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Operation Northwoods

Operation Northwoods was the code name for a set of proposals by the Joint Chiefs of Staff in 1962 intended to create a pretext for a war on Cuba. The operation called for a series of false-flag terrorist attacks by the Pentagon against US ships and aircraft, and Cuban refugees. 1  

Skeptics of the official account of 9/11 were quick to point to Operation Northwoods as evidence of the intent of US military officials to carry out false flag operations such as 9/11/01.

s u m m a r y
title: Operation Northwoods, Justification for U.S. Military Intervention in Cuba
Reproduces the 15-page document in the form of plain text.
s u m m a r y
title: Northwoods: A Plan For Terror To Justify War
authors: Jared Israel
Reproduces photostats of the documents.

Publication of the Documents

Operation Northwoods was developed in secret and remained secret for thirty-five years, being declassified in late 1997. Following that, its contents were publicized in increments.

  • November 18, 1997: The John F. Kennedy Assassination Records Review Board declassified about 1500 pages of previously secret military records, including the Northwoods documents. 2  
  • November 6, 1998: The National Security Archive published "Appendix to Enclosure A" and "Annex to Appendix to Enclosure A" of the Northwoods documents online.
  • November 29, 1998: CNN airs "Episode 10: Cuba" as part of its televised Cold War documentary series. 3  
  • Late April, 2001: James Bamford's book "Body of Secrets" is published. Billed as an expose on the NSA, the book functioned primarily to highlight Operation Northwoods.
  • April 30, 2001: The National Security Archive published the Northwoods documents online in a form that included the memoranda.

With the release of "Body of Secrets" and the Northwoods memoranda in the spring of 2001, mainstream media such as ABCNews.com began to publicize the operation, just a few months before the 9/11 attack.

e x c e r p t
title: Friendly Fire
authors: David Ruppe

Code named Operation Northwoods, the plans reportedly included the possible assassination of Cuban émigrés, sinking boats of Cuban refugees on the high seas, hijacking planes, blowing up a U.S. ship, and even orchestrating violent terrorism in U.S. cities.

The plans were developed as ways to trick the American public and the international Community into supporting a war to oust Cuba's then new leader, Communist Fidel Castro.

Discussion of Operation Northoods continued to percolate thorough popular culture after the 9/11 attack, sometimes drawing parallels to other events, such as the assassination of JFK.

s u m m a r y
authors: Mack White
This cartoon by Mack White explains Operation Northwoods and relates it to other developments and the assassination of JFK.

Carol Valentine, curator of the Waco Holocaust Electronic Museum, insists that the Northwoods document is a fake, designed to implicate the Pentagon for crimes of the NSA (National Security Agency). She suggests that James Bamford, who has written exposes' on the NSA, is actually a public relations flack for the agency. His book, Body of Secrets, purports to be an expose on the NSA, but instead exposes the murderous plan by the Pentagon.

e x c e r p t
title: Operation Northwoods: The Counterfeit
authors: Carol A. Valentine
The reviews were well in circulation, but still fresh when 9-11 hit. In retrospect, Northwoods seemed like an eery premonition. I thought the release of the Northwoods revelations were indeed a timely coincidence. Because the Northwoods scenario seemed to fit the facts of 9-11, many writers cited Bamford and Northwoods. I was one of them.

But there is just one problem with Northwoods. Operation Northwoods was not written by Americans. Put in other words, Operation Northwoods documents were not written by the Pentagon. They are counterfeits.

Operation Northwoods and 9/11 Misinformation

Although the Operation Northwoods documents are clearly evidence that US military officials are capable of considering plans involving the murder of US citizens in a false-flag operation blaming innocent parties, it is not evidence of how the 9/11 attack was carried out. This distinction is lost by many 9/11 theorists who cite Northwoods' envisioning of substitutions of military aircraft for civilian jetliners as evidence of plane swapping on 9/11/01. For example, the first part of the film Loose Change highlights passages from the Northwoods documents about plane substitution, while later parts assert, without evidence, that the Pentagon and Twin Towers were not hit by jetliners.


1. Pentagon Proposed Pretexts for Cuba Invasion in 1962, Nationl Security Archive,
2. Media Advisory: National Archives Releases Additional Materials Reviewed by the Assassination Records Review Board, archives.gov, 11/17/97 [cached]
3. Episode 10: Cuba, CNN.com, [cached]

page last modified: 2010-05-24
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Selected pages from the Operation Northwoods document