it was relieved that the proposal had been rejected, adding that further initiatives aiming to change the country’s immigration law in the future should also be fought.

German politicians also welcomed the developments. German Justice Minister Heiko Maas said that the Swiss people had demonstrated that “there’s a difference between populist slogans and public opinion.”

The Assassination of Martin Luther King

by Harry von Johnston, PhD

At 6:01 p.m. on April 4, 1968, a shot rang out. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who had been standing on the balcony of his room at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, TN, now lay sprawled on the balcony’s floor. A gaping wound covered a large portion of his jaw and neck. A great man who had spent thirteen years of his life dedicating himself to nonviolent protest had been felled by a sniper’s bullet.

Violence and controversy followed. In outrage of the murder, many blacks took to the streets across the country in a massive wave of riots. The FBI investigated the crime, but many believed them partially of fully responsible for the assassination. A man was arrested, but many people, including some of Martin Luther King Jr.’s own family, believe he was innocent.

What happened that evening?

On February 12, thirteen hundred African-American sanitation workers in Memphis went on strike. Though there had been a long history of grievances, the strike was begun as a response to a January 31 incident in which 22 black sanitation workers were sent home without pay during bad weather while all the white workers remained on the job. When the City of Memphis refused to negotiate with the 1,300 striking workers, King and other civil rights leaders were asked to visit Memphis in support.

On Monday, March 18, King managed to fit in a quick stop in Memphis, where he spoke to over 15,000 who had gathered at Mason Temple. Ten days later, King arrived in Memphis to lead a march in support of the striking workers. Unfortunately, as King led the crowd, a few of the protestors got rowdy and smashed the windows of a storefront. The violence spread and soon countless others had taken up sticks and were breaking windows and looting stores.

Police moved in to disperse the crowd. Some of the marchers threw stones at the police. The police responded with tear gas and nightsticks. At least one of the marchers was shot and killed.

King was extremely distressed at the violence that had erupted in his own march and became determined not to let violence prevail. He scheduled another march in Memphis for April 8.

On April 3, King arrived in Memphis a little later than planned because there had been a bomb threat for his flight before takeoff. That evening, King delivered his “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop” speech to a relatively small crowd that had braved the bad weather to hear King speak. King’s thoughts were obviously on his mortality, for he discussed the plane threat as well as the time he had been stabbed. He concluded the speech with

Well, I don’t know what will happen now; we’ve got some difficult days ahead. But it really doesn’t matter with me now, because I’ve been to the mountaintop. And I don’t mind. Like anybody, I would like to live a long life – longevity has its place. But I’m not concerned about that now. I just want to do God’s will. And He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I’ve looked over, and I’ve seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people will get to the Promised Land. And so I’m happy tonight; I’m not worried about anything; I’m not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord.

After the speech, King went back to the Lorraine Motel to rest.

A racist petty criminal looking to make a name for himself stalks a well-protected black civil rights leader and finally slays him, then manages to make an almost-clean getaway – but not before dropping the murder weapon (with prints) and his personal radio with his prison ID engraved on it.

It’s almost too perfect because nobody would be that stupid. It must be a CIA-FBI-White House plot. Has to be. There is no way that James Earl Ray, the high-school dropout, Army throw-away, petty thief could stalk Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., kill the most influential civil rights leader of the era and evade an international manhunt for more than two months, only to be busted by Scotland Yard going through a customs checkpoint he wasn’t supposed to be at.

The Rev. Jesse Jackson says it’s a plot: “I have always believed that the government was part of a conspiracy, either directly or indirectly, to assassinate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.,” he wrote in the forward to James Earl Ray’s autobiography Who Killed Martin Luther King Jr.? Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations and Atlanta Mayor Andrew Young believes the government was responsible for King’s death, as well. “I’ve always thought the FBI might be involved in some way,” he said. “You have to remember this was a time when the politics of assassination was acceptable in this country. It was during the period just before Allende’s murder. I think it’s naïve to assume these institutions were not capable of doing the same thing at home or to say each of these deaths (King and the two Kennedys) was an isolated incident by ‘a single assassin.’ It was government policy.”

