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10 Deeply Unsettling Declassified Information Now Available to the Public

4. In 1962, the US military planned to organize terror attacks on US citizens and blame Cuba for those attacks in order to justify a war against Cuba. The name of the operation was Operation Northwoods.

NorthwoodsMemorandum Letter, Lyman L. Lemnitzer
Image source: Wikimedia, Wikimedia

In the early 1960s, the US government was looking for an excuse to start a war against Cuba. Because the communists led by Fidel Castro had recently come to power in Cuba, the US considered them as a threat. So, the US government needed an excuse that could justify a war against Cuba and receive public support. The officials in the Department of Defense and Joint Chiefs of Staff came up with a proposal. According to their plan, the CIA agents and the other US operatives would organize terror attacks in American cities against innocent civilians and military bases. In this way, they could blame Cuba for those attacks and declare a war.

The official name of this plan or operation was Operation Northwoods. As well as massive terrorist attacks on the US cities, the operation also included blowing up US ships, hijacking US planes, assassinating Cuban immigrants, and sinking their refugee boats on the high seas. The Joint Chiefs of Staff approved the operation before presenting the plan to the president’s office. The details of the operation were presented to the Secretary of Defense of President Kennedy and were rejected. Thus, the whole operation remained as a plan. (1,2)

5. In 1970, US President Nixon ordered a secret bombing in Cambodia. The operations lasted until 1973 and resulted in the deaths of about 100,000 Cambodian people.

U.S. Air Force Boeing B 52D dropping bombs over Vietnam, Meeting at Camp David to discuss the Vietnam situation
Image credit: USAF/Wikimedia, Oliver F. Atkins/Wikimedia

During the Vietnam War, some troops of Viet Cong and North Vietnam were stationed in Cambodia. The US government started a massive bombing in Cambodia in order to eliminate those Viet Cong troops. However, the people who died in those bombings were not only Viet Cong soldiers but also Cambodian civilians. President Richard Nixon gave the bombing order to Henry Kissinger and told him to forward it to the military units. The president claimed they were protecting the South Vietnam government and the US troops stationed in Cambodia with those attacks.

These attacks lasted until 1973, and it is still not clear how many people died in the bombings. However, Kissinger mentions that the Historical Office of the Secretary of Defense stated that there had been 50,000 casualties. Furthermore, those casualties were not Viet Cong, they were Cambodian. On the other hand, the famous Cambodian Genocide professor, Ben Kiernan, claims that the number is more likely to be between 50,000 and 150,000 people. (1,2)

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6. Between 1917 and 1926, female factory workers who were painting clocks and watches with luminous, radium paint were told the radium was harmless and they could point the brushes with their lips to give it a good shape. After some time, most workers contracted radiation poisoning, but it is unknown how many of them died as a result.

1921 magazine advertisement for Undark, Radium dial painter girl
Image source: Wikimedia, taringa.net

The first radium factory in the US was set up by the United States Radium Corporation in 1917. In this factory, female workers were painting the numbers on watches and clocks with radium paint. They did this so the numbers could be shiny and seen even in the dark which would reflect their brand name, “Undark.” Radium was a glowing element, and that’s the reason the numbers on the dials were painted with it. But, it was also a harmful element that could destroy human tissue. This was the reason why nobody but the workers touched the element in the factory. Although the corporation knew the hazardous effects of radium, they told the female workers that it was harmless. Furthermore, they told the workers they could point the brushes between their lips in order to give it a better shape.

The workers sometimes enjoyed playing with this radiant element by painting their clothes, teeth, noses, and some other parts of their body. After a while, the workers started having health issues. One worker lost her teeth and the gums couldn’t heal, while others gave birth to stillborn babies. Some workers had chronic exhaustion, while some others had skin deformation. All these problems were because of radium, and most of the workers had contracted radiation poisoning. During the funeral of one of the workers, Amelia Maggie, people could see the corpse was glowing in the coffin, and they then assumed they knew what caused her death. Even though there were many reports of sickness, it is still unknown how many of the workers died. The first legal case against the United States Radium Corporation was filed in 1925, but nothing happened to the USRC as they were very powerful then. (1,2)

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7. Between 100,000 and 150,000 Native American women were sterilized in the 1970s. According to the records, 3,400 to 70,000 of those women had a forced sterilization.

Sterilization protest
Image credit: Southern Studies Institute/Wikimedia

In the 1970s, stereotypes and racial prejudices against the Native American people increased dramatically. The media were stirring up the community by portraying the Native American women as squaws who were all alcoholic, dirty, and ugly women enjoying torturing White men. This negative image in the media manipulated the public. Eventually, people started thinking that these women were unfit to raise children. Then, the government started to sterilize Native American women. When the sterilization process began, the Native women were thinking that it was obligatory to have the procedure. Moreover, they thought if they hadn’t undergone the procedure, the government would have withdrawn their welfare benefits.

According to the records, up to 150,000 Native American women had this sterilization process during the period. What’s worse is that between 3,400 and 70,000 of those women had been forced to have sterilization without their consent. Forced sterilizations continued even after the law about protecting women from forced sterilization had passed in 1974. This process had a considerable effect on the fertility rate of the Native American women. The average birth rate dropped to 1.8 children for a Native American woman in 1980s, while it had been 3.7 in 1970s. (1, 2)

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