A “false flag operation” is a time-tested technique of intelligence providers. It’s the propagation of a vicious lie—the misleading attribution of an outrageous deed to the enemy—in order to justify hostility and warfare.
From the explosion on the Maine battleship in Havana Harbor in 1898 to the supposed attack on U.S. Navy ships in Vietnam’s Gulf of Tonkin in 1964 to the bogus story of Iraqi anthrax in 2002, American advocates of conflict have falsely attributed heinous crimes to target regimes for the functions of justifying U.S. army action.
Once the jargon of army and intelligence professionals, the term “false flag operation” has entered the American vocabulary. Because of Alex Jones, James Fetzer and other hucksters, “false flag operation” now signifies treacherous machinations by unseen forces to dupe unwitting People into believing the media. To call the bloodbath of schoolchildren a “false flag operation,” as Jones and Fetzer have executed, is itself a vicious lie that treats the victims and survivors as an enemy, the better to demonize mainstream information organizations. It’s a demonstration of cruelty that is proven to drive visitors.
It was no shock that when two Persian Gulf oil tankers have been attacked final Thursday, “Gulf of Tonkin” immediately spiked on Google, whereas right-wing websites played up claims of a false flag attack.
As a result of false-flag considering is each a right-wing media meme and a reality of geopolitical wrestle, distinguishing between the two is more pressing than ever. It was no shock that when two Persian Gulf oil tankers have been attacked last Thursday, “Gulf of Tonkin” instantly spiked on Google, whereas right-wing sites performed up claims of a false flag assault.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says a video of a ship, allegedly belonging to the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, alongside certainly one of tankers, is “unmistakable” proof of Iranian duty. The assaults, countered Iran’s parliamentary speaker Ali Larijani, have been “suspicious.”
“Suspicious acts in the Sea of Oman against oil tankers… seem to be supplementary to the [U.S.] economic sanctions as the Americans went nowhere with the sanctions, [also,] especially, given America’s historical record in the area [of false flag ops],” Larijani stated, in line with Iran’s PressTV.
Russian authorities spokesman Dmitry Peskov recalled the U.S. government’s claims in 2003 that Saddam Hussein had stockpiled “vials of white powder,” specifically anthrax. The claims, which helped justify the disastrous U.S. invasion, have been found to be false by the CIA.
The Russians and the Iranians aren’t the solely ones to suspect a ruse. Julian Lee, oil business analyst writing in Bloomberg Information, didn’t use the term “false flag,” but he famous the timing of the assaults was most useful to advocates of confronting Iran.
The assaults occurring throughout the go to of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to Tehran, a visit blessed by President Trump. Abe urged Tehran to keep away from battle at all costs and pledged to do his utmost for a diplomatic answer. Then came an assault on a Japanese ship, Kokuka Brave, which undermined and overshadowed his message.
“This would seem very clumsy timing from a country seeing the first tangible signs of any easing of the crippling sanctions imposed by the Americans. But it is absolutely understandable if you’re someone whose ultimate goal is to derail any easing of tensions between the two nations, and to effect regime change in Tehran. Whoever is behind the attacks is no friend of Iran.”
Until the United States and Iran document their conflicting claims with verifiable evidence, the challenge of who was accountable can’t be determined. The video, by itself, proves nothing.
As Defense One noticed:
“The boat’s clear and distinct connection to Iran or the IRGC, however, is not evident in the video itself. Nor is it clear from the video (1) where the boat came from, (2) who the occupants were, (3) whether what was allegedly removed was in fact a limpet mine (as the OSINT folks at Bellingcat pointed out this morning), or (4) where the boat went to after its occupants concluded their activity from the side of the Courageous.”
In fact, the historic incontrovertible fact that false stories have proliferated as U.S. policymakers sought justification for struggle doesn’t prove something particularly about the tanker assaults in 2019, except that it might be naïve to reflexively rule out a false flag operation.
The Northwoods Paradigm
What is indeniable is that the U.S. authorities has turned to false flag operations to realize strategic objectives. Working example: Operation Northwoods, a top-secret plan to create a pretext for a U.S. invasion of Cuba in the early 1960s. At the behest of the Joint Chiefs of Employees, Pentagon planners, assisted by CIA personnel, proposed a dozen totally different crimes that would falsely be blamed on communist Cuba.
Some of their schemes, as pitched by Pentagon planners, have been:
- “A series of well-coordinated incidents will be planned to take place in and around Guantanamo to give genuine appearance of being done by hostile Cuban forces.”
