By Kevin Barrett
Global Research, February 06, 2019
The Unz Review 1 February 2019
A Review of Conspiracy Theories and Other Dangerous Ideas by Cass Sunstein (based on an earlier paper co-authored with Adrian Vermeule); In Defense of Troublemakers: The Power of Dissent in Life and Business by Charlan Nemeth; and Conspiracy Theories and the People Who Believe Them, edited by Joseph E. Uscinski
On January 25 2018 YouTube unleashed the latest salvo in the war on conspiracy theories, saying
“we’ll begin reducing recommendations of borderline content and content that could misinform users in harmful ways—such as videos promoting a phony miracle cure for a serious illness, claiming the earth is flat, or making blatantly false claims about historic events like 9/11.”
At first glance that sounds reasonable. Nobody wants YouTube or anyone else to recommend bad information. And almost everyone agrees that phony miracle cures, flat earthism, and blatantly false claims about 9/11 and other historical events are undesirable.
But if we stop and seriously consider those words, we notice a couple of problems. First, the word “recommend” is not just misleading but mendacious. YouTube obviously doesn’t really recommend anything. When it says it does, it is lying.
When you watch YouTube videos, the YouTube search engine algorithm displays links to other videos that you are likely to be interested in. These obviously do not constitute “recommendations” by YouTube itself, which exercises no editorial oversight over content posted by users. (Or at least it didn’t until it joined the war on conspiracy theories.)
The second and larger problem is that while there may be near-universal agreement among reasonable people that flat-earthism is wrong, there is only modest agreement regarding which health approaches constitute “phony miracle cures” and which do not. Far less is there any agreement on “claims about 9/11 and other historical events.” (Thus far the only real attempt to forge an informed consensus about 9/11 is the 9/11 Consensus Panel’s study—but it seems unlikely that YouTube will be using the Consensus Panel to determine which videos to “recommend”!)
YouTube’s policy shift is the latest symptom of a larger movement by Western elites to—as Obama’s Information Czar Cass Sunstein put it—“disable the purveyors of conspiracy theories.” Sunstein and co-author Adrian Vermeule’s 2008 paper “Conspiracy Theories,” critiqued by David Ray Griffin in 2010 and developed into a 2016 book, represents a panicked reaction to the success of the 9/11 truth movement. (By 2006, 36% of Americans thought it likely that 9/11 was an inside job designed to launch wars in the Middle East, according to a Scripps poll.)
Sunstein and Vermuele begin their abstract:
Many millions of people hold (sic) 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.
Sunstein argues that conspiracy theories (i.e. the 9/11 truth movement) are so dangerous that some day they may have to be banned by law. While awaiting that day, or perhaps in preparation for it, the government should “disable the purveyors of conspiracy theories” through various techniques including “cognitive infiltration” of 9/11 truth groups. Such “cognitive infiltration,” Sunstein writes, could have various aims including the promotion of “beneficial cognitive diversity” within the truth movement.
What sort of “cognitive diversity” would Cass Sunstein consider “beneficial”? Perhaps 9/11 truth groups that had been “cognitively infiltrated” by spooks posing as flat-earthers would harbor that sort of “beneficial” diversity? That would explain the plethora of expensive, high-production-values flat earth videos that have been blasted at the 9/11 truth community since 2008.
Read more here
This article was first published on March 31, 2017. An earlier version was published in 2015
Lest we forget, one day before the 9/11 attacks [as well as on the morning of 9/11, the dad of the sitting President of the United States of America, George Herbert Walker Bush was meeting none other than Shafiq bin Laden, the brother of the alleged terror mastermind Osama bin Laden.
It was a routine business meeting on September 10-11, no conflict of interest, no relationship to the 9/11 attacks which allegedly were carried out on the orders of Shafiq’s brother Osama, no FBI investigation into the links between the Bush and bin Laden families.
What is presented below is a factual account. Confirmed by the Washington Post, “fellow investors” of the Carlyle Group including Osama’s brother Shafiq bin Laden and Dubya’s dad former President George H. W. Bush met in the plush surroundings of New York’s Ritz-Carlton Hotel on September 10-11, 2001. Their business encounter under the auspices of the Carlyle Group was unfortunately interrupted on September 11 by the 9/11 attacks.
It didn’t help that as the World Trade Center burned on Sept. 11, 2001, the news interrupted a Carlyle business conference at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel here attended by a brother of Osama bin Laden [Shafiq bin Laden]. Former president Bush [senior], a fellow investor, had been with him at the conference the previous day. (Greg Schneider, Pairing the Powerful With the Rich, Washington Post, March 16, 2003)
screenshot Washington Post, March 16, 2003
A timely business meeting on September 10-11 at the Ritz Carlton with Osama’s brother disrupted by the 9/11 attacks: pure coincidence, totally unrelated to the 9/11 attacks.
What was GWB’s Dad “Poppy” doing with Osama’s brother Shafiq on September 10?
Media coverup: the WP report came out 18 months later in March 2003. There was no media coverage of the Shafiq bin Laden – G. Herbert W. Bush meeting in September 2001. The event was known, yet mainstream media editors decided not to provide coverage of this timely 9/11 encounter at the Ritz Carleton.
A day later, on the evening of September 11, 2001, president George W. Bush pronounced a historic speech in which he defined the relationship between “terrorists’ and “state sponsors of terrorism”:
The search is underway for those who are behind these evil acts. I’ve directed the full resources of our intelligence and law enforcement communities to find those responsible and to bring them to justice. We will make no distinction between the terrorists who committed these acts and those who harbor them. (emphasis added)
Let’s be clear as to what happened: the dad of the sitting president of the US was “harboring” (to use GWB’s expression) the brother of the alleged terror mastermind of the 9/11 attacks.
