ORDERS TO KILL -- THE TRUTH BEHIND THE MURDER OF MARTIN LUTHER KING
Chapter 30: Orders to Kill
OVER A PERIOD OF TWENTY-FOUR months from June, 1993, while all of the other investigative activity was proceeding, information was obtained from a number of sources inside the army. These sources included the two former Special Forces members living in Latin America, whom I have called Warren and Murphy, who answered questions I put to them through Steve Tompkins. Their responses and some corresponding documentation (supplied by Warren) revealed not only the extent of their covert activity in various parts of the U.S. in 1967-68 but also detailed their involvement in the events surrounding Dr. King's assassination.
First hinted at by the Memphis Commercial Appeal in 1993, the role of the army and the other cooperating government agencies in the assassination of Dr. King has been one of our nation's deepest, darkest secrets. I have only been able to uncover it by piecing together the accounts of Warren and Murphy with those of other participants and persons who were in strategic positions with access to information, and analyzing relevant army intelligence documents, files and other official records which have never been made public. Wherever possible I have used independent corroboration. I have adopted the policy of not disclosing the names of the most sensitive team members who are still living, but I have named those who are dead in the belief that historical truth requires no less.
BEFORE SETTING OUT THE DETAILS, however, I believe that it will be useful to layout the organizational structure which drove the events.
During the 1960s a highly secret federal organizational structure, with army intelligence in the forefront, carried out officially approved tasks which ranged from conventional intelligence activity -- "eye-to-eye" surveillance and information gathering and analysis -- to blatantly illegal covert operations. I have been surprised to discover the degree of official cooperation that existed during the time between what have often been publicly portrayed as exclusively competing agencies and officials.
In October 1961 Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara, with a view to eventually consolidating all intelligence functions of the individual armed services under one joint service organization, established the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA). By 1965, however, the DIA had only taken over the U.S. Army's Strategic Intelligence School and the administration of the military attache system. The individual armed services, particularly the army, strove to retain their own intelligence apparatus. The army established its own intelligence and security branch on July 1, 1962. Following the Oxford, Mississippi, racial riots of 1963 when the 101st Airborne was deployed, Major General Creighton v. Abrams, the on-scene commander, wrote a highly critical assessment of the state and performance of army intelligence at Oxford. In part he stated:
"We in the Army should launch a major intelligence project, without delay, to identify personalities, both black and white, and develop analyses of the various civil rights situations in which they become involved."
His report received serious attention that resulted in the army intelligence machine that was in place in 1967-68. The intelligence and security branch was a group of professional intelligence officers who were fulfilling the role of the Military Intelligence Division created by its World War I chief lieutenant Colonel Ralph Van Deman. Van Deman, the father of army intelligence, began sixty years earlier to work closely with city police departments. In 1967 it was renamed the Military Intelligence Branch, and it formed part of the U .S. Army Intelligence Command (USAINTC) based at Fort Holabird, Maryland. Fort Holabird is a ninety-six-acre military compound where by 1968 in a huge steel two-story room, one city block in length, was housed the Investigative Records Repository (IRR). The IRR then contained more than seven million brownjacketed dossiers on American citizens and organizations, including subversive files on individuals who -- according to army intelligence -- were "persons considered to constitute a threat to the security and defense of the United States." There were files on the entire King family in the IRR.
At that time USAINTC took over control of seven of the eight existing counterintelligence or U.S. army military intelligence groups (MIGs) in the Continental United States (CONUS) and Germany (the 66th MIG). The eighth MIG -- the 902nd -- was under the command of the army's Assistant Chief of Staff for Intelligence (ACSI) who from December 1966 until July 1968 was Major General William P. Yarborough. He had run the John F. Kennedy Special Warfare School at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, between 1961 and 1965 and was the founder of those units known as the Green Berets. By 1967 the MIGs employed 798 army officers, 1,573 enlisted men, and 1,532 civilians, including sixty-seven black undercover agents. Of this total force, 1,576 were directly involved in domestic intelligence gathering activities, and of these "spies" some 260 were civilians. I was provided with a copy of the ACSI command structure and table of organization as it existed in 1967.
The MIG officers were responsible for "eye-to-eye" surveillance operations, which included audio and visual recording of people and events designated as targets. Dr. King was a target, and throughout the last year of his life he was under the surveillance of one or another MIG team. Thus, in New York he was surveilled by the 108th MIG; in Los Angeles the I15th; Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama and the South, the 111th; in Chicago the 113th; in Washington, D.C., the 116th; in Newark, New Jersey, the 109th; and in Germany the 66th which was based in Stuttgart, Germany. I set out in Chart 7 (see Appendix) a map showing the territorial areas and headquarter bases of the MIGs inside the CONUS and in Charts 8, 9, and 10 in the Appendix the USAINTC Table of Organization in 1967, the USAINTC Field Offices and the USAINTC communications network.
Closely related to the USAINTC structure at the time was the separate intelligence office of the army chief of staff commanded by ACSI Yarborough. In addition to his control of the 902nd MIG, he supervised the Counterintelligence Analysis Board (CIAB), both of which were based in Falls Church, Virginia, though the CIAB was also secretly housed in a red brick warehouse at 1430 S. Eads Street in Arlington, Virginia. The CIAB analyzed a wide range of MIG-produced intelligence and forwarded reports usually directly to the ACSI. The 902nd MIG was a highly secretive operation, which I have learned carried out some of the most sensitive assignments.
Intelligence gathering was also done in 1967 (at least from June 12, when formally assigned the task) by the 20th Special Forces Group (20th SFG) headquartered in Birmingham, Alabama. As we will see, this function was in addition to the provision by the 20th SFG of small specialized teams for other "behind the fence" (covert) operations. This group was made up of reservists from Alabama, Mississippi, Florida, and Louisiana. The Alabama reservists were part of the third largest state National Guard unit in the country (20,016 members -- surpassed only by New York and California). (From the early 1960s in Southeast Asia the Special Forces (Green Berets) began to be used for specialized intelligence-gathering functions in addition to their covert mission activity.)
The Klan had a special arrangement with the 20th SFG. The 20th SFG actually trained klansmen in the use of firearms and other military skills at a secret camp near Cullman, Alabama, in return for intelligence on local black leaders. The earliest of such training exercises began on November 12, 1966. Some members of the 20th SFG also used these sessions for illegal weapons sales.
The U.S. Strike Command (CINCSTRIKE) was the overall coordinating command (which could call upon all military forces on U.S. soil) for the purpose of responding to urban riots in 1967-1968. At that time it included liaison officers from the CIA, FBI, and other nonmilitary state and federal agencies. It was headquartered at MacDill air force base in Tampa, Florida, and the ACSI and USAINTC commanders were primary leaders in developing CINCSTRIKE strategy for the mobilization of forces as required for defensive action inside CONUS.
The United States Army Security Agency (ASA) headquartered at Fort Meade, Maryland, which in 1964 became a major command field operating agency under the control of the army chief of Staff, carried out all "non eye-to- eye" or ELINT (electronic intelligence surveillance). The ASA employed expert wiretappers, eavesdroppers, and safecrackers. The surveillance included wiretapping and electronic eavesdropping such as that carried out against Dr. King on March 18 and March 28, 1967, when he stayed at the Rivermont Hotel in Memphis (and, as we shall see, on April 3 and 4 at the Lorraine Motel). Thus, the "federal" agents with whom MPD special services/intelligence officer Jim Smith was working on March 18, whom we had initially believed to be FBI agents, were almost certainly ASA agents though probably assigned to work with the 111th MIG. In the field, the members of the ASA were also housed, though always in a distinctly separate working area, with the MIG operations. At Fort McPherson in Atlanta, for example, they were in the same building as the headquarters of the 111th MIG but worked clandestinely and were entirely separated by a floor-to-ceiling chain-link fence.
Finally, in terms of this story, there was the Psychological Operations (Psy Ops) section. This group was primarily used for highly sensitive and technical photographic surveillance and reports. Psy Ops teams were used by MIGs or for other special missions, including those run out of the ACSI's office.
Alongside this multifaceted army structure were the National Security Agency (NSA), the CIA, the FBI, and the Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI). The NSA monitored and analyzed all targeted international cable, telephone, telex, teletype, and telefax communications as well as, on occasion, specified, sensitive domestic telecommunications traffic. As discussed earlier (see chapter 11) the CIA, through its clandestine Office of Security and the Domestic Operations Division, carried on extensive domestic operations interfacing on domestic activity (as did each of the army operating commands) with the FBI and ONI. These operations were carried out on a project-by-project basis, usually through specially created SOGs (Special Operations Groups). The interagency umbrella or coordinating intelligence body was the United States Intelligence Board (USIB). Represented on the USIB were the CIA (whose Director Richard Helms was its chairman), the NSA Director, the National Security Adviser to the president, the ACSI, the FBI, the ASA, USAINTC, the DIA and ONI.
This overall military/law enforcement and intelligence agency structure determined and controlled the planning and implementation of the range of military operations in Memphis, including the use of the Tennessee National Guard. Riot control in Memphis was accomplished through the use of the Tennessee National Guard.
The Principal Senior Officials
Mayor General Yarborough took over in December 1966, as ACSI, coming from command of the 66th MIG in Stuttgart, where his primary duty' was to catch communist spies and run agents in East Germany. A limited number of key officers served under him. The commanding officer of USAINTC, the overall army intelligence organization, was Brigadier General William Blakefield, who was not a trained or experienced intelligence officer and who seemed to have been chosen for that position by army chief of staff Harold Johnson precisely because he was an outsider. The impression I have formed is that General Blakefield was uncomfortable with this command area and that he followed the ACSI General Yarborough on most issues.
The director of the CIA at the time was Richard Helms, and J. Edgar Hoover, of course, led the FBI. Though a closely guarded secret, FBI director Hoover seconded a trusted agent, Patrick D. Putnam, to Yarborough's ACSI staff in the Pentagon in order to ensure the closest working relationship. Putnam began this assignment in December 1966 with Yarborough's arrival and continued until his departure in July 1968.
The commanding officer of the 111th MIG (the group which covered all of the Deep South and so was most often engaged in surveilling Martin King) was Colonel Robert McBride.
From 1959 to 1971, the commander of the 20th SFG was Colonel Henry H. Cobb, Jr. (service number 0000514383) of Montgomery, Alabama, who retired as a Major General. His second in command was Major Bert E. Wride (service number 0002267592). The Alabama Army National Guard, which contained the 20th SFG, was per capita the nation' s largest in 1968. Alabama also had the largest number of armories (140) of any state in America. In 1968 the Alabama Guard operated on a $150 million budget.
