Editor’s Note: We continue to post about real, historic, sinister, secret societies. This is in response to pathetic “nothing to see here, move along” narratives we keep reading from the see-no-evil usual suspects and hacks that trash talk conspiracy inquirists as simply “looking for and imagining scapegoats.” The history of the Assassins has parallels to modern Crime Syndicate operations and can be examined in tandem with our posts on the murderous ‘Thuggee’ of India, and the Knights Templar among many, many other sinister secret societies covered on this website.
‘There’s the scarlet thread of murder running through the colourless skein of life, and our duty is to unravel it, and isolate it, and expose every inch of it.’ — Sherlock Holmes in ‘A Study in Scarlet’
The Persian warlord Hasan I Sabbah, who was also known as “The Old Man of the Mountains,” was perhaps the most skillful practitioner in the history of psychological manipulation. He was well versed in the ways of the Ismailis, a gnostic sect based in Cairo that used psychological techniques to instill initiates with a fanatic loyalty to the Egyptian caliph.
Ismaili theology may sound familiar. Its a long and disturbing feature of the region and world. This form of millenarianism is the belief that a mahdi, or divinely guided one, would introduce a longed-for era of equity and light.
The sect followed along the age old chosenite motif, and believed that they alone possessed the truth, and that an imam — a true descendant of Ali — would one day reveal himself.
In Hasan’s time, power in the Islamic world was based among a small and wealthy elite, the Abbasid Caliphate in Baghdad. The Assassins wanted to destroy this dynasty. Clearing crusaders and Jews from holy places was never on the Assassin agenda. In fact, they were available for hire from those infidels to make trouble in the Islamic world. Some things never change.
Hasan got on the wrong side of the Order and was exiled from Persia in 1078. He founded the Nizari Isma’ili State, which become known as the Assassins. The band captured Alamut Castle in modern Iran, a site used as its headquarters. A network of Isma’ili fortresses were set up throughout Persia and Syria that formed the backbone of Assassin power.
An Assassin “recruiting” technique would procure children from among urchins, war booty and orphanages and raise them from infancy to become absolutely obedient warriors.
The Ottoman Turks employed similar methods with their use of white raced Janissary elite soldiers from the Balkans and Ukraine. This is a template for the mindless human operatives and actors we witness today and that pajama people don’t think exists. Don Brown in Angels and Demons used such a character, named Hassassin, as the Illuminati devoted killer operative in the story.
The Assassins perfected Ismaili mind-control methods.
In the words of Marco Polo, Hasan “caused draughts of a soporific nature to be administered to 10 or a dozen youths.”
He would then transport the drugged youths to a beautiful but inescapable valley adjacent to his hillside fortress near Kasvin. The youths were brainwashed from boyhood for what transpired there.
Every detail of this Persian garden corresponded with the descriptions of paradise found in the Koran, including a connoisseur’s collection of beautiful harem girls.
“Upon awakening from this state of lethargy, their senses were struck by all the delightful objects, and each perceiving himself surrounded by lovely damsels, singing, playing, and attracting his regards by the most fascinating caresses.”
Through mental implants, the recruits believed that they had literally died and gone to heaven. After a few weeks of beatific bliss, the young fighting men were brusquely expelled from “paradise” and returned to the outside world.
The followers were divided into two great hosts, ‘ self-sacrificers ‘ and ‘aspirants’. The first, despising fatigues, dangers, and tortures, joyfully gave their lives whenever it pleased the master.
They would then be sent on missions of what we would now call “unconventional warfare.” The promised reward for both success and martyrdom was a revisit to the highlight of their young lives – the garden of delights. Thus, Hasan managed to overcome the most serious obstacle to effective soldiering: the innate human will for self-preservation. The troops welcomed death, and maintained their ecstatic vision of the afterlife through the liberal use of hashish — hence the term hashishim, from which we derive the word “assassin.”
Called the fedayeen (“those who sacrifice themselves”), they were drilled to murder their victim, await discovery and then submit to torture or execution.
The hashishim (aka Assassins) proceed to murder or intimidate all rival rulers. This was done primarily by stealth, not open battle fighting. By 1094, these elite troops, wearing the white tunics and red sashes characteristic of their sect, had made Hasan the most powerful warlord in the region.
They supported themselves via loot and contract killings. Reportedly, King Richard the Lion-Hearted once contracted Hasan to have a mind-controlled assassin perform a “hit” against a rival crusader.
Assassination was not new to the region, as the strangler sects of southern Iraq dating to the eighth century have shown.
The great Muslim commander Saladin, a major foe of the Assassins, escaped assassination twice (1175-1176).
One of their most prominent victims was the Seljuq vizier Nizam al-Mulk, who was stabbed by a Nizari fighter disguised as a Sufi mystic in 1092.
The Assassins were acknowledged and feared by the Crusaders, losing the de facto King of Jerusalem, Conrad of Montferrat, to an Assassin’s blade in 1192 and Philip of Montfort of Tyre in 1270. Conrad was stabbed in a narrow street of the city by two men disguised as monks.
The preferred method of killing was by dagger, never poison or arrows. The Assassins posed a strategic threat to Fatimid, Abbasid and Seljuk authority and, over the course of nearly 200 years, they killed thousands, including three caliphs, a ruler of Jerusalem and many other Muslim and Christian leaders.
The Assassins increased their presence through another method the conspiracy debunkers claim is a figment of the awakened’s imagination — namely, by infiltrating the sultan’s court and infesting the army.
A Persian caliph thought of dispersing the sect. He found a dagger on his pillow, and a letter: “What has been placed besides thy head, may be planted into thy heart.”
The band suffered a major setback at Damascus between 1130 and 1131, during which time 6,000 Assassins were cut down by the locals.
Ultimately, the Assassins evolved into an extremely widespread cult, which had made its presence known in Russia, China and even India, where the ways of the assassins may have inspired the notorious Thugees.
The Assassins had a long run but were finally exterminated by the Mongols in 1275.
The word “assassin” passed into common parlance during the 13th and 14th centuries. Dante uses it in his 14th-century epic poem “The Divine Comedy.” In Spanish, “assassin” became the root of the common word for “murder,” asesinato. In modern English, an assassination has retained a specific meaning, that of killing a powerful person for political ends.
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