Castro and Che’s Foiled (and Forgotten) 9/11

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“I’m proud of the path of Osama bin Laden,” gushed Ilich Ramírez Sánchez from a French prison in 2002. Ramirez was also known during the 1970’s as “Carlos the Jackal,” and “The World’s Most Wanted Terrorist.” In 1967, Ramirez-Sanchez was an eager recruit into Cuba’s “guerrilla” (terror) training camps started by Che Guevara in 1959. “Bin Laden has followed a trail I myself blazed,” he continued during an interview with the London-based pan-Arab daily Al-Hayat. “I followed news of the September 11 attacks on the United States non-stop from the beginning. I can’t describe that wonderful feeling of relief!”

“We will bring the war to the imperialist enemies’ very home,” raved Carlos the Jackal’s idol and spiritual mentor (Che Guevara) in his Message to the Tri-Continental Conference in 1966, “to his places of work and recreation. The imperialist enemy must feel like a hunted animal wherever he moves. Thus we’ll destroy him! These hyenas are fit only for extermination. We must keep our hatred (against the U.S.) alive and fan it to paroxysm!”

Fortunately, on Nov. 17 1962, J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI foiled the “war” Castro and Che had planned for us “hyenas,” in some of our favorite “places of recreation.”  On Saturday morning, November 17th, 1962, FBI headquarters in Washington D.C. took on “all the trappings of a military command post,” according to historian William Breuer.

As well it might. The night before an intelligence puzzle had finally come together. The resulting picture staggered the FBI men. And these had served at their posts during WWII and the height of the Cold War. They’d seen plenty. Now they had mere days to foil a crime against their nation to rival Hideki Tojo’s, including the Bataan Death March.

The agents and officers were haggard and red-eyed –but seriously wired. Like hawks on a perch they’d been watching the plot unfold, sweating bullets the whole time. It was nearing time to swoop down on Fidel Castro and Che Guevara’s agents, busy with a terror plot that would have made Bin Laden drool decades later.

Alan Belmont was second to J Edgar Hoover at the time. Raymond Wannall headed the Bureau’s Intelligence Division. That nerve-jangling morning both were in Belmont’s office just down the hall from Hoover’s. Both were burning up the telephone lines to their agents in New York. On one phone they had Special Agent John Malone who ran the New York field office. On other lines they talked with several carloads of FBI agents slinking around Manhattan. These were keeping a touch-and-go, but more or less constant, surveillance on the ringleaders of the Cuban terror plot.

Castro’s agents had targeted Macy’s, Gimbels, Bloomingdales, and Manhattan’s Grand Central Station with a dozen incendiary devices and 500 kilos of TNT. The holocaust was set for detonation the following week, on the day after Thanksgiving.

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  • Chezwick_mac

    Though I was just a toddler when it happened, I've never heard of this event in my life. Seems to me it was an act of war. Wasn't Kennedy under any pressure to retaliate?

    • ajnn

      Perhaps that was the motivation for thre 'bay of pigs' effort.

  • StephenD

    Apparently, back then when I was a grade school kid, America didn't need to be convinced with publicized foiled terror plots to know we have real enemies in this world that would see us destroyed. Only now these enemies understand that they can effect as much damage stealthily and prey on what they see as our weakness; our sense of fair play and respect for all peoples and faiths. Sometimes it seems our biggest enemy…is ourselves.

  • M Dennis

    Actually they were guerrillas, not terrorists. Colombia has used that same tag to divert US funds meant for social and economic development into strictly destroying the FARC. And the US has brought actions like this upon themselves through their ruthless and blind attempts to achieve economic hegemony through the exploitation of the weak. Good on Che and Fidel.

    • ajnn

      'guerillas', 'commandos'; they still do not have the legal or moral right to target women and children with incendiaries and tnt in department stores.

      Have you no shame ?

    • Jerseyman

      My but aren't you the convinced little red doper diaper baby. You must be very sad that it's come down to North Korea and Cuba, and Cuba's red regime won't outlast the castro boys.

      • NSTahl

        Sure it will, after a fashion. Fidel and Raul's kids run family enterprises from (primarily) Italy ans Spain. The Castro Commercial Empire will line on.

    • LindaRivera

      You believe it is good for Che and Fidel to make war on innocent men, women, children and babies.

      If you were a victim or one of your family members were a victim of Che and Castro's terrorist attacks, would you still say it was good of Che and Castro?

    • Andrew Whitehead

      M. Dennis, you are a coward. Why are you here and not in the front lines of the Great Proletariat Army, defending the the fatherland? Kill women and children; you are the worse kind of coward.

  • furian

    Dennis, they were terrorists! Pigs that needed to be put down like any rabid dog in your yard. It is amazing anyone would support Che after his brutal legacy of murder and torture. Or Castro, who has subjugated his own people and kept them poor and broken spirited. You are a feeble minded evil human being that deserves the same fate as they do.

