The “They” in the title is a group of conspirators within the government and their outside confederates. From Jacob G. Hornberger at fff.org:
Amidst all the anti-Russia brouhaha that has enveloped our nation, we shouldn’t forget that the U.S. national-security establishment — specifically the Pentagon, CIA, and FBI — was convinced that Martin Luther King Jr. was a communist agent who was spearheading a communist takeover of the United States.
This occurred during the Cold War, when Americans were made to believe that there was a gigantic international communist conspiracy to take over the United States and the rest of the world. The conspiracy, they said, was centered in Moscow, Russia — yes, that Russia!
That was, in fact, the justification for converting the federal government to a national-security state type of governmental structure after the end of World War II. The argument was that a limited-government republic type of governmental structure, which was the nation’s founding governmental system, was insufficient to prevent a communist takeover of the United States. To prevail over the communists in what was being called a “Cold War,” it would be necessary for the federal government, they said, to become a national-security state so that it could wield the same type of sordid, dark-side, totalitarian-like practices that the communists themselves wielded and exercised.
The conviction that the communists were coming to get us became so predominant, primarily through official propaganda and indoctrination, especially in the nation’s public (i.e., government) schools, that the matter evolved into mass paranoia. Millions of Americans became convinced that there were communists everywhere. Americans were exhorted to keep a careful watch on everyone else, including their neighbors, and report any suspicious activity, much as Americans today are exhorted to do the same thing with respect to terrorists.
Some Americans would even look under their beds for communists. Others searched for communists in Congress and within the federal bureaucracies, even the Army, and Hollywood as well. One rightwing group became convinced that even President Eisenhower was an agent of the Soviet government.
In the midst of all this national paranoia, the FBI, the Pentagon, and the CIA became convinced that King was a communist agent. When King began criticizing U.S. interventionism in Vietnam, that solidified their belief that he was a communist agent. After all, they maintained, wouldn’t any true-blue American patriot rally to his government in time of war, not criticize or condemn it? Only a communist, they believed, would oppose his government when it was committed to killing communists in Vietnam.
Moreover, when King began advocating for civil rights, especially in the South, that constituted additional evidence, as far as the FBI, CIA, and Pentagon were concerned, that he was, in fact, a communist agent, one whose mission was to foment civil strife in America as a prelude to a communist takeover of America. How else to explain why a black man would be fighting for equal rights for blacks in nation that purported to be free?
The website kingcenter.org points out:
After four weeks of testimony and over 70 witnesses in a civil trial in Memphis, Tennessee, twelve jurors reached a unanimous verdict on December 8, 1999 after about an hour of deliberations that Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated as a result of a conspiracy. Mrs. Coretta Scott King welcomed the verdict saying, “There is abundant evidence of a major high level conspiracy in the assassination of my husband Martin Luther King Jr…. The jury was clearly convinced by the extensive evidence that was presented during the trial that, in addition to Mr. Jowers, the conspiracy of the Mafia, local, state and federal governments were deeply involved in the assassination of my husband.”
And why not? Isn’t it the duty of the U.S. national-security state to eradicate threats to national security? What bigger threat to national security than a person who is supposedly serving as an agent for the communists and also as a spearhead for an international communist conspiracy to take over the United States?
State-sponsored assassinations to protect national security were among the dark-side practices that began to be utilized after the federal government was converted into a national-security state. As early as 1953, the CIA was developing a formal assassination manual that trained its agents in the art of assassination and, equally important, in the art of concealing the CIA’s role in state-sponsored assassinations.
In 1954, the CIA targeted the democratically elected president of Guatemala for assassination because he was reaching out to Russia in a spirt of peace, friendship, and mutual co-existence. In 1960-61, the CIA conspired to assassinate Patrice Lumumba, the head of the Congo because he was perceived to be a threat to U.S. national security. In the early 1960s, the CIA , in partnership with the Mafia, the world’s premier criminal organization, conspired to assassinate Fidel Castro, the leader of Cuba, a country that never attacked or invaded the United States. In 1973, the U.S. national-security state orchestrated a coup in Chile, where its counterparts in the Chilean national-security establishment conspired to assassinate the democratically elected president of the country, Salvador Allende, by firing missiles at his position in the national palace.
The mountain of circumstantial evidence that has accumulated since November 1963 has established that foreign officials weren’t the only ones who got targeted as threats to national security. As James W. Douglas documents so well in his remarkable and profound book JFK and the Unspeakable: Why He Died and Why It Matters, the U.S. national-security establishment also targeted President John F. Kennedy for a state-sponsored assassination as well.
Why did they target Kennedy? For the same reason they targeted all those other people for assassination — they concluded that Kennedy had become a grave threat to national security and, they believed, it was their job to eliminate threats to national security.
After the Cuban Missile Crisis, Kennedy achieved a breakthrough that enabled him to recognize that the Cold War was just one great big racket for the national-security establishment and its army of “defense” contractors and sub-contractors.
That’s when JFK announced an end to the Cold War and began reaching out to the Soviets and the Cubans in a spirit of peace, friendship, and mutual coexistence. Kennedy’s Peace Speech at American University on June 10, 1963, where he announced his intent to end the Cold War and normalize relations with the communist world, sealed President Kennedy’s fate. That’s also what had sealed the fate of President Arbenz in Guatemala and what would seal the fate of President Allende in Chile. (See FFF’s bestselling book JFK’s War with the National Security Establishment: Why Kennedy Was Assassinated by Douglas P. Horne, who served on the Assassination Records Review Board in the 1990s. Also see FFF’s bestselling book The Kennedy Autopsy by Jacob Hornberger and his recently published The Kennedy Autopsy 2.”)
But what many people often forget is that one day after his Peace Speech at American University, Kennedy delivered a major televised address to the nation defending the civil rights movement, the movement that King was leading.
What better proof of a threat to national security than that — reaching out to the communist world in peace and friendship and then, one day later, defending a movement that the U.S. national-security establishment was convinced was a spearhead for the communist takeover of the United States?
The loss of both Kennedy and King constituted conclusive confirmation that the worst mistake in U.S. history was to abandon a limited-government republic type of governmental system in favor of a totalitarian governmental structure known as a national-security state. A free nation does not fight communism with communist tactics and an omnipotent government. A free nation fights communism with freedom and limited government.
There is no doubt what both John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr. would have thought about a type of totalitarian-like governmental structure that has led our nation in the direction of state-sponsored assassinations, torture, invasions, occupations, wars of aggression, coups, alliances with dictatorial regimes, sanctions, embargoes, regime-change operations, and massive death, suffering, and destruction, not to mention the loss of liberty and privacy here at home.