The Instigator
NuckaBlitz
Pro (for)
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The Contender
Strategery
Con (against)
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Operation Northwoods Proves That The US May Be Capable Of Endorsing Or Committing Terrorism

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/5/2016 Category: Politics
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 484 times Debate No: 87707
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (2)
Votes (0)

 

NuckaBlitz

Pro

Quite as stated.

I believe that Operation Northwoods proves that our military intelligence agencies and our executive branch may be capable of endorsing or even committing terrorism on US soil against US citizens.

"Operation Northwoods was a proposed false flag operation against the Cuban government, that originated within the Department of Defense (DoD) and the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) of the United States government in 1962. The proposals called for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) or other US government operatives to commit acts of terrorism against American civilians and military targets, blaming it on the Cuban government, and using it to justify a war against Cuba. The proposals were rejected by the Kennedy administration."
https://en.wikipedia.org...

Operation Northwoods shows precedent of malevolent intent, and shows an expectation of cooperation in carrying out such intents between agencies, military, and the federal branch of the government as early as the 1960's.

Despite the blatant treason, no charges were laid against any of the conspirators and no significant changes have been made to prevent this type of occurrence from happening again. Quite to the contrary, our entire government including the involved "defense" agencies now levy more power than ever against our populace and abroad.

I look forward to responding to my opponent.
Strategery

Con

"I believe that Operation Northwoods proves that our military intelligence agencies and our executive branch may be capable of endorsing or even committing terrorism on US soil against US citizens."

Okay, three major problems here.

1) Operation Northwoods was not actual terrorism

The DoD has -for the better half of the century- defined terrorism as "the calculated use of unlawful violence or the threat of unlawful violence to inculcate fear and coerce or intimidate governments or societies in the pursuit of goals that are generally political, religious or ideological." (http://people.duke.edu...).

However, there was no legal precedence in US Code (1960s) or even UCMJ (Pre-War Powers Act) that suggests ordering US forces to stage fake acts of terrorism would be considered illegal.

According to the Northwoods talking paper, its proposals included (http://nsarchive.gwu.edu...):

-- Blowing up a pilotless drone near Cuban waters, and pretending the
wreckage was of a military plane shot down by Castro's forces.

-- Launching a pretend terror campaign in the Miami area and in
Washington, even faking some woundings.

-- Recruiting friendly Cubans to stage an attack on the U.S. naval
base, riots near the base, and sabotage inside the base.

None of which were illegal in the 1960s or would be considered actual terrorism by past and most current DoD definitions.

If we are to believe Pro then, -that the US military is in fact capable of endorsing illegal orders- he must show where in US Code (1960s) that says that the U.S. President could not order a fake terrorist attack.

2) The US system is incapable of endorsing terrorism.

The US government is a constitutional republic and a leading member state of the United Nations. Its leaders therefore, are subject to intense public inquiry and scrutiny, whereas any unlawful act committed by elected officials, in the face of international laws and constitutional limitations- is generally considered political suicide.

In the event the United States must sponsor clandestine operations that borders on terrorism, it is usually common practice then for the US government to officially deny all involvement.

3) The Posse Comitatus Act limits the government's power to use US forces domestically.

The Posse Comitatus Act reads: "it shall not be lawful to employ any part of the Army of the United States, as a posse comitatus, or otherwise, for the purpose of executing the laws, except in such cases and under such circumstances as such employment of said force may be expressly authorized by the Constitution or by act of Congress." (https://en.wikipedia.org...)

As consequence, only by an overt and legal act of congress could US forces be used domestically on US soil against US citizens, and in such extreme cases it would still not be considered terrorism.

For these reasons above we can thus believe that the US government is incapable of committing and endorsing terrorism on US soil against US citizens.

