18th April 2013

earthWe are all aware of the bombing in Boston a few days ago. The images and stories brought back memories for many people of similar attacks in other cities: New York; London; Madrid; Paris. And all the other countries where these sorts of event are far more common – Pakistan; Afghanistan; Iraq to mention the most obvious. There is a very interesting phenomenon appearing now in the coverage of the Boston event and that is a more overt discussion of “false flags”. This is the name given to an attack that is staged in order to manipulate the public or certain institutions into a desired course of action, such as going to war, increasing security or curtailing human rights. Here is a discussion on PressTV’s site about this very issue. Although PressTV is part of the alternative media in the US, the fact that questions are asked at press conferences “was this a false flag attack” shows how this issue has moved into the mainstream and is part of many peoples’ thinking.

My interest in this is not the truth or otherwise of the false flag premise – of course, it would be good to know the answer! – but rather what this tells us about how people now relate to their governments and to the world. Thinking or believing that major terrorist attacks are false flag attacks carried out by rogue elements of the intelligence services or other government institutions has a powerful effect on our psyche. It alienates us from the institutions that we have trusted to “keep us safe”, run the country and deal with the difficult issues that we would rather not think about. It poisons the trust that we would all like to have in the authority figures that we look to. If there is truth in some of these stories, then the truth must come out sooner or later; if there is no truth in these stories then we would expect them to peter out after a few years. Regardless of which of these positions is correct, both challenge us to question who and what we place our trust in. Groups of people form societies; societies cede power to governments and institutions to take care of the big issues like security, law and order, regulation of commerce etc so that everyone else can get on with their lives. This social contract takes many forms, but common to all of them is trust. If this trust is abused, then the relationship is poisoned and the social contract broken.

Knowing the truth is the most important consideration in these circumstances, because peoples’ lives and safety are involved. But this all takes place in a context and from my perspective, that context looks pretty challenging – significant numbers of people are losing trust in their governments and institutions for many reasons. The positive that is coming out of this is that we fall back on ourselves, our families, friends and communities. These becomes the forces that we can trust and rely upon.

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