Jump to content
The Education Forum
  • Announcements

    • Evan Burton

      OPEN REGISTRATION BY EMAIL ONLY !!! PLEASE CLICK ON THIS TITLE FOR INFORMATION REQUIRED FOR REGISTRATION!:   06/03/2017

      We have 5 requirements for registration: 1.Sign up with your real name. (This will be your Username) 2.A valid email address 3.Your agreement to the Terms of Use, seen here: http://educationforum.ipbhost.com/index.php?showtopic=21403. 4. Your photo for use as an avatar  5.. A brief biography. We will post these for you, and send you your password. We cannot approve membership until we receive these. If you are interested, please send an email to: edforumbusiness@outlook.com We look forward to having you as a part of the Forum! Sincerely, The Education Forum Team

Recommended Posts

What about the backtracking meaning that every weapon has a history. Has anyone exhaustively looked into that?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

John

I'm not sure if I understood your question. Ray bought a new rifle in a store in Birmingham a few days before the assassination, it didn't have a history to be traced.

Larry

Did you turn up any evidence Ray was in contact with white supremacists in Canada?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Len, sorry to point out the obvious. It was made somewhere at a certain time, it was packaged and sent off somewhere and ended up there. It came from somewhere through someone. How can you say it's irrelevant or relevant without knowing that history? Particularly if the far right was involved. There were many sources of weapons. eg. the Mississippi Road Patrol bought from a KKK backyard joint in Alabama. (Birdsong, MSC files)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Dan, certainly that's embarrassing, especially since you are in the acknowledgements pages in the book. My only excuses are that a) as I turn 65 I have to admit that both my short term and long term memory does fail me, that's one reason I don't often post things off the top of my head on forums and B) the way you posed your comment truly made me that that perhaps you were a different person than we had the dialogs with on the book. Its quite possible that I'm not quick enough these days for such remarks, I suppose the good news is that both witticisms and sarcasm can slide right past without me noticing. This seems to be a poor day for good if uniformed intentions on my part...

My sincere apologies for the failure in memory - certainly I had no evil intent, purely a mistake on my part. I'd much prefer you stayed around to discuss the subject given your obvious abilities. But if an apology doesn't do it, thanks again for all the help, the work on MLK is far from done; we had hoped to open things up more but at this point that's beginning to look about as difficult as expecting any form of compromise in the US Congress.

-- again, my apologies, Larry

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Len, sorry to point out the obvious. It was made somewhere at a certain time, it was packaged and sent off somewhere and ended up there. It came from somewhere through someone. How can you say it's irrelevant or relevant without knowing that history? Particularly if the far right was involved. There were many sources of weapons. eg. the Mississippi Road Patrol bought from a KKK backyard joint in Alabama. (Birdsong, MSC files)

John,I fail to see how the exact details of the distribution channels between the Remmington factory (in Bridgeport, Connecticut I believe) and Aeromarine Supply Company in Birmingham , Alabama are relevant. Perhaps Larry knows more about this but I am not aware of any evidence there was anything illegal or inproper about the sale of the rifle to Ray or its aquisition by the store. Apparently the store owner called the FBI before they traced the gun to him because he remembered having sold the same model cited in the papers a few days earlier.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As far as I know both the rifles purchased in Birmingham were brand new weapons, direct from the mfg...have seen no sign of them coming though any channel rather than standard commercial distribution.

On the other hand, there are other 30.06 weapons that could relate to Memphis that most definitely came through White Supremacist channels. The owner of one of those guns was actually one of the very first suspects shown by the FBI in

the Birmingham store, well before Ray had been identified.

We've also discussed the originally belted, military ammo which appears to have come from some source than the Birmingham store.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

On the other hand, there are other 30.06 weapons that could relate to Memphis that most definitely came through White Supremacist channels. The owner of one of those guns was actually one of the very first suspects shown by the FBI in

the Birmingham store, well before Ray had been

Please elaborate

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The FBI showed a series of mug shots to the gun shop owner, all were local folks with the exception of Thomas Tarrants. When the FBI traced "Galt" to California, they went there also showing Tarrants photo trying to figure out if he was "Galt". We go into considerable detail in the book on this because it may well be that Tarrants was being set up easy as an alternative patsy or to divert the investigation. Unfortunately some of the files we need to resolve it are still not available and others appear to have been routinely destroyed. Its a long story and includes Tarrants possession of a 30.06, as documented in FBI reports.

What is clear is that in the very earliest days following the murder, Tarrants was being investigated in multiple places as a primary suspect - although all the other information available shows that the FBI had not yet even identified him as a major terrorist with the White Knights of Mississippi, that would come later.

Like I said, its a long story but the particular 30.06 in question is of great interest - especially because at least one source reports Tarrants saying that he obtained a gun to kill King in California....something that Tarrants now adamantly denies.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I’d never heard of Tarrants before but a quick Google indicates he was and as you know was an interesting character the quotes below are for the benefit of others. What led the FBI to suspect him? Who do think tried to set him up?

Eight years later, a similar allegation surfaced in
Miami Magazine
, claiming members of the White Knights, including Ainsworth and Tommy Tarrants, were involved in jamming police radios that day.

