Responses to the Trolls . . .

1. Pondering the Motives of Critics Who Attack Dr. William F. Pepper: The Best Original Researcher of MLK’s Murder

This essay was originally published as “Appendix A” in the book Who REALLY Killed Martin Luther King Jr.?

Unfortunately, there are organizations whose specialty seems to be directed at screening new books as part of their stealthy mission, which many have come to believe might be their primary raison d’être: that of “keeping state secrets secret.” To accomplish this, while portraying themselves as “truth seekers,” they are known to somewhat arbitrarily dismiss certain sources that go too far into areas that they prefer to keep out-of-bounds. The organization “Kennedys and King,” (previously known as CTKA—paradoxically named “Citizens for Truth in the Kennedy Assassination”) is one such entity. While there are a number of contributors to it whose works do not cross those circumscribed boundaries—because the subject matter conveniently does not—many others are apparently assigned the role of keeping researchers/authors on a very narrow path, as though there were invisible boundaries that cannot be breached.* As with all myths, it is necessary to include enough truth to make them believable to a large audience, and that did not go unnoticed by the mythmakers who created this organization, or other similar entities.

Such was the case with Dr. Pepper’s works, in a review written by Martin Hay dated August 1, 2016, shortly after Pepper’s latest book, The Plot to Kill King, was published. In his opening commentary, Hay wrote:

“Over the years, this reviewer has adopted something of an agnostic position when it comes to areas of Pepper’s work. Whilst there is undoubtedly great value in what he has uncovered and accomplished, it nonetheless remains true that there a number of legitimate reasons for doubting important elements of Pepper’s research.”

On that weak platform, the “reviewer” set forth to disparage many of the people who had come forward with pertinent information, and some of the collateral witnesses or suspects whom Dr. Pepper interviewed as a result of the his arduous, decades-long investigation. In doing so, it seemed as if the memory lapses of decades-long events, and the relatively inconsequential character flaws in a number of them, completely disqualified them from being considered at all believable in the considered opinion of this reader of books and self-styled critic.

Clearly, though this review was written in such a way as to give Dr. Pepper some general recognition for his long-term commitment to solving King’s murder, the reviewer apparently decided that Pepper was getting too dangerously close to an unstated but apparent long-standing objective of his sponsors: exposing partial truths while keeping to its real agenda of protecting the nation’s highest state secrets, one of which is the criminality of the 36th President. In this specific instance, the reviewer’s obvious objective was to invalidate the case Dr. Pepper had made against a number of key figures whom he—through witness Ron Adkins—had implicated as having been involved in the murder of Dr. King: such luminaries as Rev. Samuel “Billy” Kyles, Rev. Jesse Jackson, Memphis Mayor Henry Loeb, Memphis Police and Fire Department Chief Frank Holloman, FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, FBI Associate Director Clyde Tolson, and a number of others who worked either for one of them or were associated with the Dixie Mafia. And, by direct extension, President Lyndon B. Johnson.

The sworn depositions of witness Ronnie Lee Adkins, a.k.a. Ron Tyler, run over 111 pages in the book, consisting almost entirely of (reduced) deposition pages, four to each book page, for a total of nearly 400 pages. In other words, Dr. Pepper went to an incredible amount of time, expense, and patience to carefully extract information from this man, and others—and document it for all time, and present it to a public hungry for the very rare truths and hard-to-find facts amongst the jetsam found in many of the best-selling but fictional books written about this case—because Pepper had considered him, and them, as reasonably credible witnesses wanting to provide truthful testimony. Since the Adkins’ deposition was taken over forty years after the event (it is dated December 10, 2009), some basic errors and inconsistencies should be expected.

But the reviewer evidently had a much higher standard than that, as demonstrated by his declaration that

“calling Adkins’ story hard to believe would be a vast understatement. In fact it is, in this reviewer’s opinion, so utterly lacking in credibility that it hardly seems worth wasting time on a detailed deconstruction . . . Accepting this man’s word without verification is, as far as this reviewer is concerned, completely unthinkable.” 

As for what possible motives Mr. Adkins might have had for going to all the trouble of sitting through the hours of intensive, memory-searching interviews, followed by even more intense, on the record, very detailed testimony under oath—at the risk of perjury or contempt charges—in the depositions, we have nothing other than this rather haughty pronouncement. That such an assertion could be made, devoid of any specific reasoning whatsoever about any possible motive Adkins might have had for willingly undergoing what can only be concluded was an extraordinary act of masochism, should be enough to abrogate the charge and validate Adkins’s testimony.

