The Lies (and misconceptions) of the "'truth' movement"

Intro (scroll down for entries)

I readily admit that I have no doubts that most members of the “truth movement” sincerely believe all the nonsense that they spout. I even think that most of the “leaders” of the movement, the ones who run the sites and write the books make the videos etc believe all of what they purport. However far too many of them present the facts in a less than honest fashion: quotes are taken out of context, contrary information omitted, rumors are reported as fact etc, others are too blinded by their preconceived notions to see the fallacies of their theories. I did want a blog title that would garner attention and ‘The Misconceptions of the Truth Movement’ just wouldn’t have the same ring to it.

I will address specific errors made by leading “truthers” in this blog and will erase any generic replies that have nothing to do with the entry topic. In other words if the entry is about Amanda Keller contradicting herself replies going on about the debris from flight 93 or Silverstein’s “pull it" comment etc. etc. will be deleted. Personal attacks and insults whether directed at me or other commenters, whether made by “truthers” or “debunkers” will be deleted as well.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

The MLK Assassination - A Tale of Two Mustangs

In case any of you failed to notice I’ve lost interest in blogging about 9/11, which is not to say I might not post about it in the future. Recently I’ve become interested in the conspiracy theories surrounding the Martin Luther King Jr. assassination. As with the deaths of Lincoln, JFK and Robert Kennedy one can speculate about various ‘what ifs’ had they survived.  James Earl Ray pled guilty to the assassination but recanted 3 days later.

A few hours before the murder Ray rented a room in a flophouse with a view of Dr. King’s motel room. Moments after the shot was fired a white man ran from near Ray’s room and sped off in white Mustang. The next morning Ray dumped his white Mustang in Atlanta. There were however two such cars parked on the block. Ray and his defenders claim he drove off in his before King was shot and that the man who fled after was an imposter. The evidence however indicates the opposite; the ‘other’ was driven off about 30 minutes before the assassination and the man who fled did so in Ray’s car, and thus almost certainly was Ray himself.

At about 3 PM April 4, 1968 the day Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated, escaped convict, James Earl Ray inquired about rooms at Bessie Brewer’s rooming house on South Main St. in Memphis TN. Mrs. Brewer first offered him room 8 but after looking inside he said he was not interested, it had a stove and refrigerator and he did not need cooking facilities, or so he said. She next showed him room 5B he looked inside, said he would take it and registered under an alias.  Room 8 did not have a view of the Lorraine Motel on Mulberry St. where Dr. King was staying, 5B did. You could only see the motel from Ray’s room if you sat or stool right next to the wall at an acute angle to window. The communal bathroom only a few feet down the hallway had an almost head on view. The rooming house occupied the 2nd floors of two separate buildings, the ground floors of which were occupied by [from north to south] Jim’s Grill (a bar and grill), Cohn & Co. and Canipe’s Amusements (a jukebox company that sold used 45s) [see chart below].

King was killed by a single rifle shot at 6:01 PM, police who happened to be at a fire station around the corner responded quickly. Witnesses indicated, and the coroner later confirmed, that the shot came from the general direction of the flophouse. Moments after shot a man carrying a long bundle ran from hallway Ray’s room was on down to Main St., dumped the bundle in front of Canipe’s and sped off in a white Mustang.

Willie Anschutz from room 4B looked out into the hallway after he heard the shot and said he thought the man who fled ran from 5B but he was not sure. He said the man covered his face with his arm so he could not ID him. Charlie Stephens from 6B, who had seen Ray when he arrived, said the man who fled looked like the man from 5B. Stephens whose room was between 5B and the bathroom said he heard the man from 5B make frequent extended visits to bathroom but only ran water or flushed the toilet once and that the last visit was shortly before the shot. He was sure the shot came from the bathroom.  Several witnesses said he was drunk a few said he was not.

The bundle was discovered to contain several of Ray’s possession including a rifle he had bought a few days earlier, a pair of binoculars he had bought a few hours earlier and a newspaper indicating King was staying at room 306 of the Lorraine Motel. The rifle had the same general rifling characteristics as the slug that killed King but the latter was too badly damaged for a definite match. Ray abandoned his white Mustang in Atlanta the next morning and fled to Toronto, then London then Lisbon and finally back to London where he was captured and extradited to the US.

