The term “false-flag” is traced back to pirates who would fly a flag of surrender or truce, or the flag of a different country, as a disguise in attacking unsuspecting ships.
It has since become a term for creating or capitalizing on incidents, which could be blamed on others, to justify a military response.
- In 332 BC, when the city of Tyre refused to let Alexander the Great offer a sacrifice to Heracles, he blamed them for the insult, and used it as a pretense to begain an enormous campaign to destroy the city;
- c.66 A.D., Nero set Rome on fire, blamed it on Christians, and proceeded the first major persecution;
- In 1652, a Dutch fleet failed to dip their flag in salute, the British considered it an insult, and used it as an excuse to begin a Anglo-Dutch War;
- In 1788, Swedish soldiers dressed in Russian uniforms attacked a Swedish outpost to provide a pretense for King Gustav III to begin the Russo-Swedish War;
- In 1898, the USS Maine suspiciously blew up Havana’s Harbor, igniting the Spanish-American War;
- In 1931, a railroad explosion in China near Liutiaohu or Mukden provided the pretense for Japan to invade China and kill thousands in Nanking;
- In 1933, Germany’s capital Reichstag building suspiciously caught fire allowing Hitler in the panic to round up and execute his political opponents, allowing him to seize absolute control;
- In 1934, Stalin had a rival, the Party boss of Leningrad, assassinated, and blamed it on anti-Stalinists, providing an excuse to kill over a million;
- In 1937, during the Spanish Civil War, Franco allowed Nazi planes to bomb rebellious Spanish towns, so he could seized power as a dictator”;
- In 1939, Operation Himmler’s Gleiwitz incident had Nazi soldiers dressed as Polish soldiers attack a German town, providing an excuse for Nazis to invade Poland;
- In 1939, Soviet Russian army shelled a Russian village near the Finnish border and had the government controlled media blame Finland, providing an excuse for Soviets to invade in the Winter War;
- In 1941, Pearl Harbor attack resulted in U.S. enttering WWII;
- In 1953, Iran’s Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh sided with U.S.S.R. He nationalized oil industry, seizing assets of Britain’s Anglo-Iranian Oil Company (BP). Britain appealed to U.S.. but Truman refused help. Then Eisenhower approved the CIA’s first operation to overthrow a government Project TP-Ajax. Orchestrated by Kermit Roosevelt Jr., imams were recruited, press was bribed, and feared mobsters in Tehran were hired to organize agitators, stage riots, attack mosques, and destabilized the country. Media was co-opted to blame Mossadegh for all the problems. When public opinion turned against him, he was put under house arrest and replaced with the pro-West Shah Resa Pahlavi;
- Soviet KGB victim-oppressor tactics destabilized many countries, bringing them behind “Iron Curtain”;
- In 1955, false reports that Mustafa Kemal Atatürk’s home was bombed turning Turkish public opinion to commit Istanbul’s pogrom of Greeks;
- In 1964, the Gulf of Tonkin incident resulted in LBJ escalating the Vietnam War;
- In 2013, gas attacks on Syrian citizens by Saudi-supplied rebels was intended as a pretense to get the U.S. to help overthrow Syria’s government, which, according to some, would have allowed a pipeline from Qatar and Arabia to cross Syria into Turkey, undercutting Russia’s oil exports to Europe.