The cost of a bullet can be as little as eight cents. Assassination has long been more common than anyone (particularly anyone in government) likes to admitit is the great-untold secret at the heart of the nation-state. As President George W. Bush continues to introduce Hollywood cowboy terminology like "dead or alive" and "bring it on" into our international political discourse, we are entering a new era of assassination where the "eight-cent option" has been given a new and disquieting legitimacy. Belfield' s darkly fascinating exposé of the business, its hired killers, and their paymasters, includes excerpts from CIA, Al-Qaeda, and Soviet assassination manuals. Placing the most important hits of our time in their proper historical context and examining the business from a remarkably objective yet honest standpoint, Belfield shows how assassinations, while posited by governments and the United Nations as random, isolated acts of violence, are in fact quietly sanctioned examples of ruthlessly strategic statecraft. He offers an eye-opening account of how Kennedy made the Vietnam War inevitable by the elimination of President Diem; and clear evidence of assassinations where the official version simply is not true, including those of Bobby Kennedy, Yitzhak Rabin, and WPC Yvonne Fletcher.
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The Assassination Business by Richard Belfield is a fascinating account of the way in which assassination (defined widely to include almost any murder not for purely private motives) has impacted the world from Julius Caesar through Thomas a'Becket and Marat to the Kennedys and WPC Yvonne Fletcher.The author is a documentary film maker who made programmes about the death of Princess Diana and the assassination of WPC Yvonne Fletcher outside the Libyan embassy in London. For me, most interesting is the linkage form one assassination to the next as killers are in their turn killed and so on. The 'licence to kill' a la James Bond is the beginning of a vicious circle of assassination and counter assassination. It is an irony but no coincidence that John and Robert Kennedy, both enthusiasts for the assassination of, among others, Castro in Cuba and Diem in Vietnam were themselves assassinated.The chapter on the death of Princess Diana is also revealing and, while I don't think that a conclusive case is made that she was assassinated by the secret service, there seems little doubt that the official version was a highly suspect coat of whitewash. Well worth the read.