Operation Northwoods: Generals approved domestic terror ‘false flag’ that was a blueprint for 9/11

Kennedy: The man who said no to an attack by the U.S. government against its own citizens.

‘The most corrupt plan ever created by the U.S. government’James Bamford in Body of Secrets

February 4, 2017

By Craig McKee

A massive and spectacular terrorist attack.
Civilians killed on American soil. Explosives planted to simulate an assault from an external enemy. American cities attacked, including Washington, D.C. Military targets hit. Civil aircraft hijacked. Wreckage planted. Evidence manufactured.
You might assume I’m talking about 9/11, the most devastating false flag “terror attack” in history. But I’m not. I’m talking about Operation Northwoods, which you will hear barely anything about in the mainstream media.
The plan was approved by the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff and presented to Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara on March 13, 1962 in a top secret memorandum. The idea of the plan was to launch a campaign of terror against American citizens to trick them into supporting an invasion of Cuba. The goal was to oust Castro just three years after he took power in a revolution. And were it not for President John F. Kennedy’s refusal, the operation would have gone ahead.
The memorandum makes it very clear that the purpose was to fabricate a fake threat:
“The desired resultant from the execution of this plan would be to place the United States in the position of suffering defensible grievances from a rash and irresponsible government of Cuba and to develop an international image of a Cuban threat to peace in the Western Hemisphere.”  
I wonder if the person who composed the words, “from a rash and irresponsible government” had any awareness of the irony inherent in them.
As part of what they would claim was a “Communist Cuban terror campaign,” the Joint Chiefs wanted to murder civilians, blow up a plane painted to look like a civilian airliner, sink a military ship, sink a boat full of Cuban refugees, and even fake an attack on their own naval base in Guantanamo Bay. All blamed on Cuba. The memo even described the sinking of the military ship as a “Remember the Maine” incident, referring to the U.S.S. Maine, which exploded in Havana harbor in 1898 giving the U.S. “justification” for starting the Spanish-American War.

Lemnitzer: blame massive terror campaign on Cuba.

The thing about Operation Northwoods is that it’s not a theory, it’s a fact. The memorandum confirming this was declassified by order of the John F. Kennedy Assassination Records Review Board in 1997. They show that Joint Chiefs Chairman Lyman Lemnitzer proposed the plan and that all members of the Joint Chiefs had signed on. Kennedy’s refusal to give his approval further angered the military leadership, which still blamed him for the failure of the Bay of Pigs invasion the year before.
Most 9/11 truthers and other conspiracy aficionados already know about the plan. Some of them reading this right now are saying, “Yeah, yeah, we know this already.” Well, good for you; you go to the head of the class. But it’s not just truthers who need to know about this, it’s the whole world. And it is left to those of us who care about the truth to tell them.
Northwoods may be the most important piece of U.S. history that most Americans have never heard of because it shows us that the claim that 9/11 was a false flag pulled off by the U.S. government (and possibly other governments) isn’t the least bit far-fetched. Once you know about this operation, it becomes much harder to ridicule the idea of 9/11 as first and foremost a massive and deadly deception by a government against its own people.
In fact, the operation was virtually a dry run for 9/11 and eerily anticipated both the violence against domestic civilian targets we saw on Sept. 11, 2001, and the deception that led the world to believe that the “attack” had been carried out by America’s enemy du jour. Exit Communist Cuba, enter Islamic extremists. Both operations show that those in positions of military power were prepared to put on a spectacular show to achieve their anti-democratic objectives.
The plan even advocated having a U.S. military plane painted to look like a passenger airliner. The idea was that the plane would be shot down, with Castro being blamed for killing all the innocent passengers on board. But there wouldn’t be any real passengers on board. They would FAKE the whole thing. Sound familiar? Fake crash, fake wreckage?
As one reads excerpts from the declassified memo, one can’t help but think of the 9/11 “hijackings”:
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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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 [sic] 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 the destruction of aircraft which will be triggered by radio signal. This will allow IACO 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. (p. 9-10)

A duplicate aircraft substituted for the real one. Passengers with aliases evacuated.
And a military flight would be the subject of another staged “attack”:
 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.
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 retuning to Homestead would have a true story as far as they knew.  Search ships and aircraft could be dispatched and parts of aircraft found. (p.11)
The pilot and plane would disappear. Wreckage would be planted.
Could anyone reading this still think it is outrageously far-fetched to suggest that 9/11 was a staged false flag “terror attack”? In fact, the scope of Operation Northwoods even surpasses 9/11 in many ways. Under Northwoods, the U.S. government would:

