Pipe Bombs: Frantic Denunciations of the False Flag Concept

Graeme MacQueen

A photo the device mailed to CNN/John Brennan. Note the digital clock, explosives experts have said that a bombmaker would never use one.

Onto the 24-hour reality show that is U.S. politics, 15 package bombs recently made their entrance.

The devices were sent to vocal opponents of Mr. Trump, most of them prominent members of the Democratic Party. The incident became public on October 25, less than two weeks before the November 6 elections that mark the middle of Trump’s first term.

Now, it is an interesting question as to whether the designated perpetrator, Cesar Sayoc, is a lone wolf terrorist or a patsy acting on behalf of larger forces. I am encouraged to see researchers exploring the second possibility. But my focus in this article is different.

The suggestion that the package bomb incidents might be false flag attacks—attacks by opponents of Trump deceptively imputing the attacks to his supporters to discredit them before the elections—was rapidly put forth. Among the fastest off the mark were right-wing pundits, so it was easy enough for various “liberals” (whatever this term means today in the U.S.) to characterize the false flag suggestion as a variety of right-wing conspiracy theory, and as both intellectually ridiculous and morally disgusting. The evident aim has been to stigmatize the concept and drive it from responsible political discourse.

Among the most prominent of the denunciations appeared in CNN and The New York Times.

The article by CNN Editor-at-large Chris Cillizza’s was entitled, “Debunking the despicable ‘false flag’ theory on the mail bombs.” He quoted Rush Limbaugh’s claim that a “Democratic operative” could be responsible for the attacks in order to make it look as if “the Republicans are a bunch of insane lunatics.” Cillizza noted that although we may be tempted to dismiss such “conspiracy crap” without comment, we must not. To refuse to comment on it is “to let it fester.” We must publicly challenge it. His article, it seems, was meant to be a model of such debunking.

Screengrab from CNN

It was not a good model.

Cillizza concentrated on what he believed to be the logistical impossibilities in Limbaugh’s scenario. He named two steps in the scenario:

  1. “Someone or someones who wanted to help Democrats—and the media, I guess, somehow?—would send a series of pipe bombs to prominent Democrats across the country.”
  2. “Then Democrats or the media or, again, someone, would have to have coordinated with the state and local police—not to mention federal authorities—so that law enforcement said that these were functional bombs (even though, again, according to this theory, they weren’t).”

He feels that simply to have named these steps is to have shown how ridiculous the hypothesis is.

Really?

There is nothing impossible about Step 1. Surely Cillizza is not saying that the faction of the U.S. intelligence community hostile to Trump—nicely represented by James Clapper and John Brennan, two recipients of the package bombs—is incapable of fashioning a few clumsy devices and sending them through the mail? The material in the 2001 anthrax envelopes was much more sophisticated and difficult to acquire than the non-functional “pipe bombs,” yet the U.S. intelligence community remains a prime suspect in these attacks.

As for the purpose in sending out such bombs, one of the first questions we ask when confronted by a violent event of this sort is, Cui bono? Who benefits? I cannot see how Trump and his supporters benefit, whereas the benefit to mainstream Democrats—of the Clinton variety, no threat to the established order—is obvious. They get to claim the status of nonviolent, sane victim.

What about Cillizza’s Step 2? I confess I am defeated by his prose. I do not know what he is trying to say. But let me speculate that he is claiming this conspiracy theory involves too many people (various levels of police, for example) and that it involves an impossibly complex deception—policing agencies portraying inoperative devices as operative.

Once again we might fruitfully examine the anthrax attacks. There was an impressive amount of coordination involved in these attacks. As far as policing was concerned, this was mainly achieved by the FBI chasing away other levels of police while keeping strict control over its own personnel when they wandered too near the truth.

But the coordination in the anthrax case went far beyond policing. Media were deeply implicated. The media faithfully set out the story they were handed by authorities: the attacks appeared to have been carried out by al-Qaeda, with a strong possibility of Iraqi involvement. This story was successfully propagated, for example, through a wide variety of newspapers, from The New York Times and Washington Post to the Guardian. By the end of 2001—less than four months after the attacks began—Homeland Security, the FBI and the White House had been forced to admit that neither al-Qaeda, nor Iraq, nor domestic Muslims, appeared to have had anything to do with these attacks. Instead, they came from the heart of the US Military-Industrial-Intelligence community. As to who, precisely, in this community carried out the attacks, there remains disagreement; but even a sketchy familiarity with the anthrax attacks knocks out Cillizza’s Step 2 objections.

