Ramirez was first codenamed “Johnny” but is said to have been dubbed “Carlos” on a trip to Jordan. The name “Carlos” showed up on a false passport discovered by the French police.
The nickname "Carlos the Jackal" was coined after the Guardian reported that Fredrick Forsythe’s novel “The Day of the Jackal” was found among his alleged possessions in a London apartment occupied by a Basque separatist named Maria Angela Otaola Baranca. Ms. Baranca's boyfriend found a bag of weapons in the flat and contacted the Guardian. Two reporters found a copy of the Forsyth novel about a hit-man hired to assassinate General Charles de Gaulle, and the nickname was born, though the Guardian later reported the book was simply found on a shelf in the apartment.