He initially denied the charges, then claimed he was sitting in his car when “Raoul” – a mysterious character who he said got him involved in smuggling – jumped in hid under a sheet, told him to drive off and got out a few blocks away. He eventually pled guilty and signed a document with over 50 stipulations including that he had shot King from the bathroom. Three days later he recanted his confession but was never granted a new trial.

Witnesses indicated that in addition to the one about 20 feet south of Canipe’s there was another white Mustang parked in front of Jim’s. Ray claimed the latter was his and that he drove off at about 5:30 to a gas station blocks away to get a flat fixed and was there when King was shot. He said when he tried to return to Brewer’s the street was full of cops; he thought “Raoul” had been busted, since he was wanted he drove off. The details of his accounts have varied quite bit but he said when he heard on the radio that King had been assassinated and police were looking for a white man driving a white Mustang figured he had been set up a decided to get rid of the car and flee the country. Ray was represented by several attorneys before he died in 1998; the last was William Pepper who wrote two books about the case.

Pepper and others who do not believe Ray shot King accept his claim he was trying to get a flat tire in his trunk fixed at the time of the assassination and point the accounts the other Mustang. The evidence does indeed suggest there were 2 late-model out-of-state white hard-top Mustangs parked on the east side of S. Main near the flophouse that afternoon. At least half a dozen witnesses saw one parked in front of Jim’s Grill and a similar number saw one just south of Canipe’s. The chart below from Pepper’s book Orders to Kill corresponds pretty closely to the witness accounts. However based on their descriptions of it, the Mustang in front of the bar almost certainly was NOT Ray’s thus “black suit man” (BSM) almost certainly got into Ray’s car and thus almost certainly was Ray himself.

   [ 1]

Ray’s Mustang recovered in Atlanta

Ray’s 289 HP hardtop 1966 Mustang recovered in Atlanta a few days after the assassination had several distinctive features:

-              All the tires except the right front were whitewalls. Ray had changed a flat, the black wall was the spare, there was a flat white wall in the trunk. AFAIK we have only Ray’s word that he got the flat before the assassination. He dumped the car less than 400 miles away [   2] over 14 hours after the assassination [   3] so on the afternoon of April 4, 1968 all 4 tires might have been whitewalls.

-              the wheels had very distinctive wire spoke hubcaps

-              The interior was bright red

-              Ray had recently visited Mexico, it had two distinctive Mexican tourist pass stickers, one on the passenger side of the windshield and the other on the rear right window - they were even noticed by a young boy at the housing project were the car was dumped, “her son Johnny Niesen 13 became curious about the car he noticed it had two Mexican stickers and a lot of cigarette ashes” [  4]

[  5]

Photo of Ray’s car from a recent auction[ 6]

Bright red interior of Ray’s Mustang

Mexican ‘Turista’ sticker -Note that the seats are red as well

Mexican ‘Turista’ sticker -Note that the seats are red as well

The Mustang in front of Jim’s Grill

Six witnesses gave descriptions of the Mustang parked in front of the bar and grill to the FBI and MPD:


The first of those witnesses to see the car in front of Jim’s was the bar’s now infamous proprietor Loyd Jowers:

LOYD JOWERS, owner, Jim's Grill, 418 South Main Street, advised that at approximately 3:55 p.m. on April 4, 1968, he arrived at the Grill, and parked directly in back of a white Mustang that was parked on the street directly in front of his Grill. He stated that he believed that the car had Mississippi license plates on it because they were of an orange or orangish-yellow color. [FBI] [  7]

He said that his first impression was that they were Mississippi license plates they were light in color, but he wasn't sure about the state….[MPD] [  8]

An “orange or orangish-yellow” license plate? As Pepper pointed out “Ray's car, of course, had Alabama plates with white letters on a red background. So Mr. Jowers seems not to have seen Ray’s car.

