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The great secrets of human bombs society part 3/5

Sunday, January 9, 2011

The beginning of assassin power
Marco Polo accurately 
Hasan’s plan was based upon building trust and loyalty among a cluster of young followers by adapting methods pioneered at the Abode of Learning. After arriving in the Alborz Mountains, he traveled to a massive fortress shadowed by high mountain peaks north and west of the present Iranian city of Qazvin.

The land here is exceptionally rugged, with nearby volcanic Mount Damavand soaring almost 6000 meters in height, creating a natural barrier between the Caspian Sea and the gently flowing plains of central Iran. For many years, Shiites fleeing persecution from Sunnis fled to the Alborz for safety. Tehran, the capital, may be barely a hundred kilometers distant, but the region remains remote to this day.

Crowning a rugged mountain crest almost half a kilometer long and in some places only a few meters wide, the fortress appeared as a natural wall of rock from a distance, blindingly white in the afternoon sun, blue-gray in the dusk light, and blood-red at dawn.
Approaching the structure, travelers encountered a steep gravel slope that foiled any attempt to reach its vertical walls.
In fact, the fortress was inaccessible except by a steep spiral stairway designed so that it could be defended by a single archer guarding its summit.
Hasan was familiar with both the terrain and the castle, and he knew many of its guards were sympathetic to Shiite extremists. With the cooperation of these backers, Hasan won entry to the fortress and confronted the owner, demanding that he turn the fortress over to him. Surprisingly, considering later developments, Hasan paid the man a reasonable sum for his property and sent him on his way, winning total control of the bastion without drawing his sword. He renamed the fortress Alamut, meaning Eagle’s Nest, and began converting it into a training facility and operations center dedicated to the murder of Hasan’s chosen enemies.
Hasan’s next step was to transform a secluded corner of the valley into a walled garden out of the castle’s view. Diverting streams through the garden, he constructed numerous fountains and settled beautiful young houris there. According to the Siret-al-Hakem (Memoirs of Hakem), an Arabian historical romance from that era, Hasan the remains of the Assassins’ original stronghold, Alamut, in northern Iran.
At one time, over twenty such fortresses dotted the landscape. caused to be made a vast garden in which he had water conducted. In the middle of this garden he built a kiosk raised to the height of four stories. On each of the four sides were richly ornamented windows joined by four arches in which were painted stars of gold and silver. He had with him twenty slaves, ten males and ten females, who had come with him from the region of the Nile, and who had scarcely attained the age of puberty. He clothed them in silks and the finest linens, and gave them bracelets of gold and silver

Assassins' paradise
He divided the garden into four parts. In the first of these were pear trees, apple trees, vines, cherries, mulberries, plums and other fruit trees. In the second were oranges, lemons, olives, pomegranates and other fruits. In the third were cucumbers, melons, leguminous plants and so on. In the fourth were roses, jasmine, tamarinds, narcissi, violets, lilies and anemones
Marco Polo passed through the region some years later, and described the scene in detail:
In a beautiful valley was a luxurious garden stored with every delicious fruit and every fragrant shrub that could be procured. Palaces of various sizes and forms were erected in different parts of the grounds, ornamented with works of gold and paintings and furniture of rich silks. Streams of wine and pure honey flowed in every direction. Entry to the garden was restricted to a secret passage out of the castle fortress.
The inhabitants of these places were elegant and beautiful damsels accomplished in the arts of singing, playing musical instruments, dancing, and especially games of dalliance and amorous allurement. Clothed in rich dresses, they sported and amused themselves in the gardens and pavilions.

The object of the chief was this: Mohammed had promised that those who obeyed his will would enjoy the pleasures of Paradise forever. In Paradise, every species of sensual gratification would be found, including the company of beautiful and willing nymphs. The chief, claiming to be a descendant of Mohammed and thus also a prophet, had the power of admitting to Paradise after their deaths those whom he favored, which included those who had sacrificed their life on this earth in the fulfilling of his orders.

With his earthly paradise in place, Hasan attracted young men between ages twelve and twenty to Alamut, choosing those whom he believed could become killers.
He also purchased unwanted children from their parents, raising them with all the fixed purpose of a contemporary horse trainer shaping a future winner
for the Derby.
Along with techniques drawn from the Abode of Learning that elevated students towards a promised position within a circular command structure,  Hasan  added  further motivation among the young men with repeated descriptions of the pleasures

Marco  Polo   accurately described the chilling control Hasan held over his young Muslim disciples of Paradise. Once their curiosity was sufficiently heightened, Hasan revealed that he was able to transport the youths to Paradise for a short time so  they could sample its pleasures without having to undergo the inconvenience of dying first.
Those who appeared to believe his tale were drugged with hashish and other narcotics until they sank into a deep, almost comatose sleep. In that condition, they were carried through a secret passage to the kiosk in the hidden garden.
Once Hasan and his trusted assistants had returned to the fortress the houris, obeying Hasan’s instructions, splashed the young men with vinegar to wake them. The confused youths were told they had entered Paradise, a concept that, in their drugged condition, appeared plausible.
With fruit and wine in abundance, they lay back on plush satin cushions while the
houris filled—and probably exceeded—all of their adolescent fantasies. Reportedly, the maidens would whisper into each aspirant’s ear, We are only waiting for thy death, for this place is destined for thee. This is but one of the pavilions of Paradise, and we are the houris and the children of Paradise. If thou were dead, thou would be forever with us. But thou art only dreaming, and will soon awake.
After a day of this illusion, the youths would be drugged to unconsciousness again and returned to the fortress, where they were permitted to slowly awake.

When asked by Hasan, and later by the chiefs who replaced him, where they had been, they would reply, “In Paradise, through the favor of Your Highness.” Then, encouraged by their leader, they would describe their experience in great detail to others. The envy of those who absorbed these testosterone-fueled tales of beautiful and willing young women, and endless supplies of fruit and wine, must have been spectacular.
“We have the assurance of the Prophet,” Hasan and his later deputies would promise the youths, “that he who defends his lord shall inherit Paradise forever, and if you show yourself to be obedient to my orders, that happy lot is yours.” The most gullible could hardly wait.
How convincing was this subterfuge? Convincing enough that some followers committed suicide in the belief that they would be instantly transported to Paradise and all its rumored delights a practice Hasan suppressed by explaining that only those who died in obedience to his orders would receive the key to Paradise.

These were the young men who, posing as Christian monks, slaughtered Conrad of Montferrat and endured horrific tortures in silence following their capture. They were the men who launched themselves from high towers at their leader’s command as a demonstration of their unflinching obedience. And they were the first to be known as the hashshashin or assassins, instruments of revenge and political expediency throughout the Middle East.

A few historians have questioned the likelihood that twelfth- century men could be so gullible and trusting, suggesting the tale is an allegory or at best apocryphal. In response, others note that these were impressionable youths and point to the accounts of Henry, Count of Champagne, and Marco Polo as evidence that Hasan’s deception actually worked.

From today’s perspective, recent events imply not only that Hasan’s techniques were successful, but also that they continue to be effective on a regular, almost daily, basis on the streets of Baghdad, Beirut and Tel Aviv young men and, increasingly, young women carry out terrorist activities by sacrificing themselves as human bombs, many in the belief that they will be transported instantly to Paradise. Knowing this, we can hardly doubt the authenticity of those tales of Hasan and his fanatical followers. Muslim youths of a millennium ago rarely encountered any nubile females outside their own family.


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