Many people believe that our government would never lie to us or put us in harm’s way. Emma and Brittany discuss a true conspiracy from the Cold War that proves the opposite.


Here’s a transcript of our conversation:

Emma: Hi, Brittany.

Brittany: Hi, Emma.

Emma: So, today I wanna talk about a really crazy story of something horrible that the government almost did to its own people.

Brittany: The Government doing something horrible to its own people. Yeah. never heard of that before.

Emma: I know. I know, Especially in the last two years, man, but this horrible thing that almost happened is called Operation Northwoods. And to give a little background, we’re gonna start with just a quick refresher on the Cold War and what that was. So, the Cold War was a conflict between the United States and the Communist Soviet Union. And basically, this was a conflict that centered around whether communism or freedom worked better.

Brittany: Yeah. And the Cold War, I think was pretty different from most of the wars we hear about because, and this is what its name implies. It wasn’t physical fighting. Right. It was cold versus a hot war. a hot war would be like us bombing each other. So instead they were sponsoring wars between other countries to do their fighting for them, which ended up just being a huge mess. A lot of these things were still kind of dealing with today. You know, America was selling weapons to this country and, you know, doing things here and just being pretty terrible. So, anyway, so instead they, you know, were sponsoring these wars as we talked about, and getting other people to fight them for them. And they were putting economic restrictions on trade, sometimes called sanctions, but not always. And they were competing through innovation such as the space race, which honestly we could do a whole other episode on. And this is not a cool space race. Well, kind of cool, but not like the one we’re we’re seeing today with the billionaires.

Emma: Yeah, definitely. It’s, interesting talking about the Cold War because I remember growing up I would hear that term and think, well, were they fighting somewhere that was really cold? But basically, yeah, like, you said, it just means that you’re not physically fighting. So part of the Cold War was, America was really worried about Cuba, which is a communist country, or was at the time, and still pretty much is, it’s kind of an interesting situation. but Cuba was super close to our border. Cuba is only 90 miles away from, the Florida Keys, which is technically part of the United States. So a lot of people were worried because Fidel Castro was a communist ruler who had a violent bloody revolution in the Cuban government. Over through the government started his own basically communist government. And, he was thinking about potentially working with the Soviets. We had some information that led us to believe that they were gonna start working together. So the joint Chiefs of staff, which are basically this group of military leaders in the United States, they represent all the different branches of the military. They report to the president. It’s a very, very high-ranking group of people. They came up with this plan because they were worried about what Cuba was going to do to us, and they thought that Cuba was potentially a threat. And, you know, that’s a pretty legitimate fear. If Cuba was a threat to us, you know, you wanna be careful, you wanna be making sure that we’re defending our country. But they took that intention and act and came up with this horrible plan. This, it just waits until you guys hear about what they were gonna do. They basically came up with a plan to attack Americans, to bomb cities, to hijack planes, to blow up entire ships in the ocean United States ships, and blame it on Cuba to get people to want to go to war with Cuba.

Brittany: It’s crazy.

Emma: It is insane. It’s really crazy. So they called this Operation Northwoods and the joint Chiefs of Staff, they all got together and they all signed onto it. They all said this is a good idea. We need to do this for national security, which is something that we hear all the time with stupid ideas. It’s about national security, it’s about keeping us safe. And they took it to John F. Kennedy, who was president at the time, and he declined to allow it. He said we’re not doing this. This is not gonna happen. We’re not gonna kill people to get us to go to war. And they were not happy about that. The joint chiefs did not like that. And this was something that was actually classified up until I believe it was 2001 or maybe 2005. It was in the 2000s. so this was a secret for a really long time. And this is something that you hear a lot of people say when they talk about distrusting the government and distrusting, what the government says it’s gonna do for us and talks about protecting our best interests and keeping us safe. especially in sort of libertarian circles, operation Northwood is something that’s referenced all the time because it’s proof that the government does not always look out for us. They do not always do what they’re gonna say they’re going to do. And a lot of times they’re willing to actually let horrible things happen to us just to make a point, or just to get to do something that they really wanna do.

Brittany: Which is terrifying. Right. And it’s not just America. There’s just America. A lot of other countries put their, you know, people in harm’s way, but you think about it, and that’s what war is. I mean, let’s look at Iraq. in Iraq, we were told that there were weapons of mass destruction and we had our own people sent over there to fight a war for something that didn’t, wasn’t real. There were no weapons of mass destruction or at least none that we ever found. So even though that’s not like Operation North was, or we are deliberate you know, there weren’t plans to deliberately kill people to start a war. This was the same thing almost because we’re sending our, you know, 18-year-old boys who don’t really know what they’re signing up for. And a lot of these kids couldn’t get into college or they can’t afford it. And so they sign up for the military thinking that’s their chance to be good at something. And instead, we’re sending them over to basically start a war. It actually reminds me of, if you’ve ever seen Princess Bride, you know, in the beginning, they’re talking about how to start a war, and they kidnap the princess, princess Buttercup. And their plan is to kill her and, make it look like another country killer to try to get the two countries in a war because war is profitable and war is power and it’s really sickening if you think about it, because, you know, if you’ve ever played chess, people are, are like paws, you know, and ponds are, yeah. Chess players often sacrifice paws to protect their queen. You know, it’s actually very similar to what’s happening here. And so a lot of times, citizens, people like you and I were treated like ponds like we’re disposable and we can just be gotten rid of it serves, you know, and I say this in quotes, you know, the national interests. Yeah. So it’s very scary. And I think this is, you know, one of the biggest reasons that a lot of people like you said are libertarian because they see this, they study history and they think, why have we let this happen?

