Editor’s note: This article first ran on The Ghion Journal on Jan. 18. We are rerunning it on Truthdig to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s assassination on April 4, 1968. James Earle Ray initially confessed to the murder, but King’s family believes he was framed.

I was all set to write an article today about the way our society is always hoodwinked by the establishment. I wanted to highlight the alliance between mainstream media, the political class and institutions of higher learning and discuss the compact these walled off societies have among each other to present altered narratives as established facts to the ever willing public. My intention was to engender a conversation about the way we accept conventional “wisdom” without questioning what and why we are being sold what we are being told. After all, history is really nothing more than the propaganda of winners written with the blood of the defeated.

Suddenly, I was hit with an epiphany of sorts. While I was at work and reflecting on the life and death of Martin Luther King—given today is a day to remember his legacy—an ah ha moment suddenly hit me. I realized that there is always a pattern of how prophets who speak for the people are murdered by those who oppress the masses. There is a three step approach that the status quo uses to silence the bearers of peace and justice. So I scrapped my weekly segment in order to present the blueprint that has been followed by despots since biblical times to our present moment.

Step 1: Pay someone to kill the messenger. Flip through the history books and you will find that money has always been the source of injustice and the lure that was used to entice a conspirator to kill on behalf of their benefactor. From shekels to dollars, cash has always been used to employ Judases to bury truth tellers. Everyone has a price; it is astounding what humans are capable of when given enough incentives by way of currency or proximity to power. It is due to this latent greed that is part and parcel of the human condition that tyrants with enough wealth can use their affluence and influence to weaponize citizens into assassins. This is why Lee Harvey Oswald kept saying, “I’m just a patsy” while he was being interrogated after the death of John F. Kennedy.

Contrary to mainstream propaganda, there was a wider conspiracy to eliminate JFK. Yet history blames a lone gunman even though were copious motives that powerful people within and outside of government had to kill our 35th president. One of the most profound, yet least mentioned, speeches Kennedy gave was about the dangers of closed societies who govern without accountability and through secrecy. This was a direct challenge to the very oligarchy who use extortion and subversion to destabilize nations and oppress the masses. I embedded the video above this paragraph, but let me quote a specific excerpt from the speech that stands out and speaks to the valor Kennedy displayed in speaking against the invisible hands of those who use the guise of Democracy to subjugate humanity away from the public conscience. In his speech before the American Newspaper Publishers Association on April 27, 1961, Kennedy noted:

It requires a change in outlook, a change in tactics, a change in missions—by the government, by the people, by every businessman or labor leader, and by every newspaper. For we are opposed around the world by a monolithic and ruthless conspiracy that relies primarily on covert means for expanding its sphere of influence—on infiltration instead of invasion, on subversion instead of elections, on intimidation instead of free choice, on guerrillas by night instead of armies by day. It is a system which has conscripted vast human and material resources into the building of a tightly knit, highly efficient machine that combines military, diplomatic, intelligence, economic, scientific and political operations.

Kennedy made a bold decision to speak against the hidden bureaucracies and the plutocracy who empower them; for his courageous act he was met with the mendacity of a bullet. We will never know who the ordered the killing or who conspired to assassinate Kennedy, the lies are too many and the theories too abundant for us to ever get to the bottom of the truth. But the first step toward discovering truth is to know that you are being lied to. There is a reason, of course, why those entrusted with power partake in such pervasive disinformation. If we really knew the truth about what our government is doing in our names and the ways we are being oppressed even as we are given the pretenses of freedom, there would be another 1776 before tomorrow’s sunset.

I’m pretty sure I’m not breaking news to people who have this thing called cognition and I’m definitely not presenting a revelation for those who can actually think for themselves. The official narrative of one shooter pulling off one of the most brazen acts in the history of America is complete bunk. The Warren Commission was not a fact finding mission, it was a truth burying expedition. We found out in our own lifetime that Blue Ribbon Commissions are nothing more than White Washing Conspiracies; government convening “experts” to uncover the truth about government is like a wolf hiring a jackal to guard the chicken coop.

Lies are exotic, truth is pretty basic. Kennedy spoke against the hustle of hustlers and for that choice he was given a death sentence. The truth is that a coup d’état occurred on November 22, 1963 and money was at the root of Kennedy’s execution. Martin Luther King and Malcolm X were killed for the same reason; they were fine as long as they talked about injustice through a one-dimensional lens. But both Malcolm and Martin changed at the last stage of their lives. Malcolm X came back from Mecca and disavowed his fiery rhetoric and started to agitate for universal justice. Likewise, Martin Luther King stopped speaking about just the “black” cause and started to speak up against the Vietnam War and tried to lead a movement of poor people irrespective of their color.

