In another setback for the death penalty trial of the five men accused of aiding the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, two defense lawyers for Khalid Shaikh Mohammed say the U.S. government secretly destroyed relevant evidence.
On May 11, defense lawyers for the accused mastermind of the 9/11 terror attacks asked for judge Col. James Pohl and the prosecution team to be recused from the trial, and for the case to be shut down. Defense lawyers David Nevin and Maj. Derek Poteet say that the U.S. government destroyed evidence related to the case, according to the New York Times. The two men are unable to provide further details because the issue is classified, but Mr. Nevin said the evidence was “favorable” to the defendants.
Major Poteet also told the Times that the defense was first informed in February that Colonel Pohl would provide them with a “summary of a substitute” for the original, classified evidence. The defense requested Colonel Pohl to preserve the evidence for the record and Pohl complied. Or so they thought.
“But they learned in February, they said, that about 20 months earlier, and without their knowledge, prosecutors had obtained from Colonel Pohl a secret order that reversed his previous decision,” the Times writes. “By the time they found out, the government had already destroyed the evidence, giving them no opportunity to challenge the move.”
Major Poteet said the situation created the appearance that Colonel Pohl was “colluding with the government.” The Times reports that the original, now destroyed evidence, may have been related to one of several foreign black site prisons operated by the Central Intelligence Agency in Thailand, Poland, Romania, Lithuania and Afghanistan, and at a secret site at the Guantánamo base. KSM was tortured for several years at one of these sites before being transferred to the military prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba in 2006.
The accusations are likely to delay upcoming scheduled hearings from May 30 to June 3. If there is a delay it will be latest in a long line of interruptions to this alleged pursuit of justice. Most recently, Col. Pohl canceled two weeks of hearings that were scheduled to begin on Friday, April 1st.
“The whole thing is really odd to me. I thought it was an April Fools’ joke,” said Chicago defense attorney Cheryl Bormann, who was already in Washington to travel to Guantánamo this weekend to represent alleged 9/11 plot deputy Walid bin Attash.
The destruction of evidence is, unfortunately, not the first controversy this trial has faced. Another conflict of interest became an issue in 2014 when the defense attorneys for Mohammed and the four alleged co-conspirators said they believed they were being spied on by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Foreign Policy reported,
the FBI had secretly conducted an investigation into possible wrongdoing on the part of one or more members of the five separate defense teams (one for each defendant). Such an investigation could put defense team members in the untenable position of having to provide information to defend themselves or others against possible criminal action — information that could be used against the interests of their own clients.
There was also the issue of interference from outside sources during the hearings. FP continues:
In January 2013, the court’s audio-visual feed, visible to a small set of commission observers, was abruptly cut off by someone other than Judge Pohl; previously, Pohl was believed to be the only person with the authority to use the unique-to-Guantanamo “kill-switch.”
Later, a clearly annoyed Pohl learned that something called the Original Classification Authority (OCA) — which is likely the CIA given that most of the information subject to censorship in the case is related to the agency’s rendition, detention, and interrogation program — had hit the kill switch. Judge Pohl promptly cut off their privileges.
In February 2013 it was revealed that listening devices were hidden within smoke detectors, possibly infringing upon attorney-client privileges. The defense also claimed their emails and work files were disappearing. Former defendant Ramzi Bin al-Shibh was also removed from the trial by the judge in an attempt to speed the process along after so many delays. However, critics argue that al-Shibh was removed because he refused to be quiet, complaining loudly of sleep deprivation.
Is this trial really about truth, justice, and upholding law and order? If the military court hopes to find something close to the truth they should open the hearings to the public, end the spying on the defense team, and be transparent about the treatment of the alleged hijackers. Only by allowing the truth to be released will the wounds of 9/11 begin to heal.
The FBI says it caught a terrorist trying to blow up a synagogue on the outskirts of Miami.
But the FBI supplied the bomb.
The device was fake, part of an undercover FBI sting operation that, like hundreds of controversial investigations before it, used an undercover informant to target an alleged terrorist.
In the Miami case, federal authorities accuse 40-year-old James Medina of planning to bomb the Aventura Turnberry Jewish Center north of the city.
The FBI started their investigation of Medina in March 2015 “based on his suspected desire to attack” the Jewish center, according to an affidavit filed in federal court and a statement released by the US Attorney’s Office in the Southern District of Florida.
Medina, who said he converted to Islam four years ago and referred to his alias “James Muhammad” in court, has been charged with “attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction.” He pleaded not guilty on Monday morning.
Apart from the fact that the FBI supplied Medina with the weapon that he intended to use against the Jewish center, rights activists and legal experts are troubled by the facts presented by the FBI and Justice Department. Their concern includes instances where the informant, or “confidential human source” in bureau parlance, offered to assist Medina in attacking the center, and even suggested that he link the attack to the Islamic State.
The FBI’s affidavit — which reveals only enough information to justify the criminal complaint against Medina, and does not include all of the evidence against him — says that an informant met with Medina in March and secretly recorded conversations with him after he expressed a desire to attack the Jewish center.
But the affidavit does not say how the FBI learned of Medina’s “suspected desire” to attack the Jewish center, or what initial remarks or actions led agents to believe that Medina was willing to use violence before he devised his plans with the informant.
David Shapiro, a former New Jersey prosecutor and FBI special agent who is now a professor at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York, said the affidavit makes it appear that the FBI did more than a little pushing to get Medina to develop the synagogue bombing plan.
“It seems this desire was developed,” he said. “It was watered with very potent fertilizer.”
The affidavit lays out how the FBI informant took an active part in helping Medina cook up the bombing plot. It recounts how the informant drove Medina to the Jewish center and suggested that he launch the attack on a Jewish holiday.
When the two later discussed a claim of responsibility, the affidavit says that the informant “indicated that they should leave a ‘clue’ as to who was responsible and Medina concurred.” It’s the informant, rather than Medina, who suggests linking the bombing to the Islamic State, also known as ISIS, or the East African al-Qaeda affiliate al-Shabaab.
“You can, you can do all that,” the affidavit quotes Medina as saying. “Yeah, we can print up or something and make it look like it’s ISIS here in America. Just like that.”
The informant later suggested that Medina could use “untraceable” firearms instead of AK-47s that an acquaintance of Medina’s said he could provide. At another meeting, the informant “addressed the concerns of entering the synagogue with firearms and then getting shot and instead proposed leaving an unspecified object behind and leaving the scene.” The informant suggested that Medina could use a bomb with a timer, and then introduced Medina to a man described as having “explosives expertise and access.” The bomb expert was really an undercover FBI agent.
Medina didn’t do himself any favors by repeatedly telling both the FBI informant and undercover agent that he was willing to leave the bomb at the synagogue, then escape with the informant and watch as they remotely detonated it. He also repeatedly assured the undercover agent that he was willing to go forward with the plot, according to the affidavit.
When asked why, Medina answers, “Because I realize that I have a lot of love for Allah. And I know that all these, all these wars that are going on, it hurts me, too. You know? It’s my call of duty. I gotta get back, when I’m doing this, I feel that I’m doing it for a good cause for Allah.”
In a subsequent conversation, the agent asked Medina if he was okay with killing women and children. Medina appeared to say yes, but he also seemed hesitant.
Medina: I think so. I think I’m fine, Urn hmm.
Agent: You need to be sure brother.
Medina: I am pretty sure. I think so. I believe so. I’m ready bro!
Agent: Ok. Cause you know you don’t have to do any of this.
Medina: What do you mean doing it?
Agent: No, you don’t have to do it if you’re not comfortable with it.
Medina: What? I’m ready.
Agent: It’s Allah’s will but you know…
Medina: I’m up for it. I really am. This is no joke. This is serious dog. If I have the equipment, believe me, in the time is, is that day and we doin’ it, I’m up for it bro. Just like I said.
The FBI says Medina and the undercover agent decided to bomb the synagogue on Friday, April 29. Medina made three videos on the informant’s phone: One as a goodbye to his family in case he was killed, and the other two to explain why he conducted the attack.
“I am a Muslim and I don’t like what is going on in this world. I’m going to handle business here in America. Aventura, watch your back. ISIS is in the house,” he said in one video. In another, he said, “Today is gonna be a day where Muslims attack America. I’m going to set a bomb in Aventura.”
On the appointed day, the agent met with Medina, gave him the fake bomb, instructed him how to use it, and then drove him to the synagogue. Medina exited the vehicle and began to walk toward the synagogue, at which point the authorities arrested him.
The US government has convicted more than 200 people on terrorism-related charges using similar methods, according to Trevor Aaronson, executive director of the Florida Center for Investigative Reporting and author of The FBI’s Manufactured War on Terrorism. He said that the FBI “isn’t finding people with a bomb in their garage. They’re finding people who are loudmouths and they say, “Oh, we can help you in the name of al-Qaeda or the Islamic State.”
“These are sting operations where the FBI provides the means and opportunities for people to commit crimes,” Aaronson said. “And the most disturbing part is that most of these people seem to be mentally ill and do not have connections to overseas terrorists on their own.”
Medina fits this profile. The 40-year-old is divorced, single, and unemployed. He was arrested previously for behavior consistent with mental illness, including sending more than 50 text messages, some threatening violence, to his estranged family and then telling a cop about it.
Karen J. Greenberg, director of the Center on National Security at Fordham Law School, said the quoted conversations in the affidavit that are supposed to damn Medina instead make it look like he can “barely seem to string a sentence together.”
And while it appears to be clear that Medina is a bigot who harbors anti-Jewish feelings, neither of those two things is illegal. Of course, plotting to blow up a synagogue is illegal. Retired FBI counterterrorism executive David Gomez says the FBI’s investigative techniques were legitimate, even if Medina does have mental or cognitive issues.
“Just because you’re dumb doesn’t mean you’re not dangerous,” he said. “Just because you have some mental incapacitation doesn’t mean you’re not capable of murder.”
Gomez said he’s seen other cases where lonely, fringe suspects join gangs or right-wing extremist groups to gain approval, and then peer pressure or other factors leads them to commit violent acts. In cases such as Medina’s, he argued, the FBI is just getting to these suspects before other malicious actors.
“Let’s say we didn’t get a source on this person, and somebody else talks to them and says, ‘Wanna blow up some Jews?’ It doesn’t matter if you blow them up for the KKK or ISIS. Some guy says, ‘I’ll drive you there,’ and there are plenty of people out there who would do that,” Gomez said. “The FBI and others are worried about a guy who gets in with the wrong crowd.”
Greenberg questioned where the rationale for this type of investigation ends.
“If you want to look for individuals who are susceptible to some kind of inducement to violence, and who have to be told whose name the violence is in, there are countless people and countless extremist groups you could identify them with,” she said.
Gomez said that the FBI’s informants and undercover agents set up the suspect for the “next proactive move,” but don’t make them take it.
“At some point he has to have an overt act,” he said — such as taking what he thinks is a bomb onto the grounds of a synagogue with the intent to detonate it.
Under the law, this act essentially closes the door to an entrapment defense.