In 1979, after his retirement, Cobb became Alabama Adjutant General -- the highest ranking member of the Alabama Army National Guard, appointed by Governor Fob James.
The 20th SFG Professionals
Warren and Murphy, the two members of the Special Forces team deployed to Memphis on April 4 who had agreed to discuss the mission, had been active in covert Special Operation Group (SOG) missions in Vietnam. They were hardened, highly skilled veterans; Warren was a sniper. Both were from the 5th Special Forces Group in Vietnam, and part of a Mobile Strike Force Team involved in cross-border covert operations in 1965-66. They were reassigned in 1967 as reservists to the 20th SFG, with Camp Shelby, Mississippi, as their training base, although they also secretly trained, according to Warren, at Mississippi Senator James Eastland's plantation near Rosedale in Sunflower County. I obtained a copy of the 20th SFG roster of Alabama soldiers around the time and their names appeared.
Other Domestic Missions
Warren and Murphy stated that throughout 1967 they were deployed in 902nd covert operations as members of small specialized "alpha team " units in a number of cities where violence was breaking out. They were issued photographs of black militants in each city they entered, and in some instances particular individuals were designated as targets to be taken out (killed) if an opportunity arose in the course of a disruption or riot. During this time, army intelligence published green and white books ("mug bugs") on black radicals, which contained photographs, family history, political philosophy, personal finances, and updated surveillance information in order to facilitate their identification by army commanders and intelligence personnel.
An example given by Warren was his mission in Los Angeles in February 1968, when there was a major black conference at the L.A. Sports Arena. SNCC leaders Stokely Carmichael and H. Rap Brown were there. The 20th SFG had the arena staked out in case of trouble. Surveillance pictures of a militant black group called the Brown Berets were passed out to the members of the team. The group's borrowing of the Green Beret symbol "pissed all of us off," Warren said. One target was a man named Karenga (Ron Karenga) whose organization's headquarters were down on South Broadway near some strip joints. The 20th SFG had a team across the street waiting for him, but he never showed up. Warren said that on that occasion they also had a secondary mission, which was to do recon. (reconnaissance) of a home up in the western hills near the UCLA campus. The recon was to determine the feasibility for a future "wet insert ops determined" operation ("wet insert ops deter- mined" means that the unit carries out a surreptitious entry at night into the targeted residence, kills everyone there, and leaves without a trace) .He said their recon confirmed the feasibility of such an operation. Warren subsequently learned that the house was used by Senator Robert Kennedy when he was in Los Angeles in 1967-68. (Shortly after the recon Kennedy would declare for the Presidency.)
Warren said that in 1967 he was also similarly deployed on other sensitive operations in:
Tampa, Florida (June 12-15,
The Memphis Mission
In successive sessions, Warren, eventually joined by Murphy, set out the details they' personally knew about the Memphis deployment. They were part of an eight-man "Operation Detachment Alpha 184 team." This was a Special Forces field training team in specialized civilian disguise. The unit consisted of: a captain (as CO); a second lieutenant; two staff sergeants; two buck sergeants, and two corporals. (From a source inside the ACSI's office whom I will call "Herbert," I learned that a key aide of the 902nd MIG [whom I will call "Gardner"] had personally selected the team from the roster of the 20th SFG, which was provided at the request of the ACSI's office and sent to him at 6:15 p.m., October 23, 1967, by an AUTOVON dispatch from 20th SFG headquarters in Birmingham [an AUTOVON is a first-generation fax machine, which was state of the art at the time]).
A two-man recon unit of the Alpha 184 recon team consisting, they believed, of the second in command (who I was to learn from Herbert was the now deceased Second Lt. Robert Worley) and one other entered Memphis on February 25 through the Trailways Bus Terminal, completed recon on the downtown hotel area, and mapped egress routes to the north of the city. (It will be remembered that the "hoax" automobile chase took place in the northern section of Memphis and concentrated attention on this area of the city.) The team leader (who I learned from Herbert was Captain Billy R. Eidson -- service number 0002282683), who is also now dead, was apparently given the final orders for the deployment at 7:30 a.m. on March 29, and Warren and Murphy stated that the team was specifically briefed before departing from Camp Shelby for Memphis at 4:30 a.m. on the morning of April 4, 1968.
During the approximately thirty-minute session the team was left in no doubt as to its mission. On the order they were to shoot to kill -- "body mass" (center, chest cavity) -- Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and, to my surprise, the Reverend Andrew Young, who was to be Warren's target. They were shown "target acquisition photos" of the two men and the Lorraine Motel. Eidson's pep talk stressed how they were enemies of the United States who were determined to bring down the government. Warren said that no one on the team had any hesitancy about killing the two "sacks of shit." Warren and Murphy stated that immediately after the briefing the team left by car from Camp Shelby for Memphis, carrying the following weapons in suitcases: standard .45 caliber firearms, M-16 sniper rifles with 8-power scopes (the closest civilian equivalent would be the Remington 30.06 700 series -- remember that James was instructed to buy a Remington 760); K-bars (military knives); "frags" (fragmentation grenades); and one or two LAWS (light anti-tank weapon rockets). It appeared they were prepared for all contingencies. They were dressed as working "stiffs," similar to those day laborers who worked on the barges or in the warehouses down by the river near President's Island.
Warren remembered having a late breakfast at a Howard Johnson's restaurant when they arrived in the city. Captain Eidson arranged for Warren and Murphy to meet with a senior MPD officer who they believed was attached to the MPD's intelligence bureau and who told them that their presence was essential to save the city from burning down in the riot which Dr. King's forces were preparing. Warren later identified Lieutenant E. H. Arkin from a photograph as being the officer they met. (Arkin was also the MPD's chief liaison with special agent William Lawrence, the local FBI field office's intelligence specialist. When I interviewed Arkin he did not acknowledge any such meeting.)
Sometime after noon Warren and Murphy met their contact down near the railroad tracks. Warren named the man, whom he called a "spook" (army slang for CIA). He said he remembered this person because he closely resembled one of his best friends. The contact took them to the roof of a tall building that dominated that downtown area and loomed over the Lorraine. Their guide provided them with a detailed area-of-operations map, pictures of cars used by the King group, and the Memphis police TAC radio frequencies.
He didn't know the building's name, but I realized that it could only have been the Illinois Central Railroad Building, a structure with eight stories on top of a mezzanine, which lay diagonally southwest of the Lorraine (see photograph #34). Murphy agreed that they were in position by 1:00 p.m. and remained on their rooftop perch for over five hours. In their two-man sniper unit Warren was the shooter and Murphy the "spotter" and radio man. Murphy's job was to relay orders to Warren from the coordinating central radio man as well as to pick out or "spot" the target through binoculars. The central radio man, a corporal, is living in Canada in an intelligence officers protection program. I know his name and service number but have been unable to locate him.
Also during the course of that afternoon Warren had spoken over the radio with an MPD officer whose first name he believed was "Sam" who was the head of the city TAC. (This had to be Sam Evans, head of the MPD tactical units). Warren said that Sam provided details about the physical structure and layout of the Lorraine. He also told Warren that "friendlies were not wearing ties." Warren took this to mean that there was an informant or informants inside the King group.
For the balance of the afternoon, he and Murphy waited. (I learned from other sources inside the 111th MIG that ASA agents monitored the discussions going on in Dr. King's room , which was one of three rooms in the Lorraine they had bugged. I learned that the telephones in each of the three rooms were also tapped and that the agents kept a separate folder for the transcripts of the conversations for each room. Presumably these discussions and telephone conversations were being passed on to Captain Eidson through his central radio man. Though I cannot be certain of this, the two civilians parked in the Butler /Mulberry Street area that afternoon who were noticed by Robert Hagerty may well have been ASA agents, since Hagerty also saw them with walkie-talkies. Simi- larly, the man seen loitering near his parked car on Huling Street at the same time by telephone repairman Hasel Huckaby may well have been a member of the 111th MIG team in the area.)
Subsequently, my private investigator Jim Kellum reported that former members of the MPD intelligence bureau, including senior officer Lieutenant Eli Arkin, confirmed to him that all during this time agents of the 111th were in their offices working with them. Arkin later confirmed their presence to me and said that he had requested that they be moved to another office in the central headquarters because they were interfering with the work of his staff. I learned that "Intelligence Emergency Operation Centers" (IEOCs) were set up within a MIG when a crisis was anticipated in that MIG area city. All intelligence information-in and out-was routed through the IEOC and troop deployment communications passed through this operations center as well. From what Lieutenant Arkin told me, it appears that in Memphis, true to the Van Deman tradition, the IEOC was located in the MPD central headquarters, initially in the intelligence bureau office.
Finally, near what Warren termed the "TTH" (top of the hour -- 6.p.m.) the King group emerged from a lengthy meeting.
Warren recognized his target, Andrew Young, and took aim, holding him in his sights. Radio man Murphy waited for the order to fire, which he was expecting Captain Billy Eidson to give and which he was prepared to relay. It didn't come, and as usual in such circumstances the seconds seemed like hours. Warren kept Andy Young in the crosshairs of his scope, and then he said, just after TTH, a shot rang out. It sounded like a military weapon, and Warren assumed that the other sniper unit had jumped the gun and fired too soon because the plan was always for a simultaneous shooting. He said he never knew where the other sniper unit had been placed, but they would also have been above the target and at least 300 yards from it. A less well-trained soldier hearing that shot might have fired, but Warren said he had to have the direct order before he would pull the trigger. Murphy asked for instructions, and there was a long silence. Then Eidson came on and ordered the team to disengage in an orderly fashion and follow the egress routes assigned to them out of South Memphis where they were located. Warren and Murphy packed up and went down the same stairs they had climbed more than five hours earlier. They went across Riverside Drive and down to the river, where a boat was waiting. Eidson joined them and they quickly went some distance downstream to a prearranged point where cars were waiting. Eidson ordered complete silence for the return trip. No one was allowed to speak. Only some of the team went out this way. Warren said the rest obviously went out another way, but he had no idea how they returned. He said that his immediate impression that the other team had "screwed up" continued until later that evening when he heard that some "wacko civilian" had apparently done the shooting.
When asked, he said he believed that it was entirely possible that the Alpha 184 team mission could have been a backup operation to an officially deniable, though jointly coordinated, civilian scenario. Warren said that he had seen Captain Eidson on only two other occasions after April 4, and he refused to talk to him about what had happened.
