In 1962, the United State government drafted a plan to commit various acts of terrorism and sabotage on American soil for the sole purpose of gaining public approval for a war against Cuba. The plan was known as Operation Northwoods.
By the end of 1960, the Communist party had strengthened its grip on Cuba and their leader, Fidel Castro, was becoming the ultimate authority. Any opposition that formed within the media was immediately stifled through the government’s control of most media outlets.
Castro also surrounded himself with those only loyal to him, such as appointing his brother as the army chief. Castro made sure his people were loyal to the Communist party though various neighborhood spying programs.
The Bay of Pigs
The first attempt to overthrow the Communist regime in Cuba occurred in 1961. This attempt was known as the Bay of Pigs Invasion.
The Bay of Pigs Invasion was an attempt by a CIA-trained force of Cuban exiles to invade southern Cuba, with support from US government armed forces, in order to overthrow Fidel Castro and his Communist government.
However, by 1961 Cuba had ammassed the second largest military force in Latin America and quickly defeated the exiles within three days.
After this dramatic failure, top military officials created and tried to push through a program called Operation Northwoods. This campaign of deception was described as, "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."
Details of Operation Northwoods
The plan is outlined in great detail in a series of declassified documents. The plan was going to consist of the following:
1. Starting a wide variety of rumors using clandestine radio
2. Staging base attacks using friendly Cuban operatives
3. Staging of base sabotage using friendly Cuban operatives
4. Staging of base riots using friendly Cuban operatives
5. Causing explosions and fires
6. Staging aircraft sabotage using friendly Cuban operatives
7. Faking mortar attacks
8. Staging assaults against bases using friendly Cuban operatives
9. Faking ship sabotage
10. Sinking a U.S. ship with fake funerals and mock victims
Military officials were deeply concerned with Soviet involvement because Cuba had paraded several Soviet tanks during a New Year’s Day parade in 1961. However, the Soviets had not yet established a base in Cuba. Therefore, officials had to execute Operation Northwoods and overthrow the Communist government in roughly three months. This period of time, from start to finish, would give the Soviets little time to react and/or offer any reliable help.
Northwoods Denied by President Kennedy
Though the documents referenced here only seem to outline the plan along with the intended outcomes, further research implies that Operation Northwoods was quickly denied by the Kennedy administration.
In Investigative Reporter James Bramford’s book, Body of Secrets, he claims that, “The plans had the written approval of all of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and were presented to President Kennedy's defense secretary, Robert McNamara, in March 1962. But they apparently were rejected by the civilian leadership.”
When the average American citizen reads a novel, such as American Hero by Larry Beinhart, or watches a movie such as Wag the Dog, or even hears a “nut job conspriracy theorist” tout his proof about the alleged 9/11 cover-up, he or she is quick to think that our government is not capable of conceiving such ideas.
However, those thoughts are quickly second guessed when actual declassified documents, such as Operation Northwoods, come to light that prove that our government is not only capable conceiving such ideas, but are also capable (and obviously willing) to implement them.