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
Manila Chan reports on the hacker group asking for $2 million in bitcoin for a full leak of so-called 9/11 papers. The group ‘Dark Overlords’ has been responsible for previous hacks. Manila Chan speaks with Investigative Journalist Ben Swann about this group, whether or not they are credible and how much the leaks would intrigue the public.
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
The Cost Of Post 9/11 Wars Hit $5.9 Trillion
By Claudia Grisales
November 15, 2018 “Information Clearing House” – WASHINGTON — The price for America’s longest wars has surpassed more than $5.9 trillion and at least 480,000 lost lives, according to a new study released by the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs at Brown University.
The figures highlight the toll of U.S. war operations around the world since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, and the study projects the numbers could rise.
“It’s important for the American people to understand the true costs of war, both the moral and monetary costs,” said Sen. Jack Reed, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Armed Services Committee, who helped introduce the report Wednesday at a meeting on Capitol Hill. “Our nation continues to finance wars and military operations through borrowing, rather than asking people to contribute to the national defense directly, and the result is a serious fiscal drag that we’re not really accounting for or factoring into deliberations about fiscal policy or military policy.”
The study’s death estimates include nearly 7,000 U.S. service members, nearly 8,000 U.S. contractors, more than 100,0000 military and police members from other countries, more than 244,000 civilians and more than 100,000 opposition fighters.
The $5.9 trillion U.S. cost includes Pentagon spending through fiscal year 2019, such as direct and indirect spending as well as future war-related costs for post-9/11 war veterans. It represents U.S. spending in the war zones of Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and other locations designated as “overseas contingency operations.”
It also includes war-related spending by other agencies, such as the State Department and the Department of Homeland Security, costs of veterans care as well as debt used to pay for the wars.
“Veterans benefits and disability spending, and the cost of interest on borrowing to pay for the wars, will comprise an increasingly large share of the costs,” said Neta Crawford, a political science professor at the institute, who authored the study.
The institute’s “Costs of War” project, with 35 scholars, legal experts, human rights practitioners and physicians, began tracking the costs of the post-9/11 wars in 2011 and continues to release updated reports. The group, which does its work through Brown University, said it uses research and public data to facilitate greater transparency of the actual toll of the wars.
Even if the wars were to end by 2023, the United States is on track to spend an additional $808 billion, bringing the overall tally to at least $6.7 trillion, according to the study. That doesn’t include future interest payments on the spending.
War appropriations for Iraq and Afghanistan are funded by deficit spending and borrowing, and not new taxes or war bonds, the study notes. This adds to interest costs, it concludes.
Those interest payments could shift with the winds of the economy and other factors, with some pundits estimating those fees alone could total trillions.
“The U.S. continues to fund the wars by borrowing, so this is a conservative estimate of the consequences of funding the war as if on a credit card, in which we are only paying interest even as we continue to spend,” Crawford said.
Tracking an overall cost for the post-9/11 wars is challenging because different departments take part in the spending.
In March 2018, the Defense Department estimated it had spent $1.5 trillion in war-related appropriations, but that only includes a portion of all war spending, the study argued.
With no single number for the budgetary costs of the wars, it makes assessing costs, risks and benefits difficult, Crawford said. Because taxpayers tend to focus on direct military spending, it discounts the larger budgetary costs of the wars and underestimates its greater significance, she added.
“In sum, high costs in war and war-related spending pose a national security concern because they are unsustainable,” Crawford said. “The public would be better served by increased transparency and by the development of a comprehensive strategy to end the wars and deal with other urgent national security priorities.”
The study also tallied the number of soldiers and sailors injured in the wars. Since 2001, more than 53,700 U.S. servicemembers have been injured in Iraq and Afghanistan. Of those injuries, 62 percent were hurt in Iraq, while 38 percent were injured in Afghanistan.
Though the fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq has been less intense than in recent years, the toll of civilians killed in Afghanistan in 2018 is on track to be one of the highest death tolls of the war, Crawford said in her study.
Most of these war deaths in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria have been caused by militants, but some of them are at the hands of the United States and its coalition partners, Crawford said.
Yet, the tally remains incomplete, and there are efforts by the United Nations to track and identify perpetrators of those deaths and injuries, she noted. Other organizations, such as the Congressional Research Service and the news media, are also attempting to track these figures.
“Indeed, we may never know the total direct death toll in these wars,” she said.
In addition, this tally does not include “indirect deaths” — people harmed as a result of long-term damage left in the war zones, such as lost access to food and water.