As noncommissioned officers, staff sergeants Warren and Murphy were "grunts." They would only have been told what they needed to know in order to carry out their particular task on the day. Warren stressed that April 4 was the first time he had been in Memphis, and that he had not participated in any recon activity. He said that though their operation was a military one, so far as he knew there was some interservice cooperation since they were coordinating with Tennessee National Guard units and NAS-the Millington Naval Air Station.
Warren provided a copy of the orders for the April 4 mission in Memphis, which I include as photograph #33. They confirm the following statements he made:
I was advised that "chopped" referred to the availability upon request of removal by NAS helicopter.
The orders appeared to come from the office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and were issued under the umbrella of the anti-black terrorist operation "Garden Plot" which was a part of the overall U.S. Command antiriot operation CINCSTRIKE which was activated with the outbreak of any major riot. The document has been checked by a Pentagon source in intelligence who confirmed its authenticity.
The orders were clearly well circulated, reaching the highest levels of government. They were even sent to the White House. The Pentagon source provided a decoding of the initials used to indicate where the orders were sent and confirmed the following: CJCS stood for the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; DJS meant the Director of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; SJCS meant the Secretary of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; SAC SA was the FBI's Special Agent in Charge of Security Mfairs; NMCC referred to the National Military Command Center; SECDEF indi- cated the Secretary of Defense; ASD/ISA was the designation for the Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs, and WHouse referred to the White House.
The origin of the orders LANTCOMN/CINCSPECOPS revealed knowledge and involvement of the Atlantic Command as well as a special operations section of CINCSTRIKE. The critical reference is to the 4:30 a.m. briefing at which time sources said the deadly nature of the operation was explicitly laid out and "target acquisition photos" of the two targets and their location were shown.
WARREN HAD HEARD ABOUT one other time when a 20th SFG unit had almost "taken out" Dr. King. This was during the Selma march in 1965. Warren said the sniper, who was also a member of the Memphis Alpha 184 team, claimed that on that occasion he actually had the SCLC leader "center mass" (the center of his chest in the crosshairs of his scope) in his sights awaiting the order to fire, which never came because Dr. King turned sharply away at the opportune moment and was closely surrounded thereafter on the march. Warren would not name this soldier or any other member of the team except his expatriate buddy Murphy, who consented and also provided information. Though he was unaware of it, the names of all eight, including his own, had been independently provided by Herbert (the officer in the ACSI office), who corroborated their active duty presence in Memphis on April 4 as members of the Alpha 184 team which had been selected and coordinated by Gardner of the 902nd MIG. Herbert's further check of the files revealed that the 20th SFG did indeed have a sniper team deployed to the Selma area for the beginning of the march from Selma to Montgomery. Two of the members of that Selma team confirmed that King was being targeted until he turned left, at one point, and crossed a bridge.
There was one soldier on both that Selma 20th SFG team and the April 4, Alpha 184 team in Memphis. His name was John D. Hill (J. D.), a buck sergeant who was murdered in 1979. As mentioned earlier, on October 16, 1994, I made con- tact with a man whom I will call Carson who knew J. D. well. More importantly, J. D. had shared with him what he personally knew about the King assassination plan.
When I raised the subject of J. D.'s involvement in the killing of Dr. King and asked him whether J. D. had ever discussed the operation with him, he sighed, and was silent for a while. He said the subject had come up, but he was reluctant to open up this can of worms since it could lead to the two of us being killed. He uttered the familiar phrase, "You don't know who you're dealing with." I told him that by now I was getting the idea. The problem was that my client was innocent of this crime and had served nearly twenty-six years in prison and that even though his innocence was becoming ever more obvious the state had spurned every face-saving opportunity to free him which I had put forward. Consequently, I had little choice and certain risks were necessary. I believed that the only way to free him would be to solve the case conclusively and that we had progressed very far toward this goal.
Carson gradually came around. He said that in the mid-70s, J. D. appeared to want to shed some baggage about his past. He told Carson about an assassination mission he had trained for over a period of many months, to be carried out on a moment's notice. He was in training with a small unit selected for the mission because they were all members of the 20th SFG.
He said that J. D. was a member of the 20th SFG which, Carson came to learn, though officially a Special Forces Reserve unit, actually was used for a wide range of covert special or "behind the fence" operations inside and outside of the U.S. J. D. told him that on April 4 the main body of the Alpha 184 team arrived in cars from Camp Shelby, which was their staging base and the training home for the 20th SFG reservists. Each year the 20th SFG traveled to Camp Shelby for two weeks of field training with other units. Shelby was used because of the size of the facility which allowed for the live firing of long-range weapons within the compound.
With respect to the Memphis mission, he said that all weapons, material, and immediate orders were generated from the base, although the actual preparation for a triangulation shooting had been previously practiced at a site near Pocatello, Idaho. At an early stage the scenario called for a triangular shot at a moving vehicle in an urban setting. At the time no official details were provided about the mission and the men believed it was to be directed at an Arab target. J. D. said that, though he soon learned that the mission was to be executed in Memphis, Tennessee, the target still remained a mystery. He believed that some of the team had gone to the city earlier. Carson had the impression that the team consisted of seven, not eight, persons and that there were three shooters, a communications specialist, logistical and transportation officers, and a unit commander. Since each of the soldiers was trained in at least three MOS's (military skills), some members would have doubled up as spotters, as this function was always required.
He said that J. D. identified the sites as a rooftop, a water tower, and a third-story window, with the team expecting to have to fire upon and hit their targets (there was more than one) when they were in a moving car entering or leaving the motel parking lot. The team knew that the King party was going to dinner that evening, and they didn't believe for a minute that Dr. King would appear on the balcony in such an exposed position. They were convinced that it was a kill for which they were going to have to work.
The weapons that Carson said J. D. told him were carried by the team were in line with the list provided by Warren, down to and including the LAWS (light antitank weapon rockets). Carson said it was obvious from the way J. D. spoke that something went wrong and that they had to leave unexpectedly and quickly. They (or some members of the team) were flown out from West Memphis.
Carson agreed to fax the information to me and to include the name and address of J.D.'s unit partner, who he said was very different from J.D. Conditioned by his experiences in Vietnam, he was apparently a stone killer; a "psycho," said Carson.
Carson said he had always had reservations about J.D.'s death. He said the official account made no sense to him. J. D. was allegedly shot to death at point-blank range by his wife, sometime after midnight on January 12, 1979. She apparently fired five bullets from his .357 Magnum into a closely confined area of his chest. He was dead before he hit the floor. Carson said it had all the signs of a professional killing. He had known J. D.'s wife and did not believe that she had the strength or the capability to handle the large firearm with the precision described. He recalled that she left or was taken out of town shortly afterward and that she was never indicted for the crime. Carson believed that J. D., a heavy drinker, might have begun to talk to others about the Memphis operation and that this could have been the reason he was killed. I remembered that Warren had said that he had left the country because he believed a cleanup process had begun within a year of the assassination and that if he returned to the United States he would be "immediately killed." Though he wouldn't name the team member who he said was shot in the back of the head in New Orleans, I noted that Eidson and Worley were also both dead. My investigator Buck Buchanan spoke with the first officer on the scene after the shooting of J. D., Donald Freshaur, who arrived only minutes after. He said that Janice Hill told him that she "couldn't take it any more." Her husband J.D. had a history of heavy drinking and abusive behavior. I obtained a copy of the court records relating to the death and confirmed that there was no indictment. She was released and lives today in another town in Mississippi.
As mentioned earlier, just before we ended Carson said, "This meeting never took place. You have to be very careful," he said. "They'll drop you where you stand."
When Carson's faxed note came through on plain paper a couple of weeks later it confirmed what he told me and provided further information. J.D.'s team was positioned on a Tayloe Paper Company water tower.
J. D. thought that the other two teams were on a rooftop and a third-story window. (I knew that there was a cluster of water towers on top of the various Tayloe Paper Company buildings which stretched westward, back toward Front Street and the river.) Carson wrote that J.D. confirmed that something had gone wrong and the mission was aborted. They disengaged, were picked up and driven out of South Memphis to West Memphis Arkansas airport where they were placed on a small aircraft and flown to Amory, Mississippi, after releasing their weapons and other gear to the logistics officer who remained behind. They apparently dispersed at that point, J. D. returning to his home in Columbus. J. D. told Carson that everything that had transpired during the training phase up to and including the mission was classified as Top Secret. J. D. learned upon his arrival in Columbus that Dr. King had been assassinated.
I had no information about the inclusion on the Alpha 184 team of a third shooter, and Warren had always firmly believed that there were only two shooters. Two of the locations described to Carson by J.D. were credible, since we know that Warren and Murphy were on the roof of the Central Illinois Railroad building, and the main Tayloe Paper Company Water Tower also met the criteria for a perch.
It was remarkable that J.D.'s account, coming to me twenty years after Carson had heard it, independently confirmed the presence of a Camp Shelby-based 20th SFG Alpha 184 shooting team in Memphis on April 4, 1968, which had been drawn from crack reserves of the 20th with Martin King as a target. Further, J. D. had said that a team had been training for that mission for a period of several months. (This time frame is in line with the date [October 23, 1967] when Gardner of the 902nd MIG got the 20th SFG roster and began to handpick the team.) When subsequently asked, Warren confirmed that Pocatello, Idaho, was a training area.
Warren and Murphy never knew that I had access to J.D.'s story, neither did they or Carson know that the names of each member of the Alpha 184 team had been provided to me by Herbert. One of the names on that list also matched the name of the person independently named by Carson as J.D.'s unit partner.
IN RESPONSE TO A QUESTION about whether or not he knew or had known Jack Young blood, the onetime government operative and mercenary who had long been on the periphery of the King case, Warren said he remembered him well from the time they served together in Vietnam when Young blood was assigned to a highly classified covert Special Operations Group based in Can Tho (1st SOG), which was financed and controlled by the CIA and involved in dirty work-sabotage, assassinations, and special operations-throughout Southeast Asia. Warren also flew several missions with Young blood when the latter was with the "Air Studies Group" based at Nha Trang. He said that he had last seen Young blood in the summer or early fall of 1967 on one of his gunrunning deliveries to New Orleans. He saw Young blood with Zippy Chimento, the coordinator of Carlos Marcello's gunrunning operations in which Warren and (from what Sid Carthew and Cheryl independently said), apparently, Raul Pereira, were also involved. He recalled that Youngblood had flown in with "Ken Burns or something." [I came to believe that he was referring to Ken Burnstein, who was involved both in gunrunning and drug smuggling. Burnstein hired Young blood as a pilot for his Ft. Lauderdale airplane taxi company -- Florida Atlanta Airlines -- but Youngblood also worked for an Alabama arms dealer by the name of Stuart F. Graydon. Burnstein, who was convicted of drug smuggling in 1974, died in a plane crash in 1976. He was also the main illegal weapons procurer for Mitchel Livingston WerBell III, who was a key freelance asset of the CIA and who built and supplied weapons through Central America and eventually Southeast Asia for the agency in the 1960s.]