Backers of the ‘Ray was a patsy’ theory will of course object that  decades later Jowers “confessed” he had been part of the plot and thus anything he said in 1968 was suspect.  The Civil Rights Division of the DoJ however made a very strong case that Jowers later claims were BS, he told an essentially consistent story for over 25 years, then told various inconstant and implausible tales of a complex conspiracy which he eventually recanted and described as “b***s***”. His ‘confession’ was apparently part of a scheme to try and get a book or movie deal [  9].  Also from early on he had said he thought the sound of the shot came from the kitchen or behind his bar. For example according to the Memphis PD Homicide Report “around  6:00  PM [Jowers] said he was  standing at the cash  register,   which is   in  the   front   end  of   the   building,   when  he heard  a  loud  noise,   which  wounded  like   it  came  from  the   rear   of   the   building,   or   the kitchen…[he] asked  Harold  Parker [who was sitting in the back] if  he   had  heard  the noise   in  the   kitchen,   and  Parker   told him  he  had.” [  10] Jowers was one of the few, if not the only, person who said they had heard the shot come from behind his grill, Parker told the FBI (emphasis mine) ‘he told JOWERS he had NOT heard any shooting…he definitely DID NOT hear any shot fired while he was in Jim's Grill’ [  11]. Why would Jowers have said this it he was part of a plot to frame Ray? Even if we dismiss his account The other witnesses described details inconsistent with Ray’s Mustang.


Mr. DAVID M. WOOD…advised he left work at approximately 5:00p.m., on April 4, 1968, and walked alone to Jim's Grill…He said he walked down Huling Street to South Main and crossed South Main diagonally toward Jim's Grill. He said he would estimate it was approximately 5:05 p.m., when he walked in front of a Mustang automobile whichwas parked close to Jim's Grill…He said he felt thatthis was a white car that appeared to be dirty and not recentlywashed. He said this car did not have hubcaps, had blacktires, but he did not notice the interior of the car. He saidhe did not look at the license, but glanced down and there wasno front license plate. He said also he noticed in the windowthere was no city of Memphis sticker in this window… [FBI] [  12]

…he noticed that it did not have a license plate in the front and there were no stickers, city or Inspection, on the windshield. As he stepped up  on  the sidewalk,   he  stated  he  glanced over his right shoulder to observe the size of the engine in theMustang and  saw  it to be  a 289 emblem on  the front fender [MPD] [  13]

Black tires? No hubcaps? He looked and noticed “there were no stickers, city or Inspection, on the windshield” but not did see the large and conspicuous Mexican tourist sticker? Also since he passed by the front hood car and looked at the windshield it is hard to imagine he would have failed to notice an attention grabbing red interior. So Mr.Wood seems not to have seen Ray’s car.


Mr. GILBERT STEPHEN (STEVE) CUPPLES…stated he left work at approximately 5:03 p.m., drove his 1959 white Chevrolet Impala, and  parked it immediately across the street from Jim's Grill …[he] stated he recalls seeing a white Mustang that could have been a 1967 or possibly 1968 model parked directly in front of JOWERS' Cadillac. He said this Mustang had black wall tires and believes it had large hubcaps. He said when he entered Jim's Grill he walked behind JOWERS' Cadillac and, therefore, he did not notice very many details of the Mustang…He said he got the impression the Mustang was dirty or not freshly washed… [FBI] [  14]

Cupples was the only witness to say the car had hubcaps but like several of the others he said it had black wall tires. He could have been mistaken but said it was ’67 or ’68 model, Ray’s was a ’66. So Mr. Cupples seems not to have seen Ray’s car.


Mr. KENNETH W. FOSTER… advised he left work at approximately 5:00 p.m., with BILLY HOARD,  picked up his car and drove to a parking space immediately across the street from Jim's Grill…it was approximately 5:05 p.m., when he entered Jim's Grill with BILLY HOARD. He stated he recalls specifically that he walked between a white Mustang and a white Cadillac …he noticed the Mustang had black tires, but does not recall if it had hubcaps. He added he does not recall looking to determine if the Mustang had stickers on the window or it had a local license. [FBI] [  15]

Foster like the others said the car had black wall tires, Ray’s hubcaps were fairly attention getting but Foster didn’t notice any. So Mr. Foster seems not to have seen Ray’s car.


