While it’s been proven that the winner of this year’s Nobel Peace Prize – Liu Xiaobo – is and has been for many years on NED’s payroll, and NED officially boasts about funding the Solidarity movement in Poland in the 1980s, taking over CIA’s covert work with more overt means, the jury’s still out on whether the WikiLeaks project is also really a NED front.
Anyhow, the suggestion has been made by a host of people, and recent leaks at the site also raise the question of whose interests Julian Assange’s website actually serves.
Please give me your thoughts – let’s hear the pros and cons – below, in comments or in this public wave.
DEMOS v. The Truth Movement: There’s been quite a few newsletters and updates from Ian Fantom of Berkshire 9/11 Truth and «Keep Talking» fame lately, so let me just start off by alerting everyone in or near London that there is a very special dialogue meeting tomorrow at 7.30 pm at Goldsmiths, University of London, Room 308 in the Richard Hoggart Building (telephone: + 44 (0)20 7919 7171). The Richard Hoggart Building is on the West of the campus, on Lewisham Way (A20). Curious people in Norway or elsewhere in cyberspace can follow the event live at Ustream TV from about 20.30 CET on Monday, October 25th, 2010.
Following will be my edited excerpts from Ian’s newsletters in October and September:
In addition to yesterday’s newsletter, I can now provide you with the web address for live streaming of the event ‘DEMOS v. The Truth Movement’. It is:
Time: 19:00 for 19:30 (British Summer Time) Monday 25 October 2010
(UTC: 18:00 for 18:30)
I should imagine we’ll go live at 19:30 BST.
The provisional wording needs changing – if the correct title is there, it’s already been edited.
You may also be interested in a compilation of conspiracy theories which turned out to be true. Thanks to Jonathan Adams for this info:
I’ve had a quick read through, and it looks brilliant.
If you could get this information out, that would be very helpful.
Berkshire 9/11 Truth movement Newsletter: October 2010-10-20
For the first time ever in the history of the 9/11 truth movement, as far as I am aware, truth seekers will have an opportunity to be directly confronted by ‘the other side’. The think-tank DEMOS has accepted an invitation to talk about their recommendations to Government on ‘open infiltration’ in what they call ‘conspiracy theory’ groups. That meeting will take place this coming Monday, under the heading ‘DEMOS v. The Truth Movement’.
What’s more, if everything goes to plan, the event will be broadcast live over the Internet. The meeting will be held at Goldsmiths College in London on Monday 25th October (19:00 for 19:30). The speakers will be the two authors of the DEMOS report ‘the power of unreason: conspiracy theories, extremism and counter-terrorism’, which I wrote about in my September newsletter. Jamie Bartlett and Carl Miller have agreed to come along and explain the thinking behind their work, and to answer questions from the audience.
In my September newsletter I described the recommendations, and gave some background on DEMOS, explaining its importance in Government thinking since 1997. If you don’t have that newsletter, and would like a copy, just email. I can also supply you with my Powerpoint presentation which I used at last month’s meeting of ‘9/11 Keep Talking’, in which I analysed the contents of the report.
In summary, I wrote in the newsletter: “The report was headed, ‘the power of unreason: conspiracy theories, extremism and counter-terrorism’ (www.demos.co.uk/files/Conspiracy_theories_paper.pdf), and it claims to examine the role of conspiracy theories in extremist groups, arguing that conspiracy theories are linked to violence. It singles out the 9/11 Truth movement as being “most notorious and influential”, in that it questions the official accounts of 9/11. It states that the obvious response by Government of producing information often fails because any refutation risks being taken as evidence of a cover up. The authors propose introducing ‘alternative information’ to civilian groups which believe in conspiracy theories. This may be introduced directly by agents of the Government, ‘or their allies’, in what they term ‘open infiltration’, or it may be introduced by civilian groups, which would be seen to be independent of Government.”
Shortly after the report was published, Jamie Bartlett opened up a blog on the DEMOS website headed ‘The bloggers strike back’ (www.demos.co.uk/blog/engaging-), giving a description of the report, and accepting comments. Many of these comments concerned the issue of 9/11, which had been included in the report. In response to one contributer, he stated: “Paolo you are absolutely right, the report was not about the 9/11 truth movement, but about conspiracy theories in extremist groups. I have, however, consequently been sucked into a debate about 9/11, which I am more than happy to take on”. He added: “Finally, I will be going on to a radio show soon with someone who I think is quite an influential person in the 9/11 truth movement. He posted a video about our report here. To his credit he’s willing to have me on his radio show. So I’ll post details when I get them.
I put a couple of questions up myself, and these were replied to privately. I then asked Carl whether they would be willing to come and talk to us and answer questions on their report. Carl replied that he would, but that they would both be abroad for the next meeting. Some time later I wrote on Jamie’s blog page: “You and Carl will be most welcome to come to our 9/11 Keep Talking group in London to explain your report and to answer questions on it. This would provide an opportunity for both of you to demonstrate just how ‘open infiltration’ would work, and how you would propose to introduce ‘alternative information’ in connection with the 9/11 issue. It would also allow you to explain to us the other forms of infiltration which you propose, and why they are necessary, compared with the current methods already employed by the security services. Carl has already accepted in principle, and so if you could email me with some dates, I’ll be able to set something up.” Jamie responded privately, and that led to Monday’s meeting.