Now, sixteen years after I first met and interviewed him in 1978, it appeared clear that though apparently not himself involved, Jack Youngblood did know at least one of the people on the scene at the time of the killing. It occurred to me that the people he talked about my obtaining information from in 1978 could very well have been these former Vietnam war buddies Warren and Murphy since Young blood had said that the people he wanted me to meet believed they had been sold down the river by their government after many years of faithful service and now lived outside of the country. Warren and Murphy certainly had a grievance against the government, having left the country because they believed that they were to be killed. It was ironic that sixteen years later, I would independently obtain their story.
Warren also said that he had heard "scuttlebutt" (rumors) that the 111th Military Intelligence Group (MIG) had a black agent inside Dr. King's group. Using an intelligence source with access to different personnel data banks, I asked for a check to be completed on Marrell McCollough who I had previously confirmed from two independent sources had gone to work for the CIA in the 1970s. The report bore fruit. McCollough was not who he appeared to be. He had been in the regular army between February 1964 and December 1966 and was a military policeman (an MP). Then on June 16, 1967, he was reactivated and hired as an army intelligence informant and attached to the 111th MIG headquartered at Camp McPherson, Georgia.
Thus McCollough had ultimate reporting responsibility to the 111th MIG, though he was deployed to the MPD as an undercover agent, and officially reported to MPD lieutenant E. H. Arkin. He was apparently shocked and surprised when the shooting occurred. It is unlikely that he was aware as he knelt over Dr. King (see photograph #36) that the 20th SFG sniper teams were in the wings with the prone body of Martin King and the erect form of Andrew Young center mass in their scopes.
I forwarded a photograph to Warren to see if he could identify either of two persons coming down over the wall, quite obviously shortly after the killing since uniformed police were shown in the photograph running up Mulberry Street. The two figures were hatless and wearing some kind of uniform. One of them appeared to be wearing a small military issue sidearm. (See photograph #39) Warren was quick to respond. He didn't recognize the figure farthest away, but the man closest to the camera, bending over as he prepared to jump down from the wall, he knew from his days in Vietnam as someone who had been assigned to the 1st SOG in Can Tho. He named him and said he believed that in Vietnam he was associated with either the CIA or the NSA, and that in 1968 he was working for the NSA. I thought it possible that he might have been seconded to another agency for this operation. Interagency sharing or secondment of such personnel was a regular practice.
Warren, who I had come to believe was credible and reliable, also said that a photograph of the actual shooting from the brush area existed and that sometime after the event he had seen it. He said the shooter was not James Earl Ray. I recalled that Doug Valentine had reported in his book The Phoenix Program that there was a rumor that such a photograph had been taken.68 Warren provided the name and address of the now retired officer who supposedly had a copy, and agreed to approach him.
The former Psy Ops officer whom I will call "Reynolds" agreed to have contact, but initially he insisted on the same procedure that had been used with his Latin American buddies. My questions would be carried to him by a former intelligence officer whom we both trusted. The meeting was set for early December 1994 in the coffee shop of the Hyatt Regency Hotel near Michigan Avenue in Chicago.
REYNOLDS WAS ABOUT 5'10" TALL, 160-170 pounds, with grey, short-cropped hair. He said that in Vietnam he had been assigned to the 1st SOG (Special Operations Group) based in Can Tho and that he worked for the 525th Psychological Operations Battalion.
Reynolds said that he and his partner (whom I will call "Norton") were deployed to Memphis on April 3 as a part of a wider mission they believed was under the overall command of Gardner of the 902nd MIG whom Reynolds knew and for whom he had worked on a number of assignments. They carried the necessary camera equipment and were armed with standard issue .45 caliber automatics. Norton also carried a small revolver in a holster in the small of his back. They arrived before noon on that day and went directly to fire station 2 where the captain, Carthel Weeden, whose name had never surfaced in any official report or file that I have seen, facilitated their access to the flat roof. They took up their positions on the east side of the roof. From that vantage point they overlooked the Lorraine and were well placed to carry out their mission, which was to visually and photographically surveil the King group at the Lorraine Motel and pick out any individuals in photos who might be identified as a communist or national security threat. (In the spring of 1995 I went up onto the roof. I was impressed with the completely unobstructed view of the balcony in front of Dr. King's room 306 [see photograph #37]) From 1:00 p.m. they began forwarding reports to the local IEOC office from which they were sent on to the headquarters of the 111th MIG in Fort McPherson and then to Gardner of the 902nd MIG. Sources inside the 111th MIG confirmed that regular reports were received on April 3 and 4.
This surveillance continued throughout the afternoon and resumed again the next morning, April 4. It was in place throughout the day and the same process of transmitting information was followed. Because of Jim Kellum's information and Eli Arkin's admission to me that agents of the 111th had been inside the offices of the MPD intelligence bureau, I have come to believe it likely that in the first instance the reports were called in to them at MPD headquarters from the fire station and then transmitted onward. This process would conform to the chain of communications for such activity described in the 1973 Senate Judiciary Subcommittee Report on Constitutional Rights. There would have been no reason for Captain Weeden to have been told or know about the assassination plot, and I have no reason to believe that he did know. When I visited Weeden in June 1995 he indicated his awareness of the photographers on the roof except that when the discussion turned to how they got up there he talked in terms of how it "could" or "would" have happened. He said they would not have gone up on the roof using the inside vertical ladder in the garage but would have been given a "short" ladder in order to climb up from the side of the building.
From what Reynolds said, at the very moment that we now know the 20th SFG Alpha 184 snipers had Dr. King and Andrew Young center mass in the crosshairs of their M-16 scopes, his camera was trained on Dr. King as he stood on the balcony, while Norton was watching and shooting any arriving cars. At 6:01 p.m., the fatal moment when the shot rang out, Reynolds said he was surprised and in rapid succession quickly snapped four or five photos following Dr. King as he fell to the balcony floor. Reynolds said Norton almost instinctively swung his cam- era from its parking lot focus to the left and, focusing on the brush area, caught the assassin (a white man) on film as he was lowering his rifle. He then took several shots of him as he was leaving the scene. Reynolds said that though Norton had caught the assassin clearly in his camera he personally only saw the back of the shooter as he left the scene. He said that they hand delivered the pictures to Gardner but Norton kept the negatives and made another set of prints which Reynolds said he had seen (I recalled that Warren had also said that he had viewed them). Reynolds categorically stated, as had Warren earlier, that the sniper in the photograph was not James Earl Ray.
Eric S. Galt
At one point during m)' investigation of the involvement of the army, a source placed a photograph in front of me, and asked, "Do you know who this is?" It was a full frontal head shot of Eric St. Vincent Galt -- -the man whose name James had assumed and used for most of the time between July 18, 1967, and April 4, 1968 (see photograph #3. I was told not to ask any questions because it had come from and was part of an NSA file. I learned that Galt, who as we know was the executive warehouse operator at Union Carbide's factory in Toronto, had top secret security clearance. The warehouse he ran housed an extremely top secret munitions project funded by the CIA, the U.S. Naval Surface Weapons Center, and the Army Electronics Research and Development Command. The work involved the production and storage of "proximity' fuses" used in surface- to-air missiles, artillery shells, and LAWS. Galt had worked for Union Carbide of Canada Ltd, which was 75% owned by Union Carbide Inc. of the U.S. since the early 19S0s. The company was engaged in high-security research projects controlled by the U.S. parent. Galt's top secret security clearance was actually conducted by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and his last security check had been in 1961. Union Carbide's nuclear division ran the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Oak Ridge, Tennessee.
I learned that in August 1967 (shortly after the time when James assumed the Galt identity) the real Eric Galt met with Gardner's aide and that they met again in September. At that time Galt was cooperating with another 902nd MIG operation that involved the theft of some of these proximity fuses and their covert delivery to Israel. (I have obtained a confidential memorandum issued by the 902nd MIG on 17 October 1967 which confirms and discusses this operation, Project MEXPO, which was defined as a "military material exploitation project of the Scientific and Technical Division (S&T) ... in Israel." The file and project number was 10518S-MAIN. The memo indicated that pursuant to a conference held on July 12, 1967, it was agreed that the 902nd would provide administrative support services to the project.)
The real Eric Galt was listed in the Toronto telephone directory in 1967-68 as "Eric Galt" with no middle name or initial, and in 1967 he had begun to use the initial S., dropping his middle name, St. Vincent, entirely. When James in July 1967 assumed the alias Eric S. Galt, he was signing the name in the same way as the real Galt had recently adopted.
The coincidence was impressive. James had somehow acquired the name of a highly placed Canadian operative of U.S. army intelligence. Further, he began using the name on July 18, 1967, around the time the real Eric Galt was meeting with Gardner's aide.
I had to finally conclude that though James likely obtained the other aliases by himself, there was little likelihood that he, on his own, had accidentally chosen the Galt identity. He was, however, as was his right, apparently determined to protect someone or some persons who he believed had tried to help him (though he almost certainly did not know who ultimately provided the alias to him). By protecting his supplier he would also avoid the potential hell of protective custody. This was the status given prisoners who appeared to be informants. Once in this situation the correctional authorities can exert total control over the prisoner for his own "protection," even requiring him to be housed in the most austere conditions with his movements totally restricted. It can be a living hell. Those of us not familiar with this reality cannot appreciate it. Aside from the fact that James has strong views about never being a "snitch," he has also been determined never to provide any reason for protective custody to be imposed upon him. It has only been fairly recently that I have come to appreciate this position.
Previously I had no doubt that James was used and manipulated, but now it was apparent that his manipulation involved not only elements of organized crime but also a specific, senior level, highly covert military intelligence group, the involvement of which could be traced back at least to July 18, 1967, when he began to use the Galt identity.
Suddenly Galt appeared to be a critical link, facilitating the use of James Earl Ray as a patsy by a covert part of army intelligence and involving the 20th SFG, the FBI, and the other associated and collaborating members of the government and intelligence community involved with the assassination of Martin Luther King.
I raised the connection with deep cover source Herbert. He nodded and said, "James Earl Ray was a dead man." The identity was not to have mattered. He was to have been blown away either in Memphis or in Africa, if he made it that far.
