“Assassination” is a term thought to be derived from “hashish,” a drug similar to marijuana that is said to have been used by the eleventh-century Islamic leader Hasan ibn al Sabbah to induce motivation in those of his followers who would carry out political and other murders, usually at the cost of their lives.
Assassination is an extreme measure, and it should be assumed that it will never be ordered or authorized by any U.S. headquarters, though officials may in rare instances agree to its execution by members of an associated foreign service.
No assassination instructions should ever be written or recorded. Ideally, only one person will be involved. No report may be made, though the act will usually be properly covered by news services.
Murder is not morally justifiable. Assassination can seldom be employed with a clear conscience. Persons who are morally squeamish should not attempt it.
The techniques employed will vary depending on whether or not the assassin himself is to be killed with the subject. If the assassin is to die with the subject, the act will be called “lost.” If the assassin is to escape, the act will be called “safe.” It should be noted that no compromise should exist here. The assassin must not fall alive into enemy hands.
Assassination techniques will also be affected by the subject’s vulnerability. Assassinations in which the subject is unaware of his danger will be termed “simple”; those in which the subject is aware but unguarded will be termed “chase;” those in which the victim is aware but guarded will be termed “guarded.”
A further division concerns whether or not it is necessary to conceal the fact that the subject was actually the victim of assassination. If such concealment is desirable, the act will be called “secret;” if concealment is immaterial, the act will be called “open.” If the assassination requires publicity to be effective, it will be termed “terroristic.”
Following these definitions, the assassination of Julius Caesar was safe, simple, and terroristic, while that of Huey Long was lost, guarded, and open. Obviously, successful secret assassinations are not recorded as assassinations at all.
Except in terroristic assassinations, it is desirable that the assassin be transient. In a lost assassination, the assassin must be a fanatic of some sort. Politics, religion, and revenge are about the only feasible motives. Since a fanatic is unstable psychologically, he must be handled with extreme care.
A human being may be killed in many ways, but the assassin should always be cognizant of one point: death must be absolutely certain. The attempt on Hitler’s life failed because those planning the conspiracy did not give this matter proper attention.
Techniques may be considered as follows:
It is possible to kill a man with bare hands, but very few are skillful enough to do it well. Even a highly trained judo expert will hesitate to risk killing by hand unless he has absolutely no alternative. The simplest local tools are often the most efficient means of assassination—a hammer, ax, wrench, screwdriver, fire poker, kitchen knife, lamp stand, or anything hard, heavy, and handy. A length of rope or wire or a belt will do if the assassin is strong and agile. All such improvised weapons have the important advantage of availability and apparent innocence. The obviously lethal machine-gun failed to kill Trotsky where an item of sporting goods succeeded.
For a secret assassination, the contrived accident is the most effective technique. When successfully executed, it causes little excitement and is only casually investigated.
The most efficient accident is a fall of seventy-five feet or more onto a hard surface. Elevator shafts, stairwells, unscreened windows, and bridges will serve. Bridge falls into water are not reliable.
A private meeting with the subject may be arranged at a properly cased location. The act may be executed by a sudden, vigorous tripping at the ankles, tipping the subject over the edge. If the assassin immediately sets up an outcry, playing the “horrified witness,” no alibi or surreptitious withdrawal is necessary.
Canadian subscribers add $10; All other international subscribers add $40.