Conspiracy Theory

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

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts