King death conspiracy

To the Editor:

In the shadow of this week’s Martin Luther King Day, two thoughts run through my mind:

First is the fact that King’s Christian view developed to extend beyond black civil rights to include oppressed people all over the world, particularly America’s poor, and Vietnamese being destroyed by American militarism. He accurately described the U.S. as the greatest purveyor of violence in the world. Many people forget this, and the media that celebrates him manages conveniently to ignore it.

Second is the fact that he was killed because of this widened scope but not by the alleged killer, nonracist petty criminal James Earl Ray.

A 1999 Memphis civil trial proved conclusively to a jury that the assassination and subsequent cover-up was the work of a real conspiracy. It was a fascinatingly complex story involving the FBI, organized crime, the U.S. Army, and state and local officials. The trial lasted several weeks and involved 70 witnesses directly or indirectly involved in the murder. And the media chose to ignore it.

What precipitated the eventual April 1968 Memphis shooting was fear on the part of the administration and Army that King’s planned Poor People’s occupation of Washington, D.C., would overwhelm their Vietnam-depleted stateside forces. But the intent and planning for the murder had been going on for years.

The details of that process were laid out in lawyer William Pepper’s 2008 book “An Act of State” and his final 2016 book “The Plot to Kill King.” Pepper and his investigators spent more than 20 years on behalf of the King family unearthing a large number of people involved in the event and assembling a stunningly detailed picture of the story.

King was shot by a police shooter from nearby bushes, while military sniper teams (unaware of this shooter) were poised to strike from several high points in the area. Military photographers documented the event from atop a nearby fire station.

James Earl Ray, like Lee Harvey Oswald, had been set up and managed as a patsy for several years before the event. Like Oswald, he was supposed to have been killed. He escaped by a mere fluke.

Pepper’s final book provides transcripts of depositions of key witnesses. These show the long history of J. Edgar Hoover’s intimate involvement in both the D.C. and Memphis ends of the King plot and clearly suggest who actually fired the shot. More darkly, they show the role of a number of key King aides in facilitating the murder as FBI informants.

Perhaps most strikingly, Pepper reveals that the emergency room head at the hospital where King was taken had previously told others in the plot that if King were still alive after being shot, they should make sure he was sent to that hospital; the doctor guaranteed King would not leave alive. Although King probably would have died from his wound, one of the staff saw this doctor put a pillow over King’s face.

King was not just a “black leader.” He was murdered because of actions arising from a deep Christian concern for the downtrodden of all races and nationalities. What he was, in fact, was a true Christian martyr.

Dick Atlee

Southwest Harbor

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