But why was Eric St. Vincent Galt's identity chosen for the patsy? It finally made sense when I realized that the use of an identity with top secret clearance was a means of securing and protecting the patsy from any mistakes or problems he would encounter before he was needed. Any routine police check would come up against a protected file, and the result would be that the government agency (in this instance the NSA and the army through the ACSI's office) could control the situation and instruct any law enforcement authorities to let the patsy go. Galt, a Canadian citizen with some physical resemblance to James, would have no need to know about the use of his name, and it was therefore unlikely that he would be told. James would also most likely not have known anything about Eric S. Galt.
The fact that the NSA had a file on Eric Galt reminded me that James Bamford, in his research for his book, The Puzzle Palace,  had stumbled upon a very well-kept, highly classified secret -- the surreptitious involvement of the NSA in the effort to locate James after the assassination.
As early as 1962 the NSA had systematically begun to include in a "watch list" the names of persons and organizations who were engaged in dissent against America's Vietnam policy. In 1967 this list and its focus increased sharply. On October 20 of that year General Yarborough sent a "TOP SECRET COMINT CHANNELS ONLY" message to NSA director Marshal Carter requesting that the NSA provide any available information about possible foreign communications to and influence on individuals associated with civil disturbances in the United States. 
This request was apparently unprecedented. The army began to send over page after page of the names of protestors gathered by army intelligence units from all over the country whom they wanted surveilled. The CIA, the Secret Service, the FBI, and the DIA followed suit. The result was that this "watch list" grew enormously and went far beyond its original purpose. The NSA had a vacuum cleaner approach to intelligence gathering, sucking up all telecommunications of targeted individuals into the system. The use of a targeted person's or organization's name triggered the interception and recording of the conversation which was then subsequently analyzed. Thus, if an organization or a person was targeted, the communications of everyone in contact with them would be subject to this process. Thousands upon thousands of private communications were scooped up and scrutinized by the big ear of the government.
The NSA became involved in the search for James Earl Ray in May 1968. Attorney General Ramsey Clark and a number of Supreme Court decisions had frustrated the FBI's efforts to institute microphone and electronic surveillance of James's brothers and sisters. Eventually an FBI internal memorandum conceded that such a measure would likely be unconstitutional, and it was dropped.
Then, however, Frank Raven, the NSA's officer who received the watch lists from the rest of the law enforcement and intelligence community and acted upon them, received a direct order to place Ray's name, along with several aliases, on the watch list. What '''as unusual about this occurrence was that it was not a request from the FBI or the Justice Department but an order directly from the office of the Secretary of Defense, Clark M. Clifford, who has no recollection of issuing it.71 Raven said that he tried to object to the order on constitutional grounds but was told that "... you couldn't argue with it-it came from the highest level." 
The NSA's involvement in the investigation of James Earl Ray has never been revealed in any official investigation. What was emerging, then, was the involvement of army intelligence (more precisely the 902nd MIG) -- which was under the direct control of the Assistant Chief of Staff for Intelligence (Mayor General William P. Yarborough) -- with James from at least July 1967, through his use of the identity of one of the 902nd's assets who had top secret security clearance. This led to the subsequent unconstitutional involvement of the NSA to use the watch list to locate him. It appears likely that the order which was routed through the Defense Secretary's office found its way there from the office of the ACSI.
The scope and complexity of this operation was literally mind-boggling. I needed to understand how it had all developed during that last year.
Chronology of Relevant Events
From the time that the eyewitness accounts of the Alpha 184 team members and related personnel began to become available to me, I set about the task of acquiring from other sources information and documentation (some of which is still classified 28 years later) which revealed what was happening in 1967-68 at senior levels of the government and the intelligence community.
As noted earlier, at the same time that General Yarborough took over as ACSI in December 1966, director Hoover seconded to Yarborough's staff a trusted and, until now, virtually unknown agent named Patrick D. Putnam. (It should be remembered that Hoover had had a close working relationship with the army since the late 1920s, when his number one, Clyde Tolson, came over from army intelligence to join the bureau and established the tie for his boss, who was gratuitously given and maintained the rank of Lieutenant colonel in army Intelligence until after the Second World War.) Putnam was to remain as the daily liaison between Hoover and Yarborough until the latter left the office of ACSI in July 1968, at which time he wrote to Hoover lavishly praising agent Putnam. A copy of this letter dated 2 July, 1968, was among the documents provided to me.
The senior staff of the 111th MIG met on January 17, 1967, at their Fort McPherson headquarters to look at photographs that were part of a surveillance summary report of Martin Luther King's arrival in Jamaica. The 111th had been on his trail as he left, and then continued surveillance in the Caribbean.
The next day at FBI Headquarters, starting at 11:00 a.m., General Yarborough met in his new capacity for the first time with director Hoover. Also present was CIAB head Colonel F. E. Van Tassell. The discussion focused on the army and the bureau working together to counter the growing antiwar movement, which Yarborough and Hoover agreed was the result of a communist conspiracy. They were kindred spirits. The importance of this strong anticommunist, anti-civil rights, pro-war attitude, which dominated Hoover's FBI and the army's intelligence staff in 1967, should not be underestimated.
They agreed that information produced by the massive army intelligence surveillance operation of Dr. King was to be routinely and regularly shared with the bureau. (Walter Fauntroy had told me during my preparation for the television trial that in the documents obtained as a part of the HSCA investigation -- though mentioned nowhere in the committee's report -- he had seen examples of such army intelligence reports which were sent to Hoover).
In February, wiretapping and ELINT (covert electronic surveillance) were carried out by the ASA. The tapes and transcripts were reviewed at Fort Meade, though often passed through the MIG in which area the activity took place. For example, a telephone conversation between Dr. King and his friend New York lawyer Stanley Levison on February 18 was recorded by the ASA and passed through the 10Sth MIG. In this particular conversation army intelligence, the FBI, and other intelligence agencies in the loop learned about Dr. King's emerging awareness that many blacks considered the war to be a form of genocide and of his determination to participate in the April 15 antiwar demonstration at the United Nations where I would float his and Ben Spock's names on a third party ticket.
The various components of the intelligence community seemed to be in nonstop meetings concerning the antiwar movement at this time.
On February 23 at 10:30 a.m. the umbrella organization, the USIB, held its weekly meeting with both the CIA's Richard Helms and ACSI Yarborough attending.
The 115th MIG photographed and recorded a speech of Dr. King's in Los Angeles on February 25 when he shared the platform with antiwar senators Eugene McCarthy and George McGovern. The photos and transcript sent to the Pentagon for analysis revealed King's contention that the war was a manifestation of "white colonialism," and reported his statement that "We must demonstrate, teach, and preach until the very foundations of our nation are shaken."
The analysis of these remarks, completed two days later at CIAB headquarters at Bailey's Crossroads, Virginia, concluded that Dr. King's speech was "a call to armed aggression by negroes against the American people." At 10:30 a.m. this report and analysis was sent over to ACSI Yarborough. At 2:30 p.m. that day, the 111th MIG out of Fort McPherson sent a report identifying two black agents who were available to infiltrate the SCLC.
IN EARLY 1967, though the American people were regularly given optimistic forecasts regarding the war, army intelligence was very much aware of how badly it was actually going. On March 18 Vietnam Commander General William Westmoreland sent a request to the Joint Chiefs of Staff for 201,250 more troops (4.5 additional divisions). At the same time antiwar pressures were also steadily building at home.
In Chicago six days later on March 24, members of the 113th MIG (headquartered at Fort Sheridan, Illinois) photographed and recorded Drs. King and Spock addressing the rally of 5,000, during which Dr. King called for the fervor of the civil rights movement to now be applied to the antiwar movement. Surveillance continued on the 25th of March and then, as we have seen, on April 4 at Riverside Church in New York Dr. King delivered his formal and most powerful denunciation of the war up to that time, personally committing himself to the effort to end it. The speech was photographed and recorded by agents of the 108th MIG.
Since the devastating effects of the war on Vietnamese civilians were being highlighted by Dr. King's speeches everywhere he went, at 10:30 a.m. on April 7 Colonel Van Tassell and his staff at the CIAB reviewed the massive photographic evidence of the effects of the bombing on women and children in Vietnam, which were now, more and more, becoming available for the masses to see. Napalm-burned children (such as that set out in photograph 1) figured prominently. (I had helped to form a nationwide Committee of Responsibility, backed by prominent Americans, which began to bring badly burned and injured children to hospitals all over the United States. Consequently, horrifically injured children became increasingly visible in America's towns and cities.) A strategy was obviously needed to counter the growing sympathy of American public opinion for the plight of Vietnamese civilians. One week later, on April 14 at 4:00 p.m., Colonel Van Tassell's CIAB staff met with General Yarborough and staff from the DIA and the Joint Chiefs of Staff Intelligence Unit. The focus of this meeting was to discuss ways and means of infiltrating the antiwar movement for purposes of intelligence gathering and subversion.
ALL OF THE ACTIVITY surrounding the massive April 15 antiwar march and rally in front of the United Nations was recorded and photographed by the 108th MIG. The 108th MIG photos and transcripts routinely went off for CIAB analysis, which when they landed on Yarborough's desk, contained the analysis that Martin Luther King was continuing to work with subversive groups which were planning "war in the streets of our towns and cities." The analysis also tied together Dr. King and SNCC leader Stokely Carmichael, calling them "allies in a role of subversion and revolution."
Five days before the launching at Harvard of "Vietnam Summer" (the student-driven series of antiwar educational activities) Hoover sent a memo on King to the White House, with a shortened version being delivered by Putnam to Yarborough. In it Hoover contended that King "is an instrument in the hands of subversive forces seeking to undermine our nation."
On April 30 Dr. King's sermon at Ebenezer Baptist Church was recorded by ASA microphones and sent from the 111th MIG at Fort McPherson to the CIAB. In that session, with Stokely Carmichael in the congregation, Dr. King called America "the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today."
On May 16 Hoover declared before the House Appropriations Committee that Stokely Carmichael, whom he labeled as Dr. King's ally, was secretly recruiting a black army to wage a revolution against white America.
The 66th MIG in Stuttgart, West Germany, recorded Dr. King's antiwar speech in Germany on May 29.
On June 6 in a 2:00 p.m. meeting General Yarborough formally approved an ambitious plan to plant HUMINTS (informers) inside major black nationalist groups. Half an hour later he met with his close ally and confidant USAINTC Commander Blakefield.
AS THINGS BEGAN TO HEAT UP in the cities, all sectors of the administration feared that riots would break out that summer. The president, looking for preemptive answers, convened a high level meeting on June 12. In attendance were Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Earle Wheeler, the director of the CIA Richard Helms, Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara, and National Security Advisor McGeorge Bundy. Out of this session, which focused on ever-growing combined antiwar and civil rights movements, decisions were made to mobilize the 20th SFG for special duty assignments in urban areas and for the 111th MIG to provide a new analysis of the intentions of Dr. King and his organization. This order was given on that day to his staff by the commanding officer of the 111th, Colonel Robert McBride.