Mr. JAMES A. WALKER, JR….advised he left work about 5:05 p.m., on April 4, 1968, and…arrived at the area of Jim's Grill at approximately 5:20 p.m., and attempted to park in his usual parking place that is near the entrance to Jim's Grill. He said when he pulled up he noticed .LOWERS' Cadillac parked in the first parking space Just north of the fire hydrant that is near the entrance of Jim's Grill, He said he usually parks in the next parking space, but found that it was occupied by a white Mustang…Mr. WALKER stated he recalls that this was a 1966 white Mustang hardtop. He said the interior of the car was dark possibly red or black he said he did not see the license on the car, but looked at the windows to see if these were any stickers. He said he was particularly aware of stickers because he has a habit of looking in the windows of cars to see if they belonged to a particular college fraternity. He said he does not recall seeing any stickers or antenna on the car. He said, however, there could' have been an antenna that he did not notice. He said he did not look at the tires or the hubcaps and cannot furnish any other information concerning tires or stickers other than, as he recalls, the car appeared to be slightly dirty or at least not recently washed. He stated he does not recall looking into the car, but is certain that he would have seen a sticker especially on the rear window if there had been any stickers on the window of this Mustang. [FBI] [  16]

Walker’s description comes closest to describing Ray’s car a 1966 white hardtop with a possibly red interior but it’s hard to imagine describing the color of the interior or Ray’s car as ‘dark’. Walker however said he looked specifically for stickers and didn’t see any. It also would have been hard to miss the rather large antenna on Ray’s Mustang. So Mr. Walker seems not to have seen Ray’s car.


Hendrix and Reed, both of whom were staying at the Fox Hotel just around the corner from Main St on Vance Av. two blocks north of Jim’s, they told the FBI (respectively) “they left the grill at approximately 5:30 p.m.” or “between 5:15 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.” Just after they left Hendrix remembered that he had forgotten his jacket in Jim’s so Reed waited for him outside while he retired it. Reed said that while his friend was retrieving his jacket he,

…saw a white Mustang was parked near the entrance of Jim's Grill. Mr. Reed stated he does not have a car and is in the market for a car and was considering buying a Mustang and therefore he looked this car over.

He said he believed the car was an off white color, that it was not dirty, but was not exactly clean either. He said he believes this car had not been recently washed. He said he does not recall the color of the interior, but believes that it was a dark color. He said he does not recall seeing anything inside the car other than five cartons lying on the back seat. He described these cartons as being the size of a tin package cigarette carton. He said these cartons were red and white in color, but does not remember any lettering on the cartons nor does he remember whether the white or the red was dominant. He said when he saw these cartons he feltthat the owner of this car was probably a traveling salesman …Mr. Reed stated he does not know whether or not any stickers were in the window of this car and he did not look at the license… [FBI] [  17]

Though many butts were found in his car Ray claimed he was not a smoker and said nothing about having any cigarettes - let alone five cartons, i.e. 50 packs – in it. It is hard to imagine Reed would have noticed that the cigarette cartons were “red and white” but failed to notice the seat they were lying on like the rest of the interior was bright right and then gone on to describe interior as being “a dark color”. It is equally had to imagine he could have failed to notice the prominent Mexican tourist stickers especially when looking through the right side windows at the back seat. So Mr. Reed seems not to have seen Ray’s car.

Reed and Hendrix both said that as the got to the corner of Vance and Main a white Mustang turned the corner heading east on Vance:

He [Reed] said he does not know if this is the same car he saw parked in front of Jim's Grill but added it seemed to be the same car. He said he did not see who was in the car but believes it was a white male with a white shirt… [FBI] [   18]

So Reed who had just “looked [the] car over” about 2 minutes before thought it was the same Mustang, but not having seen the one near Canipe’s might simply have assumed that was the case.  Confirmation that the Mustang in front of Jim’s was the one that passed Hendrix and Reed came from taxi driver James McCraw. Ray 'investigator' Harold Weisberg said the cabby told him when he came to pick up resident Charlie Stephens he double parked next to Jowers’ car and the “white Mustang was not there.”[   19] Decades latter however McCraw told Pepper and others he saw two Mustangs near the flophouse [   20]. But he was a friend Jowers and seems to have part of his attempted scam [   21].

It’s also significant that Reed said the driver had a white shirt. Several people who saw Ray when he rented the room in the flophouse 3 - 3:30 said he was wearing a black suit. At 6 PM, about 30 minutes after Reed saw the driver, MLK left his room already wearing a jacket and his chauffeur told him "It's cold outside, put your topcoat on," and he replied, "O.K., I will" [22  ] so it is unlikely Ray would have removed his jacket at this time.

