by Andrew Stark

Exploding wine bottles, guns constructed out of pipes, bullets made of
teeth, aspirin explosives: they sound like props from a second-rate spy
story. Horrifyingly enough, they are real. The CIA has spent a great
deal of its time--and your money--developing countless bizarre weapons
for assassination, sabotage, and mass destruction. If that's news to
you, it's because the CIA doesn't want these products, some of which are
quite easy to put together, to fall into the "wrong hands." As for
whether they are in the right hands now--judge for yourself.
The CIA has developed many exotic and sophisticated devices intended
for use in interrogation, sabotage, and assassination. These weapons are
necessary--if you grant that what the CIA itself does is necessary. If
the CIA wants to eliminate a key KGB agent operating in Hungary, it
faces certain problems. It would be virtually impossible to slip a
deadly weapon, such as a gun or bomb, past Hungarian customs
 officials.Thus, the CIA assassin must assemble his weapon from
commonly obtainable materials after he crosses the border.
The CIA agent might decide to construct a urea nitrate explosive, com-
monly known as a urine bomb. This weapon is quite deadly, easily ex-
ploded, and consists primarily of nitric acid and urine. The urine bomb
is one of literally hundreds of murderous weapons in the CIA arsenal.
"The New York Times" of September 26, 1975 revealed the existence of
guns that shoot cobra-venom darts. Then there was the shoe polish com-
pound intended to make Fidel Castro's beard fall out, so that he would
lose his "charisma." And CIA laboratories in Fort Monmouth, New Jersey
developed the famous rifle that shoots around corners.
Some CIA weapons are designed to kill many people--deadly germs can
be released in subways; others are intended to kill a single, specific
individual--the Borgia ring contains deadly poison to be slipped into a
victim's drink; and still others are standard weapons supplied for such
missions as overthrowing the Allende government in Chile in 1973.
The information about CIA weapons that you will read in this article
generally has not been made public before. It was not intended to be.
But your tax dollars pay for these devices; it is your right to know
about them.
There is a booklet, written in 1977 and distributed to a select group of
U.S. mercenaries, titled "CIA Improvised Sabotage Devices." This in-
structional guidebook, part of "the Combat Bookshelf," was published by
Desert Publications, P.O. Box 22005, Phoenix, Arizona 85028. If you
want to know how the CIA turns a cigar box into an explosive that can
destroy a 10,000-gallon capacity storage tank, then "CIA Improvised
Sabotage Devices" is what you should read. You will need it if you want
to build the "Water-Drip Electric Delay," a bomb that requires little
more than wood scrap, a tin can, and a battery. The "Pocket Watch Elec-
tric Delay" requires little more than a watch, a screw, and a battery.
The "Mousetrap Electric Release" is another bomb, this one requiring a
mousetrap, a trip wire, a battery, and little else. It is described as
"an excellent device to use with bazooka rockets against trucks, tanks,
or locomotives." The "Chemical Instantaneous Initiator" is made from a
sugar-chlorate mix and is effective in sabotaging trains. The "Martini
Glass Shaped Charge" is a bomb that also can be made out of a beer can.
You might want to try to construct the "Vehicle Booby Trap." The "Po-
tassium Chlorate and Sugar Igniter" and the "Sawdust, Moth Flakes, and
Oil Incendiary" can be made with only what you see in their titles.
For these and more than fifty other CIA devices, step-by-step instruc-
tions on how to make them and illustrations of what they should look
like when completed are given. Turn a wine bottle into a bomb. Build a
land-mine rocket. Manufacture napalm in your basement. Even the
simple how-tos of causing a dust explosion can be found in "CIA
Improvised Sabotage Devices."
Why is the CIA so deeply involved in sabotage techniques? The CIA
might think it is in this country's interest to delay scientific work being
done by another nation. Or, the CIA might want to disrupt a nation's
economy in the hope that the resulting chaos will lead to civil unrest
and the overthrow of the existing government (some of this actually
happened in Chile). The original John Rockefeller used such tactics
against his competitors. He simply had their refineries blown up.
Another pamphlet the CIA would not like you to see is titled "How to
Kill," written by John Minnery, edited by Robert Brown and Peder Lund,
and published by Paladin Press, Box 1307, Boulder, Colorado 80306. The
reason the CIA would prefer that you not see this eighty-eight-page
pamphlet, which is unavailable at bookstores and newsstands, is
because it contains a number of "ingenious" methods of doing what the
titlesays. Also, Paladin Press, which published a book called "OSS
Sabotageand Demolition Manual," is widely regarded by journalists as an
organization with close ties to mercenary groups and the CIA. Paladin
Press doesn't want you to know that, but how else could they have
published the "OSS Sabotage and Demolition Manual?" The Office of
Strategic Services was the precursor of today's CIA.
