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The State's Case Against James Earl Ray

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Re: The State's Case Against James Earl Ray

Post by Martin Hay on Thu 01 Aug 2013, 12:19 am

dwdunn(akaDan) wrote:[quote=It's been several years so I'd have to re-read Orders to Kill to give any significant answer. What I can recall right now is that I felt Pepper had been "played" by his 2 anonymous gunmen-in-hiding-in-Latin-America, probably in line with a disinformation strategy like we see so much of in the JFK case. you know, "Let's put THIS out there and let 'em argue about it" kinda thing.Also I came to the conclusion that "Raul" was not a real person but that all Ray had to say about "Raul" was very important, since it might indicate a good deal of Ray's doings and circumstances apart from any necessity of believing that it was Raul who held all the strings. In other words, if Ray had said (for example) that "Raul had me blow up a train" and then a train was blown up, it might reveal information that SOMEONE had gotten him to blow up the train without it having to have been "Raul." I'm thinking here of the overall activities of Ray and the necessity of analyzing what he has to say about this shadowy figure, and from there how much we might be able to deduce whether it was not other "associates" that led Ray around in various ways. (Vague I know)As for your other points, I notice that you seem to have some strong feelings about this Posner fellow. And as I understand it, he's since had some difficulties with credibility. After reading his MLK book I was reminded of Patricia Lambert's book on Jim Garrison's investigation, False Witness (?), and I thought to myself, This must be how the pros do it: present your evidence and arguments; do your best to counter the claims of the target in question (Garrison, Pepper); then, above all, make sure you close with allegations of child molestation against the target. It's like the icing on the cake apparently.The only other thing I can recall from the book, and maybe the only thing of significance to me, was Posner's mentioning that when Ray made his (pre-assassination) trip from Canada to Birmingham, Alabama, Ray rented a room that was a block away from J. B. Stoner's headquarters for the National State's Rights Party. Naturally, Posner mentioned (in a footnote I think) that "this had all been investigated by important people and there was no connection found blah blah blah....."  "[Posner] cobbles together as much bullshit as he can to paint a picture of Ray as a violently racist, drug-addicted, wannabe pornographer who killed Dr. King for infamy and a $50,000 bounty. In essense, this is the same picture and conclusion that Wexler and Hancock presented in their book."Which might indicate how dependent they may have been on Posner, just as (to my recollection) Posner was heavily dependent on Huie. But then I know Larry was following/reading Huie early on, before mentioning Posner. My opinion is that the "bounty" is the safe way out, since the HSCA came to that conclusion without being able to find what Paul Trejo calls "hard evidence." Plenty of people wanting Dr. King dead, plenty of money out there being promised -- it was the lure of a "bounty" that brought Ray to kill King. Three and a half decades later, we're ready to accept something like that; just don't bother us with anything more organized and scary-sounding.]
[/quote]

 Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Dan.

I think we're on the same page regarding Pepper and the military sniper thing. I came to believe it was a deliberate disinfo campaign intended to ruin Pepper's credibility. And he did end up looking the fool when the guy he claimed was the leader of this unit, who he said was dead, confronted him on TV.

OTOH I disagree with you about Raul. I actually think he was very real and that Pepper probably did track the guy down. I find it very difficult to believe the Justice Department would have provided round-the-clock protection and made such a big effort to keep this man out of Pepper's reach if he really was just some little ole retired mechanic.

I don't see any significance in Ray renting a room that happened to be near J.B. Stoner's Birmingham headquarters. Pure coincidence IMHO. But then I've seen no credible evidence whatsoever to tie Ray in with any far right groups. As hard as they tried, Wexler and Hancock certainly couldn't produce any. The fact of the matter is that Ray may well have carried certain racist attitudes - as did many people from his era and part of the world - but he was not anti-black in any active sense. Christ, the HSCA discovered that he was sleeping with a black woman. And he got on perfectly well with his black colleagues at the Indian Trails restaurant.

You're right about Wexler and Hancock being very dependent on Huie. Even their central thesis, that King was killed by white supremacists hell-bent on sparking off a race war, is not really theirs but comes from Huie's original writing for Look magazine. Huie dreamed that up before he got pissed off at Ray for not helping him solve the case and then got his revenge by writing that Ray was the lone assassin.

