In 1962, the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff unanimously proposed state-sponsored acts of terrorism on American soil, against American citizens. The head of every branch of the US armed forces gave written approval to sink US ships, shoot down hijacked American planes, and gun down and bomb civilians on the streets of Washington, D.C., and Miami. The idea was to blame the self-inflicted terrorism on Cuba’s leader, Fidel Castro, so the American public would beg and scream for the Marines to storm Havana.
The public learned about Operation Northwoods 35 years later, when the Top Secret document was declassified by the John F. Kennedy Assassination Records Review Board. Among other things, Operation Northwoods proposed:
- Faking the crash of an American passenger plane. The disaster was to be accomplished by faking a commercial flight from the US to Jamaica, and having the plane boarded at a public airport by CIA agents disguised as college students going on vacation. An empty remote-controlled plane would follow the commercial flight as it left Florida. The commercial flight’s pilots would radio for help, mention that they had been attacked by a Cuban fighter, then land in secret at Eglin AFB. The empty remote-controlled plane would then be blown out of the sky and the public would be told all the poor college students aboard were killed.
- Using a possible NASA disaster (astronaut John Glenn’s death) as a pretext to launch the war. The plan called for “manufacturing various pieces of evidence which would prove electronic interference on the part of the Cubans” if something went wrong with NASA’s third manned space launch.
- Blowing up buildings in Washington and Miami. Cuban agents (undercover CIA agents) would be arrested, and they would confess to the bombings. In addition, false documents proving Castro’s involvement in the attacks would be “found” and given to the press.
- Attacking an American military base in Guantanamo with CIA recruits posing as Cuban mercenaries. This involved blowing up the ammunition depot and would obviously result in material damages and many dead American troops. As a last resort, the plan even mentioned bribing one of Castro’s commanders to initiate the Guantanamo attack. That deserves repeating: the Pentagon considered using our tax dollars to bribe another country’s military to attack our own troops in order to instigate a full-scale war.
Operation Northwoods was only one of several plans under the umbrella of Operation Mongoose. Shortly after the Joint Chiefs signed and presented the plan in March, 1962, President Kennedy, still smarting from the Bay of Pigs fiasco, declared that he would never authorize a military invasion of Cuba. In September, Kennedy denied the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, General Lyman Lemnitzer, a second term as the nation’s highest ranking military officer. And by the winter of 1963, Kennedy was dead…