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Why we don’t know conclusively who killed Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.?

New York._ I am not only referring to knowing the name of the person who pulled a trigger (perhaps the most obvious and ostensible among several triggers), that fateful April 4, 1968, more than 56 years ago, to assassinate in Memphis, Tennessee, USA, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., a distinguished fighter for peace, equality and justice.

The “culture of murder” in history.

Cain, who was a farmer, killed his younger brother Abel the shepherd, because his offerings pleased God more than his own, Genesis 4:1-18. Fifteenth-century painting

The classic concept (and the origin of the word) murder is derived from the term Hashish, a marijuana-like drug used by Hasan Dan Sabbah (1) to motivate his followers (the sect of “assassins”) in charge of carrying out political crimes, usually at the cost of their lives. To this day, drugs continue to be a factor in political crimes, or are used to finance them.

The first murder to which we have any “reference” was the death of Abel at the hands of his brother Cain, envious of the favors that God supposed to give to Abel. Cain, was the firstborn of Adam and Eve, and considering the biblical paradigms should be preferred, Abel’s death is in fact a legend of “political assassination”.

Already in a definite historical framework, we can cite the assassination of Julius Caesar by a group of Roman senators on the Ides of March (March 15) of 44 BC. This event is considered by some to be the most significant in Eurocentric history, only after the death of Jesus of Nazareth, three-quarters of a century later.

The CIA and Other Organizations of World Imperialism, the Epitome of Political Crime

In today’s world, assassinations, overthrows of governments opposed to U.S. policies, coups d’état, financing and training of paramilitary groups, or selective kidnappings are part of the controversial history of the CIA and its associated organizations inside and outside (Mossad, MI-6, SINA, PIDE, etc.) of the United States

The CIA was born on September 18, 1947, the day the National Security Act came into force, signed into law by then-U.S. President Harry Truman (1945-1953) to bring together the fragmented intelligence corps abroad.

The CIA took over from the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), created in the middle of World War II (1939-1945) supposedly to prevent surprise attacks such as the Japanese bombing of the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor (Hawaii) on December 7, 1941, which triggered the entry of the United States into the war.

Everything surrounding the Agency is “top secret”, such as its staff and budget, although information leaked in 2023 shows impressive figures: 31,575 employees and 24,700 million dollars (2). The CIA is (legally but not in reality) forbidden to operate on U.S. national soil and is only accountable, in theory, to the U.S. president.

On the subject at hand, political assassination, the CIA has a vast history: the heroic guerrilla Ernesto Che Guevara in Bolivia in 1967, Commander in Chief Fidel Castro Ruz tried to kill him in more than 600 attempts; his own ex-agent Osama bin Laden, Omar Torrijos, Ahmed Sukarno (denying him medical assistance), Rafael L. Trujillo (“burned” dictator), Patrice Lumumba, Ngo Dinh Diem, and a very long list of other presidents and leaders on several continents

Despite its many fiascos, the myth of the CIA as an infallible and omnipresent organization has been perpetuated for decades not only in the minds of its enemies, but in the imagination of many Americans influenced by the action films à la Rambo, 007 and many others, which do not always reflect the CIA as such, but to its culture of crime and intervention in the affairs of other countries. Hollywood “doesn’t reflect us well. The films show explosions, car chases (…), heroism. That’s not our life,” a CIA historian said on condition of anonymity.

Assassination of leaders, manifestation of hatred and fascism within the United States of America.

The assassination attempt on Kennedy, the 35th president of the United States, is, along with that of A. Lincoln a century earlier, one of the most well-known and notorious crimes in the history of the United States. It occurred in a motorcade of convertible cars in which he was parading with his wife Jacqueline Kennedy, on November 22, 1963, in Dallas, Texas.

He was shot twice – one in the head – from a sniper’s weapon (or weapons). Lee Harvey Oswald, a former U.S. Marine who is presumed to have been the shooter, was arrested for this crime, but who could not be put on trial because two days after his arrest he was killed in police custody.

When questioned, Oswald pleaded not guilty to the assassination and claimed to be a “scapegoat,” later five government’s “investigations” concluded that Oswald fired from the sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository. These 5 investigations have shed more confusion than light on how the crime was carried out, and no attempt was made to understand the causes of it. The repetitive idea of a deranged extremist who executed it as an isolated, random act remained.

