Beware False Flag Attacks – Opinion by Walrus.


The corollary to the Houthis brilliant use of do – it – yourself drones and perhaps cruise missiles, is that anyone else can do the same. This makes the possibility of false flag attacks using such weapons more likely in my opinion. Such attacks would not even necessarily require the resources of a State actor to execute, all the materials, bar perhaps the explosive, are freely available around the globe.

I will not explain the mechanics of manufacturing such weapons. Take it from me that a group of determined hobbyists could do so, provided they have sufficient security and money. Such weapons could be labeled for example “made in Iran” in such depth that it would be impossible to refute their origin, no matter how good ones forensics are.

A State actor, perhaps bent on mischief, could do this rather quickly. While this is just a guess, I would be surprised if various Western countries security services did not already have an operation underway to replicate the Houthi achievements, if only to answer the politicians question: “How did they do that??” and to start thinking about countermeasures.

My reason for being concerned enough to raise this topic is that President Trump has committed troops to Saudi Arabia and we already have other troops and assets in the region. If they were subject to attack and we took casualties, I don’t see how the President could avoid war assuming Iran was blamed.

What triggered me was this article in the WSJ (paywalled) whose opening sentence is:

"Yemeni Rebels Warn Iran Plans Another Strike Soon

“BEIRUT—Houthi militants in Yemen have warned foreign diplomats that Iran is preparing a follow-up strike to the missile and drone attack that crippled Saudi Arabia’s oil industry a week ago, people familiar with the matter said.

Leaders of the group said they were raising the alarm about the possible new attack after they were pressed by Iran to play a role in it”

Once technology is out of the box, as the Houthis have demonstrated, it can’t be returned. How do we avoid false flag attacks?"


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37 Responses to Beware False Flag Attacks – Opinion by Walrus.

  1. notlurking says:

    Something fishy about that WSJ report….contradicts completely the Houthies originally stating they did the deed…these Houthies have shown that no one tells them what to do….story being planted to disinform…

  2. turcopolier says:

    To fully understand this psychodrama you have to understand that the Yemenis have long, long been treated by the Saudis as houseboy types, incapable of much of anything. Like Rodney Daingerfield, they can’t “get any respect.” So now, they have done this wondrous thing (with Iranian technical help) and STILL, they “can’t get any respect.” So now, according to this story the Iranians think this was so cool that they want to replicate the deed with the Yemenis contributing their hard won expertise. The Yemeni rebels are offended. The Yemenis have fought so hard and so well that the tale is staggering to contemplate. The siege of Hodeidah in itself was a wonderful victory for them in its outcome. They do not want to contribute to Iran’s war effort. They want to be left alone in a tacit peace with the Saudis. I seem to remember that someone else felt thst way a long time ago.

  3. Walrus, this democratization of technology has long been the case in the cyber world. One of the most famous examples was SOLAR SUNRISE in 1998. DOD mounted a massive defense against an attack on hundreds of DOD systems using the Sun Solaris OS. The culprit was thought to be the Chinese government. Turns out it was three California teenagers. I personally knew of one drug addled kid living in his mother’s attic in Australia who drank the Army’s Information Warfare Center’s milkshake. Just drank it up. I, an anthropologist, had to explain how this kid did it to the much ballyhooed cyber warriors of the Information Dominance Center.
    The same think happened with sophisticated IEDs in Iraq. No one wanted to believe the Iraqi fighters could be that inventive. Seems a pretty silly attitude considering how technologically advanced Iraqi society was under Saddam.

  4. turcopolier says:

    I suppose that this is in some sense”democratization of technology” but it takes the kind of brains and guts that the Yemenis have to make it into anything but a pile of junk. The Saudis could never do what the Yemenis have accomplished. In a significant way the absence of the Wahhabi fear of innovation (bid’ah) is a major factor.

  5. anon says:

    Never understood the term false flag.Does that include, golly roger!

