Rare CIA-Produced Osama bin Laden Propaganda Doll to Be Auctioned
This Osama bin Laden doll transformed into a demon.
An online auction affords you the ultra-rare opportunity to purchase an Osama bin Laden action figure created by the CIA as part of a covert operation code-named “Devil Eyes.” The doll, which was meant to discourage young children from joining al-Qaeda, was designed to appear normal at first, until the paint used on its face dissolved when exposed to heat, revealing a devilish bin Laden with green eyes and a red face with black markings, much like Star Wars villain Darth Maul.
Operation Devil Eyes, which began in 2005, went so far as to enlist Donald Levine, one of the men responsible for creating the G.I. Joe action figure line, to make sure the 12-inch-tall dolls, outfitted in traditional Muslim garb, looked and felt like other toys. Ultimately, however, the project was scrapped.
Though Afghan and Pakistani children were never subjected to the nightmarish doll, three prototypes were manufactured in China before the CIA decided it wasn’t interested in the potential of a bin Laden action figure as a weapon to win the hearts and minds of children and their parents.
“To our knowledge, there were only three individual action figures ever created, and these were merely prototypes to show what the final product might look like,” CIA spokesman Ryan Trapani told the Washington Post. “After being presented with these examples, the CIA declined to pursue this idea and did not produce or distribute any of these action figures. Furthermore, the CIA has no knowledge of these action figures being produced or distributed by others.”
Somehow, one of the three prototypes, from the late Levine’s estate, has made its way to auction at Nate D. Sanders, where the bidding started at $2,500. Instead of using the special paint, this model comes with two heads: Original Flavor bin Laden, and Scare-‘Em-Straight Spicy Demon. According to the lot description, the other extant dolls remain either at the CIA or the Pentagon. The sale ends Thursday, November 20, at 8 PM Eastern Standard Time.
Follow artnet News on Facebook:
Want to stay ahead of the art world? Subscribe to our newsletter to get the breaking news, eye-opening interviews, and incisive critical takes that drive the conversation forward.