The first report by a 20th SFG unit from the area of a racial disturbance in Prattville, Alabama, arrived at the 111th MIG Headquarters on June 13 and stated that blacks involved in rioting were quoting Dr. King's comments against the war. Between June 12 and June 15 the 20th SFG also deployed two alpha sniper teams to Tampa during riots in that city. Warren was on one of those teams, which I learned from an independent intelligence source in that city were under the control of the 902nd MIG.
Three days later, on June 16, former Military Policeman Marrell McCollough, who had been discharged in December 1966, was brought back to active duty and assigned to the 111th MIG and onward to the Memphis Police Department.
Newark exploded on July 12, and no end of meetings took place at the headquarters of the 109th MIG in that city, at the Pentagon, and elsewhere in Washington. The primary issues were how to keep the lid on the situation, how to preempt the outbreaks, and how to efficiently suppress them.
On July 18, 1967, after arriving in Canada, James Earl Ray began to use the name Eric S. Galt. In August 1967 and again in September, the real Eric S. Galt (who had top secret security clearance and a classified NSA personnel file) met with Gardner's aide.
Detroit exploded on July 23, and the 82nd Airborne under Lieutenant General John L. Throckmorton was sent in. The 20th SFG was sent there as well, and in that team was staff sergeant Warren. The 113th MIG began to interrogate apprehended rioters, preparing extensive transcripts and reports for transmission to Washington. At midnight on July 23 Yarborough entered the army's Operations Center in the Pentagon and declared that a revolution was underway by blacks. That night Yarborough ordered all MIGs to be put on full alert and all potential guerilla targets-armories, power stations, gun shops, radio and television stations, and other vital installations -- to be put under surveillance.
During this week Dr. King, along with civil rights leaders Whitney Young, A. Philip Randolph, and Roy Wilkins, issued a joint appeal for the riots to stop, terming them dangerous to the civil rights movement and to the nation. At the same time SNCC leaders Carmichael (in Havana on July 25) and H. Rap Brown (in Washington, D.C., on July 27) spoke of a guerilla force and black revolution. On July 25 rioting also broke out in Cleveland, Phoenix, and in both Flint and Saginaw, Michigan. On July 26 violence erupted in South Bend, Indiana.
ON JULY 28 MEMPHIS was added to the 111th MIG's "watch city" list, and at 8:00 a.m. General Yarborough convened a meeting of his senior staff to consider the Detroit crisis. Feedback from the 113th MIG clearly indicated that no foreign or domestic enemy of the United States was behind the riots, which the agents saw as being entirely homegrown and a result of deteriorating living conditions and hostility over the war. CIAB analyses of the June 21, 1943, Detroit riot and the Watts riots in 1965 produced the same conclusions. Yarborough was advised that there was no credible evidence that these uprisings were planned or premeditated by subversive elements, but rather that they spontaneously flowed from isolated incidents.
Yarborough rejected this analysis and insisted to the group that either Havana or Peking would ultimately be found to have been behind an urban conspiracy. He went on to state that "there are indications weapons have been stolen from a number of military ports including Dugway Proving Grounds where there are some pretty sophisticated weapons." (Ironically, much of the theft was the result of operations carried out from inside the army itself by a number of people including the army's own Provost marshall, who was eventually charged and convicted for armaments thefts and sales.)
During all of this period, the uniformity of the positions taken by ACSI Yarborough, Hoover, and even the CIA is striking. (Remember the Jay Richard Kennedy information to the agency's Office of Security which alleged that Dr. King was controlled by Peking line communists.) Throughout the turmoil, and in spite of the availability of intelligence reports to the contrary, it seemed necessary for these leaders to blame all the troubles on a foreign enemy.
Because of the official mindset that was conveniently determined to treat King, Carmichael, and H. Rap Brown as one and the same, Stokely Carmichael's meetings with North Vietnamese Premier Phan Van Dong and Dong's July 31 broadcasts, which were relayed by the NSA and which associated his government with the "anti- imperialist" struggle of black people in America, were taken as also representing Dr. King's position. Animosity was further heightened by alleged threats by Carmichael in Havana against President Johnson and Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara.
On August 8 the CIAB reported on the survey of 496 men arrested in Detroit at the time of the riots. The revelation that King, not Carmichael or Brown, was the black leader most admired by the rioters, was greeted with shock.
Two days later, in the course of the weekly USIB meeting chaired by CIA director Helms, the discussion focused on the CIA setting up a special group to work with army intelligence in order to infiltrate antiwar groups and also identify subversive radicals and groups. Five days later, on August 15, Helms ordered one of his agents, Thomas Karamessines, to set up a Special Operations Group (SOG) to penetrate the domestic movement. I was advised that the operation was housed at 1770 I Street in N. W. Washington. Under its umbrella, among others, came: Operation CHAOS, devoted to mail opening and developing files on U.S. citizens, and Project MERRIMAC, whose goal was to infiltrate and spy on ten major peace and civil rights groups. It appears that at some time between the beginning of the riots in Newark on July 12, and the middle of August [after Detroit had exploded and been analyzed] the decision was made to establish the domestic SOG. The purpose of this joint effort was to counter what was regarded as revolutionary activity in CONUS. The SOG combined intelligence operations and resources of the CIA, the army and the FBI, as well as those of other agencies which though in the informational loop were on the periphery of actual operations.
On August 31, unknown to us, the 113th were present at the NCNP convention opening meeting and they photographed and recorded Dr. King's keynote address. Earlier that day, ACSI General Yarborough met with NSA representatives and urged them to monitor international cable traffic to support the army's counterintelligence operations and pinpoint the foreign governments that were helping black radicals and the antiwar movement (this became known as Operation MINARET).
ON SEPTEMBER 5 ACSI Yarborough first began to seriously consider the major upcoming antiwar demonstration developed by the umbrella antiwar organization, the National Mobilization Committee, and planned to take place at the Pentagon on October 21. He immediately called a staff meeting. On September 13 Yarborough, Lt. General L. J. Lincoln -- commanding general of the fourth army -- and their staffs journeyed to Mexico, where they stayed for five days.
Upon his return, General Yarborough arranged (through army vice chief of staff General Ralph E. Haines, Jr.) for the stockpiling of tear gas and riot-control equipment at twelve strategic locations around the U .S.
On October 3 at 6:10 the president met with Secretary of Defense McNamara, Secretary of State Dean Rusk, and National Security Advisor Walt Rostow. He reported that the congressional leadership had told him that they will "not tolerate the large demonstration which is planned for late October." He wanted contingency plans developed to protect the White House, the Pentagon, and the Capitol.
That day there was a rebellion inside the 198th Light Infantry Brigade at Fort Hood, Texas, with many men saying that they would rather go to the stockade than leave for Vietnam the next day. A riot broke out, with shooting and firebombs being used.
Between the Fort Hood riots and October 14, numerous meetings took place between members of the president's cabinet and staff and at many levels of ACSI staff and USAINTC personnel. In every instance the focus was on the upcoming Washington demonstration and the growing antiwar movement in the cities and-at the beginning of a new academic year-on the campuses. On October 14, to some extent in collaboration with USAINTC, Yarborough dispatched forty-five undercover agents to principal U.S. cities where demonstrators were getting ready to depart for Washington. The agents were ordered to infiltrate the antiwar group, and travel with them. They were given counterfeit draft cards and IDs. Another group of agents of the 116th MIG began preparation for march infiltration.
The very next day, October 15,1967, saw Frank C. Holloman take over as city Fire and Police Commissioner in Memphis. Though an FBI agent for twenty-five years, for seven of those he had been attached to J. Edgar Hoover's office in Washington and had by all accounts continued to be loyal to Hoover and trusted by the director.
On October 19 at 2:30 a.m. DEFCON 2 status was declared with respect to the preparations for the demonstration. (DEFCON designations indicate the degree of seriousness attached to a perceived threat to national security. Ascending DEFCON designations [which then went from 1 to 5] indicate a heightened threat.) On that day two C-130 aircraft carrying 89 persons took off from Pope Air Force Base, landing at Andrews Air Force Base outside of Washington.
DEFCON 3 orders were received by the 82nd Airborne at Fort Bragg, North Carolina on October 20. The unit's commander, Lt. General Throckmorton (the on-scene commander during the Detroit riots), left the headquarters of the 111th MIG at Fort McPherson and flew directly to Fort Myers, where the army Command Center had been established. He was met by Army Chief of Staff Harold Johnson, and they began a tour of the capitol area. At 5:02 p.m. that day General Throckmorton arrived at the White House for a visit with the president.
On October 21 at 10:00 a.m. the demonstrations got under way. Army leaders began watching on closed-circuit television (cameras were mounted on helicopter gunbags and the roof of the Pentagon). Eventually, Secretary of Defense McNamara, army Chief of Staff Johnson, ACSI Yarborough, and aides went onto the roof of the Pentagon to observe. The massive demonstration clearly shook those leaders. The mere presence of such an outpouring of citizens publicly condemning the government, its policies and leaders emphasized official impotence. Yarborough was subsequently quoted in the Commercial Appeal, describing the scene as follows:
It looked like a castle where the Huns had gathered around; as far as the eye could reach, there they were, shaking their bony fists. There were American Nazis. There were communists. There were hippies ... I can assure you it was a sight to make you stop to think. As we looked at this great horde below us, waving their battering rams, so to speak ... the Secretary of Defense [McNamara] turned to the Chief of Staff of the Army [General Johnson] and said, "Johnny, what are we going to do about this?" Johnny said, "I'm damned if I know."
According to an inside source, the chief of staff promptly turned to his ACSI and said, "Bill, what are you going to do about this?"
DR. KING'S PRESS CONFERENCE on October 23, which followed his testimony before the National Advisory Committee on Civil Disorders, only added to the anxiety of both the military and civilian leadership. In the press conference Martin unequivocally said that he would lead prolonged massive demonstrations in Washington with the purpose of shutting down the government. He was determined that if the government would not shut down the war, then the government itself would be shut down.
At 1:04 p.m. on that October 23, in the wake of the press conference, President Johnson met in emergency session with the CIA's Richard Helms, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Earle Wheeler, and National Security Advisor Walt Rostow and various aides. At that meeting Johnson said, "We've almost lost the war in the last two months in the court of public opinion. These demonstrators and others are trying to show that we need somebody else to take over the country ... We've got to do something about public opinion."
