Whatever we may or may not think about Fidel Castro and his long era in Cuba (all of which is difficult, complex and debatable), it has to be said that there is something poetically pleasing about the fact that he survived some 634 assassination attempts, outlasted nine US Presidents and became the third longest- serving head of state in the world.
Only Queen Elizabeth II and the King of Thailand have lasted longer than Castro as head of state. Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi, who was a friend and ally of Castro’s and also somewhat a student of Castro’s early accomplishments, managed to last over forty years himself: but though Gaddafi too was subject to assassination attempts by the CIA and others, it wasn’t nearly as many as Castro.
Most of these assassination plots originated with the CIA, and they were comically diverse in their details, ranging from toxic or exploding cigars, poisoned pills, booby-trapped fountain pens, femme fatale honey traps, mafia hit-men, and powders to make his beard fall out. I assume there were also secret ninja squads and strategically placed banana skins – but we haven’t heard about those ones yet.
I have no real interest in portraying Castro as either a hero or a villain, as either could be true, depending on which types of criteria you base it on or depending on which period of history you’re looking at, through which ideological lens you’re looking through and from where in the world you’re looking from.
The entire exercise would become pointless: someone could compile an entirely valid thesis for why Fidel Castro is a legitimate international hero figure and how much good he did, and then someone else could compile an equally legitimate essay on why he was a terrible person who brought terrible results.
But the fact that he held to power for so long, through all of those plots, including the Cuban Missile Crisis, the failed US-orchestrated Bay of Pigs invasion and four decades of economic sanctions, kind of stands as a prolonged middle-finger directed at all those who wanted him gone for so long.
I mean, he literally could’ve built a statue of himself on the Cuban coast permanently giving the US the finger and it would’ve amounted to the same propaganda victory.
The multiple assassination plots and coup attempts targeting Castro had already become popular legend decades ago; but this idea of Castro as the unkillable target was more recently immortalised again by 638 Ways to Kill Castro – a documentary film made by Channel 4 in the UK and broadcast in 2006. It provides an insight into how long this operation to remove Castro went on for and how many turns it took, and the film tells much of the story through the recollections of people who were actually involved in the plots.
There were all kinds of desperate, lunatic ways the intelligence community tried to cook up to get rid of Castro. But one particular plan – which was never put into action (and which isn’t actually referenced in the film) – is especially fascinating.
It centered on establishing the idea that Castro was the Anti-Christ… and then simulating the Second Coming and having Jesus take down the Cuban dictator.
Within the pages of a document from November 20th 1975 (titled ‘Alleged Assassination Plots Involving Foreign Leaders, Interim Report of the Select Committee to Study Government Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities’), there was an extraordinary statement from someone by the name of Thomas A. Parrott, who had served with the CIA for over two decades and at that time held the title of Assistant Deputy Director for National Intelligence Programs.
In the document, he refers to “a wonderful plan for getting rid of Castro. This plan consisted of spreading the word that the Second Coming of Christ was imminent and that Christ was against Castro who was anti-Christ. And you would spread this word around Cuba, and then on whatever date it was, that there would be a manifestation of this thing. And at the time – this was absolutely true – and at the time just over the horizon there would be an American submarine that would surface off of Cuba and send up some star-shells. And this would be the manifestation of the Second Coming and Castro would be overthrown…”
The idea being explored centered on a US Navy submarine projecting holo images of Jesus Christ onto low-lying cloud formations off the Havana coast. This would’ve been combined with US military planes, hidden behind the clouds, using powerful transmitters to broadcast messages from ‘Christ’, calling on the Cuban people to overthrow Castro.
This may all sound like a plot from The X-Files, but this is precisely the kind of wacky, inventive thinking the intelligence community has been known to indulge in, and mass deceptions and false-flags are a stock-in-trade.
Beyond various complex plots to overthrow Castro, this kind of Project Bluebeam-style thinking also found its way into other international plots.
An article from Activist Post a year or so ago, for example, managed to find a Washington Post report from 1999, revealing an alleged plan to ‘project holograms of Allah over Iraq’. Military physicists had allegedly established the feasibility of holographically projecting large, three-dimensional objects that appeared to float in the air.
I’m not going to pass judgement: and, to be fair to those wacky, fucked up intelligence guys, it is essentially their job to come up with ideas and options – many of which will never be put into action.
Also, the idea of characterizing Castro as the ‘Anti Christ’ was later echoed in propaganda strategies to depict Iraq’s Saddam Hussein as a kind of embodiment of super-villain evil. It is known there were intelligence ploys to fabricate, for example, images of Saddam sexually molesting young boys in order to discredit him within the Iraqi population.
I recall reading a number of books in the mid-to-late nineties – some of them by fairly well-regarded authors – which were insisting Saddam Hussein was the Biblical Anti-Christ too, which prompts me to wonder whether a lot of these books were intelligence-guided psy-ops to create a certain image of a foe in order to make Western populations more amenable to the inevitable US invasion of Iraq that was going to happen sooner or later.
By the way, whenever you see someone branding some world figure or another as the prophetic ‘Anti Christ’ (and they do it all the time: it’s been Obama, Saddam and a whole bunch of others), you’d do best to immediately discard everything else they’re saying, as it’s a sure-fire sign that they’re stuck at the child-level of Christianity (complete with parental lock-out).
As for Fidel Castro (pictured above with Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi) and the fact that, despite every one of those assassination or coup attempts, he lived all the way to age of 90 – you can’t help but imagine that every one of them was a badge of honour that simply reinforced and underlined his stature and sense of defiance.
Quite what would’ve happened if the Jesus-in-the-clouds operation had gone ahead is anyone’s guess – it would’ve been fascinating though.