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The Assassination of MLK

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Upon the Occasions

Originally published January 21, 2012

By Barry Kissin

In the late '90s, Coretta Scott King and her children filed a wrongful-death suit in the civil court system of Memphis, Tenn. On Dec. 8, 1999, after 70 witnesses testified during a four-week trial, a jury of six blacks and six whites unanimously reached the verdict that Martin Luther King Jr. was killed as the result of a conspiracy involving the FBI, CIA, Army, Memphis police and the Mafia. Mrs. King hailed the verdict as "a great victory for justice and truth."

In my recent column upon the occasion of the 48th anniversary of the JFK assassination, I quoted Professor Gerald McKnight of Hood College as follows: "The conjunction of ... defense industry elites, Pentagon planners, and the heads of the intelligence community were the forces that led inexorably to Dallas ..." JFK was the last president to challenge the power and prerogatives of our military-industrial-intelligence complex.

Thus, Martin Luther King was assassinated by the same forces that assassinated JFK, and for related reasons. It was Martin Luther King's public opposition to the Vietnam War and his penetrating critique of racism, economic exploitation and militarism as systemically bound facets of American society that led the FBI to classify him as a "threat to national security."

His birthday is a national holiday. Our government recently christened a memorial to him on the Tidal Basin, thus according him the stature of Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln and FDR.

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But he was gunned down by an operation involving the CIA, Army and FBI.

This should pose for most Americans a huge disconnect. Americans do not readily let go of their conceptions of our society. Most people build their lives around their conceptions of society. But the only way to avoid the disconnect is to reflexively reject the premise that forces within our own government assassinated MLK.

The trial in Memphis not only established the ingredients of the government conspiracy to assassinate; it also exposed the clumsy, at times deadly workings of the government cover-up that followed. William F. Pepper, the attorney who represented the King family in the wrongful-death suit, detailed the conclusive evidence in a book titled "An Act of State: The Execution of Martin Luther King."

The MLK and JFK assassinations were for the purpose of maintaining control. Control is also served by the mainstream media. The King family's wrongful-death suit has hardly ever been publicized. We certainly do not learn about it in our grade schools or universities. An additional dimension of control lies in the absence of any discussion about the trial in our observances of the national holiday.

This avoidance in our MLK observances is attributable to well-meaning and dedicated social activists acting in complicity with the forces of control. Part of this is unconscious, self-protective. Part of this comes from a determination to be upbeat.

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And part of this is the result of a failure of analysis. There could be no more powerful fulfillment of MLK's vision than for American society to recognize and revolt against the institutional nature of his assassination.


Writing from Frederick, Barry Kissin is a one-eyed undertaker who blows a futile horn.


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