“Those are hard to assert in this situation,” said Hugh Handeyside, a staff attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union’s National Security Project. “That’s the situation that the FBI and DOJ are taking advantage of.”
According to Greenberg, the FBI has been using these types of investigations to send a message: “If someone approaches you and asks you if want help with a terrorist attack, you’re supposed to say no.”
Gomez notes that since 9/11, the bureau has been tasked with preventing another terrorist attack on US soil.
“The attitude is, do what you have to legally do to prevent a Paris-style attack in the US,” he said, “and I think there are a lot of prosecutors out there who would say, ‘I would rather prosecute a case and take the chance on losing on technicality or jury nullification than take a chance to not prosecute on terrorism charges.”
But most terrorism cases do not go to trial, meaning prosecutors rarely lose. Most defense lawyers encourage their clients to enter into a plea agreement in order to avoid a lengthy prison sentence.
“The threat of long-term incarceration compels people to cut their losses,” said Michael German, a former FBI agent who worked on undercover domestic terrorism investigations. “Part of reason they’re encouraged to cut losses is that when these cases go to trial, despite the judges expressing concerns about FBI methodology, the political and social climate is such that fear actually compels them to not acquit people based on entrapment or other government misconduct.”
The FBI declined to comment on the Medina case or other counterterrorism investigations like it, but said in a statement that there are “strict guidelines governing the use of undercover operations which involve extensive legal reviews and senior-level approvals.”
The bureau’s director, James B. Comey, told Congress in February that “preventing terrorist attacks remains the FBI’s top priority” as he requested more than $9 billion to fund the bureau’s operations in 2017.
Nearly half of the FBI’s 2016 budget was committed to “counterterrorism and counterintelligence” operations, along with more than 13,000 members of the bureau’s 35,000 employees.
According to German, the funding means the FBI is under pressure to show Congress that it’s using its resources to stop terror attacks.
“Is there actually a threat being resolved, or is the FBI manufacturing these terrorism cases to make its counterterrorism efforts look worthwhile?” he asked. “Knowing that there are real threats out there, are they wasting resources when the people they’re targeting don’t present an immediate threat?”
Handeyside said counterterrorism cases like Medina’s are not only a waste of resources, they might actually be making America less safe.
“It’s not only that they’re manufacturing terror plots, but also sowing fear and distrust within minority communities in ways that I think are damaging to counterterrorism efforts,” he said. “So there are not only constitutional issues, but also effectiveness issues.”
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I believe I first read George Orwell’s essay, Politics and the English Language, as part of the reading list for an English 101 college class. I was a teenager at the time and I don’t believe I really understood what Orwell was getting at. I think my understanding was at the superficial level. I mostly just took it to be a screed against crappy writing — which it is, of course. But it is much more than that. Some of the ideas in that essay were later developed in his magnum opus, the dystopian novel Nineteen Eighty-Four, wherein the government of Oceania are designing a new language called Newspeak, which brings to mind the current-day scourge of “political correctness”. Come to think of it, Nineteen Eighty-Four is also something I first read around that time but did not fully understand.
Now, here we are, 66 years after Orwell’s untimely death and many of these ideas he explores in his writing are still topical and relevant. In fact, increasingly so. When it comes to understanding the pervasive propaganda matrix, one important aspect is seeing how language is manipulated to frame issues. Much of this is quite blatant. Anybody paying the slightest attention ought to notice how different words are used depending on the desired framing. Thus, Osama Bin Laden was a “freedom fighter” when he was fighting the Soviet Union, but when he started opposing the United States, he became a “terrorist”. Likewise, if an enemy uses a torture method like water-boarding, it is simply called torture and is utterly deplorable. When we do it, it is “enhanced interrogation”.
I wonder what Orwell would have made of what happened to the word “gay”. Surely, in his time, it was perfectly normal to say: “You seem in a very gay mood today!” Nowadays, not so much. Granted, language is a living, dynamic thing, and thus tends to evolve over time. However, I don’t think this particular change of meaning happened organically. It seems to be an example of deliberate framing. While there already was a perfectly good, neutral term, “homosexual”, and we still have that word, it seems there was a conscious attempt to promote “gay” as an alternative term with a more positive connotation, what with its normal meaning of “merry” or “cheerful”.
The case where Orwell would have had a field day, though, is with the word “conspiracy”. The official dictionary definition has not changed since Orwell’s day. From the Merriam-Webster dictionary online:
- a secret plan made by two or more people to do something harmful or illegal
- the act of secretly planning to do something that is harmful or illegal
By that definition, a conspiracy theory would just mean some theory that posits that two or more people planned in secret to do some shit. Nonetheless, the very same Merriam-Webster dictionary has a separate entry for “conspiracy theory”.
- a theory that explains an event or situation as the result of a secret plan by usually powerful people or groups
Truth told, I don’t think the above definition of “conspiracy theory” is really adequate, at least assuming that the purpose of a dictionary is to document how words are actually used. This definition comes nowhere near fully capturing to what extent this has become a term of derision. In popular usage, the person who believes in conspiracies, the conspiracy theorist, is taken to be self-evidently crazy and anything he says can be dismissed out of hand.
I assume that Orwell would note that the way this term is used contains built-in question-begging. By all means, tell me that what I am saying is absurd and crazy, be my guest. Except, now, you do have to demonstrate that it is!
Well, apparently not… When somebody says: “Oh, that’s just a conspiracy theory!” don’t hold your breath waiting for the explanation of why the theory is wrong. ‘Cause it ain’t coming! No, somehow the person who trots out this cliché is relieved of any obligation to demonstrate, using facts and logic, that an idea is mistaken. It’s enough to just say “Conspiracy theory!” like some sort of magical incantation that short-circuits all the necessary debate.
Actually, it is well established that this state of affairs did not come about on its own, but rather, was deliberately engineered by the CIA in the wake of the Kennedy assassination. Nonetheless, I do wonder whether they anticipated just how successful they would be in implanting this notion in the public mind — that believing in so-called “conspiracies” was the hallmark of a nutter.
We can read old novels and characters say things like: “I’m feeling a bit queer, it must be something I ate.” But nowadays, most of us find some other way to express the idea. Rage, by all means, that yet another perfectly innocent English word has suffered an identity theft. But know that it serves no purpose. Once you recognize that a word has become effectively unusable, you just have to look for an alternative term to use. In the case of “conspiracy”, I would propose that we talk more in terms of “deep events” and “deep politics”. Using that framing, the Kennedy assassination and 9/11 are quintessential “deep events” that require a “deep political analysis” to be properly understood. I think this is a good counter-framing of the question. If you say, quite correctly, that Lee Harvey Oswald was just a patsy and there was a high-level conspiracy to kill Kennedy, you’ve all but conceded the debate, given how the word “conspiracy” has been hijacked. If you say, on the other hand, that the JFK assassination was a “deep event” that requires a “deep political analysis”, you are implicitly saying that the people repeating this discredited “Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone” nonsense are not engaging in a deep political analysis, but rather a shallow analysis. I mean to say, there really is the need to think about how they manipulate language to frame these questions and to come up with a counter to that.
When it comes to this sort of framing, aside from the overloading of already existing words, like “conspiracy” or “gay”, there is also the invention of new words — neologisms to use the more academic term. For our purposes here, there is nothing particularly interesting about the cases where a new word is invented to describe something that really did not exist before and now does — like “smartphone”. What we need to examine are the cases where new words enter common usage for propaganda or framing purposes.
In this vein, the term “blowback” really merits some careful consideration. The aforementioned Merriam-Webster dictionary claims that the first known use of the word is from 1973, while the wikipedia page on the term cites CIA internal documents from 1954. Said documents expressed the concern that the CIA operation to overthrow the government of Mossadegh in Iran could lead to “blowback”. (Boy, did it ever!)
It seems that the discrepancy between Wikipedia’s first usage of the term in 1954 and Merriam-Webster saying that it was 1973 is that Merriam Webster was referring to public usage. It does not seem under dispute that “blowback” began as internal CIA shorthand that meant unintended (and undesirable) consequences of CIA covert operations.
The “Blowback” theory of terrorism
At this point in time, the term “blowback” seems to have gone from being internal CIA jargon to being a sort of shibboleth of the left-liberal intelligentsia. The basic idea is that the major terrorist events of recent history, such as 9/11 or 7/7 in London or the recent events in Paris and Brussels, are a natural (yet unintended) result of the brutal policies of Western governments in far off (largely Muslim) countries. Anybody listening to these people would surely conclude that this is a well established phenomenon. But what is odd is that when you step back and look at this with ample historical perspective, the whole concept looks pretty dubious. Let’s consider certain key facts:
The British Empire…
Some people look back on it fondly, but it is safe to say that a lot of people around the world really did not appreciate it; they had their reasons… So, if “blowback terrorism” is a real, important phenomenon, the British Empire should have had a huge “blowback” problem, no? Surely angry Indians or Africans or Arabs were plotting how they would make their way to London and kill some random Brits to express their dissatisfaction with British government policies, no? And surely, the local authorities in the home country of Britain were on constant guard against this “blowback”, right?
Well…. not exactly….
The police departments of American cities have been acquiring military grade weaponry to deal with an alleged terrorism threat, yet throughout the entire period of the British empire, English cops felt no need to even carry a firearm. Ain’t that something?
What is striking about this is that, not only were the authorities of the time not concerned about “blowback”, they did not even have a word for it! The very word had not been invented yet! This phenomenon, disgruntled people showing up in London or Paris or New York and carrying out terrorist attacks as a result of whatever meddling in their country — there was not even a word for it!
Well, the sun set on the British Empire a while back and it could be that something happened since then such that blowback terrorism became a big problem. Scan forward a bit…. the United States carpet bombed villagers throughout Southeast Asia, killing literally millions of innocents, yet I cannot recall a single “blowback” terrorism incident, where somebody who lost his entire family, entire village, decided to get even by blowing up some Americans in California. It never happened, I think not even once. There are large ethnic Vietnamese populations in the U.S. and all it would take is one embittered person, but no… nothing.
Fast forward to the 1980′s and we can make some similar comments about very brutal U.S. policies in Central America, the support for Nicaraguan contras or the Salvadoran death squads. Surely the U.S. suffered a wave of “blowback terrorism” as a result, no? Uh,.. no. There was a large population of refugees from those countries. Most of them, in my own personal experience, are very nice people, but out of hundreds of thousands of them, surely all it would take is one person with a grudge to do a suicide bombing or some such thing. But it doesn’t seem to have happened.
So, on the face of it, so-called “blowback terrorism” is a very dubious concept, no? There are so many situations where, by all rights, there should have been plenty of “blowback terrorism”, or some amount anyway, but it just never happened! And I don’t mean to say that it was rare. No, there simply was not a single case! I think it bears repeating: it was so rare that nobody had yet bothered to invent a word for it!
In the above, I referred to the term “conspiracy theory” as a magical incantation of a sort. Another way of putting this is that the use of the term contains built-in question-begging. The person using this loaded term is strongly implying that the so-called “conspiracy theory” is self-evidently crazy. However, that is precisely what needs to be demonstrated!
