The Guardian

The Guardian October 10, 2001


Culture and Life

by Rob Gowland

Operation Northwoods and the two towers

The US economy is in deep, deep trouble. It is in fact galloping 
headlong towards an economic abyss, and it's going to drag the rest of us 
over the edge with it.

In a frantic effort to loosen up the money supply, the US Federal Reserve 
has cut interest rates "nine times" this year. All to no avail: layoffs 
continue to grow, more corporations go belly up every week.

The country's biggest banks continue to soak up the wealth of the Third 
World like a sponge  leaving behind poverty, wretchedness and a well-
founded sense of injustice. Meanwhile, the US itself is running on credit, 
fuelling its industry and commerce with investment funds from overseas 
corporations and institutions.

The US is, in fact, the world's biggest debtor nation. That's not a problem 
when the economy is doing well. But right now the US economy is, as I said, 
doing less than well.

At the same time, there is a global movement of revolt against the policies 
of big capital. The leaders of the major capitalist countries or the heads 
of the main capitalist financial institutions cannot even hold a summit 
meeting in peace any more.

Gone is the pomp and ceremony. Now they have to meet behind enormous 
barricades of concrete and razor wire, protected by an army of riot police 
and, yes, soldiers.

There is no country where the bigwigs of capitalism can hobnob in peace and 
comfort while they figure out new ways to extract even more profit from the 
labour of the rest of humanity. The police and security forces turn every 
meeting place into an occasion for violence against demonstrators.

And not only the impoverished of the world but their governments are 
standing up and refusing to be bullied. The revolt in the streets has 
merged with the revolt of the Third World.

In fact, capitalism  especially US capitalism  desperately needs a war. 
How convenient that the worst terrorist actions in history should happen 
just at this time.

No doubt it was just a fortunate coincidence. After all, no government, no 
intelligence agency, would be so devoid of morality and scruples as to 
organise the slaughter of its own people, even with so much to gain as the 
US has at this time. 

Or would they? With a lot less at stake than now, US intelligence agencies 
in the 1960s prepared for the Joint Chiefs of the country's military plans 
by launching a wave of terrorism across the USA.

The intent was to build public support at home and abroad for a military 
invasion of Cuba. Despite all the anti-communism of the preceding 20 years, 
most Americans and most of America's allies still felt that saying a 
country's leader was a "Commie" just wasn't enough reason for going to war 
with them.

Hence the need for the "very" top secret Operation Northwoods. According to 
the book "Body of Secrets" by US journalist James Bamford, Operation 
Northwoods was very comprehensive.

Cuban emigres who had "fled Communism" to the "freedom" of the USA would be 
murdered in the street. No doubt "agents of Castro" would have been blamed.

It was proposed that boats of Cuban emigres heading for Florida could be 
sunk on the high seas (once again they would have blamed Cuban agents or 
even the Cuban Navy). Of course, the hijacking of planes "by Cubans" was 
part of the plan.

The planners knew the value for their purposes of US military casualties: 
They wrote "We could blow up a US ship in Guantanamo Bay and blame Cuba", 
adding "casualty lists in US newspapers would cause a helpful wave of 
national indignation".

The US military still operates on this principle, maintaining a special 
unit whose unique function is to be infiltrated into countries where the US 
needs an excuse to undertake military action, and, dressed in the uniforms 
of "that country's" soldiers, attack US personnel.

The creation of such incidents did not originate with the US military, of 
course. Hitler used the same stunt in order to provide the pretext for 
attacking Poland.

Operation Northwoods also included proposals for a campaign of violent 
terrorism against civilians in US cities. Nevertheless, this plan for 
terrorist attacks on the US people had the "written approval" of all of the 
Joint Chiefs of Staff (ie, the heads of the US military).

It was presented to US Defence Secretary, Robert McNamara, in March of 
1962. At the time, the Operation was not given the go-ahead.

That was probably not because it was deemed to be immoral. After all, the 
US had waged a very similar campaign of terrorism against civilians in 
Belgium after WW2.

The Belgian Communists were held in high esteem for their heroic leadership 
of the wartime Resistance to the Nazis. They looked set to win the post-war 
elections.

The US launched a terrorism campaign, (killing shoppers in stores, anything 
to create an atmosphere of fear) while blaming the Communists who were 
supposedly "trying to take over by force". It worked, and it was not the 
only place or time where such murderous terrorism was utilised by the US.

Operation Northwoods never went ahead, but was not disclosed for 40 years. 
If a similar operation was in any way involved in the attacks on the World 
Trade Centre and the Pentagon, then you can rest assured it will be well 
and truly buried from public scrutiny for ever and a day.

Until that day, it will remain a very convenient coincidence.

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