At 3:30 on that same day a call went from the ACSI's office to the office of the 20th SFG in Birmingham, requesting that the roster of 20th SFG be sent to Gardner at the 902nd MIG's offices at the Pentagon. At 6:15 p.m. an AUTOVON dispatch went off with the roster. (I learned that the process of selection of the supersecret 20th SFG Alpha 184 team began with the arrival of that roster and that the team was handpicked by Gardner.)
The next morning, at about 10:30 a.m., Yarborough arrived at CIA headquarters in Langley for a special meeting with director Helms to discuss the backing of the marchers by communists. Upon his return to his office Yarborough openly declared, "We have the means to stop these bastards, all I need is the word go."
Two mornings later (Thursday, October 26) the ACSI was back at Langley for the weekly USIB meeting with Helms in the chair. At 4:00 p.m. on that day he met with Gardner of the 902nd MIG.
Yarborough went to Vietnam on November 8 for a firsthand observation of the conflict. He was confronted with low morale everywhere. Then on November 11, the Vietnamese, rubbing salt in his wounds, released three prisoners of war, including two blacks, following negotiations in which Dr. King had participated. The National Liberation Front (NLF) said the blacks were released because of the "courageous struggle" of blacks in the U.S.
On November 17 at 5:10 p.m., in response to a report that armed blacks were preparing to target key public facilities, Special Forces teams were deployed to conduct reconnaissance in cities that it was believed could explode that spring and summer. They were ordered to make precise maps, take aerial photos, set up communication nets, command points, sniper sites, and formulate operational plans. This was exactly the activity that MPD special services/intelligence officer Jim Smith described "Coop" as doing around this time and later. They also stockpiled weapons and antiriot gear. The Special Forces teams used were the 20th from Birmingham, the 10th at Fort Devins, Massachusetts, and the 5th at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. By early 1968 this information had been compiled on 124 cities throughout the country.
Later that day, the ACSI's office received a report that the regular army units left in CONUS (parts of the 82nd Airborne, the 1st and 2nd Armored Divisions and the 5th mechanized Infantry Division at Fort Carson, Colorado) were understrength and underequipped.
ON THE HOME FRONT, so far as the army was concerned, the prognosis worsened. On November 30, Senator Eugene McCarthy announced that he was going to run against Lyndon Johnson in the Democratic primaries as an antiwar candidate, and on December 4 in Atlanta, Martin Luther King announced the plan to hold massive demonstrations in the capitol during the spring of 1968.
On December 5 the CIA issued a report stating that $300 million worth of damage had been imposed on Hanoi as a result of 800 tons of bombs and missiles dropped each day on North Vietnam since March 1965. The cost to the U.S., however, had been the loss of 700 aircraft worth $900 million. The exercise had thus resulted in a net loss of $600 million. The aircraft industry was hardly lamenting the nation 's losses.
On December 10 Martin King kept up the pressure in speeches at his old Dexter Avenue Baptist church in Montgomery, Alabama (recorded and photographed by the 111th MIG) and at the Sheraton Hotel in Chicago (surveilled by the 113th MIG).
On December 12, the army, in a major reassessment of its domestic intelligence operation, went on a CONUS war footing. Updating of all recon information was ordered, as was the classification of cities and groups for subversive potential on December 28, as 1967 was drawing to a close, Yarborough and Gardner met at 2:00 p.m.
On January 2 Patrick Putnam delivered a bureau memorandum to Yarborough, which stated that King "will create massive civil disobedience in the nation's capitol and in ten to fifteen major cities through the U .S. in the spring of 1968 if certain commitments are not forthcoming from Congress in the civil rights field."
That day, after General Westmoreland's year-end report stating that the U.S. was winning, the National Liberation Front (NLF) attacked in regimental strength within fifty miles of Saigon. The ensuing battle in a rubber plantation resulted in twenty-six American soldiers being killed and 111 wounded.
ON JANUARY 10 PRESIDENT JOHNSON ORDERED army Chief of Staff Harold Johnson to "use every resource" to diffuse the civil disturbances planned and projected by Dr. King for the spring. Some of those in the loop have confirmed that there was no longer any doubt that at the highest levels it was understood that the gloves were off-no holds were barred in the effort to stop Dr. King's "invasion" of the capitol.
On the next day the ACSI Yarborough attended the regular weekly USIB meeting at Langley and later that same day under the surveilling eyes, microphones, and cameras of the 115th MIG and oblivious to the storm gathering around him, Dr. King spoke at the Belmont Plaza Hotel in New York City, calling for the war to end or the government to be shut down.
On January 12 at 2:00 p.m. Yarborough met with and briefed army Chief of Staff Johnson. Then, a new crisis arose. The number of "fragging" incidents (black enlisted men shooting/killing their white officers) was climbing dramatically, and ACSI senior staff met to discuss this problem. Yarborough was particularly incensed that the army's own newspaper, Stars and Stripes, was printing stories about black unrest at home.
On January 15 the International Association of Police Chiefs held a four-day conference on the prevention and control of civil disorders at Warrenton, Virginia. In attendance were Memphis Police Chief J. C. MacDonald and Frank C. Holloman. With the conference in its first morning Mrs. Martin Luther King led a march on the Capitol of five thousand women all clad in black to protest against the war in Vietnam.
On January 26 at 4:45 Yarborough briefed his staff on his CIAB's new intelligence assessment of Dr. King. The assessment noted Martin King's increasing emphasis on the theme of "genocide," since 22% of the total American soldiers killed were black, more than double the proportion of black soldiers. A copy was sent to Westmoreland 's J-2 (intelligence chief).
Patrick Putnam and Yarborough met at 3:00 p.m. on January 29 to discuss FBI/army-coordinated action to counter the expected urban civil disturbances.
On January 31, word of the NLF's Tet (new year) Offensive shook the army and Washington. Five of South Vietnam's largest cities were attacked along with thirty-six of forty-four provincial capitals and 25% of its 242 district capitals. The offensive involved 70,000 NLF troops which overran U.S. and South Vietnam forces. Westmoreland's continued positive reports and claims of imminent victory were dramatically shown to be blatantly false.
IN FEBRUARY, ACSI Yarborough and his staff began to spend an increasing amount of time on CINCSTRIKE preparation for the anticipated riots. As noted earlier, CINCSTRIKE operations were the overall CONUS armed forces coordinated response to the domestic rebellions. Based at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida, all domestic forces were deployed according to the plans developed there. During this period Yarborough spent on average about three hours a day on the planning and specifically on February 2, 5, 6, 7, and 8 he was locked into these sessions. Most meetings were in the Pentagon but on February 7, at 4:15 p.m., Yarborough flew to Tampa for on-site meetings on February 8.
On the evening of February 7, the 116th MIG surveilled Martin King as he spoke at the Vermont Baptist Church in Washington, D.C., strongly challenging the government. An hour before his speech he met with SNCC leader H. Rap Brown and Stokely Carmichael in Brown's room at the Pitts Motor Hotel in northeast Washington. In the conversation the difference in philosophy and strategy between Martin King, Brown and Carmichael was clearly revealed. From a transcript of that session:
BROWN: "We stop the fuckers here. Right here ..."
CARMICHAEL (came in, saying): "No more Uncle Tom dammit. This let them shit on you shit ... ain't working. You know it and so does everybody ..."
KING: (cut in): "Is killing and burning (unintelligible) in your own people's streets, your answer?"
CARMICHAEL: "It's time. We can't wait any more."
KING: "Nobody is as tired of waiting as me."
CARMICHAEL: "Then let's shut the honkies down. They bring the army, we fight the fuckers with ours. We got guns. Marching for peace -- shit, you seen it. What's it got us?"
MARTIN'S APPROACH NEVER WAVERED. He wanted to include the more violent of the dissident leaders and work with them to maximize the impact of the Washington demonstration planned for the spring, but not on their terms. This was clear from the ASA and MIG surveillance of him, yet ACSI Yarborough and his colleagues on the USIB continued to lump him together with Brown, Carmichael, and others who advocated a violent strategy. It suited all of their interests and preconceptions: Hoover's, Yarborough's, Helms's, and Lyndon Johnson's as well.
Also on that day the ACSI's office received an internal report that in 1967 the army suffered a record 40,227 desertions and 155,536 soldiers absent without leave.
On February 9, the quagmire deepened. At 11:02 a.m. Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Wheeler delivered to President Johnson Westmoreland's request for the 82nd Airborne and the 69th Marine division (fifteen battalions, 40,000 more troops) to save the situation. Wheeler advised against the deployment and told Johnson if he sent these troops "you will have no readily deployable strategic reserves" for use in CONUS. The new Secretary of Defense Clark Clifford was also critical of the request.
Three days later, on February 12, 1968, 1,300 sanitation workers in Memphis, Tennessee, went out on strike. At its Fort McPherson, Atlanta, headquarters the 111th MIG established a "special security detachment" under the direct control of ACSI Yarborough for immediate deployment and use in emergencies.
On February 15, 111th MIG agents followed and surveilled Martin King as he spoke at St. Thomas AME Church in Birmingham and Maggie Street Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama. Then on February 19 the 111th picked up the surveillance of him as he addressed a gathering of 150 black ministers in Miami. The next day ACSI Yarborough received the latest FBI study of King, which basically called him a communist and a sex fiend.
INTELLIGENCE FILES noted information as of February 22, without naming the source, that Dr. King would be coming to Memphis to lend support to the sanitation workers' strike.
Then, as recounted by Warren, quietly, on February 25, a 20th SFG recon team entered the city of Memphis through the Trailways bus terminal. They conducted reconnaissance of the downtown hotel area and mapped egress routes north.
Three days later, on February 28, President Johnson was confronted with Westmoreland's request for 200,000 more men, which he was advised by Wheeler meant a call-up of 250,000 and an additional $2.5 billion to the budget and possibly even the call-up of the Korean War veterans.
Also on that day at 10:30 a.m. Gardner met with CIAB chief Colonel Van Tassell and FBI liaison Patrick Putnam to discuss the latest progress on the plans to abort the planned Washington demonstration later that spring.
On March 1, Secretary of Defense Clark Clifford called the army's Vietnam policy bankrupt. (It appears that during this time he was studiously kept outside of the loop of information and bypassed within the department.) Meanwhile in Cullman, Alabama, six members of the 20th SFG met with the Tuscumbia-based Knights of the Ku Klux Klan in highly secret and covert "Klan Special Forces" exercises in which the SFG soldiers provided two days of firearms and explosives training for the klan members present.
