…laments my neighbor Tony Piel, former director and general legal counsel of the World Health Organization:In this new age of global war on democracy, it’s best first to silence your political opponents, and then be “free” to do as you like. Everyone is doing it, some more successfully than others. But warning: You too may be targeted.
If, as a “progressive” activist, you find yourself “accidentally drowned” in your own bathtub, or victim of some other form of “suicide,” a U.S. agency or team probably did it. That’s what happened to democratically elected former Guatemalan President Arbenz Guzman and former Chilean President Salvador Allende, to name two. They were deemed too socially democratic to continue in office, let alone in life. Of course, these happenings may just be deniable “fake news.” We wouldn’t really do something like that, would we ?
The U.S. has an impressive past history of political assassinations, usually carried out by passionate, self-righteous or demented individuals, almost always by gunshot, thus re-affirming our inalienable Second Amendment right “to bear arms” (and use them). The four best-known examples of this predilection for guns are: (1) the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln in 1865 by John Wilkes Booth using a .44 Derringer, (2) the assassination of President James Garfield in 1881 by Charles Guiteau using a Bulldog handgun, (3) the assassination of President William McKinley in 1901 by Leon Czolgosz using a .32 revolver, and (4) the assassination of John F. Kennedy in 1963 by Lee Harvey Oswald (and others) using a Mannlicher-Carcano rifle (or so the Warren Commission believed).
The U.S. historical record of successful domestic assassinations of public officials comprises some sixty targeted political figures, including a number of State Governors, City Mayors, Congressional Legislators and a few Court Judges. Fifty-four of them (or some 90 percent) were by gunshot, a distinctly American preference. Were these killings an exercise in Second Amendment rights, or something else ?
So, it isn’t as though we Americans are entirely lacking in success in assassinating our own political figures and perceived opponents. But what is missing in our record to date are examples of government-sponsored assassinations or killings ordered by the head of state to achieve a personal goal such as to get elected or re-elected to the highest office in the land.
That’s where the Russians are clearly ahead of us. Lately, the Russians have shown a marked preference for poisoning. In this category, former KGB agent Vladimir Putin’s Russia has us all beat by miles. If you find yourself shot or poisoned to death for political reasons in almost any city anywhere in the world, Russia probably did it. Of course, Putin will deny involvement in any secret, national and international poisonings and assassinations. Here’s some recent examples of note:
Putin critic Yuri Shchekochikhin dropped dead from a then-unknown poison in 2003. Putin’s political opponent Alexander Litvinenko died of Polonium-210 poisoning in London in 2006. Independent journalist Anna Politkovskaya was shot dead in her own Moscow apartment in 2006. Putin critic Boris Nemtsov was fatally shot near the Kremlin in 2015. Opposition leader Vladimir Kara-Musa was poisoned in 2017. Sergei Skripal and his daughter were poisoned with Novichok nerve toxin in Salisbury, England in 2018. Current opposition candidate Aleksei Navalny has been poisoned by an as-yet unidentified toxin in 2019.
The U..S. is currently lagging behind Russia in the sophistication and volume of successful “snuff jobs” to silence the political opposition. But the current White House Office of Legal Counsel and Department of Justice have given us renewed hope for catching up. They have announced that, thanks to executive privilege, a sitting U.S. president can never be indicted or prosecuted for anything. Thus a president could snuff out, not just a few, but all of his critics and opponents, beginning with those calling for his impeachment, without the encumbrance of due process and the rule of law. How “great” can you get ? Even Putin’s Russia hasn’t thought of that one !