The term “blowback” is similar. It contains an implicit theory of events that there should be a need to demonstrate. Specifically, the concept of “blowback” is that a certain outcome is an unfortunate, and unintended consequence of whatever policy. Thus, the rise of these “jihadist” or “islamist” groups such as Al Qaeda or ISIS/Daesh was an unanticipated consequence of U.S. policy. Or to put it another way, this is a bug, as opposed to a feature.
But is that true? Well, maybe… but that is precisely what there is a need to demonstrate, no? The person using this “blowback” term is simply begging the question, assuming the proposition that needs to be proven, that whatever phenomenon is an unintended consequence of the government’s foreign policy — as opposed to it being an intended result.
Of course, more importantly, the people using the term “blowback terrorism” assume invariably that the people whom the authorities claim carried out the terrorist attacks in question actually did so! They always seem to be willfully ignorant of all of the independent research that shows that the people in question were just patsies. But hey, that’s what the other magical incantation, “conspiracy theory”, is for: to dismiss all of that independent research! Don’t even bother to look at any of that. Those are all just “conspiracy theories”.
Now, the foregoing discussion leads us two key questions — well, I think they are two separate questions, albeit rather entangled with one another:
- Given that the “blowback” theory of terrorism is quite tenuous at best (since in situations where there should have been a lot of blowback terrorism, there was none) then why is the entire American “intelligentsia” so invested in this explanation? In particular, figures such as Noam Chomsky and Chris Hedges and many others (practically anybody who writes for Counterpunch and other such “alternative media”) never tire of telling us that an event such as 9/11 is “blowback”. Likewise for the recent events in France and Belgium.
- The aforementioned people are not stupid. So, must we conclude that they are being consciously dishonest when they use these magical incantations such as “blowback” or “conspiracy theory”?
I think the first question can be answered with some level of confidence. As for the second question, whether these people are being consciously dishonest, it is hard, maybe impossible, to come to any determination on that. Possibly these various intellectual gatekeepers are not even being consciously dishonest for the most part. In their own minds, they are honest, but they have internalized a kind of tortuous mental gymnastics to such a degree that it has become second nature to them. This is the phenomenon that I shall now explore.
The HIQI revisited and introducing the concept of TITT
In a previous article, I introduced the concept of the HIQI, which is the “High IQ Idiot”. A HIQI is a person with a fairly high IQ and typically a high level of formal education (the two things usually go together obviously…) who has an abysmally low BDQ, Bullshit Detection Quotient.
Now, nobody really took much issue with the HIQI or BDQ concepts. I guess it corresponds to most people’s casual observation: somebody can have an arbitrarily high IQ and still be utterly incapable of seeing through political propaganda (a.k.a. bullshit). In fact, the bullshit can be really laughably absurd, cartoonish — hence my terminology of RRN, Roger Rabbit Narrative — yet the HIQI in question cannot see through it. So I made that observation in the article and I don’t think hardly anybody really disagreed with me, but what I didn’t do was make any attempt to explain why.
Well, actually, I don’t even presume to know fully the reasons why so many high IQ people are so easily taken in by absurd political propaganda. What I’ll attempt to do though is to lay some groundwork that could be useful in exploring the question. What I shall do now is go off on what looks like a tangent and introduce a sort of archetypal situation. My point may not be initially obvious but please bear with me.
Let us consider an intellectual figure in the Middle Ages, who has a great interest in understanding celestial phenomena. Let’s say this early astronomer has developed a theory to explain a certain phenomenon — the solar eclipse, let’s say. Let us call this theory A.
Theory A is a very clear, very elegant model of the solar eclipse. However, it has a very major problem. Theory A is based on the heliocentric model, i.e. the earth revolves around the sun. Well, that is not the problem precisely. After all, the earth does revolve around the sun. The problem is that, at this point in time, this was considered to be heresy. (Heresy, by the way, is the older term, what they used to call inconvenient truths, long before the CIA came up with the term “conspiracy theory”.)
Or, alternatively, the real problem is that our medieval astronomer does not fancy getting burnt at the stake, which is what they used to do to
conspiracy theorists heretics back then. (Medical knowledge was not as advanced as it is now, but it was generally understood that this was not good for one’s health.)
So what is one to do? Well, let’s say that the not so heroic hero of our story decides to tear up his elegant theory A and comes up with a new theory, theory B.
Theory B is very inelegant and complicated compared to theory A. It has a very contrived feel about it. Despite having invented the theory himself, our astronomer is not really very happy with it, thinking that it is actually kind of self-contradictory and doesn’t withstand very much scrutiny at all.
The advantage of theory B — actually its only positive point — is that it is not heretical. Theory B is based on the sun revolving around the earth, as Church doctrine claims. What happens now in the story is that, much to this person’s surprise, theory B is widely lauded and accepted by the leading minds of the day.
Okay, this is the story and we can make certain observations about it. First of all, we do not need to introduce any new terminology to describe theory A. Theory A is simply the correct explanation, the truth. Yes, it runs counter to Catholic Church dogma, but hey, guys, check out this radical concept:
Objective reality simply exists. It is not the slightest bit constrained by Catholic Church dogma… OR any other dogma!
Now, theory B is, of course, not the correct explanation. In fact, it only comes into existence because the correct explanation, theory A, is taboo, heresy. And that, obviously, is why the leading thinkers of the day rush to endorse theory B and disavow theory A. Theory B is not a very good theory, it doesn’t withstand much serious scrutiny, but it won’t get you burnt at the stake!
Now for some new terminology. The phenomenon that the above story illustrates is Taboo Induced Tortuous Thinking (or Theorizing) which we can call TITT for short. Such tortuous thinking leads to Taboo Induced Tortuous Theories, or TITTs, of which theory B above is an example. (As for the approved pronunciation of TITT, I’m not going to be very prescriptive. I always assumed that the pronunciation of HIQI was pretty clearly “hickey”. As for TITT, if the final T is pronounced separately, it is Tit-Tee. If the term really catches on, we could have a vote. It does not strike me as such an important matter to resolve in any case. For example, if British readers prefer to think that BDQ stands for “Bollocks Detection Quotient”, I have no particular objection. A native speaker of Spanish would tend to pronounce TITT more like “teat”, which also seems appropriate. So I’m willing to leave this up to the reader.)
Now, once you understand this concept, then (as per Doctor Freud) you start seeing TITTs everywhere! You open the op-ed page of the New York Times or some such mainstream publication and you just see nothing but TITTs — explanations for events that are very tortuous and contrived and you realize they are necessary because the correct, simpler explanation is a taboo. It dawns on you that many of the conventional explanations of events that you were taught as part of your (mis)education are actually just examples of Taboo Induced Tortuous Thinking. Thus:
- The mainstream history of the Second World War is chock full of TITTs.
- The Warren Commission explanation of the Kennedy assassination is a TITT.
- The 9/11 Commission Report is a TITT.
- All the mainstream media explanation of what happened in Ukraine in the past few years is TITT.
- The theory of “Blowback Terrorism” is a TITT.
This is a very incomplete list, of course…
Yes, WW2, a.k.a. the “Good War”. I was hesitant to go there for obvious reasons, but aspects of the conventional history are such major examples of TITT that I think we really need to examine it a moment. So here goes:
On 22 June 1941, Germany launched an invasion of the Soviet Union. Some months later, the German army was occupying a large part of the country, had encircled major Soviet army groups, taking millions of prisoners. And not long after that, German troops were on the outskirts of Moscow and Leningrad. So, at this historical juncture, when this country, the Soviet Union, the flagbearer of international communism, was on the verge of collapse, what did the major capitalist countries do?
- Simply stay out of it and hope that Hitler’s Germany would finish off the USSR, and thus remove the specter of communism for good
- Actively join in with Germany to make sure they finished off the USSR
- Pull out all the stops in order to save the USSR, economic aid, lend-lease, sending supplies and equipment…
Well, it’s a silly question, right? You all know the answer. (I hope to hell you know the answer. If you don’t, go get some remedial education…) What happened is number 3. The question to consider, though, is this: let’s say you didn’t know that the answer was 3, let’s say you are Rumpelstiltskin and you went to sleep on 21 June 1941 and just woke up. And now you are catching up on the last 75 years of history, what would you guess?
I put it to you that option 3 is very surprising. In particular, why would the United States, the pre-eminent capitalist power in the world, be so intent on saving the Soviet Union? My own guess would be that option 1 is the most likely as there is no strong reason for the U.S. in particular to want the Soviet Union to survive. Surely the owners of the country, the capitalist corporate elite, would very much like to the see the Soviet Union destroyed.
Now, option 2 seems less likely than option 1 because, okay, they may not like the German regime that much either, not enough to actively ally with it. In any case, in principle, you need a positive reason to actually get involved in a fight; simply remaining neutral in a conflict so far away is the default option, no? So option 2 seems less likely than option 1. However, a priori, option 3 seems even less likely, since it is very hard to understand why the capitalist elite of the U.S.A. would prefer Stalin over Hitler, certainly not enough to get involved actively on Stalin’s side.
Yet we know what happened: option 3. But why? It is pretty well established that Hitler never had any designs against the West and his war aims were in the East. In 1941, Hitler would have been delighted to make a separate peace with Churchill, thus freeing him to concentrate on smashing the Soviet Union. He hated the idea of a two-front war which had been Germany’s downfall in the previous war. No, certainly after Germany invaded the USSR, Britain was, effectively, staying in the war against Germany specifically to save the USSR, to save Stalin.
Well, the intent of this essay is not to be a lesson in World War 2 history any more than to discuss medieval astronomy. I just want to make a simple point here.
If you believe that you can explain this episode of history without any reference to the political power of world Jewry, I believe you have your work cut out for you.
I suppose few readers need it explained to them that Jewish power generally is a very major taboo. To engage in “conspiracy theories” is one thing, but to engage in “anti-semitic conspiracy theories”? Hardly the way to advance your academic career if you are an ambitious historian, eh?
So, again, just like the medieval astronomer who does not want to be branded as a heretic, you must come up with an alternative explanation that avoids the taboo. So you engage in some “Taboo Induced Tortuous Thinking”. You publish some TITT. Pass Go, collect tenure….
Now, okay, if you were up to that, and you’ve come up with your TITT explanation of why Britain and the U.S. helped Joe Stalin in his hour of need, it’s time for the next exercise in TITT and… boy, it’s a doozy:
Explain how, some 60 years later, the same countries basically, America and Britain, got embroiled in something called the Global War on Terror, all of these disastrous military adventures in Muslim countries — Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria…. (Actually, one should mention Iran, where they have tried but not been successful in getting something going. Yet….)
Explain how we got into this huge mess BUT:
- WITHOUT any mention of the Jewish lobby, a.k.a. the Zionist Power Configuration (ZPC, to use the term of James Petras)
- WITHOUT any mention of false flag terrorism (specifically as a tool to manipulate public opinion in favor of the disastrous wars)
I welcome you to have a go at it, but I am pretty sure that any explanation that you come up with which fails to mention both the ZPC and false flag terrorism will be yet another example of pure TITT.