On March 4 at 2:30 p.m. Yarborough met with Gardner, and four days later he hosted a luncheon party beginning at 12:30 p.m. with the FBI's William Sullivan (domestic intelligence chief) , Patrick Putnam, and Merrill Kelly of his staff. On March 11, Chairman William Fulbright of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee opened hearings on the war. In his opening statement Fulbright stated, "The signs of rebellion are all around us, not just in the hippie movement and in the emergence of an angry New Left, but in the sharp decline of applications to the Peace Corps, in the turning away of promising students from careers in government, in letters of protest against the war and troubled consciences about the draft."
The next day Senator McCarthy got a shocking 42% of the vote in the New Hampshire presidential primary.
On March 14 at 8:00 a.m. a CIAB report was delivered to ACSI Yarborough stating that thirty people were arrested after a breakout of violence in the Memphis sanitation workers' strike. No early settlement was in sight and the report suggested the deployment of additional personnel from the 111th MIG to work with the MPD and the FBI to keep the city under control.
The next day, March 15, FBI Director Hoover met one-on- one with Gardner of the 902nd MIG.
On the morning of March 16 the massacre of the village of My Lai began. (Though known virtually immediately by army intelligence, it was initially covered up and would only be brought to public attention when journalist Seymour Hersh broke the story on November 13, 1969.) That day in Washington Senator Robert Kennedy announced that he was running for president and in Anaheim, California, Dr. King spoke to the powerful California Democratic State Council while agents of the 115th MIG watched and recorded.
On March 17, Reverend James Lawson in Memphis telephoned Martin King in Los Angeles to give him an update on the strike. King had agreed to address the strikers and their supporters in Memphis at a rally on March 18. The conversation was recorded by ASA agents on Dr. King's end. Then the 115th MIG photographed and recorded King's speech at Los Angeles' Second Baptist Church.
On March 18 King arrived in Memphis at 7 p.m. under the surveillance of the 111th MIG and spoke at a rally of 15,000 people at the Mason Temple Church. In the audience was the 111th MIG's undercover agent Marrell McCollough. Martin pledged to return and lead a march four days later. After the speech he went to the Lorraine Motel to meet with community leaders. Then he went to the Rivermont Holiday Inn where he stayed that night under electronic and wiretap surveillance conducted by ASA agents assisted by MPD special services/intel- ligence bureau officer Jim Smith.
The next morning at 10:00 a.m. ACSI Yarborough hosted a two-hour meeting on the growing domestic turbulence held in Pentagon Conference Room 2E687 (office of Major W. M. Vickers, Chief, Consolidated Intelligence Support Facility). At 2:30 p.m. on that day, there was a fifteen-minute telephone conversation between the office of the 20th SFG and the Pentagon's National Defense Center regarding deployment plans.
On March 20 former Marine Corps commandant and Medal of Honor winner David M. Shoup virtually pronounced the Vietnam War incapable of being won. His comments deepened public depression and army frustration over the seemingly end- less quagmire of Vietnam.
On March 21 the president replaced Westmoreland as commander, kicking him upstairs, making him chief of staff. Also on that day at 3:30 p.m. senior 20th SFG staff met for two hours to discuss the Memphis situation. Simultaneously, at Camp Ravenswood, Illinois, according to a report by a black undercover agent of the 113th MIG, 175 white and fifty black community leaders met secretly to plan protest activity for the Democratic National Convention. Dr. King had two representatives in attendance.
Four days later on March 25, President Johnson appeared to be a beaten man as he met in the White House dining room at 10:30 a.m. with Joint Chiefs Chairman Wheeler and new Vietnam Commander General Creighton Abrams. He said, "Our strategic reserves ... are down to nothing. Our fiscal situation is abominable ... the country is demoralized. You must know about it. ... The [New York] Times and the [Washington] Post are all against us. Most of the press is against us."
That evening, in an upbeat mood, Dr. King spoke at the Convent Avenue Baptist Church in New York City. Recorded by the 108th MIG, he announced that his nonviolent, civil disobedience campaign had targeted Washington, D.C., as well as both major party political conventions.
ON MARCH 28 KING ARRIVED in Memphis at 10:30 a.m. to lead the march, which had been rearranged because of snow, beginning at Clayborn Temple at 11:06 a.m. Violence instigated by provocateurs broke out, and he was taken to the Rivermont Holiday Inn, where his suite and phones were bugged by ASA agents. On that day, 68 G-130 and G-5 troop transports were placed on alert to move army troops to Memphis, and FBI Division 5 Section Chief George C. Moore sent Yarborough a report on the riot. Yarborough also obtained a report that day that the army's strategic U .S. reserves were down to 60,000 men and these troops were not front-line quality. They were in need of training and up-to-date weapons. The report questioned whether the army had enough regular forces left in CONUS to be able to put down major simultaneous riots in American cities.
Finally, on March 28 at 6:45 p.m. Gardner of the 902nd MIG met with the FBI's Division Five Chief George C. Moore and Special Agent Steve Lancaster to discuss the final arrangements for the 902nd's Memphis deployment.
At 7:30 a.m. March 29 at the Camp Shelby, Mississippi, training base for the 20th SFG, Captain Billy R. Eidson was given his orders on the Memphis deployment and mission of the Alpha 184 unit he was to lead. Later that morning at 9:45 a.m. at the Falls Church, Virginia, headquarters of the 902nd MIG, Gardner received a current briefing report on the plans for the 20th SFG Alpha 184 team deployment in Memphis.
At 10:00 a.m. in his suite at the Rivermont Hotel, while being electronically surveilled by ASA agents, King met with Charles Cabbage, Calvin Taylor, and Charles "Izzy" Harrington, and committed himself to return to Memphis to lead another march on April 5. Transcripts of this meeting were cabled to the Pentagon.
Also that day at the MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa CINCSTRIKE went on a DEFCON 1 alert and at SCLC headquarters in Atlanta a letter arrived from Vice President Hubert Humphrey to Dr. King, urging him to postpone his Poor People's Campaign.
On Sunday morning, March 31, Dr. King preached at the National Episcopal Cathedral in Washington, D.C, That evening Lyndon Johnson announced that he would not seek reelection. The Reverends Andrew Young, James Orange, and Jim Bevel flew to Memphis and on arrival were placed under surveillance by the 111th MIG agents who followed and watched them check into the Lorraine Motel. (In anticipation of their arrival, ASA agents, with local MPD assistance, had installed hidden microphones in three rooms of the Lorraine Motel, one of which was Room 306, where Dr. King was to be placed upon his arrival on April 3.)
The next morning ASA agents electronically surveilled the SCLC staff members meeting with the Invaders as they began preparations for the march. At the same time tensions in Washington and around the country were heightened by black Congressman Adam Clayton Powell's speech, at Florida A&M University in Tallahassee, in which he called for the "total revolution of young people black and white against the sick society of America." Agents of the 111th MIG in attendance recorded his remarks.
On APRIL 3 AT 9:30 A.M. CINCSTRlKE met in Tampa on the mobilization plans for an anticipated riot in Memphis. Two hours later Dr. King and his SCLC party arrived in Memphis from Atlanta. Under the watchful eye of agents of the 111th MIG, he held a brief press conference and then went to the Lorraine Motel where he was checked into balcony room 306 (though, as we know, initially he had been scheduled to occupy the more cloistered and protected ground level room 202). Throughout the day he attended various planning meetings. Those at the Lorraine as well as telephone conversations were recorded and monitored by ASA agents from a vehicle parked in the area.
Around noon, Carthel Weeden, the captain at fire station 2 (which backed onto Mulberry Street and overlooked the Lorraine Motel) discreetly showed Reynolds and Norton, the two Psy Ops officers under Gardner's command, to the roof on the east side of the station from which vantage point they would begin to conduct visual and photographic surveillance of activity at the Lorraine Motel. (To appreciate their vantage point, see photograph #37.) Beginning at 1:00 p.m. there began the transmission of the Psy Ops surveillance reports to the 111th MIG headquarters at Fort McPherson via 111th MIG officers in the IEOC office located in the MPD's headquarters.
Also during the day SCLC controller and FBI paid informant Jim Harrison, after arriving with Dr. King, checked in with Memphis FBI Special Agent in Charge Robert Jensen.
ON THE MORNING OF APRIL 4, at 4:30 a.m. at Camp Shelby, Captain Billy Eidson briefed his seven other Alpha 184 team members on their mission. The team left by cars for Memphis around 5:00 a.m. They would be met by on-site handlers and taken to their perches. Also that morning all of the surveillance teams and activities were back in place.
At 3 p.m. Phillip R. Manuel, a former army intelligence officer and in 1968 chief investigator for the McClellan (Senate Permanent Investigations) Committee who had been in Memphis for two days, met with MPD intelligence bureau Lieutenant E. H. Arkin.
Martin King and most of the SCLC executive staff remained in meetings, in room 306 during that afternoon, electronically surveilled by the ASA agents and visually observed by the MPD officers in the fire station, the Psy Ops agents on the roof of the fire station and the Alpha 184 sniper teams on their perches on the roof of the Illinois Central Railroad building, and the Tayloe Paper Company water tower.
At 5:50 p.m. the Rev. Billy Kyles, an MPD intelligence bureau informant, was observed by the various surveillance personnel knocking on the door of room 306 with Dr. King answering and then going back inside. Shortly afterward the SCLC staff meeting broke up and the various participants left to go to their rooms.
AT 6:01 P.M. A SNIPER FIRED a single shot which struck Dr. King at the same time the Alpha 184 snipers had King and Young in the crosshairs of their scopes. Reynolds's camera instantly photographed the falling King, taking four or five photographs, as Norton panned the brush area, catching the sniper as he lowered his rifle and left the scene.
Also immediately after the shot 111th MIG/undercover MPD agent Marrell McCollough raced up the stairs and knelt over the prone body of Dr. King.
Around 6:04 p.m., after a pause following the shot, Captain Eidson ordered his men to disengage, pack up, and withdraw according to their egress plans. Part of the team met at the river and went on the water by boat to waiting cars. The other group went by road to West Memphis airport, where they were flown to Amory, Mississippi.
Around 6:30 p.m. a police broadcast described a false chase of a suspect in the northern section of the city, diverting attention from the downtown area (these egress routes had previously been surveyed by' the 20th SFG recon. team).
At 7:05 p.m. the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King was pronounced dead at St. Joseph's Hospital.
The "invasion" of the nation's capitol greatly feared by its military and intelligence leaders became a nonevent without the leadership of Dr. King. The fires, the anger, and the rebellions of the 1960s faded away after his death. Calm slowly returned to the nation, and the rights of people at home and in Vietnam, once in the forefront of public attention, disappeared once again from view.