The motive is unclear and there are multiple conspiracy theories surrounding the assassination. Kennedy had served as president since January 20, 1961 and during his nearly three years in the White House he launched the failed invasion of the Bay of Pigs (Bay of Pigs) to overthrow Fidel Castro (also initiating the many attempts to assassinate him), as well as the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962 that put the whole world on tenterhooks for fear of a nuclear war between the United States and the Soviet Union.

Among his other policies seen in a better light, Kennedy promoted the American space race and gave certain guarantees to the Civil Rights Movement of the later assassinated Martin Luther King.

Assassination of leaders in the United States of America. Past and present weapon of vernacular fascism.

The murder of Martin Luther King Jr. decapitated a vibrant Civil Rights movement, which was escalating into the broader struggle against exploitation and inequality. It was a movement of millions of people. Indicting Jame Earl Ray as the only criminal was a solution that would make it possible to portray MLK’s murder as a one-off and irrational act and deny the participation in it of the upper echelons of the U.S. capitalist system. As with the assassinations of the Kennedy brothers in November 1963 and June 1968, we know who is the one who – or one of those who – fired the shots, but not those interested in those deaths taking place.

Lyndon B. Johnson was the vice president of the U.S. in the case of John F. Kennedy, and president in the other two mentioned. An estimated 320,000 documents related to the assassination have been made public in relation to the JFK assassination alone, and more than 4,600 (probably the most sensitive) remain classified. Dozens of commissions, special reports and investigations have yielded nothing significant. It is better to read the books and writings of the General of Division (ret.) Fabián Escalante (3) on the subject, much more informative and reliable. Regarding RFK and MLK, in a similar style, with each passing day, less clarity.

The prominent leader of the progressive and pacifist movement in the U.S. and around the world lay dying on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel.

Today, the threat of fascism in its most toxic form looms over the United States, embodied in Donald Trump and his MAGA followers. For all these reasons, it is very important to make it very clear that the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., President John F. Kennedy, Robert F. Kennedy (the main presidential candidate in 1968), and even some time later, the very rare “accidents” of a third brother, Senator Edward “Ted” Kennedy and the son of the assassinated president, John F. Kennedy Jr., Let them be cases that have been elucidated beyond doubt. And perhaps more importantly, that these crimes and “accidents” are not related to each other. (4)

Who killed Martin Luther King Jr.?

Focusing on the case of the great pacifist leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the process that culminated in his assassination began almost a decade before it.

Martin Luther King was assassinated, among other things, for his extraordinary convening power.

As early as 1958, MLK had several dramatic clashes with the segregationist authorities, who frequently responded violently. King was imprisoned several times. The notorious repressor J. Edgar Hoover, who was director of the FBI at the time, considered King a “radical” and made him the object of atrocious persecution from 1963 onward. FBI agents investigated him for possible communist ties, spied on his personal life, and secretly recorded him. In 1964, the FBI sent King an anonymous threatening letter, which he interpreted as an act of psychological warfare, seeking to drive him insane and suicidal.

James Earl Ray, the alleged assassin of Martin Luther King Jr., was then a fugitive from American justice, who after the assassination fled the United States and was captured in the United Kingdom. After pleading guilty (thus waiving a jury trial and the possibility of capital punishment), Ray was sentenced to 99 years in prison in 1969. He died in 1998 in the hospital of the maximum security prison where he was held.

In 1993, Loyd Jowers, the owner of a nearby restaurant, began publicly claiming that he had been part of a plot to assassinate MLK and that Ray was a scapegoat. In a civil trial in the city of Memphis in 1999, a jury unanimously concluded that Jowers was responsible for the murder, that King was the victim of a conspiracy, and that several U.S. government agencies had conspired to assassinate King and frame Ray for the murder.

In 1993, 25 years after the assassination, Jowers claimed he participated in a conspiracy to kill Dr. King, along with an alleged mob figure, Memphis police officers, and a man named Raoul. According to Jowers, one of the conspirators shot Dr. King from behind his restaurant.