Earlier, I posed the question: given how tenuous and implausible the blowback theory of terrorism is when you examine it, why is the the left-liberal intelligentsia in the U.S.A. so committed to it? Well, I think the foregoing analysis basically answers the question. “Blowback” is a perfect example of TITT in action, Taboo Induced Tortuous Thinking. The correct explanation is taboo so there is a need to come up with an alternative. The “Blowback” theory of terrorism is a TITT but there are many other examples of TITT as well.
Doublethink, Cognitive Dissonance, and the Emperor’s New Clothes
When you reach a certain adult understanding of the world, sometimes you look back on stories you heard or read as a child with a much greater understanding. We all probably heard some version of the Hans Christian Andersen story “The Emperor’s New Clothes” in our childhood. We have the little naive child who just says: “That man is naked”. And we have the adults in the story, courtiers… sycophants… who fulsomely praise the emperor’s fine new clothes. I suppose that the idea is that the sycophants in the story know perfectly well that the king is naked but pretend that he is clothed. What I wonder nowadays is whether the courtiers, at least some of them, actually believe somehow that the king is clothed despite the fact that their own eyes tell them that he is not! In Nineteen Eighty-Four, George Orwell introduces doublethink, the capacity of the indoctrinated person to hold contradictory views at the same time.
So, applying it to this story, doublethink would allow somebody to see a naked man right in front of him with his own two eyes and simultaneously believe — I mean sincerely believe — that he is dressed in a fine set of clothes! In light of this, I now wonder whether some of the courtiers really possess this Orwellian doublethink capability and thus believe (on some level, somehow) that the king really is wearing clothes, while others are just pretending.
In this whole doublethink/emperor’s new clothes vein, consider a video that I found quite appealing, entitled “This is an Orange”:
I later learned that the man who created that video, the late Anthony Lawson, was a retired advertising professional. It shows. In just over two minutes, he really gets to the heart of the issue. At the end, he shows the viewer an orange and basically says: “Are you going to believe somebody if they say this is an apple?” That is a rhetorical question obviously, but I guess the retort could be: “Damn right. I’ve gotten so good at doublethink that you can show me an orange and I can sincerely believe it is an apple.” (Okay, I know these people would never really say that. They aren’t that self-aware!)
The other question I posed above is whether the people pushing the “blowback” and the other TITT explanations are being consciously dishonest. This is a tough question. How many people, for example, really believe in “gender fluidity”? Do so many people sincerely believe that Bruce Jenner is really, somehow a woman? I have no idea, it’s mind-boggling. There really is this problem when you live in a society that is so utterly suffused with… drenched in… bullshit; it can be very hard to know who really believes all of it and who is just playing along. There can be massive rewards for going along with all the bullshit, and though they no longer burn people at the stake, the personal cost people pay for going against it can be very high. My own speculation is that, in most cases, somebody whose entire career in academia or as a commentator is based on espousing TITTs is never going to admit even to himself that he is basically a charlatan. That is simply too disturbing. If so, this means that many people really have mastered doublethink. The problem is that doublethink produces a lot of mental tension. In fact, there is a technical word in psychology for this: cognitive dissonance.
TITT Monger Tactics (TMTs)
Now, regardless of whether they are being consciously dishonest or really have mastered Orwellian doublethink, the various intellectual gatekeepers, the TITT mongers, do not debate in an intellectually honest manner. Their discourse is invariably chock full of all manner of illegitimate argumentation: straw men, arguments from ignorance, you name it. Especially question-begging. They just constantly assume as a given the proposition that they need to demonstrate.
The basic problem they have is that they are espousing an explanation of events that does not really fit the available facts. Not only that, but there is usually a competing explanation (the taboo explanation like the earth going round the sun) that does fit the facts. In my last article, I wrote a section about how the most basic HIQI approach to defending ridiculous stories (WOP, Wings on Pigs narratives) is that they simply never cede the initiative. So there is always an onus on you to respond to them, but they never have to respond to you. I got a fair bit of positive feedback about that and I think that it is maybe the most practically useful part of the article.
As infuriating as it is, one should probably not take it too personally. When somebody is up bullshit creek without a paddle, they must resort to illegitimate tactics. They have no other option. So, as a public service, it could be useful to outline the basic tactics they use. Also, I find it useful, just for myself, to sit down and delineate it all.
So, let’s look at it from their point of view. If you are committed to your TITTs, you will typically resort to a set of basic tactics. These, we can call “TITT Monger Tactics” or TMTs for short:
- Guard the Gate! Suppress or disallow the competing explanation that actually does explain the facts.
- The Memory Hole. Suppress or ignore the facts that do not conform to your explanation.
- Coincidence Theory. Also Lower the Bar. Recognize the facts that do not fit your theory but attribute it all to “coincidence”. What you will typically need to do is to “lower the bar” such that you no longer need to prove that your theory is true, just that it is possible.
- Blowhard Tactics. This is a grab-all category, a varied repertoire of bullying methods — pseudo-intellectual browbeating, hyper-emotionalism… Also, never concede a debating point.
The first tactic above, guard the gate, is self-explanatory. Actually, it’s not really a debating tactic per se; you just don’t let the other people into the debate. Typically, you just say that’s a “conspiracy theory” and it’s like: “We’re a respectable venue, we don’t discuss conspiracy theories here!” Well, if they do discuss a so-called “conspiracy theory”, it’s some sort of hit piece in which a straw-man version of the theory is presented and then lampooned. The actual independent researchers (whom they call “conspiracy theorists”) will never be allowed to present and defend their case in an open, intellectually honest setting.
The next TMT, the memory hole, comes from Orwell of course. The protagonist of Nineteen Eighty-Four, Winston Smith, works in the Ministry of Truth (sic) and when he comes across some item, like a photo or news clipping that contains one of these pesky facts that do not support the current official dogma, it goes down the memory hole. I think the single most glaring example in recent history of this is the collapse of the third building, WTC7, on the day of 9/11. How do they explain the fact that a third building collapsed into its own footprint and was definitely not hit by a plane? The most important component of the establishment strategy is simply to suppress the fact, just never mention it. In fact, the 9/11 Commission issued a report and simply never mentioned the third building.
Another example of the memory hole in action is when the coup in Ukraine against the constitutional, elected government, is presented as some sort of popular revolution. People who depend solely on Western mainstream media for their information are not likely to know about this:
Yes, two American functionaries discussing who will form the next Ukrainian government after the
U.S. instigated armed coup popular revolution.
In this vein, “doublethink” (again from Orwell) can be understood as a fallback. Let’s say some pesky little fact, like the above video, pops out of the “memory hole” and you are confronted with it. (Poor little things, they must hate it when that happens.) Now, if you are one of these TITT mongers, obviously you never concede that this pesky little fact refutes your TITT. For example, in this case, the TITT you would be embracing is that there was a popular revolution in Ukraine and that the new government was put in there by the Ukrainian people. Say you are shown the above video, two unelected American officials deciding who will be in the next Ukrainian government, with no input from any Ukrainian. Of course, you will never admit that it is what is clearly is, proof that “Yatz” is an American-installed puppet leader of a puppet regime. No, you just keep hanging onto the TITT. When shown the orange, you maintain that it is an apple. Maybe you can give way a tiny bit to appear reasonable. “Okay, I know it looks a little bit like an orange, and yeah, I can see why an uneducated person such as yourself would be duped into thinking that it is, but I’m a Harvard-educated expert and I can assure you that this is definitely an apple.” So, there, you make a show of being open-minded and reasonable while still maintaining the appropriate arrogant condescending tone. Anyway, you can vary the parameters on all that a fair bit, but of course, I’m sure you understand, whatever you do, you never admit that the orange actually is an orange! “The collapse of building 7 does look a tiny bit like a controlled demolition and those “conspiracy theorists” try to make a big deal out of that, but we know those people are all whack jobs….”
The other major approach to pesky facts is coincidence theory; you explain away the pesky fact by saying that it is some sort of “coincidence”. Well, of course, what that really means is that your TITT offers no explanation of the fact. Now, in a normal, non-corrupted intellectual process, if a theory doesn’t fit the facts and another theory does, you eventually must abandon the first theory in favor of the second one. But that doesn’t happen here. (Surprise, surprise…) No, if you’re committed to your TITT — “blowback” or “lone nut gunman who self-radicalized” — you never let go of it. But you do have a problem. What you need to do now is you need to drastically lower the bar. Rather than having to prove that your theory, your TITT, is true — or even likely — you only need argue that it is within the limits of the possible. That’s a great trick because all kinds of utterly far-fetched things are still possible. For example, if I told you that a monkey banged away at a keyboard randomly and produced a Shakespeare sonnet, you would (quite reasonably) say that this is impossible. But no! It’s not absolutely impossible! So in a mode of absolute logical rigor, we cannot say it is impossible. The problem is that the probability, while not a true absolute zero, is so infinitesimal that, in terms of everyday common-sense use of language, it is perfectly reasonable to say that this is simply impossible!
So if your TITT, to be viable, requires some event of a very low order of probability, you simply argue that it is possible, i.e. it is not absolutely impossible….
So…. therefore it happened.
(Did you catch the sleight of hand there?)
And then you dance your victory dance, chant your victory chant: “I really showed those conspiracy theorists, kicked their asses!”
The classic example of “lowering the bar” would surely be the “single bullet theory”, which is part of the Warren Commission report on the assassination of President Kennedy. The JFK research community tends to call this the “magic bullet theory”, to emphasize the far-fetched nature of the story, one bullet causing seven different wounds on two men.
In any case, this “single/magic bullet theory”, proposed by an ambitious young lawyer by the name of Arlen Specter, is really an archetypal TITT. The task of the Warren Commission was to issue a report saying there was only one shooter, Lee Harvey Oswald, who was acting alone. They had some thorny problems though. Oswald’s alleged murder weapon was a cheap Italian-made WW2 surplus bolt action rifle. Given the very short window of time, Oswald could only have fired at most three shots (and even that is in dispute) yet they had to explain eight wounds on two different men, Kennedy and John Connally. The utterly obvious explanation is that, in fact, there were other people shooting. However, that is the theory that could not be admitted, it’s the taboo, thus the need for this very contrived explanation, the TITT, the magic bullet theory.
Now, I do not know offhand precisely how unlikely the magic bullet story is — assuming that it even is possible. However, I think it is quite safe to say that it is pretty damned unlikely — sufficiently unlikely that a reasonable, honest person, given the available facts, would conclude that Oswald could not have acted alone. What you’ll notice when you look at the arguments of people who defend the Warren Commission story is that they have set the bar very low for themselves. They don’t even try to argue that the single bullet theory is particularly likely, or that it is more likely than the alternative theory of more than one shooter. They simply set out to argue that it is possible. Nothing more. It’s possible, therefore it happened, so I win the argument…. And, of course, you should know that, not only do they set the bar very low for themselves, but they also set the bar impossibly high for anybody on the other side of the debate.