Initially, we had intended this as a normal monthly meeting of the London group, which we had been holding in a pub in St Pancras Station, in a meeting room provided free of charge. But by the last meeting they were asking us to commit to £10 per head in drinks and food. Attendance went down. Then David Rose stepped in. He is a PhD student of Sociology at Goldsmith’s College, a part of the University of London, working on ‘Visual Sociology and Conspiracy Theories’ (www.gold.ac.uk/sociology/staff/nash/). He managed to book a room at the university as part of his doctoral work. There is no entrance fee, but it is particularly important that the meeting be conducted in an orderly and academic way.
If you can’t get to the event yourself, you may like to watch it live on the Internet. We’re still working on that, but to keep you informed, David will put up the latest information in the calendar on the university’s website (www.gold.ac.uk/calendar/?action=month – look up for the 25th). The streamed event will probably be at http://www.ustream.tv/ . You’ll need to know which channel.
For those who can reach London, the meeting will be in Room 308 in the Richard Hoggart Building. The Main Goldsmiths Reception will be informed about the event on the night and have directions to RHB 308. David will also put up signs. The address is: Goldsmiths, University of London, New Cross, London, SE14 6NW, UK (telephone: + 44 (0)20 7919 7171). The Richard Hoggart Building is on the West of the campus, on Lewisham Way (A20), midway between the two stations (New Cross and New Cross Gate). There is detalied information here about how to travel to Goldsmiths on their website (www.gold.ac.uk/find-us/), with a campus map (www.gold.ac.uk/media/campus-map-instructions.pdf) which includes a listing of travel options. If anyone is thinking of traveling into London for the event then the White Hart Hotel in New Cross has single rooms for £25 per night.
Here are a few links for anyone who wishes to investigate a bit further. The DEMOS report may be downloaded from the DEMOS site (www.demos.co.uk/publications/thepowerofunreason), as well as the relevant DEMOS press release (www.demos.co.uk/press_releases/conspiracytheories). Jamie Bartlett has a blog on The Guardian website (www.guardian.co.uk/profile/jamiebartlett), and wrote about the DEMOS report shortly after its publication (www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/sep/03/conspiracy-theories-corroding-society). A report appeared on the BBC website, headed “Demos fears government terror strategy ‘fuels mistrust’” (www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-11123105). The person who offered to interview the authors in a radio show is known as MistrBrit on his YouTube web page (www.youtube.com/user/MistrBrit), and he has two videos on the DEMOS report: ‘Dangerous Conspiracy Theorists (And How To Shut Them Up)’ (www.youtube.com/watch?v=0jtesLWAqXg), and ‘Demos Think Tank Respond To My Video’ (www.youtube.com/watch?v=9_u8zi74Z3M), where he states that he has spoken with Jamie Bartlett and intends to do a live debate. The report is also featured in Wikispooks (https://wikispooks.com/wiki/The_Power_of_Unreason).
Both the DEMOS press release and the Guardian blog give prominance to 9/11, thus emphasising that the 9/11 truth movement was indeed of primary relevance to the report. Please feel free to pass this newsletter on to friends and to get the information out there, and above all, keep talking.
Keep Talking meeting Monday October 25
We have a rather special meeting of the Keep Talking group this time.
For the first time ever, as far as I am aware, a 9/11 group has had the opportunity to challenge the authorities directly on their side of the story, in order to call them to account.
At the September meeting I gave a presentation on the DEMOS report ‘the power of unreason: conspiracy theories, extremism and counter-terrorism’, and I wrote about that in some detail in my September newsletter. An excerpt from that report is to be found at the end of this message.
Both authors of that report have now agreed to come along to the 9/11 Keep Talking group to explain to us their recommendations to Government, and to answer our questions on it. One of the authors, Jamie Bartlett, has accepted a specific invitation for the 25 of October, and he is just checking with the other author Carl Miller to see if he can make it for the same evening.
Bearing in mind that DEMOS is widely believed to have had more influence over Government strategy during the Blair years than the Cabinet itself had, and that it now has close ties with the coalition cabinet, this is an important occasion.
So, we can announce our next meeting as follows:
Topic: DEMOS report ‘conspiracy theories, extremism and counter-terrorism’
Presentation by Jamie Bartlett, and hopefully also Carl Miller
Keep talking ;-)
Hoping this will be a great event!
Berkshire 9/11 Truth movement Newsletter: September 2010-09-30
The propaganda war in the cover-up of 9/11 lies is hotting up. In my last two newsletters I wrote about the misuse of the term ‘conspiracy theory’ in discrediting those who just wanted to know the truth. In July I wrote about the misuse of the term by the coroner in the inquest of those who died in the London bombings of July 7, 2005, and in August I wrote about the BBC’s reaction to a call for a proper inquest into the death of weapons inspector Dr David Kelly, when they invited onto Newsnight “anticonspiracy theory nutters such as journalist David Aaronovitch”, who would talk of “hundreds of conspiracy theories” and skillfully avoid mentioning that two of the people who had called for an inquiry are now members of the Cabinet. What I was not aware of was that whilst I was writing my August newsletter, some of David Aaronovitch’s friends in the think-tank DEMOS were publishing a report exactly along those lines, but focusing on the issue of 9/11.