Debate Round No. 1
NuckaBlitz

Pro

1) My opponent lists his reasons for interpreting Operation Northwoods as "not actual terrorism"

My opponent would like to use the legal definitions of terrorism as oppose to common definitions. The main difference between the common definitions and the DoD definition, as you might have noticed, is the word unlawful. "the calculated use of unlawful violence or the threat of unlawful violence to inculcate fear and coerce or intimidate governments or societies in pursuit of goals that are generally political, religious or ideological".

This is the first thing we need to address, before moving on. Should lawfulness disrupt our interpretation of these acts as terrorism? I very much believe it should not. I'll be working forward with my opponent's provided definition of "terrorism", less the word "unlawful".

To illustrate that, let's first go over some of the proposals my opponent highlighted from the documents.

--Blowing up a pilotless drone near Cuban waters, and pretending the wreckage was of a military plane shot down by Castro's forces.

This proposal is a simulated use of violence to inculcate fear to coerce & intimidate both our government and society in pursuit of goals both political and ideology.

-- Launching a pretend terror campaign in the Miami area and in Washington, even faking some woundings.

My opponents makes an attempt at downgrading this proposal to a "pretend terror campaign" and "faking some woundings."
The proposal reads specifically as follows:
"We could sink a boatload of Cubans enroute to Florida (real or simulated)."
"We could foster attempts on lives of Cuban refugees un the US even to the extent of wounding in instances to be widely publicized."
"Exploding a few plastic bombs in carefully chosen spots, the arrest of Cuban agents and the release of prepared documents substantiating Cuban involvement also would be helpful in projecting the idea of an irresponsible government."

-- Recruiting friendly Cubans to stage an attack on the U.S. naval base, riots near the base, and sabotage inside the base.

Important note here; staging does not negate the fact that riots near the base will be genuine. Just to give some context here, this is referring to turning a peaceful protest into a riot by staging instigation.

Other proposals were included in the actual report if the reader is interested. These included things such as plane hijackings.

"Hijacking attempts against civil air and surface craft should appear to continue as harassing measures condoned by the government of Cuba. Conccurently, genuine defections of Cuban civil and military air and surface craft should be encouraged."

This notion that genuine defections of Cuban civil and military air and surface craft should be encouraged is particularly concerning because it emphasizes just what lengths our military intelligence felt able and willing to go in order to "inculcate fear and coerce or intimidate governments or societies in pursuit of goals that are generally political"

2) My opponent suggests the US system is incapable of endorsing terrorism.

This notion is quite novel and I won't spend much time on it. It's quite clear that our government feels what they did was lawful. It may have, infact, been lawful. If enacting the proposition was unlawful, I think it's safe to assume that their priority would be to seek the cooperation of the executive branch in working to make it legal. Today, our lower branches of government are hardly afforded the time needed to read new legislation that they are expected to rule on, let alone the time to interpret and consider that new legislation as it relates to current law. It seems reasonable to assume that the groundwork for such subversive operations had been laid long before this one proposal.

The US government is capable. To embrace the notion that they are simply incapable is naive. If this notion seems even the least bit tempting to the reader, they're allowing an understandable bias to interfere with the reasoning.

3) The Posse Comitatus Act limits the government's power to use US forces domestically.

Irrelevant. Again, you can generally assume that a debate for the legality of all this existed prior to the proposal. Bringing in a legal context, here, only distracts from the debate. We can have this debate without bringing in a slew of clean and official legal references to enhance our argument.

Nonetheless, I'll indulge my opponent before we move on to Round 2. My hope, however, is that we can ditch the unnecessary legal context and move forward on the assumption that everything proposed in "Operation Northwoods" is legal.

"The Act only specifically applies to the United States Army and, as amended in 1956, the United States Air Force. While the Act does not explicitly mention the United States Navy and the United States Marine Corps, due to them being naval services, the Department of the Navy has prescribed regulations that are generally construed to give the Act force with respect to those services as well" (https://en.wikipedia.org...)
---



I suggest to my opponent that the proposals were, in fact, proposals to commit terrorism against American citizens. You may define it as lawful terrorism, or unlawful terrorism. I propose it is terrorism, nonetheless.