Let’s examine specific examples of the deceptive methodologies used in the delusive “review,” among an assortment that the reviewer referenced, some of which have already been addressed within the narrative of this book:

  • The first relates to his assertion that because Adkins had stated that Jesse Jackson was responsible for ensuring that the Lorraine Motel would change Dr. King’s room to the one having a balcony, when the manager had claimed that he had received a telephone call from someone at the Atlanta SCLC to make that change, this “error” should discredit Adkins’s testimony. Consider, just for a moment, the possibility that both could be true, that Jackson had been instructed to make certain, in person, that this long-distance telephonic instruction would actually be carried out, given that the caller was (apparently, assuming the call really was made from Atlanta) too far away to do that. Had the reviewer given it a few seconds to sink in, he might have realized that its critical importance to the objective might require on-site “back-up” assurance: the term used by the spooks is called “planned redundancy,” and it is a key element of covert operations that helps to assure that all elements of a carefully crafted plan are executed in accordance with that plan. Qualified reviewers of books about such operations should implicitly understand that elementary concept and would have not used it to make a fallacious point.

  • Another example relates to the incident that became the catalyst for ensuring Dr. King’s appearance in Memphis: that he would come to Memphis to lend his support for the sanitation workers. Two of them, Echol Cole and Robert Walker, were crushed to death when the compactor mechanism of the trash truck was (according to the official city report) “accidentally” triggered. The fact that city rules forbade black employees to seek shelter from rain anywhere but in the back of their compressor trucks, and the meager financial settlement offered their families after the incident, ultimately led to Dr. King’s decision to return to the city to lead a protest march. According to Dr. Pepper’s witness, Ron Adkins, that incident was no “accident”: it was purposefully done as part of the larger plan to assure King’s return to Memphis for that very purpose. Other than citing the “official findings” (which, like so much of this case, is rightfully suspect—to the point of arguably a lie that should be reinterpreted as the opposite of what it asserts), there is no evidence presented to doubt the veracity of Adkins’s sworn testimony based upon his “insider knowledge.” It isn’t a stretch—given all the other component parts of a very elaborate, detailed plan—to believe that the plotters would come up with a subplot such as this, to ensure that King would respond to a request to appear in Memphis to play homage to these men, killed in a tragic accident caused in part by dangerous working conditions. And it needn’t have to be conditioned to a particular day, merely one “on the next rainy day.” To deny the possibility of that, again based on the same arbitrary dismissal of all of Adkins’s testimony, with the flippant statement: “But in Ronnie’s world, this was no accident, ‘Somebody pulled the hammer, pulled the lever on the truck and mashed them up in there’” is merely another instance of “selective preference.”

In another passage, the reviewer makes a number of misstatements and factual errors when he asserts:

“In Adkins’ narrative there is no mention of or accounting for Raul and he names some extremely unlikely individuals as part of the plot. He even has MPD officer Tommy Smith . . . waiting in his car on Main Street and then dropping the bundle of evidence in the doorway of Canipe’s.” 

  • First, regarding Adkins’s not “accounting for Raul,” the question must be asked: “Why would he?”

As another elementary point about people involved in covert operations, they are all compartmentalized, to assure that anyone without a “need to know” is purposefully kept from knowledge of all aspects of the operation, and there are multiple reasons for that which most minimally informed people already know. There was no reason that Adkins would have had any reason to know about Raul, or even Ray, for that matter; his knowledge was confined to the events he witnessed as a teenager over approximately two years at his father’s side. That should be self-evident to anyone who gives it a moment’s thought, so we will leave it at that and save the reader from a lengthy discourse about that point.

  • Second, his statement that Tommy Smith was the one who dropped the “bundle of evidence in the doorway of Cannipe’s” is, simply, incorrect. In his deposition (part 2), at page 163 (book page 643), the actual statement reads as follows: “The guy that was with Tommy Smith when I saw Tommy at the red light is the one I was told put the gun there.” The reviewer actually cited page 256, the narrative supplied by Dr. Pepper, in explaining the witness’ testimony, however even that clearly states, “He [Adkins] was told that the officer who sat with Lieutenant Tommy Smith was the man who dropped the bundle in front [of] Canipe’s.” (Emphasis added in both of the above sentences.)

