Given the tone and content of many of my articles on this site, it’s no surprise to me that they are quite often met with disdain, derision and disbelief; after all, I’ve had my beliefs called into question for years before I decided to start this damned thing. I can understand this attitude and I can empathise with it, even if I’m rarely convinced to change my opinions. The one response I can’t take, however, is the stock response of, “but they wouldn’t intentionally do that”, and all its variants. The ‘they’ often changes, as does the ‘that’, but in all cases I believe it is a naive response delivered by somebody who, understandably, wants to believe in the good nature of their fellow human beings. It is a view that is never backed up by evidence – which I grant you, would be hard to find – and is usually delivered with all the sneering contempt one can muster. More often than not, it is used to make you look crazy; a ridiculous, conspiratorial, paranoid wreck who believes everybody is out to get you. This post will not prove my views on any matter correct – only evidence can do that – but that’s not the point; the aim of this post is to put that old, tired argument to bed once and for all, by showing an example of one of the most scandalous proven conspiracies in the history of government – the attempt to implement Operation Northwoods.
Before I speak about what Northwoods was, I will fully admit what it wasn’t. It wasn’t something that that was proposed recently; this may have some of you believing that it was a one off event that couldn’t happen today, though I would point towards Operation Gladio and Operation Fast and Furious – both of which I will likely write about at some point – as examples of dangerous, covert plots that have occurred in more recent years. Secondly, it wasn’t officially cleared from the very top; though it did reach a far enough point in the American political process to raise not just eyebrows, but every facial component you possess. I raise these points early on so that, despite my beliefs and probably bias, you can approach this as objectively as possible. Now on to what Operation Northwoods was.
Operation Northwoods, a plan proposed to the US Secretary of Defence, Robert McNamara, on March 13th 1962 by Lyman L. Lemnitzer, was all about the US and its need to make it appear that Cuba was a hostile enemy. Cuba had, in 1959, come under the leadership Fidel Castro and subsequently become a communist nation, something America were very fearful of; because it makes sense for a nation rooted in Christianity to be against the concept of sharing, right? Nobody should be surprised that America desperately wanted Cuban leadership to fall by hook or crook, you only have to look at their strained relationship currently in order to see how they view each other, but Cuba was scarcely a threat to America. Cuba’s efforts at that time were rooted in an attempt to create communist revolutions across Latin America, which perhaps could be conceived of as American interests, but direct threats to America were nil. If anything, as the failed Bay of Pigs Invasion shows, America were more likely to attack Cuba.
Rhetoric was certainly being thrown around by both sides at this point, but Northwoods went beyond jostling for position on a world stage. The purpose of Northwoods was to create “pretexts which would provide justification for US military intervention in Cuba.” These would be what you call false-flag events – covert operations carried out with the aim of deceiving people into believing that another group, entity or nation is responsible – and were to be blamed on Cuba.The plans would have painted a perception of the US suffering “grievances from a rash and irresponsible government of Cuba and to develop an international image of a Cuban threat to peace in the Western Hemisphere”. The aim was to get the plans rolled out quickly as, at that point, Cuba had not yet any peace pacts with the USSR nor had it any Soviet bases on its grounds. Considering the events of the Cuban Missile Crisis seven months later, it’s no surprise that the forces behind Northwoods, wanted this rolled out quickly. The following – which I have lifted in its entirety as I believe, despite it being a bulky portion of text, that it merits a full reading rather than a summing up – is what was suggested as a course of action to achieve said goals:
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1 – Since it would seem desirable to use legitimate provocation as the basis for U.S. military intervention in Cuba a cover and deception plan, to include requisite preliminary actions such as has been developed in response to Task 33 c, could be executed as an initial effort to provoke Cuban reactions. Harassment plus deceptive actions to convince the Cubans of imminent invasion would be emphasized. Our military posture throughout execution of the plan will allow a rapid change from exercise to intervention if Cuban response justifies.
2 – A series of well coordinated incidents will be planned to take place in and around Guantanamo to give genuine appearance of being done by hostile Cuban forces.
a. Incidents to establish a credible attack (not in chronological order):
- Start rumors (many). Use clandestine radio.
- Land friendly Cubans in uniform “over-the-fence” to stage attack on base.
- Capture Cuban (friendly) saboteurs inside the base.
- Start riots near the base main gate (friendly Cubans).
- Blow up ammunition inside the base; start fires.
- Burn aircraft on air base (sabotage).
- Lob mortar shells from outside of base into base. Some damage to installations.
- Capture assault teams approaching from the sea or vicinity of Guantanamo City.
- Capture militia group which storms the base.
- Sabotage ship in harbor; large fires—naphthalene.
- Sink ship near harbor entrance. Conduct funerals for mock-victims (may be in lieu of (10)).
b. United States would respond by executing offensive operations to secure water and power supplies, destroying artillery and mortar emplacements which threaten the base.
c. Commence large scale United States military operations.
