I am busy today transcribing a one-hour interview by Len Osamic of William Pepper, currently serving as defense attorney for Sirhan Sirhan, but before that the attorney for James Earl Ray. And I have to chuckle a little bit because commenter Fred has said to me on occasion that the government cannot keep secrets and that secrets get out, and that’s why he doesn’t believe these fantastic stories of conspiracies and cover-ups, Martin Luther King being a big one.
Well, information did get out there. In 1999 the family of Martin Luther King sued Lloyd Jowers and “other unknown conspirators” in the death of Dr. King, forcing a public trial in Memphis. It was the trial of the century, and no one showed up. To this day if you ask any newspaper reporter or journalist in this country about that trial, you’ll get a blank stare. But for
a week Three weeks in 1999 seventy witnesses were called and testified about the events surrounding King’s death. The verdict was that Lloyd Jowers, a minor player, was found guilty, as were the FBI, Memphis Police, and U.S. Army.
The trial is public record, and I intend somehow to get hold of the transcript. William Pepper and company have done a remarkable job of uncovering witnesses and evidence. It seems they know everything now except the name of the actual shooter. Lloyd Jowers, who had ulterior motives for approaching the King family to confess his guilt, was not a shooter, but took care of the rifle after King was gunned down from the bushes below the rooming house where the shot “officially” was fired. He knows who fired the killing shot, but refused to give up a name because, as Pepper says, he feared for his life. The actual murderer of King, a hired gun, a mechanic, was a very dangerous man, and was still alive in 1999.
It gets even more interesting. There were levels of organization in the shooting, with the U.S. Army providing backup snipers in case King survived. (Andrew Young was also to be killed that day but was not.) The Army also provided a photographic team, two still photographers who were atop the fire station nearby taking pictures of everything. From them we heard testimony that James Earl Ray was not present at the time of the shooting. But is that not weird, that the Army took the trouble to photograph the event? Would we not want to see those photos now? Were they produced at trial? Subpoenaed?
Here’s part of the Pepper interview, as it relates to Colonel John Downie, who was in charge of the military side of the shooting:
That entire Army unit, those soldiers, the ones from Psychological Operations and the other Special Ops came out of Camp Shelby, Mississippi early that morning, was designated, authorized under the control of Colonel John Downie. John Downie was the head of the 902nd Military Intelligence Group that was based in the Pentagon reporting directly to the Assistant Chief of Staff for Intelligence of the United States Army. And that’s the only MIG, Military Intelligence Group, that is based in the Pentagon. John Downie controlled it, he was brought back to take it over and run it in June of 1967, and he was given his marching orders to begin to organize the military side of that operation as opposed to the civilian side, which was handled separately.
Downie was organizing the military side in ’67. He’s an interesting character, and was a man, strangely enough, that one had to have some respect for as a patriot who believed what he was doing was right. Because, he was Lyndon Johnson’s briefer. He was also CIA. He was Lyndon Johnson’s briefer on the Vietnam War. And he would come back into Washington on a regular basis and meet with the President to give him a briefing on the war and continually question the president as to what we were doing there, saying this was a ridiculous waste of blood and treasure, and that we had no business being there. And why are we there? And he kept pounding out this fact to Johnson and finally one day Johnson pounded the table and said to him “John, I can’t get out of this war. My friends are making too much money.”
Now that is one of the most outrageous and revealing statements about war and the waging of war that any head of state in the history of this republic has ever made. And he made it to John Downie, and I learned about that subsequently with an interview of John Downie’s daughter, who remembers him coming home that day very upset and saying to his wife “Pack your bags. We’re going to Canada.” And he had himself transferred up to the embassy in Canada and wanted nothing more to do with being a facilitator for the war in Vietnam.
So that taught me something about the character of this man who originally was from Pennsylvania, and in terms of his perceived actions in terms of patriotism. And I believe – this is the quandary one gets into – I believe that he had no doubt that Martin King was an enemy of the state and that what he was doing was correct. Of course, however, it was wrong and illegal and criminal and immoral. With that assessment, one has to put the whole story out there so that it’s clear where this guy was coming from. He ran the military side of things. He ran the military side.
I find that intriguing, that the assassination of Martin Luther King can be traced to within shouting distance of Lyndon Johnson. Of course, we have no evidence that Johnson ordered it or even knew about it. But his military briefer sure did.
Pepper will put out a book that summarizes all of this, to be coordinated with a movie, in the near future. He has written two previous books on this subject, Orders to Kill: The Truth Behind the Murder of Martin Luther King (1995), and An Act of State: The Execution of Martin Luther King (2003, revised 2008). These will be folded into the final book, which also includes “devastating information that I have been able to acquire in the fifteen years following the civil trial.”
So there ya go, Fred. Information got out, it’s hidden in plain sight, and still no one knows about it! That’s thought control in our democratic society, at its finest.