  • Hijack civil aircraft
  • Stage a fake attack (with “friendly” Cubans) on U.S. naval base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba
  • Capture fake soldiers simulating an attack on the base
  • Start riots near the entrance to the base
  • Blow up ammunition inside the base and start fires
  • Set fire to aircraft inside the base
  • Lob mortar shells into the base from outside – cause some damage to installations
  • Capture fake assault teams approaching from the sea
  • Capture militia group that storms the base
  • Sabotage large ship in the harbour – start large fires
  • Sink ship near entrance to the harbour – conduct mock funerals of victims
  • Blow up U.S. naval vessel in Guantanamo Bay
  • Blow up an unmanned drone ship in Cuban waters
  • Follow that with a “rescue” mission to retrieve non-existent crew
  • Plant fake Soviet explosive device
  • Develop a Communist Cuba terror campaign in the Miami area, in other Florida cities and even in Washington
  • Sink boatload of Cuban refugees (real or simulated)
  • Foster attempts on the lives of Cuban refugees in the U.S., wounding some
  • Make it appear that Castro was subverting other countries in the region
  • Detonate plastic bombs in carefully chosen spots
  • Arrest Cuban agents (In the memo they wrote: “… release prepared documents substantiating Cuban involvement also would  be helpful in projecting the idea of an irresponsible government”)
  • Fake Cuban messages to Communist underground in the Dominican Republic
  • Use fake MIGs flown by U.S. pilots

Mock funerals of “victims.”
The details of the operation were chronicled by investigative journalist James body-of-secretsBamford in his 2002 book Body of Secrets. Bamford reveals the details of the campaign of terror and disinformation as well as the Joint Chiefs’ intention to impose “prolonged military control” over Cuba after Castro was overthrown. Bamford writes:
“People would be framed for bombings they did not commit; planes would be hijacked. Using phony evidence, all of it would be blamed on Castro, thus giving Lemnitzer and his cabal the excuse, as well as the public and international backing, they needed to launch their war.” (p. 82)
Bamford writes that the plan, or at least the general idea of the plan, was likely conceived by outgoing president Dwight D. Eisenhower, who Bamford says desperately wanted to invade Cuba before leaving office. In the absence of a good excuse for doing so, Eisenhower suggested “manufacturing” something that would achieve the same result.
“What he was proposing was a pretext—a bombing, an attack, an act of sabotage—carried out secretly against the United States by the United States.” (p. 83)
Bamford adds that Lemnitzer and the generals began to lose hope under the new Kennedy administration that they would get their chance to invade Cuba. They saw just one option.
“They would have to trick the American public and world opinion into hating Cuba so much that they would not only go along, but would insist, that he and the generals launch their war against Castro.” (p. 83)
The generals also seriously discussed the possibility that disaster might strike Mercury astronaut John Glenn in his bid to become the first American to orbit the earth. If Glenn died in an accident, they were prepared to fake evidence that the rocket had been sabotaged by the Cubans using some kind of radio interference. This element did not make it into the final proposal. (Body of Secrets, page 84)
When I am told that 9/11 could not have been a false flag because the U.S. government could never kill 3,000 of its own people, I cite Operations Northwoods. I will direct people to an article that explains the details (I hope others will use this article for that purpose) and why it is not a stretch that some of the elements of the plan could have been resurrected nearly 40 years later along with the willingness to implement such a plan. In fact, I did this just the other day with a friend who wanted to know what happened to the passengers of the four 9/11 flights. No word on whether he read the link I provided.
You might ask what reaction I’ve received from those who have looked into Northwoods on my recommendation. The answer is that I don’t know because no one has ever agreed to do this. In all the times I have suggested that friends or acquaintances read about the operation in the hope they will consider that false flags really do happen, not one has ever done so.
Some, I’m sure, just can’t be bothered. They were interested in a drive-by mocking and didn’t really want to have to read anything. But surely that can’t account for them all. I suspect that others don’t want to risk having to report back that this documented operation and 9/11 aren’t that dissimilar and that perhaps, just perhaps, I might be on to something.


