1961-1963, Cuba: Everything from PsyOps to an Invasion
“Bay of Pigs”
Part of the CIA’s invasion map
The Cuban revolution overthrew the dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista whose military was trained and equipped by the U.S. government. The triumph of the revolution in January 1959 triggered U.S. covert operations.
Oct. 1959: Air and naval attacks; infiltration of agents and weapons; acts of sabotage; planes dropped incendiary bombs on sugar mills, machine-gunned Havana and a passenger train.
Jan. 1960: Millions of pounds of sugar cane were set on fire by incendiary bombs; bombs were dropped on Havana.
Feb.: A plane set afire millions of pounds of sugar cane in sugar mills.
Mar. 4: A French vessel, La Coubre, was sabotaged in Havana (101 died).
Mar. 17: The "Program of Covert Action Against the Castro Regime" was initiated. Eisenhower ordered the training of Cuban exiles for an invasion.
Sept. 1960-Mar. 1961:
"Operation Silence" air operations supplied mercenaries with
"151,000 pounds of arms, ammunition and equipment."
Mar. 13: Oil refinery was attacked by CIA commandos using machine-guns.
May 28: Cinema was set on fire injuring 26 children and 14 adults.
Apr. 13: Terrorists set fire to the biggest department store in the country.
1961: Planes dropped "12 million pounds of subversive propaganda leaflets." The Cuban literacy campaign was disrupted by the murder of tutors, teachers, children and peasants.
Apr. 15, 1961: 3 airports were bombed.
Apr. 17, 1961: 1,500 mercenaries (Assault Brigade 2506) organized, trained, equipped and financed by the U.S. landed at the "Bay of Pigs" with tanks, armored vehicles, fighter planes, artillery, bazookas, machine guns, flame throwers, hand grenades, etc. U.S. Pilots and frogmen took part. 176 Cubans died, over 300 wounded, when defeating the invasion in 74 hours.
Jan. 18, 1962: Operation Mongoose: 'Cuban project' outlines 32 covert actions.
Sept. 5, 1963: An aircraft dropped explosives killing one and injuring three.
Source: "People of Cuba vs. The Government of the U.S.A. for human damages."
By Jon Elliston, Dossier Editor, Parascope.
Following the disastrous Bay of Pigs invasion, the U.S. initiated Operation Mongoose, a massive covert program to overthrow Fidel Castro. It was launched in 1961 and commanded by Air Force Brig. Gen. Edward Lansdale.
Lansdale brought his psychological operations (PsyOps) to Cuba. In late 1997-early 1998, dozens of Lansdale's proposals for disinformation operations were released. These are some of the most deceptive and ruthless schemes ever suggested by U.S. military officials.
In late 1961, a Mongoose task force brought together officials from the CIA, the U.S. Information Agency and the departments of State and Defense. In 1975, the U.S. Senate's "Church Committee" took note of "Operation Bounty," a proposal to Lansdale in January 1962 to offer rewards to Cubans who killed government officials.
In a February 2, 1962 memo, Craig suggested 12 "Possible actions to provoke, harass or disrupt Cuba."
Operation Dirty Trick would have blamed Cuba for a failed U.S. space launch from Florida "by manufacturing various pieces of evidence."
Operation Bingo, called for faking a Cuban attack on the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, "thus providing the excuse for U.S. military to overthrow the current government."
Operation Good Times was to distribute "fake photographic material" showing "an obese Castro with two beauties... [in] a lavishly furnished [room]... with delectable Cuban food.... and a caption 'My ration is different.'"
Although most of Craig's plans never got off the ground, other declassified materials document anti-Castro propaganda operations that were conducted. The CIA did most of the covert media work including the production and dissemination of anti-Castro radio programs, newsreels, books and periodicals. The Cuban Revolutionary Council, covertly created and funded by the CIA, was a major conduit for the propaganda. "The Cuba Project" (Feb. 20, 1962) stated that "all media" would be used to tarnish Castro's image.
The documents released in 1997 include records from the "Psychological Operations Group" which advanced Lansdale's plans. Lt. Col. James Patchell of the Office of the Secretary of Defense made notes of the sessions for Lansdale which reveal how officials from the State Department, the Pentagon, the CIA and the U.S. Information Agency brainstormed ways of turning public opinion against Castro.
When Castro derided opponents as "gusanos" (worms) the CIA began pushing the slogan "Gusano Libre!" (Free Worm!) in its broadcasts to Cuba. Patchell suggested using biblical verses such as "Their worm shall not die, and their fire shall not be quenched" from Isaiah.
Patchell's schemes included inventing a mythical anti-Castro leader ("Future Cuban Leadership," May 13, 1963). The U.S. would spread stories that a daring underground rebel was eluding Cuban authorities. The fabricated fighter would be "our 'Cuban Kilroy,'" Patchell wrote. "Humorous antics could be credited to our imaginary friend and rumors of his exploits of bravery (a la Zorro) could be circulated."
Source: "Operation Mongoose" 1998. www.parascope.com/ds/articles/mongoosePSYOP.htm
Visit a Cuban museum online to see relics of CIA operations
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