3 – A “Remember the Maine” incident could be arranged in several forms:
a. We could blow up a U.S. ship in Guantanamo Bay and blame Cuba.
b. We could blow up a drone (unmanned) vessel anywhere in the Cuban waters. We could arrange to cause such incident in the vicinity of Havana or Santiago as a spectacular result of Cuban attack from the air or sea, or both. The presence of Cuban planes or ships merely investigating the intent of the vessel could be fairly compelling evidence that the ship was taken under attack. The nearness to Havana or Santiago would add credibility especially to those people that might have heard the blast or have seen the fire. The United States could follow up with an air/sea rescue operation covered by U.S. fighters to “evacuate” remaining members of the non-existent crew. Casualty lists in U.S. newspapers would cause a helpful wave of national indignation.
4 – We could develop a Communist Cuban terror campaign in the Miami area, in other Florida cities and even in Washington. The terror campaign could be pointed at refugees seeking haven in the United States. We could sink a boatload of Cubans en route to Florida (real or simulated). We could foster attempts on lives of Cuban refugees in the United States even to the extent of wounding in instances to be widely publicized. Exploding a few plastic bombs in carefully chosen spots, the arrest of Cuban agents and the release of prepared documents substantiating Cuban involvement, also would be helpful in projecting the idea of an irresponsible government.
5 – A “Cuban-based, Castro-supported” filibuster could be simulated against a neighboring Caribbean nation (in the vein of the 14 June invasion of the Dominican Republic). We know that Castro is backing subversive efforts clandestinely against Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, and Nicaragua at present and possible others. These efforts can be magnified and additional ones contrived for exposure. For example, advantage can be taken of the sensitivity of the Dominican Air Force to intrusions within their national air space. “Cuban” B-26 or C-46 type aircraft could make cane-burning raids at night. Soviet Bloc incendiaries could be found. This could be coupled with “Cuban” messages to the Communist underground in the Dominican Republic and “Cuban” shipments of arm which would be found, or intercepted, on the beach.
6 – Use of MIG type aircraft by U.S. pilots could provide additional provocation. Harassment of civil air, attacks on surface shipping and destruction of U.S. military drone aircraft by MIG type planes would be useful as complementary actions. An F-86 properly painted would convince air passengers that they saw a Cuban MIG, especially if the pilot of the transport were to announce such fact. The primary drawback to this suggestion appears to be the security risk inherent in obtaining or modifying an aircraft. However, reasonable copies of the MIG could be produced from U.S. resources in about three months.
7 – Hijacking attempts against civil air and surface craft should appear to continue as harassing measures condoned by the government of Cuba. Concurrently, genuine defections of Cuban civil and military air and surface craft should be encouraged.
8 -It is possible to create an incident which will demonstrate convincingly that a Cuban aircraft has attacked and shot down a chartered civil airliner en route from the United States to Jamaica, Guatemala, Panama, or Venezuela. The destination would be chosen only to cause the flight plan route to cross Cuba. The passengers could be a group of college students off on a holiday or any grouping of persons with a common interest to support chartering a non-scheduled flight.
a. An aircraft at Eglin AFB would be painted and numbered as an exact duplicate for a civil registered aircraft belonging to a CIA proprietary organization in the Miami area. At a designated time the duplicate would be substituted for the actual civil aircraft and would be loaded with the selected passengers, all boarded under carefully prepared aliases. The actual registered aircraft would be converted to a drone.
b. Take off times of the drone aircraft and the actual aircraft will be scheduled to allow a rendezvous south of Florida. From the rendezvous point the passenger-carrying aircraft will descend to minimum altitude and go directly into an auxiliary field at Eglin AFB where arrangements will have been made to evacuate the passengers and return the aircraft to its original status. The drone aircraft meanwhile will continue to fly the filed flight plan. When over Cuba the drone will begin transmitting on the international distress frequency a “MAY DAY” message stating he is under attack by Cuban MIG aircraft. The transmission will be interrupted by destruction of the aircraft which will be triggered by radio signal. This will allow ICAO radio stations in the Western Hemisphere to tell the United States what has happened to the aircraft instead of the United States trying to “sell” the incident.
9 – It is possible to create an incident which will make it appear that Communist Cuban MIGs have destroyed a USAF aircraft over international waters in an unprovoked attack.
a. Approximately 4 or 5 F-101 aircraft will be dispatched in trail from Homestead AFB, Florida, to the vicinity of Cuba. Their mission will be to reverse course and simulate fakir aircraft for an air defense exercise in southern Florida. These aircraft would conduct variations of these flights at frequent Intervals. Crews would be briefed to remain at least 12 miles off the Cuban coast; however, they would be required to carry live ammunition in the event that hostile actions were taken by the Cuban MIGs.
b. On one such flight, a pre-briefed pilot would fly tail-end Charley at considerable interval between aircraft. While near the Cuban Island this pilot would broadcast that he had been jumped by MIGs and was going down. No other calls would be made. The pilot would then fly directly west at extremely low altitude and land at a secure base, an Eglin auxiliary. The aircraft would be met by the proper people, quickly stored and given a new tail number. The pilot who had performed the mission under an alias, would resume his proper identity and return to his normal place of business. The pilot and aircraft would then have disappeared.
c. At precisely the same time that the aircraft was presumably shot down, a submarine or small surface craft would disburse F-101 parts, parachute, etc., at approximately 15 to 20 miles off the Cuban coast and depart. The pilots returning to Homestead would have a true story as far as they knew. Search ships and aircraft could be dispatched and parts of aircraft found.
