AlienScientist Homepage
  AS YouTube Channel technology technology chemistry
  AS YouTube Channel technology technology chemistry

Assassination Conspiracies

List of Deaths

Date Name Connection with case Cause of death
11/63 Karyn Kupicinet Tv host's daughter who was overheard telling of JFK's death prior to 11/22/63 Murdered
12/63 Jack Zangretti Expressed foreknowledge of Ruby shooting Oswald Gunshot Victim
2/64 Eddy Benavides Lookalike brother to Tippit shooting witness, Domingo Benavides Gunshot to head
2/64 Betty MacDonald* Former Ruby employee who alibied Warren Reynolds shooting suspect. Suicide byhanging in Dallas Jail
3/64 Bill Chesher Thought to have information linking Oswald and Ruby Heart attack
3/64 Hank Killam* Husband of Ruby employee, knew Oswald acquaintance Throat cut
4/64 Bill Hunter* Reporter who was in Ruby's apartment on 11/24/63 Accidental shooting by policeman
5/64 Gary Underhill* CIA agent who claimed Agency was involved Gunshot in head ruled suicide
5/64 Hugh Ward* Private investigator working with Guy Banister and David Ferrie Plane crash in Mexico
5/64 DeLesseps Morrison* New Orleans Mayor Passenger in Ward's plane
8/64 Teresa Norton* Ruby employee Fatally shot
6/64 Guy Banister* x-FBI agent in New Orleans connected to Ferrie, CIA, Carlos Marcello & Oswald Heart attack
9/64 Jim Koethe* Reporter who was in Ruby's apartment on 11/24/63 Blow to neck
9/64 C.D. Jackson "Life" magazine senior Vicepresident who bought Zapruderfilm and locked it away Unknown
10/64 Mary Pinchot JFK "special" friend whose diary was taken by CIA chief James Angleton after her death Murdered
1/65 Paul Mandal "Life" writer who told of JFK turning to rear when shot in throat Cancer
3/65 Tom Howard* Ruby's first lawyer, was in Ruby's apartment on 11/24/63 Heart attack
5/65 Maurice Gatlin* Pilot for Guy Banister Fatal fall
8/65 Mona B. Saenz* Texas Employment clerk who interviewed Oswald Hit by Dallas bus
?/65 David Goldstein Dallasite who helped FBI trace Oswald's pistol Natural causes
9/65 Rose Cheramie* Knew of assassination in advance, told of riding to Dallas with Cubans Hit/run victim
11/65 Dorothy Kilgallen* Columnist who had private interview with Ruby, pledged to "break" JFK case Drug overdose
11/65 Mrs. Earl Smith* Close friend to Dorothy Kilgallen, died two daysafter columnist, may have kept Kilgallen's notes Cause unknown
12/65 William Whaley* Cab driver who reportedly drove Oswald to Oak Cliff (The only Dallas taxi driver to die on duty) Motor collision
1966 Judge Joe Brown Presided over Ruby's trial Heart attack
1966 Karen "Little Lynn" Carlin* Ruby employee who last talked with Ruby before Oswald shooting Gunshot victim
1/66 Earlene Roberts Oswald's landlady Heart attack
2/66 Albert Bogard* Car salesman who said Oswald test drove new car Suicide
6/66 Capt. Frank Martin Dallas policeman who witnessed Oswald slaying, told Warren Commission "there's a lot to be said but probably be better if I don't say it" Sudden cancer
8/66 Lee Bowers Jr.* Witnessed men behind picket fence on Grassy Knoll Motor accident
9/66 Marilyn "Delila Walle* Ruby dancer Shot by husband after 1 month of marriage
10/66 Lt. William Pitzer* JFK autopsy photographer who described his duty as "horrifying experience" Gunshot rule suicided
11/66 Jimmy Levens Fort Worth nightclub owner who hired Ruby employees Natural causes
11/66 James Worrell Jr.* Saw man flee rear of Texas School Book Depository Motor accident
1966 Clarence Oliver Dist. Atty. Investigator who worked Ruby case Unknown
12/66 Hank Suydam Life magazine official in charge of JFK stories Heart attack
1967 Leonard Pullin Civilian Navy employee who helped film "Last Two Days" about assassination One-car crash
1/67 Jack Ruby* Oswald's slayer Lung cancer (he told family he was injected with cancer cells)
2/67 Harold Russell* Saw escape of Tippit killer killed by cop in bar brawl
2/67 David Ferrie* Acquaintance of Oswald, Garrison suspect and employee of Guy Banister Blow to neck (ruled accidental)
2/67 Eladio Del Valle* Anti-Castro Cuban associate of David Ferrie being sought by Garrison Gunshot wound, ax wound tohead
3/67 Dr. Mary Sherman* Ferrie associate working on cancer research Died in fire (possibly shot)
1/68 A. D. Bowie Asst. Dallas District Attorney prosecuting Ruby Cancer
4/68 Hiram Ingram Dallas Deputy Sheriff, close friend to Roger Craig Sudden cancer
5/68 Dr. Nicholas Chetta New Orleans coroner who on death of Ferrie Heart attack
8/68 Philip Geraci* Friend of Perry Russo, told of Oswald/Shaw conversation Electrocution
1/69 Henry Delaune* Brother-in-law to coroner Chetta Murdered
1/69 E.R. Walthers* Dallas Deputy Sheriff who was involved in Depository search, claimed to have found .45-cal. slug Shot by felon
1969 Charles Mentesana Filmed rifle other than Mannlicher-Carcano being taken from Depository Heart attack
4/69 Mary Bledsoe Neighbor to Oswald, also knew David Ferrie Natural causes
4/69 John Crawford* Close friend to both Ruby and Wesley Frazier, who gave ride to Oswald on 11/22/63 Crash of private plane
7/69 Rev. Clyde Johnson* Scheduled to testify about Clay Shaw/Oswald connection Fatally shot
1970 George McGann* Underworld figure connected to Ruby friends, wife, Beverly, took film in Dealey Plaza Murdered
1/70 Darrell W. Garner Arrested for shooting Warren Reynolds, released after alibi from Betty MacDonald Drug overdose
8/70 Bill Decker Dallas Sheriff who saw bullet hit street in front of JFK Natural causes
8/70 Abraham Zapruder Took famous film of JFK assassination Natural causes
12/70 Salvatore Granello* Mobster linked to both Hoffa,Trafficante, and Castro assassination plots Murdered
1971 James Plumeri* Mobster tied to mob-CIA assassination plots Murdered
3/71 Clayton Fowler Ruby's chief defense attorney Uknown
4/71 Gen. Charles Cabell* CIA deputy director connected to anti-Castro Cubans Collapsed and died afterphysical at Fort Myers
1972 Hale Boggs* House Majority Leader, member of Warren Commission who began to publicly express doubts about findings Disappeared on Alaskan plane flight
5/72 J. Edgar Hoover* FBI director who pushed "lone assassin" theory in JFK assassination Heart attack (no autopsy)
9/73 Thomas E. Davis* Gunrunner connected to both Ruby and CIA Electrocuted trying to steal wire
2/74 J.A. Milteer* Miami right-winger who predicted JFK's death and capture of scapegoat Heater explosion
1974 Dave Yaras* Close friend to both Hoffa and Jack Ruby Murdered
7/74 Earl Warren Chief Justice who reluctantly chaired Warren Commission Heart failure
8/74 Clay Shaw* Prime suspect in Garrison case, reportedly a CIA contact with Ferrie and E. Howard Hunt Possible cancer
1974 Earle Cabell Mayor of Dallas on 11/22/63, whose brother, Gen. Charles Cabell was fired from CIA by JFK Natural causes
6/75 Sam Giancana* Chicago Mafia boss slated to tell about CIA-mob death plots to Senate Committee Murdered
7/75 Clyde Tolson J. Edgar Hoover's assistant and roommate Natural causes
1975 Allen Sweatt Dallas Deputy Sheriff involved in investigation Natural causes
12/75 Gen. Earle Wheeler Contact between JFK and CIA Unknown
1976 Ralph Paul Ruby's business partner connected with crime figures Heart attack
4/76 James Chaney Dallas motorcycle officer riding to JFK's right rear who said JFK "struck in the face" with bullet Heart attack
4/76 Dr. Charles Gregory Governor John Connally's physician Heart attack
6/76 William Harvey* CIA coordinator for CIA-mob assassination plans against Castro Complications from heart surgery
7/76 John Roselli* Mobster who testified to Senate Committee and was to appear again Stabbed and stuffed in metal drum