The report was headed, ‘the power of unreason: conspiracy theories, extremism and counter-terrorism’ (www.demos.co.uk/files/Conspiracy_theories_paper.pdf), and it claims to examine the role of conspiracy theories in extremist groups, arguing that conspiracy theories are linked to violence. It singles out the 9/11 Truth movement as being “most notorious and influential”, in that it questions the official accounts of 9/11. It states that the obvious response by Government of producing information often fails because any refutation risks being taken as evidence of a cover up. The authors propose introducing “alternative information” to civilian groups which believe in conspiracy theories. This may be introduced directly by agents of the Government, “or their allies”, in what they term ‘open infiltration’, or it may be introduced by civilian groups, which would be seen to be independent of Government.
In fact, the report quotes David Aaronovitch’s definition of ‘conspiracy theories’, from his book ‘Voodoo Histories: The Role of the Conspiracy Theory in Shaping Modern History’: “What distinguishes conspiracy theories from genuine efforts to uncover actual conspiracies is that a conspiracy theory is not the most plausible account of events based on the available evidence. David Aaronovitch points out they attribute secret action that ‘might far more reasonably be explained as the less covert and less complicated action of another’”. There is, however, no analysis of whether the official story that the 9/11 attacks were directed by a man suffering from kidney failure in the remote Black Mountains of Afghanistan would be more plausible than the idea that the US administration had rogue elements within it, who carried out the attacks from within. The two theories are not even incompatible. If the authorities had really believed that the attacks had been orchestrated by Osama bin Laden, then you would have thought that they themselves would have been investigating whether Al Qaeda had infiltrated the CIA. However, the DEMOS report singles out the 9/11 movement as being the “most notorious and influential”, in that it merely questions the official accounts of 9/11. That does not even fall within their friend’s definition, which they themselves had quoted.
The report claims to have “have conducted new analysis of the literature, ideology and propaganda of over fifty extremist groups from across the spectrum: religious, far-right and left, eco, anarchic, and cult-based”. However, exactly which groups had been analysed, how they were selected, and what analysis was carried out, is not made clear. A list of 16 extremist groups “with no significant conspiracy theories” is first presented, with no explanation of their relevance. Then a tabulated list of 30 items, representing 35 groups, is presented, together with a description of the conspiracy theories which they are said to hold. The relevance of this list is not explained, and, indeed, only six of them are UK groups: one is proscribed, one has long been defunct, one is an obscure heathenist anti-multicultural group and the others are obscure far-right political groups. In the body of the report, out of the 34 groups mentioned, 11 do not appear in the tabulated list. These include the Khmer Rouge, the Baader-Meinhof Gang and the ‘9/11 truth movement’. By producing such lists, they are painting a picture of extremism and violence, into which they slot the 9/11 Truth movement, neither on the basis of extremism nor on the basis of conspiracy theory, but on the basis of questioning the state.
The report states that conspiracy theories have become a mainstream cultural phenomenon, and that very large numbers of people believe conspiracy theories: a third of all Americans consider it “very likely” or “somewhat likely” that government officials either allowed, or actually carried out the attacks on 9/11; 80% of Muslims believe American and/or Israeli governments carried out the attacks; nearly a quarter of British Muslims in 2006 did not believe the four men identified as the perpetrators of the 7/7 attacks were responsible, and around half believed that 9/11 was a conspiracy between the CIA and Israel. These are very powerful statistics, especially when they are quoted by those who appear to have an interest in eradicating what they call ‘conspiracy theories’.
The report does admit that some conspiracy theories are true, but gives only three, and these are over forty years old. Out of all the conspiracy theories mentioned, one conspiracy theory which was conspicuously absent from the report was making headlines in the mainstream media as the report was being prepared: the strange death of Dr David Kelly. It would be interesting to know why.
The report states that a response is required, and makes several recommendations to Government. The first two concern the education of young people, in encouraging critical thinking, deconstructing propaganda, and “reviewing how far the education system equips young people to navigate false information and counter knowledge”. These would imply standards that the report itself does not adhere to.
There are several proposals concerning making Government and security information more open or transparent, but they state: “It is very difficult for government to effectively fight conspiracy theories that have already gained a foothold in extremist groups. As noted, government lacks the credibility to do so, and attempts to do so may inadvertently give such theories more credibility”. In other words, Government is no longer believed. In order to overcome this problem, the report recommends that “Civil Society must play a more proactive role in confronting the lies and myths of conspiracy theories when they find them”. This can only mean vigilante groups, but the mechanism by which such independent vigilante groups may spring up following a recommendation to Government that that should happen is not made clear. Such a mechanism would be far from transparent. One should look to Government, the security services, or the financial backers for an explanation.