To clarify within established definitions:

The proposals of "Operation Northwoods" are aimed at "the calculated use of violence or the threat of violence to inculcate fear and coerce or intimidate governments or societies in the pursuit of goals that are generally political or ideological."

Strategery

Con

"My opponent would like to use the legal definitions of terrorism as oppose to common definitions."

Right, because the DoD's official definition of terrorism is not also the common definition of terrorism for all US military operations.

"This proposal is a simulated use of violence to inculcate fear to coerce & intimidate both our government and society in pursuit of goals both political and ideology."

You're forgetting that Northwoods proposals are lawful. There is no evidence or legal precedence to suggest that a US President could not order a fake terrorist attack if it is within the security interests of the United States.

In the case of Operation Northwoods, the purpose was to help provide political cover for preventative military action in Cuba. You'll remember that during the Cold War, Cuba was a well-known ally and a dangerous proxy state of the Soviet Union.

"My opponents makes an attempt at downgrading this proposal to a "pretend terror campaign" and "faking some woundings."

As far we can tell, Operation Northwoods presented 9 different proposals that the Pentagon could consider for gaining political support for military action in Cuba, none of which involved killing US citizens on US soil - which is the whole point of PRO's argument.

"The proposal reads specifically as follows:
"We could sink a boatload of Cubans enroute to Florida (real or simulated)."

Cubans. Not Americans.

Sinking a boat is also not unlawful killing if not lives are targeted or lost.

"We could foster attempts on lives of Cuban refugees un the US even to the extent of wounding in instances to be widely publicized."

Again. Cubans, not Americans.

"Important note here; staging does not negate the fact that riots near the base will be genuine. Just to give some context here, this is referring to turning a peaceful protest into a riot by staging instigation."

Important note here; the US government has never proposed an unlawful military attack on US citizens on US soil. Operations Northwoods proposals, despite being ethical questionable to some, were also swiftly rejected by the Kennedy administration and never left the drawing board.

"[Operations Northwoods] emphasizes just what lengths our military intelligence felt able and willing to go in order to "inculcate fear and coerce or intimidate governments or societies in pursuit of goals that are generally political"

The use of military force by any country; including lawful declarations of war also attempt to "inculcate fear and coerce or intimidate governments or societies in pursuit of goals that are generally political."

Operations Northwoods proposals however, again, were legal, and cannot be considered terrorism.

"The US government is capable. To embrace the notion that they are simply incapable is naive."

Really, so when was the last time on TV you saw a US president -or any head of state for that matter- come out and publicly endorse or thank secretive (aka black ops) missions by 007, Jack Ryan, and Jason Borne?

It is usually political suicide for any government official to officially acknowledge their classified military operations.

"Irrelevant (Posse Comitatus Act)."

Not irrelevant. The Posse Camitatus Act declares that only by an overt (aka public) act by Congress can the US President legally deploy US forces against US citizens on US soil.

The Posse Comitatus Act therefore greatly limits the government's ability to become a police-state.

"I suggest to my opponent that the proposals were, in fact, proposals to commit terrorism against American citizens. You may define it as lawful terrorism, or unlawful terrorism. I propose it is terrorism, nonetheless."

If the proposals were lawful, then they cannot be considered terrorism. None of Operations Northwoods proposals however, involved harming US citizens on US soil. Each operation was also planned as a "fake" (not actual) terrorist attack to be blamed on the Cuban government so that the US might take preventative action against the Soviet advances in the Western Hemisphere. These proposal's however, again, were ultimately rejected by the Kennedy administration and never left the drawing board.

The US government has no history of endorsing or undertaking illegal terrorist activity against US citizens on US soil. PRO's resolution is easily negated.
Debate Round No. 2
NuckaBlitz

Pro

My opponent presents to you with the notion that terrorism is not terrorism if it is legal. He would, presumably, describe Operation Northwoods as follows:

"The calculated use of lawful violence or the threat of lawful violence to inculcate fear and coerce or intimidate governments or societies in pursuit of goals that are generally political, religious or ideological."

