Bipartisan US Senators Introduce New Illegal Sanctions on Iran - *Bipartisan US Senators Introduce New Illegal Sanctions on Iran* by Stephen Lendman A rogue’s gallery of bipartisan Zionist neocons infesting Congress want...
Thursday, January 14, 2010
'Conspiracy Theories' COINTELPRO thesis by Obama Czar
Obama's Kosher Czar Cass Sunstein demands false-flag domestic terrorism to blames patriot patsies
Conspiracy Theories by Cass R. Sunstein PhD, Harvard University - Harvard Law School, January 15, 2008
Many millions of people hold conspiracy theories; they believe that powerful people have worked together in order to withhold the truth about some important practice or some terrible event. A recent example is the belief, widespread in some parts of the world, that the attacks of 9/11 were carried out not by Al Qaeda, but by Israel or the United States. Those who subscribe to conspiracy theories may create serious risks, including risks of violence, and the existence of such theories raises significant challenges for policy and law. The first challenge is to understand the mechanisms by which conspiracy theories prosper; the second challenge is to understand how such theories might be undermined. “The truth is out there”:1 conspiracy theories are all around us. In August 2004, a poll by Zogby International showed that 49 percent of New York City residents, with a margin of error of 3.5 percent, believed that officials of the U.S. government “knew in advance that attacks were planned on or around September 11, 2001, and that they consciously failed to act.” In a Scripps-Howard Poll in 2006, with an error margin of 4 percent, some 36 percent of respondents assented to the claim that “federal officials either participated in the attacks on the World Trade Center or took no action to stop them.” Among sober-minded Canadians, a September 2006 poll found that 22 percent believe that “the attacks on the United States on September 11, 2001 had nothing to do with Osama Bin Laden and were actually a plot by influential Americans.”5 In a poll conducted in seven Muslim countries, 78 percent of respondents said that they do not believe the 9/11 attacks were carried out by Arabs. Consider, for example, the view that the Central Intelligence Agency was responsible for the assassination of President John F. Kennedy; that doctors deliberately manufactured the AIDS virus; that the 1996 crash of TWA flight 800 was caused by a U.S. military missile; that the theory of global warming is a deliberate fraud; that the Trilateral Commission is responsible for important movements of the international economy; that Martin Luther King, Jr., was killed by federal agents; that the plane crash that killed Democrat Paul Wellstone was engineered by Republican politicians; that the moon landing was staged and never actually occurred. Of course some conspiracy theories, under our definition, have turned out to be true. The Watergate hotel room used by Democratic National Committee was, in fact, bugged by Republican officials, operating at the behest of the White House. In the 1950s, the Central Intelligence Agency did, in fact, administer LSD and related drugs under Project MKULTRA, in an effort to investigate the possibility of “mind control.” Operation Northwoods, a rumored plan by the Department of Defense to simulate acts of terrorism and to blame them on Cuba, really was proposed by high-level officials.
Of course some conspiracy theories, under our definition, have turned out to be true. The Watergate hotel room used by Democratic National Committee was, in fact, bugged by Republican officials, operating at the behest of the White House. In the 1950s, the Central Intelligence Agency did, in fact, administer LSD and related drugs under Project MKULTRA, in an effort to investigate the possibility of “mind control.” Operation Northwoods, a rumored plan by the Department of Defense to simulate acts of terrorism and to blame them on Cuba, really was proposed by high-level officials.
But we have seen that in many communities and even nations, such theories are widely held. It is not plausible to suggest that all or most members of those communities are afflicted by mental illness. The most important conspiracy theories are hardly limited to those who suffer from any kind of pathology.
Those who believe that Israel was responsible for the attacks of 9/11, or that the Central Intelligence Agency killed President Kennedy, may well be responding quite rationally to the informational signals that they receive.
How many people know, directly or on the basis of personal investigation, whether Al Qaeda was responsible for the 9/11 attacks, or whether Lee Harvey Oswald killed President Kennedy on his own, or whether a tragic death in an apparent airplane accident was truly accidental?
What can government do about conspiracy theories? Among the things it can do, what should it do? We can readily imagine a series of possible responses. (1) Government might ban conspiracy theorizing. (2) Government might impose some kind of tax, financial or otherwise, on those who disseminate such theories. (3) Government might itself engage in counterspeech, marshaling arguments to discredit conspiracy theories. (4) Government might formally hire credible private parties to engage in counterspeech. (5) Government might engage in informal communication with such parties, encouraging them to help. Each instrument has a distinctive set of potential effects, or costs and benefits, and each will have a place under imaginable conditions. However, our main policy idea is that government should engage in cognitive infiltration of the groups that produce conspiracy theories, which involves a mix of (3), (4) and (5).