The report’s final recommendation states: “Introduce some limited, open infiltration of Internet and physical sites by government to introduce alternative information”. According to that recommendation, Government agents or their allies would “openly infiltrate the Internet sites or spaces to plant doubts about conspiracy theories, introducing alternative information”. I sought clarification from the authors, who confirmed that the agents would indeed declare their roles as Government agents. I wonder what the agents of the Government’s allies would declare.
The report is important because of influence which DEMOS is believed to have had over Government policy since 1997 under Tony Blair’s New Labour, and may still have with the coalition government. The New Labour period saw a massive erosion of civil liberties, and in that period the UK became known as the surveillance capital of the world.
As former cabinet minister Clare Short put it in her 2004 book ‘An Honorable Deception? New Labour, Iraq, and the Misuse of Power’, “it was after the 1992 defeat that New Labour was created by a very small group of people who went on to take over the reigns of power and to restrict and diminish democracy in the party” (page 2). Some in the New Labour group had been members of the Communist Party or Marxist groups. A chronology gives the context: 1989 saw the fall of the Berlin Wall, followed in 1991 by the collapse of Communism in Eastern Europe. Around this time, the Communist Party of Great Britain disintegrated in an orgy of quarreling instigated by MI5, as was later to be revealed by MI5 whistleblowers Annie Machon and David Shayler. As regards the Labour Party, Clare Short wrote, “Urgent reform was needed, most importantly to end the infiltration of Trotskyist groups into the party” (page 20). In 1994 Labour leader John Smith died, Tony Blair took over, and in 1997 became Prime Minister. Clare Short made it clear throughout in her book, that this country had not had Cabinet government since 1997.
DEMOS was founded in 1993, and initially had close links with the emerging New Labour group. A recent article on the ‘Social Equality Party’ website traces many of the New Labour people to their Communist or Marxist pasts, and shows the relationship with DEMOS, and how the same people are now becoming advisors to the Conservative/Liberal Democrat coalition. The article concludes: “Demos and its top personnel move seamlessly on to act as political advisers to the Tories on how best to impose the savage austerity measures demanded by big business” (www.socialequality.org.uk/~sepuk/content/alan-milburn-new-labour-and-british-coalition-government).
DEMOS today claims to be independent (www.demos.co.uk), and has involvement from all three main political parties. Its Advisory Board consists of academics, journalists and politicians, four of whom are currently Cabinet members: George Osborne, David Willetts, Danny Alexander and Vince Cable. Its financial backers, according the annual reports up to 2008, include various Government departments and the Cabinet itself. Such a body is now making proposals to Government which, whilst appearing to be advocating more openness and transparency, would lead to just the opposite. The result would amount to a Ministry of Truth, truth vigilantes and a thought police.
At the Keep Talking group in London I gave a talk on this report, and as I was preparing it, someone referred me to a new book by David Ray Griffin, called ‘Cognitive Infiltration: An Obama Appointee’s Plan to Undermine the 9/11 Conspiracy Theory’ (www.amazon.co.uk/Cognitive-Infiltration-Appointees-Undermine-Conspiracy/dp/1566568218/ref=sr_1_1). It seems that something similar has been happening in the US, but there seems to have been less of a pretence of ‘openness’. A book review on the UK Amazon site by Tango Karlos begins: “Obama’s ‘Information Czar’ appointee, a Harvard law professor and a personal friend, Cass Sunstein, is administrator of the White House Office of Information. In 2009 Sunstein published «Conspiracy Theories: Causes and Cures,» in which he suggested propaganda against the people and, eventually, elimination! The article led to an outcry by civil libertarians of all political stripes, who especially singled out for protest Sunstein’s call to make talking about conspiracy theories illegal; for covert ‘cognitive infiltration’ by government agents; and even taxing or fining publishers for writing or printing material deemed to be conspiracy theory material! Sunstein says that ‘9/11 conspiracy theories’ are his main focus. Sunstein has called for what is a ‘Counter Intelligence Program’ directed specifically against the 9/11 truth movement!”
The review then goes into some detail on how David Ray Griffin “penetrates the obfuscation and phony scholarship employed by Sunstein to create the illusion of a rational critique of the 9/11 truth movement’s alternative account of the events of September 11, 2001 … But in so doing Sunstein has provided Griffin the means to demonstrate yet again that defenders of the official account of 9/11 are forced to resort to disinformation, suppression of evidence, lies, illogic, threats and intimidation, always with the same result: failure”.
A historical account relating to the Sunstein paper was given by Danikel Tencer in January on the Raw Story site under the title ”Obama staffer wants ‘cognitive infiltration’ of 9/11 conspiracy groups” (rawstory.com/2010/01/obama-staffer-infiltration-911-groups/). I shall be interested to read Sunstein’s paper, and David Ray Griffin’s book, to see how close these are to the DEMOS report and my analysis, which I gave at the Keep Talking group. I also wrote a couple of other articles on the DEMOS report, which may or may not appear, but anyone wishing to have a copy of my Powerpoint presentation need only ask.
After I had given the talk, I was told that Iranian Television had been trying to contact me to ask for permission to film the event. Unfortunately, I didn’t have my mobile with me.