My opponent suggests that terrorism doesn't exist less the adjective of "unlawful." I don't think I need to spend much time on this. The description for what is terrorism and what is not terrorism is not contingent on what is lawful.

This gross misinterpretation of the definition of terrorism is continued on as my opponent's argument falls apart. I'll illustrate that in my final response.

"Not irrelevant. The Posse Camitatus Act declares that only by an overt (aka public) act by Congress can the US President legally deploy US forces against US citizens on US soil."

Yes, irrelevant. I already covered this. The Posse Camitatus Act refers only to specific US forces, and absolutely does not apply to the Central Intelligence Agency to whom Operation Northwoods belonged. Furthermore, you're still stuck on this notion that terrorism cannot be terrorism if it is lawful. This sub-debate about is Posse Camitatus is not only irrelevant, but entirely wrong because it has nothing to do with the CIA proposals we are discussing. Refer to Round 2 or The Posse Camitatus Act itself. (https://en.wikipedia.org...)

"As far we can tell, Operation Northwoods presented 9 different proposals that the Pentagon could consider for gaining political support for military action in Cuba, none of which involved killing US citizens on US soil - which is the whole point of PRO's argument."
"Cubans. Not Americans. Sinking a boat is also not unlawful killing if not lives are targeted or lost."
"Important note here; the US government has never proposed an unlawful military attack on US citizens on US soil. Operations Northwoods proposals, despite being ethical questionable to some, were also swiftly rejected by the Kennedy administration and never left the drawing board."


International Terrorism:

    • Involve violent acts or acts dangerous to human life that violate federal or state law;

    • Appear to be intended (i) to intimidate or coerce a civilian population; (ii) to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or (iii) to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping; and

    • Occur primarily outside the territorial jurisdiction of the U.S., or transcend national boundaries in terms of the means by which they are accomplished, the persons they appear intended to intimidate or coerce, or the locale in which their perpetrators operate or seek asylum.


(https://www.fbi.gov...)


Operation Northwoods was terrorism. You, yourself, outlined the reasons why. Most of the proposals were not using US forces and did not actually directly harm anyone. Most of the acts were against entirely imaginary victims by entirely imaginary enemies. You just refused to make the next logical leap: asking who the target was.

Fortunately Operation Northwoods, itself, explicitly states that the effect of these violent or threatening acts were aimed at US citizens, UN citizens, and their respective governments.
1. It is recognized that any action which becomes pretext for US military intervention in Cuba will lead to a political decision which then would lead to military action.
3. Cognizance has been taken of a suggested course of action proposed by the US Navy relating to generated instances in the Guantanmo area.
5. The suggested course of action appended to Enclosure A are based on the premise that US military intervention will result from a period of heightened US-Cuban tensions which place the United States in the position of suffering justifiable grievances. World opinion, and the United Nations forum should be favorably affected by developping the international image of the Cuban government as rash and irresponsible and as an alarming and unprediotable threat to the peace of the Western Hemisphere.Let's refer to our criteria for terrorism, again: The calculated use of violence or the threat of violence to inculcate fear and coerce or intimidate governments or societies in pursuit of goals that are generally political, religious or ideological.

Does operation Northwoods fit the definition of terrorism? Does it fit your definition of terrorism? My opponent's definition of terrorism is fueled by denial, not reality.

(https://www.fbi.gov...)
(http://www.merriam-webster.com...)
(https://en.wikipedia.org...)

The objectives of Operation Northwoods are unquestionably the same as the objectives of terrorism. The means of Operation Northwoods are unequestionably the same as the means of terrorism. Operation Northwoods is a proposal to commit, "encourage," or "generate" acts of violence or fabricate threat of violence on US, Cuban, or international terrority with a stated objective to inculcate fear and coerce or intimidate governments or societies to the purpose of justifying US military action.