  6. ot says:

    You cannot completely avoid false flag attacks.
    What you can is change the way you respond to attacks.
    The response can be a careful examination of facts or it can be
    a military action against whichever country is the villain of the day,
    whether it is responsible or not.
    Unfortunately with the sad state of the mainstream media and political culture,
    an appropriate investigation and response is unlikely.
    With all the media frenzy and political mess, the US powers the be are continually robbing themselves of proper options.
    In a situation like that only a small push is needed to go over the edge.

  7. Adrestia says:
    The drones that attacked Russia’s Hmeymim airbase in Syria were operated from the US Poseidon-8 reconnaissance plane, Russian Deputy Defense Minister Colonel General Alexander Fomin said at a plenary session of the Beijing Xiangshan Forum on security on Thursday.
    “Thirteen drones moved according to common combat battle deployment, operated by a single crew. During all this time the American Poseidon-8 reconnaissance plane patrolled the Mediterranean Sea area for eight hours,” he noted.
    When the drones met with the electronic countermeasures of the Russian systems, they switched to a manual guidance mode, he said. “Manual guidance is carried out not by some villagers, but by the Poseidon-8, which has modern equipment. It undertook manual control,” the deputy defense minister noted.
    “When these 13 drones faced our electronic warfare screen, they moved away to some distance, received the corresponding orders and began to be operated out of space and receiving help in finding the so-called holes through which they started penetrating. Then they were destroyed,” Fomin reported.
    “This should be stopped as well: in order to avoid fighting with the high-technology weapons of terrorists and highly-equipped terrorists it is necessary to stop supplying them with equipment,” the deputy defense minister concluded.
    The Russian Defense Ministry earlier said that on January 6 militants in Syria first massively used drones in the attack on the Russian Hmeymim airbase and the Russian naval base in Tartus.
    The attack was successfully repelled: seven drones were downed, and control over six drones was gained through electronic warfare systems. The Russian Defense Ministry stressed that the solutions used by the militants could be received only from a technologically advanced country and warned about the danger of repeating such attacks in any country of the world.

  8. confusedponderer says:

    as for “democratization of technology”, in Iraq fighters used EFP mines on US vehicles, and as if in reflex, Iran was immediately accused. Nonsense. The technology is around for a long time.
    In late cold war Germany had developed PARM and received some of those in the early 1990s.
    The poles and very likely the russians and chinese also have developed such things, probably cheaper and more robust.
    I recall reading a US army PDF document on such things from the vietnam war time and iirc such EFP or RPG mines were described there. If I could find that with google easily I assume that a curious iraqi guerilla could do also.
    Likely he wouldn’t need to if he had military training, especially when, say, with the combat engineers or the like.

  9. Peter AU 1 says:

    Murdoch (WSJ) seems keen on a false flag type operation.
    Houthi are hardly going to turn against Iran while at war with the US-Saudi coalition (their words).
    Their website here.

  10. ted richard says:

    Once technology is out of the box, as the Houthis have demonstrated, it can’t be returned. How do we avoid false flag attacks?”
    the short answer is , we don’t or more accurately, we can’t!
    many false flags especially of the kind that lead to ”potentially” profitable war have a financial component visible in the markets. in the aftermath of 911 it was found huge anomalies in the stock and option markets fr us air carriers on the short sale side for stock and short shot option strategies. for obvious reasons these hugely profitable trades were never properly investigated.
    we have coming up shortly 2 events with the potential to offer the same kind of profitabilty lacking only a pausible trigger to set the snowball of fear and emotion rolling down the hill. brexit at the very end of october which also coincides with the 1 year (think capital gains) time frame before the next highly fear based emotional US presidential election.
    simply stated a false flag in early october or even a bit later into october offers 2 highly profitable trades with minimal risk IF you know a false flag is coming or are perpetrating one to ”trying” to advance america into a war with iran.
    the trades are incidental to the foreign policy but heck why waste a good crisis to NOT make a few billion dollars fast.
    1. a manufactured crisis is coming as all actors are placed into risk positions awaiting only the go ahead decision
    2. simultaneously execute short sales on key stock market average (think djia et al) components anticipating a several thousand point drop As a result of ”war” with the added bonus of a hard brexit on 10/31 as plausible cover and the opportunity to cover those short sales and or expiring option trades into early november reversing then into large long positions in the days just before and or just after the first tuesday in november 2019. now you are set for a huge rally in the stock market into november 2020 when war never materializes for trumps re election against of course all msm expectations and odds. and a nice capital tax advantaged gain for your effort.
    ergo if a false flag leading to fear of conflict is coming the next 4 weeks is the time to do it if a nice trade is on your agenda as well.
    i still highly doubtful trump would actually start a war with iran since he wants to be president for another 4 years BUT a lot of kabuki can go on for a several weeks in late october early november while the world really think war is coming and acts in the financial markets accordingly.