Emma: Yeah. You’re so right. And this specific kind of plot is actually, it has a name, it’s called a false flag. Yes. And basically what it is committing active aggression and then blaming it on someone else. And it’s done for, like you said, to move forward with a certain task or a certain purpose and using people like ponds. And the only purpose of Operation Northwoods, this horrible plan was to convince more Americans that going to war with Cuba was a good idea because it didn’t have a ton of public support. There was no real clear reason for us to go to war with them. They hadn’t attacked us. It would be very different, you know, for people to support defending ourselves if there was like, a Pearl Harbor type of situation where we were attacked and we needed to defend our country. But this is very different. This is actually lying and misleading people trying to convince them that war is a good idea. And like, I said, a big reason why they wanted to do this was to oust Fidel Castro. Castro was a bad guy. Like, don’t get me wrong here. I’m not trying to say that he should have been in power. He was a communist. We’ve talked about communism.

Brittany: He’s the same like, Saddam Hussein, right? In Iraq. Right. Also a bad dude. Exactly.

Emma: Exactly. Yeah. There are plenty of bad people that are in power around the world. and we’ve talked about this in past episodes, talking about Afghanistan and the conflict going on there, but we can’t make it our job to ensure that every country has the perfect leader there. And, try that.

Brittany: Now we certainly don’t have perfect leaders here.

Emma: No, we don’t either. And if other countries wanted to come to tell us, you know, Hey, you need to have a better guy in power, we’re gonna attack you and try to provoke a war so that we can come in and engineer your politics, we would be outraged and we would be very upset about that. And you know, the cool thing is people in Cuba have naturally started responding. There are all of these Cuban protests going on, and we’ve talked about this in the past. They are naturally, like organically fighting back against the tyranny in their country, which is what happens when people are pushed too far. But we don’t need the United States to come in and try to, you know, fake things and set things up and kill people, kill innocent people to try to make those things happen. So that’s kind of the underlying theme here is that you know, the government doesn’t always have our best interests at heart, and maybe they have some plan or some strategy that they wanna go forward with, but it doesn’t mean that we should just automatically trust what they’re going to say. And it’s, there have been all sorts of things like this where the government is actually acting against the best interest of the people while saying that it’s for our best interests. So it’s not the first time that something like this has happened, and it’s not the last time, I’m sure it took 40 years for this information to come out and to become public. And it actually only became public because people were making a documentary about who killed JFK. And people were saying, well, maybe it was the joint chiefs of staff because they were mad that he wouldn’t go along with operational.

Brittany: I got my own theories about that, but, we’ll take that today.

Emma: I know we’ll get into that today. That might be another conversation or something like that. We might not make a podcast on that.

Brittany: I don’t people make a podcast.

Emma: Yeah, probably not. But it took people basically uncovering these documents from a leak for them to even come to light. So that’s, another thing is I think our government does not tell us nearly enough about what it’s up to and what it’s doing. And I think if we knew everything that was going on, there would be a lot more people that did not trust the government. So that’s kind of my take on the hiddenness of all of this.

Brittany: I think there’s another important lesson here, like you said, how these documents came to light. And I think it’s very important, you know, we have things like the Freedom of Information Act where you can petition the government essentially and say, you need to show us this. now then does one’s work? The government can say like, no national security, we can’t show you this, but it’s pretty cool that some, so some things have a time limit where it’s like after a certain amount of time they have to be released, though that doesn’t mean they necessarily are, and sometimes like there’s big chunks of it missing. Like you’ll just see things blacked out. Yeah. But if, you know, we put pressure on the government, it doesn’t always work, but a lot of times that’s what it takes to get the truth out there. And what’s funny to me is if you tell people about Operation Northwoods, a lot of people will tell you you’re a conspiracy theorist. They’ll tell you this isn’t real. And it’s sad because you can Google the document, we’ll put it in the show notes. I mean, it doesn’t take a lot to get it. And these aren’t from like conspiracy theory sites. Right. This is from a government, like that gov site. So it’s funny to me how much people don’t wanna believe it because nobody wants to believe that their own government is capable of doing this. Yeah. Even though I think war in itself is a perfect example because we send our people out to die for something, the government may or may not be telling us the full story. Yeah. So I think that’s really important to remember.

Emma: It is, yeah. And intentions and the things that we hear and the things that we’re told are not always the things that are actually happening and they aren’t the real intentions. And maybe that’s another podcast we could talk about is times that the government has actively deceived us or misled us too.

Brittany: I think a shorter episode, it’ll be times they’ve told us the truth. Yeah.

Emma: There you go. Yeah, I think it’s a shorter list, but yeah, we’re gonna, we’re gonna go ahead and wrap it up here guys. Thank you for listening. I’ll be sure to link a couple of articles where you can even kind of see some of the documents that came out about this. If you’re interested. I know, I love like true crime and conspiracies and stuff like that. And this is definitely like a real-life version of that. So thank you for listening, and we will talk to you guys all soon.

Brittany: Talk to you later.