The Mustang south of Canipe’s


According to Guy Canipe and two customers in his store at about 6:00 PM a white man dropped a bundle - later found to full of James Earl Ray’s possessions including a rifle he had bought a few days earlier, a pair of binoculars he had bought a few hours earlier and a newspaper indicating King was staying at room 306 in the Lorraine Motel – in front of Canipe’s store, walked south and drove off in a white Mustang. The MPD/FBI/HSCA/DoJ/Shelby Co. prosecutors said the man was Ray and the Mustang was his. Based on the accounts of the witnesses who described the car in front of Jim’s Grill that almost certainly was the case.  Ray defenders however insist that the car was not Ray’s and that the man was part of a conspiracy to frame him for the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.


 …a white male, who CANIPE described as tall, a little on the heavy aide, wearing dark colored possibly black suit, a shirt and tie, having dark colored hair possibly black, moments before had deposited these articles in the doorway and had then run south on Main Street [FBI] [   23]

After hesitating momentarily, Mr. CANIPE walked out onto the sidewalk, looking in both directions to see what happened to the man who obviously had dropped this bundle. As he did this, a white small car, possibly a compact, pulled away from the curb on the cant side of Main Street at a point just south of his store. There was only one man in the car, namely the driver. [FBI] [   24]

Mr.Canipe further advised Lt .Ghormley that he noticed a white Mustang leave at a high, rate   of  speed north on Main. [MPD] [   25]


As his attention was attracted to this box or package, he also saw a man walking rapidly SOUTH on the sidewalk on the east side of Main, it being obvious that this was the person who had dropped or thrown the package in front of CANIPE's store, there being no one else around in that area and the box or package not having been there earlier…Just about the time that Mr, CANIPE started out of the front door of the store, Mr, FINLEY heard the "screech" of tires and looked up to see a white Mustang speeding north on Main past CANIPE's store. [FBI][   26]


Mr. JULIUS L. GRAHAM…accompanied Mr. BERNELL FINLEY from their place of employment to Canipe Amusement Company… they arrived about 5:30 P.M. …He also recalls that as they were looking for a parking space there definitely were two white cars in the parking spaces in front of and to the south of Canipe Amusement Company. The second of those two white cars, or the one slightly south of the CANIPE store was definitely a white Mustang. He believes the other white car, the one in front of CANIPE's store, was probably a white Rambler. He cannot remember a third car being parked behind the Mustang. The Mustang he saw as they approached the store looking for a parking place was the ordinary variety of Mustang rather than the late model "Fastback" variety. He did not notice the license plates on this Mustang…


Mr. GRAHAM heard tires "screech" and observed a white Mustang to speed north on Main…Mr. GRAHAM is positive that the car which sped away was white Mustang and there is no question in his mind but what it was the same Mustang he had seen earlier… [FBI] [   27]

Upon hearing the   sound of   the   package   falling,   he [Graham]  turned  and  viewed  the   man  turning  the   corner  of   the   building in a southerly  direction.   He  saw him  only  from  the   back,   and  immediately  after  he   passed the   doorway,  a white late  model  Mustang pulled  off   from  the   curb  hurriedly.  [MPD][   27]


At the time of the assassination Seabrook Wallpaper was across the street from Canipe’s, its work day ended at 4:30. On April 4, 1968 two employees, Frances B. Thompson and Elizabeth Copeland were looking out the window looking for their rides home when they saw a white car driven by a white man pull up between 4:30 and 4:45. Mrs. Copeland told Peggy Hurley another coworker her husband Charles Hurley had arrived. Mrs. Hurley told her friend that the car was not her husband’s it was a Mustang and he drove a Falcon. Mrs. Copeland said the man had dark hair and she believed he had a dark coat (which would match Ray). She said when her husband arrived at approximately 5:20 the car was still there but the man was gone [   28]; this fits with Graham saying he saw the Mustang at 5:30 but made no mention of seeing any one in it.


