Assassination Politics

grarpamp grarpamp at
Wed Aug 4 22:37:23 PDT 2021

Searching for a hitman in the Deep Web
Empowered by encrypted email programs and Bitcoin, hitmen (and -women)
are able to advertise their services with seeming impunity.
Aaron Sankin
Published Oct 10, 2013   Updated Jun 1, 2021, 4:34 am CDT

With the arrest of alleged Silk Road mastermind Ross Ulbricht in San
Francisco last week, there’s been a renewed spotlight on the shadowy
network of the Deep Web, the sites accessible only through the
encrypted Tor network. Granted the cover of anonymity, users there
engage in activities ranging from expressing political dissent to
selling massive amounts of marijuana. While most of the attention has
been paid to the trafficking of illegal narcotics, even a quick tour
through the Deep Web shows the prevalence of another type of
clandestine service: contract killers.
Featured Video

These sites, with URLs consisting of random sequences of alphanumeric
characters, can’t be viewed with traditional Web browsers. A Tor
browser, which routes users’ information through a system of nodes
around the world rendering people using the service effectively
anonymous, is required to obtain access. However, from there, finding
someone with a certain moral flexibility is as easy as searching
“assassin” or “hitman” on one of the many Deep Web forums or search

“Doing this over the TOR network is probably the safest way to do it
at all,” writes the operator of Unfriendly Solution on his or her

    “I do not know anything about you, you do not know anything about
me. The desired victim will pass away. No one will ever know why or
who did this. On top of that I always give my best to make it look
like an accident or suicide.”

“I have gained endless experience(s) in this [sic] 7 years. It has
changed me a lot. I don’t have any empathy for humans anymore,”
Unfriendly Solution boasts. “This makes me the perfect professional
for taking care of your problems and makes me better than other
hitmen. If you pay enough I’ll do ANYTHING to the desired victim. If I
say anything I mean anything.”

Click to enlarge

Unfriendly Solution only accepts payment in Bitcoin, the standard
currency for Deep Web transactions. Bitcoins can be transferred
electronically between computers or smartphones without an
intermediary institution—making it a safe unit of exchange for people
who don’t want their financial activities monitored.

“It is of mutual interest to make everything anonymous,” explains a
post on the site of C’thulhu Resume, another murder-for-hire group.
“It means we don’t know you and you don’t know us. We can’t send you
to prison, and you can’t send us to prison.”

Claiming to be an “organized criminal group, former soldiers and
mercenaries from the [French Foreign Legion], highly-skilled, with
military experience of more than five years,” C’thulhu Resume takes
its name from a series of horror stories by fantasy writer H. P.
Lovecraft. Even in a corner of the Internet that revels in badass
machismo, there’s still room for a nod to nerd culture.

Click to enlarge

One of the strangest facets of the entire ecosystem of Deep Web
murder-for-hire sites is in the way that many of them employ marketing
techniques considered fairly standard for sites selling legal
products. For example, C’thulhu Resume advertises itself with the mock
cheery slogan: “The best place to put your problems is in a grave!”

Hitman Network, which claims to be a trio of contract killers working
in the United States, Canada, and the European Union, offers people a
commission for referring their friends. “Tell others about this shop,
and earn 1% from every purchase they will make,” reads a message on
the site.

Unlike some of the other services, which hold up their lack of ethical
considerations as a selling point, Hitman Network does draw a line
between what it will and will not do: “no children under 16 and no top
10 politicians.”

Click to enlarge

Quite possibly the strangest murder-for-hire Deep Web site is
Assassination Market, which bills itself as a system for crowdfunding
assassinations. It’s like Kickstarter, but for murder.

The system works like this: The name of a target is added to
Assassination Market’s list and the site’s users can add bitcoins to a
pool of funds associated with that individual. People can place
predictions on when the target will die and whoever makes the correct
prediction takes the pot home. The assumption here is that at least
some of the people making said predictions will actually carry out the
hit at the prescribed time to collect their winnings.

The site’s creator, who goes by the name Kuwabatake Sanjuro—the
moniker taken by the nameless wandering samurai in the movie
Yojimbo—defends the Assassination Market in a FAQ that functions as
the enterprise’s manifesto.

“Killing is in most cases wrong, yes. However, as this is an
inevitable direction in the technological evolution, I would rather
see it in the hands of me than somebody else,” writes Sanjuro. “By
providing it cheaply and accurately I hope that more immoral
alternatives won’t be profitable or trusted enough. This should
primarily be a tool for retribution. When someone uses the law against
you and/or infringe [sic] upon your negative rights to life, liberty,
property, trade or the pursuit of happiness, you may now, in a safe
manner from the comfort of your living room, lower their
life-expectancy in return.”

There are currently five people on the site’s list, all of whom are
major public figures. Sanjuro insists he only allows people on the
list for “good reason,” noting that “bad reasons include doctors for
performing abortions and Justin Bieber for making annoying music.”

It’s unclear precisely how many of these sites are the real deal and
how many are someone engaging in a fantasy they have no intention of
actually carrying out. Many in the Deep Web community hold the opinion
that most sites in advertising contract killing services fall squarely
into the latter category, or are at least pulling a fast one on buyers
who should probably know better. A conversation captured by WeirderWeb
between a prospective assassin and a prospective client on the
anonymous forum Underground Message Board 2.0 last year seemed to show
the self-proclaimed hitman to be something less than a cold-blooded

However, there’s ample evidence people deeply immersed in the upper
echelons of the Deep Web were comfortable taking out hits online.

When the Department of Justice released its charges against Ulbricht,
one detail of the government’s case really jumped out. Allegedly,
Ulbricht hired hitmen to kill two people—a member of the site who was
extorting him and an employee he believed might reveal his identity
to law enforcement.

Even though, at least in the blackmail case, there’s no concrete
evidence a hit was actually carried out based on police records, the
incidents (if real) would seem to suggest that Ulbricht was confident
it could be done in the first place.

Sites offering contract killing aren’t restricted to the Internet’s
dark, anonymous underbelly. It’s possible to just type into any standard browser and book a hit. (Note:
Please don’t do actually this). They take credit cards (sorry, not
American Express). Earlier this year an Iowa woman was arrested for
attempting to solicit a hit on her father using someone she found on

It isn’t only the (sometimes only implicit) anonymity provided by the
Internet that potentially makes hiring a contract killer online more
attractive than doing so face-to-face.

“In most cases, solicitors will not or can not conceive any notion of
why they share in the culpability of the murder or attempted murder,”
write authors Robert Hanser, Walonda Wallace, and Kaine Jones in an
article entitled “Murder for Hire: Assassination and Contract
Killings” in the book Organized Crime: From Tracking to Terrorism.
“Often the solicitor’s … rationale is the argument that he or she did
not physical commit the act and therefore is not culpable. … However,
solicitors do not see themselves as murderers. Rather, they see
themselves as normal people making a business deal and do not feel
compelled to take responsibility for their actions.”

Following this logic, by removing themselves from any direct contact
with the act’s ultimate perpetrator, it’s possible employers feel a
greater moral distance from the crime as well as a greater physical

“In the eyes of the law, though,” add the article’s authors, “the
solicitor is just as bad as the contract killer.

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