Sunday, January 16, 2005

Ray's aliases

Annual link to a classic article on the assassination of Dr. King. As far as I know, 'Raoul' is still alive. Philip Melanson's book The Murkin Conspiracy remains one of the most amazing works of research in conspiracy theory ever written. From a website called Seize the Night, a summary of some of Melanson's work:

"But the best and spookiest evidence of a conspiracy consists of Ray's use of sophisticated aliases during the months leading up to the assassination and directly thereafter.

All four of Ray's aliases have one very crucial connection: they were names of real people living in close proximity to one another in Toronto, Canada. But Ray visited Toronto only once in his life: while on the lam, just after King was assassinated. Yet he had been using several of the false identities months before the assassination. How had Ray come by these names? Typically, Ray's explanations have been evasive.

Melanson tracked down the Canadians, and the scenario he details in his 1989 book, The Murkin Conspiracy, is downright chilling. Months before the assassination, Ray was using the alias, 'Eric Starvo Galt.' Melanson discovered that, during the same period, the Toronto man named Eric Galt was signing his middle name, St. Vincent, as 'St. V.,' scribbling lopsided circles for the periods, so that the full name looked to the uninitiated like 'Eric Starvo Galt.' In an impressive bit of detection, Melanson found that at some point, the real Eric St. Vincent Galt changed his signature, and began signing documents and personal checks as Eric S. Galt. At about the same time, the recidivist American crook James Earl Ray changed his alias to 'Eric S. Galt.' And this was months before Ray's first and only visit to Toronto!

There were other uncanny parallels between Ray and the Canadians whose names he apparently filched - especially Galt. Ray bore a striking resemblance to Galt. Both had scars above their eyes. In fact, the other Canadians also had facial scars. Four months before the assassination, Ray - the two-big holdup man - underwent plastic surgery, which modified his 'very distinctive pointy nose,' according to Melanson, and made him look even more like the real Galt. Moreover, the Canadian Galt was a skilled marksman who often toted guns in his car to and from the shooting range and who had visited cities of the American South frequented by Ray.

Melanson's point is very persuasive: These parallels cannot possibly be coincidences. Was someone trying to draw attention to these four hapless Canadians? In fact, that's just what happened. During the search for King's assassin, they became unwitting victims of Ray's aliases. At the time of 'the greatest manhunt in history' Galt saw his name blazoned in banner headlines. Had the FBI not identified Ray's prints on the rifle, the innocent Galt would almost surely have become the prime suspect.

What was the point of this sophisticated legerdemain with Ray's aliases? According to Melanson, Galt was the key. 'Galt was more than simply a cover: He was man who could be implicated in the crime, at least temporarily, while Ray made his escape.' The other two Canadians lived conveniently near Galt, and police might erroneously conclude that the real Galt had stolen his three 'aliases' from them. In short, the unsuspecting Galt was set up to be the 'wrong man.'

The parallels 'were surely the result of conspiratorial planning rather than coincidence,' concludes Melanson, adding that 'This was beyond the capacities of a small-time loser like Ray.'

Melanson argues that the conspirators probably selected Galt and cribbed his vital stats by gaining access to his top-secret security clearance file. For Galt was an employee at a Canadian defense firm working on a classified missile project for the U.S. military. His file was kept by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP).

The CIA routinely trades information with the RCMP, raising the possibility that American intelligence had a hand in Ray's elaborate odyssey - and the murder of Martin Luther King, Jr."

Small-time hood Ray could not possibly have set up this incredibly complex system of Toronto aliases, so he must have had help. That help must have had access to files kept by the RCMP, a fact which considerably narrows the field of possible conspirators. Melanson's research on the parallel change in signatures of Galt and Ray has to go in the Hall of Fame of conspiracy research.


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