FW: Operation "Northwoods"; deja vu all over again?

Craven, Jim jcraven at clark.edu
Tue Feb 5 09:36:06 MST 2002

> From: "Body of Secrets: Anatomy of the Ultra-Secret National Security
> Agency, From the Cold War Through the Dawn of a New Century" by James
> Bamford, Doubleday, N.Y., 2001
> "According to secret and long-hidden documents obtained for "Body of
> Secrets", the Joint chiefs of Staff drew up and approved plans for what
> may be the most corrupt plan ever created by the U.S. Government. In the
> name of anticommunism, they proposed launching a secret and bloody war of
> terrorism against their own country in order to trick the American public
> into supporting an ill-conceived war they intended to launch against Cuba.
> Codenamed Operation Northwoods, the plan, which had the written approval
> of the Chairman and every member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, called for
> innocent people to be shot on American streets; for boats carrying
> refugees fleeing Cuba to be sunk in the high seas; for a wave of violent
> terrorism to be launched in Washington, D.C., Miami and elsewhere. People
> would be framed for bombings they did not commit; planes would be
> hijacked. Using phony evidence, all of it would be blamed on Castro, thus
> giving Lemnitzer and his cabal the excuse, as well as the public and
> international backing, they needed to launch their war.
> ...One idea seriously considered involved the launch of John Glenn, the
> first American to orbit the earth. On February 20, 1962, Glenn was to lift
> off from Cape Canaveral, Florida, on his historic journey. The flight was
> to carry the banner of America's virtues of truth, freedom and democracy
> into orbit over the planet. But Lemnitzer and his Chiefs had a different
> idea. They proposed to Lansdale that, should the rocket explode and kill
> Glenn, 'the objective is to provide irrevocable proof that...the fault
> lies with the Communists et al Cuba [sic]'. This would be accomplished,
> Lemnitzer continued, 'by manufacturing various pieces of evidence which
> would prove electronic interference on the part of the Cubans.' Thus, as
> NASA prepared to send the first American into space, the Joint Chiefs of
> Staff were preparing to use John Glenn's possible death as a pretext to
> launch a war."
> ...Among the actions recommended was 'a series of well coordinated
> incidents to take place in and around' the U.S. Navy base at Guantanamo
> Bay, Cuba. This included dressing 'friendly' Cubans in Cuban military
> uniforms and then have them 'start riots near the main gate of the base.
> Others would pretend to be saboteurs inside the base. Ammunition would be
> blown up, fires started, aircraft sabotaged, mortars fired at the base
> with damage to installations.' [Note same M.O. as nazis who used
> concentration camp inmates in polish uniforms to create a fake attack
> against a German radio station on the Polish border to 'justify' German
> attack of Poland in 1939].
> The suggested operations grew progressively more outrageous. Another
> called for an action similar to the infamous incident in February 1898
> when a explosion aboard the battleship Maine in Havana harbor killed 266
> U.S. sailors. Although the exact cause of the explosion remained
> undetermined, it sparked the Spanish-American War with Cuba. Incited by
> the deadly blast, more than a million men volunteered for duty. Lemnitzer
> and his generals came up with a similar plan. 'We could blow up a U.S.
> ship in Guantanamo Bay and blame Cuba', they proposed; 'casualty lists in
> U.S. newspapers would cause a helpful wave of national indignation.
> There seemed to be no limit to their fanaticism: 'We could develop a
> Communist Cuban terror campaign in the Miami area, in other Florida cities
> and even in Washington', they wrote. 'The terror campaign could be pointed
> at Cuban 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.'
> Bombings were proposed, false arrests, hijackings:
> *	'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.'
> '
> *	Advantage can be taken of the sensitivity of the Dominican
> [Republic] Air force to intrusions into their national airspace. 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 arms which would be found, or intercepted, on the
> beach. Use of MiG type aircraft by U.S. pilots could provide additional
> provocation.'
> *	Hijacking attempts against civil and air surface craft could appear
> to continue as harassing measures condoned by the Government of Cuba.
> Among the most elaborate schemes was 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,
> Guatamala, 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.'
> Lemnitzer and the Joint Chiefs worked out a complex deception:
> An aircraft at Elgin 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
> selected passengers, all boarded under carefully prepared aliases. The
> actual registered aircraft would be converted to a drone [a remotely
> controlled unmanned aircraft]. 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 to an auxiliary field at Elgin AFB where
> arrangements will be 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 be
> 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, which
> will be triggered by radio signal. This will allow ICAO [International
> Civil Aviation Organization] radio stations in the Western Hemisphere to
> tell the U.S. what has happened to the aircraft instead of the U.S. trying
> to 'sell' the incident.
> Finally, there was a plan to ' make it appear that Communist Cuban MiGs
> have destroyed a USAF aircraft over international waters in an unprovoked
> attack.' It was a particularly believable operation given the decade of
> shootdowns that had just taken place."
> pp. 82-86

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