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Operation Northwoods

Operation Northwoods was a document drafted in 1962 by the Joint Chiefs of Staff and presented to President John F. Kennedy on March 13, 1962. Long believed to be residing in the imagination of conspiracy theorists, the document was declassified in recent years by the Freedom of Information Act.


The document was drafted with the intent of fueling acceptation of the American population for a US war against Cuba. The Joint Chiefs of Staff argued that the US population would only support military intervention in Cuba in the event of an aggressive attack on American population by Cuba.

Northwoods therefore called for the creation of this setting by using The Pentagon and CIA paramilitary forces in aggressive attacks against American civilians.

The recommendations of Operation Northwoods were:

  • Start false rumors about Cuba by using clandestine radios.
  • Stage mock attacks, sabotages and riots and blaming it on Cuban forces.
  • Sink an American ship at the Guantanamo Bay American military base or destroy American aircraft and blame it on Cuban forces.
  • Hijack a commercial American aircraft and destroy it by American military aircraft disguised as Cuban aircraft.

What Happened?

The document was fortunately rejected by John F. Kennedy and with the Bay of Pigs Invasion disaster contributed to efforts by John F. Kennedy to break the military-industrial complex that was constantly asking for war. After the Bay of Pigs disaster, John F. Kennedy fired then CIA director Allen W. Dulles, Deputy Director[?] Charles P. Cabell[?] and Deputy Director[?] Richard Bissell[?].

Kennedy also took steps in breaking the Cold War and paramilitary operations of the CIA by drafting a National Security Action Memorandum[?] (NSAM) which called for the shift of Cold War operations to the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Pentagon as well as a major change in the role of the CIA to exclusively deal in intelligence gathering.

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