Nowhere does the witness, Adkins, say anything about it being Tommy Smith who deposited the bundle of evidence. In evaluating this rather glaring error, one must ask themselves whether it was simply an oversight—merely a reading slippage whereby the five key words were somehow skipped—or, lacking sufficient concrete reasons to discredit the witness, the exercise of a license to misinterpret certain statements, being extended by the organization that assigned the reviewer this project, was just another trashing tool? There can only be two possible explanations for this kind of factual misrepresentation; not being able to prove it one way or the other, we’ll leave it at that and let the reader decide which seems more appropriate.

One of the reviewer’s statements dismissing Dr. Pepper’s witness was this:

“There are also logical problems aplenty with Adkins’ story. Like why on Earth would Hoover have had the names [sic: initials] JFK, RFK and MLK put on a [prayer] list and handed to Russell Adkins Sr. in 1956? Was anyone even referring to them by their initials back then?”

That “prayer list” he referenced was conveyed to Russell Adkins by none other than Hoover’s and Adkin’s mutual friend, Senator Joe McCarthy, at Clyde Tolson’s request, as a little “head’s up” alert about possible future “targets” that would eventually follow; since McCarthy died in 1957, it is presumed to have been sent in 1956 at the latest. As most minimally informed people know, the practice of politicians using their initials as a short-cut ID started with FDR (first elected in 1932), so we turned for guidance on this practice to a book by William Safire titled Safire’s Political Dictionary:

Ted Sorensen wrote: “JFK—as he persuaded the headline writers to call him, not to imitate FDR but to avoid the youthful ‘Jack.’”

(The following statement was also taken from Safire’s piece, so we include it here):

Even before his association with FDR, LBJ was preoccupied with initials: Lady Bird Johnson, Lynda Bird and Luci Baines all carried the same initials, as did his ranch and his dog Little Beagle Johnson. 

On another page of this book (p. 467), he stated that Johnson was also called “Big Daddy,” which was undoubtedly an endearing term that he himself had also started, for prurient reasons that we have previously noted.

So, to answer the reviewer’s question: “Yes,” at least in the case of JFK, whose appearance in the headlines began at least in the early 1950s, it can safely be intuited that the use of his initials had begun well before 1956, and his brother Robert, being as close to “Jack” as he always was, had probably been coincidentally influenced to do the same.

As for MLK, who knows? Perhaps Mr. Hoover just wanted to use the same script style to make matters easy for others to understand, knowing that they would figure it out in due course; indeed, it may have simply been Hoover’s choice as a cryptic device that would not be sufficient to prove his criminal intent, or merely one of his many other inexplicable fetishes.

Not to be pedantic about it, but, one might raise the question, “How does this question even merit such a diversion?” Answer: It’s called “piling on” and serves the purpose of throwing in everything, including a metaphoric “kitchen sink,” to try to destroy the credibility of Dr. Pepper and his masterful book.

  • Once Dr. King’s assassination was decided, why did it take four years for so many presumably intelligent people to formulate a plan?

This is probably one of the easiest questions to answer, except that a thorough explanation must necessarily be lengthy. The answer to this question—the reader may be excused for presuming it to be stunningly obvious— is because it was a rather sophisticated plan, involving a lot of complicated subplots, thus, extensive planning meetings were necessary (which were called “prayer meetings,” probably because they had long been on J. Edgar Hoover’s “prayer list” as well as the fact that many took place in a church).

As every project manager knows (but evidently not all book reviewers), they would first have to lay out a macroplan and, as consensus agreements were made, then add detailed subparts: identification of the tasks (and consequent risk evaluations), time lines, and specifications for potential assignments, then the nomination of carefully chosen “recruits,” followed by the required approvals, to get to a microlevel detailed subplan for each of them. They were undoubtedly not working with standard business planning devices such as PERT Charts to conduct this work, but they still had to go to great lengths to make their plans, some requiring great lead times, such as carefully selecting, then setting up, a patsy. In this case, high-level sleuths were clearly involved to first produce a list of several potential candidates, then select the one most suitable for such a sacrifice.

These were men (most likely James J. Angleton chief among them, as explained elsewhere) who were knowledgeable about each candidate’s past, and his present whereabouts, who selected James Earl Ray.  The plan required the assistance of the prison warden to set up a carefully controlled escape, and this would require its own time line. A “handler” and other facilitators were also needed for this purpose, and they would need to be given specialized training for that purpose; then additional plans would be needed to make subsequent contact with the “patsy” in carefully preplanned—but seemingly serendipitous—meetings . . . in this case, the first was at the Neptune bar in Montreal in July, 1967.

