It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.

Please white-list or disable in your ad-blocking tool.

Thank you.


Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.


The Blame Game: A history of "false flags" to start conflicts

page: 1

log in


posted on Aug, 30 2013 @ 03:23 PM

A “false-flag” attack is a covert operation that is carried out with the aim of being perceived as the work of another group, organisation or country.

Leaders from France, the UK and the US seem certain it was Assad’s forces that carried out the strike. But just how far-fetched is the Syrian regime’s “false flag” claim? Could a group harm its own supporters just so its enemy gets the blame? History tells us that these operations, while seemingly not all that credible, have been used often enough for Syrian authorities’ current claims to be taken seriously

Personally I don't really like the term "false flag", but this is a very interesting article nonetheless which shows the various machinations that governments have undertaken to start conflicts.

In 2003 UK newspaper The Guardian published an article that presented recently unearthed documents that revealed candid discussions about “false flag” operations in Syria. In 1957 UK Prime Minister Harold Macmillan and US President Dwight Eisenhower approved a plan to organise fake border incidents as justification for an invasion of Syria by its pro-Western neighbours. Concern had been growing about the increasingly pro-Soviet and anti Western attitudes in the country since the Ba’ath and Communist parties had overthrown the military regime.

The Blame Game: A history of "false flags" to start conflicts

There is also the 1898 sinking of the USS Maine which was the precursor to the Spanish-American War of the same year.

The Maine's destruction did not result in an immediate declaration of war with Spain. However, the event created an atmosphere that virtually precluded a peaceful solution.[51] The Spanish–American War began in April 1898, two months after the sinking. Advocates of the war used the rallying cry, "Remember the Maine! To Hell with Spain!"[52][53][54][55][56] The episode focused national attention on the crisis in Cuba, but was not cited by the William McKinley administration as a casus belli, though it was cited by some hawks already inclined to go to war with Spain over perceived atrocities and loss of control in Cuba

Newspapers of the time helped create an atmosphere of hysteria and in some cases accused Spain of treachery and actually being responsible.

The New York Journal and New York World, owned respectively by William Randolph Hearst and Joseph Pulitzer, gave the Maine intense press coverage, but employed tactics that would later be labeled "yellow journalism." Both papers exaggerated and distorted any information they could attain, sometimes even fabricating "news" when none that fitted their agenda was available. For a week following the sinking, the Journal devoted a daily average of eight and a half pages of news, editorials and pictures to the tragedy.

Various investigations then and since have determined that the sinking of the ship was caused by an explosion in the forward magazine, although how this actually occurred is open to debate.

Prior to that there was the confused beginnings of the Mexican-American War of 1846 which started with the controversial Thornton Affair in which Americans and Mexican forces clashed over disputed territory. This was used as the primary justification for war.

Fellow Whig Abraham Lincoln contested the causes for the war and demanded to know exactly where Thornton had been attacked and American blood shed. “Show me the spot,” he demanded. Whig leader Robert Toombs of Georgia declared:
This war is nondescript.... We charge the President with usurping the war-making power ... with seizing a country ... which had been for centuries, and was then in the possession of the Mexicans.... Let us put a check upon this lust of dominion. We had territory enough, Heaven knew.[34]

Although not really a "false falg" it shows how disputed incidents can be seized on to justify the headlong rush for war.

Another fascinating event which could in some ways almost be called a "false flag" from the other side was the USS Panay incident, a Japanese attack on a U.S. ship in China in 1937. The Japanese strenuously denied the attack was deliberate and paid indemnities, however:

Modern historians have gone back and analyzed the attack. Many now believe that the attack may have been intentional. According to John Prados, Navy cryptographers had intercepted and decrypted traffic relating to the attacking planes which clearly indicated that they were under orders during the attack, and that it had not been a mistake of any kind. Writer Nick Sparks believes that the chaos in Nanking created an opportunity for renegade factions within the Japanese army who wanted to force the U.S. into an active conflict so that the Japanese could once and for all drive the U.S. out of China.[7]

A Japanese attack before Pearl Harbor

A more sinister "false flag" was the Assassination of Segey Kirov in 1934. Kirov was a close friend of Stalin's and his death has been called the Soviet Union's Reichstag Fire or JFK assassination moment.