This writer's call to Colorado yielded the following conversation:
"How could you publish the "OSS Sabotage and Demolition Manual," I asked
Peter Lund, editor and publisher of Paladin Press, "if your
organization, at the least, was not dealing with former OSS agents? And
what about "How to Kill?"
"I don't talk to journalists," Lund said.
"You're called the Paladin Press. You must publish books. Can I order
"Why not? You're a publisher, aren't you?"
"We're afraid our publications might fall into the wrong hands."
"What are the right hands?" I asked.
"I don't talk to journalists."
"Have you ever heard of Desert Publications?" I asked.
"A fine outfit," Lund said. "If they recommend you, I'll send you our
"That's my problem," I said. "They don't seem to have a phone number."
"Well, they're a good group."
"Listen," I said, "wasn't your group, and Desert Publications besides,
involved in CIA mercenary activity in Africa?"
"I don't know anything about that."
"Were you in the Special Forces?"
"July 1967 to July 1968 in Vietnam."
"Were you CIA?"
"I was MACV [Military Armed Forces Command Vietnam]."
"You weren't affiliated with CIA?"
"I didn't say that."
"What do you say?"
"We did joint operations with CIA on the Phoenix Program."
"Wasn't that a murder operation?"
"No. It was snatching people."
The Phoenix Program was designed for a job that the CIA euphemistically
described as "eliminating the Viet Cong infrastructure." In reality, it
was a rampant reign of terror run out of CIA headquarters at Langley,
Virginia. Former CIA director William Colby later termed the program
"effective." The Phoenix Program was a naked murder campaign, as proved
by every realistic report, ranging from the Bertrand Russell Tribunal to
the Dellums Committee to admissions by CIA agents themselves. The prog-
ram killed--and *none* of these killings occurred in combat--18,000
people, mostly women and children.
But what about Peder Lund, editor and publisher of Paladin Press? The
book he edited and published, "How to Kill," outlined a surfeit of murd-
er methods, horrific techniques of causing people to die. For example:
"Without getting too deeply into the realm of the bizarre," wrote John
Minnery, the author of "How to Kill" as he proceeded to just that, "a
specially loaded bullet made from a human tooth (bicuspid) could be
fired under the jaw or through the mouth into the head. The tooth is a
very hard bone, and its enamel shell would allow it to penetrate into
the brain. The intention here is also to hide the cause of death
because the examiner in his search for a projectile will disregard bone
One last example from "How to Kill" should give you the flavor of the
Lesson Nine: Hot Wire
"Essentially, the weapon is an electrified grid in the urinal basin.
This can take the form of a screen cover for the drain or a metal grill.
If the urinal is completely porcelain, the screen must be added by the
assassin. The drain cover is connected to the electrical system of the
washroom by means of an insulated cord that is hidden behind the
"What happens when the subject uses the urinal should be obvious now.
The subject's urine, which is a salty liquid and a perfect conductor of
electricity, makes contact with the charged grid, and the shock will
kill him."
This reporter's investigation revealed that the "Hot Wire" was child's
play compared to certain other CIA weapons devices. For instance, I was
able to obtain Volumes One and Two of the "CIA Black Book" on improvised
munitions, volumes that are stamped "for official use only" on almost
every page. It is obvious why the CIA would like these books to remain
secret. With elaborate instructions, they describe how to make high
explosives from aspirin, how to construct a nail grenade, and how to
turn a Coke bottle into a bomb.
Described in detail in the "Black Book" is the previously mentioned urea
nitrate explosive, or, as it is known to the pros, "the piss bomb."
Instructions for the preparation of this weapon assure the maker that
animal urine will do as well as human; the important thing is to have
ten cups of it, boil it down to one cup, and mix it with the nitric
Also described in the "Black Book" is how to construct a pipe pistol,
which, as the name indicates, is a gun constructed out of a pipe. Other
weapons include a cooking syringe filled with poison that can be stabbed
into "the subject's" stomach; a cyanide gas pistol; a throat cutter
gauntlet knife (razor sharp and only an inch or so in length); and a
mixture of fertilizer and aluminum powder that can be made into a power-
ful bomb.
Why build murder weapons out of such weird material? Is the CIA insane?
No. In its own way, the whole thing is perfectly logical.
