The Lie

March 13, 1962

"The desired resultant from the execution of this plan would be to place the United States in the apparent 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." - Chairman Lyman Lemnitzer

The Truth

After Fidel Castro had taken power in Cuba, the US government worked overtime to undo that.

Operation Northwoods was a set of proposals to oust Castro in response to unprovoked attacks purportedly from Cuba. These attacks by the US on its own citizens included terror campaigns across Florida, bombings, and even killing John Glenn as he sought to become the first American in space.

The plots were suggested and approved by the Joint Chiefs of Staff, signed by then chairman Lyman Lemnitzer and sent to President John F. Kennedy.

The files detailing this were kept secret for decades and only in 1997 did over 1500 pages of previously secret documents get released because of persistent questioning of events surrounding the JFK assassination.

Thankfully, JFK opted not to kill his own citizens, but every subsequent false-flag rumor now had a real and terrifying truth to reference. More importantly, this episode highlighted the lengths governments will go to to bury facts and the critical role Freedom of Information Act requests—like those of trailblazing journalists like James Bamford, whose 1982 book NSA: Puzzle Palace unveiled that secret agency to the world—play to this day.

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Read the released documents

Memorandum for the Secretary of Defense March 13, 1962

The Process

Independent journalists sort through government documents and make freedom of information requests because buried within this kind of paperwork, shocking secrets are revealed.