From Tue Jun 25 10:30:08 2002
Date: Mon, 24 Jun 2002 15:59:19 -0500 (CDT)
From: Ken S. <>
Subject: [psy-op] Assassination—a two edged weapon?
Article: 140924
To: undisclosed-recipients:;

Assassination—a two edged weapon

By Richard M. Bennett, 24 June 2002

President Bush has recently signed an intelligence order authorizing the CIA and related Special forces to overthrow, capture or indeed kill the leader of a foreign country. The fact alone that the President of a sovereign nation can be targeted in such a way by the leading democratic defender of international law'is surprising enough. The fact that the last US President to be so rash as to openly target a major foreign leader was to die in a well planned assassination in November 1963 which many expert observers still believe to have been directly linked to CIA attempts to murder Fidel Castro, should have been sufficient to cause a greater degree of caution in The Whitehouse.

By agreeing to allow the use of lethal force against President Saddam Hussein and indeed the terrorist leader Osama Bin Ladin, strangely both former close allies of the United States, President Bush has opened the flood gates of possible retaliation in kind against himself, his direct family, close colleagues and every member of the US political community both in the United States and around the world. Nor will the American business community, sports and entertainment celebrities and ordinary tourists be immune from revenge attacks.

Morality and legality—not questioned after 9-11

Targeted assassination has thankfully remained a rarity in the international great game'and with few exceptions such as the British sponsored assassination of Reinhard Heydrich and the US killing of Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto during World War Two, leaders such as Churchill, Roosevelt and Truman fought shy of attempting to assassinate Adolf Hitler or later Stalin. For the very sensible reason that retaliation was certain. The lesson of a weakness for executive action possibly leading to a monumental blowback has obviously not been fully understood by the present US administration.

President Saddam Hussein, or his nominated successors will undoubtedly retaliate and following recent clandestine meetings of the regional operational commanders of Islamic Jihad believed to have been held in Algeria and Austria, it is becoming increasing clear that Al Qa'ida in particular are now likely to directly target the US leadership, as well as other high profile personalities. In a largely free society and despite the recent security clampdown it will still prove quite impossible to guarantee that President Bush or his successors will not suffer a similar fate to the Kennedy brothers.

The question of morality or even the legality of planning the assassination of a foreign national, let alone the leadership, has been easily and quickly forgotten in the aftermath of 9-11. However, the effects of this decision by President Bush will probably directly influence global intelligence operations, worsen security problems and hinder the work of the diplomatic community long after George W. Bush is consigned to history. For once assassination becomes a matter of state policy, as it already appears to be in Israel, then the normal interflow of negotiation and trust between sovereign states or even with dissident and warring groups will become neigh-on impossible. The damage that will almost certainly do to the chances of a long-term improvement in international relations is quite incalculable.