Read more here
Julian Borger in Washington
Wed 14 Nov 2018 00.37 GMT
CIA doctors considered using a “truth serum” on suspected terrorists in detention after waterboarding appeared to be ineffective and traumatic for US personnel who witnessed it, according to newly declassified documents.
The proposal to use the drug in a programme codenamed “Project Medication” was revealed in a 90-page report by a senior CIA medical officer, which was released on a judge’s order to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), after a prolonged legal battle. The ACLU published the report by the unnamed officer on Tuesday.
The idea of using drugs on US captives in the “war on terror” was recommended as “probably worth a try” by the CIA’s office of medical services but dropped after the agency’s counter-terrorism centre decided not to ask the Department of Justice in George W Bush’s administration for a legal ruling. The department had previously provided legal memos justifying the use of torture like waterboarding and confinement in small boxes.
The CIA report, which reviews the medical office’s participation in detainee operations from 2002 to 2007, shows that the agency’s medical staff played a key role in interrogations in the days after the 9/11 attacks.
They took part in over 120 rendition flights, taking prisoners to secret CIA detention centres. They helped keep inmates alive and provided the appearance of medical rectitude. The CIA report notes that its doctors were “indispensable” to the effort of “legitimising the programme”.
In the case of Khaled Sheikh Mohammed, the al-Qaida mastermind behind the 9/11 attacks who was waterboarded 140 times, the CIA medical officer said that the torture, which simulates the experience of drowning, “provided periodic relief from his standing sleep deprivation”.
Read article here
Russians have poisoned Hillary Clinton. Elvis Presley is alive and well. The Malaysia Airlines plane that disappeared in the Indian Ocean is the same one shot down over the Ukraine.
These are just a few of the many, many conspiracy theories that flourish in the echo chamber of the internet.
Mick West is a science writer and is dedicated to the art of debunking wild theories that circulate online and helping other people do the same, with his website, Metabunk.
Egyptian state media claims Isis is ‘made up’ and 9/11 was carried out by West to justify war on terror
Isis could have been invented by the US to “justify the devastation, partitioning and occupation” of the Middle East, writes Noha Al-Sharnoubi
A columnist for a state-run newspaper in Egypt has suggested the US invented Isis and set up the 9/11 attacks to justify its military interventions in the Middle East.
“Is it possible to believe the official version, from the US government, of the events of 11 September 2001?” wrote journalist Noha Al-Sharnoubi in Al-Ahram, a major national Egyptian newspaper owned by the government.
Ms Al-Sharnoubi said the World Trade Centre and Pentagon attacks could have been premeditated to “justify the war on terror” in her column, published on 23 August
Read more here
Saudi Arabia’s threat to sell off billions in American assets if 9/11 bill passes
PUBLISHED : Sunday, 17 April, 2016, 4:11pm
Saudi Arabian government has threatened to sell of hundreds of billions of dollars’ worth of American assets should the US Congress pass a bill that could hold the kingdom responsible for any role in the September 11, 2001 attacks, The New York Times reported.
The newspaper reported that Saudi foreign minister Adel al-Jubeir told US lawmakers last month that “Saudi Arabia would be forced to sell up to $750 billion in Treasury securities and other assets in the United States before they could be in danger of being frozen by American courts.”
Read article here
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By SOPHIE JANE EVANS FOR DAILYMAIL.COM
25 July 2015
In one photo, then-Vice President Dick Cheney rests his feet on his desk as he watches a live TV news report of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
In another, he sits beside his wife after they were both frog-marched by Secret Service agents to a secure basement in the White House.
And in a later shot, he takes his glasses off and clasps his hands together before he and his spouse are flown to an undisclosed location.
These never-before-seen images capture Cheney’s reaction to the attacks, which saw two hijacked passenger planes crash into the World Trade Center in New York, another jet strike the Pentagon and a fourth crash in Pennsylvania on September 11, 2001, killing 2,996 people.
They also show the horror felt by other senior government officials, including then-President George Bush and his wife Laura, National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, CIA Director George Tenet, Cheney’s top lawyer, David Addington, and Chief of Staff Andrew Card.
In the photos, Bush looks tense and even bites his lip as he confers with officials in the President’s Emergency Operations Center (PEOC), a highly-secure underground bunker below the White House’s East Wing that can withstand nuclear hits and other devastating attacks.
The then-President would shortly address the nation about the day’s atrocities, which were aired live on TV screens across the world.
The same evening, Cheney and his wife, Lynne, were flown via Marine Two to a secret destination, revealed in the photos to be Camp David.They were later moved to other undisclosed sites as thousands of rescue workers descended on the wreckage of the WTC towers.
On the day of the attacks, Cheney, now 74, was in charge at the White House, with Bush visiting a school in Sarasota, Florida, at the time.
Cheney has since defended the harsh interrogation techniques used by the CIA in the wake of the plane attacks, which included the waterboarding of 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed a total of 183 times, declaring that he ‘would do it again in a minute’.
The newly-released images of Cheney and other officials’ reactions to 9/11 were captured by Cheny’s staff photographer, according to PBS.
The photos were released by the National Archives following a FOIA request by FRONTLINE filmmaker Colette Neirouz Hanna.