[News] Assassinations and Coups - Keeping Track of the Empire's Crimes

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Thu Aug 6 11:10:25 EDT 2009

August 6, 2009

Assassinations and Coups

Keeping Track of the Empire's Crimes


If you catch the CIA with its hand in the cookie 
jar and the Agency admits the obvious ­ what your 
eyes can plainly see ­ that its hand is indeed in 
the cookie jar, it means one of two things:

a) the CIA's hand is in several other cookie jars 
at the same time which you don't know about and 
they hope that by confessing to the one instance 
they can keep the others covered up; or

b) its hand is not really in the cookie jar ­ 
it's an illusion to throw you off the right scent 
­ but they want you to believe it.

There have been numerous news stories in recent 
months about secret CIA programs, hidden from 
Congress, inspired by former vice-president Dick 
Cheney, in operation since the September 11 
terrorist attacks, involving assassination of al 
Qaeda operatives or other 
non-believers-in-the-Empire abroad without the 
knowledge of their governments. The Agency admits 
to some sort of program having existed, but 
insists that it was canceled; and if it was an 
assassination program it was canceled before 
anyone was actually assassinated. Another report 
has the US military, not the CIA, putting the 
plan ­ or was it a different plan? ­ into 
operation, carrying out several assassinations 
including one in Kenya that proved to be a severe 
embarrassment and helped lead to the quashing of 
the program. (The Guardian, July 13, 2009.)

All of this can be confusing to those following 
the news. And rather irrelevant. We already know 
that the United States has been assassinating 
non-believers, or suspected non-believers, with 
regularity, and impunity, in recent years, using 
unmanned planes (drones) firing missiles, in 
Yemen, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Somalia, if not 
elsewhere. (Even more victims have been produced 
from amongst those who happened to be in the same 
house, car, wedding party, or funeral as the 
non-believer.) These murders apparently don't 
qualify as "assassinations", for somehow killing 
"terrorists" from 2000 feet is morally and 
legally superior to doing so from two feet away.

But whatever the real story is behind the current 
rash of speculation, we should not fall into the 
media's practice of at times intimating that 
multiple or routine CIA assassination attempts 
would be something shocking or at least very unusual.

I've compiled a list of CIA assassination 
attempts, successful and unsuccessful, against 
prominent foreign political figures, from 1949 
through 2003, which, depending on how you count 
it, can run into the hundreds (targeting Fidel 
Castro alone totals 634 according to Cuban 
intelligence)2; the list can be updated by adding 
the allegedly al Qaeda leaders among the drone 
attack victims of recent years. Assassination and 
torture are the two things governments are most 
loath to admit to, and try their best to cover 
up. It's thus rare to find a government document 
or recorded statement mentioning a particular 
plan to assassinate someone. There is, however, 
an abundance of compelling circumstantial 
evidence to work with. The following list does 
not include several assassinations in various 
parts of the world carried out by anti-Castro 
Cubans employed by the CIA and headquartered in the United States.

1949 - Kim Koo, Korean opposition leader

1950s - CIA/Neo-Nazi hit list of more than 200 
political figures in West Germany
to be "put out of the way" in the event of a Soviet invasion

1950s - Chou En-lai, Prime minister of China, several attempts on his life

1950s, 1962 - Sukarno, President of Indonesia

1951 - Kim Il Sung, Premier of North Korea

1953 - Mohammed Mossadegh, Prime Minister of Iran

1950s (mid) - Claro M. Recto, Philippines opposition leader

1955 - Jawaharlal Nehru, Prime Minister of India

1957 - Gamal Abdul Nasser, President of Egypt

1959, 1963, 1969 - Norodom Sihanouk, leader of Cambodia

1960 - Brig. Gen. Abdul Karim Kassem, leader of Iraq

1950s-70s - José Figueres, President of Costa Rica, two attempts on his life

1961 - Francois "Papa Doc" Duvalier, leader of Haiti

1961 - Patrice Lumumba, Prime Minister of the Congo (Zaire)

