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uring the early 1960s, the tensions between the Soviet Union and the United States were getting a bit out of control. The Cold War had made these two nations allies and even influence some other nations. For example, the Soviet Union had an influence on Cuba as it was also following a communist political system and it also disliked the United States.

Cuban Missile Crisis

From the 16th of October 1962 until the 28th of October the same year, the Cuban Missile Crisis took place, being one of the tensest events within the Cold War as World War III was a trigger away. This began with the Soviet Union installing nuclear missiles in Cuba which gave the Soviets reach to hit any state within America, including New York and Washington, with a warhead.

Map showing the major targets that could be hit from Cuba (Source: History)

Many historians argue that this political and military standoff was started by the Soviets, but in fact, this was a response from the Soviets to the United States who a month prior had installed nuclear missiles in Turkey, right in the reach of Moscow and most of the Soviet Union. The U.S. Army responded once again by surrounding Cuba with its navy, not letting anything in or out of Cuba.

By the 26th of October 1962, the three nations found a way to come to their sense and lower the tensions. However, the United States saw the danger that Cuba imposed, but they did not want to be the ones starting World War III, so they came up with a plan to make it look as if Cuba attacked first.

Operation Northwood

The CIA file representing the information was declassified in 1992, but because people don’t really look much through these long and encrypted files, historians never really paid that much attention and focused more on the historical bias represented in history books.

I had a read of the whole encrypted file which clearly lists pages of suggestions to the Secretary of Defense on how to enact a provocation of war from Cuba. It is incredible the imagination and creativity CIA agents can have to do something wrong and unethical.

Operation Northwood would have been most probably the response to Cuba and also the start of a third World War if it ever were to happen. Now back to the file. I will not be mentioning everything as you can read the file yourself if interested, but I will mention the more interesting points.

One that stands out the most is the suggestion of approving the use of MIG aircraft (jet fighters used by Cuba and the Soviet Union) flown by U.S. pilots to destroy a civil airliner that mostly carried American citizens. Here is the section from the file that gives more detail.

Point 8 from Annex to Appendix to Enclosure A from the Operation Northwood declassified file (Source: NS Archive2)

Another suggestion is having once again a MIG jet attack a U.S. Air Force aircraft over international waters. If this were to happen it would be a direct provocation to war and you can imagine that most people would not believe Castro for one second if his response was “it wasn’t us!” At the same time, it is believed that the actions of Cuba were consulted if not even controlled by the Soviet Union as they were the ones weaponizing Cuba.

Point 9from Annex to Appendix to Enclosure A from the Operation Northwood declassified file (Source: NS Archive2)

Other suggestions include blowing up a whole US ship in Guantanamo Bay and blaming it on Cuba or blowing up an unarmed drone anywhere in the Cuban waters and blaming it on them. Simple things, but at the same time quite risky as if the world were to find out such things were orchestrated, America would lose most of its international support. They even went as far as thinking of creating a fake Cuban terror group in Miami and blowing up a few buildings and even assassinating Cuban immigrants.

Point 4 from Annex to Appendix to Enclosure A from the Operation Northwood declassified file (Source: NS Archive2)

Another interesting suggestion made by the CIA to the secretary of defense was to attack the enemy of Cuba such as the Dominican Republic and have the U.S. come in like the heroes they always are portrayed to be.

Point 4 from Annex to Appendix to Enclosure A from the Operation Northwood declassified file (Source: NS Archive2)

All of these suggestions had one job, to put Cuba in a bad enough spot in order for the world to justify the United States attacking Cuba right on their land, or even worse, bombing the island to hell and back.

The clandestine role of the CIA not only during the Cold War but in all of its existence has been to not make the world a better place but to put America on top of any other country no matter the unethical implications or even if it came down to do “the most unamerican thing” which in the eyes of American’s is killing your own.

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