This part of that plan would be the lengthiest “task”—the key “critical path” upon which everything else depended. From there, the handler would make the patsy dependent upon him for financial backing from then on through the period leading up to the scheduled killing of MLK. These meetings were explained at length in Adkins’s deposition, for example in pp. 25-50 (book pages 608-615). The general instruction from Clyde Tolson himself was “Make it happen in Memphis . . . so we can control it” (i.e., by the local officials named elsewhere and various members of the Dixie Mafia, the FBI, CIA, and military intelligence). The 3½-month ocean cruise in the summer of 1964, where the plan was carefully pieced together by Tolson and Russell Adkins Sr., was the first major task. Tolson also placed an early order for “five or six” rifles and had them shipped from Oregon to Memphis, and this was all done in 1964, probably to ensure that there would be no record of them, or if there was, that they would have sufficient time to have it erased, or if necessary to get replacement rifles acquired elsewhere. And then there was the matter of recruiting “FBI informants” who would cooperate for their own self-serving reasons (mostly monetary and career-building), as well: Jesse Jackson and Billy Kyles being two of them, according to this witness, which the reviewer finds so incredible.

Another one of the “action items” that might have had a long lead time would have been related to the money Hoover collected and then gave to Clyde Tolson for necessary expenses, such as the bribe of $25,000 to the warden at the prison where James Earl Ray was incarcerated. That occurred in November, 1966, so that one single component was done almost eighteen months before the killing date. Another eighteen months before that would likely be required, in simply getting the plan underway; the patsies screened and winnowed down to one; the key highest level team players identified and agreed to; getting the money set up, the financiers and highest-level Washington plotters behind it satisfied that the mission was being handled tightly; the required street-level men selected, all from diverse backgrounds and positions—all of whom had to “pass muster” and be implicitly trusted to keep their lips sealed—accounts for three of the four years that have been questioned. Getting Hoover’s retired lieutenant Frank Holloman appointed as police and fire commissioner, in time to control that end of the operation, would have also been a key item on the “To Do” list. We could extend this elementary exercise further into the weeds, but this should be sufficient to make the point: it was a very sophisticated plan, created and managed by men having decades of experience in the skullduggery required for successful political assassinations. So the short answer to Mr. Hays’s simplistic question is “Yes, four years seems about right.”

  • How did they come to decide that “pissing off” the sanitation workers was the best way of getting Dr. King into Memphis?

Who knows? But there had to be a pretext, something that would “piss off” some group of people enough to practically demand an appearance by Dr. King. The long-term animus toward this group by Memphis Mayor Henry Loeb probably had something to do with the choice.

  • Why was it necessary for 16-year-old Ronnie to carry the rifle to the scene on the back of his motorbike? Who thought that was a good idea? What if he had been stopped by police officers not in on the plot? Why did Junior not just take the rifle with him in the first place?

Again, the answer to this question will never be known for certain, but if the police were to find a rifle on a 16-year-old, it might have raised fewer questions than if it were found in the trunk of a car of a middle-aged man whom they might have liked to frame for something, or possibly was already the subject of a “Wanted” poster.

  • And what exactly was Earl Clark doing in the bushes if he wasn’t the shooter? Would it have been so difficult for Junior to have handed the rifle to Jowers himself? It should be noted that there is no support anywhere in the record for the notion that there were three people hiding in the shrubbery.

Earl Clark was there as a “spotter” assisting the shooter and to take the rifle immediately after the shot, allowing the shooter to escape the scene. Jowers waited at the back door of the restaurant for the rifle to be brought to him by EarlClark.* Clark received the gun from the shooter, in a similar fashion as what is known to have happened in Dallas, after the shooter on the grassy knoll quickly handed his gun to an accomplice to dispose of, knowing that the shooter (in both cases) would be preoccupied with his own immediate escape, whereas the “helper” could deal with the weapon a bit more dispassionately. As to the question of “the record,” there was a lot more information than that, which was also either never recorded or subsequently deleted.

In his final assessment, Hay stated: “Yet none of these arguments preclude the possibility that Jowers’ confession was invented as part of a money-making scheme that backfired.”