Even Dr. King’s family believes that Martin was killed as the result of a conspiracy involving government officials. Dexter King met with the man convicted of killing his father and later said he believed Ray was not the shooter. There are two issues here that need to be examined. First, did James Earl Ray kill Dr. Martin Luther King in Memphis, Tennessee on April 4, 1968, and second, was the assassination the culmination of a conspiracy to silence the leader of America’s non-violent civil rights and anti-war movement? There are a number of different possible answers. Perhaps Ray was a patsy for a wide-reaching conspiracy. Maybe he was in Memphis on April 4 but didn’t fire the shot. It could be that he was an unwitting pawn in a plan that involved agents of the highest levels of government, up to and including the Johnson White House.

Or it could be that a black-hating sociopath with delusions of grandeur managed to get himself close enough to Dr. King to fire a shot with a scope-equipped high-powered rifle that would have dropped an elk at the same distance.

In comparison to the earlier assassination of President Kennedy, the questions surrounding the murder of Dr. King are a little more clear cut. Witnesses (for the most part) do not quibble on the number of shots fired, or from the originating area. There are few credible conspiracies that claim multiple gunmen, and no evidence that more than one person was on hand in Memphis that day who planned to kill King. Conspiracy theorists must base their accusations on the word of Ray, who pled guilty to the murder in return for a guarantee from Tennessee authorities not to seek the death penalty. Once sentenced to 99 years, Ray immediately began retracting and changing his story that he acted alone.

On the other hand, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Johnson Administration were clearly on the record in opposing King’s resistance to the Vietnam War and J. Edgar Hoover wanted King disgraced or rendered impotent by any means necessary. The comments of Young and Jackson do not seem as alarmist when one examines the record of harassment, slander and abuse government bodies accumulated in their pursuit of Dr. King. If Hoover wanted King taken out of the picture, could he have authorized assassination? As history has shown, with J. Edgar Hoover, the ends justified the means.

So, who killed Dr. King? Was it a conspiracy? Or was it a single, angry young man acting on his own hatred that ended the life of one of America’s greatest leaders? After thirty years of investigations, theories and speculation, the evidence has pretty much all been gathered and it is possible to draw a conclusion that satisfies the reasonable observer.

James Earl Ray was a petty criminal who had been sentenced several times to prison; he escaped from the Missouri state prison in 1967. In Memphis, Tenn., on April 4, 1968, he shot King from the window of a rooming house as King emerged from his motel room across the street. Ray fled to Toronto, London, Lisbon, and back to London, where he was arrested on June 8. In Memphis he pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 99 years in prison. Months later, he recanted his confession, without effect. Later in life, his unsuccessful pleas to have his case reopened were supported by some civil rights leaders, notably the King family.

A little more than two months after King’s death, on June 8, 1968, Ray, an escaped convict who had broken out of the Missouri State Penitentiary a year before the assassination, was captured at London’s Heathrow Airport while trying to leave the United Kingdom on a false Canadian passport in the name of Ramon George Sneyd. Ray was quickly extradited to Tennessee and charged with King’s murder, confessing to the assassination on March 10, 1969, (though he recanted this confession three days later) and was sentenced to 99 years in prison. On the advice of his attorney Percy Foreman, Ray took a guilty plea to avoid a trial conviction and therefore the possibility of receiving the death penalty

There is no way that James Earl Ray, the high-school dropout, Army throw-away, petty thief could stalk Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., kill the most influential civil rights leader of the era and evade an international manhunt for more than two months, only to be busted by Scotland Yard going through a customs checkpoint he wasn’t supposed to be at.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Johnson Administration were clearly on the record in opposing King’s resistance to the Vietnam War and J. Edgar Hoover wanted King disgraced or rendered impotent by any means necessary.

