The Assassination Business: A History of State Sponsored Murder

Richard Belfield, Author . Carroll & Graf $14.95 (311p) ISBN 978-0-7867-1343-1

The following advice—"No assassination instructions should ever be written or recorded"—appeared in a 1954 CIA assassination manual, an alternately wacky and deeply cynical document. Belfield, a British TV producer, quotes it liberally (adding happily that the more recent al-Qaeda manual owes a great debt to its American precursor). George W. Bush, he says, is the first American president to proclaim that certain enemies of the U.S. are too evil to live, and his administration has already announced successful assassinations. Belfield is less sanguine in this eye-opening anthology of mostly gruesome stories. He notes that attempts often fail, and that successes rarely accomplish their goal. His host of examples includes the Kennedy administration's enthusiasm for the murder of South Vietnamese president Ngo Dinh Diem as a means to strengthen Vietnam. He also relates alternative accounts of the deaths of a dozen figures such as Robert Kennedy, Martin Luther King, JFK and Princess Di. His scenarios rely on logic, complex ballistic theory, witnesses who pop up later, among other possibilities. Readers may not be convinced, but they'll be entertained. (July)

Reviewed on: 05/16/2005
Release date: 06/01/2005
Genre: Nonfiction
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