  • Lady_Dr

    Cannot help but wonder if the rot in the Democrat party had already begun. as I sit here wondering why we didn't invade Cuba, kill the Castros and their followers, and put our foot down. But Kennedy, who looks like a real leader compared to what the Dumbocrats now offer – was not very strong or confident. Too bad Nixon didn't become president in 1960 while he was still strong, confident, and conservative instead of the RINO he was to become as president.

    • ajnn

      JFK was a bit of a 'paper tiger'. Good media relations, very bright staff; but, in the end, he was himself not a strong-minded and committed leader of our nation.

  • Ben

    I notice this article makes no reference to the Bay Of Pigs, which was an act of Terrorism against Castro's Cuba. Hmmm, like for like eh?

    • jerseyman

      Ben, it was an act of rebellion by Cubans who weren't content to see their Island paradise become a palm tree gulag. War is confronting your enemy openly, with weapons in hand, uniformed and if I dare say, like a man.

      Terror, is when you murder innocents, in an attempt to gain political advantage by the horror induced in civilians by vicious atrocities.

  • Ben

    'An act of rebellion by Cubans who weren't content to see their Island Paradise become a palm tree gulag'.
    Erm, no it was an act by CiA trained exiles that got paid a lot of money by the United States to go and attack Castro's regime.
    Apart from when the Castro's first came to power, there has been little in the way of atrocities actually. The highest was in the 1960s when they removing those enemies of the state but lets not forget the Americans were doing exactly the same thing against innnocent people like the Rosenburgs. Since the 1960s there has not been any sort of Genocidal act in Cuba apart from those the United States wish to make up because they have no influence there.

    And I'm not even getting into the disgusting assassination attempts by the CiA over the years that would be seen by some people as acts of terrorism.

    • Ghostwriter

      Unfortunately Ben,the facts are different from the story you're peddling. Both Khrushchev's memoirs that were published in the 1970's and the Venona codes that were released in the 1990's prove that the Rosenburgs were guilty as charged. As for Castro,what has happened was that he turned Cuba into one of the most repressive societies on earth. Hundreds have died trying to flee and hundreds more are imprison for speaking out against the regime. Also,I think that more than a few Cubans would have celebrated the death of Fidel Castro if he were killed by the CIA.

  • Ben

    They were guilty of conspiracy against the state, just the same as those that Castro killed were. That doesn't make either party guilty in my eyes (simply a different opinion). If you condemn one, you have to condemn the other.

    And please don't talk about hundreds in prison when the American have Gitmo on the other side of the island, which is such a lovely place.
    To be honest, I don't think you can say that about Cuba at all. They want reform but they don't necessarily want to get rid of the Socialist system.

  • Ben

    Are you seriously censoring comments now?

    Btw, no-one really cares about Cuba and their 'repressive regime' apart from the Americans and thats only because you lost it.

  • Ben

    Actually, I'll leave this year. I can't be bothering arguing with the bias American right-wing.

  • Ben

    here* I'm tired. But respect to you and this mag. Just would rather not read this bias stuff :).

  • Ben

    Also, I seriously doubt the validity of these claims. Especially since the CiA was at this timing planning ways to disgrace the Castro regime through operation Northwinds.

    • myleslman

      Ben you are either watching too many oliver stone movies, or you're a romantic coward in love with terror.

      I agree with Lady Dr., Nixon would have struck back at castro. Had he done so, Cuba wouild be a far better place today. And when fidel takes his place in hell, Cuba will recover from his tyranny, and the world will be a better place.

  • Ben

    Look up Operation Northwoods for those of you uneducated. Go on, I dare you.
    That is the painful hypocrisy of the U.S Governments policy against Castro's Cuba, A perfectly legitmate and internationally recognised government.

  • Ben

    James Bamford summarizes Northwoods as follows:

    'Operation Northwoods, which had the written approval of the Chairman and every member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, called for innocent people to be shot on American streets; for boats carrying refugees fleeing Cuba to be sunk on the high seas; for a wave of violent terrorism to be launched in Washington, D.C., Miami, and elsewhere. People would be framed for bombings they did not commit; planes would be hijacked. Using phony evidence, all of it would be blamed on Castro, thus giving Bertstare and his cabal the excuse, as well as the public and international backing, they needed to launch their war.'

  • Ghostwriter

    Why are you defending Fidel Castro? He is one of the most evil men on earth who sends anyone who opposes him to jail. I'll never understand why there are people like you out there.

  • Ben

    Why do you defend your own government that had plans to kill your own people and blame it on Castro?
    I am not defending him per se, he has done some rather nasty things but some good too, like ALL politians. But the hypocrisy and bias that comes from the U.S States regarding Castro is astounding.

  • Ben

    Possibly. That shouldn't be up to the U.S to decide though. As much as you think domestic policy in Cuba is disgusting, I personally think U.S foreign policy has been disgusting since the Second World War.

    Yeah let's arm Osama Bin Laden against the Russians! That worked well didn't it. :P

  • Ariel

    osama is a criminal Fidel y el Che are heroes of lLatin America.
    osama is just a pure criminal who received his military training from us the USA.
    very different situation!!!!