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Does the CIA plan to assassinate Duterte?



President Duterte’s statement alleging that the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) plans to assassinate him is not as crazy as it sounds. There are vast amounts of documentation available online (books,

Getsy Tiglao

Getsy Tiglao

documentaries, declassified materials) that affirm that the CIA has participated, directly or indirectly, in the assassinations of world leaders.

Even liberal Western media outlets have published articles detailing the CIA’s killing of political leaders who were deemed enemies of the United States. A news item in The Guardian was published just last year (“The CIA has a long history of helping to kill leaders around the world,” May 5, 2017) following reports that the CIA had attempted to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong-un at a public event using unspecified biochemical substances.

The Guardian article said the North Korean claim cannot be dismissed as outlandish “given the long list of US involvement in coups and assassinations worldwide.” It noted though that the spy agency was forced to cut back on these killings after its covert operations were exposed in a US Senate investigation during the Nixon to Ford administrations.

Here are just a few examples of CIA’s covert ops against world leaders, as cited by the Guardian: “Earlier well-documented episodes include Congo’s first prime minister, Patrice Lumumba of Congo, judged by the US to be too close to close to Russia. In 1960, the CIA sent a scientist to kill him with a lethal virus, though this became unnecessary when he was removed from office in 1960 by other means.”

“Other leaders targeted for assassination in the 1960s included the Dominican
dictator Rafael Trujillo, president Sukarno of Indonesia, and president Ngo Dinh Diem of South Vietnam. In 1973, the CIA helped organise the overthrow
of Chile’s president, Salvador Allende, deemed to be too left wing: he died on the day of the coup.”

The CIA was reportedly involved not only in the killings of political leaders (usually done by military or opposition forces the spy agency was assisting), but also in the many coup d’etats and rebellions in South American countries, including Chile, Bolivia, Haiti, Panama, Peru, Argentina, El Salvador, Brazil, Guatemala, Uruguay, and Venezuela.

The CIA’s operations against Cuban President Fidel Castro were the most persistent and aggressive. It has been estimated that the CIA, together with Cuban exiles, tried to kill Castro 634 times, using all manner of schemes, from the standard attempts to poison his food or drink, the infamous exploding cigar, and the poison pills in the cold cream jar of Castro’s mistress.

In a separate article by the Guardian (“Close but no cigar: how America failed to kill Fidel Castro,” November 26, 2016), it related how the CIA planned to use colorful Caribbean molluscs planted with explosives, to lure and kill Castro while he was scuba-diving. Another bizarre plan involved infecting the Cuban leader’s diving suit with a fungus that could cause a debilitating skin disease.

The US has a long and bloody history of meddling in Latin America’s affairs, according the UK’s Independent newspaper. Recently, it noted the CIA’s apparent plan to change the elected government in Venezuela with the collaboration of Mexico and Colombia. (“CIA chief hints agency is working to change Venezuelan government,” July 25, 2017).

The US is at odds with Venezuela’s socialist government led by Nicolás Maduro.
A few weeks ago, Maduro survived an assassination attempt when drones armed with explosives detonated in the air before reaching him, as he was speaking
during a public event. He blamed the US for the assassination attempt, which also injured seven people.

Here at home, President Duterte is practically daring the CIA to try and kill him. Duterte said he knows that the Americans don’t like him, after he declared an independent foreign policy grounded on friendship with all countries, including those that the US dislikes such as China and Russia. (US Ambassador to the Philippines Sung Kim has denied there was any CIA plot against Duterte.)

In a speech last week, Duterte said: “I’m looking at the TV right now because I want to emphasize to the Americans, the CIA today. I heard news that they want me dead. Go ahead. Be my guest. After all, this country will remain the way it is if you get all the leaders.”

“So if my helicopter explodes, that’s their handiwork. They’re the only one interested,” he added. Earlier, the President had criticized the US for selling
to the Philippine military defective second-hand Huey helicopters, which have crashed repeatedly, killing the crewmen aboard.

The Duterte administration earned the ire of the US once again when it announced its plan to purchase submarines from Russia. US Assistant Secretary of Defense Randall Schriver warned the Philippines against proceeding with the deal, as he used the “ally” card to try and guilt-trip the country into remaining as a US lackey.

Duterte was unfazed by the US Asec’s statement. “You meet me in a forum (and) you state your case why you are against my country acquiring submarines. Give me the reason why and make it public. You (just) want us to remain backwards.”

As an archipelagic nation, the Philippines really needs submarines to boost its security and defense capabilities. The tensions amid the South China Sea territorial disputes have also given new impetus to this long-overdue plan to improve on the capability of the Philippine Navy.

Duterte had noted that among our neighbors in Southeast Asia, Vietnam already has seven submarines, Malaysia two, and Indonesia has eight. “We’re the only ones without one. The US didn’t give us any. They just sold us used helicopters,
refurbished… Three crashed already.”

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