False Flags: Operation Northwoods & Other Sneaky Spy Ops
False flags are sneaky political, intelligence, or military operations designed to shift blame.
They date back to the 16th century when pirates hoisted someone else’s flag intending to confuse and blame their crimes on others. The war in Ukraine has brought the term back into the spotlight but what does it mean today’s parlance?
SPYSCAPE examines five false flag ops, including Operation Northwoods, a US military proposal to disrupt Cuba.
The US military devised a plan intended to provoke war with Havana and get rid of Soviet ally Fidel Castro. Plans were drafted in the 1960s to create chaos in US cities, believing it would drum up public support for a war against Cuba. Operation Northwoods included a plot to target an empty US ship in Guantanamo Bay and blame it on Havana. “Sabotage ship in harbour; large fires,” says a Pentagon memo. “Sink ship near harbour entrance. Conduct funeral for mock victims.” In March 1962, plans were reportedly presented to President John F. Kennedy’s administration and rejected.