1977 - A Terrible Year For Many

The year 1977 produced a bumper crop of candidates for listing under convenient deaths connected to the JFK assassination - including the deaths of six top FBI officials all of whom were scheduled to testify before the House Select Committee on Assassinations.

Topping this list was former number three man in the FBI William C. Sullivan, who had already had a preliminary meeting the investigators for the House Committee. Sullivan was shot with a high-powered rifle near his New Hampshire home by a man who claimed to have mistaken him for a deer. The man was charged with a misdemeanor - "shooting a human being by accident" - and released into the custody of his father, a state policeman. There was no further investigation of Sullivan's death.

Louis Nichols was a special assistant to J. Edgar Hoover as well as Hoover's liaison with the Warren Commission. Alan H. Belmont also was a special assistant to Hoover. James Cadigan was a document expert with access to many classified assassination documents, while J.M. English headed the FBI laboratory where Oswald rifle and pistol were tested. Donald Kaylor was the FBI fingerprint expert who examined prints found at the assassination scene. None of these six Bureau officials lived to tell what they knew to the House Committee.

Other key assassination witnesses, such as George DeMohrenschildt and former Cuban President Carlos Prio Soccaras, died within weeks of each other in 1977, just as they too were being sought by the House Committee.

The ranks of both organized crime and U.S. intelligence agencies were thinned by deaths beginning in 1975, the time of the Senate Intelligence Hearings, and 1978, the closing months of the House Committee. Charles Nicoletti, a mobster connected with the CIA-Mafia assassination plots, was murdered in Chicago, while William Pawley, a former diplomat connected with both organized crime and CIA figures, reportedly committed suicide.

Adding official confirmation to rumors that "hit teams" may have been at work was a "Time" magazine report that federal agents had initiated a nationwide investigation into more than 20 gangland assassinations constituting what agents believed was an "open underworld challenge to governmental infiltration of Mafia activities."

One FBI source was quoted as saying:

Our main concern is that we may be facing a revival of the old "Murder, Inc." days.

A "New York News" story concerning this official fear of roving assassination squads even mentions the death of Sam Giancana, who was killed one day before he was to testify about MOB-CIA connections and while under government protection.

