People spinning conspiracy theories around the Boston Marathon bombings often call the tragic event a “false flag.” Most recently Stella Tremblay, a New Hampshire legislator, claimed the U.S. government was behind the Boston bombing in a false flag operation.
The false flag has its origins in naval history, where a ship would raise an enemy’s flag to lull that nation’s ships into a false sense of security. In conspiracy lore, a false flag represents a staged government operation, a supposed terrorist attack that furthers a political goal or strengthens the government’s power over its citizens.
The false flag conspiracy was a popular explanation for the Sandy Hook school massacre in Newton, Conn., as for 9/11 before it. According to the theory, the Sandy Hook shooting was a staged terrorist attack intended to push gun control legislation backed by President Barack Obama.
To reinforce the claims of a false flag, conspiracy theorists point to inaccurate initial reports and conflicting information to justify the notion of a cover-up. In Sandy Hook, false flag theorists claimed initial reports on Dec. 14, 2012, indicated more than one suspect was at Sandy Hook Elementary School and police had arrested another individual in addition to Adam Lanza. The theorists claim media reports were scrubbed in order to form a single narrative of a lone gunman that would help bolster the idea that guns, and so-called assault rifles in particular, are incredibly dangerous and new laws are needed to prevent them from being sold to the public.
Tremblay’s claims, which include links to a video on champion conspiracy-monger Alex Jones’ Infowars, state there were government “Black Ops” agents at the scene of the Boston bombing carefully monitoring the situation. Tremblay said these individuals were trained Navy SEALs who were planted in strategic locations around the marathon finish line.
Glenn Beck’s theory about a Saudi national is another conspiracy angle, where an initial suspect is later removed as a person of interest in order to promote a larger agenda.
The false flag conspiracy surrounding the Boston bombing also includes the idea that there were actors playing out certain roles. There is a company, Crisis Actors, that hires out actors to the FBI and police departments to play out a crisis scenario. Law enforcement agencies can hire actors to set up a hostage situation or an emergency evacuation as training exercises, for example.
A video of Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis giving an interview to Fox News is being pointed to as an incident where a top lawman slips up and reveals the staged nature of the Boston bombing. In the video, Davis is heard saying, “We’re confident that these were the two actors, these were the two individuals who were carrying out this mission.”
This claim may rest on a misunderstanding of the word "actor," of course.
The idea of using actors is also prevalent in the Sandy Hook conspiracy theories. According to the false flag conspiracies of Sandy Hook, actors gave interviews that would be used to spread information and “control” the event and shape the media’s coverage of the incident.
If the Boston bombing was a false flag, there must be a political agenda or goal the government is trying to push. For Sandy Hook, the goal would be gun control, according to conspiracy theorists, while the Boston bombing could further the government’s agenda on immigration or further pacify citizens by accepting the idea of a police state. The Blaze has an article questioning if the manhunt in Watertown, Mass., violated the Fourth Amendment while Infowars has a list of questions that have yet to be answered about the Boston bombing.
While Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, remains in custody and charged with use of a weapon of mass destruction and malicious destruction of property resulting in death in connection to the Boston bombing, expect to hear new conspiracies surrounding the Boston bombing and possible motives for staging such an attack.