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US Government - Operation Northwoods

Author: Edward L Winston
Added: September 18th, 2009

Operation Northwoods refers to a declassified document that originates from the Joint Chiefs of Staff within the Kennedy administration[1]. It is used by conspiracy theorists as evidence that the attacks of September 11th were an "inside job", and in some cases other attacks such as the Oklahoma City Bombing.

Important Notes

I wanted to mention a few things before I start to discuss the contents of the document. The document was made public on November 18, 1997[2] and a more complete form was published online April 30, 2001[3]. Kennedy rejected the operation and it is noted in a document from March 16, 1962:

"General Lemnitzer commented that the military had contingency plans for US intervention. Also it had plans for creating plausible pretexts to use force, with the pretext either attacks on US aircraft or a Cuban action in Latin America for which we could retaliate. The President said bluntly that we were not discussing the use of military force, that General Lemnitzer might find the U.S so engaged in Berlin or elsewhere that he couldn't use the contemplated 4 divisions in Cuba."[4]

Alex Jones at one time even claimed that JFK was killed because he rejected the plans, but today Jones claims it's because of some Federal Reserve related conspiracy. It's far more likely that Kennedy was against military force because of the failed Bay of Pigs Invasion in April 1961, rather than any moral disgust[5].

Document Content

Overall, the content of the document is a series of plans regarding ways to commit false-flag attacks in order to blame them on Cuba. These attacks are often compared to the events on 9/11, but are they really similar? We'll talk about each point made within the document[1].

1. Since it would seem desirable to use legitimate provocation as the basis for US 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.

Essentially a description that we need to provoke them or show provocation in some way in order to justify an invasion.

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):

(1) start rumors (many). Use clandestine radio. 
(2) Land friendly Cubans in uniform "over-the-fence" to stage attack on base. 
(3) Capture Cuban (friendly) saboteurs inside the base. 
(4) Start riots near the base main gate (friendly Cubans). 
(5) Blow up ammunition inside the base; start fires. 
(6) Burn aircraft on air base (sabotage). 
(7) Lob mortar shells from outside of base into base. Some damage to installations. 
(8) capture assault teams approaching from the sea or vicinity of Guantanamo City. 
(9) Capture militia group which storms the base. 
(10) Sabotage ship in harbor; large fires -- napthalene. 
(11) Sink ship near harbor entrance. Conduct funerals for mock-victims (may be 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.

So far it's hard to find a real parallel to the events on 9/11 So far the only mention of potential victims actually refers to mock-victims rather than real ones. There's still more to look at though.

3. A "Remember the Maine" incident could be arranged in several forms:

a. We could blow up a US 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 US could follow up with an air/sea rescue operation covered by US fighters to "evacuate" remaining members of the non-existent crew. Casualty lists in US newspapers would cause a helpful wave of national indignation. 

Another unmanned vessel, still not sacrificing thousands of American lives.

4. We could develop a Communist Cuban terror campaign in the Miami area, in other Florida cities and even in Washington. 

Holy shit! A terror campaign! Surely it must be referring to acts of terrorism like 9/11, let's see:

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.

Well, not really. Granted it sort of talks about Cuban refugee lives as meaningless, but it does say "real or simulated", meaning at least some thought was given to the potential deaths of Cubans, but even then the document says wounding, not killing.

5. A "Cuban-based, Castro-supported" filibuster could be simulated against a neighboring Caribbean nation (in the vein of the 14th of June invasion of the Dominican Republic). We know that Castro is backing subversive efforts clandestinely against Haiti, 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.

Talking about taking advantage of violations of airspace, spinning them to be more sinister than they actually are.

6. Use of MIG type aircraft by US pilots could provide additional provocation. Harassment of civil air, attacks on surface shipping and destruction of US 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 US resources in about three months.

This is the closest to something like what the 9/11 conspiracy theorists have claimed. It talks about using an unmanned drone that could be shot down by a Cuban MIG and blamed on Cuba. This still doesn't fit the events on 9/11, unless you're the kind of person who believes in the "drone aircraft" conspiracy theories, but even then, this specifies unmanned, not hijacking a civilian aircraft and crashing it into a building.

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.

The use of hijacking attempts, real or not, to demonize the Cuban government and encourage defections from Cuba. Keep in mind, hijackings at this time had not been used for suicide missions. One could use hindsight bias here, but prior to 9/11, hijackings were used as a means to get a goal accomplished, not kill as many people as possible.

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 being 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 US what has happened to the aircraft instead of the US trying to "sell" the incident.

This one fits the scenario laid out by some 9/11 conspiracy theorists, but it doesn't fit the events that happened. It's talking about creating a fake passenger list and blowing up a drone. Again, is this the same thing as hijacking an aircraft with real civilians and using it as a weapon against other civilians?

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.

Essentially faking an F-101 being shot down. One could argue the spreading of parts fits the conspiracy theorist scenario for the Pentagon, but then you'd have to ignore the mountains of other evidence that a plane actually crashed there.

Let's quickly take a look at another plot that fits the scenario for the September 11th attacks.

Operation Bojinka

Also called the "Bojinka plot", this was a planned terrorist attack in 1995 by Ramzi Yousef and Khalid Shaikh Mohammad to blow up 11 civilian airliners and kill around 4,000 passengers. Financing for the plot originated from Obama bin Laden, Riduan Isamuddin, and Mohammad Jamal Khalifa as well as laundering through other sources.

The first part of the operation was to use a suicide bomber to kill Pope John Paul II on his visit to the Philippines. The primary purpose of this was to divert attention away from the 20 or so men that were going to carry out the airline bombings.

Essentially the plan was that five terrorists would put 11 bombs on various airliners that had layovers in East Asia and Southeast Asia, they then would hide the bombs in the life jackets under the seats and get off the plane during a layover. They would then board one or two other flights and do the same thing. After all the bombs had been planted the men would then fly to Lahore, Pakistan. The primary purpose for this location was that the planes would be headed towards the United States, but no visas would be needed since they got off the planes early. Batteries for the bombs would be carried in the heals of the bombers shoes.

After all that the plot still had another phase to it. The plan had yet to be completely worked out, but essentially a small plane, preferably a Cessna, would be rented, bought, or hijacked, filled with explosives and crashed into the CIA headquarters in Virginia. However, as the plan was being worked on, the terrorists decided that perhaps hijacking a 12th plane and crashing it into the CIA headquarters would be better than a small plane.

Further plots included hijacking more airplanes and using them to attack the Sears Tower, Pentagon, US Capitol Building, the White House, Transamerica Tower, and the World Trade Center.

Keep in mind these events were reported in the news at the time, and were not secrets[6][7][8][9][10][11].

Due to a chemical fire the entire plan unraveled, I won't get into that here, but you can read about it on Wikipedia.


So, which is more logical: Operation Northwoods was the basis for the 9/11 attacks or Operation Bojinka was the basis instead? Which is most similar? If Operation Northwoods really is the main plan to help promote whatever agenda there is, then why was it declassified? Furthermore, why was it released with more information and onto the Internet in early 2001 if they planned on executing "plans" therein later on that year?

Don't mistake what I'm saying, I don't trust government either, just read my COINTELPRO page.