Dr. Martin Luther King

Our OW Staff Writters | 1/11/2018, 4:29 p.m.
For the past half-century, scholars worldwide have attempted to establish a motive..

For the past half-century, scholars worldwide have attempted to establish a motive for the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Shortly before his death, the United States government was heavily involved with silencing the Civil Rights Movement while simultaneously seeking victory in Vietnam and in the Cold War against the Soviet Union and Red China.

With King speaking out against the Vietnam War prior to the Tet Offensive (late January 1968) and in proposing the Poor People's March on Washington, D.C., these scholars have suggested that these actions may have prompted his death.

The following three articles look at which agencies and/or organizations domestic or foreign (e.g. FBI, KGB, COINTELPRO, Mafia) had a vested interest in killing King by virtue of top secret operations' code named Latern Spike (USA) and Active Measures (USSR). In the past year, a similar strategy (Active Measures) has been uncovered identifying Russian intelligence interfering with the 2016 United States presidential election.

—By William Covington

cover story published 1/12/06

Chasing Zorro

Insight into the assassination

of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

By Gregg Reese

OW contributor

Martin Luther King. Heretofore, he had been known primarily as a civil rights activist, but today he was making a departure from his previous ideological doctrine. Today in New York’s historical Riverside Church he was going to come out publicly against the Vietnam War. King had made public utterances against the conflict before, taking care not to alienate his supporters in the white community, but today the war and its moral ramifications would be the main focus of his address (hence its title “Beyond Vietnam”) before over 3,000 parishioners in one of the foremost black churches in the United States.

For Dr. King, it was part of a logical progression. The conflict in a strange, little country few even knew existed resonated mightily within the core of his being, since increasingly larger numbers of those designated for combat in that far off corner of the world were young Negro boys, as they were called by polite society back then, and many of those close to him, especially his wife, Coretta Scott King, were urging him to become more vocal. More importantly, he may have reached a point where, as a man of the cloth, he realized his allegiance to the world at large as opposed to one specific church congregation or ethnic group.

Finally, President Lyndon Johnson, normally an ardent proponent of civil rights, took steps to divert funds from the War on Poverty to Vietnam in December of 1966, which forced the Baptist preacher to question the rationale of taking “young black men who have been crippled by our society and sending them 8,000 miles away to guarantee liberties in Southeast Asia which they had not found in Southwest Georgia and East Harlem.”

J. Edgar Hoover enjoyed a position of power

equaled by few men in the history of U.S. politics. Serving under eight American presidents, more than one of his “superiors” suppressed the urge to have him fired no doubt because of the political backlash and retaliation that was sure to follow. During his almost 50-year tenure at the helm of the F.B.I., he amassed vast dossiers on potential enemies in the government and political arena and beyond, specializing in the sort of inflammatory information they would go to great lengths to keep covered.