Just as the House Committee was gearing up its investigation into the JFK assassination, the news media reported the following deaths:

Date Name Connection with case Cause of Death
1/77 William Pawley* Former Brazilian Ambassador connected to Anti-Castro Cubans, crime figures Gunshot ruled suicide
3/77 George DeMohrenschildt* Close friend to both Oswald and Bouvier family (Jackie Kennedy's parents), CIA contract agent Gunshot wound ruled suicide
3/77 Carlos Prio Soccaras* Former Cuban President, money man for anti-Castro Cubans Gunshot wound ruled suicide
3/77 Paul Raigorodsky Business friend of George DeMohrenschildt and wealthy oilmen Natural causes
5/77 Lou Staples* Dallas radio Talk Show host who told friends he would break assassination case Gunshot to head,ruled suicide
6/77 Louis Nichols Former No. 3 man in FBI, worked on JFK investigation Heart attack
8/77 Alan Belmont FBI official who testified to Warren Commission "Long illness"
8/77 James Cadigan FBI document expert who testified to Warren Commission Fall in home
8/77 Joseph C. Ayres* Chief steward on JFK's Air Force One Shooting accident
8/77 Francis G. Powers* U-2 pilot downed over Russia in 1960 Helicopter crash (He reportedly ran out of fuel)
9/77 Kenneth O'Donnell JFK's closest aide Natural causes
10/77 Donald Kaylor FBI fingerprint chemist Heart attack
10/77 J.M. English Former head of FBI Forensic Sciences Laboratory Heart attack
11/77 William Sullivan* Former No. 3 man in FBI, headed Division 5, counter- espionage and domestic intelligence Hunting accident
1978 C.L. "Lummie" Lewis Dallas Deputy Sheriff who arrested Mafia man Braden in Dealey Plaza Natural causes
9/78 Garland Slack Man who said Oswald fired at his target at rifle range Unknown
1/79 Billy Lovelady Depository employee said to be the man in the doorway in AP photograph Complications from heart attack
6/80 Jesse Curry Dallas Police Chief at time of assassination Heart attack
6/80 Dr. John Holbrook Psychiatrist who testified Ruby was not insane Heart attack but pills, notes found,
1/81 Marguerite Oswald Mother of accused assassin Cancer
10/81 Frank Watts Chief felony prosecutor for Dallas D.A. Natural causes
1/82 Peter Gregory Original translator for Marina Oswald and Secret Service Natural causes
5/82 Dr. James Weston Pathologist allowed to see JFK autopsy material for HSCA Died while jogging, ruled natural causes
8/82 Will H. Griffin FBI agent who reportedly said Oswald was "definitely" an FBI informant Cancer
10/82 W. Marvin Gheesling FBI official who helped supervise JFK investigation "Long illness"
3/84 Roy Kellerman Secret Service agent in charge of JFK limousine Unknown

Following names are the recently known deaths, almost all died of natural causes:

Date Name Connection with case Cause of Death
10/92 Jim Garrison Former District Attorney of New Orleans, only one who sued in the JFK assassination case Natural causes
?/94 Perry Russo witness who told he had seen Shaw, Oswald and Ferrie talking about the killing of JFK Unknown
01/95 Rose Kennedy Mother of John F. Kennedy natural causes
01/95 L.C. Graves wrested Ruby's revolver away from him after shooting Oswald natural causes
2/95 Irving L. Goldberg Judge who advised L. B. Johnson on transition of power natural causes
3/95 Philip L. Willis Dealey Plaza Witness, photographer Leukemia
5/95 Evelyn Norton Lincoln JFK's personal secretary natural causes
5/95 Phil L. Barleson Defender of Ruby Heart attack
11/95 Richard Case Nagell CIA agent who claimed he uncovered a "large operation" aimed at killing JFK heart disease
12/95 James W. Altgens Dealey Plaza Witness, press photographer natural causes
1/96 Ralph W. Yarborough Dealey Plaza witness, rode in motorcade natural causes
7/96 Melvin Belli Lawyer of Jack Ruby Suffering stroke and pneumonia
8/96 Charles Brehm Dealey Plaza Witness Unknown
9/96 McGeorge Bundy Top aide to JFK and LBJ Heart attack
10/96 Rufus Youngblood Agent who shielded LBJ during the JFK murder Cancer
10/96 Larry Ray Harris Researcher Car accident
10/96 Lawrence Brantley Sold Jack Ruby the gun used to kill Oswald Complications from surgery

Text by Jim Marrs
Dates by Jim Marrs and Ralph Schuster

(c) 2002 Jim Marrs and Ralph Schuster
COVER-UP / Mysterious Deaths


Jim Marrs and Ralph Schuster

[Editor's Note: The claim that many persons who had
personal knowledge of the assassination of JFK have met
untimely deaths is reviewed by the authors, who provide
a overview of the evidence. It appears that many who
had personal knowledge of the assassination of JFK
have indeed met untimely deaths.

In the three-year period which followed the murder of President Kennedy and Lee Harvey Oswald, 18 material witnesses died - six by gunfire, three in motor accidents, two by suicide, one from a cut throat, one from a karate chop to the neck, three from heart attacks and two from natural causes.

An actuary, engaged by the "London Sunday Times," concluded that on November 22, 1963, the odds against these witnesses being dead by February 1967, were one hundred thousand trillion to one. The above comment on the deaths of assassination witnesses was published in a tabloid companion piece to the movie "Executive Action," released in 1973. By that time, part of the mythology of the Kennedy assassination included the mysterious deaths of people who were connected with it. By the mid-1960s, people in Dallas already were whispering about the number of persons who died under strange or questionable circumstances.

Well into the 1980s, witnesses and others were hesitant to come forward with information because of the stories of strange and sudden death which seemed visit anyone with information about the assassination.

Finally, in the late 1970s, the House Select Committee on Assassinations felt compelled to look into the matter. But aside from discrediting the "London Sunday Times" actuarial study, the Committee was unable to come to any conclusion regarding the growing number of deaths. The Committee said it could not make a valid actuarial study due to the broad number and types of persons which had to be included in such a study.