Some historians place the blame for his assassination at the hands of Stalin and believe the NKVD organised its execution, but any evidence for this claim remains elusive.[1] Kirov's death served as one of the pretexts for Stalin's escalation of repression against dissident elements of the Party, culminating in the Great Purge of the late 1930s in which many of the Old Bolsheviks were arrested, expelled from the Party, and executed

As mentioned above historians debate whether Stalin was truly responsible. He was certainly paranoid and cunning enough to carry out such an incident but it is said much of the evidence is circumstantial.

Repression and Terror: Kirov Murder and Purges

Seventeen Moments in Soviet History

Some have also argued that the sinking of the Lusitania and the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor
were conspiratorial attempts to bring the United States into the First and Second World Wars respectively. However personally I am somewhat on the fence about these two incidents.

posted on Aug, 30 2013 @ 03:23 PM
At the present time with the crisis in Syria, we are seeing debates raging about who was responsible for the chemical attacks - the Assad regime or the rebels? We should all take a step back for a moment and think carefully about what it is that we're being told and not be too quick to launch into war. The UK parliament has voted no to taking part in military strikes, but the U.S. will be going ahead anyway it seems. The United States does not require any military support and could destroy Syria several times over on it's own. It merely wanted UK support to provide a fig leaf of international legitimacy. France is apparently willing to back the U.S though and possibly Turkey too.

In my opinion it seems just as likely that both sides in the Syrian conflict have used chemical weapons and to intervene would be decisively taking sides in their civil war. The historical precedents above should be a reminder to us all about how events can be used by governments for their own ends.

posted on Sep, 1 2013 @ 08:42 AM
There is also the bombing of the USS Liberty and the Gulf of Tonkin incidents.The list goes on and on.Still trust the government???

posted on Sep, 1 2013 @ 01:03 PM
reply to post by lonegurkha

Yes the Gulf of Tonkin incident is the most infamous one and is mentioned in the link I posted.

Just had to remind myself of the attack on the USS Liberty. I remember reading of this before, but why is this regarded as a false flag?

posted on Sep, 1 2013 @ 05:36 PM
reply to post by Kram09

Here is one of the accounts of the attack,I will leave it to you to draw what conclusions you will.

Attack on the USS Liberty

posted on Sep, 2 2013 @ 01:19 PM
reply to post by lonegurkha

Well it most certainly was a deliberate and sustained attack - not an accident as claimed by the Israelis.

The fact it was covered up is disgraceful too, but I don't see this as a false flag. Perhaps if the Israelis had attacked and tried to blame it on Egypt - which still wouldn't wash.

Unless you mean that the "false flag" so to speak is the idea of the attack being a mistake, when it clearly wasn't.

I sort of see where you're coming from. It's an interesting event, it seems almost to have been forgotten now and it's no surprise really.

posted on Sep, 7 2013 @ 11:37 AM
reply to post by Kram09

I have heard this incident referred to as a false flag.I have often wondered as to how it would be considered a false flag.I do wonder as to why the Isrealis would carry out such an attack as this and why no Navy units would come to their aid.We do have a fleet stationed in the Mediterranian. My brother was in that fleet back in the day,he was stationed on a carrier.

A most curious incident....An unarmed ship attacked and sunk by the Isrealis in spite of having an American flag flying.Yes most curious indeed as they were allies even then.I think that there is much more to this incident than we will ever know.

posted on Sep, 7 2013 @ 11:51 AM
reply to post by lonegurkha

The Israelis knew exactly what they were attacking and who it belonged to. The US government of the time pulled back from responding so as not to embarrass the Israelis. It was an event designed to be blamed on Egypt, thus bringing in the US to attack Egypt in retaliation. Problem was, the damned ship wouldn't sink, so even straffing the life boats that were launched was fruitless. A classic false flag event!

Mmmm... wasn't it a certain Admiral McCain, father of a current warmonger politician, who led the whitewash of an inquiry into that one?
Anyone see a pattern of behaviour here?

I have also read reports in the past, that the aircraft launched from a carrier in the Med were not to assist the Liberty, but were to attack Egypt and may have been nuclear armed. Wouldn't surprise me at all given the levels of madness that prevail to this day in the bowels of power and extreme corruption.

posted on Sep, 7 2013 @ 12:01 PM
reply to post by Britguy

Interesting information.Thank you for posting this.I have always been certian that the isrealis knew who they were attacking..However I have wondered why and you have provided the answer.Odd how the same names continue to pop up around false flags and crooked government dealings.

new topics

top topics


log in