Mr. Hurley arrived a few minutes after the Mustang and parked behind it while waiting for his wife. He told the press and FBI within days of the assassination and repeated under oath at King v. Jowers that he believed the Mustang had an “Arkansas license plate, because the numerals were red and the background was white” [   29]. Additionally according to his FBI interview summary ‘he looked at the license plate of the Mustang and believed…the first two letters being "AL." Mr. HURLEY said he could not be positive of the two letters "AL" on the license, but he believed these letters did appear on the license…” [   30] But as his defenders point out Ray’s car had an Alabama plate that had white numbers (1-38993) on a red background. It is interesting to note that he thought he saw letters AL on what was probably an ALabama license plate, did his mind simply play a trick on him?

At the trial he testified that he had arrived around 4:45 -4:50 and that the car was “right there” in front of Jim’s Grill [   31], so it is tempting to cite him as yet another witness who gave a description of the car parked there that was inconsistent with Ray’s vehicle. However numerous witnesses said Jowers’ car was almost bumper to bumper behind the Mustang and Hurley acknowledged “That has been a long time” [   32] seemingly indicating that after over 30 years he was not sure about the location.

In 1988 he told Pepper the car was occupied by “a young man wearing a dark blue windbreaker”. Ray’s lawyer took this as additional confirmation this was NOT Ray’s car as he noted “Ray was dressed in a dark suit, white shirt and dark tie on that afternoon.” [   33] Hurley’s recall of the details however is questionable, unless there were THREE white Mustang’s on the block (one of which was not seen by anyone) either the six witness who saw the car in front of the bar were wrong or he was and by 1999 he had misremembered the location of the car. The part about the blue wind breaker was also contradicted by Canipe who said the man running to the car after the shooting “wearing dark colored possibly black suit.” Additionally Hurley had only seen the man from a car length away through two car windows and only would have seen the part of his jacket above the top of the seat. The day after the assassination he told the FBI ‘it was too dark in the man's car to enable him to get a good look at the man’ and tell them anything other than he was white [   34]. It does not even make sense, if the man in the Mustang was supposed to be a stand in for Ray why have him wear such an obviously different jacket? Why have him sit in the car for several minutes where people could see him? Why have him show up about 45 minutes before Ray drove away?


Pepper and other Ray apologists unquestioningly accept Charles Hurley’s account but as noted above either Jowers AND Wood AND Cupples AND Foster AND Walker AND Reed were all wrong or Hurley was mistaken. His account is not corroborated by anyone. On the other hand except for one saying it had hubcaps and another saying it did not the six men who saw the Mustang in front of Jim’s Grill gave very consistent descriptions, it was not very clean, it had black wall tires, it didn’t have front license plate, it didn’t have stickers, it had a dark interior, Jower’s Caddy was parked tightly behind it, a Lincoln Continental was in front of it etc. Though a few of the details they recalled were consistent with Ray’s car each of them mentioned one or more details that were not.

Ray’s defenders could say both tires on the right side of the car were partially obscured by the sidewalk and perhaps only the rear one was a white wall, but most of the witnesses said the first saw the car while crossing Main St. and thus would have had an unobscured view of the left side of the car.

I drew the witness statements from their FBI interview summaries and the MPD Homicide report, Pepper et. al. could argue that these documents did not fairly represent the statements of the witnesses but I doubt that is the case because they included some comments that undermined the case against Ray, for example much of Hurley’s description of the ‘south’ Mustang and Walkers’ description of the ‘north’ one plus Cupples’ comment about the hubcaps and Woods’ about the 289 emblem and Jowers’ about the noise from the back etc. They could also argue that the south Mustang being Ray’s would not prove that he was the man who dumped the bundle in front of Canipe’s or even the one who ran from his room let alone that he was the assassin. It would however indicate that Ray’s had lied for decades about his whereabouts at the time of the assassination. It would roughly fit his first alibi that he was waiting for Raoul in front of Jim’s when the latter jumped in the car. The problem is that after decades of trying Ray and his advocates have yet to come up with any credible evidence of the supposed mystery man’s existence, let alone that he had any contact with Ray.

Ray’s gone to gas station alibi already lacked any credibility. If Ray really had a witness who could have placed him blocks away at the time of the assassination why didn’t he tell his original attorney Arthur Hanes? As the HSCA pointed out his claim he was going to wait for trial to bring this up is too ludicrous to be taken seriously, it would not have given his lawyer enough time find the gas station attendant. Ray said he came not to trust Hanes but if he had a solid alibi it should have been one of the first things Ray told his defense attorney. This coupled with the witness statements discussed above and the facts there is no credible evidence supporting Ray’s supposed alibi and that he seems never to have said where the supposed gas station was or even what brand it was diminish the gas station story to the status of a fable only true believers could believe. In 1976 Ray told Playboy “there's a filling-station attendant and some others who'll say they remembered the car” [   35], but 44 years after the assassination not one credible witness has said that saw him there. Two did come forward, one later admitted he had lied and was not in town at the time, the other even Pepper said was not credible.

