Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Stranger than fiction: a CIA plot on Castro

The CIA released a collection of documents describing its “family jewels,” operations that, in the opinion of the official who assembled them, “conflict with the provisions of the National Security Act of 1947.”

The operations span the period between March 1959 and May 1973. In most cases the revelations are of purely historical interest but in the case of Cuba, the object of the operation in question is still alive and in power.

Pages 12-19 of this 151-page pdf document describe a “sensitive mission requiring gangster-type action” in 1960. “The mission target was Fidel Castro.”

You can read it yourself, but I’ll summarize the memo for the record.

Robert Maheu of the CIA was assigned to seek “entrée into the gangster elements” in Las Vegas, and settled on the “high-ranking” Johnny Roselli, who “controlled all the ice-making machines on the Strip.”

The idea was to approach Roselli under false pretenses, with a story that some businesses that were losing money in Cuba wanted to pay $150,000 for “Castro’s removal.” This led to meetings at Miami Beach’s Fontainebleau Hotel and elsewhere with two men, “Sam” and “Joe,” who happened to be on the FBI’s most wanted list. These men thought the best man for the job was Juan Orta, a disaffected Cuban official who used to receive “kick-back payments from gambling interests.” Poison pills were to be used in the operation. But it was not accomplished and eventually, Orta got “cold feet.” A second operative then tried and failed. Then there was an abortive attempt to have the late Tony Verona carry out the operation. The entire project was canceled after the failed Bay of Pigs operation.

“Sam” then came to Maheu with a personal request. “Sam’s” girlfriend, Phyllis McGuire, was “getting much attention from Dan Rowan while both were booked at a Las Vegas night club.” He wanted Rowan’s hotel room bugged to “determine the extent of his intimacy with Miss McGuire.” Maheu obliged, the technician planting the bug was discovered and arrested, and prosecution was only averted when the CIA interceded with Attorney General Robert Kennedy. Whew.

Roselli was subsequently convicted of immigration and gambling violations. His lawyer wanted the CIA’s assistance and threatened to spill the beans about Roselli’s activities with the CIA. The CIA declined. Two Jack Anderson columns about CIA attempts to kill Castro subsequently appeared in 1971; both are in the pdf document.

“The last known residence of Roselli was the Federal Penitentiary in Seattle, Washington,” the memo concludes.

Lessons, apart from the obvious one that truth is stranger than fiction:

The CIA is not omnipotent. Far from it.

The CIA and Justice Department worked at cross purposes.

When Fidel Castro complains about American plots to kill him, he may be out of date, but he is not wrong.


leftside said...

The big news for me was that CIA Director Dulles knew all about the Castro hit, and had approved it. He denied it all the way til the end. And at the time, the CIA spokesmen said this kind of operation was just for consideration, and not approved by the highest levels.

Other tidbits:

Sam Trafficante, head of the mob's Havana operations, apparently betrayed the CIA plot to Castro. Very weird as Castro put him in jail.. or was there a secret deal?

The CIA trained thousands of foreign military and police officers to suppress leftist activity and created the secret police orgs in 25 countries, incl Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Ecuador and Peru.

Much is still redacted, in fact even more today than in some documents released in the 70s. Why do we need to be more secreteive of things that were apparently fixed in the agency decades ago. How much more scandelous can things get?

The CIA had their top suveillance teams on US journalists, antiwar groups, ect - totally 100% against their own charter.

Anonymous said...
Hey bloggit

Are you aware of the LAWS OF DEFAMATION ?

I am going to draw mr Ruddocks attention to the picture in your blog of him, with the 'CHILD MOLESTER' caption.... that is outright illegal and I hope he sues you for millions....

The only thing your blog proves is that Immigration is alive and well as a POLITICAL issue, and why would "Labor" seek to loosen up this area ? *puts thinking cap on*...aah....GOT IT... because traditionally they draw much of their vote from migrant labor ...duh.

So, given that this has been totally politicized, it is in the interests of the Coalition to 'manage' this area in the same way that Labor wishes to, but in ways which benefit the Coalition.

There is widespread ABUSE and blatant opportunism in the overseas spouse aspect of the immigration program and it is RIFE WITH RACISM where certain community elements prefer to marry their own 'race' rather than be open to marraige with Aussie girls (Of various ethnicities)

So, what you are supporting is:


I'm getting closer to the day and moment when I make immigration and the racist abuse of it a major issue in a campaign of public awareness...I've already started.

