False flag

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A false flag operation is a covert or underground operation intended to appear as though it were being carried out by other entities. The purpose is propaganda, to gain sympathy for the "attacked" and against the "attackers".

Nazi Germany carried out many such operations, such as the Reichstag fire, in order to gain popularity and cement its control on the government. Another notable one backfired on them, however, the Gleiwitz Incident (an "attack" on a Nazi radio operation by other Nazis dressed as Polish soldiers, which was itself nothing more than a short anti-German broadcast, made believable by the Gestapo's murder of a German who was sympathetic to the Polish, who was then dressed as a saboteur) would ultimately lead to World War II.

Signs of a false flag

  1. Asks you to respond emotionally rather than intellectually.
  2. Strips the event of context, such as the contemporary factual setting, geopolitical reality, or historical awareness.
  3. Demands a rush to judgment before a diligent, independent inquiry occurs.
  4. Collectivizes judgment, by taking an individual event, and demands you blame an entire culture, religion, race, ancestry, community or country for it.
  5. The only explicable motive offered for the offending action is irrational evil or utterly stupid immorality, as it is against the rational interest of the offender to commit the act for the reasons alleged.

See also