As we watch President Obama being warmly welcomed in Cuba, we think back to the secret, shameful things done in the past by the US to undermine Castro, not counting the various assassination attempts. This report lays bare one of the most hair-raising schemes.
On March 13, 1962, the Joint Chiefs of Staff proposed to President John F. Kennedy that the United States attack itself — and blame Cuba. This is what is known as a "false flag" event.
This proposal came at the request of the CIA's Edward Lansdale who was in charge of the anti-Castro project.
Kennedy dismissed it as lunacy, certain to lead to war. This set him on a fatal collision course with the most powerful people in the country.
This little-known proposal, code-named Operation Northwoods, is highly relevant today. It provides a crucial backdrop to the murderous mindset of those whom Castro — and Kennedy — had angered. Moreover, we would be foolish to assume that the basic nature of institutions has changed. The temptation to engineer so-called false flag events may simply be too great to resist.
Was Northwoods an anomaly? Certainly not. Creating provocations to justify action — by making it appear you are only reacting — has long been a ploy of many governments, over time and throughout the world.
The United States has hardly been immune to the temptation to shape events, opinion, and historical trajectories: An explosion on the US battleship, The Maine, in Havana Harbor, may have been designed to build public support for the American takeover of Cuba; the Gulf of Tonkin incident, an attack blamed on the North Vietnamese to justify widening the Vietnam Conflict; Operation Gladio, in which terrorist attacks in Europe in the 1970s were blamed on leftists but engineered by right-wing networks supported by American intelligence. And WhoWhatWhy has covered the recent use of falsified atrocities to justify the overthrow of Muammar Qaddafi and the strategic grab of that valuable North African real estate.
So it is no surprise that many Americans do not trust their government when it assures them it was caught completely unawares by the 9/11 attacks. Because the past is prolog, we would do well to learn the particulars of Northwoods.
Peter Dale Scott — professor of English at Berkeley, former Canadian diplomat, poet, author of several critically acclaimed books on the pivotal events of America's recent past — has unusual insight into such events. Here is a short excerpt from his book, American War Machine: Deep Politics, the CIA Global Drug Connection, and the Road to Afghanistan (Chapter 9: " 9/11 and the American Tradition of Engineered Deep Events."):
Operation Northwoods: Planning Provocations and Deceptions against Cuba
We know that the Pentagon was capable of planning atrocities as pretexts for war from the series of documents known collectively as Project Northwoods.
Northwoods was a JCS [Joint Chiefs of Staff] response to a request from Edward Lansdale, who in 1962 was chief of operations for the anti-Castro Cuba Project, also known as Operation Mongoose.
Lansdale had asked, "for a brief but precise description of pretexts which would provide justification for US military intervention in Cuba." (1) The JCS document, signed by JCS Chief Lyman Lemnitzer, obliged with a list of false-flag possibilities such as the following:
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.