James Earl Ray managed to stay out of trouble as a child — a little truant, perhaps, but generally not a bad kid. He had it rough; his family was poor, they moved around frequently, thanks to a couple of shiftless relatives that made life difficult in the small towns in the Midwest the family lived in. He was accused of theft in the sixth grade, and by the time he was 15, he had had enough of school.

He got his first taste of prison life after joining the Army and getting sent to Germany in the years following World War II. Seems James liked to drink and got himself arrested by the MPs on a drunk and disorderly charge and sentenced to 90 days hard labor in the stockade. When he got out of the service, he began drifting around and spending a few nights in jail for vagrancy. His first big arrest came in 1949 and he served eight months in a California jail for burglary. In 1952, he did two years for an armed robbery of a taxi driver in Illinois. In 1955, Ray broke his first federal law, stealing and forging postal money orders. He was caught and sent to Leavenworth, Kansas.

By 1956, society in general had already given up on James Earl Ray. A parole officer wrote about him: “He  apparently lacks foresight, or is afraid of the future, as he absolutely refuses to look forward. He claims that he can do his time better if he doesn’t think.  (He) apparently is enjoying his present situation.”

On October 10, 1959, James Earl Ray robbed a Kroger grocery store using a gun and  was collared 20 minutes later. He was sentenced as a habitual offender and given 20 years in the Missouri State Prison at Jefferson City.

On April 23, 1967 James Earl Ray escaped from Missouri State Prison.

J. Edgar Hoover hated Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Hoover wasn’t necessarily a racist; he hated anybody who challenged his almost omnipotent power over the American justice system. Hoover didn’t like civil rights leaders, he didn’t like antiwar protesters, he didn’t like social activists and he especially didn’t like commies. And if you were part of the FBI in the 1960s, then you had better think the same way.  J. Edgar Hoover didn’t like inaction, either. If he didn’t like you, he didn’t just sit around and stew about it, he did something about it. So, when men like Jesse Jackson and Andrew Young said the government was part of a conspiracy to murder King, the government they were talking about was the one run by J. Edgar Hoover.

King first came under scrutiny in 1961 when Hoover asked a subordinate for the department’s file on the civil rights leader.  In a memo to his supervisor, Agent G.H. Scatterday mentions King briefly: “King thanked Socialist Workers Party for support of bus boycott.” Scatterday’s report goes on to say King “was not investigated by the FBI” to which J. Edgar Hoover is reported to have asked “why not?” When Hoover asked why not, his subordinates got the point and a file was opened on King. An unclassified memorandum sent up the chain of command and now available in the FBI’s Freedom of Information Act reading room shows someone has highlighted King’s name on Scatterday’s memo and written “Do we have more details?”

Under the direction of Attorney General Robert Kennedy, the FBI stepped up its observation of King in 1962 and 1963.  Kennedy at one time asked the FBI to develop a plan for covert bugging and electronic surveillance, but later backed down and told the FBI to stop its activities toward King.  At the time, Kennedy was concerned about King’s ties to the communists and socialists who were actively trying to recruit the American under classes. King himself reportedly attended a Communist Party education program and gave the closing address at one seminar in the 1950s

Without Kennedy’s knowledge, the FBI began an illegal counterintelligence program regarding King and the SCLC.  “The program was intended to discredit and neutralize the civil rights leader,” the FBI post-assassination report said.  Hoover was greatly afraid of communists and was convinced that the reds were attempting to “infiltrate” black society to woo them to the communist side. Having watched Castro – who exhibited no communist leanings while he led his revolution – Hoover was determined not be fooled again when his advisors reported that communist attempts to win support among blacks were met with failure

