10. The CIA Plan to Dampen Protests by Manipulating Rain
By the early 1960s, South Vietnam’s president and US puppet ruler Ngo Dinh Diem and his regime were on the ropes. His rule, marked by extreme nepotism, extraordinary graft, and astonishing levels of corruption, was hugely unpopular. Between that, a steadily intensifying Viet Cong insurgency, and economic hardships, South Vietnam was seething.
Protests were erupting up and down the country, only to be brutally put down by Diem’s security forces. That only added fuel to the fire and gave the South Vietnamese more cause for protest. However, bad as Diem might have been, he was still America’s Man in Saigon. So the US government tried to do what it could to prop him up – before finally abandoning Diem and backing a coup that overthrew him. Before washing its hands of Diem, however, the US thought up some batty ideas of supporting him, such as manipulating the weather to make it rain on protesters.