  1. Great essay Craig. I learned a bit more about the specifics, even though I was already somewhat familiar with this story.
    I’m curious what you think of Bamford who is said to not at all believe that 9/11 was a false flag? (I disagree of course). Do you think he was just saying this to still get his pension or for other reasons (i.e. “Elite” knowing that he knows might not be good for future evdeavors, and not just for his “health,” but being able to write more books, etc.) Others such as Sibel Edmonds basically don’t seem to trust him at all (although she trusts what he was written about no doubt), but I guess opines that he is allowed to write about this stuff because the NSA (and other agencies) deem it to be acceptable (or advantageous in their POV), so that’s maybe why she’s skeptical of him. Another reason she mentioned I think was that it’s never too difficult for him to get his books published. Anyway, I’m pretty much just paraphrasing what Mrs. Edmonds said in an interview I heard a few years ago.
    Anyway, thanks for this essay and all of the research you put into it (and your others). Cheers 🙂

    1. Yes, excellent article.
      Re: Bamford not believing 9/11 was a false flag–I haven’t found anything on this on the Internet. Has anyone? If true, and there is info on this available, it would seem that Bamford imay be being used to undercut 9/11 Truth. Or maybe they just shut him up? Or maybe he just doesn’t want to go there thinking that the mainstream would shun him.
      Found this:

      1. Yeah, thanks for your input. I remember from listening to a few interviews he had with Scott Horton and one time Horton asking him if he thought 911 was a false flag/inside job, and Bamford totally denying that he in anyway didn’t believe the “official” story (fairy tale). It’s really disappointing! LOL I forget exactly what show, but here’s a link to some of his interviews (below), and here’s a quote from one of the show’s descriptions: “… the 9/11 Commission’s failure to mention or investigate the NSA and how turf war jealousies (and not legal prohibitions) prevented intelligence agencies from sharing information that would have prevented the 9/11 attacks.”

    2. Thanks, Zogistani. I’m not sure what to make of Bamford. I own the book I quoted from but have not read it except for the section about Operation Northwoods. Perhaps he avoids being too direct about 9/11 to keep his mainstream credibility. I would refer you to Barrie Zwicker’s comment on this topic because I think he has given it more thought than I have.

    3. Not far fetched at all. It seems that every time the powers that be want us in a war, we are terrorized on US soil. Remember Pearl Harbor. The American citizens wanted to stay out of WWII. Then the Japanese attack, a foolish thing to do as they could never win against us. They were just a false flag. Another war fought for the Jews. Shameful…

  2. If ever there was one article of yours, Craig, that should be required reading for the general population, and not just ‘conspiracy aficionados,’ this is it.
    I like what you said about people’s silence after being shown the path. I remember 10+ years ago, visiting my old high school with a DVD of one of the early 9/11 truth conferences (“Confronting the Evidence”, 2004) and leaving it in the Social Studies office for all the faculty to watch at their convenience. I gave my contact info re phone and email and left a note saying “please, I want to know your reactions. If you think this is all BS I’d like to know why.” That conference covered Northwoods and even featured a recorded interview with Bamford.
    As you can guess, I never heard from a single member of that history department’s faculty. Of course, that school is in conservative white, suburban Cincinnati where there were lots of Bush supporters. But the Left has its own cognitive dissonance, as I’ve observed with my friends in the fine/performing arts, almost all of whom consider themselves Democrats and progressives. Let’s see how many people react to FB sharing of this article. Assuming Zuckerberg’s “fake news- busting” algorithms don’t keep it off people’s feeds, of course.

    1. You’re making a lot of assumptions about the high school folks. You gave it to them to watch and said if you think it is all BS I’d like to know why. No one contacted you. So maybe no one thought it was BS. You shouldn’t be surprised that no one called you, that was a little creepy of you anyway. People just don’t usually do that…( “hey remember that DVD you left, that was stupid?”) So basing how they reacted to the DVD or even if they watched the DVD based on whether or not they called you is meaningless. Our job is to deliver the message, that is all.

      1. “Our job is to deliver the message, that is all”
        Our “job” is to follow up and answer questions that people might have that were not addressed in the information we first gave them.
        We don’t just plant a seed and walk away…..we have to water it and pull the weeds of disinfo too.

      2. Maybe I typed in too much of a hurry. I also didn’t quote my “contact me” message verbatim after 12 years. I actually made it clear that I wanted them to contact me regardless of whether they thought it was convincing or not. I basically told them I wanted to hear from them, positive or negative. I would have been interested to hear dissenting views. But I would have been happier to be contacted and told that it was convincing and that they’d join me in the fight.

    2. I appreciate it, Adam. I do see this article as one that can be shown to official story believers who have somewhat open minds. I sought to create a piece that would be a strong statement on why we should all know about this operation.

  3. Man I’ve been posting about Operation Northwoods to my willful ignorant FB associates for ages. Up to now they still don’t budge. I once even got a most contradicting response from one of whom you’d think he really is against all that hegemonic evil. But that was after I gave him your Pentagon article.