- “A ‘Remember the Maine’ incident could be arranged in several forms: a. We could blow up a US ship in Guantanamo Bay and blame Cuba…”
- “We could develop a Communist Cuban terror campaign in the Miami area, in other Florida cities, and even in Washington.”
- “The terror campaign could be pointed at refugees seeking haven in the United States. We could sink a boatload of Cubans en route to Florida (real or simulated)…”
- “Harassment of civil air, attacks on surface shipping and destruction of US military drone aircraft by MIG type planes would be useful as complementary actions…” (After the reviews of the tanker attacks last week, the Pentagon publicized the destruction of a U.S. army drone plane by Iranian-backed forces. )
The JCS unanimously accepted the Northwoods plans in 1962 and 1963 and introduced them to the White Home. President Kennedy rejected the concept the first time, and ignored it the second. While by no means carried out, the Northwoods plans represented the Pentagon’s greatest considering on how one can carry out an “engineered provocation” at the moment. The Northwoods paperwork are genuine, and the Defense Department has by no means disavowed the methods they espouse.
Made public for the first time in 1997, the 200-plus pages of Northwoods material illuminate seven key objectives of what the JCS referred to as “pretext operations.”
- Create indignation among People. Or as the JCS said, “place the United States in the position of suffering justifiable grievances.”
- Depict the enemy as a violent rogue actor. To make the bogus expenses of terrorism stick, the Northwoods planners stated, “Exploding a few plastic bombs in carefully chosen spots, the arrest of Cuban agents and the release of prepared documents substantiating Cuban involvement would also be helpful to projecting the idea of an irresponsible government.”
- Contrive an “unprovoked” assault on the United States. The Northwoods planners stated “It is possible to create an incident which will make it appear that Communist Cuban MIGs [Soviet-made fighter jets] have destroyed a USAF [U.S. Air Force] aircraft over international water in an unprovoked attack.”
- Mimic real enemy actions, if attainable. “Justification for U.S. intervention probably would be more convincing to the American public and rest of the world if it could be related to real and valid provocations rather than based wholly on manufactured cases which entail risk of compromise.”
- Go to great lengths to generate false however incriminating element. To stage a pretend hijacking, the Northwoods planners advised:
“An aircraft at Eglin AFB can be painted and numbered as a precise duplicate for a civil registered aircraft belonging to a CIA proprietary group… At a delegated time the duplicate can be substituted for the precise civil plane can be loaded with selected passengers, all board beneath rigorously ready aliases. The precise registered plane can be converted to a drone.
“Take off times of the drone aircraft and the actual aircraft will be scheduled to allow a rendezvous south of Florida. From the rendezvous point the passenger-carrying aircraft will descend to minimum altitude and go directly into an auxiliary field at Eglin AFB where arrangements will have been made to evacuate the passengers and return the aircraft to its original status. The drone aircraft meanwhile will continue to fly the filed flight plan. When over Cuba the drone will being [sic] transmitting on the international distress frequency a ‘MAY DAY’ message…”
- If vital, sacrifice human life to make the operation credible. In the Northwoods proposal to “sink a boatload of Cubans en route to Florida (real or simulated),” the cruel parenthetical exhibits that even individuals fleeing the goal regime have been thought-about probably expendable to realize U.S. objectives.
- Exploit the information cycle to promote false claims. In early 1962, the United States was getting ready to launch astronaut John Glenn into area. Operation Soiled Trick can be mounted to “provide irrevocable proof that, should the MERCURY manned orbit flight fail, the fault lies with the Communists… This could be accomplished by manufacturing various pieces of evidence which would prove electronic interference…”
False flag operations, in different words, aren’t only a figment of the conspiratorial creativeness. They have been seen as viable devices of U.S. regime change coverage. These techniques have by no means been repudiated by U.S. officials. That doesn’t mean final week’s tanker assaults have been a false flag operation. It does mean false flag operations are a weapon in Washington’s arsenal.
Unbiased Media Institute
Jefferson Morley is a writing fellow and the editor and chief correspondent of the Deep State, a venture of the Unbiased Media Institute. He has been a reporter and editor in Washington, D.C., since 1980. He spent 15 years as an editor and reporter at the Washington Publish. He was a employees writer at Arms Management At this time and Washington editor of Salon. He is the editor and co-founder of JFK Information, a blog about the assassination of JFK. His newest guide is The Ghost: The Secret Lifetime of CIA Spymaster, James Jesus Angleton.
This article was produced by the Deep State, a undertaking of the Unbiased Media Institute.