Personally, I don't doubt that Pepper is correct that the real reason behind Dr. King's assassination has at least something to do with his moving on from civil rights to his Poor People's Campaign and opposition to Vietnam etc. King managed to survive a good number of years in the public eye when he was just looking to end segregation. But once he started to confront broader issues like war and redistribution of wealth...

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Re: The State's Case Against James Earl Ray

Post by Martin Hay on Thu 01 Aug 2013, 12:22 am

greg parker wrote:Sorry Martin. Back to MLK and Mr Ray, now.

This thread shouldn't be derailed. I have moved some posts to another forum.

 I'm curious as to what these posts were about?

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Re: The State's Case Against James Earl Ray

Post by Hasan Yusuf on Thu 01 Aug 2013, 12:33 am

I'm curious as to what these posts were about?
 
Martin,
 
Those posts are in the "problem with membership" thread.

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Re: The State's Case Against James Earl Ray

Post by greg parker on Thu 01 Aug 2013, 5:47 am

Martin Hay wrote:
greg parker wrote:Sorry Martin. Back to MLK and Mr Ray, now.

This thread shouldn't be derailed. I have moved some posts to another forum.

 I'm curious as to what these posts were about?
Martin,

There has been a couple of technical issues with getting Jim DiEugenio's membership up and running. That was used as an opportunity for  some kidding around... moved those posts to the "Odds and Sods" forum.

_________________
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Re: The State's Case Against James Earl Ray

Post by dwdunn(akaDan) on Sun 04 Aug 2013, 1:27 am

Hmmm, I got a good laugh out of that the other night without knowing it was in this thread to start with. Very Happy

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Re: The State's Case Against James Earl Ray

Post by dwdunn(akaDan) on Sun 04 Aug 2013, 1:35 am

Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Dan.

I think we're on the same page regarding Pepper and the military sniper thing. I came to believe it was a deliberate disinfo campaign intended to ruin Pepper's credibility. And he did end up looking the fool when the guy he claimed was the leader of this unit, who he said was dead, confronted him on TV.
 
OTOH I disagree with you about Raul. I actually think he was very real and that Pepper probably did track the guy down. I find it very difficult to believe the Justice Department would have provided round-the-clock protection and made such a big effort to keep this man out of Pepper's reach if he really was just some little ole retired mechanic.
 
I don't see any significance in Ray renting a room that happened to be near J.B. Stoner's Birmingham headquarters. Pure coincidence IMHO. But then I've seen no credible evidence whatsoever to tie Ray in with any far right groups. As hard as they tried, Wexler and Hancock certainly couldn't produce any. The fact of the matter is that Ray may well have carried certain racist attitudes - as did many people from his era and part of the world - but he was not anti-black in any active sense. Christ, the HSCA discovered that he was sleeping with a black woman. And he got on perfectly well with his black colleagues at the Indian Trails restaurant.
 
You're right about Wexler and Hancock being very dependent on Huie. Even their central thesis, that King was killed by white supremacists hell-bent on sparking off a race war, is not really theirs but comes from Huie's original writing for Look magazine. Huie dreamed that up before he got pissed off at Ray for not helping him solve the case and then got his revenge by writing that Ray was the lone assassin.
 
Personally, I don't doubt that Pepper is correct that the real reason behind Dr. King's assassination has at least something to do with his moving on from civil rights to his Poor People's Campaign and opposition to Vietnam etc. King managed to survive a good number of years in the public eye when he was just looking to end segregation. But once he started to confront broader issues like war and redistribution of wealth...

 
Yes, absolutely, Martin. Dr. King became more of a "threat" and alienated many previous supporters as he progressed from civil rights leader to anti-war leader and "radical." I would recommend to anyone to read Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community? if they're interested in him and "where he was at" at the time of his death. In the Poor People's Campaign he envisioned sending people into the halls of Congress for sit-ins at congressional offices and other forms of civil disobedience in order to disrupt business as usual procedures, putting pressure on Congress to do something to end poverty, and he was also talking about taking nonviolent protest to a new level to create "massive dislocations" in the sociopolitical order. So yes, he was much more of a threat, but it's not like he wasn't considered a threat when he was "only" a leader in the civil rights movement; he "managed to survive" being stabbed close to the heart, being punched in the face by a Nazi, having his house blown up, innumerable death threats, assassination plots, J. Edgar Hoover plots, and so on.
 
