With the notable exception of Dick Cheney, the American ruling elites don’t shoot people in the head for pleasure, if only as they wish to avoid taking unnecessary risks. In particular, they don’t shoot those of their own kind, with one major exception. Like any organized crime group, they keep omerta, and punish those who breach the code of silence. The two classes of murders are those made to look like accidents, reserved for those who are going to be forced to testify, and the more ignominious group of murders made to look like suicides, reserved for those who it is feared will rely on their consciences and testify voluntarily (it is thus much more honorable to be ‘suicided’ than to be ‘accidented’). The fake suicide is always contrived to be good enough to look like a suicide to a coroner, but, like two shots to the head, is obviously a murder to anyone with any sense. The obviousness is part of the warning to others that the code of silence will be enforced.
“On Tuesday, the family claimed in a statement that the 72-year-old Merrill was distraught over a heart condition - so he bought a shotgun, took his beloved boat out on a sunny Saturday, tied the anchor around his feet, took his wallet out and left it inside the boat, shot himself in the face with a shotgun, and managed to neatly fall out of the craft and float for 11 miles and 11 days, upstream, with the anchor of a 41-foot-long sailing vessel tied to his ankles and dozens of search-and-rescue teams scouring the bay for his body.”
If suicide were an Olympic sport, the old and ill Merrill, who managed not only to shoot himself in the head with a shotgun but then leap off the boat, but did so with the handicap of tying his legs up to an anchor first (and brought a cell phone and a wallet containing a lot of money, which he considerately left behind on the boat, on the theory that you can take it on the boat, but you can’t take it with you), would win a Gold Medal. Obviously a murder, with the light anchor intended to submerge the body for only a few days (they wanted the family to have the body for a funeral).
What was Merrill going to talk about that he needed to be suicided? Merrill was President of the Export-Import Bank from 2002 until 2005. The Bank provided trade finance insurance to the Coalition Provisional Authority, and later to the Interim Government of Iraq. Merrill was a True Believer in the importance of foreign trade and foreign investment, facilitated by American institutions like the Export-Import Bank, in reviving the Iraq economy. Instead, much of the money provided by American taxpayers, and probably almost all of the oil revenues from Iraq itself, were stolen. This is just now becoming an American political issue, but the focus is on amounts stolen in the last year or so. The major thefts were from the time that the Coalition Provisional Authority was in charge of the money, the time when Merrill, who appears on all accounts to have been a straight shooter, would have had insider knowledge.
Bush used one of his famous signing statements to ensure that the Congress-mandated inspection of corruption in Iraq would not consider any contracts involving the Pentagon, effectively removing most of the point from having an inspector. The major thefts were from the ‘Development Fund for Iraq’, set up by Paul Bremer and originally managed by the Coalition Provisional Authority. At least nine billion dollars is missing from this fund. The slush find could have been raided perfectly legally, if not morally, by using it to fund ‘legitimate’ reconstruction contracts to American firms. Instead, this method of lifting of money from the Iraqi people wasn’t corrupt enough, so they simply stole it (i. e., they didn’t even bother to pretend to be providing a service for the money that was taken, possible because of the way in which the Coalition Provisional Authority managed the money). As there is no effective monitoring of the specifics of the corruption (thanks to Bush’s signing statement), people like Merrill are the only officials who could put the blame on the friends of the Bush Administration who walked off with the billions of dollars. Therefore, Merrill is dead.