As the 41st anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., approaches on April 4, newly discovered FBI files say that a small group of White supremacists paid for James Earl Ray to kill Dr. King. This vindicates the 1979 conclusion of a Congressional investigation headed by Rep. Louis Stokes--the House Select Committee on Assassinations--which found that Ray acted for money.
There is no evidence that the newly-released FBI files from 1968 were given to Rep. Stokes' committee. The 1968 King plot also has similarities to several recent White supremacist assassination plots against
President Obama that have resulted in arrests.
The recently-uncovered 1968 FBI files support new evidence showing that the late Joseph Milteer was one of four Georgia White supremacists who funded the assassination of Dr. King.
Rep. Stokes's committee had actually investigated Milteer for the murder of President John F. Kennedy, because of a Miami Police undercover recording of Milteer made two weeks before Kennedy's death. On that Nov. 9, 1963 tape, Milteer discussed a plan to "assassinate the President with a high-powered rifle from a tall building." On the same tape, Milteer also discussed an unsuccessful attempt to kill Dr. King. The FBI did not provide any information to Stokes's committee indicating they had looked at Milteer for the assassination of Dr. King. As a result, the Congressional committee didn't investigate Milteer for King's murder.
FBI files, along with other new information, indicate that Milteer and his White supremacist associates in Atlanta turned to the Mafia to "broker" the contract to kill Dr. King. The mobster involved was Louisiana/Texas godfather Carlos Marcello, who died in 1993. Congressional investigators uncovered statements and evidence indicating that in the months prior to Dr. King's murder, James Earl Ray was a
low-level heroin runner for Marcello's drug network.
James Earl Ray's backing by Milteer and several associates in Atlanta explains for the first time why Ray—after shooting Dr. King in Memphis and fleeing to Canada—first made a 450-mile detour south to Atlanta, where Ray abandoned his getaway car only blocks from Dr. King's office and church. Ray then called one of Milteer's associates, and Milteer himself admitted in a letter that he was in the area when Ray abandoned his car. Authorities have long known that after killing King in Memphis, Ray was somehow able to flee to Canada, then to England, to Portugal, and back to England, where Ray was finally apprehended.
The declassified FBI files about King are detailed for the first time in "Legacy of Secrecy," written by Lamar Waldron, with Thom Hartmann.
The authors used files from the National Archives and exclusive sources--from former government investigators to two dozen associates of John and Robert Kennedy--to explain why agencies like the FBI withheld key files from Congressional investigators.
Key FBI and Justice Department files quoted for the first time in "Legacy of Secrecy" were not cited in a June 2000 Justice Department report about Dr. King's assassination, prepared at the request of the King family. That June 2000 report failed to mention important 1968 Justice Department and FBI files linking Marcello and the White supremacists to Dr. King's murder.
The new information about King's assassination uncovered by Waldron and Hartmann bears striking similarities to several White supremacist plots against President Obama which have resulted in arrests in recent months. Arrests related to the Obama plots have taken place in Tennessee, Arkansas, California, Florida, North Carolina, Colorado, and Maine, and some of the charges are still pending.
The Associated Press noted that, "One of the most popular White supremacist Web sites got more than 2,000 new members the day after [Obama's] election." The new FBI files described for the first time in "Legacy of Secrecy" indicate that more records remain to be released about Dr. King's murder. Attempts in Congress to pass a Martin Luther King Assassination Records Act, to release all the relevant files, has so far been unsuccessful, even though it was co-sponsored in the past by Sen. John Kerry and former Sen. Hillary Clinton.