The FBI blamed Tarrants for the bombings of synagogues, civil rights leaders' homes and other targets in Mississippi.

In 1968, he was sentenced to 30 years for attempted murder but was released eight years later after a Christian conversion. He since has denounced his racism and violent acts.

He has denied any role in the King assassination but said it's possible the White Knights were involved without his knowledge.

Stuart Wexler and Larry Hancock, authors of an upcoming book,
Seeking Armageddon: The Effort to Kill Martin Luther King Jr.
, are exploring evidence related to the White Knights.

http://www.zimbio.com/Martin+Luther+King+Day/articles/396/selfish+greed+behind+Martin+Luther+King+Jnr

The FBI found two Klansmen, brothers
and
, who were willing to cooperate.
Alton Roberts was out on appeal from the conviction of murdering the three famed civil rights activists in Philadelphia, Mississippi in 1964. On June 19 the Roberts brothers approached
--who helped Tarrants in the bombing of the Meridian synagogue on May 26--and convinced him the next target should be ADL head Meyer Davidson. Davidson led a drive to raise $75,000 for information on the bombing of the synagogue.
Hawkins decided not to participate suspecting he was under surveillance. Kathy Ainsworth at the last minute agreed to help Tarrants with the next bombing.

On
,
, Kathy Ainsworth and
drove to the home of Meyer Davidson planning to place the bomb on his front porch. The FBI had moved the Davidson family out of their home earlier and occupied the house across the street as a command post with 8 to 10 agents.
That night 12 members of "Joyner's Guerillas" wearing black polo shirts were hiding in the bushes across from the Davidson home.
Reporter
was later told by police their objective was to kill Klan bomber Thomas Tarrants, "We had in mind killing him, I don't mind telling you."

Ainsworth remained in the car as Tarrants approached the ranch-style yellow brick home on 29th Avenue. He carried a box containing 28 sticks of dynamite wired to a clock set for 2 a.m. The police opened fire with a hail of gunfire reminiscent of a scene from the 1967 film,
. Ainsworth died, shot through the neck as she leaned over to open the door for Tarrants. Tarrants was hit 19 times but survived.

http://en.metapedia.org/wiki/Kathy_Ainsworth

Tarrants enrolled at the
. He later attended seminary and received a Masters of Divinity degree. He authored the 1979 memoir, The Conversion of a Klansman: The Story of a Former Ku Klux Klan Terrorist. He now serves as president of the
in
and has lived in the area since 1978.

http://en.metapedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Tarrants

See also http://books.google.com.br/books?id=YSLCS7hg-DEC&pg=PA177#v=onepage&q&f=false pgs 177 - 80

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Len, your first question gets into one of the real mysteries we are still researching (our book is not a "we have all the answers" book, its more "hey, look at this stuff that didn't get really investigated, it deserves some serious attention - this should be considered an open case" book).

At the time Tarrants was being seriously investigated as one of the first suspects he had officially not been identified as even a significant terrorist - we have have that directly from FBI officers involved in his eventual capture. In fact they are as puzzled by the question as we were. We suspect that the plotters, who appear to have begun to mistrust him as a possible FBI informant, may have set him up before the fact by leaking a report to one of the Bureau field offices that he had obtained a rifle in California and was going after King. Unfortunately the field office files in question have largely been destroyed, his central file is unavailable since he is still living and the HSCA files that might have been collected are still being retained until the clerk of the house orders them released.

On your second question, we suspect the same group of people who after the assassination appear to have passed a second series of leaks through known FBI informants fingering Tarrants for being involved in the attack in Memphis. This set of leaks occurred shortly after Tarrants had been taken into custody, after Ray was in custody and at a time when none of the bad guys could have known what and how much either might disclose. If nothing else the leak would have poisoned anything that Tarrants might say and we know from other leaks that the bad guys were really concerned about that.

-- sorry if that is a bit vague, its really a very complex story, Larry

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Dan, I certainly have to plead guilty to absentmindedness but its also probably aggravated by the number of subjects I've wrestled with over the past few years, often at the same time. First there was JFK, and then JFK on multiple tracks from the actual assassination through the coverup to related subjects like national security. Then there was a whole book on Johnson which I decided to pass on and what remained ended up as a couple of essays posted on this forum. Then the RFK thing which again ended up in a series of essays on MFF....and which I am returning to now in an extended fashion even as Stu and I continue on MLK aftter AGOG. At the same time we were finishing AGOG I also did Nexus - on the CIA and political assassination and that took me in a host of other directions.

And on each and every one of these I had help and assistance from a bunch of researchers, some who wanted to be named and some who most definitely did not. I try to keep it all straight because several of them help/helped on multiple subjects. But obviously I fail rather embarrassingly at times. All of which is no excuse per se but perhaps establishes a bit of context. Sometimes I can't remember my relatives names either. All of which is why I do write essays and books because I just can't operated reliably off the top of my head and need to get things down in writing.

I hope this at least offers some explanation to you and others who I may sometimes seem to misremember or even totally forget; its not intentional, I'm sure it can be really annoying though.

