Bob Marley was killed in a CIA plot to wipe out the world’s most famous revolutionary Rastafarian, lest his music bring the world together and create real social change. American intelligence agencies were keeping tabs on the singer, and even arranged a hit in November 1976.
When that failed, the C.I.A. resorted to an old tactic it had supposedly tried with Fidel Castro (whom the CIA tried to assassinate 638 times in unsuccessful ways): poisoning his shoes. While the standard story is that Marley died of toe cancer resulting from a soccer injury, in December 1976 while backstage at the Smile Jamaica concert, Marley was gifted with a brand new pair of boots. Lee Lew-Lee, a cinematographer and documentarian on the scene, reportedly states that when Marley went to put one of the boots on, a minor injury occurred: “He put his foot in and said, ‘Ow!’ A friend got in there…he said, ‘let’s [get] in the boot, and he pulled a length of copper wire out – it was embedded in the boot.” The wire has been purported to have been coated with some sort of cancer-causing agent. Carl Colby had been spotted backstage, having gained access by claiming to be a member of the film crew, despite never once being seen holding a camera. Colby is the son of William William Colby, the then-executive director of the CIA.