  11. turcopolier says:

    The technology is “around a long time?” No. This level of development of armed drones with this kind of range is not “around for a long time.” This level of skil in arranging a coordinated attack launched from seveal places is “not around a long time” in the Middle Easet. BTW you are obvioulsy not the peron who used to post here as Confused Ponderer. Was he your daddy?

  12. prawnik says:

    Why would Houthis be warning Iran was planning anything.
    My SWAG is that the Houthis warned that they were planning more strikes, but that doesn’t fit the “Iran dunnit!” narrative.

  13. Fred says:

    That’s a heck of a conspiracy theory. Stage an attack by a nation’s armed forces so you and your backers can make a killing shorting stocks in October. There’s more money in climate change regulation and sjw hysteria and it’s easier to manipulate. Check out EU emissions regulations, UN shipboard emission rules and their impact on truck, car and ship construction, fines for failure to comply and tax incentives for doing so.

  14. prawnik says:

    Also, Saudi complaisance and laziness…

  15. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Fear of Innovation was a Pan-Islamic phobia across the Muslim world and to varying degrees for centuries: Shia or Sunni or anything in between – in my opinion.

  16. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Like the Marines in WWII who imained that Japanese artillery was being commanded by German Officers.

  17. MC says:

    “The Iranians made us do it!”
    There will be a war.

  18. Babak Makkinejad says:

    False Flag Attacks in the Persian Gulf are a possibility now solely and completely because of what could only be charitably described as the boneheaded-ness of the Western Alliance.

  19. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Yes, that is what I thought when CP made a comeback, his grammar had improved and his style had changed. I think the original CP is gone: dead, retired, or just lost interest.

  20. JerseyJeffersonian says:

    Colonel, John Robb was talking up swarming drone attacks a few years back as a coming threat. Hmeimim, now this; was just a matter of time ’til it went operational.

  21. JP Billen says:

    IMHO, what is more likely to start a war is fear & tension or machismo & truculance by some young military man at the edge. No matter whether that youngster is from Tulsa or Tehran.

  22. turcopolier says:

    what is your source abtthe marines in WW2?

  23. confusedponderer says:

    Mr. Lang, Babak,
    I am the original CP and I neither died, retired or just lost interest.
    I simply was forced to spend about two years in hospitals after a car hit me when I walked over a street after work. After that and four operations I had to re-learn to walk and such things (without access to computers).
    On the plus side, I asked a doctor what else in my life would change now as a result of the accident and he told me, seriously, that I would have stop mountain climbing and parachuting from now on. Charming, but since I never did either I can live with that.
    Mr. Lang,
    I was only referring to the “sophisticated IEDs in Iraq” TTG mentioned, not armed drones.