Stung by Hoover’s ire over botching the Castro takeover of Cuba, FBI underlings began to step-up their activities regarding King and the SCLC. Hoover himself never wavered in his belief that King was a communist, but he refused to allow his agency to act solely on his belief. At first, his subordinates told him that communists did not control the civil rights movement and Hoover said they were wrong. The aides quickly reversed course and said, the boss was right; King was a communist. But Hoover dismissed the claim because no one had provided proof. The only alternative, the deputy directors felt, was to beef up surveillance of King to find the dirt Hoover believed to his core to be there. In 1963, Hoover requested for a second time permission to bug King’s residence and offices. This time, Bobby Kennedy agreed, with the caveat that the bugs would be removed by the end of the year if no concrete evidence of communist infiltration was found. With the assassination of his brother, Bobby forgot all about the bugs and Hoover declined to remind his boss. The bugs remained in place and under observation.

A month before John Kennedy’s murder, the report based on this increased surveillance was presented to J. Edgar Hoover. “The attached analysis of Communism and the Negro Movement is highly explosive,” wrote Assistant to the Director A.H. Belmont. “It can be regarded as a personal attack on Martin Luther King. There is no doubt it will have a heavy impact on the Attorney General and anyone else to whom we disseminate it. It is labeled TOP SECRET.” On his personal copy of the memorandum, Hoover wrote: “I am glad that at last you recognize that there exists such influence.”

Sparks began to fly between Hoover and King personally in 1962. Interestingly, it was King who threw the first punch by publicly questioning the FBI’s handling of a racial incident in Albany, Georgia. Hoover shot back by testifying before a Congressional committee on his belief that communists had infiltrated and were directing the civil rights movement. King responded to this allegation by accusing Hoover of fanning the flames of racism and placating right-wing reactionaries. 

Later, Hoover told a group of reporters that King was “the most notorious liar in the country.”  King and Hoover reached a fragile truce in late 1964 after they met face-to-face in an attempt to iron out differences. About this meeting, Hoover told underlings “he had taken the ball away from King at the beginning.”  For his part, King apologized for remarks he had made and thanked Hoover for the work the FBI was doing to investigate civil rights violations. The cease-fire lasted just two weeks. On December 14, 1964, the Southern Christian Educational Fund repeated King’s criticisms of Hoover and called upon supporters to write President Johnson to have the president fire Hoover. The mudslinging continued over the years, including one episode where Hoover met with an Atlanta official in Washington for President Johnson’s  ginauguration. Hoover leaked unflattering details of King’s personal life obtained through wiretaps to this official, who returned to Atlanta and passed them on to Dr. Martin Luther King Sr., who then confronted his son.

While King was sparring with the FBI and gradually shifting his focus from civil rights to a more general human rights/anti-war perspective, James Earl Ray was maintaining a low profile and slowly working his way north toward Canada. His escape from the Missouri prison caused little concern and resulted in almost no news. Wanted posters were printed with Ray’s prison mug shots, but the first press run included the wrong fingerprints – something that gives conspiracy theorists fuel for their fires. A reward was offered for his return: $50

Ray managed to get a number of menial jobs on his journey north and his employers remember him as a hard worker and nice person. Most were shocked to find later the man they hired was wanted for murdering Martin Luther King Jr.  James, who had always been something of a miser, managed to put together a decent nest egg through hard work, saving and petty robbery

His goal in crossing the border to Canada was to get a Canadian passport and get a job onboard a ship. Once he was abroad, he planned to jump ship and start a new life somewhere else. Just where that somewhere was, he didn’t know and didn’t care. He believed that in order to get a Canadian passport he had to find a rube that would be willing to swear they had known him for at least two years.

