US/Foreign Assassinations since 1945
|Date||1945 - Present|
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".
Countries where the US 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, and "the single most useful summary of CIA history" in the opinion of former CIA officer John Stockwell. All such operations are illegal, performed for undisclosed reasons by undisclosed people, and rarely if ever is a clear humanitarian benefit identifiable.
|2011||Pakistan||Osama Bin Laden. Killing of a captured man.||No|
|2003||Iraq||Saddam Hussein and his two sons. Two killings 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||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.||No |
|1961||Dominican Republic||Gen. Rafael Trujillo, dictator since 1930 shot dead in 1961.||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||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.
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."
Three days after 9/11, the US congress gave "Authorization for Use of Military Force" (AUMF) to the US president. This vague legal statue has been stretched to legalize assassination of al-Qaeda purported leaders. People on the target list are considered military enemies of the U.S., and therefore not subject to ealier legislation.
The CIA has been a preferred tool of the US deep state, which continues to carry out assassinating individuals for a range of reasons. Formerly, these attacks were covert, but increasingly, the US government is open about assassinating anyone whom it pleases. The official narrative, however, avoids the word assassination, preferring instead the euphemism "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.
|Rogue State: A Guide to the World's Only Superpower||book||2000||William Blum||A critical examination of United States foreign policy during and following the Cold War|
- A Tyrant 40 Years in the Making New York Times, March 14 2003.
- The Old Social Classes and the Revolutionary Movements of Iraq Princeton University Press. 1978.
- Iraq Since 1958 Peter and Marion Sluglett. 1990.
- Regarding the CIA's "Health Alteration Committee's work in Iraq, see U.S. Senate's Church Committee Interim Report on Assassination, page 181, Note 1.
- Report: Alleged Assassination Plots Involving Foreign Leaders History Matters website.
- Church Committee Report - Trujillo
- Reuters staff (April 9, 2010). "Yemen: Warning by Cleric's Tribe". The New York Times. Reuters. Retrieved April 11, 2010.
- Bell, Josh (July 10, 2011). "Killing of Al-Awlaki: Even When Trying to Fight Terrorism, the President Must Still Follow the Constitution". Aclu.org. Retrieved October 23, 2012.
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