Charlie Hebdo Part 2

Episode 3.13: Charlie Hebdo Part 2

In the conclusion to our two-part investigation into the mass shooting at the office of the Charlie Hebdo newspaper in Paris, we follow the two attackers as they lead French authorities on a three-day manhunt that culminated in a deadly shootout. We also encounter a third man who carried out a coordinated killing spree in Paris, including the murder of four people in a kosher grocery store. All three attackers were known to have links to Islamist militant groups, though the French government claimed that they had fallen off their radar of terrorist risks.

A transcript of this episode is available here.

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Charlie Hebdo Part 1

Episode 3.12: Charlie Hebdo Part 1

News of the mass shooting at the office of the weekly satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo in Paris in January 2015 shocked millions in France and internationally. Within days, the slogan "Je suis Charlie" became a global phenomenon, with huge solidarity demonstrations organized in honor of the slain journalists and illustrators. The perpetrators of the crime were Islamist extremists who had burst into the newspaper's office and sprayed the editorial boardroom with bullets in an act of bloody retribution for Charlie Hebdo publishing crude cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammed. This is Part 1 of a two-part investigation.

A transcript of this episode is available here.

Anna Politkovskaya Part 2

Episode 3.11: Anna Politkovskaya Part 2

In the conclusion of our two-part investigation into the case of Anna Politkovskaya, we recount the events of the day she was assassinated in what appeared to be a professional contract killing. We then look at the official investigation by Russian authorities, who captured several people who had been involved, but failed to find out who ordered the hit on this prominent journalist and human rights campaigner. Many people pointed the finger of blame at President Putin, but there were others who had motive to kill her.

A transcript of this episode is available here.

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Anna Politkovskaya Part 1

Episode 3.10: Anna Politkovskaya

Famous for hard-hitting journalism in war-torn Chechnya and criticisms of the Putin administration, Anna Politkovskaya was assassinated in her apartment building in Moscow in 2006. In the first installment of our two-part investigation, we look at her work for the Novaya Gazeta newspaper and find out about the political situation in Russia. Her death provoked an outcry in Russia and around the world, with many people suspecting that she had been murdered on the orders of senior people within the Russian government - perhaps even President Vladimir Putin himself. But Politkovskaya had made other enemies as a result of her exposures of the nefarious activities of powerful figures in post-Soviet Russia, meaning that there was no shortage of people with the means and motive to silence her. 

A transcript of this episode is available here.

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Henry Liu

Episode 3.9: Henry Liu

A Chinese American journalist named Henry Liu was murdered in his home in California in 1984. His killers were members of the Bamboo Gang, a Chinese criminal organization with close links to the Taiwanese government. Liu was a prominent critic of the ruling family of Taiwan, and as a result he had received multiple warnings to stop writing about those at the top. As Liu embarked on a new project that could have further embarrassed the authorities, the head of Taiwanese military intelligence sent a hit squad to take him out. The investigation that followed not only exposed the deadly methods used to silence critics, it called into question the strategic relationship between Taiwan and the United States.  

A transcript of this episode is available here.

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Martin O'Hagan

Episode 3.8: Martin O’Hagan

A journalist in Northern Ireland, Martin O'Hagan was murdered in a drive-by shooting in 2001. He had made many enemies over the years. As a young man, he fought for the IRA in the 1970s. But he abandoned the armed struggle in order to become a journalist, eventually gaining the respect of many of his peers for his hard-hitting investigative work, which exposed the ill deeds of those on both sides of the conflict. A major focus of his work was the alleged collusion of the police and British military with Loyalist paramilitary death squads. With no one ever convicted of his murder, friends of O'Hagan have questioned if the police might still be protecting his assassins.

A transcript of this episode is available here.

Ruth First Part 2

Episode 3.7: Ruth First Part 2

This week, we conclude our look at the life and assassination of South African journalist and anti-apartheid activist, Ruth First. In this episode, we look at how worsening conditions in South Africa forced Ruth First & Joe Slovo to make the difficult decision to leave the country. We follow Ruth’s career as she continues her journalistic work and breaks into the world of academia, track Joe’s rise to become leader of the Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK), the military wing of the ANC, and look at the details of Ruth’s assassination in Maputo, Mozambique in 1982. 

A transcript of this episode is available here.

EPISODE SPONSORS:

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Ruth First Part 1

Episode 3.6: Ruth First Part 1

In Part 1 of our two-part episode on the life and death of South African journalist Ruth First, we find out about her early involvement in the struggle against racial inequality. Working for various newspapers, Ruth exposed some of the horrific living and working condition endured by black South Africans in the 1940s and 50s. With her husband, Joe Slovo, she became a leading member of the Communist Party and an ally of Nelson Mandela and the African National Congress. With the passage of the apartheid laws in 1948 and then the Suppression of Communist Act in 1950, the National Party government cracked down on all opposition to white minority rule, making life increasingly difficult for Ruth, Joe, and the entire anti-apartheid movement.

