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James John Smith IV is a multi-billionaire, with a finger in the pie of just about every industry known to man. In fact his wealth places him comfortably in the top ten richest men alive (although this still is a far cry from the funding first-world governments command).

His private security detail (hand picked from the military contractor organization he owns) were tipped off on a communication; an elite team has been assembled to destabilize his capitalist empire, and eventually assassinate him.

The team (the number isn't clear, but they number somewhere between a half dozen and a few dozen), apparently, is part of some clandestine, top secret organization commanded by the United States government. James John Smith IV seems to have found himself in some sort of Bond or Bourne movie by the sound of these men and women's training. No really, he thought such soldiers were limited to the movies, and not real life; supposedly the commander's kill record puts the record books to shame. The soldiers under the commander seem well funded by-and-large, and likely have some unique resources (governmental satellites, intelligence, etc) but are fairly limited on hardware (no tanks or jets, and thankfully Bond-like gadgets seem out of the equation).

The source further states that eliminating the task force will likely put an end to this effort; the US government won't want to expose themselves beyond a failure, and the US government apparently will disavowed the group on the group's failure.

An option is for James John Smith IV to expose the traitors or contact one of his numerous connections in congress, but he both fears larger-scale (and more political) retaliation, and while James John Smith IV is powerful in his own right, he's not that powerful. Plus, he'd rather not harm ties with certain people, and trying to villianize the US in such a manner would do exactly that.

James John Smith IV reasons that a trap of some sort and some nature is his best course of action. What this trap constitutes of... well he's pretty flexible in that. It could be a trap to simply kill this task force, or something else besides. The sky (and his pocketbook) is the limit!

What James John Smith IV wants to do, is to find a solution that balances assurance of stopping this assassin force, budget, and secrecy (he doesn't want to be explaining his activities in front of a court of law, nor to the press). He'd prefer a solution that didn't harm civilians, but... well he's flexible on this part.

And James John Smith IV knows that any plan has a backup plan; an ideal solution should have a backup means of stopping the force if the initial plan fails. The last thing he needs is for the plan to fail and this kill squad to go Rambo on him.

What's his best course of action?

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closed as off-topic by Mołot, Frostfyre, Catalyst, Azuaron, Vincent Jan 26 '17 at 22:55

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    $\begingroup$ Become President of the country he's in. So he has a whole Secret Service (name is pure coincidence) to protect him. $\endgroup$ – Alexander von Wernherr Jan 26 '17 at 14:32
  • $\begingroup$ Well, he could always wait for the book to come out. $\endgroup$ – Frostfyre Jan 26 '17 at 14:43
  • $\begingroup$ Timescale? Motivation--who wants to kill him and what are they hoping to get out of it? Nationality? Political situation? $\endgroup$ – nzaman Jan 26 '17 at 15:19
  • $\begingroup$ How is this world-building, rather than being a plot/character question? (The world seems eerily like our own.... ) $\endgroup$ – Catalyst Jan 26 '17 at 16:08
  • $\begingroup$ Someone that rich and influential is never solely confined to one country. Many countries, industries, and other influential people will rely on him continuing to live. Power and wealth may create enemies but they also create friends. Simply relocate to a location more sympathetic and request covert assistance. This should tide him over. $\endgroup$ – user2259716 Jan 26 '17 at 18:27
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Probably do what dictators have done when in a similar situation.

  1. Use body double decoys, safe houses, multiple vehicular convoys, air transport whenever possible, random routes when travelling, electronic misdirection and encryption etc. Basic super-wealthy high value target stuff any PMC (private military contractor) group would know about and employ. Make yourself as hard a target as possible and the elite force may never even get a chance and will eventually run out of funds, get busted for having lots of illegal hardware in whatever country they are in, or be reassigned.

  2. Employ counter-intelligence to track the opposing team and neutralize them. Obviously a billionaire can't use a state intelligence service like a dictator (unless they are in a country where they have considerable influence) but they could pick favorable ground, someplace where the hit team would stand out due to clashing ethnicities, culture, or just because there aren't many other people around in order to flush out the hit team and attack them (or direct local authorities to arrest them on real or trumped up charges).

  3. Set up an ambush. Leak out a bogus itinerary and lure the hit team into a trap. Some place where you can predict where they would set up and put up surveillance of your own. ID the hit team and either kill them or get them arrested.

  4. ID the hit team and pay them off. A billionaire has WAY more liquid resources than a government in terms of paying people off. No way a gov't agency could justify tens of millions to a small group of PMCs but a billionaire may be able to do it out of petty cash. Alternatively, ID the hit team and blackmail them. If exposing the USAs involvement is not acceptable, he could still expose individual hit team members or threaten their family directly, which would disrupt operations significantly.

Ultimately I think things like this fail far more often than they succeed. Saddam Hussein survived numerous assassination attempts. As did Fidel Castro. The key is being on safe home ground where everyone is motivated (by greed, loyalty, or fear) to help you and work against the hit team. Of course relying on mercenaries for protection is a double edged sword, just as easy for the US to buy them off. Thus individuals being targeted like this often surround themselves with family and long time associates as they are too paranoid to trust someone who is just in it for the money.

