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Operations Northwoods Documents
On the Website of the
US National Archives and Records Administration

According to ABC News and government documents on Operation Northwoods, America's top military leaders drafted plans to kill innocent people and commit acts of terrorism in US cities to trick the public into supporting a war against Cuba in the early 1960s. Approved in writing by the Pentagon Joint Chiefs, Operation Northwoods even proposed blowing up a US ship and hijacking planes as a false pretext for war.

A summary of key quotes from the Operation Northwoods documents is given below these instructions. To access the Operation Northwoods documents in the U.S. National Archives, first go to the webpage of the National Archives Catalog at:

Then, in the search box of the page that appears, type "Northwoods" and click on the "Search" button to the right of the box. You will then see the following item:

Plan for U.S. Military Intervention in Cuba Codenamed Northwoods

Click on the title, which is a link. You will then see the first of 181 pages available, though the first page does not mention Operation Northwoods. The most revealing 15 pages of Operations Northwoods documents begin on page 129 and continue to 143.

Thanks for caring enough to investigate Operation Northwoods. These documents demonstrate clearly that some top leaders in the U.S. military have no moral or ethical difficulty in developing plans which not only sacrifice the lives of innocent American citizens, but clearly trick and manipulate the American people in order to forward the war agenda. For more powerful information on this by a highly decorated American General, click here.

By each of us spreading this information far and wide, we can build a critical mass of people who join in calling for a return to open government and stronger democracy in order that we might build a brighter future together.

Key quotes from Operation Northwoods documents:

The Operation Northwoods documents were approved in writing by the Joint Chiefs of Staff–the top generals of each branch of the US armed forces–and submitted to the Secretary of Defense McNamara, though never acted upon. The documents only came to light because of a Freedom of Information Act request in the late 1990s. Page numbers are listed to assist in finding the quotes on the original documents. Could similar tactics to those listed below have been used in regards to 9/11?

Page 129 of file (Memorandum)

13 March 1962


Subject: Justification for US Military Intervention in Cuba

The Joint Chiefs of Staff have considered the attached Memorandum for the Chief of Operations, Cuba Project, which responds to a request of that office for brief but precise description of pretexts which could provide justification for US military intervention in Cuba.

It is assumed that a single agency will be given the primary responsibility for developing military and para-military aspects of the basic plan. It is recommended that this responsibility for both overt and covert military operations be assigned the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Page 133 of file (page 2 of actual Joint Chiefs report)

The suggested courses of action ... are based on the premise that US military intervention will result from a period of heightened US-Cuban tensions which place the United States in the position of suffering justifiable grievances. World opinion, and the United Nations forum should be favorably affected by developing the international image of the Cuban government as rash and irresponsible, and as an alarming and unpredictable threat to the peace of the Western Hemisphere.

Page 136 of file (page 5 of actual Joint Chiefs report)

This plan ... should be developed to focus all efforts on a specific ultimate objective which would provide adequate justification for US military intervention. Such a plan would enable a logical build-up of incidents to be combined with other seemingly unrelated events to camouflage the ultimate objective.

Page 138-139 of file (page 7-8 of actual Joint Chiefs report)

A series of well coordinated incidents will be planned to take place in and around Guantanamo to give genuine appearance of being done by hostile Cuban forces.

A. Incidents to establish a credible attack:

  (1)   Start rumors (many). Use clandestine radio.
  (2)   Land friendly Cubans in uniform "over-the-fence" to stage attack on base.
  (3)   Capture Cuban (friendly) saboteurs inside the base.
  (4)   Start riots near the base main gate (friendly Cubans).
  (5)   Blow up ammunition inside the base: start fires.
  (6)   Burn aircraft on air base (sabotage).
  (7)   Lob mortar shells from outside of base into base.
  (8)   Capture assault teams approaching from the sea or vicinity of Guantanamo City.
  (9)   Capture militia group which storms base.
(10)   Sabotage ship in harbor; large fires – naphthalene.
(11)   Sink ship near harbor entrance. Conduct funerals for mock-victims.

A "Remember the Maine" incident could be arranged: We could blow up a US ship in Guantanamo Bay and blame Cuba. Casualty lists in US newspapers would cause a helpful wave of national indignation.

We could develop a Communist Cuban terror campaign in the Miami area, in other Florida cities and even in Washington.

Page 140 of file (page 9 of actual Joint Chiefs report)

Use of MIG type aircraft by US pilots could provide additional provocation. Harassment of civil air, attacks on surface shipping and destruction of US military drone aircraft by MIG type planes would be useful as complementary actions. Reasonable copies of the MIG could be produced from US resources in about three months.

Page 141 of file (page 10 of actual Joint Chiefs report)

Hijacking attempts against civil air and surface craft should appear to continue as harassing measures condoned by the government of Cuba.

It is possible to create an incident which will demonstrate convincingly that a Cuban aircraft has attacked and shot down a chartered civil airliner enroute from the United States. The destination would be chosen only to cause the flight plan to cross Cuba. The passengers could be a group of college students off on a holiday.

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 the designated time the duplicate would be substituted for the actual civil aircraft and would be loaded with selected passengers, all boarded under carefully prepared aliases. The actual aircraft would be converted to a drone.

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 be 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 destruction of the aircraft which will be triggered by radio signal.

Note from

As you explore some of the other strange facts you find on our website, we invite you to remember how the top US military leaders planned to manipulate public opinion to support their objectives in Operation Northwoods. Considering the above, is it beyond comprehension that similar tactics might have been used in relation to the 9/11 attacks to create a pretext for war in Afghanistan and Iraq?

9/11 Information Center