Bob Marley: The death of a musician

The reason for the death of a musician ...

What did musician Bob Marley die of?

Bob Marley died of brain cancer in May 1981, but over the next three decades, a conspiracy theory emerged that the US Central Intelligence Agency had given the reggae singer cancer five years before his death. In November 2017, the reputable website Your News Wire, which has a history of publishing fake articles and sensational clickbaits, added a new twist to the story.

Retired CIA officer Bill Oxley, 79, made a series of sensational confessions at Mercy Hospital in Maine, where he was told he had weeks to live. He claimed to have carried out 17 contract killings for the US government between 1974 and 1985, including music icon Bob Marley.

Bill Oxley
Bill Oxley

According to the article, Oxley first admitted that the shooting of Bob Marley in Kingston, Jamaica, in 1976 was an attempt by the CIA to kill the musician, and then told how he followed the musician on behalf of the CIA and how he fraudulently injected him with "cancer viruses and bacteria":

Mr. Oxley said he used press powers to gain access to Bob Marley during his stay in the Blue Mountains. He introduced himself as a famous photographer working for the New York Times and gave Bob Marley a present.
I gave him a pair of Converse All Stars (sneakers). Size 10 (43). When he tried on the right shoe, he yelled "Ouch." It was a nail. His life was over right there and then. The nail in the shoe was infected with cancer viruses and bacteria.

Of course, all this is only from the words of Oxley. There simply cannot be any data confirming or refuting this, or we simply will not know about it. There is also no information about Bill or William Oxley having anything to do with the CIA, and neither his name, nor the quotes attributed to him, nor the basic facts of his life story are confirmed anywhere except on the fake news website Your News Wire.

Bob Marley on stage
Bob Marley on stage

On December 3, 1976, gunmen shot into Marley's house on Hope Road in Kingston, Jamaica, injuring the singer, his wife Rita, and his manager Don Taylor. The attackers were not officially identified and brought to justice.

However, according to Vivien Goldman, a journalist who knew Marley and was his publicist during the 70s, some people close to Marley believed that the attackers were connected to opposition politician Edward Seaga.

At the time, tensions were rising between factions supporting Jamaican Prime Minister Michael Manley and his Socialist People's National Party (who sympathized with Fidel Castro's Cuba) and Edward Seaga and his conservative Jamaican Labor Party (who sympathized with the United States).

Although Marley had previously been explicitly supportive of Manley, he organized the Smile Jamaica concert in a non-partisan attempt to ease political tensions and inspire unity and peace. According to Goldman, Marley was angry at the Prime Minister, who pushed back the 1976 general election to the day Marley was due to play the concert. This gave the impression that Marley was supporting Manly.

In the 1970s, there were reports that the CIA was operating in Jamaica to destabilize the Manly government in 1976, and that they even wanted to kill him. The agency denies these allegations.

Taylor also claimed that the CIA planned to kill his client, but this conclusion seems to be based solely on the belief that "the son of a prominent CIA official" infiltrated a film crew at a music festival in December 1976. In his memoirs " Marley and me Taylor wrote:

One day I learned that among the team hired to come to Jamaica was the son of a prominent CIA official who traveled under an alias. This information convinced me that the CIA was behind the plot to kill Bob Marley because of his possible influence on Jamaican politics and the world.

Marley was shot in the arm and chest, but quickly recovered from his injuries and was able to perform at the Smile Jamaica festival two days later. This is where the shoe story begins.

According to the theory, the mysterious American man visited Marley as he was preparing for the December 5th concert. The man allegedly gave Marley a pair of shoes, and when the singer tried on one of them, his foot was pricked with copper wire or a nail.

 Bob Marley
Bob Marley

As you know, the CIA has been involved in political assassinations and regime change throughout the Caribbean and Central America, in particular in Honduras and Nicaragua, and the islands of Jamaica and Cuba are only a few hundred miles apart.

Thus, the task of the CIA, which seeks to make Jamaica a bulwark against Soviet and Cuban influence in the region by neutralizing the populist folk hero Bob Marley, who sympathized with the socialist Michael Manley, is justified. However, there is a lack of concrete evidence linking the CIA to Marley's murder or the cancer that ultimately killed him.

The allegations of a cancer-infected item are part of a wider and longer-running discussion of "targeted killings" being carried out by United States intelligence agencies in other countries. Most notably, some partisans have claimed that the CIA was also involved in the assassination of Venezuelan leader Hugo Chávez in 2013 by giving him cancer.

Of course, it is possible to infect a person with some kind of virus that will lead to a sharp increase in cancer cells, but in this case it is guesswork. Imagine that Marley developed skin cancer in his leg, which later metastasized and developed into a brain cancer that eventually killed him, and it is possible that intentionally infecting a person with an immune-weakening virus, such as HIV, could easily cause skin cancer to develop as well. .

However, it is doubtful that this could be used as a method of assassination. First, the exact mechanics of "infecting" someone with cancer is unclear, meaning that the desired end result, death from cancer, would not be guaranteed.

Bob Marley reading a newspaper
Bob Marley reading a newspaper

And while the ultimate cause of death, such as cancer, certainly dismisses the suspicion of murder, it can take years for the victim to die from it. This would undermine one of the main purposes of murder: to quickly prevent a person from doing or saying something.

Incredible as it may seem, the CIA has been known to carry out a number of unorthodox assassination attempts, notably against Fidel Castro. Going back to Bob Marley... Whether it was a natural death or not, we don't know. And it will remain so. The confession of a CIA agent dying on his deathbed in the US certainly deserves attention. But no more. This is just food for thought.

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