"If the proposals were lawful, then they cannot be considered terrorism."
I'll leave the reader with this, because this is exactly where 5 more rounds of debate would lead us. Despite any distractionary arguments my opponent may bring up following this final round, this is where we will land.

The reader will be forced to develop an opinion on whether or not these acts of terrorism were lawful. They will be forced to develop and opinion on whether or not terrorism is still terrorism, when it is deemed lawful.

And finally, the reader will be forced to develop an opinion on whether or not our currently government is capable of committing or endorsing terrorism. Legal or not, how would you react to finding out that events such as those proposed in "Operation Northwoods" were taking place today, flooding headlines of the news you rely on before determining who you will vote for in the upcoming election? Filling your children with fear and hate.. Filling your fellow citizens with an urgency to join a war effort.

Terrorist acts, such as proposed in Operation Northwoods, have a profound impact on government and society. The proposals of Operation Northwoods were aimed at the hearts and minds of US and UN citizens, their politicians, and the brave soldiers who would go on to fight such a war. And let's not forget that it also effects those whom such a war would be waged against.

Tl;dr,
It is my opinion the Operation Northwoods proves that the US may be capable of endorsing or committing terrorism.
Strategery

Con

"It is my opinion the Operation Northwoods proves that the US may be capable of endorsing or committing terrorism."

And yet Operation Northwoods (a terrorist proposal according to PRO) was ultimately rejected by civilian leadership through the Kennedy Administration (not endoresed by the US government).

Also, PRO's original resolution was:

"I believe that Operation Northwoods proves that our military intelligence agencies and our executive branch may be capable of endorsing or even committing terrorism on US soil against US citizens."

So please do not try and shift anymore goal posts.

"Does operation Northwoods fit the definition of terrorism? Does it fit your definition of terrorism? My opponent's definition of terrorism is fueled by denial, not reality."

The definition I cited was from the Department of Defense, Operation Northwoods was a military operation that involved US forces, therefore the DoD definition should apply.

"Terrorist acts, such as proposed in Operation Northwoods, have a profound impact on government and society. "

As does any other lawful military operation which are conducted with the purpose to "intimidate" and "coerce" governments through the use of force.

"[International Terrorism] Involve violent acts or acts dangerous to human life that violate federal or state law;"

^^ Thank you for proving my "legal" point.

"The proposals of Operation Northwoods were aimed at the hearts and minds of US and UN citizens."

No. The purpose of Operation Northwoods was to provide political cover for preventative military action against the Soviets (in Cuba) who were encroaching on US interests in the Western Hemisphere.

None of Operation Northwoods proposals involved actually harming US citizens on US soil. And there is no law that says US forces cannont stage a fake terroirst attack.

"Posse Camitatus is not only irrelevant, but entirely wrong because it has nothing to do with the CIA proposals we are discussing."

Not irrelevant, because the whole point of this debate is to prove your conspiracy theories that the US government is a terrorist entity that is capable of becoming a police-state (like ISIS). US law however, prevents this.

Summary:
--Operations Northwoods was rejected by the Kennedy Adminstration, and its proposals were ultimately not endoresed or committed to by elected officals in US government.
--The US system makes it next to impossible for government officals in America to actually "endorse" unlwaful paramilitary activity.
--Operations Northwoods objectives and methodologies were that same as any other lawful military opertation undertaken by US forces, there is no legal prescedence that says the DoD cannont stage a fake terrorist attack and use it as a military tactic.
--The Posse Camitatus Act makes it next to impossible for the government to deploy US forces against US citizens on US soil.
--None of Operations Northwoods proposals involved actually harming US citizens on US soil.

The resolution is negated.

Debate Round No. 3
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by Gangsta_Bob 1 year ago
Gangsta_Bob
I enjoyed this debate. I, however, can't vote for pro as the winner. I don't meet the requirements yet.
Posted by NuckaBlitz 1 year ago
NuckaBlitz
It's a shame that people don't find a topic such as this more compelling.
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