Now that I've had more time to think about it I do recall that it was the lack of such a context that made me more skeptical of Pepper's book. In reading it one would hardly gather that race/racism was ever any kind of dimension at all in the life of James Earl Ray. And as you suggest, that would have been extremely uncommon at the time. But instead Pepper essentially doesn't mention this. So I would say that omitting information, not going into things, and obscuring issues is just as much a problem in certain "pro-conspiracy" writings as it is in official accounts and their anti-conspiracy support writings, maybe more so if we assume the former are supposed to be trying to give us "the truth" whereas we don't have much of such expectations from the latter.
 
Aside from that, Pepper himself seems a bit too gullible and credulous to me. That may mean that he's a kind and gentle-hearted fellow, but to me it also makes him an easy mark for the spreading of disinformation and misinformation and for blowing up the credibility of "conspiracy research," as in the military sniper set-up.
 
On your points about Raul, the question depends on the strength of Pepper's evidence obviously, and if his arguments about that evidence are convincing. If not, there are issues of irresponsibility, exposing someone to potential harm, harassment, stalking; and in a high-profile way. But then I take a fairly hardline attitude towards the accused in the 3 major cases (JFK, MLK, RFK), I don't know whether that's because it's my "natural tendency" or I'm too dependent on official accounts or because I spent 7 years as a correctional officer and have been exposed to a lot of people who dissemble and lie frequently. My impression was that Ray made up Raul in order to play head games with people, the kind of thing that sociopaths find a good deal of fun in doing.
 
 
I don't see any significance in Ray renting a room that happened to be near J.B. Stoner's Birmingham headquarters. Pure coincidence IMHO. But then I've seen no credible evidence whatsoever to tie Ray in with any far right groups. As hard as they tried, Wexler and Hancock certainly couldn't produce any. The fact of the matter is that Ray may well have carried certain racist attitudes - as did many people from his era and part of the world - but he was not anti-black in any active sense. Christ, the HSCA discovered that he was sleeping with a black woman. And he got on perfectly well with his black colleagues at the Indian Trails restaurant.
 
You're right about Wexler and Hancock being very dependent on Huie. Even their central thesis, that King was killed by white supremacists hell-bent on sparking off a race war, is not really theirs but comes from Huie's original writing for Look magazine. Huie dreamed that up before he got pissed off at Ray for not helping him solve the case and then got his revenge by writing that Ray was the lone assassin.

Important points, and the last sounds a lot like what Dan Moldea did with Sirhan Sirhan (got pissed off and argued he was a lone assassin). Without having read their book I can't easily comment on what Wexler and Hancock came up with. But I can say that I vaguely recall a mild disagreement I had with Larry on this point: most of the Far Right "thinkers" expected Armageddon (and not just in the form of a "race war"), believed they were in "the end times"; so I didn't agree with the idea of "sparking a race war" but that the attitude toward Dr. King as well as Robert Kennedy was simple elimination, they needed to be gotten rid of. If Wexler and Hancock have argued that killing King was intended to "spark off a race war," I would assume they must have found more evidence of that; otherwise it sounds like they may well have been influenced by Huie as you indicate. I haven't read anything by Huie, so his writings' influence on me only comes from what may have been filtered through Larry.
 
But I will also say that the Far Right/white supremacist "angle" came "from the ground up" -- at least for me -- from exploring things like Wesley Swift's sermons and other racist literature and the background history behind this. I alluded to this in my blog post and I think we'll have to revisit the issue after I've had a chance to post some of that evidence and arguments. My point about Ray's choice of rooming house in Birmingham was that in trying to figure out how a guy like him finds the means to make the travels he did, it struck me as potentially telling (rather than mere coincidence) that he made a direct trip from Montreal (I think) to Birmingham and "just happened" to be rooming so close to the national NSRP headquarters. Given that his post-assassination travel itinerary took him back to Canada, then to England, then to Portugal, in trying to get to Rhodesia .... well, I'm more inclined to see evidence there for various forms of assistance from more organized international bigot representatives than haphazard happenstance.
 
Thank you for sharing your thoughts also Martin. And take care of yourself.