In response to a letter from the Committee, "London Sunday Times" Legal Manager Anthony Whitaker stated:

Our piece about the odds against the deaths of the Kennedy witnesses was, I regret to say, based on a careless journalistic mistake and should not have been published. This was realized by The Sunday Times editorial staff after the first edition - the one which goes to the United States...- had gone out, and later editions were amended. There was no question of our actuary having got his answer wrong: it was simply that we asked him the wrong question. He was asked what were the odds against 15 named people out of the population of the United States dying within a short period of time, to which he replied -correctly - that they were very high. However, if one asks what are the odds against 15 of those included in the Warren Commission Index dying within a given period, the answer is, of course, that they are much lower. Our mistake was to treat the reply to the former question as if it dealt with the latter - hence the fundamental error in our first edition report, for which we apologize.

This settled the matter for the House Committee, which apparently made little or no attempt to seriously study the number of deaths which followed the JFK assassination.

Jacqueline Hess, the Committee's chief of research for the JFK investigation, reported:

Our final conclusion on the issue is that the available evidence does not establish anything about the nature of these deaths which would indicate that the deaths were in some manner, either direct or peripheral, caused by the assassination of President Kennedy or by any aspect of the subsequent investigation.

However, an objective look at both the number and the causes of death balanced against the importance of the person's connection to the case, still causes raised eyebrows among those who study such a list.

In this section, people who were connected - no matter how tenuously - with the assassination and who are now dead are listed according to date of death. This is dealing only with deaths, not with the numerous persons - such as Warren Reynolds, Roger Craig, Richard Carr or Richard Case Nagell - who claim to have been shot at or attacked.

This section has been entitled "Convenient Deaths" because these deaths certainly would have been convenient for anyone not wishing the truth of the JFK assassination to become public. Of course, it is impossible to state with any certainty which of these deaths resulted from natural causes and which did not.

Because so many of the these deaths involve persons either working with or connected with the CIA or other domestic intelligence services, the Agency has gone to some lengths to discredit the idea of mysterious deaths plaguing assassination witnesses.

A 1967 memo from CIA headquarters to station chiefs advised:

Such vague accusations as that "more than 10 people have died mysteriously" can always be explained in some rational way: e.g., the individuals concerned have for the most part died of natural causes; the (Warren) Commission staff questioned 418 witnesses - the FBI interviewed far more people, conducting 25,000 interviews and reinterviews - and in such a large group, a certain number of deaths are to be expected.

Yet it is now well established that the CIA was developing a wide-range of lethal techniques for disposing of people dating back to the early 1950s.

Testifying before the Church Committee in 1975, CIA technicians told of a variety of TWEP technology - Termination With Extreme Prejudice - including liquid botulinum toxins and a pulmonary-embolism-causing pill which cannot be detected in a post-mortem examination.

One recently-declassified CIA document, a letter from an Agency consultant to a CIA officer, states:

You will recall that I mentioned that the local circumstances under which a given means might be used might suggest the technique to be used in that case. I think the gross divisions in presenting this subject might be:

  1. bodies left with no hope of the cause of death being determined by the most complete autopsy and chemical examinations
  2. bodies left in such circumstances as to simulate accidental death
  3. bodies left in such circumstances as to simulate suicidal death
  4. bodies left with residue that simulate those caused by natural diseases.

The letter goes on to show that undetected murders do not have to be the result of sophisticated chemicals. It states:

There are two techniques which I believe should be mentioned since they require no special equipment besides a strong arm and the will to do such a job. These would be either to smother the victim with a pillow or to strangle him with a wide piece of cloth such as a bath towel. In such cases, there is no specific anatomic changes to indicate the cause of death...

While is obvious that the CIA - and hence the mob through operatives who work for both - has the capability of killing, it is less well-known that the Agency has developed drugs to induce cancer. Recall that Jack Ruby died of sudden lung cancer just as he had been granted a new trial.

A 1952 CIA memo reported on the cancer-causing effects of beryllium:

This is certainly the most toxic inorganic element and it produces a peculiar fibrotic tumor at the site of local application. The amount necessary to produce these tumors is a few micrograms.

Local law enforcement officers and coroners are simply not equipped, either by training or by inclination, to detect deaths induced by such sophisticated means. They look for signs of a struggle, evidence of a break-in, bruises or marks on the victim. With no evidence to the contrary, many deaths simply are ruled suicide or accident. Others are ruled due to natural causes, such as heart attack.

It is interesting to note how the deaths are grouped. Many of the earliest deaths came during the time of the Warren Commission investigation or just afterwards. Some significant deaths also took place in the late 1960s as New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison was launching his own investigation. Other suspicious deaths occurred during the mid-1970s, as the Senate Intelligence Committee was looking into assassinations by U.S. intelligence agencies. And finally, another spate of deaths came around 1977, just as the House Select Committee on Assassinations was gearing up its investigations.

These deaths are listed in chronological order. An asterisk (*) means the death is a particularly suspicious one. They also are grouped according to which investigation was being conducted at the time.

The area of convenient deaths leads one into a well of paranoia, yet the long list of deaths cannot be summarily dismissed.

Obviously, many of these deaths - particularly in recent years - can be ascribed to the passage of time. But others cannot - especially when viewed in context of the assassination inquiries taking place at the time.

Read for yourself and consider...When does coincidence end and conspiracy begin?


Mind Control Assassination Techniques:

Hypnosis and mind control expert Derren Brown shows how to program someone to be an unwitting assassin, who will commit the act inside of a created "Marksman Mode", and then forget everything afterwards.

David Sanchez Morales

-------under construction------

The following are a list of assassinations which have various conspiracy theories and often times valid evidence surrounding them. If you would like to suggest links to research into these various areas please email me, or post about it on the forum.