1961 - Gen. Rafael Trujillo, leader of Dominican Republic

1963 - Ngo Dinh Diem, President of South Vietnam

1960s-70s - Fidel Castro, President of Cuba, many attempts on his life

1960s - Raúl Castro, high official in government of Cuba

1965 - Francisco Caamaño, Dominican Republic opposition leader

1965-6 - Charles de Gaulle, President of France

1967 - Che Guevara, Cuban leader

1970 - Salvador Allende, President of Chile

1970 - Gen. Rene Schneider, Commander-in-Chief of Army, Chile

1970s, 1981 - General Omar Torrijos, leader of Panama

1972 - General Manuel Noriega, Chief of Panama Intelligence

1975 - Mobutu Sese Seko, President of Zaire

1976 - Michael Manley, Prime Minister of Jamaica

1980-1986 - Muammar Qaddafi, leader of Libya, 
several plots and attempts upon his life

1982 - Ayatollah Khomeini, leader of Iran

1983 - Gen. Ahmed Dlimi, Moroccan Army commander

1983 - Miguel d'Escoto, Foreign Minister of Nicaragua

1984 - The nine comandantes of the Sandinista National Directorate

1985 - Sheikh Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah, 
Lebanese Shiite leader (80 people killed in the attempt)

1991 - Saddam Hussein, leader of Iraq

1993 - Mohamed Farah Aideed, prominent clan leader of Somalia

1998, 2001-2 - Osama bin Laden, leading Islamic militant

1999 - Slobodan Milosevic, President of Yugoslavia

2002 - Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, Afghan Islamic leader and warlord

2003 - Saddam Hussein and his two sons

For those of you who collect lists about splendid 
US foreign policy post-World War II, here are a 
few more that, lacking anything better to do, 
I've put together: Attempts to overthrow more 
than 50 foreign governments, most of which had 
been democratically-elected. (* = successful ouster of a government.)

Albania 1949-53
East Germany 1950s
Iran 1953 *
Guatemala 1954 *
Costa Rica mid-1950s
Syria 1956-7
Egypt 1957
Indonesia 1957-8
British Guiana 1953-64 *
Iraq 1963 *
North Vietnam 1945-73
Cambodia 1955-70 *
Laos 1958-60 *
Ecuador 1960-63 *
Congo 1960 *
France 1965
Brazil 1962-64 *
Dominican Republic 1963 *
Cuba 1959 to present
Bolivia 1964 *
Indonesia 1965 *
Ghana 1966 *
Chile 1964-73 *
Greece 1967 *
Costa Rica 1970-71
Bolivia 1971 *
Australia 1973-75 *
Angola 1975, 1980s
Zaire 1975
Portugal 1974-76 *
Jamaica 1976-80 *
Seychelles 1979-81
Chad 1981-82 *
Grenada 1983 *
South Yemen 1982-84
Suriname 1982-84
Fiji 1987 *
Libya 1980s
Nicaragua 1981-90 *
Panama 1989 *
Bulgaria 1990 *
Albania 1991 *
Iraq 1991
Afghanistan 1980s *
Somalia 1993
Yugoslavia 1999
Ecuador 2000 *
Afghanistan 2001 *
Venezuela 2002 *
Iraq 2003 *

After his June 4 Cairo speech, President Obama 
was much praised for mentioning the 1953 CIA 
overthrow of Iranian prime minister Mohammed 
Mossadegh. But in his talk in Ghana on July 11 he 
failed to mention the CIA coup that ousted 
Ghanian president Kwame Nkrumah in 1966, 
referring to him only as a "giant" among African 
leaders. The Mossadegh coup is one of the most 
well-known CIA covert actions. Obama could not 
easily get away without mentioning it in a talk 
in the Middle East looking to mend fences. But 
the Nkrumah ouster is one of the least known; 
indeed, not a single print or broadcast news 
report in the American mainstream media saw fit 
to mention it at the time of the president's talk. Like it never happened.

And the next time you hear that Africa can't 
produce good leaders, people who are committed to 
the welfare of the masses of their people, think 
of Nkrumah and his fate. And think of Patrice 
Lumumba, overthrown in the Congo 1960-61 with the 
help of the United States; Agostinho Neto of 
Angola, against whom Washington waged war in the 
1970s, making it impossible for him to institute 
progressive changes; Samora Machel of Mozambique 
against whom the CIA supported a 
counter-revolution in the 1970s-80s period; and 
Nelson Mandela of South Africa (now married to 
Machel's widow), who spent 28 years in prison thanks to the CIA.

William Blum is the author of 
Hope: U.S. Military and CIA Interventions Since 
World War II, 
State: a guide to the World's Only Super Power. 
Dissident: a Cold War Political 

He can be reached at: <mailto:BBlum6 at aol.com>BBlum6 at aol.com

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