Saturday, January 05, 2008

Trudeau assassination by Meyer Lansky

A curious but believable story (part reprinted here; see also here) out of Northern New York state:

“Mike Craft is a self-confessed former ‘degenerate gambler’ and heavy drinker, who ran bars frequented by members of the upper New York State mob.

He also came within a few weeks in the summer of 1974 of becoming something far worse, he says – the assassin of former Canadian prime minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau.

‘My job was to kill Pierre Trudeau,’ Craft, 60, said in an interview. ‘I'm glad that I didn't.’”


“Trudeau was slated for execution because of his close association with Cuban President Fidel Castro, Craft said. Canada was trading with Cuba in 1974 and giving aid, despite an American boycott of the communist Caribbean nation.

Mobsters like Meyer Lansky hated Castro because he had kicked them out of Cuba and shut down their casinos when he seized power in 1959, Craft said. They hoped that Castro would attend Trudeau's funeral in Canada, so that they could get a shot at him, Craft said.”

In fact, Castro did eventually come to Canada to attend Trudeau’s funeral in 2000.  Is Craft credible?:

“Lisa Robert Lewis, editor of the Troy Record in upstate New York, said Craft is a long-time area resident with organized crime associations and worked with the paper on stories on police corruption.

‘The city editor, several reporters and I witnessed first-hand the depth of knowledge Mr. Craft possesses and the accuracy of the information he gave us,’ Lewis wrote in a 2003 letter to Senator Charles E. Schumer, bolstering his credibility during New York State hearings on organized crime, where Craft was a witness. ‘He has seen a lot over the years,’ Lewis said yesterday.”

Craft believes the hit was called off because Trudeau began to take a harder line with Cuba, although that seems to contradict the original logic of the plan – kill Trudeau to get a shot at Castro.