In a beat-up Plymouth he purchased for a couple hundred in cash, Ray crossed the border to Canada in July 1967 at Detroit and headed from Windsor to Montreal, where many foreigners were on hand  for an international expo. On the way to Montreal Ray first used the name Eric S. Galt, which he claimed he made up after seeing a road sign for the town of Galt along Highway 401. However, an Eric S. Galt lived at that time in Montreal and bore at best a superficial resemblance to Ray.  How Ray came to choose the name Galt is important to many conspiracy theorists. They suppose that someone who knew Galt or at least knew he existed assisted Ray’s escape to Canada and financed his stay there. William Bradford Huie, the man who pioneered the practice of checkbook journalism and paid James Earl Ray $40,000 to tell him “the truth” about the assassination, offers a more rational explanation: “(He) saw the name Galt on exit markers and chose it as a surname. When he stopped for the night of July 16 at a Toronto motel, he looked through the Galts in the telephone directory…he chose ‘Eric S.’” There has never been any indication that the real Eric S. Galt had ever heard of or seen James Earl Ray before that fateful day in April

Ray himself offers this advice on picking an alias: “I’ve used many different names, but picking a new one is never easy. I can’t afford to pick something easy like Smith or Brown or Jones, because I might forget who I was if somebody suddenly asks me. My name has to be unusual so it’ll stick in my memory and I’ll always know who I am.”

Montreal is a large port on the St. Lawrence Seaway and Ray spent a good deal of time near the waterfront trying to earn a union card to get a shipboard job. Without the passport, he couldn’t get the union card and without the union card, he would never get on board a ship. His attempts to get a woman to vouch for him with immigration authorities were unsuccessful and in a couple of weeks his cash reserve began to dwindle. Ray told Huie he never intended to go back to the United States, but in need of money, he began to let it be known in some of the seedier waterfront bars that he had been in trouble in the States and that for a fee, he was willing to undertake low- risk “jobs.”   


He was about 5’-8’’, weighed 140 pounds or so and had slightly wavy red hair that might have been the result of a dye job. He sat down at my table, ordered a drink and made small talk in what sounded to me like a Spanish accent, then introduced himself as ‘Raoul.’ He never mentioned his last name. I figured if he wanted me to know it, he’d tell me and I didn’t press the matter.”

Raoul and Ray sized each other up over the next few days, trying to smoke out the other’s real purpose and once trust was established, they struck a deal. In return for a smuggling job, Raoul would procure travel papers for James Ray. Raoul told James he had a couple of small packages that he needed to get to Mexico. If Ray would get the packages across the border to the U.S., Raoul would take them to Mobile, Alabama where the pair would meet once again. Together they would drive to the Mexican border and repeat the process.

Ray agreed to the plan, except he recommended that they meet not in Mobile, on the Gulf of Mexico, but in Birmingham, several hours north of Mobile in central Alabama. Raoul agreed to this amendment, Ray claims. “It didn’t matter to me,” Ray wrote. “I wasn’t going to set foot in either place.” He planned to cross the border with the contraband and then head back across with his new Canadian identity.

The trip across the border was uneventful, according to Ray. The pair drove to Windsor and separated prior to reaching the Customs area. Raoul took a cab across the mile-long river border. Ray drove his Plymouth through the Ambassador tunnel with two packages in red wrapping hidden behind the seats in the rear of the car. In his book he claims that the car was subjected to a limited search, but no contraband was found. According to Ray, the first officer who searched the car was pulled off the job before finishing. “Just before he reached the back seat a second officer came up and told the first that he’d complete the search,” Ray claims. “The first inspector walked away. The second abruptly ended the search.”  In Detroit, Raoul and Ray reunited where the mysterious Latino took possession of the two brick-sized packages. Ray was ready to get his passport and ditch Raoul, but the man confessed trouble getting the false papers. Raoul placated the angry Ray by giving him “a stack of cash” and promising him the papers once they reached Alabama.

They split up and Ray headed toward Birmingham.

