(The following article appeared in the April 19, 1995 issue of the now-defunct Lower East Side alternative newspaper Downtown).
As Downtown (12/16/92) has previously noted, The Murkin Conspiracy: An Investigation Into The Assassination Of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by Professor Philip Melanson also argued that “the truth of the King assassination is that it was a…sophisticated conspiracy executed by persons possessing the kind of expertise generally found within intelligence circles” and “there is now overwhelming evidence that the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. could not possibly have been the work of one man.” In addition to apparently being located near the Tennessee naval base where the FBI’s Division Five maintained a headquarters, Memphis also possessed a public safety director, Frank Holloman, who had served as Hoover’s appointments secretary and personnel director during his 25 years as an FBI agent prior to being named to control Memphis’s police department.
As Downtown (3/31/93) has also previously noted, prior to King’s assassination, Hoover’s FBI had been spying on King since September, 1958, wiretapping his phone calls, spreading false news stories about him through its friendly media contacts and hiring SCLC staff members to act as FBI informants; and The COINTELPRO Papers asserted that “there are serious questions concerning the possibility that the FBI might have been involved in the assassination of Martin Luther King.”
As James Early Ray noted in his 1992 book, Who Killed Martin Luther King? The True Story By The Alleged Assassin, the 1960s “FBI files on the activities of Dr. King…including audio tapes, occupy 58 cubic feet of storage space at the National Archives, sealed from public examination until the year 2027.” Coincidentally, at least 134 pages of CIA documents related to Dr. Martin Luther King are also still locked away in the CIA file room, according to The Murkin Conspiracy, as Downtown (12/16/92) has previously reported.
According to a March 1979 supplementary staff report, “An Analysis Of The Assassination Investigation Of The Department Of Justice And The Federal Bureau Of Investigation,” that was published by the House Select Committee on Assassinations, there were “serious defects in both the focus, and the methods of the overall conspiracy investigation” conducted by the FBI following King’s murder.
The same supplementary staff report also noted that “the day following Ray’s guilty plea, Assistant to the [FBI] Director Cartha De Loach proposed a…cooperative effort, with a friendly, capable author, to produce a carefully written, factual book on the investigation” of King’s assassination and “it is…clear that portions of [Gerald] Frank’s 1971 book, An American Death, bears striking similarities to the FBI reports covering the same subject matter.”
FBI officials have, predictably, always denied all reports that people linked to J. Edgar Hoover’s Division Five unit or any other part of the FBI secret police apparatus were responsible for Martin Luther King’s assassination. And the House Select Committee’s 1979 report following its investigation of the King assassination did not, in fact, charge Hoover’s FBI with King’s murder. But, according to Plausible Denial by Mark Lane, “when the evidence regarding the death of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. began to demonstrate the likelihood of intelligence coverup in that crime, and allow for the possibility of intelligence complicity in the murder, the CIA and the FBI were concerned and moved to stifle discussion of the subject.” After it was announced in the 1970s, for instance, that a congressional committee was preparing to investigate King’s assassination, the mayor of Memphis ordered the Memphis police “to burn all of the files—180 boxes of them—that composed the entire history of the domestic intelligence division of the Memphis police,” according to Code Name `Zorro’.
During the final years of his 39 years on earth, Martin Luther King was apparently nicknamed “Zorro”—the Spanish word for “fox”—by Hoover’s FBI. Given the possibility that Division Five of Hoover’s FBI may have been involved in organizing the “fox-hunt” which took the life of its “Zorro” target, perhaps the time has come for a televised “Hoovergate” congressional investigation—to determine what role J. Edgar Hoover played relative to the Dallas events of Nov. 22, 1963 and the events in Memphis on April 4, 1968. (end of article)
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