Values... compatability...these are the requirements of a sound immigration program.

We do NOT need people who's values allow them to support terrorism.
Specially those from Lebanon, or the Muslim world who are constantly told that whenEVER Muslims are under threat, THEY have to fight for them, even if they are in other countries. And by 'fight' I mean with weapons.
Have CLOSE read of the Hamas charter, it is a diabolical document of the most heinous kind, specifically referring to a total brainwashing of children in education for homicide Jihad.
All who might have a pre-disposition to support it must be BLOCKED from migrating here.
Posted by BOAZ_David, Tuesday, 22 August 2006 6:26:22 AM
-------------------------------- - Havana. May 15, 2008
This article also at
The CIA is more active than ever in Venezuela

BY JEAN-GUY ALLARD —Granma International staff writer—

HER name and her accent are from the movies. Her manner of an incorrigible young girl, her humorous regard and ironic smile touch everyone. The daughter of a U.S. father and Venezuelan mother, Eva Golinger is a most unusual woman.

A lawyer trained in New York, she specialized in international human rights and left that U.S. metropolis to live in Venezuela, a country that she passionately defends.

Her book, The Chávez Code, which reveals U.S. intervention in this South American nation, was described by José Vicente Rangel, then vice president, as an "incredible record of Venezuelan experiences from 2001-2003."

Her most recent work, Bush vs. Chávez: Washington’s War on Venezuela, documents the constant escalation of imperial attacks on the Bolivarian Revolution.

She attacks without blinking, without distinction, the CIA, the Pentagon, the NED, the RSF, USAID, the Venezuelan mafia in Miami or Colombian paramilitarism, with the ardor of an attorney confronting the court with irrefutable evidence in her portfolio.

From Caracas, the Venezuelan-U.S. lawyer and researcher Eva Golinger responds to some questions from Granma International:

It has been affirmed that the coup against Chávez was CIA-made. You have studied this case closely: how has this become more evident to you?

There are distinct factors that I have been able to detect and expose through an investigation that I began more than five years ago, utilizing the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to demonstrate the involvement of the CIA and other U.S. government agencies in the coup against Chávez. The most conclusive facts and evidence include a series of documents classified Top Secret by the CIA, dating from March 5, 2002 to April 17, 2002, which clearly refer to plans for a coup against Chávez: who, how, where and when, everything clear. One in particular, dated April 6, 2002; in other words, five days before the coup, emphasizes how the opposition sectors, the CTV, Fedecámaras (the country’s main business federation), dissenting soldiers, the private media and even the Catholic Church were going to march through the streets in those first weeks of April and how the coup conspirators would provoke violence with snipers in the street, causing deaths, and then the intention to arrest President Chávez and other important members of his cabinet. After that, they would install a civic-military transition government. Anyone who knows what happened that April 11-12, 2002, knows that that’s how it was, and after taking President Chávez prisoner, it was only U.S. government spokespersons who came out and recognized the coup government of Pedro Carmona, and moreover tried to put pressure on other countries to do the same.

So, those documents that clearly show knowledge of the detailed plans for the coup against Chávez, written by the CIA, are the most damning evidence confirming the role of the CIA in the coup. However, the fact that financial and advisory agencies like the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), the International republican Institute (IRI), the National Democratic Institute (NDI) and the Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE) financed all the groups, NGOs, trade unions, businesspeople, political parties and the media involved in the coup, also demonstrates overwhelming evidence of the role of the CIA and the other U.S. agencies in the coup against Chávez. After the coup, those agencies even increased their funding for the coup organizers themselves, something that re-confirms their commitment and their intention to continue with efforts to overthrow Chávez.

We could also talk of the role of the Pentagon and U.S. military, which trained the coup members, equipped them with weapons and promoted their actions.

In what way is the U.S. embassy in Caracas keeping up its interference?

