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The “False Flag” Phenomenon

Within the field of conspiracy-theorizing, a great deal is said about what are known as “false flags.” Wikipedia says of false flags: “A false flag is a covert operation designed to deceive; the deception creates the appearance of a particular party, group, or nation being responsible for some activity, disguising the actual source of responsibility. The term ‘false flag’ originally referred to pirate ships that flew flags of countries as a disguise to prevent their victims from fleeing or preparing for battle. Sometimes the flag would remain and the blame for the attack laid incorrectly on another country. The term today extends beyond naval encounters to include countries that organize attacks on themselves and make the attacks appear to be by enemy nations or terrorists, thus giving the nation that was supposedly attacked a pretext for domestic repression and foreign military aggression.”

While highly inflammatory claims have been made suggesting that both 9/11 and 7/7 were false flags – and that, one day we might see the most outrageous false flag of all: a faked alien invasion – there are some cases which are not in doubt. Is it possible that at least some terrible evens that have occurred in recent history could actually not have been the work of terrorists or foreign military personnel? Might they, instead, have been definitive false flags? It’s important to note that there is nothing new about false flags: they have a long and controversial history.

One of the earliest such events occurred in the latter part of the 18th century; specifically 1788. It all began when a high-ranking official in the Swedish government quietly and carefully contacted a senior tailor within the Royal Swedish Opera – which may sound strange. Well, yes, it was strange. And with good reason: that same military official asked the tailor if he could create a significant number of uniforms. He didn’t want the uniforms to represent the Swedish military, though. Rather, he wanted the tailor to create Russian uniforms. There was method to this oddness. It revolved around manipulation and conspiracy. Not only that, it was a cold-hearted plan on the part of the Swedes.

Russian cossacks

The tailor agreed to make the uniforms, in double-quick time, even though he had no idea as to why the Swedish military would want to dress like Russians. Today, we know exactly why. On June 27, 1788, and dressed in their Russian outfits, a team of Swedish soldiers descended on a Swedish military facility in Puumala, a municipality in Finland. The soldiers then attacked their very own installation – to make it appear as if the Imperial Russian Army were the culprits. The reason?

Prior to the attack, the Swedish Government was deeply against engaging in hostilities with the Russians. After the attack, though, it was a very different situation: there was a significantly-sized call for retribution. Such was the highly classified nature of the faked attack, not even the highest echelons of the Swedish National Assembly – known as the Riksdag of the Estates – knew anything about it: it was all the work of a well-hidden cabal. In no time at all, King Gustav II took immediate steps to wage war on Russia. The Swedish-Russia war raged from June 1788 to August 1790. Close to 40,000 troops were killed in a war that resolved nothing between the two powers. Now, let’s take a trip to Japan, and then on to Poland.

On September 18, 1931, the Chinese region of Manchuria was attacked by the Japanese military. The possibility of war breaking out had been bubbling for a while. All the Japanese needed was a reason to invade. They got one. Or, rather, they created it. The Japanese military came up with an idea to launch a false flag on its own soil and place the blame on the Chinese. The target was a stretch of railway on Japan’s South Manchuria Railway. A Lieutenant Suemori Kawamoto steered the operation to success.

A tiny amount of explosives was secretly placed close to the track – but not on it: the Japanese wanted to make a point, but they didn’t want to cause any serious damage to their own territory or people. So, they made sure that the explosion that soon followed was limited. No-one was hurt and the track wasn’t even affected. But, by claiming that the attack was the work of the Chinese, it was seen as enough of a reason to go to war with China. As a result, the Japan-China War began and the invasion of Manchuria went ahead. All as a result of a fabricated, false flag affair.


Nick Redfern works full time as a writer, lecturer, and journalist. He writes about a wide range of unsolved mysteries, including Bigfoot, UFOs, the Loch Ness Monster, alien encounters, and government conspiracies. Nick has written 41 books, writes for Mysterious Universe and has appeared on numerous television shows on the The History Channel, National Geographic Channel and SyFy Channel.
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