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 more 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 past is prologue, we would do well to learn the particulars of Northwoods.