Yesterday, at the first press conference in response to the Boston Marathon bombings, the first question asked came from an Infowars person-- who most tweeters characterized as a crazy-- asking if the bombs were a false flag event by the government, with the aim of taking away people's guns.
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Yes it's crazy. But it is also despicable. It is parasitizing on tragedy for multiple purposes-- to feed the page views of a right wing conspiracy site, to fight gun control, to whip up the fears of people who are already very very fearful.
What's a false flag attack? The Atlantic Wire wrote about it, in response to the Infowars press conference question:
What is a "false flag" attack?
The term originates with naval warfare. For centuries, ships have sailed under a flag identifying their nationality. During times of war, ships would sometimes change the national flag they flew in order to fool other vessels that they sought to attack or escape from. They would fly, in other words, a "false flag." The term then expanded to mean any scenario under which a military attack was undertaken by a person or organization pretending to be something else.
What the questioner was asking, then, was: Did the United States government orchestrate this attack, pretending to be a terrorist organization of some sort, in order to justify expanded security powers?
Is There Historical Precedent for Such a Move by a Government?
There is .
The most famous example, however, is contentious. Conspiracy theorists (of which there are a lot in America ) often suggest that the 1933 fire at the Reichstag in Berlin was a "false flag" operation by the Nazis to consolidate power and undermine the Communist Party. This is still a subject of debate among historians, some of whom think the man convicted of the crime, Marinus van der Lubbe, was actually responsible. In 1998, a German court exonerated van der Lubbe.
The nexus of fascist government manipulation and phony disasters has proven difficult for theorists to resist. Following most attacks similar to Monday's bombings, there have been accusations that they serve as a tool of government oppression.
The same approach was also taken to the Sandy Hook massacre. Master media manipulators started asking the question, "was it a false flag attack by the government to take away our guns?" They'd raise questions about media reporting errors. They'd point to some taken down facebook page published before the event occurred (it's easy to change dates on facebook pages.) It doesn't take much for people to jump from asking questions to leaping to conclusions-- which is what the questioners want. And before you know it, I have emails from conspiracy theorists sending "hot info" to long lists of media people reporting how the bombings were a false flag event. No questions-- just crazy conclusions.
This is what Alex Jones said, in a tweet to his 181,000+ followers:
Note that Jones did not actually come out and say it was a false flag operation. But he does say, in his youtube channel, "So many of these past events have been false flag." He goes on to warn that "they" are coming for Christians.
I understand why people take the leap from question to belief. It's totally reasonable not to trust government. It's rational to believe that the government lies to us, that they DO engage in horrible acts, like torture and lying about reasons for getting into war. Being suspicious of the government cannot be considered being paranoid.
But these false flag allegations after tragedies have become so common they are as predictable as they are despicable. One has to ask, "cui bono?" Who benefits from promulgating these junk theories?
I'll start the list:
-Anti-government people-- Libertarians, Republicans, anarchists
-People in the gun business
-People who want to create and maintain fear
-the one percent--
-People who want to keep the 99% from coming together
-websites that feed the people who are susceptible to these theories
-people who want people to lose trust in any news source
I know this is an incomplete list.
These are difficult times. We have billionaires and multi-national corporations shaping the media and the news in ways that protect their interests. There are excellent reasons to question mainstream media reporting. But the people who use these tragedies to create false narratives-- particularly these "false flag government op" theories-- are particularly despicable. They are exploiting the fear, the distrust that is appropriate for their selfish and perhaps sociopath interests. They are exploiting good people who want to do the right thing, who are so disgusted with what they've learned about the government that they're willing to believe just about anything. And like I say, they are right to be willing to believe the government will do horrible things.
But it should be transparent by now that the almost instantaneous knee-jerk reflex "false flag government op" reflex is bogus and simply exploitation.
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