Marylin Monroe

Dorothy Killgalen

James Forrestal



John Lennan

CIA Assassinations Handbook


A Study of Assassination


..... 3PREFACE
..... 6
..... 7
..... 8
... 16ANNEX
... 17ANNEX
... 19ANNEX
... 23


Here you find a transcript of the CIA file titled 'A Study of Assassination'. This unsigned and undated (estimated publication date: Dec 31st, 1953) 19-page typewritten file was part of a collection of CIA documents pertaining to Operations PBFORTUNE and PBSUCCESS and was declassified under the Freedom of Information Act on May 15, 1997.

After years of answering Freedom of Information Act requests with its standard "we can neither confirm nor deny that such records exist," the CIA has finally declassified some 1400 pages of over 100,000 estimated to be in its secret archives on the Guatemalan destabilization program. An excerpt from this assassination manual appears on the Op-Ed page of The New York Times on Saturday, May 31, 1997.

Operations PBFORTUNE and PBSUCCESS were the CIA code-names of the1952-54 attempts to topple the Guatemalan government under the democratically elected President Jacobo Arbenz Guzman.

Arbenz Guzman was elected President of Guatemala in 1950 to continue a process of socio-economic reforms that the CIA disdainfully refers to in its memoranda as "an intensely nationalistic program of progress colored by the touchy, anti-foreign inferiority complex of the 'Banana Republic.'"* The first CIA effort to overthrow the Guatemalan president - a CIA collaboration with Nicaraguan dictator Anastacio Somoza to support a disgruntled general named Carlos Castillo Armas and codenamed Operation PBFORTUNE - was authorized by President Truman in 1952.

As early as February of that year, CIA Headquarters began generating memos with subject titles such as "Guatemalan Communist Personnel to bedisposed of during Military Operations," outlining categories of persons to be neutralized through "Executive Action" (= murder) or through imprisonment and exile. The "A" list of those to be assassinated contained 58 names, all of which the CIA has excised from the declassified documents.

PBSUCCESS, authorized by President Eisenhower in August 1953, carried a US$2.7 million budget for "psychological warfare and political action" and "subversion," among the other components of a small paramilitary war. But, according to the CIA's own internal study of the agency's so-called "K program," up until the day Arbenz Guzman resigned on June 27, 1954, "the option of assassination was still being considered."

While the power of the CIA's psychological war, codenamed "Operation SHERWOOD," against Arbenz Guzman rendered that option unnecessary, the last stage of PBSUCCESS called for "roll-up of Communists and collaborators."

Although Arbenz Guzman and his top aides were able to flee the country, after the CIA installed Castillo Armas in power, hundreds of Guatemalans were rounded up and killed.

Between 1954 and 1990, human rights groups estimate that the repressive operatives of sucessive military regimes killed more than 180,000 individuals. Among them are the Mayans massacred in 626 documented government-sponsored or government-committed attacks on native villages, today only rebembered by a rather small number of people abroads as the cause for 1992 Nobel Peace Prize winner Rigoberta Menchu, an ethnic Mayan, to start her struggle for civil rights and peace in the region.

This document has been carefully reformatted (and in instances where the HTML transcript had obvious errors not related to the original document, corrected**) and put into e-book format to be read onscreen or printed out andread at leisure by sokol. This introductory text has been in most parts adaptedfrom George Washington University's National Security Archive website at

sokol, June 2002

*That Arbenz Guzman confiscated two-thirds of United Fruit Co.'s land did not endear him to theUSA. In these days, anti-communist paranoia was at its highest, and a politician who took awayUnited Fruit's land (even if to improve the lives of the plantation workers, who were living inslavery but by name) had to be a closet Ruskie

** Like the double lines in the "explosives" section.



Assassination is a term thought to be derived from "Hashish", a drug similar tomarijuana, said to have been used by Hasan-ibn-Sabah to induce motivationin his followers, who were assigned to carry out political and other murders,usually at the cost of their lives.It is here used to describe the planned killing of a person who is not under thelegal jurisdiction of the killer, who is not physically in the hands of the killer,who has been selected by a resistance organization for death, and whosedeath provides positive advantages to that organization.


Assassination is an extreme measure not normally used in clandestineoperations. It should be assumed that it will never be ordered or authorized byany U.S. Headquarters, though the latter may in rare instances agree to itsexecution by members of an associated foreign service. This reticence ispartly due to the necessity for committing communications to paper. Noassassination instructions should ever be written or recorded. Consequently,the decision to employ this technique must nearly always be reached in thefield, at the area where the act will take place. Decision and instructionsshould be confined to an absolute minimum of persons. Ideally, only oneperson will be involved. No report may be made, but usually the act will beproperly covered by normal news services, whose output is available to allconcerned.


Murder is not morally justifiable. Self-defense may be argued if the victim hasknowledge which may destroy the resistance organization if divulged.Assassination of persons responsible for atrocities or reprisals may beregarded as just punishment. Killing a political leader whose burgeoningcareer is a clear and present danger to the cause of freedom may be heldnecessary.But assassination can seldom be employed with a clear conscience. Personswho are morally squeamish should not attempt it.


The techniques employed will vary according to whether the subject isunaware of his danger, aware but unguarded, or guarded. They will also beaffected by whether or not the assassin is to be killed with the subject.Hereafter, assassinations in which the subject is unaware will be termed"simple"; those where the subject is aware but unguarded will be termed"chase"; those where the victim is guarded will be termed "guarded."If the assassin is to die with the subject, the act will be called "lost." If theassassin is to escape, the adjective will be "safe." It should be noted that nocompromises should exist here. The assassin must not fall alive into enemyhands.A further type division is caused by the need to conceal the fact that thesubject was actually the victim of assassination, rather than an accident ornatural causes. If such concealment is desirable the operation will be called"secret"; if concealment is immaterial, the act will be called "open"; while if theassassination 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 asassassination at all. [Illeg] of Thailand and Augustus Caesar may have beenthe victims of safe, guarded and secret assassination. Chase assassinationsusually involve clandestine agents or members of criminal organizations.


