The far-right German provocateur who faked being a Syrian refugee

I tend to scoff at most accusations of "false flag operations." Not that highly-orchestrated catastrophes never occur under false pretenses with a specific political goal in mind; but because, well, I feel pretty confident that the CIA isn't executing elaborate domestic school shootings or other awful events just to something something deep state.

But "false flag operations" do happen—and often, it's the very kind of people who point their paranoid fingers at with false flag accusations who would actually bother to think up such schemes. Case-in-point: this story from the New York Times:

At the height of Europe's migrant crisis, a bearded man in sweatpants walked into a police station. His pockets were empty except for an old cellphone and a few foreign coins.

In broken English, he presented himself as a Syrian refugee. He said he had crossed half the continent by foot and lost his papers along the way. The officers photographed and fingerprinted him. Over the next year, he would get shelter and an asylum hearing, and would qualify for monthly benefits.

His name, he offered, was David Benjamin.

In reality, he was a lieutenant in the German Army. He had darkened his face and hands with his mother's makeup and applied shoe shine to his beard. Instead of walking across Europe, he had walked 10 minutes from his childhood home in the western city of Offenbach.

The ruse, prosecutors say, was part of a far-right plot to carry out one or several assassinations that could be blamed on his refugee alter ego and set off enough civil unrest to bring down the Federal Republic of Germany.

Naturally—being a far-right anti-immigration provocateur—the man who is now known publicly as Franco A (last name withheld for legal reasons, etc) insists that he was simply trying to expose flaws in the German immigration system. Even if one were to accept that argument in good faith, it would still make him the German equivalent of a Project Veritas-esque "undercover agent," willfully plotting some absurd honeytrap scenario that aims to find a patsy who—out of context, of course—can confirm the worst fears of the impossible situation you just set up for them.

Also like Project Veritas, Franco A is desperate for attention, inviting Times reporters to his childhood home to interview him, including audio and video recordings, as he tries to prove his heroic intentions.

As such, the article is long, but it's well-worth the horrifying read.

A Far-Right Terrorism Suspect With a Refugee Disguise: The Tale of Franco A. [Katrin Bennhold / The New York Times]

Image: Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons