One of the more interesting and used manipulation techniques is called the False Flag manipulation. It’s pretty simple: you do something terrible, and then make sure that there is enough evidence to blame someone else, preferably someone that you don’t like.
In practice, there are many ‘flavors’ of False Flag operations. At one end of the scale is the misdirection move, as used by Linda McMahon in the recent election:
Linda is the wife of Vince McMahon, who took wrestling to a national sport and in the process became a multi-millionaire. Linda is a Republican, who has given liberally to Romney’s campaign and many other Republican races. She really, really wanted a Senate seat, enough to spend $65M of her own money on her two races. But Linda, faster than many other Republicans, felt the mood of the country, and decided that attaching her wagon to Romney’s might be a problem, especialyl in Connecticut. So, relatively late in the campaign, Linda’s campaign began to leverage a little-known law in Connecticut that allows candidate to run for Senator in more than one party. So Linda ran as a Republican, of course, but also ran as the candidate of choice for the Indepedent Party (her Democratic opponent was also running as the candidate for the Working Families Party). So far, it’s strange, but not really ‘false flaggy’.
But, as the Democrats took the ascendant in the campaign, Linda’s campaign decided to do things a little differently. These types of posters began appearing:
At the same time, Linda’s campaign started distributing sample ballots that looked like this:
There is nothing illegal about this: Linda is not telling voters that she’s a Democrat (that would actually be illegal). On paper, as an Independent candidate, she has the right to align herself with the President. The ads are misleading, of course, but that is the core of any manipulation: the idea was to trick Democrat voters into voting for Linda, while at the same time retaining the Republican vote. A foolproof plan! It failed, though. Linda eventually lost, 55% to 43%, and while some voters were mislead by the ads, it wasn’t enough to push her over the edge.
False flag operations are usually a bit more straightforward, as mentioned above. They are often used in military conflicts, or at least by people trying to start a military conflict. Here is a lobbyist, for example, suggesting that the Israel should use a false flag to goad the US into war with Iran:
It is not subtle, but why bother? This is not an obscure tactic, after all: several politicians use it fairly frequently. For example, when the Wisconsin governor recall election was happening earlier this year, an Indiana prosecutor (who really, really didn’t like unions), wrote an email to the governor suggesting that he organize someone to shoot him and then blame the (hopefully botched) assassination on unions:
“If you could employ an associate who pretends to be sympathetic to the unions’ cause to physically attack you (or even use a firearm against you), you could discredit the unions,” Carlos suggested, then went on to actually name the tactic: “Employing a false flag operation would assist in undercutting any support that the media may be creating in favor of the unions.”
When the email was leaked, Carlos initially denied writing it, then eventually admitted it and resigned.
While the champion of False Flag is widely considered to be Israel, the US does use False Flags quite often. Operation Northwoods, for example, was an operation planned by in 1962 by the US Joint Chiefs of Staff to create a series of false flag missions against Cuba. The operation would have seen the US blow up a ship in Guantanamo Bay and blame it on Cuba, refugee boats to be sunk by pretend Cuban warships in view of some media, hijacked airliners in the name of Castro, or a civilian US plane shot down with attack planes that appeared to be Cuban MIGs.
Northwood, and its cousin Operation Mongoose (they had cooler names back then) was brought up all the way to the President for implementation, but President Kennedy disallowed Northwoods, and eventually fired its key architect from the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
A close cousin to the False Flag operation is the Agent Provocateur. From the French for “he who provokes”, an Agent Provocateur is a plant designed to provoke a crowd or a group into rash action, which can then be crushed with impunity.
Since this is a French word, let’s grab an example from our neighbors in Canada.
shows 3 masked men at a protest in Montebello. In 2007, the leaders of Canada, the US and Mexico met to discuss the sequel to the free-trade agreement. Of course, such a high-profile gathering attracted its share of protests. One such massive protest was a peaceful march organized around the Montebello Hotel. During the protest, several protesters noticed men in camouflage pants and baklavas, some clutching rocks and trying to push the crowd into rushing the riot police standing nearby. One of the protesters (seen in the video) started shouting that the men were actually policemen. This led to an awkward confrontation where the crowd turned on the Agent Provocateurs themselves, and they had to run to seek shelter within the police lines themselves. Later, the police admitted that they had placed the agents there to push the crowd to violence and to gain an excuse to break up the protest.
Exactly the same tactic was used in London by police trying to stop protests against the G20 meeting.
Agent Provocateur manipulations are interesting because they essentially allow a small number of agents to manipulate a giant crowd. For example, Israel used just 9 agents provocateurs to try and ruin Egypt-US relations in 1954. Fearing that the US and Egypt were getting too cozy, the Israel military recruited 9 Egyptian Jews to fire-bomb several sites used by foreigners in Cairo and Alexandria.
The idea was that the fire-bombing would be blamed on local insurgents, and both the US and the UK would be put off enough to freeze the growing alliance with Egypt. As it happened, the plot failed – the agents were caught, and then confessed. Several were hanged, and the rest eventually returned to Israel. That’s the trouble with Agent Provocateur attacks – if they fail, the provocateurs get exactly the reverse effect of what they were trying to do.
Sometimes, a false flag operation comes to light because of time, or because of changed circumstances. When the Egyptian government fell as part of the Arab Spring, for example, in 2011, protesters raided the building of the secret police. There, they found a treasure trove of documents detailing secret operations, with many false flag manipulations amongst them.
The files revealed that several bombings that had been blamed on Muslim extremists in Egypt were actually carried out by the secret police, including one that had killed 88 people in a resort which had actually been orchestrated to harm one of President Mubarak’s business rival…
* * *
A well-carried out false flag manipulation is usually hard to spot, and can trigger wars if done well. Even if something goes wrong, there can be enough confusion and doubt to allow the perpetrators of a false flag attack to not suffer any major setbacks. For example, consider the Google Trends chart for “false flag”:
So what happened in July 2012, where that giant spike is? Why did the world collectively decide to Google the relatively obscure “False Flag” phrase? Well, in July 2012, a suicide bomber killed 8 people in a bus in Bulgaria full of Israeli tourists. It was a tragic, senseless killing, and the suspicion quickly moved to Hezbollah (and hence Iran).
So why the spike in False Flag searches? Well, the incident had a number of odd characteristics which awakened suspicions: prime minister Netanyahu said that “all signs point to Iran”, a mere hour after the attack, when the Bulgarian police was still sorting through exactly what had happened. When the Bulgarian police had investigated, they found a lot more depth and planning had gone into the attack than your standard strap-a-vest-on-me-I’m-doing-this suicide bomber typically does.
Also, Israel has used false flag several times in the past, using US, Canadian and European passports to hide operations by its secret services. The timing of the attack was also remarkably useful for Israel (as it was trying to gather global support to stop Iran’s atomic program) and seemed a remarkably stupid move for Iran (angering European nations to attack a bus full of students).
All in all, while nations around the world condemned the attack and stepped up the pressure on Iran, searches for False Flag operations began to spike. Senseless attack or botched false flag operation? We may have to wait for a leaked memo or a revolution or a tell-all book to know…