Both Martin and Malcolm were targeted by the FBI’s COINTELPRO, a program dedicated to eradicating “black” leaders who were pushing for self-empowerment and human rights. For having the audacity to speak against state-sponsored terror, they were targeted with extreme harassment and duress way before Judases were hired to kill them. Their fates were sealed when they tried to advocate for all and started to focus on economic injustice instead of social justice alone. They threatened the hustle of hustlers. This is a common theme since Genesis and the dawn of civilizations. In the age of rampant social justice and unending protests, notice how the demagogues who are always pretending to speak for us never talk about economic justice and how they rile us into antagonism by purveying the “us versus them” rhetoric. That is because they are paid agents of the very system they are speaking against. True revolutionaries and prophets who stand for peace don’t get their own TV shows, and they damn sure don’t get elected president.

Step 2. Which leads to step two in how the rich and powerful silence people who speak up for justice. The next step is to turn prophets into mythical heroes. This is done for many reasons, chief among which is to elevate the messenger in order to diminish the message. Even from a biblical perspective, the story of Jesus has been turned into a saga and rarely do people with authority—from preachers to politicians—speak about the message Yeshua was speaking.

How can they when they are trading money in temples and using their status to oppress the masses; they would be condemning themselves if they focused on His teachings. Same playbook of eradicate and elevate has been deployed for centuries. The MLK we are being presented with today is nothing like the “radical” Martin Luther King who spoke out against the excesses of our economic system. The media-politico class and establishment intelligentsia would rather we focus on his “I have a dream speech” and present King as a one-dimensional mythical hero. They erased the King who tried to unite “white” and “black” to stand against their common oppressors.

There is another reason why heroes are turned into mythical icons. The truth is that people like Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, John F. Kennedy and my ancestor King Tewodros II were all flawed human beings. They had their weaknesses and they made plenty of mistakes. But at their core, irrespective of their defects, they were compassionate and had their hearts set on justice. By killing them and turning them into superheroes, their killers are hoping to convince us that we can’t be like them. All of us can be Martin Luther King, King Tewodros II or any of the historical legends we look up to; they are humans just like us and we are just us powerful as them. If we choose, we too can change the world. But we are so programmed to believe that we are powerless that we would rather bow to idols instead of rising up to be heroes ourselves.

Step 3. The last step is to invert the legacies of these once prophets into the polar opposite of who they actually were. The rich kill first, then they own narratives. They do so through propaganda and institutional disinformation. It goes back to money and power, professors pass along lies because they don’t want to lose their jobs, politicians dare not speak against deception if they want to keep their seats and media personalities swallow their tongues or else risk getting blackballed. An implicit agreement is thus arrived at. It is better to pass along lies than to challenge accepted untruths. Those who find the courage to say “the emperor has no clothes on” and speak against the lies of the system are immediately labeled kooks and marginalized. If they speak up too loudly and garner a bit too much of a following, they might end up getting the Lumumba treatment.

There are two ways the legacies of murdered prophets are inverted. One is to lionize them as I noted above and turn them into mythical legends. The other way is to demonize them and tar them as the next coming of Lucifer. King Tewodros II comes to mind for personal reasons. For more than a century, imperialists have been gunning for the king of Ethiopia who is beloved by millions in the country of my birth. They have spewed venom about his tyranny and maliciousness because he had the temerity to stand up against colonizers.

If not for King Tewodros, Ethiopia would not have been able to defy occupiers and become the first “African” nation to defeat a would-be colonial power at the Battle of Adwa. The same invisible hands that John F. Kennedy mentioned—who use deception and cunning to destabilize the world—were the ones who were behind the death of King Tewodros. The invisible hands proved to belong to Queen Victoria when she kidnapped King Tewodros’s son Alemayehu Tewodros after ransoming Atse Yohannes—a fellow Ethiopian—to betray the king who unified Ethiopia. Atse Tewodros II died a free man in Magdala rather than accept colonial imposition. His defiance birthed Adwa thirty years later.

There is a common theme through all these narratives. The aristocracy are cunning; they always send someone to do their dirty deed only to swoop in and whitewash history to wash away the blood on their hands and their culpability. I saw a video this morning of Dick Gregory recounting a meeting he had with Billy Kyles. Kyles was the last person who met with Dr. Martin Luther King at the Lorraine Hotel in Memphis. I will let you watch this most astounding video below, I used the same clip in the latest Ghion Cast where I discussed the playbook of “kill first and own narratives next” in a broader context. As Dick Gregory says, “God baffles the mind to make us speak truth.” It is said that a lie travels the world before truth can put on its pants; but in the end, truth catches up because truth endures where lies eventually get exhausted. #TruthPrevails

“The ultimate tragedy is not the oppression and cruelty by the bad people but the silence over that by the good people.”—Martin Luther King, Jr.

Check out one of my favorite speeches of all time and really listen closely to the words of Robert F. Kennedy, a speech he gave after the assassination of Martin Luther King. It is no accident that Robert Kennedy too was silenced. Those who speak of togetherness are shredded by the system that thrives of divisiveness.

Your support matters…

Independent journalism is under threat and overshadowed by heavily funded mainstream media.

You can help level the playing field. Become a member.

Your tax-deductible contribution keeps us digging beneath the headlines to give you thought-provoking, investigative reporting and analysis that unearths what's really happening- without compromise.

Give today to support our courageous, independent journalists.