A useful rule of thumb is that if a thing has happened it is possible. We know a violent, coordinated and complex false flag attack is possible in the U.S. because it happened.

But if this was the best CNN could do, what about The New York Times? Kevin Roose produced a piece somewhat longer, although not much more thoughtful, than the CNN editor’s.

Screengrab from The New York Times

Roose let us have it with the old chestnut, “conspiratorial thinking has always been with us”, and then proceeded to dance lightly from the grassy knoll to the moon landing to 9/11 without troubling us with sources, evidence or other bothersome material.

If you are like me you will find yourself, in an increasingly bad mood, asking: has this young fellow carefully researched all of these incidents? Has he, in fact, carefully researched a single one of them?

Like the CNN editor, Roose spends his time countering claims that the package bombs sent to prominent enemies of Mr. Trump might have been sent by people wanting to discredit Trump and his allies. He places these “conspiracy theorists” on the political right and associates them with Trump’s presidency. More than this, he uses, and explains, the term “false flag” and tries hard to discredit it. “False flag philosophy—the idea that powerful groups stage threats and tragic events to advance their agendas—is now a bizarrely common element of national news stories.”

This statement is a sign of progress in the opening of the American mind. We should celebrate the good news that the concept of false flag is common in political discourse, common enough that The New York Times feels a need to discredit it. This achievement came through much labour by many people over many years.

That Roose finds the concept “bizarre” is, of course, to be regretted, but this merely testifies to his naivety and his poor knowledge of false flag attacks, of which there have been plenty in human history (see Sources).

As a matter of fact, the particular type of false flag attack being discussed in the present case, where Group A attacks itself and blames Group B, is centuries old. In China it used to be called the Stratagem of Wounded Flesh (see Sources).

The notion that the false flag concept and the conspiracy concept are the exclusive property of the political right is absurd. They are ideas available to, and used by, all those who genuinely care about what is going on around them and wish to have an adequate intellectual toolbox. I am not on the political right and I am not a supporter of Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter and the like, but I do not for that reason choose to shut down my brain.

Although we may not want to admit it, repetition is half the battle in public fights and debates. Let us use the term “false flag” repeatedly and ensure that it remains where it apparently is at the moment: in the center of U.S. political discourse.

Graeme MacQueen is the former director of the Centre for Peace Studies at McMaster University. He is a member of the 9/11 Consensus Panel, former co-editor of the Journal of 9/11 Studies, and an organizer of the 2011 Toronto Hearings, the results of which have been published in book form as The 9/11 Toronto Report. He is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG)

Sources

  1. The CNN article: Chris Cillizza, “Debunking the despicable ‘false flag’ theory on the mail bombs”, CNN, Oct 25, 2018
  2. The NYT article: Kevin Roose, “‘False Flag’ Theory on Pipe Bombs Zooms From Right-Wing Fringe to Mainstream,” The New York Times, Oct. 25, 2018.
  3. Most comments on the anthrax attacks in this essay are based on my book, The 2001 Anthrax Deception: The Case for a Domestic Conspiracy. Clarity Press, 2014. But see also FBI whistleblower Richard Lambert’s lawsuit, paragraphs 50 ff.
  4. For examples of false flags, see the collection by Washington’s blog.
  5. The Wounded Flesh Stratagem can be found at least as early as the 14th century CE in the novel, Romance of the Three Kingdoms (San Guo Yan Yi). It can also be found as one among many stratagems in the later compilation, Thirty-six Stratagems. The Wikipedia article on the latter text offers an interpretative translation of ku rou ji: “inflict injury on oneself to win the enemy’s trust”. If the pipe bomb case is an instance of ku rou ji, the enemy of the perpetrators would be the U.S. population itself.
Originally published on Global Research
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kingfelix
Reader

Karl Rove used similar false flag in an election race early in his career, claiming his candidate’s office had been bugged and then staging a media opportunity of him ‘discovering’ the device. Anything is possible.

flaxgirl
Reader

Anything is possible.

And then some.

