On 26 November 1939, the Soviet army of the day shelled Mainila, a Russian village near the Finnish border. Soviet authorities blamed Finland for the attack and used the incident as a pretext to invade Finland, starting the Winter War. Four days after the shelling of Mainila, the horrors of the conflict began.
A false flag operation or ‘False Flag’ is an act committed with the intent of disguising the actual source of responsibility and pinning blame on another party.
The term ‘false flag’ originated in the 16th century as an expression meaning an intentional misrepresentation of someone’s allegiance. The term was famously used to describe a ruse in naval warfare whereby a vessel flew the flag of a neutral or enemy country in order to hide its true identity. The tactic was originally used by pirates and privateers to deceive other ships into allowing them to move closer before attacking them. It later was deemed an acceptable practice during naval warfare according to international maritime laws, provided the attacking vessel displayed its true flag once an attack had begun.
The term today extends to include governments that organise attacks on themselves and make the attacks appear to be by enemy nations, terrorists or citizens, thus giving the government that was supposedly attacked a pretext for domestic repression, a political or even military response.
An example of how a false flag could work is if a government clandestinely ordered the shooting of a group of it’s citizens, then passed a law to ban the use of firearms thus disarming the people of a country and making them vulnerable to the controls of an oligarchy or a dictator. By the use of propaganda to garner public support and controlled media finger pointing, the truth could be veiled.
Similarly deceptive activities carried out during peacetime by individuals, corporations or nongovernmental organisations have been called false flag operations, but the more common terms are ‘frameup’, ‘stitch up’, or ‘setup’.