It was early in 1975 when the US Senate announced on January 27th, 46 years ago, the creation of the Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations —popularly known as the Church Committee—, run by Senator Frank Forrester Church in order to investigate illegal activities of the CIA and the FBI.
By then, the US was amid the final crisis that led to their defeat in the Vietnam war in April with the capture of Saigon, former capital city of South Vietnam, by the North Vietnam army and the consequent flee of the last US troops and officials.
Such initiative was backed by a formidable domestic pacifist movement as well as several denounces on Washington’s interventionist policy. Few could imagine that these investigations would shed light on the plots to assassinate the Cuban leader Fidel Castro, some of which were denounced by the Cuban authorities and rejected by the US government as “communist propaganda.”
The Church Committee brought to the surface from the CIA’s top secret programs the Chemical Engineer Sidney Gottlieb (1918-1999), mastermind of all the sinister plots against the life of Fidel Castro from his position as head of the CIA Office of Technical Services for over 15 years. He was the man who hired sorceress to foretell the future as well as followers of satanic rites to involve the Devil in the success of their operations, among other bizarre ways to throw away the taxpayers’ money.
However, his legacy was not always so flamboyant and left as his masterpiece “Study of Assassinations”, declassified in the 1990s decade, which trained operatives on how to successfully stab in the carotid area, the heart, shot to the head, and cause death as if it were just an accident by electrocution, the use of poison, or propel into the void the victim, among other lessons many CIA agents learned.
In his active career in the agency until the 1970s decade, he had the full support of the White House and enjoyed a large budget that allowed him to work freely on his criminal programs.
Since the very beginning, he was obsessed with destroying the Revolution, and assassinating Fidel. In 1960, an operation simulating Christ’s appearance in Havana’s seafront using fireworks and light projected by a submarine to urge for an uprising led by God was staged.
He proposed, in 1960-1961, to put Thallium on the shoes of the Cuban leader so that his beard would fall out and hence reduce his charm, or inoculate LSD hallucinogen within a Cuban TV studio where Fide would appear that led to weird behaviors in individuals, losing any self-control.
The also-known as Dr. Death planned the death of the Commander in Chief with poisoned pills diluted in beverages, syringes with lethal viruses, cigars contaminated with superbugs and included attempts to disguise an explosive charge within a winkle in the seafloor where the Cuban leader used to go fishing underwater.
He also was the mastermind behind the inoculation of a diving suit with germs that might cause the death of the individual after weeks of pain, with the body decomposing little by little.
He also experimented during the Vietnam war with prisoners whose brains were opened to install on them electrodes and radio antennas with the purpose to behave according the CIA electronic signals, as part of the MK Ultra Operation.
In the Church Committee reports, it was also disclosed that the CIA used more conventional means, working together with Cuban counter-revolutionaries and the US mafia to assassinate the Cuban leader with high-powered rifles and terrorist actions.
According to the report, many of these plots were carried out during the Operation Mongoose, approved by President John F. Kennedy at the end of 1961, to take revenge of the defeat suffered in Bay of Pigs and ended soon after the solution of the Missile Crisis.
It was reported that the CIA was involved in the assassination in 1960 of Patricio Lumumba, President of Congo who challenged the colonialists’ interests; Rafael Leonidas Trujillo in 1961, dictator in the Dominican Republic who became useless for the US policy in the region, General René Schneider, leader of the Chilean Armed Forces who opposed the coup d’ etat and was murdered in 1970.
The Committee also investigated the assassination of John F. Kennedy and concluded that formal inquiries carried out by the Warren Commission had significant inaccuracies and allegedly, top intelligence officers involved in the inquiries hid sensitive information deliberately.
In 1975, after the results of the investigations of the Church Committee were released, several US administrations issued laws forbidding its intelligence service to get involve in assassinations against foreign leaders and personalities.
The work of the Church Committee, which began 46 years ago, also proved the aggressive and genocide essence of the Yankee empire against Cuba, which does not respect legal constraints to their actions, as it was proven by investigations carried out by Cuban specialists who discovered 600+ assassination attempts against Fidel, which came to light after the reports of the committee were released.
Translated by Sergio A. Paneque Díaz / CubaSí Translation Staff