In the first (hardback) edition of “Who REALLY Killed Martin Luther King Jr.?” I failed to fully examine what I presumed to be fact — that the plotters would not have had any valid reason for mis-stating the date of James Earl Ray’s arrest. I accepted the “official storyline” even while pointing out that there were noted discrepancies in two other books, as referenced below. What I failed to see was that not only this seemingly innocuous point was not beyond their ability to fudge but that the reason for it fitted the numerous other fragmented pieces of the puzzle left behind by the master plotters. And that this one directly pointed back to LBJ’s life-long predilection for the magician’s trick of “making the eye watch ‘A’ while the dirty work was going on at ‘B’ ” — in this case, making the world believe that Ray was arrested in London on June 8th, just as RFK’s funeral was about to commence. But according to Ray himself (as I recently discovered) he was actually arrested two days before that, on the very day that Robert Kennedy struggled to hold onto life, while Johnson kept asking, over and over again, “Is he dead yet?”
The soft-cover edition of “Who REALLY Killed Martin Luther King Jr. is now being readied for publication in January, 2020. Its most significant revision is the addition of a new “Introduction” by Edgar F. Tatro, who has authored a five-page essay addressed to the many manifestations of Lyndon Johnson’s “seamier side” that will be beneficial to all readers but especially younger people who were spared the drudgery of actually watching his live performances on television in the 1960s. But there were a number of other more minor fixes, as well as the one described below, which came about after I dug deeper into the files collected by the late judge William H. Williams on James Earl Ray, including one I had previously missed. The following excerpts from the book (pp. 388-389) have been annotated with those pending revisions.
The recorded official history of the capture of James Earl Ray is that he was arrested just moments before Robert Kennedy’s funeral mass, on June 8, 1968. At least two books have claimed otherwise, one by a former FBI official whose reputation for honesty is not beyond reproach.
- William C. Sullivan’s 1979 memoir (published two years after his own suspicious death—being shot by a hunter who had purportedly mistaken him for a deer) stated: “Ray was in custody in London for two days before Hoover released the story to the press. He waited until the day of Bobby Kennedy’s funeral to break the news so that the FBI could steal the headline from Kennedy one last time.”
- Curt Gentry’s biography of J. Edgar Hoover indicated that “DeLoach had told one of the Bureau’s favored journalists about the arrest the evening before.”
According to a 395-page FBI file on the King assassination that was mysteriously included in the tranche of JFK assassination files released on October 26, 2017, Ray was arrested on June 8 at 11:15 a.m. in London (6:15 a.m. in New York).
Rather than two days (Sullivan’s claim) or overnight (Gentry’s assertion), the announcement was apparently delayed by approximately four to five hours. (Sentence to be deleted).
The official records, however, appear to have been “fudged” if one accepts what James Earl Ray wrote in an affidavit just before the hearing with Judge Battle, that he was arrested on June 6 and held “incommunicado” for four days.
New Endnote to be added:
- James Earl Ray’s Affidavit, 26 March 1969: “On or about the 6th day of June 1968 I was arrested at the Heathrow airport, London England, Subsequently I was charged with homicide in the United States and ordered held for immigration hearing. After being held incommunicado for approximately 4 days I was taken before an English magistrate and ordered held for an extradition hearing….After I was returned to Memphis Tenn and confined in the Shelby County Jail, I was denied access to legal counsel, or sleep, until I submitted to palm prints.”
Book Excerpts (Continued)
It was after Robert Kennedy’s body had lain in state on June 7 and 8 in St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City that the news broke, just as the coffin was being carried down the steps of the Cathedral. Suddenly, an FBI agent broke through the line of honorary pallbearers just behind the coffin and took the arm of the attorney general, Ramsey Clark, telling him that Deke DeLoach needed to talk to him: “It’s urgent that you call him immediately!” Clark left the funeral and called DeLoach, who told him that James Earl Ray had been arrested in London. Furthermore, he stated that Scotland Yard had refused to delay the announcement for the funeral service. The announcement on radio and television immediately redirected the country’s attention away from Robert Kennedy’s assassination (including all of the still-developing cover-up story related to Sirhan, adding more confusion to that case) and back toward the hot news flash coming from England that the other patsy had finally been caught.
Ramsey Clark apparently found out for himself that there was a discrepancy in the timing of the news stories shortly afterward, because he decided that the story he had gotten from DeLoach was a lie. It was most likely a lie that DeLoach had been asked to tell at the request of either Johnson or Hoover, possibly both. But the telltale signs—the underlying patterns—would indicate that it originated with Johnson, since he famously liked to set up such charades, in this case having the news of Ray’s arrest given to Clark smack in the middle of RFK’s funeral. According to Curt Gentry’s interview with Ramsey Clark, he said that he found out that a press release had been received in the Justice Department either the previous evening or early that same morning, well before the funeral procession began in the afternoon. Clark was furious at the way DeLoach had set him up, undoubtedly the result of a cunning plan from one or the other—or both—of the men he took orders from. After that incident, Clark refused to ever use DeLoach again in the remaining six months of his term.
That incident, and Ramsey Clark’s fury, might have led to a comment that Johnson made to writer Leo Janos, which reflected Johnson’s disappointment with Clark’s failure to become a team player: “Disgust tinged Johnson’s voice as the conversation came to an end. ‘I thought I had appointed Tom Clark’s son—I was wrong.’”
End of Excerpts
Such a comment from Johnson had to mean that, unlike his father, Ramsey Clark could not be depended upon to carry out his orders, as a loyal and obedient sycophant, without question. Putting Ramsey into the middle of this charade, designed to frustrate and humiliate him, is exactly what Lyndon Johnson had done to many others who refused to “toe the line.” It was his way of reminding them who was in charge.
The additional benefit of this timing adjustment, of course, would be to distract the television audiences from grieving over Robert Kennedy’s death and refocus it onto the great news about how the FBI practically singlehandedly “solved” the case against the purported assassin of Martin Luther King Jr. (thanks mostly to the diligence of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and Britain’s New Scotland Yard, neither of which was given much credit by Hoover).