Tom
Reader
Tom

It was very interesting searching Google after these pipe-bomb incidents with ‘pipe-bomb false-flag’ to see that all the most prominent search findings were articles denouncing ‘wicked/mad conspiracy theorists’ etc. Possibly this is another reason for these articles beyond their immediate audience.

harry stotle
Reader
harry stotle

“has this young fellow (Kevin Roose) carefully researched all of these incidents? Has he, in fact, carefully researched a single one of them?” – oh, you are a wag Graeme, can you not see the bind for the corporate media when dealing with truth or the underbelly of the intelligence community? How many false flags have there been – now how many of them were picked up by the MSM at the time they were happening? Only with the passage of time can journos belatedly, and painfully acknowledge how wrong they have been, and only then because of digging done… Read more »

flaxgirl
Reader

I know I’m monomaniacal on the subject but nevertheless it’s good to get it straight – most false flags are not real false flags, they’re false-flag hoaxes including Bologna station and I’d imagine all the other “terror” attacks in Italy in that decade that were part of Operation Gladio. A false-flag hoax is so ludicrously easy to stage (the minimal effort they put into the actual staging is staggering when you look at it) while the consequences of a real false-flag are much more problematic. The loved ones of the dead who may swallow government/media lies, if reluctantly, under normal… Read more »

flaxgirl
Reader

2001: Anthrax attacks.
2018: Skripal affair.
2018: Anthrax attacks – would be believe them as conducted in 2001?

milosevic
Reader
milosevic

The fact that people are said to have died means absolutely nothing because they can simply give people a new identity and ship them off somewhere. Wouldn’t it be a whole lot simpler, cheaper, and more reliable to just kill people for real? Non-dead victims of false-flag terrorism would constitute a potentially catastrophic liability that might last for half a century. They would have to be constantly watched to make sure they didn’t wander off the reservation, even for some trivial reason like wanting to see their parents or children, and would have to be immediately liquidated if they showed… Read more »

flaxgirl
Reader

I should have thought of this earlier. These events are governed by strict rules – including one that says they have to make it obvious that they are the perpetrators. They involve agency staff and crisis actors and so on. They wouldn’t generally be killing people except possibly the odd one, very covertly. Of course, they killed JFK but that was a very special operation and they really wanted him killed. In events where they don’t want the people killed (even if in truther-targeted propaganda there will be intimations of wanting people killed) they wouldn’t kill them as it would… Read more »

flaxgirl
Reader

Just to add: not all collaborators need to be paid lots. They may have committed crimes and have done a deal. We don’t know how all the arrangements work. And another thing to consider is that people can be involved unwittingly without being collaborators. If the anthrax attacks was a false-flag hoax, Tom Daschle, for example, may have thought anthrax was sent to his office but it was really just white powder. Who knows? Obviously, the people who are very much alive and “die” must be involved but depending on their role it may be difficult to know whether someone… Read more »

flaxgirl
Reader

You’re strawmanning me milosevic. Of course, they kill hundreds of thousands of people but when it comes to false-flags it’s a different story. I’m sure there are real (and hybrid) false flags and the anthrax attacks may be one – I just have my doubts on it but I need to do more research. At the moment, for example, I’m wondering why the photos of Bruce Ivins don’t feel really current with the time that all the trouble was occurring and why there’s only one photo of his alleged wife, Diane, with her head turned. Could it be that he… Read more »

milosevic
Reader
milosevic

There seems to be a whole lot of evidence for the Sandy Hook Massacre and the Boston Marathon Bombing being largely or completely faked, for reasons best known to the perpetrators. That doesn’t constitute evidence that all such events are faked, in the sense that there are no real victims. It may well be that the sets of real and alleged 9/11 victims are not completely identical, but in general, the simplest explanation consistent with the known facts is the most likely to be correct. The standard denier argument against “conspiracy theories”, that “if that were true, somebody would have… Read more »

flaxgirl
Reader

Actually, while I do admit to having a poor understanding of physics I still think it is very clear that no planes crashed. I’ve been looking at Newton’s Laws of Motion and trying to understand them better so I can make my case more convincing. There are many, many people who say no planes crashed, of course, including expert pilot, John Lear. the simplest explanation consistent with the known facts is the most likely to be correct Couldn’t agree more and that’s why I’ve done my Occam’s Razor exercises. Wikipedia states that 6,000 were injured. What other source do you… Read more »

Jim Scott
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Jim Scott

Flax Girl I have an Australian artist acquaintance who was in New York and actually filmed the first of the planes hitting the tower. Its possible he could have lied about it but I don’t think it is likely.. Furthermore, there were definitely firefighters in the building when it came down and many hundreds of people who put the names and photos of their relatives up on a board after the collapse. Too many people to carry out such a massive subterfuge I think. I am however pretty convinced that all three buildings were bought down by explosives.