In safe assassinations, the assassin needs the usual qualities of a clandestineagent. He should be determined, courageous, intelligent, resourceful, andphysically active. If special equipment is to be used, such as firearms ordrugs, it is clear that he must have outstanding skill with such equipment.Except in terroristic assassinations, it is desirable that the assassin betransient in the area. He should have an absolute minimum of contact with therest of the organization and his instructions should be given orally by oneperson only. His safe evacuation after the act is absolutely essential, but hereagain contact should be as limited as possible. It is preferable that the personissuing instructions also conduct any withdrawal or covering action which maybe necessary.

In lost assassination, the assassin must be a fanatic of some sort. Politics,religion, and revenge are about the only feasible motives. Since a fanatic isunstable psychologically, he must be handled with extreme care. He must notknow the identities of the other members of the organization, for although it isintended that he die in the act, something may go wrong. While the assassinof Trotsky has never revealed any significant information, it was unsound todepend on this when the act was planned.


When the decision to assassinate has been reached, the tactics of theoperation must be planned, based upon an estimate of the situation similar tothat used in military operations. The preliminary estimate will reveal gaps ininformation and possibly indicate a need for special equipment which must beprocured or constructed. When all necessary data has been collected, aneffective tactical plan can be prepared. All planning must be mental; nopapers should ever contain evidence of the operation.In resistance situations, assassination may be used as a counter-reprisal.Since this requires advertising to be effective, the resistance organizationmust be in a position to warn high officials publicly that their lives will be theprice of reprisal action against innocent people. Such a threat is of no valueunless it can be carried out, so it may be necessary to plan the assassinationof various responsible officers of the oppressive regime and hold such plansin readiness to be used only if provoked by excessive brutality. Such plansmust be modified frequently to meet changes in the tactical situation.


The essential point of assassination is the death of the subject. A humanbeing may be killed in many ways but sureness is often overlooked by thosewho may be emotionally unstrung by the seriousness of this act they intend tocommit. The specific technique employed will depend upon a large number ofvariables, but should be constant in one point: Death must be absolutelycertain. The attempt on Hitler's life failed because the conspiracy did not givethis matter proper attention.Techniques may be considered as follows:

1. Manual.

It is possible to kill a man with the 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.

However, the simplest local tools are often much the most efficient means of assassination. A hammer, axe, wrench, screw driver, fire poker, kitchen knife, lamp stand, or anything hard, heavy and handy will suffice. 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.

In all safe cases where the assassin may be subject to search, either before or after the act, specialized weapons should not be used. Even in the lost case, the assassin may accidentally be searched before the act and should not carry an incriminating device if any sort of lethal weapon can be improvised at or near the site. If the assassin normally carries weapons because of the nature of his job, it may still be desirable to improvise and implement at the scene to avoid disclosure of his identity.

2. Accidents.

For secret assassination, either simple or chase, the contrived accident is the most effective technique. When successfully executed, it causes little excitement and is only casually investigated.

The most efficient accident, in simple assassination, is a fall of 75 feet ormore onto a hard surface. Elevator shafts, stair wells, unscreened windowsand bridges will serve. Bridge falls into water are not reliable. In simple cases a private meeting with the subject may be arranged at a properly-cased location. The act may be executed by sudden, vigorous [excised] of the ankles, tipping the subject over the edge. If the assassin immediately sets upan out cry, playing the "horrified witness", no alibi or surreptitious withdrawal is necessary. In chase cases it will usually be necessary to stun or drug the subject before dropping him. Care is required to ensure that no wound or condition not attributable to the fall is discernible after death.

Falls into the sea or swiftly flowing rivers may suffice if the subject cannot swim. It will be more reliable if the assassin can arrange to attempt rescue, as he can thus be sure of the subject's death and at the same time establish a workable alibi.

If the subject's personal habits make it feasible, alcohol may be used [2 words excised] to prepare him for a contrived accident of any kind.

Falls before trains or subway cars are usually effective, but require exact timing and can seldom be free from unexpected observation.

Automobile accidents are a less satisfactory means of assassination. If the subject is deliberately run down, very exact timing is necessary and investigation is likely to be thorough. If the subject's car is tampered with, reliability is very low. The subject may be stunned or drugged and then placed in the car, but this is only reliable when the car can be run off a high cliff or into deep water without observation.

Arson can cause accidental death if the subject is drugged and left in a burning building. Reliability is not satisfactory unless the building is isolated and highly combustible.

3. Drugs.

In all types of assassination except terroristic, drugs can be very effective. If the assassin is trained as a doctor or nurse and the subject is under medical care, this is an easy and rare method. An overdose of morphine administered as a sedative will cause death without disturbance and is difficult to detect. The size of the dose will depend upon whether the subject has been using narcotics regularly. If not, two grains will suffice.

If the subject drinks heavily, morphine or a similar narcotic can be injected atthe passing out stage, and the cause of death will often be held to be acute alcoholism. Specific poisons, such as arsenic or strychine, are effective but their possession or procurement is incriminating, and accurate dosage is problematical. Poison was used unsuccessfully in the assassination of Rasputin and Kolohan, though the latter case is more accurately described as a murder.

4. Edge Weapons.

Any locally obtained edge device may be successfully employed. A certain minimum of anatomical knowledge is needed for reliability. Puncture wounds of the body cavity may not be reliable unless the heart is reached. The heart is protected by the rib cage and is not always easy to locate.

Abdominal wounds were once nearly always mortal, but modern medical treatment has made this no longer true.

Absolute reliability is obtained by severing the spinal cord in the cervical region. This can be done with the point of a knife or a light blow of an axe or hatchet.

