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In 1975 the [Congressional] Church Committee, whose work eventually put the kibosh on the CIA-sponsored assassination, identified five alleged peacetime assassination plots among the CIA’s nefarious deeds (which also included intercepting the mail of US citizens, illegal experimentation and other domestic espionage atrocities). The targets: Fidel Castro, Rafael Trujillo, Rene Schneider, Patrice Lumumba and Ngo Dinh Diem; the leaders of Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Chile, Congo and South Vietnam, respectively.
To date, the Central Intelligence Agency has never actually admitted assassinating anyone. But a glance at a 1954 “Study of Assassination” pried loose from the Central Intelligence Agency archives and Church Committee’s “Interim Report: Alleged Assassination Plots Involving Foreign Leaders” strongly suggests they have at least had a hand in a few of them.
The Study, a how-to guide to assassination, was included as part of the CIA training manuals produced for Operation PB Success, an attempt to overthrow the Guatemalan government. It’s full of deliciously evil morsels. A warning against gut jabs, cautions that “abdominal wounds were once nearly always mortal, but modern medical treatment has made this no longer true.” (Sever the spine near the cervical region with a light hatchet blow instead, for “absolute reliability.”) Another more sinister nugget advises that: “no assassination instructions should ever be written or recorded.”
The Study also contains a reason why the CIA never owned up to assassinating anyone. “It should be assumed that [an assassination] will never be ordered or authorized by any U.S. Headquarters, though the latter may in rare instances agree to its execution by members of an associated foreign service.” The CIA subcontracts its killers, in other words. The reason why? “This reticence is partly due to the necessity for committing communications to paper.”
The failed assassination of Fidel Castro was among the most venomous of the Church Committee’s discoveries.
Between 1960 and 1965, particularly after the humiliating failure of the CIA-sponsored Bay of Pigs invasion, the assassination of Fidel Castro inspired incredible creativity from the agency, including (according to a sheaf of documents Castro handed over to Sen. George McGovern in 1975) an attempt that took place on November 22, 1963 — the very day of John F. Kennedy’s assassination.
Proven CIA plots included lacing Castro’s recording studio with hallucinogens, placing radioactive thallium salts in his shoes to depilate Castro’s famous beard, poisoning cigars with botulism toxin (a.k.a the active ingredient in Botox), exploding sea shells, and other more conventional strategies. Most worrying of all was the subcontracting of Mafia (who had owned casinos in Havana before the Cuban revolution) to do the deed. Castro remained in power until 2008 when he handed control to his younger brother Raul.
Daniel James Murray was on a mission to kill President Obama. Thankfully, he's just one more in a long line of American failures.
Jun 8, 2009