A transcript of this episode is available here.

EPISODE SPONSORS:

  • Free Your Tea is a premium loose leaf tea subscription that helps you discover your new favorite tea! Get 10% OFF your subscription by using code ASSASSINATIONS at FreeYourTea.com 

  • Shaker & Spoon, a monthly subscription that sends you everything you need to make bartender-designed, craft cocktails at home. Get $20 OFF your subscription by visiting shakerandspoon.com/assassin

Ahmed Divela

Episode 3.5: Ahmed Divela

Ghana is one of the safest places in Africa to be a journalist. In fact, it ranks higher in terms of press freedom than the United States and Great Britain. But earlier this year, the status of journalism in Ghana took a massive step backwards. Ahmed Divela, who worked for the investigative journalism website Tiger Eye, was shot to death on the streets of Accra on January 17, 2019. Divela had helped to expose corruption inside the country's soccer association, and had been threatened by a leading Ghanaian politician who was implicated in the scandal.

A transcript of this episode is available here.

EPISODE SPONSORS:

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Sergio Rojas

Episode 3.4: Sergio Rojas

This week, we’re taking a quick break from our current season about journalists to investigate a breaking story. On March 18, Sergio Rojas, an indigenous rights leader, was gunned down in his home in Costa Rica. His death has been linked to the long-running disputes between tribal peoples and non-indigenous farmers in the Térraba River region of Costa Rica. While it is currently unclear who killed Rojas, many who knew him believe that he was assassinated because of his role at the forefront of the struggle for indigenous land rights. The case has received almost no coverage in the English-language press, but it was brought to our attention by Russell Davis. Russell is a celebrity bartender and consultant, who's also the Chief Cocktail Officer of our program sponsor, Shaker & Spoon. He was working with indigenous groups in Costa Rica when Sergio Rojas was killed, and in this episode we speak with Davis, who offers us his insight into the situation. 

A transcript of this episode is available here.

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Jamal Khashoggi Part 3

Episode 3.3: Jamal Khashoggi Part 3

This episode marks the conclusion of our three-part investigation into the assassination of the Saudi writer and political commentator Jamal Khashoggi. After a massive international public outcry, and with clear signs that the United States' government was in possession of damning evidence that Khashoggi was the victim of a brutal assassination, the Saudis put eleven men on trial in January 2019. There are claims that the accused were part of a team of Saudi operatives known as the "Tiger Squad,” which has allegedly carried out several assassinations of opponents of the Saudi leader, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Whatever the outcome of this trial, which has been criticized by numerous human rights groups, questions remain as to whether anyone at the top of the Saudi government will be held responsible.

A transcript of this episode is available here.

Episode sponsors:

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Jamal Khashoggi Part 2

Episode 3.2: Jamal Khashoggi Part 2

In the second part of our three part investigation into the assassination of Saudi writer Jamal Khashoggi, we find out about his criticisms of the government of his home country, and especially its new leader, Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman. Even as the Saudi government launched an international charm offensive in 2018 to improve the image of the oil-rich kingdom, Khashoggi, living in exile in the United States, wrote about human rights abuses in Saudi Arabia and attempted to organize opponents of the regime. It seems that he was deliberately lured to the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, where a team of assassins - allegedly known as the Tiger Squad - was waiting for him. 

A transcript of this episode is available here.

EPISODE SPONSORS:

  • Shaker & Spoon, a monthly subscription that sends you everything you need to make bartender-designed, craft cocktails at home. Get $20 OFF your subscription by visiting shakerandspoon.com/assassin

  • Free Your Tea is a premium loose leaf tea subscription that helps you discover your new favorite tea! Get 10% OFF your subscription by using code ASSASSINATIONS at FreeYourTea.com

Jamal Khashoggi Part 1

Episode 3.1: Jamal Khashoggi Part 1

We’re kicking off Season 3 with a three-part investigation into the assassination of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi. Looking to pick up some routine paperwork, he walked into the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey in October, 2018 … and never walked out. In Part 1, we explore Khashoggi’s background as the scion of one of the most important families in Saudi Arabia, his work as a journalist, his relationship with Osama bin-Laden, and his escalating disputes with the Saudi government. It is a journey that will take us from from the royal palaces of Riyadh, to the caves of Afghanistan, to the clandestine world of the CIA, as we discover that the assassination of Khashoggi has important implications for Saudi Arabia, its international relations, and the status of journalists.