There are several elements of truth in the story told by James Earl Ray to William Huie – who believed Ray killed King and acted alone. Huie was able to prove that Ray did work his way north from Missouri to Detroit, and that he accumulated a remarkably good set of references. Huie also proved that Ray did cross into Canada, did spend time in Montreal and eventually returned to the United States. Huie also confirms that a popular form of smuggling in the late 1960s involved bandits who teamed with Americans and smuggled drugs or other contraband into the U.S. and met their accomplices across the border after crossing in a cab. Huie was never able to find anyone who could finger Raoul. But as an escaped convict who had made it safely across the Canadian border, James Earl Ray would have to have a damned good reason to cross back into the United States and risk being stopped at immigration. Smuggling was about as good a reason as any, Huie reasoned.

The main item on King’s agenda in the spring of 1968 was not the war in Vietnam, nor was it the labor movement in Memphis. King was trying to organize a Poor Peoples’ March on Washington for early April where thousands of disenfranchised Americans of all races would descend on the nation’s capital and protest the country’s economic divisiveness. However, King accepted an invitation from labor leaders in Memphis to help the city’s sanitation department – nearly all black except for drivers — in its unionization efforts in March. A rally in Memphis turned violent, with renegade gangs looting and rioting despite King’s pleas for nonviolent protests.

King and the SCLC leadership left Memphis, but King felt the need to return to demonstrate that nonviolent protest had not lost its effectiveness. The SCLC made plans to return to Memphis and stay, once again, in the Lorraine Motel on April 3. King planned a nonviolent march in Memphis on April 8, to refocus attention on the sanitation workers strike. However, as he arrived in Memphis, King was served with a restraining order from a federal judge barring the march, which the civil rights leader planned to challenge in court the next day.

King spent the evening of April 3 into the early hours of April 4 in a strategy session with aides, and at about 4:30 a.m. he returned to the Lorraine where his brother, the Rev. A.D. Williams King, Georgia Davis and Lucie Ward met him. The two brothers spent about a half-hour with the women before Martin Luther King Jr. returned to the room he was sharing with the Rev. Ralph Abernathy. Thirty minutes after returning to his room, King once again met with Davis in a separate room. He remained there for about an hour before returning to his own room.

It was not until the early afternoon that King emerged from the hotel room, as Andrew Young went to court instead of King to fight the restraining order. King spent much of the afternoon with Davis, his brother, Ward and Abernathy. Sometime between 5:30 p.m. and 5:45 p.m. – Abernathy and Davis disagree on the time – King and Abernathy returned to their own hotel room to change for dinner. The entire group was headed for a meal at the home of a local minister, the Rev. Billy Kyles.

At 6 p.m., King and Abernathy emerged from their second-story room onto the balcony of the Lorraine. King initiated a conversation with his driver, Solomon Jones, about the weather and Jones advised King to grab a coat, as the weather was turning chilly. King acknowledged Jones’ comment and started to turn toward his room. At that instant, Jones later told authorities that he heard a sound he assumed to be a firecracker and noticed King falling to the floor of the balcony. Jones called for help and King’s aides, who were all nearby, rushed to the stricken civil rights leader.

The bullet struck King near his jaw, fracturing his lower mandible, severing the jugular vein, vertebral and subclavian arteries and shattering several vertebrae in his neck and back. There was nothing that could be done and Dr. Martin Luther King was pronounced dead at St. Joseph Hospital at 7:05 p.m.

Death was the result of a gunshot wound to the chin and neck with a fatal transection of the lower cervical and upper thoracic spinal cord and other structures in the neck,” wrote Dr. J.T. Francisco, the county medical examiner, in his official autopsy report. “The direction of the wound was front to back, above downward (from right to left).”

Police security around Dr. King had been tight for the two days he was in Memphis in April. He had been under constant surveillance by at least two plainclothes officers who did not travel with King’s party; instead, they maintained a surreptitious watch over King’s activities. During most of this surveillance, two of the four officers who held the 24-hour vigil around King’s group were black: Detective Edward E. Redditt and Patrolman Willie B. Richmond.