flaxgirl
Reader

A number of people including John Lear and reportedly according to someone I met, an MI5 agent, say that a hologram was used to create the second plane crash. Perhaps your friend filmed a hologram – if that’s possible? I’d be so very interested to see your friend’s footage. Presumably, they kept it. A number of pilots are convinced that a plane simply couldn’t go at the speed stated and crash into the buildings nor be managed by remote control (obviously, if an inside conspiracy we have to assume that no one was piloting). And despite milosevic’s presentation of the… Read more »

frank
Reader
frank

I also believe the no planes theory. There was this documentary / presentation I saw years ago exposing all the artifacts of the video editing they did to put the planes into the videos. And there are many other factors. The pentagon was not hit by a plane, there was this crator from the plane that crashed but no realistic debris etc. It has been demonstrated that some of the maneuvers the planes would have had to carry out were simply impossible. (You can’t just do anything with a big airliner, it’s not a cessna.) Etc Etc. Also the hulls… Read more »

flaxgirl
Reader

Love the demolition video. The machines look like scary beasts but I wonder how they’d go trying demolish the twin towers 😉

milosevic
Reader
milosevic

Actually, while I do admit to having a poor understanding of physics I still think it is very clear that no planes crashed. I’ve been looking at Newton’s Laws of Motion and trying to understand them better so I can make my case more convincing. In other words, you start off with the idée fixe that no actual airplanes were involved, and then try to concoct some kind of argument to support that position. This is, of course, pretty much the diametrical opposite of the scientific method. This may not bother you, but don’t be surprised to find that it… Read more »

flaxgirl
Reader

In addition to other pilots, John Lear, an expert pilot, has said no planes crashed and explained why. Ace Baker, a videomaker, has said that no places crashed and explained why. This person has explained from a physics point of view (although you disagree) why no planes crashed. https://911planeshoax.com/tag/911-impossible-physics/ Logic states that when you perform a psyop you fake whatever you can and only do for real what you really want for real. Crashing planes for real was so very much something you really wouldn’t want to do for real if you didn’t have to – and they didn’t have… Read more »

milosevic
Reader
milosevic

Here’s a slow-motion video of rifle bullets penetrating steel plates, which, according to you, should be impossible.

Actually, the engines and wing spars of a Boeing-767 penetrating the mostly-glass facade of WTC-2 would be more analogous to a knife going through a window screen, so even this isn’t completely representative.

milosevic
Reader
milosevic

It’s actually quite striking how much the bullet impacts between 12 seconds and 24 seconds in this video, resemble the B-767 impact on WTC-2. A relatively well-defined hole is made, but the bullet/plane is transformed into a cloud of debris, most of which comes out the other side, with only a small explosion visible on the front.

milosevic
Reader
milosevic

The most relevant bits are at 0:12 in the bullet video, and 10:33 in the WTC video. I tried to link directly to those times in the Youtube videos, but it didn’t work. I don’t know why; maybe one of the Admins can fix that, and remove the duplicates.

milosevic
Reader
milosevic

milosevic
Reader
milosevic

flaxgirl
Reader

Also, just to add: they measure the speed of bullets in metres per second (eg 370 m/s) while plane speed is measured in miles per hour (eg 400 mph). Velocity plays a major role in impact. An omission in your physics, milosevic.

milosevic
Reader
milosevic

The formula you are looking for is:

E = 1/2 m * v2

where E is kinetic energy, m is object mass, and v is object velocity.

Doubling the velocity has the effect of quadrupling the kinetic energy, etc.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kinetic_energy

milosevic
Reader
milosevic

This comment could charitably be described as “non sequitur”, and uncharitably described as “WTF are you talking about?” What is your argument? That “miles per hour” and “metres per second” are somehow incommensurable units, and therefore airplanes and rifle bullets are subject to different laws of physics? Aircraft speeds are conventionally quoted in nautical miles per hour, or “knots”, or “kn”, which is 1.852 km/h. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Knot_(unit) Hopefully, you will not object to the assertion that a kilometre is equal to 1000 metres, and an hour is equal to 3600 seconds. Therefore: 1 kn = 1.852 km/h = 1.852 * (1000m… Read more »

flaxgirl
Reader

Apologies. I should have done a conversion to know what the difference was – it just seemed to me that the bullet speed is much greater at a glance but obviously I should have converted to test. I looked up bullet speed again and it says the average bullet speed is 2500 fps (762).

