If you happen to commute via 470 Westbound toward I-70, then you might have noticed a hand-lettered sign hovering above the highway on the pedestrian overpass bridge a mile or so before the I-70 exit. "9/11 was an inside job!" the words proclaim, surrounded by stars, stripes and bright yellow highlighting. "Google north woods."
So I did. After links to Northwood University, North Woods Canoe Company, Northwoods Realty Services, Northwood UK Property Lettings and North Woods Field Guide came an address featuring this doozy of a headline: "OPERATION NORTHWOODS: US PLANNED FAKE TERROR ATTACKS ON CITIZENS."
According to this website -- as well as James Bamford's 2001 book Body of Secrets, which contains facsimiles of pertinent government documents -- Operation Northwoods was a plan drawn up by the Joint Chiefs of Staff as early as 1952. The plot unfolds as follows: In the midst of the Cold War, President Eisenhower desperately wanted a reason to go to war with Cuba toward the end of his last term in office. Communism was a big enough threat, he decided, to warrant some deception; his goal was to cause problems with Cuba to such an extent that the incoming president, John F. Kennedy, would have no choice but to declare a war. The plan was to launch terrorist acts against American citizens and blame those acts on the Cubans, hence drumming up support for a war against Cuba. The documents state that these plans included blowing up ships full of Cuban refugees, shooting innocents on the street, hijacking planes and much more -- perhaps even a bombing. One idea involved the death of astronaut John Glenn during his historic journey to orbit the planet.
By the time these ideas had been bounced around the table, Kennedy had already been involved with the incredibly botched Bay of Pigs invasion. He wanted nothing more to do with Cuba or crazy plans to start a war. And in the meantime, perhaps the gentlemen involved had found a better target for their Communist ire: Vietnam. It has long been speculated that the Gulf of Tonkin incident, which was responsible for the ten-year U.S. involvement in Vietnam, could have been staged by the U.S. to create an excuse to invade.
The documents, which were supposed to have been destroyed forty years ago, tell a frightening story of government conspiracy and public deception. Is it true? Who knows? But one Colorado citizen, and possibly more, spent part of Valentine's Day placing this sign where it could be seen by morning commuters.
And if the documents do tell a true story, then perhaps those 9/11 conspiracy theories about U.S. government involvement and all they entail -- buildings falling into their footprints as if by planned demolition, etc. -- hold a drop or two of water. -- Amber Taufen
Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.