Donald Wilson, a former agent of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), also presented very surprising information. Wilson alleged in the early months of 1998 that shortly after the assassination, while working as an FBI agent, he obtained documents from the abandoned car of James Earl Ray, the career criminal who pleaded guilty to the murder of Dr. King.

Wilson claims he hid them for 30 years. Some of the articles contained references to one Raoul and figures associated with the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. According to Wilson, someone who later worked in the White House stole the other documents he took from Ray’s car, including one with the phone number of an FBI office.

Both Jowers’ and Wilson’s allegations suggest that different people, in conjunction with or not James Earl Ray, participated in the murder. Ray, within days of pleading guilty in 1969, attempted to repudiate his confession. Until his death in April 1998, he maintained that he did not shoot Dr. King and that he was framed by a man he knew only as Raoul. For 30 years, others have similarly alleged that Ray was an unwitting pawn of Raoul and that a conspiracy orchestrated Dr. King’s assassination.

These varied theories have spawned several supposedly “exhaustive” government investigations into the assassination, none of which confirmed the existence of a conspiracy. However, in King v. Jowers (1999), a civil lawsuit in Tennessee state court, the jury returned a verdict finding that Jowers and other unidentified persons, including (also unspecified) government agencies, participated in a conspiracy to assassinate Dr. King.

The King family has consistently said they believe Ray was innocent. He has also stated that they believe the real killer (also the one who fired the gun, not those who planned the crime) was an officer with the City of Memphis Police Department, Lieutenant Earl Clark.

President J. Biden’s effort to show in a White House statement on the occasion of the 56th anniversary of the assassination, that MLK’s killer was a fanatic or a madman acting alone, is very unfortunate and deplorable. A few days later, Donald Trump said that he considered himself the Nelson Mandela of today, in a manifestation of total loss of lucidity and shame. In both cases, what they intend is to court the African-American vote for the November 5, 2024 elections.

Not enough resources or due diligence have been devoted to determining the real causes of this terrible crime. Rather than clarifying it, the aim was to introduce more confusion and obscurity. False, easily refuted “conspiracies” were organized in order to “discredit” the real ones and divert the public’s attention away from the truth.

Before concluding, I would like to clarify two important points:

• The assassinated Kennedy brothers had both ordered political assassinations in many other countries, notably in Cuba (Operation Mongoose)

• The systematic use of the least conscious sectors of society for the direct execution of murders. The modus operandi of the MLK, JFK and RFK cases, like that of Malcolm X, have so many points in common and similarities, that it makes it inevitable to think that all of them were linked in one way or another

For all these reasons, we do not know for sure who ordered the death of Martin Luther King Jr. (or the Kennedy brothers or even Malcolm X). If we know that they were members of the most reactionary circles of the U.S. establishment, of organized crime, of the Military Industrial Complex; such as those who today rally around D. Trump and MAGA, the visible expression of fascism in the United States.


1. Hasan i Sabbah Tovar (Arabic) was a religious reformer, author and forerunner of the new Ismaili preaching (born in Qom, Iran 1050, died in Alamut Iran 1124) also known as The Old Man of the Mountain, Hasan dan Sabbah is the Persian variant of his name. He is best known for having been the inspiration and leader of the so-called hashshashin (a word that has passed into many languages as “murderer”) or Sect of the Assassins, since the community he founded and led frequently used political murder as a strategy. Most of the information about Hasan and his followers comes from his enemies, as the documentation generated by the sect itself was destroyed by the Mongols when they razed the fortress of Alamut, the headquarters of the sect.

The Old Man of the Mountain, leader of the Assassin sect. From a medieval engraving

2. The CIA’s total expenditures would amount to about $782,264 per employee, which compares to the U.S. Postal Service, which spends $110,679 per employee, which is a per capita figure 7 times higher. Bad and expensive the guys from the CIA. To paraphrase the great Alfredo Zitarrosa: “Because shooting and murdering, that costs”

3. I suggest reading “634 Ways to Kill Fidel: CIA and MAFIA Plans to Assassinate Fidel Castro” and “1963 The Plot: JFK and Fidel Targets” as the best possible source of information about the CIA-MAFIA collusion and culpability in all these crimes.

*The author is a political analyst who often writes as a free lancer for Prensa Latina