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  • $\begingroup$ Payoff idea would work, I think. Payoff of one Judas member would work. $\endgroup$ – Willk Jan 26 '17 at 22:04
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If a major government wants you dead, you are dead.

Let's not be silly about this, as eventually they'd find enough people (one, two, whatever) for what is required to do the job.

There's no problem finding fanatics (or patriots) who will do anything for their beliefs.

If you're able to deploy the old (but effective) umbrella tipped with poison trick (or a modern variant), it's likely no one would ever trace it back to you by the time it took effect.

If you're happy with your basic bullet, then the current record for a confirmed (publicly known) sniper kill is some 2.475 km.

It's almost inconceivable that a mere wealthy person could protect from that if a government got serious.

"Loud" assassinations are for sending a message, "Quiet" ones are for just getting rid of the problem. Your choice.

The complication that holds governments back from widespread mass slaughter is that doing this without some traces leading back to you is very difficult (even the umbrella trick has backfired). But if you're a government intent on bumping off some wealthy person, you'll do your best to hide it and immediately (after they're dead) start portraying the deceased as a megalomaniac, sex maniac, murderer, con artist, you name it. By the time people are pointing fingers at you, you've probably swung public opinion enough to survive, even in a democracy.

But the normal approach by governments is simply to tie people down with red tape, legal cases, and tax problems. That usually drags people into line without the need for nastiness. Either that or they simply can't concentrate on making the trouble they used to.

A death threat or even a failed attempt is, of course, a useful hint for the more stubborn who those who can't take a less direct hint.

So, what's your man's best option ?

Go along with what is wanted from him. Or at least try and look like he is.

Even if he's currently a pest, he's wealthy and therefore has assets. That means he has something to trade.

It's a question of finding something they want more than getting rid of you.

If there's one thing a wealthy capitalist character should be expert at it's playing the game. It would be most natural for such a character to seek a path of least resistance and try to make themselves too valuable to dispose of.

Your character should, in short, make a deal.

The source further states that eliminating the task force will likely put an end to this effort; the US government won't want to expose themselves beyond a failure, and the US government apparently will disavowed the group on the group's failure.

That's not something I'd trust in, so why would your wealthy character ?

Anyone determined enough to try once is going to keep trying. They might change method, but not stop. No successful wealthy capitalist would chance this.

No, your character would look to make the deal. It's the natural thing for them.

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  • $\begingroup$ On that note, don't quiet assassinations of high-profile targets (a la CIA) usually involve staging it as an accident? If this is the case and our protagonist knows to expect it, if he's smart (we can assume because of his international empire he must be pretty clever) he may be able to predict and outwit these attempts. $\endgroup$ – IT Bear Jan 26 '17 at 21:09
  • $\begingroup$ The problem with this "outsmart" them strategy is that if you're wrong you're dead. Our smart wealthy capitalist is surely not going to risk that when he can do a deal and skip the risk. Wealth is about risk management, not recklessness. Too high a risk for no reward. The character would need to have no deal possible (which in a realistic scenario is unlikely, I'd suggest, and a deal leaves wrong for more plot twists anyway). $\endgroup$ – StephenG Jan 26 '17 at 22:15
  • $\begingroup$ Whoops a typo : "a deal leaves wrong for more plot twists" should be "a deal leaves room for more plot twists". $\endgroup$ – StephenG Jan 26 '17 at 22:41
  • $\begingroup$ There's also blackmail: "if something happens to me, these files will be released." $\endgroup$ – nzaman Jan 27 '17 at 8:15
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There are 3 possiblites talk /threaten them out of it hide fight

  • Diplomacy is your friend If a major government A wants you dead you need to convince them they shouldn't kill you.

Present them with retaliation that will trigger if you are killed

Become a close ally of other major nations make it well know that you suspect that Government A is trying to kill / abduct you. If you disappear gov A will face the blowback from the other governments. The other governments can also provide shelter for you.

Set up MAD by gaining access to a WMD and setting it to hit government A if you are ever killed or abducted

offer them lots of money not to kill you....

  • Hide drop off the map cut contact with you past and disappear. have surgery to change you features get a good fake id. Even against the whole government you might be able to remain hidden long enough for this to blow over.

-fight buy a private well armed military build a fortress and never leave it. Send assassins after what ever members of this team that you know of, to try to get them before they get you. This is unlikely to work

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Ultimately special forces soldiers are just soldiers - very good soldiers. They're not supermen.

What sort of threat is he under? You don't make it clear, for example, what country he's in. If he's in a tinpot dictatorship, then he can probably pay off the local army to look after him, amd then employ highly-trained, skilled mercenaries to provide his close protection and supervise the locals.

If he's in the US, then it's a bit tricky - are the police after him? If they are then he's going to have big issues. Is he in a US-friendly foreign country? What do their government think of him?

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  • $\begingroup$ US based. As to any and every other law enforcement (FBI, local police, etc) they don't know this is a thing, and certainly aren't working with this elite squad. Some US senators probably think favorably, others not so much, but as stated in the question he's looking to keep the press and exposure very, very limited. $\endgroup$ – Nex Terren Jan 26 '17 at 18:15

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