  24. doug says:

    One should never underestimate the capabilities of peoples under attack. The tech required to do the Aramco attack has been widely available for a while. Except for the human control during flight. It’s straightforward to construct a coordinated attack such that multiple drones and even cruise missiles arrive at approximately the same time. Just because the way we do that isn’t available to the Yemenis doesn’t mean they can’t accomplish it absent the human in-flight C&C.
    In periods of conflict innovation and deployment is speeded up by large factors. Just compare how long it takes a new aircraft to go from design to deployment. Over 70 years ago it was done in less than a year. Designs with slide rules, log tables, and gut experience. Now, in advanced countries, it takes decades. It’s a mistake to ascribe the way we would do things (let alone the Saudis) to peoples facing threats to their existence.
    Underestimating a motivated enemy seems a consistent theme in history.

  25. turcopolier says:

    Hey, have you lost track of the fact that I have maintained throughout that the Yemenis did just that? Ah, I see, you are one of those who come in for the middle of a thread and then makes some inane comment.

  26. Babak Makkinejad says:

    I will have to get back to you on that. It was from a book by a former marine who was visiting Japan decades after the war and reminscing about the past as well as commenting about the present. I do not own that book and do not recall the author or title.

  27. turcopolier says:

    the marines are not stupid but they are very stubborn fighters.

  28. Babak Makkinejad says:

    I want to say Goodbye, Darkness by William Manchester. But I cannot be certain as I might be mixing his memoirs with observations of Paul Fussell in Wartime.

  29. doug says:

    Nope, I’m quite aware you have maintained the Yemenis did what they claimed. And I quite agree. I don’t see at as a certainty but highly likely. My post was directed at other commenters including US PR that wants to blame everything on Iran. The Saudis, in particular, seem to have underestimated the Yemenis which you have frequently noted.

  30. Babak Makkinejad says:

    No. And I was not implying that.
    The English could not credit Japanese with the ability to defeat them.

  31. turcopolier says:

    You should be more specific about whom you are addressing.

  32. JP Billen says:

    Manchester knew better. However, didn’t he mention a Krupp design for an artillery piece that was produced in Japan under license?
    Must have been a pre-WW1 design but perhaps still in use during WW2?

  33. different clue says:

    That was my first impression of this WSJ report. After the Houthis themselves taking credit for the attack, why would they reverse themselves and say ” Iran diddit and Iran gonna doit again if you don’t watch out.”
    My first suspicion is that that whole report is a false-flag fake report fake-disattributed to the “Houthis”.

  34. different clue says:

    I am just a layman here, but this is how I understand “false flag”.
    If I want to commit a crime, but I want to make it look like you did it, and IF I am able to get or make special gloves with your fingerprints on the fingertips; then I can commit the crime while wearing the “your-fingerprints” glove and leave “your” fingerprints all over the crime scene.
    When the police come and take fingerprints, they will find the fingerprints to be “yours” and will arrest you for my crime.
    If I have misunderstood the basic concept, I think someone will correct me here.

  35. turcopolier says:

    DC They want credit for the attack that they did. That does not mean that they want credit for attacks that they don’t do.

  36. SR says:

    Look up how the Germans started WWII.
    German soldiers dressed up as Polish soldiers and attacked a german radio station. Then the german government said “Poland attacked us, we need to strike back!”.
    The german soldiers were wearing a “false flag”, in this case the polish one.

  37. blue peacock says:

    “…democratization of technology has long been the case in the cyber world.”
    That is a spot on observation.
    Excel democratized data analysis. There’s more compute power in an iPhone than what was used for the Apollo mission. GIS + image processing + analysis is also being democratized. With GPU capability on an exponential growth curve currently we are seeing the ability to drop in a trained neural net in a small footprint to recognize images accurately. Google’s Waymo, GM’s Cruise and others are spending $billions on perfecting image based perception of roadways. It is very conceivable that in a few years, kids in a garage somewhere could have NN software trained to recognize images from a small camera of specific critical infrastructure in say Saudi Arabia. Drones could be brought to the general vicinity and then self-guided using image recognition with just a small GPU board. No need for GPS and connectivity.
    That’s why I am skeptical that air defense systems can keep up. They may be good for aircraft and possibly even missiles of a certain size but against self-guided, low cost aerial drones that could be manufactured in scale I’m not sure how effective they could be.

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