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Having read that, the natural human response should be intense, prolonged rage. Please take a minute to scream ‘fuck’ a few times and punch a few walls. In order to invade Cuba, the US was willing to set-up a huge amount of events which, whilst mostly planned to be manufactured, leading to no deaths in the immediate events, – let us just gloss over the hypothetical future deaths in the inevitable following war – it essentially counts as an act of terror by the US government on their own people. Don’t forget, this was smack in the middle of the Cold War, a time when most Americans were already living in the shadow of threat of nuclear bombs; if Northwoods had come to fruition, they would also be staring at an increased thread from their neighbours in Cuba. To me, to scare your own people into supporting a war definitely counts as terrorism. Among these plans were rather tame false flags; faked plane hijackings, faked attacks on military bases and faked sinking of ships. Regardless of how tame the faked events were, however, two specific portions of this would have gotten very real.
According to noted author on such subjects, James Bamford and the lack of clarification otherwise, the terror campaign in Florida, Miami and Washington would have been very real – aside from the placement of blame, of course. Bombs would be exploded and people would be shot, mainly immigrants who had fled Cuba for America once Castro’s collectivisation had began. Real American people would likely have died in the bombings, and whilst the nationality of who would have been killed should not matter, this is something I will clarify to the more xenophobic of my readers; the American government were willing to sacrifice American people on American soil and falsely blame an enemy in order to justify attacking them. Where have you heard such accusations before? Another explicit mention of a plan being committed in reality is that of sinking Cuban immigrants aiming to gain access to America – “real or simulated”. America would, doubtless, continue to play the role of saviour to those fleeing Cuba at this time well after they had killed people turning to them for shelter. It is also worth mentioning an aspect many would also forget regarding Northwoods, the events would be blamed on innocent Cubans. These individuals would likely be either killed on sight or tried with manufactured evidence so as to further justify ‘retaliation’. All the while, America would be painted as the good guys.
Fortunately, the plan was shot down by serving President John F. Kennedy three days after it was proposed to McNamara, but it’s shocking that it got far enough that it was ever seriously presented to him; considering that the proposals explicitly mention that it should not be forwarded to officers of special commands, US officers on NATO activities or US delegations to the United Nations – imagine the US ignoring the UN – it is likely that McNamara and Kennedy were the two last hurdles in its approval. Whether or not the Secretary of Defence, Robert McNamara, signed off on this is unknown, but it was approved by the entire Joint Chiefs of Staff and signed off by their Chairmen L. L. Lemnitzer; a man whom Kennedy later sent away to Europe to become Supreme Allied Commander of NATO and who, later still was involved in the Commission on CIA Activities within the United States; one of many commissions which investigated possible government involvement in Kennedy’s death. In other words, a man involved in an odious covert plan that is a fully proven governmental conspiracy, which was subsequently shot down by President Kennedy, was one of the people chosen to judge whether Kennedy’s death may have involved the government. One would have to admit that his place on such a commission is tenuous at best. In fact, we only know about Operation Northwoods because the documents were declassified in 1997 by the John F. Kennedy Assassination Records Review Board. The document detailing Operation Northwoods can be found directly here on The George Washington University website. with other documents making reference to Northwoods, available on the, quite awful to navigate, US national archive here,
Operation Northwoods represents a horrific case of the abuses of power committed at the top ends of government which I do not think have disappeared today. Many state Kennedy as the supreme example of a competent US President and one has to wonder if under following presidents – for example, Nixon – such a plan would have come to fruition. It also begs questions on what false flags have happened since 1962 that are still classified secrets.
Just to end with, I feel I ought to lay my cards on the table; I intentionally chose this date to publish this article. Regarding the events of 12 years ago, I will not tell you what to believe, nor am I fully cemented on what I personally believe. If Northwoods was considered however, no matter how long ago, it shows precedent of governments manufacturing events with the aim of blaming a perceived enemy, thus justifying actions upon them. Enough time has passed, and enough horrors have been perpetrated in the quest for revenge on the said perpetrators of the World Trade Center attacks, that I feel we can be brave enough to question it. We can let ourselves be ruled by emotion, the need for a black and white case of good guy and bad guy, or we can swallow our pride and weigh up the evidence, whatever side of the fence you ultimately fall upon. The point is to draw your own conclusions having looked at evidence, otherwise, how can you be so sure of anything? Northwoods shows a willingness to commit such acts has root in certain minds within Washington; hopefully, none of those people have been, or ever will be, behind the desk in The Oval Office.