We suggest a distinctive tactic for breaking up the hard core of extremists who supply conspiracy theories: cognitive infiltration of extremist groups, whereby government agents or their allies (acting either virtually or in real space, and either openly or anonymously) will undermine the crippled epistemology of those who subscribe to such theories.
Some believe that the Bush administration deliberately spread a kind of false and unwarranted conspiracy theory – that Saddam Hussein conspired with Al Qaeda to support the 9/11 attacks. Suppose for discussion’s sake that this is so.
Imagine a government facing a population in which a particular conspiracy theory is becoming widespread. We will identify two basic dilemmas that recur, and consider how government should respond.
The most direct response to a dangerous conspiracy theories is censorship. The effort to censor the theory might well be taken as evidence that the theory is true, and censorship of speech is notoriously difficult. [authors arrested and books and TV shows banned by govt in USA: www.zundelsite.org, www.thelawthatneverwas.com, www.paynoincometax.com, www.piratenews.org ]
Government can partially circumvent these problems if it enlists nongovernmental officials in the effort to rebut the theories. The price of credibility is that government cannot be seen to control the independent experts. When Popular Mechanics offered its rebuttal of 9/11 conspiracy theories, conspiracists claimed that one of the
magazine’s reporters, Ben Chertoff, was the cousin of Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff and was spreading disinformation at the latter’s behest. [Popular Mechanics and History Channel discussed www.piratenews.org/flight93.html ]
One promising tactic is cognitive infiltration of extremist groups. By this we do not mean 1960s-style infiltration with a view to surveillance and collecting information, possibly for use in future prosecutions. Rather, we mean that government efforts might succeed in weakening or even breaking up the ideological and epistemological complexes that constitute these networks and groups. Government agents (and their allies) might enter chat rooms, online social networks, or even real-space groups and attempt to undermine percolating conspiracy theories by raising doubts about their factual premises, causal logic or implications for political action.
In one variant, government agents would openly proclaim, or at least make no effort to conceal, their institutional affiliations. A recent newspaper story recounts that Arabic-speaking Muslim officials from the State Department have participated in dialogues at radical Islamist chat rooms and websites in order to ventilate arguments not usually heard among the groups that cluster around those sites, with some success. In another variant, government officials would participate anonymously or even with false identities. Each approach has distinct costs and benefits; the second is riskier but potentially brings higher returns. In the former case, where government officials participate openly as such, hard-core members of the relevant networks, communities and conspiracy-minded organizations may entirely discount what the officials say, right from the beginning. The risk with tactics of anonymous participation, conversely, is that if the tactic becomes known, any true member of the relevant groups who raises doubts may be suspected of government connections. Despite these difficulties, the two forms of cognitive infiltration offer different risk-reward mixes and are both potentially useful instruments.
There is a similar tradeoff along another dimension: whether the infiltration should occur in the real world, through physical penetration of conspiracist groups by undercover agents, or instead should occur strictly in cyberspace. The latter is safer, but potentially less productive. The former will sometimes be indispensable. Infiltration of any kind poses well-known risks: perhaps agents will be asked to perform criminal acts to prove their bona fides, or (less plausibly) will themselves become persuaded by the conspiratorial views they are supposed to be undermining; perhaps agents will be unmasked and harmed by the infiltrated group.
In 2004, the U.S. government set up a broadcast network for the Middle East – Al-Hurrah, “the Free One” – that puts out news and third-party opinion. In May 2007, a House subcommittee called a hearing to investigate reports that Al-Hurrah had broadcast “terrorist” content, including “a 68-minute call to arms against Israelis by a senior figure of the terrorist group Hezbollah; [and] deferential coverage of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s Holocaust denial conference." Legislators sharply questioned officials of the Broadcasting Board of Governors, the government corporation that ultimately funds Al-Hurrah, and those officials had to promise to address the legislators’ concerns. Those problems, however, were part and parcel of a broader strategy for enhancing credibility by permitting other viewpoints and voices on the air.
A mini-scandal erupted in 2006 when U.S. newspapers revealed that the Lincoln Group, an independent contractor of “influence services,” had paid Iraqi newspapers to publish hundreds of “news stories” written by U.S. military personnel but not identified as such, most of which portrayed events in Iraq in cheery terms or rebutted circulating conspiracy theories.