The pamphlet "How to Kill" explained it all: "As most of these devices
are homemade, this precludes the possibility of their being traced.
They are, in effect, `sanitized' and perfect for assassinations, where
weapons are prohibited, or where customs in the hostile country are
stringent, so these can be made from local materials."
Being a contract killer for the CIA is not all roses. You cannot kill
in just any way. A number of attempts have been made on Fidel Castro's
life--some with the CIA and the Mafia cooperating--and some of them may
have failed because of restrictions imposed on the potential assassins.
It would be unacceptable for Castro's murder to be laid at the door of
the CIA. This would make Castro a martyr in the eyes of his countrymen.
Thus, a method that would suggest death by natural causes must be found.
Abundant speculation and considerable evidence suggest that the CIA or
some other government agency arranged for the "natural" deaths of
David Ferrie, Jack Ruby, George De Mohrenschildt, and other potential witnesses into the assassination of John Kennedy. Some methods of killing, like the injection of an air bubble into the bloodstream, will often go unnoticed by medical examiners.
Another hard-to-trace method of killing is to mail a snake to the
victim. This is known as killing by long distance. A disadvantage to
this method is that the snake might bite an innocent third party who
just happens to open the package. The advantage is that once the snake
has struck, the evidence can simply slither away.
Sometimes, as the CIA knows, killing has to be done at close range. For
this purpose, a valuable weapon is the ice pick with a blood arrester
attached. The blood arrester is a cloth wrapped near the tip of the ice
pick. When the pick is shoved into the victim, the spurting blood is
absorbed by the blood arrester. People who see the victim fall will
probably think he has had a heart attack. While the onlookers try to
help the victim, the assassin uses this valuable ten or fifteen seconds
to escape unnoticed.
Often it is advisable to use what is called in the trade a "quiet
weapon." Silenced weapons can include pistols, rifles, and even machine guns.
Poison is a quiet killer. Here is a partial list of the poisons the CIA
has become expert at administering: oil of bitter almonds; ant paste;
cadmium, used in vapor form, and death is delayed four hours; radiator
cleaner, also causing a delayed death; Cantharides (Spanish Fly); ethyl
mercury; and freon, heated by a flame. These poisons and many others
are listed in "How to Kill." The author then cautions the reader:
"Unless otherwise stated, these poisons are either to be injected into
the subject, or taken orally by him by adding it to his food. Use com-
mon sense in the application of these potions and, if possible, double
the O.D. necessary."
W.H. Bowart, in his book, "Operation Mind Control" described the CIA's
use of drugs: "In 1953, the CIA made plans to purchase ten kilograms of
LSD for use in `drug experiments with animals and human beings.' Since
there are more than 10,000 doses in a gram, that meant the CIA wanted
100 million doses. The CIA obviously intended to `corner the market' on
LSD so that other countries would not be ahead of the U.S. in their
potential for `LSD warfare.'"
Dr. Albert Hoffman, an early researcher into the uses of LSD, was hor-
rified by what the CIA was doing: "I had perfected LSD for medical use,
not as a weapon. It can make you insane or even kill you if it is not
properly used under medical supervision. In any case, the research
should be done by medical people and not by soldiers or intelligence
Perhaps the most frightening weapon of all is the one that can be used
to alter weather and climate. It was used with considerable success in
Vietnam. It slowed troop movements with heavy rains, and it destroyed
the rice crop, as well. The danger is that these climatological changes
may become permanent, affecting not only enemies of the United States,
but also the entire planet.
Finally, considerable evidence exists that the United States, through
the CIA, employed germ warfare during the Korean War. A number of cap-
tured pilots testified that germ warfare was used, but their testimony
was dismissed as brainwashing. A Marine Corps colonel named Frank H.
Schwable signed a germ warfare confession and, according to W.H. Bowart,
"named names, cited missions, described meetings and strategy
Schwable later repudiated his confession. But the charges of germ war-
fare were taken up in front of the United Nations, and a number of coun-
tries believed them.
The United States, incidentally, was later charged with using nerve gas
in Vietnam.
What you have read on these pages is pretty revolting stuff. Yet, if the
world ought to be saved from Communism, who can say it is not necessary?
One danger, of course, is that these terrible weapons have been intro-
duced into our body politic and have produced strange and terrible
fruits on our own native soil. When assassination becomes government
policy, when men are trained to kill in every conceivable way, when
morality is set aside for a "higher good," can even the President of the
United States consider himself safe?

-Andrew Stark is a pseudonym for a specialist on weaponry.