It simply is not credible that Ray would not have remembered the brand of the service station. He claims that shortly after leaving it he heard news on the radio indicating he was a prime suspect in the shooting so he should have been saying to himself, ‘no I was at the Getty/Esso/Texaco station’. He supporters cannot claim he had a poor memory, according to Pepper he remembered the names  of the motels he had spent one night each in on his way to Memphis [   36] even though this had little bearing on his case.


The two Mustangs were very similar. Both were dirty, white, late-model hard-tops from states (or a state) that differently from Tennessee did not use front license plates. Ray’s was a 1966 289 HP and the one in front of Jim’s appears to have been a 1966 - 8 289 HP as well. There are two possible explanations, coincidence or conspiracy. However unlike Pepper I don’t think the latter would point to the FBI, CIA, DoD, MPD or Mafia let alone a combination of these groups. Quite to the contrary, certainly either one of them would have been capable of getting two cars without the differences noted above, getting Ray to scrape off those Mexican stickers and parked the 2nd one in Ray’s spot after he pulled out. If this was more than an incredible coincidence it seems to have organized by a not very capable group of people perhaps some of Ray’s acquaintances or some KKK types, certainly not men like Richard Helms, J. Edgar Hoover, Carlos Marcello and Frank Holloman among others.



  3] FBI description of car (includes time and location of dump)

  4] ‘The Strange Case of James Earl Ray ’,The Owosso Argus-Press - Jan 23, 1969,2280839

  5] Auction site description and photos:

FBI description of car:

  6] Auction site description and photos:

  7] FBI 4/5/68: , 1968 Mississippi plates were indeed yellowish,

  8] MPD

  9] “Jowers’ Allegations”, DoJ:

  10] MPD

  11] FBI -4/15/68

  12] FBI 4/13/68:

  13] MPD:

  14] FBI 4/13/68:

   15] FBI 4/13/68]:

  16] FBI 4/13/68:

   17] FBI 4/13/68]:

   18] FBI 4/13/68]:


  20] Orders to Kill :

  21]  “Jowers’ Allegations”, DoJ:

  22] “Martin Luther King Is Slain in Memphis; A White Is Suspected; Johnson Urges Calm”, NYT, 4/5/68 ; FBI 4/12/68

  23]  FBI Ghormley interview 4/16/68:

   24] FBI 4/5/68]

  25] MPD:

  26] FBI 4/5/68]

   27] FBI 4/5/68]

  28] MPD:

  29] Melanson, Phillip H., The Martin Luther King Assassination

  30] King v. Jowers trial transcript:

  31] FBI 4/5/68:

  32] King v. Jowers trial transcript:

  33] King v. Jowers trial transcript:

  34] Orders to Kill :
  35] FBI 4/5/68:

  36] "Playboy's History of Assassination, Part VI -- Death Crosses the Color Line" by James McKinley, June 1976 – pg. 216, PDF pg. 10 

  37] Orders to Kill :

Sunday, February 13, 2011

American Raj = More of Margolis’ BS

As I documented earlier Margolis has given mutually exclusive accounts of his contact with the world’s moat terrorist 1) as of 1996-7 he had not met OBL, 2) he met OBL 1992 (or perhaps the late 80s). But he has given more takes on this. In the second edition of War at the Top of the World (2002) he wrote:

