Not so long ago, using the term “false flag” immediately marked you as a “conspiracy theorist,” – basically a nutcase not in touch with reality. Supposedly.
In case anybody still doesn’t know, a “false flag [attack/event]” is an incident perpetrated by one party (usually a state) either against itself or someone else, while making it appear that a third party is to blame.
False flag events are far from a new idea. King Gustav III of Sweden staged an attack on one of his own outposts using soldiers in fake Russian uniforms, to provide a pretext for initiating war against Russia in 1788.
In the Gleiwitz Incident, Nazi Germany apparently staged an attack on a German radio station, in order to blame Poland and provide propaganda supporting the decision to go to war.
However, it is the United States which, in the 20th and 21st centuries, has been most frequently accused of perpetrating false flag events.
The 1898 Spanish-American war started after a US battleship, the Maine, mysteriously blew up in Havana harbor. The cause was never conclusively proven, but Spain was immediately blamed, and Congress declared war. (Nobody apparently asked what a US battleship was doing parked in another country’s harbor in the first place.)
Operation Northwoods was a plan developed by the Joint Chiefs of Staff and submitted to President John F. Kennedy in 1962, proposing various scenarios for faking terrorist attacks on the US and blaming them on Cuba. Kennedy rejected the plan.
Many consider the Gulf of Tonkin incident of 1964, which was used to introduce US ground troops into Vietnam, to have been a false flag. And millions of people world wide do not believe the official narrative of what occurred during the 9-11 attacks.
When the United States accused the Syrian government, led by President Bashar al-Assad, of unleashing a sarin gas attack on civilians in the town of Khan Shaykhun in the Idlib province of Syria on April 4th – an incident which brought him no advantage, but played directly to the advantage of his enemies – the alternative media sphere immediately began crying foul.
Twitter exploded with indications that the event was staged, with so-called “white helmets” humanitarian workers caught in multiple compromising positions:
— the Lemniscat (@theLemniscat) April 12, 2017
White Helmets collecting Sarin samples in sandals & smoking#SyriaHoax NATO
White Helmets handle deadly toxic… https://t.co/mVUtu26jLX
— Brave New World ⏳ (@ClubBayern) April 12, 2017
— Hans Voegeli (@Hans_Voegeli) April 13, 2017
However, the proof in social media was only the first blow. None other than Russian President Vladimir Putin then spoke out, saying that Russia believed similar “provocations” were being planned:
His statement was followed by an extended interview given by Syrian President Assad, whose reasoned responses ripped to sheds the accusations of his accusers:
These public statements by two leading world statesmen immediately added impetus to the claims in alternative media that a false flag attack had indeed occurred.
Then, in a clear message to the United States, Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov followed up his April 12th meeting with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, by meeting with the foreign ministers of Iran and Syria in Moscow only two days later, April 14th – a clear show of solidarity.
This followed Tillerson’s demand at the G7 in Lucca that Russia should “reconsider” its alliance with Iran and Syria.
At the press conference afterward, Lavrov stated about the alleged chemical attack:
There is growing evidence that this was staged – meaning the incident with the use of chemical weapons in Idlib province.
What makes the false flag at Khan Shaykhun unlike previous false flags is the speed with which it was exposed – both on the internet using the alleged footage itself, and possibly for the first time, by other state parties (Russia and Syria) opposed to the agenda the perpetrators seek to advance.
Now “false flag” has essentially entered the normal political lexicon.
And normalizing awareness of what a false flag is, along with decreasing acceptance of it as a state tactic, essentially means it will be increasingly difficult to succeed with one in the future.
Thus, it can be said that the era in which government orchestrated false flags can be carried out with a high chance of success is effectively over. Both modern communication media (i.e. the internet and smart phones) and risk of exposure by opposing governments will make it high-risk, low reward-undertaking.
That is not to say false flags will not continue to happen. They will. After all, the deep state apparatus appears both highly resistant to change, and severely lacking in originality. But such events will be increasingly less likely to be successful in convincing observers that the party they intend to implicate is the one to blame.