In the movies, assassins are usually smooth, well-trained experts armed with high-end sniper rifles and grappling hooks. In real life ... yeah, not so much. In general, criminals tend to be morons, even criminals who aspire to do things like take out a world leader. That's why most of the world's assassination attempts turn into Mister-Bean-esque slapdick clusterfucks. Such as ...
There's nothing funny about a suicide bombing. Unless, we would argue, the bomber had the device wedged up his ass, and only succeeded in exploding himself.
That brings us to al-Qaida member and aspiring cartoon character Abdullah al-Asiri, who decided to kill Muhammad Bin Nayef, the Saudi Minister for Security Affairs and the man responsible for fighting terrorism throughout Saudi Arabia. Now, a target like that would certainly be surrounded by security, and security tends to check for things like suicide vests (hey, they watch Homeland). So, in a plan his friends probably came up with at three in the morning while doodling on a napkin, al-Asiri would attempt to take out Bin Nayef with a bomb crammed into his rectum.
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Damn near killed him.
Al-Asiri's first step was to pretend he was leaving his terrorist ways behind him and ask for a face-to-face meeting with Bin Nayef. Then he would walk into Bin Nayef's office, shake his hand, press a radio detonator, and unleash the mother of all farts. And to be fair, everything went perfectly -- al-Asiri showed up and went through all the security checkpoints without any sort of problem (yes, there are some places no guard wants to go). He met Bin Nayef, shook his hand, and then, in the words of Bin Nayef himself, "he surprised me by blowing himself up."
The problem was that it really is hard to know exactly how much anus bomb you need in order to detonate a room (there isn't a Mythbusters episode about it ... yet). At the end of the day, they probably were constrained more by the physical limits of the average human butthole than anything else -- it turned out that an asshole can't hold enough explosives to do the job. Al-Asiri's abdominal cavity absorbed all the force of the blast, so Bin Nayef merely got splattered with little bits of terrorist as the man he'd just shook hands with popped like a balloon right in front of him.
AFP via BBC
"He who exploded it ... wait, I had something for this."
At that point, Bin Nayef presumably stood there, hand extended, thinking he'd suddenly mastered the art of exploding people with his mind, like in Scanners.
You might have seen this utterly insane fucking video of a man rushing a politician on live TV and pointing a gun at his head, only to have absolutely nothing happen:
Well, the backstory is actually quite a bit more ridiculous than even that video would imply.
Chances are you have never heard of Ahmed Dogan, the chairman of the Bulgarian Movement For Rights and Freedoms Party. Chances are you will never see him on Cracked again. What's important is that on January 19, 2013, someone tried to kill him.
And on January 20th, he died from sexual exhaustion.
The would-be assassin was a petty criminal named Oktai Enimehmedov, and his problem was that he couldn't buy a real gun -- not every country is like America in that regard. So he substituted by buying something called a gas pistol. It's like a handgun, but fires pellets filled with tear gas instead of bullets. Literally the only way you could kill someone with it is if you shot them in the eye at point-blank range. So this meant he had to get close. Extremely close. Jump Dogan in a back alleyway? Nope. Attack him as he answered his front door? Not a chance. Instead, he chose to run up on stage while Dogan was giving a speech to a large audience on live television.
And it fucking worked.
He got past everyone. He ran right up, stuck the gun right in Dogan's face, literally inches from his eyeball, pulled the trigger, and then ...
"Six tempered tyrannosaurs!"
Click. Nothing happened. The gun had jammed. Dogan swatted his hand away. Enimehmedov was then tackled by people from the audience ...
He originally assumed he would improvise this part.
... who held him down while a mob of angry old men stood in line to stomp on his face.
Note the man in the brown jacket, patiently waiting his turn.
You think it's over, then another guy comes in swinging an umbrella.
No sign of a pantsing yet, however.
A judge sentenced him to only three and a half years in prison, because it was such a bad effort that prosecutors couldn't even make a charge of attempted murder stick.
And yet, somehow, this was only the second dumbest choice of murder weapon on this list ...
Michael Stone wasn't some inexperienced novice when it came to killing -- he had already carried out multiple attacks in Ireland on behalf of a Loyalist terrorist group, for which he was sentenced to 684 years in prison. He served only nine of those years before being released as part of a peace agreement, and took up a new career as a painter. That is, until 2006, when he decided to get back to what he was good at. And what better way to start a new war than by killing Irish separatist leaders Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness? And do it right in the middle of the Parliament Buildings of Northern Ireland?
But as Mr. Enimehmedov above taught us, a successful assassination is all about choosing the right weapon. To this end, Stone decided to go for pure volume: He went to kill two of the most visible politicians in Northern Ireland armed with seven pipe bombs, a larger bomb made from a butane gas canister, three knives, a strangling noose, a tomahawk, and a stage pistol. A friggin' stage pistol. As in, a fake gun that can't fire bullets.
"From Hell's heart, I stab at thee!"
Stone started his attack by spray painting "Sinn Fein/IRA mur" on the outside of the Parliament Buildings, because all good assassinations require stealth and therefore begin with unfinished political graffiti. Then he charged straight in, lit his gas canister bomb, and tossed it down the main hallway. It didn't explode.
He then pointed his fake gun at the police officers guarding the entrance, and they proceeded to chase him down and trap him inside the building's revolving doors.
They closed his arm in the door, wrestled away his (fake) gun, put him in an arm bar, and took him down to the ground.