“I encountered bin Laden towards the end of the war near Jalalabad in the walled residence of a Pushtun warlord. We were a score of men in a large empty room…Bin Laden sat at the far end of the room from me. I noticed him I noticed him because of his stature. He was dressed as a simple fighter and spoke softly to the men around him. There was nothing else exceptionable about the man. In fact, I forgot about the encounter until the late 1990's when bin Laden burst upon the scene as the world's leading Islamic menace...Bin Laden survived the war and returned in late 1989 to Saudi Arabia.”
So he didn’t exactly meet OBL but rather they were “at the far end(s) of” a “large…room” from each other with about 20 other men. Though OBL “spoke softly to the men around him” there was no mention of him speaking with Margolis. This doesn’t qualify as having met OBL so it fits with his statement in the earlier edition that they “had not met” the date was in or before “late 1989”
By 2008 in his latest book American Raj the story had grown legs and a tail, from page 169:
I crossed paths once with bin Laden. It was during fighting outside Jalalabad, the Afghan city that commands the route from Peshawar to Kabul. I had been in battle with mujahedin against Afghan Communist troops, backed by armour and artillery. As is the Afghan custom, the battle ended before dusk and all sides repaired to their homes or camps. I was taken to the sprawling, mud-walled compound of my host, local warlord Hadji Abdul Qadeer, who later became vice-president of U.S.-occupied Afghanistan and was assassinated in Kabul in 2002.
We were about 20 men in a long, rectangular room covered in colourful Persian and Afghan carpets, reclining on round bolsters set against the wall. After about 30 minutes of smoking, drinking tea, and chatting, we all rose and prepared to go our various ways. I later recalled one man from the group because he was much taller than the others, remarkably thin, even gaunt, and did not look Afghan. He exuded an aura of profound calm and dignity, as well as an almost religious solemnity. The warrior smiled at me gently. He offered me traditional greetings in Arabic and I replied in the same tongue.
Strange that if Margolis really had exchanged words OBL he made no mention of this in 2001 when he wrote that he suspected the audio of the videotape had been faked [see more below] and only mentioned the terrorist speaking “softly to the men around him” in his 2002 book.
Stranger still is that in his 2002 article about Qadir’s assassination Margolis wrote about being in the presence of “tribal elders and mujihadin” in his friend’s home but made no mention of OBL being there and the date has been moved to “the early 1990's” (probably April 1992 when Jalalabad was retaken)
“In the early 1990's, civil war was raging across Afghanistan following the Soviet pull-out. I had just come from a fierce battle against communist Afghan forces at Jalalabad. Hadji Qadir, southern Afghanistan's most important warlord, gave me the hospitality of his large, walled tribal compound near Jalalabad. I stayed with him as an honored guest and joined him in audiences with tribal elders and mujihadin fighters. As governor of one of the nation's richest provinces - thanks to legal and illegal trade - Qadir commanded great influence and large numbers of tribal fighters.”
As he did in his infamous 2010 column Margolis expressed doubt in American Raj that the man in the famous “smoking gun” video really was OBL on page 178 he wrote:
In one 2004 tape “discovered” by U.S. forces in Afghanistan which I believe used an imposter to represent bin Laden he is seen chortling over the attack and showing with his hand how one of the planes dove into the World Trade Center tower. Having met the real Osama bin Laden I am convinced that the man in the tape, who was far heavier and broader of face than bin-Laden was a fake. The purpose of the tape was to convince American audiences of bin Laden’s guilt.
Besides the fact that it’s doubtful he really met OBL there are a couple problems with this:
1) The tape was found not long after the US invasion and was first played on air December 13, 2001 when very few American’s had any doubts about “bin Laden’s guilt.” I’m not sure if he described it as a “2004 tape” because he was careless of because the later date better fit his fake tape scenario but the latter seems more likely. He wrote about the tape four days after its release (December 17) and two days later spoke about in on CNN.
2) In his Dec. 17, 2001 column though he indicated that he thought the AUDIO might have been faked he expressed no doubt that the images were of OBL:
But two other Arabic experts say the tape's audio quality is so poor that almost nothing bin Laden says on it can be verified. To my ears, well accustomed to Arabic, half of bin Laden's words were inaudible. The translation was sometimes out of sync with the action on screen. Bin Laden's statements looked cut up and edited.
Cynics suggest the tape was a forgery made by Russian intelligence or the U.S. government, with incriminating statements spliced into an otherwise boring exchange of pleasantries between bin Laden and a visiting admirer.
Note that he did not claim to have spoken to or met OBL

Margolis is an intelligent and talented writer with the insight of being a Moslem who lived and studied in Egypt for several years and spent decades covering the Middle East thus it very unfortunate that he can’t be counted on to tell the truth but rather makes up fact to fit his thesis and/or tell a ‘sexier’ story.