American claims he was ordered to assassinate former PM
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.”
“I was going to hit him (with a bullet) in the eye and kill him instantaneously,” Craft said. “I did not personally dislike Pierre Trudeau but I was told by my superiors to kill him.”
Trudeau was slated for execution because of his association with Cuban President Fidel Castro, Craft said.
- PHOTOS: What's Brewing in Steamy Hallows, the Harry Potter-Inspired Cafe19 Pictures
- PHOTOS: Frida Kahlo at the Brooklyn Museum doesn't hold back23 Pictures
Canada was trading with Cuba in 1974 and giving the country foreign 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.
“They thought, if we kill Trudeau, we can get Castro.”
Craft said he was told to come home to the U.S. and drop the plot to kill Trudeau in mid-September 1974. While he doesn’t know why with absolute certainty, he said he believed it was because the mobsters felt that Trudeau was taking a harder line with Cuba.
Author Antonio Nicaso said that Lansky was enraged to lose the Cuban casinos, where he laundered organized crime profits.
“After the Cuban Revolution the new regime wiped out Lansky asset base and revenue streams,” said Nicaso, who has lectured police intelligence experts on organized crime. “He lost much of his wealth. He was more furious then a rabid dog.”