With so many of these deep events, they are running a drill of the event on the same day. If this were a crime mystery from Agatha Christie, surely something like this would be a very big clue. For example, with the Sandy Hook shooting, Adam Lanza (for no obvious reason) decides to get a gun and shoot his momma and then go to the nearest primary school and shoot a bunch of cute little kids. On the very same day, they are running a “live shooter drill” which is a simulacrum of the event that actually happens. This was also the case with 9/11. The actual attacks coincided with large-scale drills in which a scenario being drilled is multiple plane hijackings.
Here is an article I came across a couple of years ago and I think I belly laughed when I read it.
The author of the article, one Mike Rothschild, outlines a large number of cases in which a terrorist attack coincides with a drill, at a level that it is beyond belief that this is a pure coincidence, and then argues that the so-called “conspiracy theorists” are crazy because they do not accept that all this is just a coincidence. It’s a funny article because the author seems so oblivious to the fact that what he has written refutes itself! In any case, it’s the same sort of thing. The rock-solid chain of reasoning goes something like this: “It is possible that the conjunction of drills and real events is a coincidence, therefore it is, therefore people who suggest otherwise are crazy.”
What I call blowhard tactics is really a set of different things. I already outlined some of them in my previous essay. One is simply never relinquishing the initiative. Now, any game or sport with formalized rules is structured in a fair manner. Consider tennis. The serve (the initiative) alternates: if I play a tennis match with you, and in this game, I am the one serving, then the next game, you serve. Well, needless to say, to the people we are talking about here, a fairly structured situation like that is anathema. They need to play a rigged game. So, for them, it’s more like a tennis match in which they always get to serve, and even if their opponent executes a perfect return of serve, they don’t recognize any need to respond to that. They just grab another ball and serve again and never concede the previous point. Actually, this is what characterizes the blowhard tactics in a debate generally speaking: never, ever concede a point. Like so:
Monty Python meant this as a comedy skit, but little did they know that it would prove to be invaluable training material for participants on Sunday morning talk shows.
Actually, thinking of Sunday morning talk shows, this immediately brings to mind another major blowhard tactic, the resort to hyper-emotionalism. Basically, you affect that you are infuriated at the person who brings up whatever uncomfortable fact. For example, somebody asks legitimate questions about 9/11 and you angrily claim that they are dishonoring the memory of the victims of that day. Don’t concern yourself that it doesn’t make any sense. (Does it have to? Does it make sense to say that an orange is an apple?) The idea is that if somebody’s brother or best friend died in some murky incident, then a person who investigates and tries to get to the bottom of what happened is dishonoring their loved one’s memory. Or, conversely, the people who are trying to cover up the circumstances of the death of one’s spouse or family member are honoring them?! Go figure that one out.
The key thing to understand here is that if you can say something, even something nonsensical, with enough emotional intensity, it somehow becomes convincing — for weak-minded people, I suppose, but that is most people and is good enough. They’ll tell you as much in any sales training course: emotional intensity sells… excitement… So this is well understood by sales people. It is less well understood by bookish, intellectual types.
Counter-Tactics, Turning the Tables, Fighting Fire with Fire
While I think it is already somewhat empowering to outline all the illegitimate tactics these people use, the real question is now how to counter this. I don’t presume to have all the answers. It’s easier to say what not to do than what to do. The old adage that the best defense is a good offense has a real core of truth to it. As I said in my previous essay, regardless of the game or contest, a passive, reactive stance is almost never a winning strategy — in any activity. Another way of putting this is that we must be on the lookout as to how to seize the initiative — to turn the tables. What this amounts to, I think, is not accepting the preset framing of the issue and finding the appropriate counter-framing.
Take the JFK assassination, which is really the canonical “conspiracy”. After all, the whole weaponized “conspiracy theory” construct was created by the CIA as part of the subsequent cover-up. What has happened is that they have managed to create such a stigma around the term “conspiracy” that, as I point out earlier, we probably should do our best to avoid using the very word — just like we avoid using “gay” or “queer” for their original meanings.
One does have to hand it to them. They really have created a bizarro inverted world. A HIQI can fall for any bullshit and there is really no attached stigma. He can believe in the magic bullet that caused seven wounds on two people. He can find it perfectly normal that a reporter announces the collapse of a steel-framed skyscraper (from fire) before it happens. He can believe that cartoon characters portrayed by actors, like Jihadi John and Jihadi Joseph, are real people. He can fall for any crude hoax and nobody questions his sanity. But if you say that there was a “conspiracy” to kill Kennedy (when there obviously was) then you are crazy. Go figure…
I guess the perceptive reader will have noticed that I have invented some rather… well… silly sounding terminology. The High IQ Idiot, the HIQI… or, a Taboo Induced Tortuous Theory, i.e. a TITT. And saying that somebody who espouses such theories however badly they fit the facts is “grasping TITTs”. This is not just sophomoric humor (though, okay, there is a bit of that) but rather, an attempt to turn the tables. They say: “You’re crazy, you believe in conspiracies”. Now we can say: “Get real, you HIQIs. Let go of the TITTs.” So, yes, I am very consciously inventing terminology to cast these people in a ridiculous light. If they are going to have these question-begging magical incantations, like “conspiracy theory” to smear us as crazy for telling the truth, then it’s high time we fight fire with fire. Rather than deal with the truth, that these are Deep State false flag operations, they invent these pathetic silly theories like “blowback”. To call their silly explanations TITTs and refer to these people as “TITT mongers” seems right and proper to me. Who knows? Maybe other people feel the same way and my terminology will catch on.
In my last essay, I started with the Matrix, and developed the idea of the Roger Rabbit mental world, in which cartoons are superimposed on reality. In this essay, I started by riffing on George Orwell and ended up developing the idea of magical incantations and TITT. Somehow this reminds me of the proverb of the blind men and the elephant. Are we not all blind men groping at the same creature and reporting different things? Or finding different terms to describe the same thing? There is Orwell with “doublethink” and the “memory hole”. Ron Unz refers to “American Pravda”. Here I am with Roger Rabbit narratives and Taboo Induced Tortuous Theories. Well, hey, there is nothing wrong with having more than one term to refer to roughly the same thing — slime, ooze, goo… twaddle, nonsense, bullshit, bollocks… Whether you call it the Matrix or the Roger Rabbit mental world, or American Pravda, there is this feeling of a need to reclaim reality.
We live in a world of great specialization. Given the vastness of human knowledge at this point in time, few people can have expert domain knowledge in more than one or two fields. The optimal career strategy for most people (assuming they have the capacity and the follow-through) is to develop deep expertise in some fairly narrow field. This means that, when it comes to anything outside that narrow field in which you are a specialist, you would defer to the corresponding experts in that domain. In principle, that sounds right, but as we see, there really is a need to be able to detect bullshit, to be able to discern when the alleged experts are bullshitting you. But how can you tell if you are not an expert in the relevant field (or fields)?
For example, suppose we are watching CNN and some general or expert on military affairs is on there explaining how they had to incinerate some isolated village in the Hindu Kush, using a drone or cruise missile or whatever…. in order to defend America. I ask you: do we need domain expertise to know that this is absolute bullshit?! (Criminally insane bullshit to boot…)
Or suppose some economist from Harvard or some place comes on espousing “austerity economics”, telling us, essentially, that the way a country gets rich is by impoverishing itself. Can a non-specialist, a generalist, figure out that the prestigious professor is, in fact, talking shit?
Obviously, I think the answer to the above two questions is yes. Yes, I believe that, armed with only generalist knowledge and a certain baseline BDQ level, we can state that the aforementioned “experts” are full of shit. (Shout after me: Yes, we can!) It occurs to me that some of what I’m talking about here, the HIQI/BDQ concept, is reclaiming the ability of the generalist to come to some understanding of the world. We need not (and must not) be so utterly defenseless against all this pompous bullshit.
If we were to form a new 12-step group, HIQIs anonymous, the redemption of the chronic HIQI must start with some first step, and what would that be? Well, I guess like with Alcoholics Anonymous, it would start with a recognition of the problem.
HIQI: Hi, my name is Jon and I’m a HIQI.
Group: Hi, Jon. (in unison)
HIQI: You know, I used to read the New York Times every morning.
Group: OMG! (collective gasp)
HIQI: Yeah, and I believed every word of it.
Group: (another collective gasp)
HIQI: Yep, I ate up all that shit with a spoon — every morning with my corn flakes. etcetera, etecetera
Step by step. Reclaim reality. There are things one can know without being a specialist. Pigs cannot fly. If a naked man is standing in front of you, you believe what you see. If somebody tries to tell you otherwise, he’s bullshitting you. If somebody tries to tell you that an orange is an apple, it doesn’t matter how many phD’s he’s got, he’s talking shit… Just tentatively, these might be some initial steps towards reclaiming reality.
When they show you something that is basically a cartoon and ask you to accept that this is real, you do not need domain expertise to reject it. This is for a very simple reason: a grownup knows that the real world ain’t a cartoon. And getting back to a main theme of this essay, TITT issue, a theory is a TITT if the only reason for its existence is to avoid a taboo, i.e. it’s taboo-induced. So another rule could be:
If you can see that something is a TITT, then you don’t need specialized domain knowledge to know that the theory is not correct.
Or, to put it more succintly, TITTs are always bullshit. (A Brit would say that TITTs are always bollocks, which, I know doesn’t make a lot of sense to the uninitiated, but never mind…)
I must make a point about one aspect of this essay. I’m quite aware that I broke a major taboo by alluding to the revisionist history of the Second World War. Asking people to reconsider the conventional analysis of WW2 is akin to heresy. Well, actually, it is not akin to heresy. It is heresy! The History Channel Atlanticist version of WW2 is, to all intents and purposes, a secular religion at this point in time.
Arguably, I did not have to go there at all. There are so many examples of what I call Taboo Induced Tortuous Thinking, TITT, that I did not need to use this one. But, finally, I think I did have to go there because it makes no sense to decry all these taboos and then consciously skirt around one, especially when it is the biggest taboo of them all.
Now, if you want to attack what I am saying, feel free. However, I would dissuade you from one particular line of attack (that I already anticipate). I anticipate people asking me (quite aggressively) why I think I am such an expert on the Second World War. Since I anticipate the question, I answer it in advance.
No, I do not consider myself very knowledgeable about WW2. In fact, many people who comment on this very website have a much more detailed knowledge of the history of that period. But, you see, that is a completely invalid critique of my point in this article. My first example of what I call TITT was the medieval astronomer. Was I implying at all that I myself have any expertise in astronomy? No, actually, I was implying the opposite! I was saying that, even given my lack of expertise, I can say with absolute confidence that an explanation of the solar eclipse that is based on the sun going round the earth cannot be correct.
So, if your line of attack is that I am not an expert in WW2 history, or that I lack expertise in whatever other thing, then you might as well save us both the bother. In fact, such a critique would mean that you don’t understand what I am saying. You see, I’m not claiming any particular expertise in anything. I am reclaiming the ability of the generalist, with a certain level of BDQ, to come to some understanding of the world. We have to stop being so defenseless against all the bullshit, stop being such HIQIs. Truth told, all the right/left sorts of debates are starting to bore me. I now tend to believe that the central front in the battle for the future is…. Roger Rabbit!!!