“This update just scratches the surface of the human consequences of 17 years of war,” Crawford said. “There are a number of areas — the number of civilians killed and injured, and the number of U.S. military and veteran suicides, for instance — where greater transparency would lead to greater accountability and could lead to better policy.”
firstname.lastname@example.org – Twitter: @cgrisales
BY THE NUMBERS
A Brown University study has found the human and financial costs of the post-9/11 wars continue to rise. These are some statistics highlighted in the report:
The U.S. government is conducting counterterrorism activities in 76 countries
More than 244,000 civilians have been killed as a result of the fighting
More than 480,000 have died due to direct war violence, and several times as many indirectly
The wars have created 10.1 million refugees and displaced persons
The U.S. cost for the post-9/11 wars is more than $5.9 trillion
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
“David Ray Griffin has done it again. His new book should be read as a prequel to the seminal Bush and Cheney: How They Ruined America and the World. Supported by extensive research, Griffin thoroughly debunks the myth of an American Empire as a benign, exceptionalist, divinely ordained historical agent. Instead of Manifest Destiny, what reality- based Griffin charters is the ‘malign’ ways of US foreign policy since the 19th century; a trajectory founded by slavery and genocide of indigenous peoples and then imperially expanded, non-stop. ‘Malign’ happens to be a term currently very much in vogue across the Beltway—but always to designate US competitors Russia and China. Griffin consistently challenges Beltway gospel, demonstrating that if the US had not entered WWI, there may have been no WWII. He unmasks the lies surrounding the true story of the Pearl Harbor attacks. He asks: If the US was really guided by God, how could it ‘choose’ to bomb Hiroshima and Nagasaki, knowing that ‘the atomic bombs were not necessary to end the war?’ Griffin also shows how the Cold War was actually conceptualized several years before the 1950 National Security Council paper 68 (NSC- 68). He revisits the origins of irrational hatred of Iran; the demonization of Cuba; the lies surrounding the Vietnam debacle; the false flags across Europe via Operation Gladio; the destruction of Yugoslavia; the decades-long evisceration of Iraq; and the ramifications of the Full Spectrum Dominance doctrine. This sharp, concise history of the American Empire ultimately demonstrates, in Griffin’s analysis, the ‘fraud’ of endorsing self- praising American Exceptionalism. A must read.” —Pepe Escobar, Asia Times/Hong Kong
Order book here
Published on Sep 11, 2018
TRANSCRIPT AND MP3: https://www.corbettreport.com/911warg…
Little did we know at the time, 9/11 was not a normal day of blue sky aviation. On the contrary, it was one of the busiest days in the history of American aviation, a dense forest of live fly exercises, drills, simulations, fake radar injects and utter confusion. And that was before the attacks even began. This is the story of 9/11 that you didn’t watch unfold on your TV that fateful day in 2001. This is the story of the 9/11 War Games.
The New Bobby McIlvaine Ad Campaign: Make It Go Viral this September 11th!
Today, as we approach the 17th anniversary of 9/11, we are honored to release our new Bobby McIlvaine campaign ad.
Based on our seven-minute video, 9/11 Father Seeks Justice, which now has nearly two million views on Facebook, this brand new 37-second spot will be our primary vehicle for raising awareness of the Bobby McIlvaine Act during the upcoming 9/11 anniversary — when everyone is thinking about 9/11.
More about the campaign here
A panel of experts highlight the problems with all major claims of the official account of the 9/11 attacks.
Many Americans have been embarrassed by the Trump presidency. But Americans should also be embarrassed by the fact that this country’s foreign policy since 2001, which has resulted in millions of deaths, has been based on a complex deception.
9/11 Unmasked is the result of a six-year investigation by an international review panel, which has provided 51 points illustrating the problematic status of all the major claims in the official account of the 9/11 attacks, some of which are obviously false. Most dramatically, the official account of the destruction of the Twin Towers and World Trade Center 7 could not possibly be true, unless the laws of physics were suspended that day. But other claims made by the official account including the claims that the 9/11 planes were taken over by al-Qaeda hijackers, that one of those hijackers flew his plane into the Pentagon, and that passengers on the planes telephoned people on the ground are also demonstrably false.
The book reports only points about which the panel reached consensus by using the best-evidence consensus model employed in medical research. The panel is composed of experts about 9/11 from many disciplines, including physics, chemistry, structural engineering, aeronautical engineering, and jurisprudence.