The U.S. embassy in Venezuela is very active. These days, its main strategy is subversion. This is manifested by USAID, NED, IRI, Freedom House, CIPE, etc. funding of opposition groups, but there is also an attempt to penetrate the pro-Chávez sectors and communities. This last tactic is one of the most dangerous and effective. In 2005, William Brownfield, then U.S. ambassador in Caracas (he is now the ambassador to Colombia), began to open what they call "American Corners" in different Venezuelan cities. Currently, they are operating in Maracay, Margarita, Barquisimeto, Maturín, Lecherías and Puerto Ordaz. They are little propaganda and conspiracy centers that function as nuclei to recruit and bring together an opposition. To date the Venezuelan government has not taken any concrete steps to eradicate this illegal initiative (in violation of the Vienna Convention given that they are consular bases established without the permission of the Ministry of Foreign Relations).

The CIA and the State Department maintain various fronts in the country, as they always do. We have Development Alternatives Inc. (DAI), a U.S. corporation based in the El Rosal de Caracas sector, which functions as a money filter from USAID to the opposition sectors. Then there is the Press and Society Institute, part of the Reporters sans frontiers (RSF) network, which receives funds from the NED, USAID, the CIA etc. to execute its neoliberal, pro-U.S. policy and to attempt to accuse the Venezuelan government of being repressive and violating the rights of free expression and a free press.

Freedom House and the USAID are also financing right-wing student leaders and movements and sending them to Belgrade to train with experts in the Orange Revolution (Ukraine) and other so-called processes for "overthrowing dictators." Recently, the neoliberal right-wing Cato Institute think tank, which advises Bush and receives funding from Exxon Mobile and Philip Morris, awarded a "prize" worth $500,000 to the opposition Venezuelan student Yon Goicochea. The prize, which bears the name of Milton Friedman, who was an advisor to Nixon, Reagan and Pinochet and is the architect of the neoliberal policy and the "shock doctrine," is to finance a new, "fresh-faced" political party in Venezuela – a group of young people trained since 2005 by U.S. agencies that have had some influence over certain sectors during the last year.

They were thinking that this group could come to be a powerful political force being that it does not belong to the old corrupt politics of the country. However, we have been able to unmask the majority of them and demonstrate their relation with Washington as well as the politicos and elite that governed here before.

With the new CIA Special Mission for Venezuela and Cuba (set up in 2006), we know that the Agency is more active than ever in the country. The stronger and more popular Chávez and the revolution become, the more resources they are dedicating to neutralize it.

The residue of various Latin American dictatorships is currently to be found in Miami. The pro-Batista Cubans have dominated the city for years, but the number of so-called anti-Chavists is growing. What are your observations on this subject?

Miami isn’t an ugly city. Unfortunately, the pro-Batista Cubans took control of the city decades ago and now they have welcomed the anti-Chavist Venezuelans, many of them coup organizers, with open arms. There is talk of "Westonzuela," an area on the outskirts of Miami where the self-exiled Venezuelans live. I think that they are totally removed from reality, just like those Cubans who are still living in the 50s. They are aggressive at a distance and have conspiracy pretensions, but I don’t believe that they constitute a serious threat to our revolution.

They move about creating their ruckus over there and working with Cuban-American congress members, just like the disconnected Connie Mack, trying to demonize President Chávez and the revolution. Their latest initiative was to place Venezuela on the State Department list of terrorist countries. Despite the pressure that they brought to bear and the stories that they invented about a supposed link between the Venezuelan government and terrorist groups, they failed in their final objective: Venezuela was not classified as a state sponsoring terrorism. On the contrary, many congresspersons and members of U.S. society rejected that initiative and, to a certain extent, that coup community was left discredited.

Of course, one must never discount the possibility that they will continue conspiring and inventing new ways of destabilizing Venezuela, just as they have done with Cuba for almost 50 years. And they can count on financial support from USAID, the NED and other imperial agencies, but I don’t believe that they will affect the advances of the revolution very much. They are paper tigers.

Recently John McCain was boasting to a group of Cuban Americans in Miami, trying to show that he has always been sensitive to the situation in Cuba, that he was aboard the USS Enterprise facing the Cuban coast during the hours of the Missile Crisis. What is your perception of McCain’s stance in relation to Venezuela, Cuba and Latin America?