Now, when it comes to all these various big honking issues — capitalism versus socialism, religion versus secularism, ethno-nationalism versus multiculturalism, right to bear arms versus gun control, spank your kids or don’t spank your kids… — I don’t mean that these various debates are not important. The problem is that I have this growing, gnawing sense that one cannot really debate these things or anything else if one does not escape from the Roger Rabbit mental universe. In other words, when people end up allowing the various debates to be framed for them by the MSM via Roger Rabbit narratives, the situation is hopeless from the get-go. Whatever your mix of views on these issues, if you insist on believing in cartoons, you can really only be part of the problem, not any solution. Not to say that taking the red pill or putting on the sunglasses solves things on its own. It’s not sufficient, but it is a necessary initial step.
On or around September 11 of every year, we have articles that come out, especially in the left-liberal media, decrying what has happened since that fateful day over a decade ago. What has become of the country: the loss of basic constitutional freedoms, the perpetual paranoia and state of warfare, the criminality, the wars, the torture… But such articles will still pretend that the official Roger Rabbit narrative is true — the bearded religious fanatic in the cave and the nineteen suicide hijackers.
Well, guys, if you really care so much, really care — I mean care more about it than about your career in the commentariat — maybe it’s time to let go of all the TITTs and grow yourselves a pair of bollocks.
Fan mail (as well as hate mail) can be directed to revusky at gmail.
Why did the US government destroy evidence in the Guantanamo Bay trial of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed?
Mastermind of 9/11?
The so-called “mastermind of 9/11” is appearing before the kangaroo court at the US Torture Chamber and Concentration Camp in Guantanamo Bay Cuba. The main defendant appearing before the secretive military proceedings is a person the US government says is Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, aka KSM.
In 2003 the Asia Times highlighted the controversy over the actually status of the entity said to be KSM. A person by this same name was earlier reported to have been killed by Pakistani authorities in Karachi. Sayed Saleem Shahzad reported for AT, “Clearly, no one has the final word on whether Khalid is dead, was captured earlier, or is still free.”
In 2003 and 2004 the US government depended heavily on the real or concocted personae of KSM as a major source of “evidence” in the Philip Zelikow-authored fable known as the 9/11 Commission Report. An expert in the engineering of public mythology to secure popular consent for so-called pre-emptive warfare, Professor Zelikow was one of the key point persons responsible for pinning the false flag terror extravaganza of 9/11 on CIA asset Osama bin Laden.
Interestingly bin Laden’s homies in al-Qaeda have reverted back to a role similar to that assigned them by the US government during the presidency of Ronald Reagan. Along with its offshoot, al-Nusra, al Qaeda is part of the so-called “moderate rebels” engaged in Syria in something of a repeat of the US-backed operation in Afghanistan in the 1980s. As in Afghanistan and now in the Syrian theatre of superpower confrontation, al-Qaeda is part of a US proxy army put together by the CIA to bring about violent regime change. The current target is the Syrian government of Bashir al-Assad.
Once cast in the role of #3 jihadist in the staged drama associated with al-Qaeda, KSM was assigned an important part in Zelikow’s fictionalized narrative of 9/11. KSM was alleged to be the primary source of “evidence” that pinned the 9/11 debacle on Islamic jihadists rather than on a closely knit group of Zio-American Israel Firsters including Zelikow himself. A growing body of evidence has exposed this neocon clique, many of whom are dual Israeli and US citizens, as the primary group that led the planning, execution and attempted cover up of the 9/11 crimes.
Much to the eventual chagrin of even the figure heads set up to be co-chairs of the 9/11 Commission, the concocted evidence on which Philip Zelikow drew was obtained in torture sessions at secret CIA dark sites where the entity know as KSM was supposedly locked away until he was delivered to Guantanamo Bay in 2006. Even by the government’s own accounting of this torturing of KSM included 183 waterboardings over the period of a single month.
Like a New Pearl Harbor
George W. Bush’s war-cabinet-in-waiting signaled its plans for the global coup d’é·tat a year prior to the 9/11 false flag terror event. In a report of the Project for a New American Century (PNAC), the Israel Firsters laid out a plan whose real aim was to transform the Jewish state’s dispossessed regional enemies into one part of a worldwide Islamic enemy said to be posed against the so-called “West.” In order to build up the military muscle of the US Armed Services so it could act as an enforcer of the interests of a “Greater Israel,” public consent for this agenda would have to be engineered through the manufacturing of a surprise attack “like New Pearl Harbor.”
On 9/11 the United States was delivered its new Pearl Harbour. In 2004 the Zelikow Report, also known as The 9/11 Commission Report, formalized officialdom’s adoption of the Israeli Firsters’ cover story of what transpired on September 11, 2001. The 9/11 Commission helped reify as supposed fact an engineered fable purposely saturated with evocative religious symbolism. This religious fable attributed the strikes on the major architectural icons of US military and commercial might to a globalized Islamic fighting force said to be acting with self-directed independence.
Within the flash of a single news cycle the military-industrial complex and its attending national security apparatus were supplied with precisely the kind of malleable global enemy required to maintain and grow the business of aggressive warfare abroad, police state intervention at home. Obsolete Cold Warriors like Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney immediately walked into new and prestigious roles as czars of an open-ended War on Terror.
The vast military and intelligence establishment formerly built up as an instrument of US-directed anti-communism was thereby turned to the task of anti-terrorism. Old elites and pyramids of power were thereby preserved. Many of those at the heights of these structures of privilege were further empowered, entitled and entrenched, all in the name of a specious Global War on Terror.
In the course of this process the entity said to be KSM became an important prize and asset for those engaged in cashing in on the lucrative privatized growth of the national security business. Through the intervention of White House operative Philip Zelikow, KSM’s supposed testimony was transferred from a torture chamber in Eurasia to serve the interests of insiders buzzing in and around the Washington Beltway. One of the patsies had to be singled out to incriminate the other patsies and the entity know as KSM was inducted to serve that strategic function.
The shape of things to come was foreshadowed on the morning of 9/11 with the BBC’s extension to Ehud Barak, a former Prime Minister of Israel, of full license to finger on world television the targets for post-9/11 revenge. Without any formal investigation at all, the former Israeli General and intelligence officer named as probable culprits Osama bin Laden, Yasser Arafat, Iraq, Iran and Libya. Barak provided this list only minutes after an aircraft was pictured not even slowing down as it cut into the South Tower like a hot knife slicing through butter.
Some of the most basic laws of physics were apparently defied by the televised spectacle of an aluminum plane smashing seemingly unobstructed through thick steel beams; of massive skyscrapers plunging symmetrically down to earth through the course of maximum resistance at near free fall speeds. What was the exotic technology that transformed three massive steel-frame WTC Towers into huge plumes of vapor and toxic dust clouds? Such a dramatic change in the composition of gargantuan masses of matter could not have been realized without the igniting of energy sources far more explosively powerful than some combination of jet fuel fires, melted metal and the pancaking effects of gravity.
The demise of a third structure, sometimes known as Lucky Larry Silverstein’s World Trade Center 7, poses its own unique set of questions. It is completely impossible that an office fire caused this 47-story steel-frame structure not hit by any airplane to instantly collapse late in the afternoon of 9/11. The only credible explanation is that of the late Danny Jowenko, Europe’s leading expert in controlled demolition before he died under mysterious circumstances in 2011. In his filmed response to a 9/11 researcher Jowenko insisted that only a group of pros would be in a position to wire the Building 7 in a way that would make it plunge to the ground as it did on 9/11.
9/11 and the US Government’s Destruction of Damning Evidence
It was the 9/11 Commission Report that bestowed on the real or constructed personae of KSM his title as “the mastermind of 9/11.” Gradually even the figure heads that co-chaired the 9/11 Commission have tried to distance themselves from their own study, one that they have asserted was “set up to fail.” And fail it did in very consequential ways. As Benjamin DeMott explained in his review in Harper’s Magazine of The 9/11 Commission Report, it’s a “whitewash” and a “fraud” that “dangerously reenergizes a national relish for fantasy.”
As they came to understand the deceptiveness to which they had been subjected, the co-chairs became especially chagrined that they were not permitted to question KSM and the other “witnesses” whose supposed damning evidence was derived from illegal torture. The resort of key US officials to criminal acts of internationally outlawed torture became the subject of a major report of the US Senate Committee that presented in 2014 a very damning account of Central Intelligence Agency’s Detention and Interrogation Program.
Chaired by Diane Feinstein, the Senate investigation came in response to news that CIA officials had destroyed about 100 videos recording the intelligence agency’s ghastly extremes in extracting supposed information from those it so violently abused. Among the destroyed tapes were some on which the 9/11 Commission based some of its key conclusions.
The massive and systematic destruction of state evidence has itself become something of a smoking gun exposing the fraud and deception integral to the Global War on Terror that originated in the false flag events of 9/11. An early example of the rush to destroy evidence was marked by the actions at Ground Zero of the Federal Emergency Measures Agency, FEMA. The FEMA agents’ priority was to cart away the remnants of the three steel frame structures mostly pulverized into dust clouds on 9/11. The physical evidence of the high-tech takedown of the three WTC structures was whisked out of Manhattan and then out of the USA to be sold at discount prices to Chinese firms.
Now the US government’s already highly problematic prosecution of KSM for the crimes of 9/11 is running into telling revelations that key evidence in the case has been destroyed without so much as a notice to KSM’s lawyers, David Nevin and Marine Corp Major Derek Poteet. The result is that these jurists are asking the judge, Army Colonel James Pohl, and the prosecutor, Army Brigadier General Mark Martins, to withdraw themselves from the proceedings. “There’s at least the appearance of collusion between the prosecution and the judge,” Poteet said.
As reported in The Guardian, “Nevin and Poteet said that they were ultimately seeking the end of Mohammed’s military commission, even if Pohl recuses himself in favor of a different available military judge and a new prosecution is appointed. ‘The effect is there would be no further prosecution,’ Nevin said.”
We Need Trials of the Real Culprits, Not the Patsies
The withholding of the much-publicized 28 pages from the Joint Congressional Report on the events of September 11, 2001 is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the destruction and secreting away of evidence about what really happened on 9/11. Before the Twin Towers were pulverized, Ehud Barak floated the fiction that Osama bin Laden was the chief culprit. Then it was made to seem that the main imperative flowing from the events of 9/11 was for the US Armed Forces to invade and overthrow the Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein.
The disinformation that Saddam’s government possessed Weapons of Mass Destruction is just one piece of a vast complex of lies involving 9/11 and its aftermath. The growing awareness of millions of citizens the world over of the extent of these lies and subsequent cover up has long been eroding the credibility of many major institutions starting with the US government and the mainstream media outlets that regularly report on its operations.
After the administration of Barack Obama decided to take over the neocon lies and deceptions first disseminated on the very day of 9/11, the focus of public attention was shifted onto Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. It seemed for a time that the Obama administration would conduct in New York a public criminal trial of KSM as its way of commemorating the tenth anniversary of 9/11.
That concept, however, was shelved in favor of concocting a fake hunting down of Osama bin Laden in Pakistan. This way of shutting down the contemporary life of a fabricated myth from the Bush era was meant as a way for President Obama to begin engineering his own specious justifications for the Democratic Party’s extension of 9/11 Wars.