Sorry to see you go, in truth there seems to be very little MLK interest here and in other places. I'll just slog on though, its pretty much what I do. Your advice is appreciated but I'm afraid I'm already in deep in a variety of swamps.

-- Larry

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
At the time Tarrants was being seriously investigated as one of the first suspects he had officially not been identified as even a significant terrorist - we have have that directly from FBI officers involved in his eventual capture. In fact they are as puzzled by the question as we were. We suspect that the plotters, who appear to have begun to mistrust him as a possible FBI informant, may have set him up before the fact by leaking a report to one of the Bureau field offices that he had obtained a rifle in California and was going after King.

They seem to have been pretty far off the mark as he was almost killed and his side kick died in a shootout with the FBI when they were on their way to bomb a Jewish leader's home a few weeks later.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Len, not sure who you meant was off the mark, as I said earlier, at the time of the King assassination, the main field office that was investigating the bombings that Tarrants was engaged in (Jackson) definitely had not identified him as their primary suspect or even as the major terrorist figure in Mississippi that he was at the time. As a side note, the bombing in which he was almost killed and Kathy Ainsworth was, was also a set up and was being leaked to local law enforcement by White Knight informants - another possible sign that Tarrants himself was being suspected of being a risk to the group and may have been viewed that way even prior to the King assassination..

However you really have to get into the details of the Bureau's operational mode to understand why one office (Atlanta or Birmingham) might have him as a primary King suspect when another office (Jackson) would not. There is no way this sort of complexity can be dealt with on a forum so I'm afraid I would have to refer you to the book for that dialog. I'm happy to answer questions from readers either by email, on my blog or on forums but there is no way I would attempt to replicate the level of detail AGOG here....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Len, not sure who you meant was off the mark, as I said earlier, at the time of the King assassination, the main field office that was investigating the bombings that Tarrants was engaged in (Jackson) definitely had not identified him as their primary suspect or even as the major terrorist figure in Mississippi that he was at the time.

Sorry I was unclear, I meant "the plotters, who appear to have begun to mistrust him as a possible FBI informant". He seems to have been a fanatical true believer.

As a side note, the bombing in which he was almost killed and Kathy Ainsworth was, was also a set up and was being leaked to local law enforcement by White Knight informants - another possible sign that Tarrants himself was being suspected of being a risk to the group and may have been viewed that way even prior to the King assassination..

according to the 'official story' the 2 brothers who set up Tarrants and Ainsworth did so because they were facing long prison terms for previous crimes. Do you think there was more to the story? They were identified by the LA Times in Feb. 1970, what happened to them?

http://newspaperarchive.com/delta-democrat-times/1970-02-13/

Also according to The Klu Klux Klan in Mississippi Tarrants HAD 'bought a rifle from [neo-Nazi/ Klanman Wesley] Swift in hopes of killing Martin Luther King, a project he called "my ambition"' do think that was inaccurate?

http://books.google.com.br/books?id=YSLCS7hg-DEC&pg=PA178

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Let me add to some of this here.

In terms of the Canadian connections, the HSCA were keenly interested in NSRP members in Canada. One of them was clealry disconnected from NSRP activities at the time, but the other was not. The unfortunate thing is: we don't know *why* the HSCA was turned onto to these individuals. That is probably in the HSCA files, that need to be released by the Clerk of the House of Representatives.

In terms of Tarrants, his picture was shown on the first day the FBI visited the Aeromarine Supply store-- it was the only file from FBI files, and the only non-local, as Larry mentioned. When we told this to one of the Jackson FBI guys (Birmingham was the one who showed the pic) he was stunned-- because no one knew who Tarrants was, or at least his significance at that point (Apr 6) as a klan terrorist. Tarrants admits buying a rifle from white supremacist minister Wesley Swift, even now-- but he claims that, unlike his quoted (but uncited) testimony in Jack Nelson's book, he did not buy the rifle to kill King, but to make some kind of statement of loyalty to Swift.

As to what is going on here, unfortunately we are left to speculate. My bet, as we put in the book, was the white supremacists attempted a pre-assassination frame-up of Tarrants, which is why his name was so readily available at the first gun-store showing.In other words, they planted information, probably pre-assassination, that Tarrants got a rifle from Swift to kill King. But nothing went according to plan in Memphis. At the point that Ray is arrested, any pre-assassination frame-up would be very bad news for the group that failed to set Tarrants up, as they would be the only people who would even understand his significance circa Apr and May, 1968-- again, Tarrants was a nobody until the Summer. So if the FBI pursued Tarrants's possible MLK connection after his arrest, it could have led to the pre-assassination frameup and the only group that would have had an interest in framing or knowledge of Tarrants, the White Knights of the KKK. So the white supremacists needed a modified, limited hangout-- that is how you get two independent, post-assassination (July/Aug 1968) reports on Tarrants's involvement in the King murder. Everyone esle implicated in the later reports had an alibi, and one was an active FBI informant. So the effect of this later report was to kill any investigation of the KKK (or the white knights) and any further investigation of Tarrants-- at least that was the hoped-for effect. Hope that explains a complicated matter. AGOG goes into much more detail.

-Stu

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now

×