A transcript of this episode is available here.

EPISODE SPONSORS:

  • Free Your Tea is a premium loose leaf tea subscription that helps you discover your new favorite tea! Get 10% OFF your subscription by using code ASSASSINATIONS at FreeYourTea.com

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Season 3 Teaser Trailer: Journalists

Season 3 Teaser Trailer: Journalists

Whether they’re working for a major international news organization or their own humble blog, a threat against a journalist is an attack on the very right of free speech. In Season 3 of Assassinations Podcast, we will look at some of the threats faced by journalists who have been targeted for digging up “inconvenient” facts and challenging those in positions of power.  

Our new season launches March 25th. Check out our teaser trailer for a taste of what's coming this season, and subscribe on iTunes or Stitcher to make sure you're one of the first to know when new episodes go live.

UPDATE: Alexander Litvinenko & the Polonium Plot

Episode 2.15: UPDATE: Alexander Litvinenko & the Polonium Plot

In this, the final episode of Season 2, we revisit the case of Alexander Litvinenko & the Polonium Plot. After closing the book on this investigation several weeks ago, we couldn’t ignore the niggling suspicion that something wasn’t quite right about the timeline of events on the day that Litvinenko was allegedly poisoned. After delving deeper into the evidence, a shocking number of inconsistencies emerged. Here, we look at the conflicting evidence and testimony, challenge the findings of the British inquiry, and try to make sense of this sensational case. 

Sergei Skripal & the Poisoned Perfume Part 3

Episode 2.14: Sergei Skripal & the Poisoned Perfume Part 3

In the final installment of our three-part episode, we begin by traveling to Bulgaria to examine a possible link between the Salisbury poisonings and an alleged assassination attempt against a Bulgarian arms dealer. Navigating through the diplomatic storm that rages between Britain and Russia since the Skripals fell ill, we enter a realm of hackers, spies, and informational warfare. Sorting evidence from assertion, we consider the strange aspects of the case, and we consider the very real tragedy of the death of Dawn Sturgess.

Sergei Skripal & the Poisoned Perfume Part 2

Episode 2.13: Sergei Skripal & the Poisoned Perfume Part 2

In Part 2 of this three-part episode, we learn that after coming to Britain in a spy swap in 2010, Sergei Skripal maintained a relationship with his MI6 case officer and continued to carry out intelligence work. According to interviews Skripal gave to a BBC journalist, he continued to work with British and American authorities until 2017. His MI6 handler, Pablo Miller, worked for a private company called Orbis Business Intelligence, which prepared the "Trump-Russia Dossier.” We find out about the two Russian men accused by the British government of being responsible for the attempted assassination of the Skripals, and we look at the claims by an investigative website, Bellingcat, that they were not who they claimed to be.

Sergei Skripal & the Poisoned Perfume Part 1

Episode 2.12 Sergei Skripal & the Poisoned Perfume Part 1

Part 1/3. In March, 2018, a man and a woman were found on a bench in the middle of the small and sleepy English cathedral city of Salisbury. They appeared very unwell and were rushed to a hospital, where they were treated for a suspected overdose of fentanyl. But it soon became clear that this was not just another tragic drug overdose. Rather, the man was an ex-Russian intelligence officer named Sergei Skripal, and— along with his daughter— it seemed he'd actually been deliberately poisoned with an incredibly dangerous toxin. Had Skripal's work as a spy caught up with him?

Alexander Litvinenko & the Polonium Plot Part 2

Episode 2.11: Alexander Litvinenko & the Polonium Plot Part 2


Even as he was still clinging onto life in a hospital bed, Alexander Litvinenko’s death was being carefully stage-managed by his erstwhile employer, Boris Berezovsky. As a result of this PR campaign, blame for Litvinenko’s poisoning quickly fell on Russia. The Russian government became the target of British and international outrage, with President Vladimir Putin roundly condemned as having assassinated one of his critics. But was there more to the story? In the concluding part of this episode, we step into a subterranean world of Russian oligarchs, Chechen militants, and a very shady Italian "nuclear weapons expert” to try and find out: who killed Alexander Litvinenko? 

Alexander Litvinenko & the Polonium Plot Part 1

Episode 2.10: Alexander Litvinenko & the Polonium Plot Part 1

After 23 days of agonizing illness, Alexander Litvinenko died in a hospital in London in 2006. The post-mortem recorded his cause of death as poisoning by ingestion of a lethal substance, the radionuclide polonium-210. In the first part of this episode, we explore the details of his flight from Russia to Britain, consider the significance of his relationship with billionaire oligarch Boris Berezovsky, investigate his final days, and find out how his death caused an international sensation.