There have been many reports that KSM is a very unstable individual wanting to take credit for dozens and dozens of terror attacks. Some reports claim he has a martyr complex and covets the possibility of being executed by the US government. Among the violent actions he claims as his own is the beheading of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl. Bernard-Henry Levy, the neocon propagandist who is France’s leading Israel First advocate, put great emphasis on KSM in advancing his favored political agenda in his volume, Who Killed Daniel Pearl?
The breakdown of due process even in the rigged system of military-style jurisprudence at the Guantanamo Bay Concentration Camp helps illuminate the latest chapter in the task of trying to keep the 9/11 scam alive. Fortunately there is now a large and growing body of genuine scholarship subjecting the lies and crimes of 9/11, including those contained in fraudulent 9/11 Commission report, to skeptical scrutiny.
Surely the US government’s destruction of yet more evidence in the prelude to the long-delayed trial of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, or whoever it is that is currently cast in the part, is yet another indication that there is much for authorities to hide when it comes to 9/11. What will it take to force some genuine reckoning with the role of 9/11 and the long series of false flag terror events that will continue to accelerate in frequency unless and until the corrupt core of this vile psychological operation is exposed? When will the real culprits rather than the patsies of 9/11 be brought to justice?
Professor Tony Hal is Editor In Chief, AHT and Co-Host of False Flag Weekly News
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu says Daesh militants must immediately be pushed back from an area in Syria near the Turkish border.
“Daesh should be cleared from the Manbij region southwards at once and we are doing the necessary work for that,” he said in comments broadcast on NTV Wednesday.
He was referring to a northern Syrian town that has been used as a logistical route by the Takfiri group.
It was not immediately clear whether Cavusoglu’s remarks meant a possible Turkish military operation inside Syria.
Earlier, security sources said Turkey’s military shelled an area of northern Syria after rockets allegedly hit the Turkish border town of Kilis.
Nobody was wounded in the morning attack on the town as the rockets hit empty land, the sources said.
Kilis, just across the border from an area controlled by the militants, has been regularly hit by rocket fire.
On Tuesday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov voiced concerns over the conduct of Turkish military actions on the ground and its push for so-called safe zones inside Syria.
“What makes Russia and many others worried is that Turkey is still firing at Syrian territory; and there are still those who demand the establishment of some sort of safe zone in Syria, also the non-stop voices calling for ground action in Syria.
“We believe they are the ones who place their hopes for solving the Syrian crisis on force instead of through political solutions. We believe this will have disastrous outcomes; therefore, these pleas should shop,” Lavrov said in Moscow.
Lavrov stressed that Russia insists the border between Syria and Turkey should be closed to cut off supplies for terrorists in Syria.
He expressed hope to see solutions from the UN regarding the matter in the new report on the situation soon to be released by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
“We very much hope that the United Nations Secretariat’s report will find solutions on those facts regarding how terrorist organizations use the Syrian-Turkish border as supply channel,” he said.
“We stress that those channels that deliver weapons and personnel supplies to terrorists must be shut down,” Lavrov said after meeting with the UN special envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura.
“Therefore, Russia believes the critical thing here is to close the Syrian-Turkish border since that is where these activities are rampant.”
Now that the Indonesian government has officially opened a probe into what the CIA called “one of the worst mass murders of the 20th century,” it’s time for the U.S. government to come clean about its own involvement in the orchestrated killing of hundreds of thousands of Communists, ethnic Chinese, intellectuals, union activists and other victims during the mid-1960s.
President Joko Widodo this week instructed one of his senior ministers to begin investigating mass graves that could shed light on the slaughter of more than half a million innocents by soldiers, paramilitary forces and anti-Communist gangs.
That orgy of violence followed the killing of six generals on Sept. 30, 1965, which the Indonesian military blamed on an attempted coup by the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI). It marked the beginning of several decades of military dictatorship and further mass murders in East Timor and West Papua.
The PKI, which had some three million members, and millions more sympathizers, was by the early 1960s the strongest political force in the country aside from the military and the revered father of Indonesia’s independence, President Sukarno.
As one CIA adviser warned in 1963, “If the PKI is able to maintain its legal existence . . . Indonesia may be the first Southeast Asia country to be taken over by a popularly based, legally elected communist government.” Two years later, the military-led bloodbath put an end to that threat.
Indonesia’s government, whose leaders include military veterans of that era, still refuses to open criminal investigations into the mass murder, as called for in 2012 by Indonesia’s National Commission on Human Rights.
But some survivors nonetheless welcome the chance to expose truths that have been vigorously suppressed over the years by mass political arrests, press censorship, and pervasive indoctrination programs in the country’s schools.
To help tell the whole story, Indonesia’s human rights commission and major international human rights organizations have called on the Obama administration to declassify U.S. government documents related to the massacres, as it did recently with respect to Argentina’s “dirty war” from 1976-83.
But President Obama, like his predecessors, has so far been reluctant to shed light on tragic events in Indonesia more than half a century ago.
“The extent of America’s role remains hidden behind a wall of secrecy,” complained Joshua Oppenheimer, maker of two acclaimed documentaries about the massacres: “The Act of Killing” and “The Look of Silence.”
“C.I.A. documents and U.S. defense attaché papers remain classified. Numerous Freedom of Information Act requests for these documents have been denied,” he observed. “If the U.S. government recognizes the genocide publicly, acknowledges its role in the crimes, and releases all documents pertaining to the issue, it will encourage the Indonesian government to do the same.”
It’s easy to guess why Washington is so reluctant to bare the truth. The limited number of documents that have been released suggest that U.S. officials goaded Indonesia’s military into seizing power in 1965 and then liquidating PKI supporters throughout the archipelago. The full record could look even uglier.
Indonesia became a focus of U.S. strategic concerns as far back as 1940, when Imperial Japan threatened its immensely valuable rubber plantations, tin mines, and oil wells. President Franklin Roosevelt’s showdown with Tokyo, which culminated in the Pearl Harbor attack, stemmed from his determination to resist the loss of the islands’ strategic resources. Years later, Richard Nixon would call Indonesia “by far the greatest prize in the South-East Asian area.”
Prompted by its appreciation of Indonesia’s value, the Eisenhower administration financed a full-scale but unsuccessful military rebellion in 1958 against the neutralist Sukarno government. The Kennedy administration tried to patch up relations, but President Lyndon Johnson — angered at the regime’s threat to U.S. rubber and oil companies as well as Sukarno’s friendly relations with the PKI — cut off economic aid while continuing training and assistance to the anti-Communist military.
As one senior State Department official testified in executive session before Congress just a few months before the 1965 coup, explaining the administration’s proposal to increase military aid, “When Sukarno leaves the scene, the military will probably take over. We want to keep the door open.”
Prompting the Slaughter
To prompt the army to act against Sukarno, U.S., British, and Australian intelligence operatives planted phony stories about PKI plots to assassinate army leaders and import weapons from Communist China to launch a revolt — elements of a “strategy of tension” that would later be used in Chile.
According to former CIA officer Ralph McGehee, the CIA “was extremely proud” of its campaign and “recommended it as a model for future operations.”
Months after the bloodbath began, the well-connected associate editor of the New York Times, James Reston, would write, “Washington is being careful not to claim any credit” for the coup “but this does not mean that Washington had nothing to do with it.”
The events that triggered the military takeover remain murky even today, thanks to the regime’s systematic suppression of evidence. What seems clear, however, is that the PKI was largely caught unprepared when a group of junior officers — acting either on their own or as part of a “false flag” operation mounted by the anti-Communist General Suharto — killed six generals in the name of stopping a right-wing coup against Sukarno.
Suharto and his colleagues quickly arrested the killers, blamed the PKI for the atrocity, and aroused popular outrage by spreading false stories that the murdered generals had been sexually mutilated.
They also charged that Indonesia’s Communists were targeting Islamic leaders. In response, the country’s largest Muslim organization issued an order to “eliminate all Communists.”
On Oct. 5, 1965, U.S. Ambassador to Indonesia Marshall Green informed Washington that Muslin groups were “lined up behind” the army, which “now has opportunity to move against PKI if it acts quickly. . . Momentum is now at peak with discovery of bodies of murdered army leaders. In short, it’s now or never.”
Green was hopeful: “Much remains in doubt, but it seems almost certain that agony of ridding Indonesia of effects of Sukarno . . . has begun.” To help make sure that came to pass, Green advised telling coup leaders of “our desire to be of assistance where we can,” while remaining in the shadows.
Green proposed fanning the flames of popular anger through covert propaganda: “Spread the story of PKI’s guilt, treachery and brutality (this priority effort is perhaps most-needed immediate assistance we can give army if we can find way to do it without identifying it as solely or largely US effort).”
To that end, he later instructed to U.S. Information Agency to use all its resources to “link this horror and tragedy with Peking and its brand of communism; associate diabolical murder and mutilation of the generals with similar methods used against village headmen in Vietnam.”
By mid-October, Green reported that the embassy had discussed strategy with Army and Muslim contacts for a “step-by-step campaign not only against PKI but against whole communist/Sukarno clique.”
Soon he was reporting the good news: the army had executed hundreds of Communists and arrested thousands of PKI cadre, with help from Muslim death squads.
“I, for one, have increasing respect for [the army’s] determination and organization in carrying out this crucial assignment,” he wrote.
To help the army succeed, Green endorsed Washington’s decision to bankroll the military’s clean-up operations against the PKI, adding that “the chances of detection or subsequent revelation of our support . . . are as minimal as any black bag operation can be.”
In addition, by December 1965 the U.S. embassy began sending the Indonesian military lists of PKI leaders — facilitating their liquidation.
“It really was a big help to the army,” said Robert J. Martens, a former member of the U.S. Embassy’s political section. “They probably killed a lot of people, and I probably have a lot of blood on my hands, but that’s not all bad. There’s a time when you have to strike hard at a decisive moment.”
In a December 1965 story, Time magazine offered the first significant account in the American media of the scope of the killing:
“Communists, red sympathizers and their families are being massacred by the thousands. Backlands army units are reported to have executed thousands of Communists after interrogation in remote jails. Armed with wide-bladed knives called ‘parangs,’ Moslem bands crept at night into the homes of Communists, killing entire families and burying the bodies in shallow graves.
“The murder campaign became so brazen in parts of rural East Java, that Moslem bands placed the heads of victims on poles and paraded them through villages. The killings have been on such a scale that the disposal of the corpses has created a serious sanitation problem in East Java and Northern Sumatra where the humid air bears the reek of decaying flesh.
“Travelers from these areas tell of small rivers and streams that have been literally clogged with bodies. River transportation has at places been seriously impeded.”
By February 1996, the U.S. embassy was estimating that at least 400,000 people had already been killed across the country — more than died from the atomic bomb attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
C.L. Sulzberger of The New York Times remarked in April that “the killing attained a volume impressive even in violent Asia, where life is cheap.”
Speaking for official Washington, in a column titled “A Gleam of Light in Asia,” the New York Times’ James Reston called this bloodbath one of “the more hopeful political developments” in Asia, one that could not have “been sustained without the clandestine aid it has received indirectly from here.”
