On February 2nd of 1962, Brig. Gen. William Craig sent the following memo to Brig. Gen. Edward Lansdale, commander of the Kennedy administration’s Operation Mongoose — a secret project kick-started by the Joint Chiefs of Staff in order to “help Cuba overthrow the Communist regime.” This particular memo, entitled “POSSIBLE ACTIONS TO PROVOKE, HARRASS, OR DISRUPT CUBA,” was exactly that: a 12-point list of possible plots to be carried out by the U.S. with a view to disrupting the Cuban Government.

Just two high/lowlights: “Operation DIRTY TRICK,” in which the U.S. would capitalise on John Glenn‘s upcoming spaceflight should it tragically end in disaster, by planting evidence pointing to the Cubans; and “Operation GOOD TIMES,” in which copies of a faked photograph of Fidel Castro — pictured overweight, surrounded by beautiful women and assorted opulence — would be air-dropped all over Cuba in order to rile the “underprivileged masses.” The photo’s suggested caption: “My ration is different.”

Truly fascinating.

Transcript follows. Images kindly supplied by Robert Finch.

Images: Robert Finch




1. Operation SMASHER:

a. Objective: The objective is to disrupt/disable military and commercial communications facilities in Cuba.

b. Concept: This to be accomplished by the clandestine introduction of a “special” vacuum tube into selected communications equipment. The tube, which is available, is virtually undetectable inasmuch as its effectiveness is due to the insertion of a chemical compound in the base of the tube. The chemical, when heated becomes a conductor, when cool a non-conductor.

2. Operation FREE RIDE:

a. Objective: The objective is to create unrest and dissension amongst the Cuban people.

b. Concept: This to be accomplished by airdropping valid Pan American or KLM one-way airline tickets good for passage to Mexico City, Caracas, etc. (none to the U.S.). Tickets could be intermixed with other leaflets planned to be dropped. The number of tickets dropped could be increased. The validity of the tickets would have to be restricted to a time period.

3. Operation TURN ABOUT:

a. Objective: The objective is to create indications to Fidel Castro that his value to the revolutionary cause has diminished to the point where plans are being made for his “removal”.

b. Concept: This to be accomplished by the use of intelligence means the crecendo increasing until it culminates in Castro’s discovery of the mechanism or hardware.

4. Operation DEFECTOR:

a. Objective: To induce elements or individuals of the Cuban military to defect with equipment.

b. Concept: This activity when properly planned and implemented has the effect of decreasing military capability. In a totalitarian system the immediate reaction is increased security accompanied by decreased activity. It also creates havoc in security and intelligence agencies. Could be accomplished by intelligence means and promise of rewards.

5. Operation BREAK-UP:

a. Objective: To clandestinely introduce corrosive materials to cause aircraft, vehicle or boat accidents.

b. Concept: This activity, if possible should be aimed primarily toward the Soviet-provided aircraft. If properly accomplished it would degrade confidence in the equipment, increase supply and maintenance problems and seriously affect combat capability.

6. Operation COVER-UP:

a. Objective: The objective is to convince the Communist government of Cuba that Naval Forces ostensibly assigned to the MERCURY project is merely a cover.

b. Concept: It should not be revealed as to what the cover is — this should be left to conjecture. This could tie in with Operation DIRTY TRICK.

7. Operation DIRTY TRICK:

a. Objective: The objective is to provide irrevocable proof that, should the MERCURY manned orbit flight fail, the fault lies with the Communists et al Cuba.

b. Concept: This to be accomplished by manufacturing various pieces of evidence which would prove electronic interference on the part of the Cubans.

8. Operation FULL-UP:

a. Objective: The objective is to destroy confidence in fuel supplied by the Soviet Bloc by indicating it is contaminated.

b. Concept: This to be accomplished by introducing a known biological agent into jet fuel storage facilities. This agent flourishes in jet fuel and grows until it consumes all the space inside the tank.

9. Operation PHANTOM:

a. Objective: The objective is to convince the Castro Government that clandestine penetration and resupply of agents is being regularly conducted.

b. Concept: This to be accomplished by use of BJ, UDT, AND JJ capabilities to create the impression that landings have been made on beaches and air drops have been made in other areas.

10. Operation BINGO:

a. Objective: The objective is to create an incident which has the appearance of an attack on U.S. facilities (GMO) in Cuba, thus providing an excuse for use of U.S. military might to overthrow the current government of Cuba.

b. Concept: This to be accomplished by the use of SNAKES outside the confines of the Guantanamo Base. SNAKES simulate an actual fire-fight and upon hearing such a sound it is entirely feasible that the immediate reaction on G’Mo would be that the base is being attacked. This would, with proper preparation, be followed by a counterattack and with adequate planning the base at G’Mo could disgorge military force in sufficient number to sustain itself until other forces, which had been previously alerted, could attack in other areas. It is envisaged that a schedule of operations similar to the following would overwhelm the Cuban military and cause its defeat:

(1) Simulated attack on Guantanamo.
(2) Word flashed to the President.
(3) President orders counterattack to include:

(a) Immediate launch of alerted aircraft whose targets are Cuban airfields.
(b) Immediate launch of counterattack down strategic lines in communication in Cuba.
(c) Fleet force standing by on alert would make way toward pre-selected targets/landing areas.
(d) Immediate embarkation of airborne troops previously alerted to pre-selected targets.
(e) Launch of additional combat aircraft to clear drop areas and further interdict lines of communication.
(f) Ships and aircraft would land/airdrop troops and secure airfields, road/rail terminals, etc.
(g) Resupply and replacement activities.

Properly executed, the above could overthrow the Cuban Government in a matter of hours, providing the plan is implemented within the next six months.

11. Operation GOOD TIMES:

a. Objective: To disillusion the Cuban population with Castro image by distribution of fake photographic material.

b. Concept: Prepare a desired photograph, such as an obese Castro with two beauties in any situation desired, ostensibly within a room in the Castro residence, lavishly furnished, and a table briming over with the most delectable Cuban food with an underlying caption (appropriately Cuban) such as “My ration is different.” Make as many prints as desired on sterile paper and then distribute over the countryside by air drops or agents. This should put even a Commie Dictator in the proper perspective with the underprivileged masses.

12. Operation HEAT IS ON:

a. Objective: To create the impression with Castro Government that certain dyed-in-the-wool Red pilots are planning to defect, thus causing a detrimental tightening of security.

b. Concept: It is known that many Cuban refugee pilots are personally acquainted with many of the present CRAF pilots. Accordingly, by utilizing all sources available, determine by name those pilots considered to be dedicated Castro Reds. Then by use of agents, communications, etc. inject into the Castro intelligence system the fact that these pre-designated Reds are planning to defect for monetary and/or ideological reasons. Security crackdown should help destroy Castro image and also impose unacceptable restrictions on routine training activities.