Man Behind the Curtain
by William Rivers Pitt
"Every day they tell us that we are a free people fighting
to defend freedom. That is the current that has whirled the
young airman up into the sky and keeps him circulating there
among the clouds. Down here, with a roof to cover us and a
gasmask handy, it is our business to puncture gasbags and
discover the seeds of truth."
In the early months of 1962, General Lyman Lemnitzer, Chairman
of the Joint Chiefs under Kennedy, wanted a war. Part of a
cabal of extreme right-wing anti-communist Cold Warriors within
the Pentagon, General Lemnitzer believed Kennedy had gone
soft on communism and Castro. Kennedy had put any and all
provocative action against Cuba on hold, and ordered only
the gathering of intelligence data.
For, General Lemnitzer, this was totally unacceptable. Further
frustrated by the fact that Castro himself had failed to do
anything that would demand an invasion of Cuba, General Lemnitzer
and his cabal planned an operation called Northwoods. Bluntly,
this operation called for acts of terrorism within the United
States perpetrated by agents of the United states loyal to
A plan, crafted in exquisite detail, was drafted describing
the scope of Operation Northwoods, and was later signed in
approval by all of the Joint Chiefs. Citizens would be shot
in the streets. Boats of Cuban refugees would be sunk on the
high seas. Bombings would be perpetrated within Washington
D.C. and Miami. There were even plans to fake the hijacking,
and later the destruction, of a civilian aircraft.
Phony evidence would then be provided pointing a finger at
Castro. The American people, in their outrage, would demand
a full invasion of Cuba. General Lemnitzer would have his
Needless to say, Operation Northwoods was never put into
effect. When directly asked by Congress whether plans were
afoot for the invasion of Cuba, General Lemnitzer swore an
oath and said no. Eventually, he was removed from his position.
Northwoods became buried under subsequent events, a forgotten
idea for more than forty years.
It is an appalling thing to know that such an idea could
even be spoken aloud in the Pentagon. It is comforting to
believe General Lemnitzer was on the lunatic fringe, a man
obsessed with Cuba to such a degree that he would be willing
to attack his fellow citizens to create the false pretext
Yet Operation Northwoods was signed off on by all the Joint
Chiefs of Staff, leading to the inevitable conclusion that
this cavalier and bloodthirsty attitude towards the lives
and safety of American citizens and military personnel was
not the exception, but the rule.
This is but one story of our government, of the men behind
the curtain. It took forty years for this story to be told.
The reason why such an insidious plot was hidden so completely
and for so long from the eyes of the American people lies
within the trust we give to the agencies that are supposed
to stand in defense of our country. We give the Pentagon,
the National Security Agency, the Central Intelligence Agency,
and to a lesser extent the Federal Bureau of Investigation,
the widest possible latitude with vital information, all in
the interest of national security.
Today, a war is being fought in Afghanistan and on our own
soil. Before the snow flies, it may well expand into a variety
of other countries. The purpose of the war is as clear as
the twisted rubble at the end of Lower Manhattan, as clear
as the smashed and gutted section of the Pentagon. Terrorism
has arrived on American shores, and those who perpetrated
these acts must be brought to justice.
We have been told that this is a 'new type of war,' where
secrecy is paramount. The news media has been cut almost completely
out of the information loop, relegated to reporting on grainy
green videotapes of nothing highlighted by almost nothing.
Those who operate in this new theater do so under the cover
of complete darkness.
In light of Operation Northwoods, in light of the legacy
of men like General Lemnitzer, and in light of recently revealed
information regarding warnings about the September 11th attacks
that were received and virtually ignored by the CIA and FBI,
the question of whether our government deserves that cloak
of secrecy must be voiced in the strongest possible terms.
According to CIA agents interviewed by the Los Angeles Times,
who refused to give their names, a warning about two "bin
Laden related individuals" was transmitted to the FBI on August
27th, 2001. The information was classified as 'Immediate,'
one step below the 'Flash' warning reserved for the outbreak
Somewhere in the translation, according to the CIA, the veneer
of urgency was dropped from the document. The FBI failed to
apprehend Khalid Almihdhar and Nawaf Alhazmi, two men named
in the CIA warning who later crashed an airplane into the
Pentagon, killing 189 people.
What is disquieting is the simple fact that this warning
did exist, and was bungled. The INS was not given the information
in a timely fashion, and was unable to block the entry of
Almihdhar and Alhazmi, which they could well have done.