The full extent of that clandestine aid remains a contested question, but historian Bradley Simpson, in a 2008 study of U.S. relations with Indonesia in the 1960s, observed that “declassification of just a fraction of the CIA’s records demonstrates that the agency’s covert operations in Indonesia were more widespread and insidious than previous acknowledged. These records also reveal that the Johnson administration was a direct and willing accomplice to one of the great bloodbaths of twentieth-century history.”
New Mexico’s Tom Udall declared last year as he introduced a Senate resolution to promote reconciliation on the 50th anniversary of the Indonesian massacres, “the United States and Indonesia must work to close this terrible chapter by declassifying information and officially recognizing the atrocities that occurred. . .
“The United States should stand in favor of continued democratic progress for our vital ally Indonesia and allow these historical documents to be disclosed. Only by recognizing the past can we continue to work to improve human rights across the globe.”
The world is still waiting on President Obama to heed that call.
Jonathan Marshall is author or co-author of five books on international affairs, including The Lebanese Connection: Corruption, Civil War and the International Drug Traffic (Stanford University Press, 2012).
FBI informants acted as ‘honeypots’ to trap a 21-year-old man, posing as love interests to glean information, audio obtained by the Intercept reveals. One woman lured him into making a false claim that he’d tried to go to Syria to fight with Islamic State.
The target of the FBI’s operation was Khalil Abu Rayyan, a Michigan resident. When he met an undercover informant by the name of ‘Ghaada’ online, he quickly became enamored with her. A relationship began, and the two even talked about marriage, children and the future.
But the online relationship ended when Ghaada called it off. Rayyan was heartbroken, but the FBI soon sent another woman, known as ‘Jannah Bride,’ to heal his wounds.
Rayyan opened up to Jannah Bride, even disclosing that he had thought about suicide. He claimed to have bought a rope which he could use to hang himself.
“I bought a rope this morning… it’s not that hard,” he said in the 14-minute audio footage obtained by the Intercept. “In only a minute or two, it would be over.”
Seeing an open opportunity to prey on Rayyan’s vulnerable state, Jannah Bride decided to steer the conversation in the direction of hurting other people.
“Which thought is greater to you right now – hurting yourself or somebody else?” the FBI informant asked.
But despite the FBI’s intentions, Rayyan’s response proved no violent thoughts towards others.
“Well, I mean, I would not like to hurt somebody else… but at the same time, if I did it to myself, it’d be easier. I wouldn’t get in trouble,” he said.
In another attempt to try to trap Rayyan into admitting he was violent, Jannah Bride appeared to take a deep interest in jihad.
To impress her, Rayyan said he had an AK-47, claiming it was purchased for a plan to “shoot up a church,” which was later foiled. He also claimed to have attempted to travel to Syria. However, both stories appeared to be false. He didn’t own the assault weapon, and there is no evidence that he ever bought a ticket to war-torn Syria.
But the claims were enough to prompt the US government to search Rayyan’s home and business a couple of months later. And although they couldn’t find the apparently fictional AK-47, they managed to charge him with unlawful possession of a handgun, which his lawyer says was obtained for self-defense reasons while delivering pizzas in Detroit.
And despite there being no record of a purchased ticket to Syria (or anywhere nearby), the US government now alleges that Rayyan is an Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) sympathizer, the Intercept reported.
What’s more is that the FBI is aiming to keep details of the exchanges with Rayyan completely private. However, Rayyan’s lawyers have asked the court to force the government to turn over all communications between their client and the FBI informants.
According to a filing by the defense, the government has proposed a “limited protective order” that “would have kept sealed anything that even summarized material the government deemed sensitive.” Unsurprisingly, the defense has refused to accept the proposal.
In a motion filed April 15, Rayyan’s lawyers wrote: “The government clearly exploited Rayyan, and blatantly attempted to steer him toward terrorism as an acceptable form of suicide before God.”
The FBI uses more than 15,000 informants in counter-terrorism investigations, according to the Intercept. Recent investigations have focused on alleged IS sympathizers.
Philip Zelikow, a self-described expert in “the creation and maintenance of public myths,” wrote the 9/11 Commission Report in chapter outline before the Commission even convened.
Zelikow, architect of the Bush Doctrine of framing criminal wars of aggression as “pre-emptive wars,” is the co-author of an astonishingly precognitive 1998 Foreign Affairs article speculating about the likely political and cultural consequences of a massive Pearl Harbor style event such as the destruction of the World Trade Center – a catastrophe that, he said, would split time into a dimly-remembered “before” and an Orwellian “after.”
Zelikow is on record stating that the 9/11 wars were not about defending the US from any threat. Instead, they were about “the threat that dare not speak its name” – the threat to Israel.
Many of us suspect Zelikow co-wrote the script for the 9/11 “reality disaster movie” in the late ’90s. So if anyone should know “the real story” of 9/11 it would be him.
Yet now he tells NBC News: “To this day I don’t quite know what the real story is”:
“If people want to get to the truth about 9/11, the shortest route would be to bring the people responsible to trial,” Zelikow said, “because all of the information that’s been gathered in all the years since 9/11 would be available to then become part of the public record.” But Zelikow also said there are some things about the 9/11 attacks that even the government doesn’t know. “To this day I don’t quite know what the real story is,” he said. “We said what we said in the commission report. When we said that this needs more work, that was a big thing for us to say.”
For once in my life I agree with Mr. Zelikow. And among the first people responsible we should put on trial is the likely co-author of the script for the 9/11 false flag event, Philip Zelikow himself.
April 20, 2016
Today James joins Dan Dicks on PFT Live to discuss the 28 pages and the move to blame Saudi Arabia for 9/11. What are the 28 pages really about? Is this really a step forward for 9/11 truth or a step back? Are the Saudis threatening to crash the dollar if they’re hung out to dry? Join James and Dan for the lowdown on the latest 9/11 propaganda.
SHOW NOTES AND MP3: https://www.corbettreport.com/?p=18477
Fifteen of the 9/11 “hijackers” from Saudi Arabia were CIA agents working for the United States government , which was seeking to destroy the Middle East for Israel and to double the American military budget, says Dr. Kevin Barrett, an American academic who has been studying the events of 9/11 since late 2003.
Dr. Barrett, a founding member of the Scientific Panel for the Investigation of 9/11, made the remarks in a phone interview with Press TV on Wednesday, after a number of US lawmakers called on the White House to declassify documents that shed light on Saudi Arabia’s possible complicity in the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
The former congressmen say the 28-page classified document proves two Saudi nationals who were behind the 9/11 attacks received support and assistance from Riyadh while in the United States.
“It appears that Release the 28 Pages movement has succeeded or at least it is on the brink of success. We heard on Monday from an Obama administration source that the president is planning to finish the review process, presumably meaning he would be declassifying these pages before the end of his presidency,” Dr. Barrett said.
“And now this is Wednesday, and Nancy Pelosi has called for releasing the 28 pages. It does appear that it actually is quite likely to happen very soon. This is fascinating news. It will certainly cause more issues in the relationship between the United States and Saudi Arabia, because it appears the 28 pages primarily focus on the support from Saudi ruling circles for some of the alleged 19 hijackers, who were in fact falsely blamed for the crimes of September 11, 2001,” he added.
“The real issue here is whether this will end up prying open the entire case of 9/11 or whether it could become a sort of a limited hang-out. It could be simply used to channel popular anger against the government of Saudi Arabia, perhaps create a little more distance in the US-Saudi relationship, but not really change anything,” he stated.
“And that would be a tragedy, because we need to reopen the entire 9/11 case. The actual relationship between the Saudis and 9/11 is certainly not one of having this Saudi ruling family completely controlling the 9/11 attacks and in charge of the plot; that’s ridiculous. Saudi Arabia is a US puppet state.”
15 Saudi men were ‘patsies’
“We know that the 15 hijackers who were Saudis, the alleged hijackers, because they were not on those planes – not one of the 19 hijackers, or any Arabs, were on any of the four planes, according to the passenger list, and according to all of the evidence that would be there if they were on the planes, but has not been produced,” Dr. Barrett said.
“So these 15 Saudi patsies, who were set up to take the blame for 9/11, were in fact CIA agents. We know this – I had this confirmed directly by a CIA source that these 15 Saudis entered, and repeatedly reentered on these supposedly – they call them employment visas, but there’s a special number for employment visas that are only given to CIA assets as a reward for their service to the Central Intelligence Agency, and this visa allows them to come to the US. Typically they’re paid for their work for the CIA in Saudi Arabia, and then they are given this special kind of visa which is disguised as an employment visa but it’s a of particular type,” he stated.
“And all 15 of these guys had that visa. That shows that they were in fact Central Intelligence Agency agents. Some of them were living with FBI people in California. So these 15 Saudis were not working against the United States government, they were working for the United States government, and they were set up so that Saudi Arabia could be potentially blamed for the September 11 attacks, which were actually perpetrated by Israel and its American assets,” he pointed out.
“The purpose was to make sure that Saudi Arabia didn’t leave the American orbit, as the king had threatened in August of 2001. Similarly Pakistan was also set up. The ISI chief was tricked, ordered, or whatever into sending money to Muhammad Atta. And then that was broadcast in an Indian newspaper. Pakistan likewise was threatening to leave the American orbit in 2001,” he said.
“Now the Zionist dominated imperial apparatus here in the United States didn’t want nuclear Pakistan, and oil-rich Saudi Arabia to become independent countries. So, it used 9/11 to herd them back into the imperial orbit, among other things,” the scholar observed.
What was chief purpose of 9/11?
“But of course the chief purpose of 9/11 was to destroy the seven countries in five years that General [Wesley] Clark talked about, that were enemies or threats to Israel. Will this full truth come out thanks to the release of these 28 pages, which could lead to the reopening of the 9/11 case?” Dr. Barrett said.
“Well if it reopens the fact that Building 7 – the most obvious demolition in New York was Building 7, but the Twin Towers as well were controlled demolitions. There were no hijackers on any of these planes, not one Arab name on any of these planes. Not one shred of evidence that any of them were on the planes,” he said.
“If these facts actually come out and we learn that September 11th was a cover and deception operation by Israel and its American assets, and that includes sort of quasi assets like [George W.] Bush, [Dick] Cheney, and [Donald] Rumsfeld, and so on, and it was designed as a New Pearl Harbor, designed not only to destroy the Middle East for Greater Israel but also to double the American military budget, and invigorate the American empire – well, it ended up killing the American empire,” he stated.
“It certainly did help Israel; they destroyed all of its neighbors, virtually. But the United States is now in terrible shape. In order to turn America around, we really need Donald Trump to keep his promise to reveal to the people who really knocked down the Twin Towers, and it was the Zionists,” the analyst noted.
“Once we learn that, we may be in a position to radically revamp the power structure here in the United States, taking it away from the Zionist dominated corporate structure — the banking, the investment industry, and the media apparatus — and take America back for the American people, end the American empire, and usher in a new multi-polar era of peace,” Dr. Barrett concluded.