At the time of the shooting, Redditt had been removed from duty because an anonymous caller to the Memphis Police Department had made a threat against Redditt and his family because of the detective’s perceived actions as part of the “establishment.” At 4 p.m. April 4, Redditt left the scene of the surveillance – Memphis Fire Station No. 2, which provided a secure and covert place from which to observe King’s party. When the shots were fired, Richmond was still on duty at Fire Station No. 2, and reported hearing the shots. Richmond observed King fall to the floor of the balcony, and alerted both a tactical police unit nearby and Memphis Police headquarters. He was ordered to remain at the fire station while other officers responded to the Lorraine. Shortly afterward, Richmond was ordered to police headquarters to make a detailed report of his observations.

Patrolman Morris, alerted by King’s staff that the shot had come from the rear of a boarding house across the street from the hotel, ran around the block to the front of the motel, where he met another officer from the tac unit, whose identity today remains in dispute. A search by two other officers found fresh footprints in the mud in an alley between the building from which the shot was believed to have originated and another building. One officer remained at that scene until crime scene technicians were able to make casts of the footprints. A second officer, Patrolman Dollahite, ran around the front of the building from which the assassin fired the bullet and ended up on Main Street in front of a rundown flophouse. Continuing down the block, Dollahite came upon a green blanket lying in front of Canipe’s Amusement Company, next door to the flophouse. The blanket covered a blue suitcase and a box containing a high-powered rifle equipped with a scope. For some reason, Dollahite, who observed Tac 10 commander Gormley approaching, ran past the blanket and took up a guard position at the end of the block. Gormley, coming toward Dollahite, also spied the blanket and gun and was told by the owner of Canipe’s Amusement Company that a white man had run past and dropped the bundle. Canipe told Gormley that the man fled the scene in a late model white Mustang. Gormley communicated this information to Memphis Police headquarters.

The FBI became involved after Director J. Edgar Hoover and U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark ordered the department to investigate the possibility of a violation of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which made it a federal crime to use race as a motive to murder or conspire to murder. Of course, the Memphis police continued to investigate because of the murder itself that had been committed in its jurisdiction. Special Agent Robert G. Jensen, the agent in charge of the FBI’s Memphis field office took charge of the federal probe.

The early investigation centered on Bessie Brewer’s rooming house where the shots originated. Brewer told authorities that a John Willard had registered with her at sometime between 3:30 and 4 p.m. on April 4, and was assigned to room 5B, which overlooked the Lorraine Hotel. Willard had originally been assigned to room 8, which did not provide such a view, but asked for a change. Willard was described as a well-dressed white man, about 5 feet 11 inches tall, about 35 years old weighing around 180 pounds. Charles A. Stephens, a resident of the rooming house, told investigators that he heard a gunshot coming from the bathroom at the rear of the building (overlooking the Lorraine Motel) and, running to his door after hearing the shot, he saw a man fitting Willard’s description fleeing toward the front of the building and down the stairs.

Another resident, William Anchutz, reported hearing the shot and seeing a man fitting Willard’s description running away. Anchutz said to the man “I thought I heard a shot,” to which the man replied, “Yeah, it was a shot.”

Next to the rooming house, two patrons in the Canipe Amusements Company heard a “thud” and saw a man, about 6 feet tall, around 30 years old and neatly dressed, running past the entry to the store. It appeared the man had dropped a package in the doorway of the store as he fled. Moments later, they saw a white Mustang drive away with the man inside. The package was a blanket containing a Remington Gamester Model 760 .30-06 caliber rifle with a scope, a radio, some clothes in a blue zippered bag, a pair of binoculars, a couple of beer cans and an ad for the York Arms Company with an accompanying receipt.

Shortly after, the rifle and scope were traced to a Birmingham, Alabama sporting goods store, the Aeromarine Supply Company. Employees there told agents that a Harvey Lowmeyer purchased the items on March 30, 1968. The salesman who sold the rifle to Lowmeyer described him as a neat, 30-something white male about 6 feet tall and 165 pounds. The binoculars were traced to the York Arms Company in Memphis, and had been purchased two hours before King had been shot. The beer cans were purchased in Mississippi.