Thus
Bullet 762 m/s (fastest is 1200 m/s)
Plane 154.3 m/s

That’s a reasonable difference but I don’t know how significant it is in terms of impact.

flaxgirl
Reader

Here’s the nose cone of a plane hit by a bird. What do you think the impact of your bullet hitting a bird would be? Do you think that we can logically deduce from the impact of a bird on a nose cone and the impact of a bullet on a bird that bullets penetrating steel plates are not analogous to a plane hitting a steel frame building whose columns are 36cm wide and 1m apart? https://www.aviationcv.com/aviation-blog/2016/bird-strike-destroys-egyptian-planes-nose When I get clearer on Newton’s Laws of Motion and how they apply to the planes I’ll come back to you milosevic. Until… Read more »

flaxgirl
Reader

Apologies. You didn’t suggest the 6,000 injured number was incorrect. However, regardless of whether it was a prominent feature, it is stated and we are shown images of the injured – very unconvincing ones. However little it is emphasised in the official story, it is extremely important to showing that death and injury were staged.

flaxgirl
Reader

Hmmm. Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bruce_Edwards_Ivins — The entry under Allegations by Ivins’ counselor seems far-fetched and made me chortle. Duley seems a very unlikely therapist (although I know unlikely therapists exist) and Ivins’ alleged strange behaviour seems pretty over the top. — The reporting of Ivins’ alleged obsession with the college sorority Kappa Kappa Gamma (KKG) also seems far-fetched. While reference is made to Dr David Irwin, a psychiatrist who treated him in the late 1990s, in a quote from Duley, nothing is reported directly from him. In the LA Times, we’re vaguely told: “A psychiatrist who treated him in the late… Read more »

flaxgirl
Reader

So we have the anodyne report in Wikipedia of Robert Stevens receiving mail and being killed by anthrax. Why on earth would Bruce Ivins send this random person anthrax? And then we have this truther-targeted story: https://www.newswithviews.com/Devvy/kidd259.htm “Robert Stevens died from anthrax on October 4, 2001. Stevens was a photo editor for The Sun, a supermarket tabloid housed in the AMI office building in Florida. According to media reports, the Florida anthrax letters carried a postal paper trail showing it was sent to the National Enquirer at its former address, but then got forwarded to the American Media, Inc., office… Read more »

rilme
Reader
rilme

“Note the digital clock, explosives experts have said that a bombmaker would never use one.”
Never say never! The experts are wrong. The assertion is profoundly stupid.

Think it through for yourself. Could there be someone who decides to make bombs, but they don’t know how? Could they search online, buy or make some explosives, and add a timer? Might they select a digital clock as a timer? You know, like in that movie?

Antonym
Reader
Antonym

The quality of Western false flags is going down fast (Syrian chems, Skripal, pipe bombs) while they increase in quantity. Thus, more and more people can see right through them. Cui bono is the simple litmus test.

Makropulos
Reader
Makropulos

I think – or at least hope – that more and more people can see right through these phoney operations. And I think that the more people there are who disbelieve this stuff, the more strident the media become. The media outlets are like pathetic amateurs putting on a local play and screaming their cliched lines at the top of their lungs.

milosevic
Reader
milosevic

The quality of Western false flags is going down fast, while they increase in quantity. Similarly, the solution to the declining value of the US dollar is to simply print a whole lot more of them, so as to retain the same aggregate ideological/buying power. Eventually, of course, hyperinflation will set in, and the total value of an infinite amount of dollars/terrorism will still be zero, at which point the whole system will immediately collapse. Perhaps a coincidence, or perhaps not. It is really quite striking that up until now, one might have thought that there could be no false-flag… Read more »

milosevic
Reader
milosevic

Maybe somebody could fix the boldface on the 1984 quote, above.

Toby
Reader
Toby

This point has my attention, too. I can think of a few potential reasons for it: 1. Panic on the part of globalist elites (i.e., the infamous military-industrial complex, banksters and others) as they struggle to regain tight control of the narrative that is steadily slipping from their grasp. This panic means their actions are not as well coordinated as they once were, that the various factions of said elite squabble among themselves, etc. Mistakes slip in -> more panic -> more mistakes … 2. There is a grander false flag in play, a meta false flag as it were.… Read more »

tutisicecream
Reader

It certainly is.

I am inclined to think that the US, having realised the £9 million spent by the British on their COBRA emergency/disaster scenario for Salisbury was seen as an expensive failure. So they went with the cheap option of the hapless lone wolf scenario.

intergenerationaltrauma
Reader

The most glaring example in my lifetime of the “false flag” as ongoing policy is the joint NATO/CIA in Europe referred to as “Operation Gladio.” Western media of course played their role to perfection during Operation Gladio, dutifully repeating the claims of official sources blaming communists and socialists for the terrorism which was actually conducted by right-wing Western military & intelligence assets. That this history is almost completely unknown in the U.S. is quite amazing, and a testament to just how far reaching the control of public narrative has become. Without understanding the “context” Operation Gladio provides, one can more… Read more »