  4. Craig’s choosing to highlight Operation Northwoods is welcome and timely, partly in the odd sense that blowing the whistle on Northwoods is timely any day of any year. I included Northwoods in my book Towers of Deception as one of 16 important false flag ops of all time. It was number 8. Every flashback on this deeply immoral and dangerous plan is worthy. As Craig notes this monstrous documented scheme has never been treated by any mainstream medium in accordance with its high significance. Or, really, at all.
    I, too, have wondered how Bamford came into possession of this information and “was allowed,” shall we say, to write fully about it. In the course of writing three books about the NSA he must have developed some deep contacts. Maybe somebody owed him. Maybe somebody simply thought this travesty should be known.
    As to his take on 9/11, he wrote the book “A Pretext for War: 9/11, Iraq, and the Abuse of America’s Intelligence Agencies,” published in 2004. I have not read it, but accounts of it suggest he bought into the OFC, yet was critical of the uses to which 9/11 was put. It seems there’s between-the-lines information such as: “One notable remark by an unidentified figure in the CIA exclaimed to his employees that if the President wanted a war, then their jobs were to produce the justification and reasons.”
    There are many intelligent highly-informed critics of the American Empire (Chris Hedges, Naomi Klein and Ralph Nader as three of scores come to mind) who surely must know the truth about 9/11 but never let on. If Bamford is one he would be in highly disappointing but otherwise good company.
    Finally, looking at that pic of Lyman Lemnitzer, a couple of stray thoughts came to mind. One was when I counted the 12 rows of “battle ribbons” on the chest of his tailormade uniform. I can’t find the exact quote by the comedian Lenny Bruce but it goes something like: “When you see a military general in his uniform, it’s really impressive—if you’re 12 years old.”
    The other thought I should have had long ago. It’s how appropriate his first name is.
    Lyman. Yes indeed.

    1. Thanks for those comments, Barrie. As you note, Northwoods is always timely and yet the exact timing of this article is not especially significant. I just thought a good piece that sums up this critical event was worth writing and sharing as much as possible. I’m not certain, but it may have been from Towers of Deception that I first learned of this piece of history.

  5. Thanks, Craig. I read about ONW around 2004 and it was a sure nudge for me in the direction of believing the government could and would do 9/11. Alas, it was not until last September that I came to know that the government was behind it, after reading the Europhysics article on CD of the towers and then digging in to researching it in earnest.

  6. Allow me to introduce you to the most comprehensive single 9/11/conspiracy site I know of. God love the selfless maniac who put it together. I have been chipping at the articles and blurbs for ages and I am nowhere nearly finished. It is dense with info and insight. This isn’t a rabbit hole it a goddamn warren. http://www.takeoverworld.info

  7. Nice article! I have always wondered about 9/11. If the Joint Chiefs were capable then of planning a false flag for war profiteering, then they certainly were capable 40 years later.

  8. I am reading about Operation Northwoods again a year or 3 later.

    My re-reading coincides “by inevitable mere chance” with discovering a most amazingly eye-opening article on 9/11 composed by Brian S. Staveley (link below)

    Brian’s fundamental thesis is so utterly unorthodox most people will reject it out of hand, alas.

    Fortunately I had come across each and every one of Brian’s novel points, independently from the exact-same sources that inspired Brian’s thinking…. so I have no problem taking them all on board.

    Brian contends that 9/11 was the biggest-grossing blockbuster movie of all time.

    Check “biggest-grossing” by watching James Corbett’s “Following The Money” …. to appreciate fully the commandeered trillions-with-a-T placed in criminals’ bets on the stock exchange.

    “Block-buster movie” comprises the movie script written in great detail to describe the proposed fictional film. You might get a good idea of the 9/11 scheme from my fanciful title
    “The Fakery of 9/11: How Getting Rid of the 3 Twin Towers Liberated Iraq for History”

    Not only were all 4 airplanes faked for the film, but so too were the crowd scenes fictitionalized: the alleged 3000 killed when the towers fell, were in fact no more than a number in a fictional script.

    More recently we read Fetzer’s famous “Nobody Died at Shandy Hoax”.

    I won’t steal any of Brian S Staveley’s thunder, let him tell the tale and record what really happened on 9/11/2001.

    It’s a fair bet almost none of us have thought this through…. but it’s all there on paper.

    More to the point of this post: was it not also all there in the Operation Northwoods document?

    I confess I haven’t read the original…. but the precis that’s available above….. gives more than a subtle hint that Northwoods proposed that all the scenes of genocidal death should be FAKED???

    Just like what really happened in the 9/11 script.

    Let Brian explain (and/or check all on the LetsRollForums.com website)

    Mike Rose


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