Then, on September 23 I started finding early reports of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s speech at the United Nations. Early press reports were saying that he had accused the United States of carrying out the 9/11 attacks. Some reports were denigrating him as a ‘holocaust denier’ in an attempt to discredit his statements on 9/11. There were reports of the US, British and other delegations walking out. Eventually I found a video of the complete speech, with English translation (www.youtube.com/watch?v=5v4I8oyNEtI), when I could hear just what he had said. Later I acquired the full text (gadebate.un.org/Portals/1/statements/634208557381562500IR_en.pdf).
In his speech, President Ahmadinejad mentioned the events of 11 September 2001, saying that that had affected the whole world for almost a decade. “All of a sudden”, he said, “the news of the attack on the twin towers was broadcast using numerous footages of the incident. Almost all governments and known figures strongly condemned this incident. But then a propaganda machine came into full force; it was implied that the whole world was exposed to a huge danger, namely terrorism, and that the only way to save the world would be to deploy forces into Afghanistan. Eventually Afghanistan, and shortly thereafter Iraq were occupied.”
“Please take note:”, he continued, “It was said that some three thousand people were killed on the 11th September for which we are all very saddened. Yet, up until now, in Afghanistan and Iraq hundreds of thousands of people have been killed, millions wounded and displaced and the conflict is still going on and expanding.”
He continued: “In identifying those responsible for the attack, there were three viewpoints. 1- That a very powerful and complex terrorist group, able to successfully cross all layers of the American intelligence and security, carried out the attack. This is the main viewpoint advocated by American statesmen. 2- That some segments within the U.S. government orchestrated the attack to reverse the declining American economy and its grips on the Middle East in order also to save the Zionist regime. The majority of the American people as well as other nations and politicians agree with this view”. It was at this point that the US delegation walked out, followed by others. President Ahmadinejad continued:” 3- It was carried out by a terrorist group but the American government supported and took advantage of the situation. Apparently, this viewpoint has fewer proponents. The main evidence linking the incident was a few passports found in the huge volume of rubble and a video of an individual whose place of domicile was unknown but it was announced that he had been involved in oil deals with some American officials. It was also covered up and said that due to the explosion and fire no trace of the suicide attackers was found.
“There remain, however, a few questions to be answered: 1- Would it not have been sensible that first a thorough investigation should have been conducted by independent groups to conclusively identify the elements involved in the attack and then map out a rational plan to take measures against them? 2- Assuming the viewpoint of the American government, is it rational to launch a classic war through widespread deployment of troops that led to the death of hundreds of thousands of people to counter a terrorist group? 3- Was it not possible to act the way Iran countered the Riggi terrorist group who killed and wounded 400 innocent people in Iran. In the Iranian operation no innocent person was hurt.
“It is proposed that the United Nations set up an independent fact-finding group for the event of the 11 September so that in the future expressing views about it is not forbidden.
“I wish to announce here that next year the Islamic Republic of Iran will host a conference to study terrorism and the means to confront it. I invite officials, scholars, thinkers, researchers and research institutes of all countries to attend this conference.”
I have no knowledge of what happened in the case of Riggi incident, but otherwise that text looks very reasonable. When he gave three widely believed theories of what happened, that is exactly what I did with regards the death of Dr Kelly in my August newsletter. When he talked about widespread disbelief in the official story, that is exactly what DEMOS did in their report. When he called for a fact-finding mission, that is exactly what thousands of Newyorkers had been doing for several years, though they were asking for their own Government to investigate, rather than the United Nations. When he stated that he would set up a conference next year to consider the issue, that is what many truth-seekers have been doing over the years, though on a smaller scale.
The diplomats who walked out on President Ahmadinejad during his speech were walking out not only on the Iranian president, but also on many, many members of the public who do not believe the official story and want some sort of investigation.
The danger now is that the US administration may panic. As I write, Associated Press today put out a notice that the US has blacklisted eight Iranian officials (www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-places-iranian-officials-on-blacklist-2093305.html). They will almost certainly block a UN fact-finding mission, but they may also attempt to block a conference in Iran by any means available.
The signs are that the propaganda war will continue to hot up. In an earlier newsletter I mentioned that truth-seekers might become labeled as ‘9/11 deniers’. That’s now happening. I think that attempts to discredit the movement by associating it with ‘holocaust denial’ have now run their course; the danger now is that that will merely give credence to holocaust denial. Discrediting by making allegations of ‘paranoia’ has also run its course; we now all know what ‘paranoid’ means. The current challenge is in dealing with allegations of ‘conspiracy theory’, which, I think, will eventually run their course if we keep on tackling it. We need just to keep talking, and at every opportunity dealing with what I suppose we can legitimately call ‘conspiracy deniers’.
