US/Assassinations since 1945

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See also US Sponsored Regime-change efforts since 1945 and US Bombing campaigns since 1945

Event.png US/Assassinations since 1945(assassination,  United States/Foreign policy,  Foreign Assassinations since 1945) Rdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
US Foreign Assassinations since 1945.jpg
Date1945 - Present
DescriptionThe list is very incomplete....

US Foreign Assassinations of leaders since 1945 has been a popular method of regime change, although officially illegal for some of this time. The US government has carried out bombings and other efforts at "regime change".

Nations in which the CIA has assassinated or attempted to assassinate a movement leader

The US has made more than 50 attempts to assassinate political party leaders according to William Blum in his 2003 book Killing Hope: U.S. Military and C.I.A. Interventions since World War II, which is "far and away the best book on the topic" according to Noam Chomsky,[1] and "the single most useful summary of CIA history" in the opinion of former CIA officer John Stockwell.[2] All such operations are illegal, performed for undisclosed reasons by undisclosed people, and rarely if ever is a clear humanitarian benefit identifiable.

Date Country Details Disputed?
2011 Pakistan Osama Bin Laden. According to the US government's official narrative... No
2003 Iraq Saddam Hussein and his two sons. Two murders and a semi-judicial execution. Maybe
2002 Afghanistan Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, Islamic leader and warlord Maybe
1993 Somalia Mohamed Farah Aideed, prominent clan leader. Failed attempt but he died later. Maybe
1991 Iraq Saddam Hussein, leader. Attempt to kill him? Maybe
1985 Lebanon Sheikh Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah, Shiite leader (80 people killed in the attempt) Maybe
1984 Nicaragua The nine comandantes of the Sandinista National Directorate Maybe
1983 Nicaragua Miguel d'Escoto, Foreign Minister Maybe
1983 Morocco Gen. Ahmed Dlimi, Army commander Maybe
1982 Iran Ayatollah Khomeini, leader Maybe
Libya Muammar Qaddafi, leader, several plots and attempts upon his life Maybe
1976 Jamaica Michael Manley, Prime Minister Maybe
1976 Chile exiled Chilean Foreign Minister Orlando Letelier is blown up in Washington DC, part of Operation Condor with at least tacit US support ?
1975 Zaire Mobutu Sese Seko, President. Maybe
1972 Panama General Manuel Noriega, Chief of Intelligence. Captured alive and been imprisoned ever since. Maybe
Panama General Omar Torrijos, leader Maybe
1970 Chile Gen. Rene Schneider, Commander-in-Chief of Army. Maybe
1970 Chile Salvador Allende, President unsuccesful US supported coup "Project FUBELT" No
1967 Bolivia Che Guevara, revolutionary leader. CIA-organized military operation ends in capture and execution by the Bolivian Army. Maybe
1965 -
France Charles de Gaulle, President Maybe
1965 Dominican Republic Francisco Caamaño, opposition leader Maybe
1965 Zaire President overthrown and replaced by Mobutu, see entry for 1961, deposing of Patrice Lumumba. No
1960s Cuba Raúl Castro, high official in government Maybe
1960s -
Cuba Fidel Castro, President, many attempts on his life including poisoned cigars. No
1963 US Assassination of JFK, President. Originally hawkish, JFK's moves towards peace alarmed the MICC Yes
1963 South Vietnam Ngo Dinh Diem, President. Successful attempt to replace one puppet leader with another. Maybe
1963 Iraq The CIA supports the Ba'athists, including Saddam Hussein, in a coup in Iraq against the Qassim government.[3][4][5] No [6]
1961 Dominican Republic Gen. Rafael Trujillo, dictator since 1930 shot dead in 1961.[7][8] Yes
1961 Zaire In June 1960, Patrice Lumumba became the Congo's first prime minister after independence from Belgium. Calls for the nation's economic liberation and is branded a communist. Eleven days later, the mineral rich Katanga province, owned by Belgium and prominent Eisenhower administration officials, seceedes. Lumumba dismissed in September at the instigation of the United States, and in Jan 1961 assassinated at the request of Dwight Eisenhower. Several years of civil conflict and chaos end in the CIA backed deposing of President Joseph Kasavubu and the 1965 accession to power of the CIA linked Mobutu Sese Seko. Mobutu ruled and robbed the country for more than 30 years (a "kleptocracy") while the Zairian people lived in abject poverty. No
1961 Haiti François "Papa Doc" Duvalier, leader Maybe
1950s - 1970s Costa Rica José Figueres, President, two attempts on his life[9] Maybe
1960 Iraq Brig. Gen. Abdul Karim Kassem, leader Maybe
1959 Cambodia Norodom Sihanouk, leader. And again in 1963. And again in 1969. Maybe
1957 Egypt Gamal Abdul Nasser, President Maybe
1955 India Jawaharlal Nehru, Prime Minister Maybe
1951 Iran Mohammed Mossadegh, Prime Minister No
1951 North Korea Kim Il Sung, Premier Maybe
1950s (mid) Philippines Claro M. Recto, opposition leader Maybe
1950s, 1962 Indonesia Sukarno, President Maybe
1950s China Prime minister Chou En-lai, several attempts on his life Maybe
1950s Germany 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 Maybe
1949 Korea Kim Koo, opposition leader No

This list does not include killings of US citizens, such as the assassination of Martin Luther King, in which a US jury concluded in 1999 the US government was involved.

Legal status

On February 18, 1976 US President Gerald Ford signed Executive Order 11905 which banned political assassinations, declaring that "No employee of the United States Government shall engage in, or conspire to engage in, political assassination."[10]

Three days after 9/11, the US congress gave "Authorization for Use of Military Force" (AUMF) to the US president[11]. This vague legal statue has been stretched to legalize assassination of al-Qaeda purported leaders.[12] People on the target list are considered military enemies of the U.S., and therefore not subject to ealier legislation.

Recent Developments

The CIA has been a preferred tool of the US deep state to carry out assassinations for a range of reasons. After 1976, effort was made to make them plausibly deniable. However, post 2001, the US government is increasingly blatant about assassinating whoever it pleases. The official narrative, however, still avoids the word assassination, preferring instead the phrase "targeted killing". Attacks are being made on individuals or leaders of quite small groups who are post hoc designated "terrorists". Since 2011, for example, there have been killings of nuclear technicians in Iran. Drones are proving increasingly effective at killing targets, and are being programmed to make autonomous decisions about whom to kill.[13]


Related Document

TitleTypePublication dateAuthor(s)Description
Document:Harold Pinter - 2005 Nobel Prize lecturespeech7 December 2005Harold PinterHarold Pinter's Nobel Prize acceptance speech made by video-link to the ceremony in Norway because of his illness. He was in the terminal stages of cancer. The speech is inspirational in its scathing rejection of Western (especially US) foreign policy objectives and methods.
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