Five days after King was shot, police found a Memphis hotel reservation on April 3 for Eric Starvo Galt, who listed a Birmingham, Alabama address and drove a white Mustang. Galt stayed at the Rebel Motel in Memphis for one night: April 3. Through driver’s license records, police found that Galt was 36 years old, 5-feet 11-inches tall and he weighed 175 pounds. Galt had blond hair and blue eyes.

Almost a week after the shooting, Galt’s white Mustang turned up in Atlanta, Georgia. A search of the vehicle showed Galt had the car tuned up twice in Los Angeles, California. Galt had lived in Birmingham for some time, and talking to neighbors, investigators found Galt had an extreme interest in dancing and took dancing lessons on a regular basis. Since clues pointed to the fact that Galt had spent a period in Los Angeles, dance studios there were canvassed and an important clue was found: a photograph of Eric Starvo Galt.

The investigation bogged down a bit after the discovery of Galt’s car in Atlanta, and the FBI turned to its extensive records division for assistance. Using fingerprints found on the rifle and Galt’s possessions, the FBI ran a crosscheck against known fugitives. The decision to test against only fugitives was, in the FBI’s words “speculative.” There was no reason to believe Galt was a fugitive except for the assumption that it was a strong likelihood that King’s assassination was not Galt’s first crime.  The hunch paid off when Galt’s fingerprints were found to match an escaped convict named James Earl Ray.

In a short period of time, authorities were easily able to piece together Ray’s travels since his escape, including lengthy trips to Los Angeles, New Orleans, Birmingham, Memphis (presumably to assassinate King), and eventually to Atlanta, where once again the trail grew cold. Ray’s family was of little help to authorities, claiming not to have heard from Ray for some time.

Prison inmates familiar with Ray were questioned with little success; they told of bounties put on King’s head, but agents were not able to track down leads on the source of these bounties. One cellmate did tell agents that Ray had talked about how easy it was to get a passport in the name of a Canadian citizen, and that when he escaped, he was going to Canada and from there, abroad

Armed with this tidbit of information, the search headed north. “Though the search went through a staggering number of applications, and was based on the comparison of Ray’s photographs to those submitted with applications, it proved to be the necessary break in picking up Ray’s trail,” the official FBI report of the Martin Luther King assassination reveals. After looking over 175,000 applications, on June 1, 1968, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police contacted the FBI to report that George Ramon Sneyd, who bore a striking resemblance to Ray, had been issued a Canadian Passport on April 24, 1968. “Sneyd” purchased a roundtrip airfare from Toronto to London and left for the United Kingdom on May 6.

Across the Atlantic, FBI agents and Scotland Yard took up the chase.  The bobbies learned “Sneyd” had turned in the return ticket in exchange for a ticket to Lisbon, Portugal.   “Sneyd” arrived in Portugal on May 7, but returned to London on May 17.  On June 8, 1968, British immigration authorities stopped James Earl Ray as he attempted to board a plane bound for Brussels, Belgium. The suspected assassin of Martin Luther King Jr. was in custody.

With Ray/Galt/Sneyd in custody in Great Britain, the United States government prepared to request his extradition. Ray protested the extradition and in what would be the closest thing to a trial James Earl Ray would ever receive, the British courts were presented with the evidence against him. The Americans laid out the facts as reported above. A man identified as Ray bought a rifle similar to – if not the same as – the one that killed Dr. King. A man identified as Ray checked into the rooming house across from the Lorraine Hotel. He was seen running from the rooming house dropping a package that contained a rifle very similar to the one – if not the same one – that killed King. His fingerprints were found in a car similar to – if not the same as – one seen fleeing the area after the shooting. His picture was on a false passport application.

At the very least, Ray would have been returned to the state of Missouri to finish out his robbery sentence.

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