Tuesday, March 13, 1962: Operation Northwoods

A plan drawn up by the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff under which the U.S. military would undertake a campaign of terrorism -- including, in some cases, acts of violence against Americans -- as a pretext for blaming and then invading Cuba. The proposal, presented to Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara, was never implemented.

Among the actions outlined in the plan:

"We could blow up a ship in U.S. ship in Guantanamo Bay and blame Cuba."

"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 Cuban refugees seeking haven in the United States. We could sink a boatlad 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."

"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."

"It is possible to create an incident which will make it appear than Communist Cuban MIGs have destroyed a USAF aircraft over international waters in an unprovoked attack."

* Original Northwoods documents (from National Security Archive): @
* "Operation Northwoods and the Covert War Against Cuba, 1961-63" (2002, from the journal Cuban Studies): @
* "Body of Secrets: Anatomy of the Ultra-Secret National Security Agency" (book by James Bamford): @
* Memorandum from Joint Chiefs to Secretary of Defense re: Cuba (April 10, 1962): @
* "Probable Reactions to a U.S. Military Intervention in Cuba" (CIA document, April 10; from the Mary Ferrell Foundation): @

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