Another reliable method is the severing of both jugular and carotid blood vessels on both sides of the windpipe.

If the subject has been rendered unconscious by other wounds or drugs, either of the above methods can be used to ensure death.

5. Blunt Weapons.

As with edge weapons, blunt weapons require some anatomical knowledge for effective use. Their main advantage is their universal availability. A hammer may be picked up almost anywhere in the world. Baseball and [illeg] bats are very widely distributed. Even a rock or a heavy stick will do, and nothing resembling a weapon need be procured, carried or subsequently disposed of.

Blows should be directed to the temple, the area just below and behind the ear, and the lower, rear portion of the skull. Of course, if the blow is very heavy, any portion of the upper skull will do. The lower frontal portion of the head, from the eyes to the throat, can withstand enormous blows without fatal consequences.

6. Firearms.

Firearms are often used in assassination, often very ineffectively. The assassin usually has insufficient technical knowledge of the limitations of weapons, and expects more range, accuracy and killing power than can be provided with reliability. Since certainty of death is the major requirement, firearms should be used which can provide destructive power at least 100% in excess of that thought to be necessary, and ranges should be half that considered practical for the weapon.

Firearms have other drawbacks. Their possession is often incriminating. They may be difficult to obtain. They require a degree of experience from the user. They are [illeg]. Their [illeg] is consistently over-rated.

However, there are many cases in which firearms are probably more efficient than any other means. These cases usually involve distance between the assassin and the subject, or comparative physical weakness of the assassin, as with a woman.

(a) The precision rifle.

In guarded assassination, a good hunting or target rifle should always be considered as a possibility. Absolute reliability can nearly always be achieved at a distance of one hundred yards. In ideal circumstances, the range may be extended to 250 yards.

The rifle should be a well made bolt or falling block action type, handling a powerful long-range cartridge. The .300 F.A.B. Magnum is probably the best cartridge readily available. Other excellent calibers are .375 M.[illeg].Magnum, .270 Winchester, .30 - 106 p.s., 8 x 60 MM Magnum, 9.3 x 62 kk and others of this type. These are preferable to ordinary military calibers, since ammunition available for them is usually of the expanding bullet type, whereas most ammunition for military rifles is full jacketed and hence not sufficiently lethal. Military ammunition should not be altered by filing or drilling bullets, as this will adversely affect accuracy.

The rifle may be of the "bull gun" variety, with extra heavy barrel and set triggers, but in any case should be capable of maximum precision. Ideally, the weapon should be able to group in one inch at one hundred yards, but 2 1/2" groups are adequate. The sight should be telescopic, not only for accuracy, but because such a sight is much better in dim light or near darkness. As longas the bare outline of the target is discernable, a telescope sight will work, even if the rifle and shooter are in total darkness.

An expanding, hunting bullet of such calibers as described above will produce extravagant laceration and shock at short or mid-range. If a man is struck just once in the body cavity, his death is almost entirely certain. Public figures or guarded officials may be killed with great reliability and some safety if a firing point can be established prior to an official occasion. The propaganda value of this system may be very high.

(b) The machine gun.

Machine guns may be used in most cases where the precision rifle isapplicable. Usually, this will require the subversion of a unit of an officialguard at a ceremony, though a skillful and determined team mightconceivably dispose of a loyal gun crew without commotion and take over thegun at the critical time.

The area fire capacity of the machine gun should not be used to search out aconcealed subject. This was tried with predictable lack of success on Trotsky. The automatic feature of the machine gun should rather be used to increase reliability by placing a 5 second burst on the subject. Even with full jacket ammunition, this will be absolute lethal is the burst pattern is no larger than aman. This can be accomplished at about 150 yards. In ideal circumstances, a properly padded and targeted machine gun can do it at 850 yards. The major difficulty is placing the first burst exactly on the target, as most machinegunners are trained to spot their fire on target by observation of strike. This will not do in assassination as the subject will not wait.

(c) The Submachine Gun.

This weapon, known as the "machine-pistol" by the Russians and Germans and "machine-carbine" by the British, is occasionally useful in assassination. Unlike the rifle and machine gun, this is a short range weapon and since it fires pistol ammunition, much less powerful.

To be reliable, it should deliver at least 5 rounds into the subject's chest, though the .45 caliber U.S. weapons have a much larger margin of killing efficiency than the 9 mm European arms.

The assassination range of the sub-machine gun is point blank. Whileaccurate single rounds can be delivered by sub-machine gunners at 50 yards or more, this is not certain enough for assassination. Under ordinary circumstances, the SMG should be used as a fully automatic weapon. In the hands of a capable gunner, a high cyclic rate is a distinct advantage, asspeed of execution is most desirable, particularly in the case of multiple subjects.

The sub-machine gun is especially adapted to indoor work when more thanone subject is to be assassinated. An effective technique has been devisedfor the use of a pair of sub-machine gunners, by which a room containing asmany as a dozen subjects can be "purified" in about twenty seconds with little or no risk to the gunners. It is illustrated below.

While the U.S. sub-machine guns fire the most lethal cartridges, the higher cyclic rate of some foreign weapons enable the gunner to cover a target quicker with acceptable pattern density. The Bergmann Model 1934 is particularly good in this way. The Danish Madsen SMG has a moderately good cyclic rate and is admirably compact and concealable. The Russian SHGs have a good cyclic rate, but are handicapped by a small, light projectile which requires more hits for equivalent killing effect.

(d) The Shotgun.

A large bore shotgun is a most effective killing instrument as long as the range is kept under ten yards. It should normally be used only on single targets as it cannot sustain fire successfully. The barrel may be "sawed" off for convenience, but this is not a significant factor in its killing performance.