A better objection to this practice may instead be tactical. By outsourcing this form of quasi-propaganda to an independent contractor whose participation would sooner or later be brought to light, the U.S. government fell between two stools, obtaining neither the credibility benefits of full transparency nor the credibility benefits of totally anonymous speech. Reuel Marc Gerecht, a former CIA case officer, commented that “[t]he historical parallel would be the [CIA’s] efforts during the Cold War to fund magazines, newspapers and journalists who believed that the West should triumph over communism. Much of what you do ought to be covert, and, certainly, if you contract it out, it isn’t.”
In 2004, the U.S. administrator for Iraq, L. Paul Bremer, ordered troops to shut down a weekly newspaper in Baghdad that had propounded false conspiracy theories damaging to the U.S., such as a story that “an American missile, not a terrorist car bomb, had caused an explosion that killed more than 50 Iraqi police recruits.”
Some conspiracy theories create serious risks. They do not merely undermine democratic debate; in extreme cases, they create or fuel violence. If government can dispel such theories, it should do so. One problem is that its efforts might be counterproductive, because efforts to rebut conspiracy theories also legitimate them. We have suggested, however, that government can minimize this effect by rebutting more rather than fewer theories, by enlisting independent groups to supply rebuttals, and by cognitive infiltration designed to break up the crippled epistemology of conspiracyminded groups and informationally isolated social networks.
Obama Information Czar Outlined Plan For Government To Infiltrate Conspiracy Groups
In a 2008 article published in the Journal of Political Philosophy, Obama information czar Cass Sunstein outlined a plan for the government to stealthily infiltrate groups that pose alternative theories on historical events via “chat rooms, online social networks, or even real-space groups and attempt to undermine” those groups.
The aim of the program would be to “(break) up the hard core of extremists who supply conspiracy theories,” wrote Sunstein, with particular reference to 9/11 truth organizations.
Sunstein pointed out that simply having people in government refute conspiracy theories wouldn’t work because they are inherently untrustworthy, making it necessary to “Enlist nongovernmental officials in the effort to rebut the theories. It might ensure that credible independent experts offer the rebuttal, rather than government officials themselves. There is a tradeoff between credibility and control, however. The price of credibility is that government cannot be seen to control the independent experts,” he wrote.
“Put into English, what Sunstein is proposing is government infiltration of groups opposing prevailing policy,” writes Marc Estrin.
“It’s easy to destroy groups with “cognitive diversity.” You just take up meeting time with arguments to the point where people don’t come back. You make protest signs which alienate 90% of colleagues. You demand revolutionary violence from pacifist groups.”
This is what Sunstein is advocating when he writes of the need to infiltrate conspiracy groups and sow seeds of distrust amongst members in order to stifle the number of new recruits. This is classic “provocateur” style infiltration that came to the fore during the Cointelpro years, an FBI program from 1956-1971 that was focused around disrupting, marginalizing and neutralizing political dissidents.
“Sunstein argued that “government might undertake (legal) tactics for breaking up the tight cognitive clusters of extremist theories.” He suggested that “government agents (and their allies) might enter chat rooms, online social networks, or even real-space groups and attempt to undermine percolating conspiracy theories by raising doubts about their factual premises, causal logic or implications for political action,” reports Raw Story.
Sunstein has also called for making websites liable for comments posted in response to articles. His book, On Rumors: How Falsehoods Spread, Why We Believe Them, What Can Be Done, was criticized by some as “a blueprint for online censorship.”
Twenty-Five Ways To Suppress Truth: The Rules of Disinformation, Includes The 8 Traits of A Disinformationalist
"The FBI has issued a BOLO on suspected terrorists driving a white delivery van from New York City to the Mexican border. The suspects are using Israeli passports. They are armed and dangerous."
-Knox County TN Emergency 911 Dispatch, Sept 11, 2001, 11am EST
"Vehicle possibly related to New York terrorist attack. White, 2000 Chevrolet van with New Jersey registration with 'Urban Moving Systems' sign on back seen at Liberty State Park, Jersey City, NJ, at the time of first impact of jetliner into World Trade Center. Three individuals with van were seen celebrating after initial impact and subsequent explosion. FBI Newark Field Office requests that, if the van is located, hold for prints and detain individuals."
-FBI BOLO ("Be On Lookout"), 11 September 2001, 3:31 p.m., according to Bergen County Police Chief John Schmidig
OPERATION NORTHWOODS - the signed confession by US Govt for perping terrorist attacks, sniper attacks, airline hijackings and bombings in USA then blame patsies
"I would like to assure the world that I did not plan the recent attacks.”
—Usama bin Laden, CNN, "Bin Laden says he wasn't behind attacks," September 17, 2001
"We've never made the case, or argued the case that somehow Osama bin Laden was directly involved in 9/11. That evidence has never been forthcoming."
—Dick Cheney, "Interview of the Vice President by Tony Snow", March 29, 2006