By way of deception, thou shalt make war – Former motto of Mossad
In the fifth century BC, during the Peloponnesian War, the Athenians were laying siege to the city of Notion. One of the factions in Notion led by Hippias called in Persian and Arcadian mercenaries to protect them against the onslaught. The Athenian commander Paches summoned Hippias to a negotiation, promising that if they couldn’t reach an agreement that he would return Hippias safely to the fortified quarter of the town protected by the mercenary armies. When Hippias came out to meet Paches the Athenians arrested him and launched a vicious surprise attack on the forces at Notion. Hippias was then returned safely to the town, where he was promptly seized and ‘shot down’.[i]
Several centuries earlier during the Trojan War, a betrayal by Agamemnon meant that Achilles was refusing to fight. Without their great warrior Greece suffered heavy losses and retreated back to the beaches. As the Trojan forces threatened the ships, Patroclus rushed to Achilles, his cousin, to try to persuade him to rejoin the fighting. Achilles refused, but he did concede to allowing Patroclus to don his armour and lead his forces, the formidable Myrmidons, into battle. This had the duel effect of not only enabling Patroclus to command forces loyal to Achilles, but also scared the Trojans into believing that Achilles had resumed the fight. The counterattack saved the ships, but in his arrogance Patroclus pursued the Trojans and ended up being killed by Hector. This ultimately led Achilles back to the fray, and he avenged his cousin’s death when he killed Hector and dragged the hero’s body around the walls of the besieged city of Troy behind his chariot. The war culminated with possibly the most famous false flag military operation in history – the Trojan Horse.[ii]
History is littered with this sort of deception. As former CIA agent turned Watergate burglar Howard Hunt explained, ‘Propaganda takes the place of armed combat, takes the place of bloodletting, so you don’t need to do it.’[iii] In the above examples, disguise and psychological warfare were used by the Athenians to either turn conflicts back to their advantage or to enable an attack that would otherwise have been better defended, and hence more costly. Over time the means and methods have become somewhat more sophisticated but the strategies remain much the same. Another example is the 1770 Boston Massacre, which was provoked and encouraged by the Boston revolutionaries led by Sam Adams as a way of showing the public that war with the British was inevitable. Adams’ men had plastered the town with notices purportedly signed by British soldiers, saying that they were planning to attack the townspeople. They had also instigated the violent conflict by carrying out a sneak attack on the soldiers using clubs. The townspeople and the soldiers were manipulated into a street battle, which escalated to the point that the British fired on the mob, killing five people. As noted by journalist Ed Rippy, ‘The Boston Massacre […] was pivotal in the events leading up to the War of Independence between England and the colonies which later became the US.’[iv]
In 1953, the British Secret Intelligence Service – MI6 – conspired with the CIA to cause a coup d’etat in Iran, deposing the Iranian leader Mohammed Mossadegh. In particular they sought to undermine his democratic support by pitting the Tudeh (Communist) Party against the Mullahs, the religious leaders who would eventually seize power in 1979. According to the CIA’s own history of the operation, ‘CIA agents gave serious attention to alarming the religious leaders at Tehran by issuing black propaganda in the name of the Tudeh Party, threatening these leaders with savage punishment if they opposed Mossadeq. Threatening phone calls were also made to them, in the name of the Tudeh, and one of several planned sham bombings of the houses of these leaders was carried out.’[v]
What all these examples have in common is the conjunction of disinformation and violence. Paches lied to Hippias so as to weaken his defences, making the assault on Notion far easier to carry out. Patroclus posed as Achilles to frighten the Trojan forces, making it easier to drive them away from the Greek ships. The Trojan Horse appeared to be a gift but was a covert trap that enabled the Greeks to complete their destruction of Troy. The Boston Massacre was precipitated by Sam Adams’ propaganda campaign and provocative violence against the British soldiers. The CIA and MI6 Operation TPAJAX combined threats with actual violence to exacerbate tensions and divisions and weaken the support of their ultimate target. In every case either the violence or the psychological warfare element on its own would not have accomplished the objective, the operations required both in order to be successful.
As history marched on the strategies remained, though the masters of deception increasingly relied on proxies to do the dirty work. Not long after Fidel Castro came to power in Cuba in 1959, the CIA were called in to run a campaign of covert action against him. Deniability became extremely important, particularly after John Kennedy became US President. Castro’s unpopularity among the middle classes had seen thousands of Cubans leave the island and seek refuge in the US, particularly in southern Florida. The CIA recruited around 1500 of these refugees for Operation Pluto, most commonly known as the Bay of Pigs invasion. The refugees formed Brigade 2506, and though they were trained by the US Army and the CIA they fought alone on the beaches of Bahía de Cochinos. They attempted the invasion in April 1961, and the operation was an almost total failure. Most of the brigade was either killed or captured, forcing the US to have to pay millions of dollars in ransoms to the Castro government. Though much of the history devoted to the Bay of Pigs failure focuses on Kennedy’s obsession with plausible deniability, the importance of the psyops dimension is often overlooked.
The CIA had utilised a radio station on Swan Island, in the Caribbean Sea off the coast of Honduras. During a previous CIA operation in Central America that removed Jacobo Arbenz as President of Guatemala, the CIA had successfully creation a radio station named La Voz de la Liberacion (The Voice of the Liberation). It had convinced the Guatemalan people that Arbenz was a traitor and a Soviet puppet, and that the small paramilitary force prepared by the CIA was much larger than the few hundred men that existed in reality. Radio Swan (later renamed Radio Americas) used the same basic strategy to try to prepare the Cuban public for the invasion at the Bay of Pigs. However, it wasn’t anywhere near as effective, despite the signal being strong enough that the station was heard throughout the Carribean. Even Castro’s efforts to jam the transmission were only successful in Havana.