If he should be elected president of the United States, McCain would engage in a much more hostile and aggressive policy toward Venezuela and Cuba, and even the other ALBA countries. His discourse is already more precise toward the region and he is constantly mentioning how he would further tighten policy on what he classifies as dictatorships and threats in Venezuela and Cuba. That goes beyond simply wanting the Florida vote. McCain is a military man and an imperialist in the sense that he wouldn’t accept the United States losing its influence over and domination of its "backyard." He suffers from that same complex that the other Republicans have about Cuba and Fidel Castro, for example. They still cannot accept that Cuba has defeated imperial aggression and the 50 years of blockade and attacks. They persist in their spoilt and infantile attitudes that stop them from turning the page and accepting reality: the most powerful empire in the world could not defeat the Cuban Revolution. So, with a McCain, we will be even worse off than with a Bush and, believe me, he is a hard one to surpass.

The Democrats’ position is not always apparent. Will it be very different from McClain and his clan?

I don’t think it will be that different, perhaps in its manner, but not in its final action. The democrats love to use the NED, the USAID and the other agencies with "pretty faces" like Freedom House or the Institute for Peace to execute their interventionist policies. I think that a Democrat in the White House will not change the policy on Latin America to any great extent. Maybe there would be more dialogue, but I don’t believe that the interference will end. Moreover, all the candidates have said that President Chávez is a dictator and that their administration, if elected, will focus more on the region’s "problems."

Let’s remember that it isn’t about who occupies the chair in the Oval Office, but those who are around that person. And that doesn’t change much whether the occupant is a Democrat or a Republican. The military-industrial complex, the big bankers and the transnationals are the ones that really govern in the United States. And they are not leaving power in November.
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AP: Venezuelan student leader who challenged Chavez wins prize
Posted by Garry on April 24, 2008, 8:12 pm

"...the Milton Friedman Prize for Advancing Liberty..."

"...The Cato Institute, a nonprofit public policy research foundation that lobbies for individual liberty and free markets, says it accepts no government funding..."

Venezuelan student leader who challenged Chavez wins prize

By IAN JAMES, Associated Press Writer Thu Apr 24, 11:20 AM ET

CARACAS, Venezuela - The leader of a student protest movement that has emerged as a major challenge to Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has won a $500,000 prize awarded by a U.S.-based think tank.

The Cato Institute announced Thursday that law student Yon Goicoechea was chosen for his leadership as an advocate for freedom and democracy.

The 23-year-old student leader organized protests last year that were widely seen as a key factor in the defeat of sweeping constitutional changes proposed by Chavez in a December referendum.

The changes would have let Chavez run for re-election indefinitely and would have granted him broad powers to reshape Venezuela into a socialist state.

"I see it as a collective prize. The prize is being given to me, but it's being given to me as a representative of something much bigger," Goicoechea told The Associated Press in an interview ahead of the formal announcement. "I hope that with this we can motivate and strengthen our movement."

The libertarian think tank, which is headquartered in Washington, said Goicoechea will receive the Milton Friedman Prize for Advancing Liberty next month in New York. The prize is named after the Nobel Prize-winning economist who died in 2006.

Goicoechea "managed to effectively give voice to millions of Venezuelans who believed in democracy, tolerance and modernity, and who felt that they were being left out of politics," said Ian Vasquez, who heads the institute's Center for Global Liberty and Prosperity. "What the student movement was able to achieve in Venezuela was a huge boost for liberty, not just in Venezuela but throughout the region."

Goicoechea said he plans to use some of the money for a foundation to train young leaders across Latin America.

Goicoechea, who will soon graduate from Andres Bello Catholic University in Caracas, said he is concerned about the concentration of power under Chavez and an absence of checks and balances.

"It's growing dangerously close to a totalitarian regime," he said.

There was no immediate reaction from the government. But Goicoechea was vilified on state television late Wednesday by a talk show host who portrayed him as a U.S. collaborator.

Chavez denies that his government is restricting personal freedoms and says student leaders are being manipulated by the United States. He has cited the referendum defeat as proof he is not a dictator.

Goicoechea says he often receives threats due to his activism but isn't concerned what the government might say about the award from a U.S.-based organization.

"The government already says we're financed by the CIA. It already says we're paid by the empire. So if they say it one more time, it really isn't that important," he said.

The Cato Institute, a nonprofit public policy research foundation that lobbies for individual liberty and free markets, says it accepts no government funding.;_ylt=AgYcTiul90jgJci7VeeycYFvaA8F
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