The following is an article from Uncle John’s Giant 10th Anniversary Bathroom Reader.
Like the Coyote and Road Runner, the CIA was obsessively trying to kill Fidel Castro in the 1960s. But like Coyote, they just couldn't seem to do it. Was it because Castro was so wiley … or because the CIA was so incompetent? Here are some examples of how the anti-Castro super spies spent their time (and our money).
CONCOCTING WEIRD PLOTS Seven plots against Castro that the CIA actually considered. 1. Use agents in Cuba to spread rumors that the second coming of Christ is imminent and that Castro is the anti-Christ. 2. Surprise him at the beach with an exploding conch shell. 3. Put thallium salts in his shoes or cigars during an appearance on "The David Susskind show," to make his beard and hair fall out. 4. Put itching powder in his scuba suit and LSD in his mouthpiece so he would be driven crazy and drown 5. Offer him exploding cigars designed to blow his head off. 6. Shoot him with a TV camera that has a machine gun inside. 7. Spray his broadcasting studio with hallucinogens.
EMBARGOING BASEBALLS In its war against Fidel Castro during the 1960s, the CIA literally tried to play hardball politics. "The CIA tried to cut off the supply of baseballs to Cuba. Agents persuaded suppliers in other countries not ship them. (U.S. baseballs were already banned by the trade embargo the U.S. had declared.)" The bizarre embargo was effective. Some balls got through, "but the supply was so limited that the government had to ask fans to throw foul balls and home runs back onto the field for continued play. - Jonathan Kwitny, Endless Enemies
CONSULTING JAMES BOND
How out-of-control was the CIA in its anti-Castro frenzy? They even took Ian Fleming's jokes seriously. This anecdote from Deadly Secrets, by Warren Hinckle and William Turner, says it all. (Photo: Ian Fleming Publications)
"It was, even by Georgetown standards, one helluva dinner party. It was the spring of 1960. The hosts were Senator and Mrs. John F. Kennedy. The guest of honor was John Kennedy's favorite author, Ian Fleming. "Kennedy asked Fleming what his man James Bond might do is M. assigned him to get rid of Castro. Fleming had been in British Intelligence … He was quick to answer.
According to his biographer, John Pearson, Fleming thought he would have himself some fun … "[He] said there were three things which really mattered to the Cubans—money, religion, and sex. Therefore, he suggested a triple whammy. First the United States should send planes to scatter [counterfeit] Cuban money over Havana. Second, using the Guantanamo base, the United States should conjure some religious manifestation, say, a cross of sorts in the sky which would induce the Cubans to look constantly skyward. And third, the United States should send planes over Cuba dropping pamphlets to the effect that owing to American atom bomb tests the atmosphere over the island had become radioactive; that radioactivity is held longest in the beards, and that radioactivity makes men impotent. As a consequence the Cubans would shave their beards, and without bearded Cubans there would be no revolution.
"Fleming was staying at the house of British newsman Henry Brandon. The next day CIA director Allen Dulles called Brandon to speak to Fleming.
Brandon said his guest had already left Washington. Dulles expressed great regret. He had heard about Fleming's terrific ideas for doing in Castro and was sorry he wouldn't be able to discuss them with him in person. "It is testimony to the resounding good sense exercised by the CIA during the Secret War that all three Fleming's spoof ideas were in one form or another attempted---or at least seriously considered."
Reprinted with permission from Uncle John's Giant 10th Anniversary Bathroom Reader, which comes packed with 504 pages of great stories.
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