The problems for the CIA came from the fact that Radio Swan was being run as a quasi-commercial station, selling space to anti-Castro Cuban groups. As noted by the CIA in March 1961, ‘Towards the End of 1960, the effectiveness of Radio Swan began to diminish. Although great numbers of Cubans still listened to the station, its credibility and reputation began to suffer as the result of statements representing the selfish interests of the Cuban groups producing the various programs… As time passed and the Cubans found their sources of information were no better than the next fellow’s, the program producers began to exaggerate… They made statements which were obvious lies to the listeners. An example: One of the announcers stated that their were 3000 Russians in a park in Santiago de Cuba – the residents had only to walk to the park to see that this was untrue. Moreover, the various programs began to defy coordination. All programs but one told the Cuban militiaman that he would be a hero on the day that he defected from Castro. The sole exception told the Cuban militiamen that he would be hanged regardless of what he did.’[vi] This conflicting propaganda meant that the underground anti-Castro movements within Cuba didn’t rise up to help the Brigade when the invasion happened, and also meant that Castro’s militiamen remained loyal.
What we can learn from this about modern events that probably or definitely involve some sort of official deception is that the propaganda is as important as the event itself. This is true not just for those running the operation but also for those seeking to investigate and expose it. My recently released film about the 2005 London Bombings 7/7: Seeds of Deconstruction focussed on this, showing how the official story of what happened has been radically adapted and revised over time. Working out exactly what did happen is very difficult, as investigators and researchers have to negotiate a minefield of bad reporting, misinformation, disinformation and outright propaganda.
On the morning of July 7th, at around 10:45, BBC Radio reported that security service officials had told correspondent Frank Gardner that they believed the mornings attacks ‘bore all the hallmarks of Al Qaeda’. This was at a point where it wasn’t even clear what had happened, with the mainstream media having reported for the previous couple of hours that the explosions on the underground trains were caused by electrical power surges, and anywhere from six to ten tube stations were said to have suffered explosions. This story then became one of only three explosions on the underground system (and one on a bus), caused by suicide bombers using homemade explosives. Al Qaeda were mostly dropped from the story, and those responsible were described as ‘self radicalised’ ‘homegrown terrorists’ and ‘clean skins’, i.e. a small group of individuals working entirely on their own who were unknown to the security services.
By 2008 this story had evolved into one of the four alleged suicide bombers being one part of a wider jihadi network, with MI5 saying that the four weren’t picked up because of a lack of resources. This new story came out as three men were put on trial for a conspiracy, largely on the evidence that they knew Mohammed Siddique Khan, the supposed ringleader of the plot, and had been to London in the months before the attacks. However, when the men were initially charged the conspiracy they were alleged to have been involved in did not include what happened on 7/7. A Metropolitan Police press release stated that they ‘maliciously conspired’ with the four supposed suicide bombers between 1 November 2004 and 29 June 2005, a time period that falls short of the 7th July 2005.[vii] Though these dates were subsequently changed to include 7/7, no one in the mainstream media picked up on this question, and they unanimously presented the three men as 7/7 accomplices. Though the trio faced two juries, the first couldn’t come to a decision and the second acquitted them, and so to date not a single person has been convicted in connection with the London Bombings.
So, why the ever-changing story? If 7/7 was a covert operation of some kind then we can understand the multiple stories in that context. The initial story of ‘homegrown’ ‘clean skins’ was reported in the media for over a year after the attacks, and was detailed in the two official 7/7 reports published in May 2006. The four alleged bombers were said to have been motivated by revenge for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, thereby associating opposition to those wars with terrorism. This story and implicit premise was advanced in a period when opposition to the Iraq war was at a peak. In part this opposition was due to the publication of the now infamous Downing Street Memo in May 2005, only days before the UK General Election, and only two months before the 7/7 bombings. The memo detailed a meeting between British officials in July 2002 to discuss the policy of war with Iraq. The memo demonstrated that the policy was already well under way in the summer of 2002, well before Colin Powell’s widely criticised appearance before the UN Security Council in February 2003. It also included the assessment of ‘C’, then head of MI6 Richard Dearlove, that the ‘the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy’.[viii] The presentation of the 2005 bombings as being caused by people opposed the Iraq War helped muddy the waters of the debate, seeking to make people less ardent in their opposition lest they be labelled as extremists. That the Iraq War still goes on five years later shows how ineffective the opposition has been.
