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’.