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Re: The State's Case Against James Earl Ray

Post by Martin Hay on Sun 04 Aug 2013, 3:57 am

Dan,

To be clear, like Pepper, I don't believe Ray's views on race were at all significant to the assassination. Like I said before, he probably did perceive a difference between blacks and whites simply because of the time and place he was from. But there is ZERO credible evidence that he bore blacks any ill will. And he got on well with those he did associate with - even having a sexual relationship with one black woman. Not one person ever came forward claiming to have been racially abused by Ray that I know of. Nor was he a member of any racist organization.

Again, I see no reason to see his rooming close to the NSRP headquarters as having any significance. There is no evidence that he visited the headquarters or was ever around any member of that organization. Or any other far right group for that matter. Given that they were all infiltrated by FBI informants, if Ray had ever had such affiliations, we surely would have known by now IMHO. Or, I would think, at least one member or former member would have come forward and said they saw Ray with such-and-such. But no. It never happened because Ray was simply not involved with these people. At least not knowingly.

With regard to his attempts to get to Rhodesia, we need to remember that Ray was an escaped convict whose primary concern was getting out of the US. His first port of call was Canada where he tried desperately to get a passport. What he really wanted was to get to an English speaking nation with no extradition treaty with the US - Rhodesia fit the bill. 

I can understand why you think Ray invented Raul but obviously I disagree. I certainly don't think he was a "sociopath" who invented Raul to "play head games" with people (Ray saw a clinical psychologist named Dr. Mark Freeman in late '67 who later told the FBI he was "shy, introverted, and withdrawn but not psychotic or plagued with any deep-seated neuroses"). The fact is that Ray spent the better part of 30 years trying to get a trial and sticking to the Raul story badly hurt his cause. Also, if he had invented Raul, then he could easily have used him to explain certain mysterious things that he didn't. For example, where Ray got his aliases from has always been a source of confusion and debate. He could easily have said he got them from Raul but he never did. He was quite specific about the actions he attributed to Raul which to my mind supports his existence. As does the sworn deposition of Sid Carthew. And the fact that Ray, Carthew, Loyd Jowers, and others all identified the same photograph as being Raul.

I'm very much enjoying discussing these issues with you and hearing your thoughts.

P.S. Thanks for the book recommendation. I will certainly check that out.

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Re: The State's Case Against James Earl Ray

Post by dwdunn(akaDan) on Sun 04 Aug 2013, 7:13 am

Martin,

Those are excellent points in rebuttal and I will definitely reevaluate my own assumptions, premises, etc as I move along. I also meant to add, regrding the "hardline approach to the accused," that while my opinion on Sirhan hasn't changed, my opinion on Lee Oswald has gone from "probably guilty" to "Jesus, the kid was played so many steps of the way and got the full shaft." On Ray I'm much more on the fence and less certain/knowledgable on any number of things. And again, my expectation has been that Wexler and Hancock would have provided significant evidence on the relevant points.

I'm likewise very much enjoying this discussion with you. I think it was very nice of Mr. Colby and Mr. Simkin to bring us together, outlaws that we appear to be after having all those "too hot for the EF" contributions deleted. I guess as long as we steer clear of insulting Skippy we'll be okay here.

Thanks, and have a good weekend.

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Re: The State's Case Against James Earl Ray

Post by beowulf on Mon 05 Aug 2013, 5:18 am

While looking to see what Weisberg had on our old friend ML Baker, I came across this 1978 clipping in his archive.
"Baker: 'Doesn't believe for instant' conclusions of King death"
http://jfk.hood.edu/ColBaker.probelection/Weisberg%20Subject%20Index%20Files/B%20Disk/Baker%20Howard%20Senator/Item%2001.pdf

No not Officer Baker, Tennessee Senator Howard Baker. In 1978, he was the Senate Republican leader (he'd later serve as WH chief of staff and Ambassador to Japan). Baker is a good egg. Incidentally, Tennessee is one of those Southern states where the Republicans were the racially progressive party until the 1970s so its not surprising Baker was friends with a black police officer.

"A story is sometimes told of a reporter telling a senior Democratic senator that privately, a plurality of his Democratic colleagues would vote for Baker for President of the United States. The senator is reported to have replied, "You're wrong. He'd win a majority."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Howard_Baker

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Re: The State's Case Against James Earl Ray

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