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What is an assassin

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What is an assassin

  1. 1. Lecture 1
  2. 2. Definitions of Assassin Assassin: A way of living; one acting alone or in consort with others to commit murder, either out of political fervor or religious fanaticism; motivated by desire to gain power, publicity, or renown for self or organization and/or to cause a change in the course of the established order and to settle actual or perceived grievances. (June, D. L. (2008). Introduction to Executive Protection) Assassin [uh-sas-in] 1. a murderer, especially one who kills a politically prominent person for fanatical or monetary reasons. Contract killing: a professional “hit” for an agreed-upon fee. (Crime Victims: An Introduction to Victimology Andrew Karmen – 2009) A form of murder, in which one party hires another party to kill a target individual or group of people. (James Morton (2005), Gangland. The Contract Killers)
  3. 3. “Assassinations are the punctuation of history…” Secret History of Assassination: The Killers and Their Paymasters Revealed, Richard Belfield, Magpie Books, 2008 pg 13
  4. 4. The Old Man I won’t spend much time on the history of assassins because there are some great books out there on the subject. I just want to point out a few things. First, the origin of the word assassin comes from Asasiyun and not from hash-ishiyun meaning smokers of hashish as many think the term came from. “their contemporaries in the Muslim world would call them hashishiyun, "hashish-smokers"; some orientalists thought that this was the origin of the word "assassin", which in many European languages was more terrifying yet. ...The truth is different. According to texts that have come down to us from Alamut, Hassan-i Sabbah liked to call his disciples Asasiyun, meaning people who are faithful to the Asās, meaning "foundation" of the faith. This is the word, misunderstood by foreign travelers that seemed similar to "hashish". Amin Maalouf, Russell Harris, Samarkand, (1998).
  5. 5. Here is the emphasis I would like to put when talking about assassins of old, being the assassins of Alamut or the ninja’s of Japan. The assassins of Alamut during the times of the crusades were generally intelligent and well read because they were required to possess not only knowledge about their enemy, but his or her culture and native language. They were trained by their masters to disguise themselves and to sneak into enemy territory to perform the assassinations, instead of simply attacking their target outright. They dressed up as merchants or religious men, spending a good deal of time in a city, in order to get well acquainted with the houses and streets, surroundings, and daily routines of the victims. Charles E. Nowell, The Old Man of the Mountain',Speculum, 22 (1947), pp 508
  6. 6. Ninja The ninja’s were great at what they did because they used the same concepts as the assassins of Alamut: “The art of blending in.”. The ninja was “the original man of a thousand faces”… he was a steelnerved spy who might appear as a priest one day, a carpenter the next and an enemy solider on the third.” (Andrew Adams, Ninja: The Invisible Assassins (1970) pp 95) Ninja were people used in secret ways, and their duties were to go into the mountains and disguise themselves as firewood gatherers to discover and acquire the news about an enemy's territory... they were particularly expert at travelling in disguise. (Turnbull, Stephen, Ninja AD 1460– 1650 (2003) pp 27)
  7. 7. The Thuggee The Thuggee which comes from the Hindi word for thief “thag” and is related to the words deceive “thugna” and from the Sanskrit word “sthaga” meaning cunning, dishonest, he conceals. The Thuggee killings were done to honor the Indian god Kali. Like their counterparts they too were intelligent. “The Thuggee, also known simply as Thugs, traveled often in the guise of traders, pilgrims, and even soldiers marching to or from service.” (Conspiracies And Secret Societies: The Complete Dossier. Brad Steiger,Sherry Hansen Steiger 2006 pg 447)
  8. 8. Profile Thug Behram (1765–1840) of the Thugge cult in India, was one of the world's most prolific killers. He may have murdered up to 931 victims by strangulation between 1790–1840 with the ceremonial cloth (or rumal, which in Hindi means handkerchief), used by his cult. (Dash Mike (2005). Thug: The True Story of India's Murderous Cult. London: Granta pp.283-9)
  9. 9. What I want you to understand is that the assassins of old employed a tactic that is still in use today, and that tactic is blending in with your target and gathering information. As their ancient counterparts, assassins still use disguises and cover stories to get close to their targets. Look at the two case studies on this tactic.
  10. 10. Assassin: Al-Qaeda Target: Pope John Paul II Method: Ambush Weapon: Suicide Bomber The plan was to assassinate Pope John Paul II when he visited the Philippines during the World Youth Day 1995 celebrations. On January 15, 1995, a suicide bomber dressed up as a priest, waited while John Paul II passed in his motorcade on his way to the San Carlos Seminary in Makati City. The assassin planned to get close to the Pope, and detonate the bomb.  Case Study 1
  11. 11. Assassin: Souha Bechara Target: Antoine Lahad Method: Depiction Weapon: Firearm Souha Bechara left college in 1986 and joined militant activities in Lebanon. She was given the task of assassinating Lahad. Consequently, she headed south, introduced herself to Lahad's family as an aerobics instructor to his wife Minerva. Gradually, she familiarized herself with the family's members and visited them continually. In the evening of the operation, the 17th of November 1988, Lahad's wife invited Bechara for tea. Bechara accepted the invitation and stayed until Lahad's arrival. As she was packing her belongings and leaving, Bechara twice shot Lahad with a 5.45 mm revolver. He was shot once in the chest and once in the shoulder, then Bechara threw the gun away before his body guards subdued her.  Case Study 2

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