Hoisting the false flag
Brave Guatemalan air force pilots rebelled against a leftist regime in 1954 and used their planes to bomb the regime’s bases. Army commanders also rebelled; Guatemalans could hear them directing troop movements over the radio. Finally these patriots won their revolution. The United States trumpeted their victory around the world.
This was a “false flag” operation — staged by one force but made to look as if someone else did it. Planes that bombed targets in Guatemala were painted with Guatemalan air force insignia, but the pilots were CIA contractors. Radio messages about troop movements had been pre-recorded at a CIA base in Florida. A revolution that seemed to be emerging from one country, Guatemala, was actually the project of another, the United States.
False flag operations are a well-established tactic. Many intelligence agencies have staged them. Often they are successful. They lead the world to blame a crime or atrocity on an innocent party while the true culprit remains obscure. Computer technology has brought a host of new “false flag” possibilities, as hackers and counter-hackers compete to leave misleading electronic trails.