Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Castro targeted for assassination by CIA

This confirms what was often conjectured years ago. I wonder if Chavez is now in the sights of the CIA? Birds of a feather get along together as the billing and cooing of the CIA and the Mafia illustrates.


CIA tried to get mafia to kill Castro: documents
Tue Jun 26, 2007 12:45PM EDT

By Steve Holland

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The CIA worked with two of the country's
most-wanted criminals in a botched attempt to assassinate Cuban
President Fidel Castro in a "gangster-type action" in the early 1960s,
according to documents released by the CIA on Tuesday.

The CIA declassified hundreds of pages of long-secret records that
detail some of the agency's worst illegal abuses during about 25 years
of overseas assassination attempts, domestic spying and kidnapping.

The documents are known in the CIA as the "Family Jewels," and some
describe the agency's efforts to persuade Johnny Roselli, believed to
be a mobster, to help plot the assassination of Castro.

A CIA official at the time, Richard Bissell, in August 1960 approached
Col. Sheffield Edwards of the agency's Office of Security to determine
if Edwards "had assets that may assist in a sensitive mission
requiring gangster-type action," according to the documents.

"The mission target was Fidel Castro," one memo said.

Roselli was believed by the CIA to have been a high-ranking member of
the crime syndicate and who controlled all the ice-making machines on
the Las Vegas Strip.

He was approached by a go-between, Robert Maheu, who reckoned Roselli
had connections leading into Cuban gambling interests. The story
Roselli was to be told was that several international business firms
were suffering heavy financial losses in Cuba as a result of Castro's
action and they were willing to pay $150,000 for his removal.

"It was to be made clear to Roselli that the United States government
was not, and should not, become aware of this operation," a document
said.

In documents that often read like a cheap detective novel, the story
is outlined: The pitch was made to Roselli at the Hilton Plaza Hotel
in New York and Roselli was initially cool to the idea. But the
contact led the agency to two top mobsters, Momo Salvatore Giancana
and Santos Trafficant, who were both on the U.S. list of most-wanted
men.

Giancana, who was known as Sam Gold, suggested firearms might be a
problem and said using a potent pill that could be slipped into
Castro's food or drink might work.

Eventually, six pills of "high lethal content" were provided to Juan
Orta, identified as a Cuban official who had been receiving kickback
payments from gambling interests and who still had access to Castro
and was in a financial bind.

"After several weeks of reported attempts, Orta apparently got cold
feet and asked out of the assignment. He suggested another candidate
who made several attempts without success," the document said.

(Additional reporting by Andy Sullivan)

(c) Reuters 2006.

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