1962: military commanders and the CIA prepared fake news against Cuba

1962: military commanders and the CIA prepared fake news against Cuba
Fecha de publicación: 
13 July 2022
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More than six decades ago, Colonel John H. Glenn, a 39-year-old astronaut, took off in the Mercury Atlas 6 from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) launch center at Cape Canaveral, Florida, but a sudden urge to urinate caused strain in the flight control room when the electrical sensors inside Glenn’s spacesuit got wet, which could damage and even destroy the spacecraft.

Although nothing came of the incident, it was used to concoct macabre conspiracies. Unbeknown to Glenn, who was immersed in his adventure a hundred kilometers from Earth, a team of high-ranking military and CIA commanders prepared the fake news that the Cuban government was responsible for the cosmonaut’s death.

They planned to accuse the revolutionary government of using radio signals to sabotage the spacecraft's communication system and would even come up with alleged evidence from the wreckage to convince public opinion and have an excuse to launch a military attack on the island.
Their plot, called Dirty Trick, intended to “…provide irrefutable proof that the communists were to blame for failure of the Mercury orbital flight and the loss of its human crew”.

Obsessed with revenge for the Bay of Pigs defeat, President John F. Kennedy fostered a climate for these and other phantasmagorical initiatives, as evidenced by a declassified report by Attorney-General Robert Kennedy stating that, “(...) the solution to the Cuban problem is a top priority of the United States Government; everything else is secondary. Neither time, nor money, nor effort, nor human strength should be spared... the final chapter on Cuba has not been written yet. It has to be done and it will be done”.

The manipulation of a probable space accident was only one of the proposals contained in Operation Northwoods, designed by the Armed Forces Joint Chiefs of Staff and declassified in 1997, which stated: "We could sink a boat loaded with Cubans heading for Florida, either real or simulated (...) encourage attacks against refugees in the United States, even to the extent of injuring some, so that it would be widely reported by the press". It also included the explosion of plastic bombs in carefully selected places in Miami, the arrest of false Cuban agents and the publication of documents that could also be useful to give the image of an irresponsible administration in Cuba, as well as the use of F-86 fighter planes with Cuban insignia to destroy US passenger aircraft, the bombing of U.S. allies in the Caribbean, and attacks against the Guantanamo naval base by bands of rebels and CIA agents who would replace Cuban army forces.

According to the official version, Operation Northwoods was submitted to Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara as the final solution to put an end to the Cuban Revolution, a move that the high official rejected.

Little is said about the fact that this program was similar to those used by Nazi Germany to start World War II, as they did in the secret operation that served as a pretext to invade Poland in 1939, when a German intelligence commando using weapons and uniforms of the Polish army attacked the Glewitz radio station, near the German border, and murdered 15 Polish prisoners dressed as soldiers as proof that they had been killed in action.

For such murders, the 1946 Nuremberg International Tribunal, presided over by the prominent American jurist Robert H. Jackson, prosecuted the war murders of German fascism and condemned to the gallows, among other genocides, the former foreign minister Joachim von Ribbentrop, Wilhelm Keitel and Alfred Jodl, who were chiefs of staff of the German armed forces and responsible for this and other crimes against humanity.

Fifteen years later, General Lemnitzer and his colleagues, at the head of the U.S. military power and all veterans of World War II, conveniently forgot that lesson and in 1962 prepared fake news that would give rise to acts of aggression against Cuba, similar to those committed by their former enemies.

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