The State Department's Bureau of Consular Affairs was likewise
kept uninformed of the threat and warning. This Bureau is
responsible for giving out visas to foreign visitors, and
in fact gave one to suspected terrorist Mohamed Atta, because
the information was not shared. The head of the Consular Affairs
Bureau, Mary Ryan, commented angrily before Congress that
she was "surprised how much we learned in the immediate aftermath"
of September 11th.
Likewise, the airline industry could have been warned to
stop passengers with names matching those on the alert from
boarding any aircraft, had they been provided the information.
None of this happened. The terrorists managed to walk through
a wide variety of governmental firewalls, up the ramps to
those aircraft, and into the cockpits unmolested.
At this point, the questions must turn to dark corners, places
from whence monstrous plots like Operation Northwoods have
A former Los Angeles Police Department field officer and
narcotics agent named Michael C. Ruppert, who twice turned
down recruitment overtures from the CIA before being forced
out of the department for questioning CIA involvement in civil
police affairs, has leveled some disturbing accusations.
Some very strange transactions regarding United and American
Airlines took place in the days before the September 11th
attacks. Similarly odd transactions took place regarding Morgan
Stanley, Merrill Lynch, and a variety of other prominent companies
who made their homes in the World Trade Center towers. These
transactions, made in astoundingly large volume, were essentially
betting that stocks for those companies would lose an enormous
amount of value.
On September 11th, planes from United Airlines and American
Airlines crashed into the World Trade Towers, obliterating
the offices of Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley, and others associated
with the above-described transactions. The stocks for those
companies immediately sank. Whomever made the transactions
reaped an enormous profit: $16 million alone for trades on
the airline stocks, and the stocks for Morgan Stanley.
Mr. Ruppert was interviewed recently by a Berkeley, CA radio
show on the subject of the CIA's involvement with Wall Street.
He provided the following information:
"One of the primary functions of the Central Intelligence
Agency by virtue of its long and very close history of relationships
with Wall Street, I mean to the point where the current executive
vice president of the New York Stock Exchange is a retired
CIA general counsel, has had a mandate to track, monitor,
all financial markets worldwide, to look for anomalous trades,
indicative of either economic warfare, or insider currency
trading or speculation which might affect the US Treasury,
or , as in the case of the September 11 attacks, to look for
trades which indicated foreknowledge of attacks like we saw.
"One of the vehicles that they use to do this is a software
called Promis software, which was developed in 1979...and
Promis is very unique for two reasons: first of all, it had
the ability to integrate a wide range of databases using different
computer languages and to make them all into one readable
format. And secondly, in the years since, Promis has been
mated with artificial intelligence to even predict moves in
markets and to detect trades that are anomalous, as a result
of those projections."
Mr. Ruppert asserts that the CIA, with all of its abilities
and with its careful observation of financial transactions,
should have seen the September 11th attacks coming a mile
away. He further asserts that the CIA let the attacks happen
to further the economic and military agenda of the current
The first assertion, that the CIA should have been able to
detect a pattern in the financial trades and been able to
act in the defense of the country, connects nicely with the
botched warning of August 27th. The terrible scenario that
develops is that the CIA, with its budget declared a state
secret and with all of the trust given in the name of national
security, failed in spectacular fashion to do its job.
The second assertion, that the CIA knew of the attacks and
allowed them to happen in order to provide inertia for a variety
of governmental agendas, is almost blasphemous in its implications.
Only the existence of plans like those delineated in Operation
Northwoods makes the accusation even worth consideration.
The first assertion gives birth to the second. How could
such a powerful and far-seeing agency like the CIA have so
thoroughly failed to perceive and thwart such a monstrous
threat, unless that ignorance was deliberate?
One thing is certain. Every agency tasked with the care and
protection of this nation failed in their duty on September
11th, and thousands of Americans died as a result. The justification
for the billions of dollars in budgetary allocations these
agencies receive from our tax dollars has disappeared in a
ball of flaming dust. Unless and until this catastrophe is
set right, these agencies will no longer deserve our trust
or our money.
As for the assertions raised above, assertions that use words
like 'complicity' and 'foreknowledge,' they will not go away.
Northwoods makes anything and everything possible. Until this
matter is settled appropriately, the CIA stands in taint of
high treason and murder. It's time to pay attention to the
man behind the curtain.
- - - - - -
Information regarding Operation Northwoods was provided
by James Bamford's book, 'Body of Secrets: Anatomy of the
Ultra-Secret National Security Agency,' pp. 82-91
FBI Disagree on Urgency of Warning (Los Angeles Times)
Says War Will Enter Covert Phase (Reuters)
CIA's Wall Street connections (Online Journal)