Friday, February 03, 2006

The fine art of the well staged border incident

Channel 4 news covered a story last night about, oh yes, yet another leaked memo from a meeting between George Bush and Tony Blair before the invasion of Iraq.

Apparently, George Bush floated the idea of …

flying U2 reconnaissance aircraft with fighter cover over Iraq, painted in UN colours. If Saddam fired on them, he would be in breach

The bizarre thing about this story is that it is being reported as something surprising.


It shouldn’t be.

The RAF and US Air Force were bombing the crap out of Iraq throughout 2002, before war had even been declared, specifically to provoke a response. In comparison, floating the idea of flying a few spy planes in harm’s way seems positively restrained.

Besides, every self-respecting war needs a border incident to get it going. As Goering put it back in 1945

Why, of course, the people don't want war. Why would some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best that he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece. Naturally, the common people don't want war … the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked

Your average Joe doesn’t like the idea of war. Wars hurt. And if they have to go to war people must have some reason to believe that they are on the side of the angels.

Enter the noble art of the false flag border incident. If you’re going to invade another country or crack down violently on sections of your own population you just have to stage one.

It would be impolite not to.

Stef’s Top Ten false flag and border incidents from the last 100 years or so

10. The USS Maine

Blew up in Havana Harbour in 1898. American blamed Spain, went to war with Spain. The US acquired The Philipines, Guam, Puerto Rico and Cuba in the process

Cause of explosion later established as being accidental. America did not give The Philipines, Guam, Puerto Rico and Cuba back.

9. RMS Lusitania

Loaded up with American nationals and an illegal cargo of explosives, then directed by the Royal Navy towards the known location of a German U-Boat in 1915. The Germans obligingly sank the ship and helped bring America into the war.

8. The Helli Incident

A Greek cruiser sunk by an Italian submarine in 1940, two months before Italy actually declared war on Greece. It’s still not clear what the Italians hoped to achieve by doing this but they denied the attack straight away, even though the Greeks pulled pieces of torpedo with Italian writing on them out of the wreck.

Conclusion: Italians are lovers not fighters

7. The Lavon Affair

A series of small bombs planted in Egypt by Israeli agents masquerading as Arab terrorists in 1954. The plan being to block the planned British withdrawal from the Suez Canal. One of the bombs blew up in an agent’s trousers and they all got busted.

6. The Bay of Pigs Invasion

1,500 Cuban exiles, trained and equiped by the US government, invaded Cuba in 1961. Bizarrely, the American Government believed it could deny any involvement in the invasion. The invasion force was slaughtered on the beach in about five minutes. Since then Cuban expatriots living in America have nursed a nagging suspicion that might have been the idea all along. Quite a few became lifelong Republican voters and were more than a little pleased when Kennedy got shot.

5. Operation Northwoods

After the Bay of Pigs fiasco the US Department of Defense put together a plan called Operation Northwoods to get the US public behind a full-on invasion of Cuba. Suggested wheezes featured in the plan included

  • Staging mock attacks, sabotages and riots at Guantanamo Bay and blaming it on Cuban forces
  • Firebombing and sinking an American ship at the Guantanamo Bay American military base or destroy American aircraft and blame it on Cuban forces
  • "Harassment of civil air, attacks on surface shipping and destruction of US military drone aircraft by MIG type [sic] planes would be useful as complementary actions."
  • Destroying an unmanned drone masquerading as a commercial aircraft supposedly full of "college students off on a holiday"
  • Staging a "terror campaign", including the "real or simulated" sinking of Cuban refugees
  • "We could develop a Communist Cuban terror campaign in the Miami area, in other Florida cities and even in Washington. The terror campaign could be pointed at Cuban refugees seeking haven in the United States. We could sink a boatload of Cubans enroute [sic] to Florida (real or simulated). We could foster attempts on lives of Cuban refugees in the United States even to the extent of wounding in instances to be widely publicized."
  • Burning crops by dropping incendiary devices in Haiti, Dominican Republic or elsewhere

Northwoods was never put into action but an awful lot of high level officials supported it and it’s kind of interesting to see how they were thinking

4. The Gleiwitz Incident

The Gleiwitz incident was a staged attack against the German radio station in Gliwice on the night of August 31, 1939. There were other staged Polish-German border incidents (such as house torching in the Polish Corridor) and spurious propaganda output. Together the Nazis claimed these 21 incidents, collectively dubbed Operation Himmler, as the pretext for the invasion of Poland the following day.

A small group seized the station and a message was broadcast that urged the Poles resident in Silesia to strike against Germans. After receiving a lethal injection Franciszek Honiok, a German Silesian known for sympathizing with the Poles and arrested the previous day by the Gestapo, was given gunshot wounds and left dead at the scene of the incident as evidence that he had been killed while attacking. This was presented as proof of the attack to the invited press and police officials.

3. The Gulf of Tonkin Incident

The Gulf of Tonkin Incident was a pair of alleged attacks by North Vietnamese gunboats on two American destroyers, the USS Maddox and the USS C. Turner Joy, in August of 1964 in the Gulf of Tonkin. America went to war against North Vietnam on the basis of these supposed attacks, even though there were actually no Vietnamese gunboats and the two destroyers thought they were being attacked by the sound of their own propellers.

2. Reichstag Fire

The German parliament building burned down in 1933. The fire was either set by a lunatic or Herman Goering. In response, Hitler declared a state of emergency and abolished most of Germany’s human rights legislation.

1. 911

Even if you were to believe the official account of what happened that day, it is still kind of difficult to make the connection between 9/11 and justitfication for an Invasion of Iraq. Unless you’re an American President or British Prime Minister.

As a slight aside, the story of the two hijackers’ passports allegedly found in the rubble of the Twin Towers reminds me ever so loosely of the Operation Mincement carried out by British Intelligence in WW2. The British got hold of a corpse, dressed it up as an army major and tossed it into the sea along with fake documents designed to misdirect the Germans away from the invasion of Sicily. It worked a treat. Come to think of it, the thought of incriminating documentation found on corpses is probably even more reminiscent of the London July bombings than 9/11

Gosh, is that ten already? And I haven’t even got round to Pearl Harbour yet. Maybe another time.


Apprentice said...

Cyprus in the 1950s.

The Birmingham Pub Bombings 1974.

I could elaborate, but I think your audience would think I was making it up. And anyway, it doesn't take much deduction.

Ian said...

aha, you must have been watching Channel 4's 'Top 100 False flag and border incidents' last Saturday night.

Stef said...

The Omagh and Lockerbie bombings in 1998 ...

Daniel said...

Brilliant Post! However, I'm a bit concerned I found it as funny as I did ...

Apprentice said...

Omagh is one I'm not sure about. People close to the ground at the time have it as a peace process wrecker by an offshoot mil Republican group, which accords with what we 'know'.

Brighton was also a real one.

Not convinced about Mountbatten though...