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Killing Journalists: Reflex Action for the Mobster State

Kurt Nimmo | October 9 2006

According to CBS News, “Russia has become a deadly place for journalists who run afoul of government officials or their business and political partners. Those behind the killings, though, are rarely brought to justice, reinforcing a sense of impunity that may have encouraged the killers of Anna Politkovskaya, a fierce critic of the war in Chechnya.”

In fact, much of the so-called “civilized world” has become deadly for journalists, including the former beacon of freedom, America. Even so, Russia is particularly dangerous, as Politkovskaya “was at least the 43rd journalist killed for her work in Russia since 1993, according to [the Committee to Protect Journalists], which has ranked Russia the third most deadly country for journalists, after Iraq and Algeria,” notes the Associated Press. As for Iraq, the Pentagon has admitted targeting journalists. In 2004, for example, the Pentagon said the murder of al-Arabiya cameraman Ali Abd al-Aziz was “within the rules of engagement,” in other words, he was fair game. Recall Eason Jordan, CNN executive, commenting on the murder of journalists by the United States at the globalist confab in Davos, Switzerland, last year, a slip of the tongue that cost Eason his job.

In Russia, mobsters may gun down journalists in gangland fashion, but here in America we are a bit more circumspect, as we have a flimsy facade of civilized behavior to uphold. Journalist Gary Webb made the mistake of connecting the CIA and the Nicaraguan Contras to the crack epidemic in the 1980s, a mistake that resulted in his “suicide,” a remarkable event, as Webb managed to shoot himself multiple times. “Original Associated Press reports stated that Webb had died of gunshot wounds (plural) to the face. This was later changed to ’single gunshot wound’ when people began to question how or why a man would shoot himself in the face twice. This represents a concentrated effort to cover up the nature of Webb’s death. There have also been reports that the coroner on the scene had originally reported ‘multiple gunshot wounds’ but later changed his story,” writes Prison Planet.

Gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson, who spent years writing pablum for ESPN, was about to break a story on a White House “call boy” service, according to a friend, when he committed suicide (see story here). Of course, considering the source (a call-in to the Alex Jones radio show), no doubt this will be dismissed out of hand, never mind that the supposedly reputable Associated Press changed its story on the Thompson suicide at least twice (see Hunter S. Thompson Suicide Story Changes).

“I think a lot of people, when they see the word ’suicide,’ think that he must have been very unhappy or in despair, but I really believe it was nothing of the kind,” Thompson’s son, Juan, told the media. “He was not unhappy, he was not depressed, none of the things you would associate with someone who took his own life.” (Blogger Mack White provides the previous quote, however, as usual, the original news source, linked from White’s page, has found its way to the memory hole.)

Then there is the case of journalist Steve Kangas, found dead in a 39th floor bathroom of the offices of Richard Mellon Scaife, a scrofulous philanthropist of reactionary causes and organizations (as well, Scaife has a documented history of collusion with the CIA). Like Webb, Kangas was shot in the head twice, 2,000 miles from home. Kangas documented CIA atrocities and wrote The Origins of the Overclass, detailing “why the richest 1 percent have exploded ahead since 1975, with the help of the New Right, Corporate America and, surprisingly, the CIA.” In the essay he argues that Richard Mellon Scaife ran “Forum World Features, a foreign news service used as a front to disseminate CIA propaganda around the world,” according to Spartacus Educational.

The government has a history of making assassination look like suicide, going back at least to the death of Frank Olson, the Army scientist at the top secret Special Operations Division at Fort Detrick, who had reservations about his WMD work. In mobster Russia, however, the state is obviously less concerned with appearances and murders opponents outright, following in the bloody footsteps of the Soviet Union, infamous for unrestrained democide. In recent years, according to the San Francisco Chronicle, “Soviet-style forced psychiatry has re-emerged in Russia as a weapon to intimidate or discredit citizens who tangle with the authorities, according to human rights activists and some mental health professionals. Despite major reforms in the early 1990s, some officials are again employing this form of repression.” In China, “dissidents have been labelled ‘political maniacs’ and locked up in mental hospitals simply for opposing the government,” reports the Guardian. “Other victims are said to include independent labor organizers, whistle-blowers and individuals who complain about official misconduct…. Those labelled in this way may be kept indefinitely in hospitals called ‘Ankang’ centers—short for ‘peace and health for the mentally ill’—where some inmates say they have suffered beatings.”

Politkovskaya knew she was marked for death. “Anna Politkovskaya spoke calmly of her possible future assassination at the Sydney Writers’ Festival in May. Asked ‘How come you’re still alive?’ she replied in one of two ways: ‘My time has not come yet’, or ‘There must be someone above looking after me.,’” reports the Sydney Morning Herald. “On the same visit Politkovskaya, 48, a mother of two adult children, told the Herald journalist Hamish McDonald: ‘My country has been at war for the last few years, and there is a huge market of hit men who are very experienced at this, and so there is no way it can be avoided.’”

As America moves precipitously down the greasy slide toward unitary decidership fascism, such in-your-face assassination may soon not be “avoided.” As history denotes, authoritarian thugs soon cast off all pretense of civility when confronted with opposition. Of course, here in America, such may not be required, as the corporate media is more than complaisant, thus revealing irony—the media in Russia, the former Soviet Union, is more independent and investigatory than its counterpart here in the United States.


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