Rather than accepting just a scintilla or two of Jowers’s testimony, given the raw fact of his actual presence at the scene throughout the murder, and Dr. Pepper’s more seasoned and intelligent judgment of Jowers’s credibility—based on intensive interactions with him over a long period of time—this review simply throws it all out, “the baby with the bathwater.”

Then, despite lauding Pepper’s success at advancing the case in the civil trial of King v. Jowers, and bringing out facts and witnesses that should have been done in 1969, the reviewer returned to disputing the credibility of many other witnesses, going through a litany of reasons why one should not believe any of them. In each case, the reviewer’s specious reasoning, flawed critiques, and use of “selected preference” biases—as demonstrated here merely for one such witness—could easily be used to rebut all of the others, but in the interest of brevity, we will resist that temptation.

Finally, Mr. Hay concludes his treatise with what seems to be a startling, and stunning, embracement of the work of the famed prevaricator-plagiarist Gerald Posner,† when he offers the following as another exhibit in his defamation of Dr. Pepper’s latest and most complete book: “Gerald Posner [has] delighted in quoting Pepper’s former investigator Ken Herman as statingthat ‘Pepper is the most gullible person I have ever met in my life.’” Given Dr. Pepper’s enormous accomplishments, his long history of the pursuit of truth and justice in the face of unrelenting resistance, and his prestigious general legacy, there is another way to interpret that comment, which is not very complimentary about Mr. Herman’s own gullibility and hubris.

Posner’s Killing the Dream (MLK) book, as was also true in his previous Case Closed (JFK) tome, is rife with half-truths, whole-cloth lies, and made-up “testimony,” as previously documented at the very website where Mr. Hay has posted this document.  It is therefore curious that he would offer as “evidence” of Pepper’s “gullibility” anything that Posner wrote and expect readers to believe its veracity. But Hay’s attitudes about Pepper seem, alas, to have been shaped more by Gerald Posner than anyone else, which is a troubling indicator of the degree to which he has gone to smear Pepper’s latest and greatest book. As anyone—being well informed of the overall details of the MLK murder case, and then viewing this unfortunate sideshow—who looks at this vignette will soon realize, it is not Dr. William F. Pepper, Esq., who is the “gullible” one at this table, as Mr. Hay could understand by simply looking into a mirror.

There were other instances of long and rambling discourses—seemingly pointless statements, non sequiturs, leaps of logic, gaps of reasoning, and illogical conclusions—but rather than going through all of the machinations used to discredit important new evidence that Dr. Pepper has painstakingly presented (to borrow the reviewer’s own phrase above) hardly seems worth wasting time on a detailed deconstruction. To suggest that his pronouncement that critical witnesses—whom Dr. Pepper personally vetted through lengthy hours of intense interviews and the time, expense, and trouble involved in taking sworn depositions, upon which their credibility was firmly established—should be rejected because the reviewer felt that he gave erroneous statements is a bit conceited: indeed, as noted above, in multiple instances, it was the reviewer himself who unnecessarily created his own confusion.

The enormous work and tenacious efforts of Dr. William F. Pepper, in his stellar record of accomplishments for over four decades, should not be minimized or devalued by shoddy, ill-informed “book reviews” having a preordained mission. It is easy to declare oneself the “decider” of what research is acceptable, or not, and what books and authors are to be believed, or not, as has long been the stated “purpose” of the ironically named organization that published this drivel. But it is the unfortunate result of the checkered history of their reviews that causes many in the “research community” to believe that their true purpose is to channel newer readers in certain directions that do not necessarily go where actual “truths” might be found. Like shepherds leading their flocks to well-controlled pastures, the administrators of that organization thus ensure that the “sheeple” grazing in their domain are led into well-marked “safe corners,” thus ensuring that the most-prized secrets of the estate are safely withheld.

The people who finance and run the noted websites have succeeded in their efforts to dissuade many people from reading important works, not only Dr. Pepper’s, but many others that point directly back to the very cabal that was responsible for the 1960s treasons. Their high-handed, brutal but perfunctory, error-filled “book reviews”—as exemplified above—suggest that they are not motivated by passion for exposing truths, so much as perpetuating myths and plumbing for payoffs. It raises questions about whether their existence has been derived from financial subsidies provided by officials who represent the successors of that selfsame cabal. If so, their real mission is revealed by the product they have created: are they the embodiment and an extension of the same “invisible government” that they purportedly decry?

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