That's not all. Three weeks later, his lawyer stood up in Her Majesty's Courtroom and claimed that what Stone did was not the most pathetic midlife crisis assassination attempt the world has ever seen, but that, "It was, in fact, a piece of performance art replicating a terrorist attack." Which might have been vaguely believable if you ignore how his client had eight actual bombs. And he was caught in the act of throwing them at people.
"Which clearly represents the plight of the middle class."
How can you get dumber than that? Well, he could have blown himself up, as in the case of ...
Apichart Weerawong/AP Photo via ABC News
In February 2012, the Iranian government dispatched teams of assassins to kill Israeli diplomats in several countries, to varying degrees of failure:
-- The team in Azerbaijan was caught before they staged their attack.
-- In Georgia, their bomb was defused safely.
-- In India, the bomb exploded but didn't kill anyone.
Some nearby pigeons were almost startled, though.
But then there was the team in Thailand, who set new records for secret agent failure. It all started when some minor mistakes were made while building their bomb, which is really the kind of project that doesn't leave much margin for error. The bomb blew up inside their own safe house, and the three members of the team stumbled out into the street bloody, dazed, and trying to get as far away as possible before the cops showed up. One of them, Saeid Moradi, grabbed two hand grenades on his way out the door.
Moradi tried to flag down a taxi. The driver didn't stop, probably because he was being hailed by a man covered in blood and holding two grenades. So he threw one of his grenades at the fleeing cab, as if that was going to make it stop and pick him up. He missed. The explosion, however, alerted every cop in the area as to where he was.
Stephen Morton/Getty Images News/Getty Images
He was too far from his secret hiding spot full of tracer rounds.
As the police closed in, he threw his second grenade at them. It bounced off a tree, rolled back to his feet, and exploded, blowing off both his legs.
The other two guys were caught later. All of them got some lengthy prison sentences for the crime of accidentally blowing themselves up several times in one day.
Long War Journal
"This was all part of my design to intentionally get captured, like in Skyfall! Here, hook up this laptop."
We've already covered how SS Lieutenant Colonel Otto Skorzeny was one of history's greatest supervillains. What we haven't talked about was how, during the Battle of the Bulge, he led a 600-man commando unit whose mission was to sneak behind Allied lines, dressed in American uniforms and driving captured American Jeeps. Once they blended in as American troops, they were supposed to blow stuff up, give soldiers wrong directions, and eventually make their way to Paris, attack General Dwight D. Eisenhower's headquarters, and take him dead or alive.
Here was the first problem: only 10 of those 600 men could speak fluent English. They were supposed to do all the talking. The Nazi high command told the other 590 that if an American talked to them, they were to pull down their pants and run off into the woods pretending to have explosive diarrhea. That is not a joke. That was their actual plan.
German Federal Archive
Adolf Hitler: Master of Espionage.
The Germans also made bad attempts at learning American slang: One man was sharing a cup of coffee with an American soldier and handed him the last dregs of a cup to finish while saying "up your bottom" instead of "bottoms up." Another shouted at an American soldier to "keep your pecker up" while peeing.
Most of the captured commandos were executed as spies, since by fighting in enemy uniforms, they were not considered prisoners of war. Others were shot by their own side, because German fighter planes couldn't tell the difference between Americans riding in an American Jeep and Germans dressed as Americans riding in an American Jeep.
"Wait, I suddenly see the flaw in our plan!"
The remainder tried to launch an attack to rescue the guys trapped behind enemy lines, and charged straight into the Norwegian Battalion. Yep, after trying for who knows how long to get these schmucks to speak proper English, they just happened to fight the only Allied soldiers in the entire region that couldn't speak English. Word has it that the SS men charged yelling "Surrender or die!" The Norwegians looked at them funny before mowing them down with machine guns.
The operation ended with nothing infiltrated, most of the men dead, and Eisenhower completely safe.
Karim Sahib/AFP/Getty Images
Way back before Saddam Hussein became President of Iraq, he worked a part-time gig as a hitman for the Ba'ath Party, which he would later control. In October 1959, he was sent with six others to kill General Abd al-Karim Qasim, the then-dictator of Iraq. Their "plan," if you can call it that, was to jump out into the middle of the road in front of and on both sides of Qasim's car and shoot it up. If you don't immediately see what is wrong with this, let us draw you an illustration:
In real life, unlike the movies, bullets that miss don't just evaporate in mid-air.
As planned, the seven assassins jumped out at Qasim's car as it drove down the street. Two of their guns immediately jammed. The other five started shooting wildly at anything that moved. Saddam was supposed to shoot Qasim's bodyguards while the others shot Qasim, but instead he started shooting at Qasim, too. Another of the assassins accidentally killed one of his own men standing on the other side of the car. The fourth one hit Saddam in the leg. The fifth guy had a grenade, and was about to throw it when Qasim drew a pistol on him. He dropped it and ran away.
Qasim sat there while the assassins sprayed bullets everywhere like Imperial Stormtroopers. They shot his car 43 times and a random taxi that pulled up 20 times because hey, why not. This hurricane of gunfire left Qasim's driver dead and Qasim and two other men slightly wounded.
And most tragically of all, Qasim missed the previews.
After killing as many of their own men as they killed of the enemy, the assassins scattered. In order to make himself not look like an idiot, Saddam later wrote a book (which was made into a movie) that depicted him digging the bullet out of his own leg using nothing but a razor blade and sheer manliness, then swimming the Tigris River to escape before riding a horse all the way to Syria. In reality, he went to the doctor. Then he went home.
But inconvenient "facts" didn't stop Saddam from celebrating the anniversary of his fake exploits by dancing in a speedo on national television.
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