Its optimum range is just out of reach of the subject. 00 buckshot is considered the best shot size for a twelve gauge gun, but anything from single balls to bird shot will do if the range is right. The assassin should aim for the solar plexus as the shot pattern is small at close range and can easily [illeg] the head.

(e) The Pistol.

While the handgun is quite inefficient as a weapon of assassination, it is often used, partly because it is readily available and can be concealed on the person, and partly because its limitations are not widely appreciated. While many well known assassinations have been carried out with pistols (Lincoln, Harding, Ghandi), such attempts fail as often as they succeed, (Truman, Roosevelt, Churchill).

If a pistol is used, it should be as powerful as possible and fired from just beyond reach. The pistol and the shotgun are used in similar tactical situations, except that the shotgun is much more lethal and the pistol is much more easily concealed. In the hands of an expert, a powerful pistol is quite deadly, but such experts are rare and not usually available for assassination missions.

.45 Colt, .44 Special, .455 Kly, .45 A.S.[illeg] (U.S. Service) and .357 Magnum are all efficient calibers.

Less powerful rounds can suffice but are less reliable. Sub-power cartridges such as the .32s and .25s should be avoided.

In all cases, the subject should be hit solidly at least three times for complete reliability.

(f) Silent Firearms.

The sound of the explosion of the propellant in a firearm can be effectively silenced by appropriate attachments. However, the sound of the projectile passing through the air cannot, since this sound is generated outside the weapon. In cases where the velocity of the bullet greatly exceeds that of sound, the noise so generated is much louder than that of the explosion. Since all powerful rifles have muzzle velocities of over 2000 feet per second, they cannot be silenced.

Pistol bullets, on the other hand, usually travel slower than sound and the sound of their flight is negligible. Therefore, pistols, submachine guns and any sort of improvised carbine or rifle which will take a low velocity cartridge can be silenced. The user should not forget that the sound of the operation of a repeating action is considerable, and that the sound of bullet strike, particularly in bone, is quite loud.

Silent firearms are only occasionally useful to the assassin, though they have been widely publicized in this connection. Because permissible velocity is low, effective precision range is held to about 100 yards with rifle or carbine type weapons, while with pistols, silent or otherwise, are most efficient just beyond arms length. The silent feature attempts to provide a degree of safety to the assassin, but mere possession of a silent firearm is likely to create enough hazard to counter the advantage of its silence. The silent pistol combines the disadvantages of any pistol with the added one of its obviously clandestine purpose.

A telescopically sighted, closed-action carbine shooting a low velocity bullet of great weight, and built for accuracy, could be very useful to an assassin inc ertain situations. At the time of writing, no such weapon is known to exist.

7. Explosives.

Bombs and demolition charges of various sorts have been used frequently in assassination. Such devices, in terroristic and open assassination, can provide safety and overcome guard barriers, but it is curious that bombs have often been the implement of lost assassinations.

The major factor which affects reliability is the use of explosives for assassination. The charge must be very large and the detonation must be controlled exactly as to time by the assassin who can observe the subject. A small or moderate explosive charge is highly unreliable as a cause of death, and time delay or booby-trap devices are extremely prone to kill the wrong man. In addition to the moral aspects of indiscriminate killing, the death of casual bystanders can often produce public reactions unfavorable to the cause for which the assassination is carried out.

Bombs or grenades should never be thrown at a subject. While this will always cause a commotion and may even result in the subject's death, it is sloppy, unreliable, and bad propaganda. The charge must be too small and the assassin is never sure of: (1) reaching his attack position, (2) placing the charge close enough to the target and (3) firing the charge at the right time.

Placing the charge surreptitiously in advance permits a charge of proper size to be employed, but requires accurate prediction of the subject's movements.

Ten pounds of high explosive should normally be regarded as a minimum, and this is explosive of fragmentation material. The latter can consist of any hard, [illeg] material as long as the fragments are large enough. Metal or rock fragments should be walnut-size rather than pen-size. If solid plates are used, to be ruptured by the explosion, cast iron, 1" thick, gives excellent fragmentation. Military or commercial high explosives are practical for use in assassination. Homemade or improvised explosives should be avoided. While possibly powerful, they tend to be dangerous and unreliable. Antipersonnel explosive missiles are excellent, provided the assassin has sufficient technical knowledge to fuse them properly. 81 or 82 mm mortar shells, or the 120 mm mortar shell, are particularly good. Antipersonnel shells for 85, 88, 90, 100and 105 mm guns and howitzers are both large enough to be completely reliable and small enough to be carried by one man.

The charge should be so placed that the subject is not ever six feet from it at the moment of detonation.

A large, shaped charge with the [illeg] filled with iron fragments (such as 1"nuts and bolts) will fire a highly lethal shotgun-type [illeg] to 50 yards. This reaction has not been thoroughly tested, however, and an exact replica of the proposed device should be fired in advance to determine exact range, pattern-size, and penetration of fragments. Fragments should penetrate at least 1" of seasoned pine or equivalent for minimum reliability.

Any firing device may be used which permits exact control by the assassin. An ordinary commercial or military exploder is efficient, as long as it is rigged for instantaneous action with no time fuse in the system.

The wise [illeg] electric target can serve as the triggering device and provide exact timing from as far away as the assassin can reliably hit the target. This will avoid the disadvantages of stringing wire between the proposed positions of the assassin and the subject, and also permit the assassin to fire thecharge from a variety of possible positions.

The radio switch can be [illeg] to fire [illeg], though its reliability is somewhat lower and its procurement may not be easy.


[Illeg] may be presented brief outlines, with critical evaluations of the following assassinations and attempts:

Grand Duke Sergei
Archduke Francis
Ferdinand Benes
Aung SangMadero
[illeg ]
Huey Long
[sic]Alexander of Yugoslavia