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Other Assassinations and Plots

Cover of the Church Committee's 1975 report: Alleged Assassination Plots Involving Foreign Leaders.
Cover of the Church Committee's 1975 report: Alleged Assassination Plots Involving Foreign Leaders.

The assassination of John F. Kennedy was the first of a series of U.S. political assassinations in the 1960s, most of them attributed to "lone nuts" with no obvious motive for the murders. These include most prominently Martin Luther King Jr., killed in Memphis on April 4, 1968, and Robert Kennedy, killed three months later during his bid for the Presidency.

In addition, the U.S. has been implicated to varying degrees in plotting the assassination of foreign leaders. The Church Committee, which documented some of these plots in great detail, concluded that no foreign leaders had actually been murdered by these plots. But in some of these cases, notably General Rene Schneider of Chile, this seems at best only technically true.

There are many assassinations worldwide of both major and minor political figures. Among the most prominent in recent times are that of Anwar Sadat (1981), Rajiv Gandhi (1991), Yitzak Rabin (1995), and Benazir Bhutto (2007).


Martin Luther King. Jr. – Civil rights leader and social activist Dr. King was killed by a single bullet while standing on the balcony of a hotel in Memphis, Tennessee, on April 4, 1968. Escaped convict James Earl Ray was tied to the crime by a bundle left nearby which included a rifle. In 1999. a jury in a civil trial on the case found that a conspiracy which included "government agencies" had taken Dr. King's life.

Robert Kennedy – The brother of John F. Kennedy was killed by gunfire at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles on June 5, 1968, after having just won the California Democratic Primary. Sirhan Sirhan was apprehended with a gun in his hand at the scene, and was later convicted of the murder. Open and shut case? See for yourself.

Ngo Dinh Diem – Leader of South Vietnam, Diem and his brother were murdered during a military coup on November 1, 1963. U.S. officials encouraged the coup but did not specifically condone the murders.

Patrice Lumumba – Congolese leader Lumumba made enemies of the U.S. and the Belgians during the transition from colonial rule, and both plotted his demise. The CIA sent poison to its Chief of Station in Leopoldville. Lumumba died at the hands of local African rivals in January of 1961, but questions remain about the exact level of support they received from Western governments.

Rene Schneider - When socialist Salvadore Allende was elected President of Chile, Army leader General Rene Schneider supported the constitional system. The White House under President Nixon and Secretary of State Kissinger plotted with local elements to kidnap Schneider. He was killed on October 22, 1970.

Benazir Bhutto - Ms. Bhutto returned to Pakistan to campaign in parliamentary elections and lead efforts to wrest control of the country from military dictator Pervez Musharraf. She was killed while riding in an open car; sharp disagreements exist over the nature of her death during gunfire and a suicide bomb blast.

Assassination Plots

Fidel Castro - Fidel Castro survived years of plotting on his life by the CIA, organized crime, and Cuban exiles. There are many indications that some of those involved in plotting Castro's life may have been involved in the murder of President Kennedy.



Who Killed Lumumba?, by David Akerman.

Opening the Secret Files on Lumumba's Murder, by Stephen R. Weissman.

The CIA's Involvement in Indonesia and the Assassinations of JFK and Dag Hammarskjold, by Edward Curtin and Greg Poulgrain.

Richard Bissell: The Man Who Couldn't Kill Castro, by Jane Sitko.

A Clue of Singularity: Lee Harvey Oswald and the History of Presidential Assailants, by Angus E. Crane.

Plane Crash That Killed UN Boss 'May Have Been Caused by Aircraft Attack', by Julian Borger.

JFK Assassination Plot Mirrored in 1961 France, by David Talbot.

Other Links

Transcript of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Assassination Conspiracy Trial, at the King Center.

U.S. State Dept Hinchey Report on CIA Activities in Chile, covering anti-Allende activities including the murder of General Rene Schneider.

Assassination on wikipedia.



Church Committee Interim Report: Alleged Assassination Plots Involving Foreign Leaders. See these individual sections:

Findings of the Select Committee on Assassinations in the Assassinations of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in Memphis, Tenn., April 4, 1968. HSCA Final Report, p.3.

Findings of the Select Committee on Assassinations in the Assassinations of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in Memphis, Tenn., April 4, 1968. HSCA Final Report, p.263 (expanded section).

Related Starting Points

Books of Interest

    Church Committee: Interim Report - Alleged Assassination Plots Involving Foreign Leaders
Church Committee
Mary Ferrell Foundation Press, 11/20/75
    The Assassinations: Probe Magazine on JFK, MLK, RFK, and Malcolm X
James DiEugenio and Lisa Pease, editors
Feral House, 2003
    The Assassination of Lumumba
Ludo De Witte
Verso, 2001
    Nexus: The CIA and Political Assassination
Larry Hancock
JFK Lancer Productions and Publications, 2011
    Orders To Kill
William F. Pepper
Warner Books, 1995
    The Assassination of Robert F. Kennedy
Jonn G. Christian and William G. Turner
Random House, 1978
    The Assassinations: Dallas and Beyond
P.D. Scott, Hoch P.L. and R. Stetler
Vintage Books, 1976
    Death in Washington
Donald Freed and Dr. Fred Simon Landis
Lawrence Hill & Co., 1980

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