Other dimensions of the official story were also very useful. That the alleged bombers were said to be homegrown helped advance the agenda for increased powers for police and security services in the name of counter-terrorism. Despite this help, in November 2005 the Labour government suffered a historic defeat when MPs in the House of Commons rejected legislation that allowed the police to hold terrorism suspects for 90 days without charge. While in reality some suspects are thrown in the hole for far longer without ever getting any sort of hearing, this was the first time the Blair government had lost a vote in the Commons. It is also the only postwar defeat regarding security policy. That said, the rest of the ‘anti-terror’ legislation passed smoothly, and became law the following year. Among the new criminal charges created by the 2006 Terrorism Act were ‘disseminating terrorist publications’ ‘preparation of terrorist acts’ ‘training for terrorism’ and ‘encouragement of terrorism’. These rather ambiguous phrases have enabled the security services, police, and Crown Prosecution Service to bring far more terrorism cases before the courts, and to charge far more people with terrorism-related offences. Between 9/11 and the end of 2004 701 arrests under the terrorism act had yielded only seventeen successful convictions for terrorism offences. Only three of those convicted were Muslims.[ix] By April 2008 this was up to 102 convictions from 1,471 arrests, a considerable increase. Put against that, only six people had actually been held for 28 days under the provisions of the 2006 legislation, three of which had been released without charge.[x] So much for the great terror threat that necessitated the 90 days.
Once the initial story of 7/7 had been accepted and the anti-terror legislation had passed, the authorities started the trial of the suspects from the Operation Crevice investigation, commonly referred to in the media as the Fertiliser Bomb Plotters. Eight men had been arrested in March 2004, only weeks after the Madrid train bombings, but didn’t go on trial until two years later. Of the seven that went on trial in Britain, five were convicted, and two found innocent. Testimony at the trial revealed that the group had been under surveillance for some time, and had been bugged, recorded and videotaped by MI5. This included footage of them meeting with Mohammed Siddique Khan and Shehzad Tanweer, two of the alleged 7/7 suicide bombers. Once this evidence had been admitted at trial it was no longer possible for the security services to maintain their original story of four men working alone who were completely unknown to MI5. They weren’t unknown, and they had connections to other supposed terrorists. The official account needed to be adapted. However, the authorities needed time to change their story.
In March 2007, while the jury was still considering its verdict in the Fertiliser Plot trial, the three alleged 7/7 co-conspirators were arrested. Though the men were put through two trials, they were eventually acquitted in April 2009. This provided an appropriate excuse for the government to delay any further publication of information or evidence. The excuse held good until over two years after the Fertiliser Plot trial where the original story was shown to be a lie. Shortly after the conclusion of the second alleged co-conspirators trial the government published a new report through the Intelligence and Security Committee, titled ‘Could 7/7 Have Been Prevented?’[xi] As the title suggests, the scope of the report was limited to asking whether MI5 had enough intelligence prior to 7/7 to have stopped the attacks, i.e. whether 7/7 was an ‘intelligence failure’. Though the story of who the alleged bombers were and what was known about them was systematically changed, there was no consideration whatsoever of the suggestion that they might not have been responsible, or might have been duped into being responsible.
The other function of the arrest and subsequent trials of the trio of alleged co-conspirators was to delay the inquests, which are finally due to resume in October 2010, more than five years after the bombings. For five years the families of the victims, the survivors, and the British public have been told a shifting story of what happened. Despite this, the authorities and mainstream media ridicule anyone who dares to ask whether the fundamentally unchanged part of the story, i.e. that suicide bombers were responsible, might also be subject to revision. Given that the inquests have not yet taken place, it is possible (though unlikely) that they will find that some or all of the victims did not die in intentional suicide attacks, and at this stage it has never been legally proven that this is what happened.
We know from history that there is a wide range of possible deceptions taking place about what happened on 7/7. In the absence of forensic evidence of precisely what happened and why, we are left with an ever-shifting story that conveniently fits the policy of the ongoing War on Terror. However, just because some terrorist attacks are inside jobs does not necessarily mean that 7/7 was an inside job, even though the event has been used to suit a manipulating agenda. It is entirely possible that 7/7 was a false flag operation, but it is also entirely possible that the way in which it has been used as a psychological warfare operation is merely exploitative after the fact. The only way we can ever truly know is through the disclosure of evidence and information pertaining to what happened, something that has been jealously guarded by the authorities since day one.
[i] Thucydides, History of the Peloponnesian War, Book III, see also Jon Hesk, Deception and Democracy in Classical Athens, page 98
[ii] Homer, Iliad, book XV-XVI
[iii] Howard Hunt, interview excerpt from A Coup Made in America, CBC, 2001
[iv] Ed Rippy, How the US has Gotten into Wars, 27/5/02
[v] Dr Donald Wilber, CIA Clandestine Service History, «Overthrow of Premier Mossadeq of Iran,
November 1952-August 1953″, March 1954, chapter V ‘Mounting Pressure Against the Shah’
[vi] J.C. King, History of Radio Swan. Memorandum for: General Maxwell D. Taylor in CIA “Proposed Operations Against Cuba” 11/3/61
[vii] Metropolitan Police Service, Three charged in connection with 7 July terrorist attacks, 05/04/07
[x] Home Office Statistical Bulletin, Statistics on Terrorism
Arrests and Outcomes Great Britain 11 September 2001 to 31 March 2008
[xi] Intelligence and Security Committee, ‘Could 7/7 Have Been Prevented’, 19/5/09
Tom Secker has also produced the recent 2 hour 7/7 documentary 7/7: Seeds of Deconstruction
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