An Attack From Harvard Law on the Escalating 9/11 Truth Movement

An Attack From Harvard Law on the Escalating 9/11 Truth Movement

Those who have read the Fellowship’s Statement of Principles will recognize that the work of Cass Sunstein and Adrian Vermeule, described in the article below by Bill Willers,  directly opposes our religious principles which state, in brief, the following, extracted from Section 4.0 – Ponerology:

We recognize that the roots of human evil, though originating at the Cosmic level, are primarily psychobiological in nature and a product of humanity‘s evolutionary history. {…}  In the case of building blocks missing in the substrate, the extreme of psychopathy represents a near complete deficit of social emotions: trust, honor, love, compassion, empathy, care, duty, allegiance, respect, gratitude, justice. In contrast, the qualities of the psychopath, including cold-heartedness, a ―lying tongue‖, superficial charm, emotional manipulation, arrogance, self-centeredness, lack of remorse, and sadism, have all been known historically as qualities of Evil. {…}

We recognize that psychopathy is the root cause in the cycles of inter-generational and trans-generational social Evil and is the primary player in the mechanical entropic tendency of Cosmic Evil to hinder human development and thus stamp out the full potential of Spirit in this world. As a natural expression of Cosmic Duality and Variation, psychopaths traumatize and distort the minds of those who fall under their influence (see 4.3. On Ponerization) and who, in turn, continue the cycle of Evil. {…}

In a culture blind to their existence and nature, psychopaths are able to take advantage of and subvert the best of human qualities and to achieve positions of authority and domination in our world, whether in family, business, academic, religious, or political structures. They exemplify human Evil and its corrupting, poneric (from the Greek poneros) influence. {…}

We recognize that psychopaths have an insidious and corrupting influence on the minds of normal humanity, dulling our ability to think and feel in humane categories. Psychopaths perceive the world with a distorted, ―dog-eat-dog‖ mentality, in which weakness, innocence, and naiveté are qualities to be ruthlessly exploited. This foreign worldview inspires a traumatizing shock reaction in the human psyche and makes us increasingly susceptible to emotional manipulation via pseudo- or para-moralisms and political–religious propaganda. This influence is cleverly hidden behind the psychopath‘s ―Mask of Sanity‖ (see Sources, H. Cleckley), and our blindness to its root cause allows psychopaths to infiltrate and corrupt human groups (see 4.4. On Ponerogenesis). The problem reaches mass proportions when ponerized political groups achieve control of vast geographical regions, as was the case in the empires of the Hittites, Egyptians, Assyrians, Khazars, Christian Orthodoxies, Nazis, Soviets, and most recently, religiously conservative Americans (see 4.5. On Pathocracy). In each of these cases, religion and government have worked hand in hand (Communism being a type of materialistic religion) to manipulate large groups of people to seek to destroy other groups… {…}

We recognize that the ultimate outcome of Ponerogenesis is the emergence of Pathocracy. Whereas in healthy societies, normal humanity would naturally recognize and isolate psychopathy, in a ponerized society such as exists at the present time, psychopaths isolate and persecute normal humanity. Inspired by their foreign and callous worldview, psychopaths imagine a system of government where the expression of their pathological desires is not blocked. Exploiting popular and humanitarian ideologies as a ―cover‖ or ―mask‖, psychopaths achieve domination through a corruption of moral content of these ideologies that is often so slow and subtle that it is difficult to recognize its progress. They then go about a process of mass indoctrination and terror, defining the limits of human expression and forbidding the normal human revulsion to an anti-human system of oppression, injustice, and mendacity. In such a society, the vast majority of psychopaths rise to the top, from the heads of government down to all important positions of authority and influence at the local level (see Sources, A. Łobaczewski). Their ranks are supported and augmented by other personality disordered individuals, authoritarian personalities, and individuals who have been psychologically wounded personally and/or socially, all of whom contribute to a system of totalitarian rule. {…}

We recognize that there is little possibility of expressing unorthodox views on scientific method and practice or on how the social structure negatively affects science without a venue for robust self-criticism, as has existed within the academic discipline of philosophy. Journals providing outlets where scientists could express their views on how their field serves their own needs as researchers, and society‘s needs as the beneficiary of their ideas, have ceased to exist under pressure from the scientific establishment or have been re-aligned to carry only ―pure research. Thus, there is no venue for the study of the influence of the prevailing social structure of science within which scientists work, and even less for the examination of the ways in which this structure is used in negative ways to hinder innovative research and even destroy the careers of those who dare to step outside the dogmatic scientific paradigms.

We recognize the difficulties faced daily by well-qualified scientists who challenge scientific orthodoxy and the illicit, shameful censorship and blacklisting of scientists. In light of these problems, we recognize that scientific disciplines have been ponerized by pathocratic influences, directing scientific research primarily to areas of corporative and military research and blocking research that contradicts or threatens their aims. Anonymity in the peer review system is particularly susceptible to corruption and interferes with the objective examination of extraordinary ideas on their own merits.

These problems of science are global and even more present in rich, industrial nations where science is increasingly corporatized and forms the backbone of political power and control. The problems are widespread in all fields of science, including physics, astronomy, medicine, and psychology, and in all areas of research performed by humans where the First Criterion of ponerogenesis is ever present. Whether the ideas that are suppressed or ignored are correct is a different matter and subject to the use of a robust feedback mechanism. We recognize that suppression of new ideas and free and open discussion is not the way to filter science and promote progress in human knowledge, and is harmful to the search for Truth. We recognize that the state of science today is that of decay proceeding to death and we declare our right – the right of humanity – to academic and scientific freedom. {…}

We recognize that knowledge of politics and current events in this world is essential for spiritual growth. Ignorance of political and social pathodynamics, whether in the form of corporate influence, government or religious leadership, is tacit acceptance of Evil and thus equates to a refusal to choose Good. The political systems of this world
are the primary method by which the forces of Evil subvert human growth and creativity. The forces that act to subvert Freedom and accrue power and influence are ever-present, and an ability to discern the forces of Good from Evil necessitates a willingness to see their Effects in the domain of politics. We recognize that a love for Truth and Justice necessitates an awareness of their opposite: Machiavellian politics as an eternal tool for domination.

By Bill Willers

OpEd News

A wide appreciation of the implications of “Conspiracy Theories” by Harvard law professors Cass Sunstein and Adrian Vermeule has been slow in coming. What makes the article and the views expressed therein all the more significant is that author Sunstein in 2009 was made Administrator of Information and Regulatory Affairs of the Office of Management and Budget by President Obama. (See HERE)

(Note: The 2008 article at the Social Science Research Network’s website appeared in virtually identical form in the Journal of Political Philosophy 17(2), 2009, pgs 202-227, except that the Journal’s version, which carries the title “Conspiracy Theories: Causes and Cures”, lacks several terminal pages dealing largely with 9/11 theories outside the U.S.. References to pages below are for the easily downloaded online article for those who want the entire article. The actual Journal is scarce and requires $41 for a download.)

While the article’s title suggests conspiracy theories broadly, the 9/11 Truth Movement is the paper’s focus, and it reveals substantial concern regarding that Movement’s ongoing advance. Particularly ominous is that the authors, who use “theorists” and “extremists” interchangeably, limit their focus “to potentially harmful theories”. To whom, one might wonder, would the 9/11 Truth Movement, so “worrisome” for the authors, be harmful? And why do the authors consider the 9/11 Truth Movement such a “serious threat” that it should be “broken up or at least muted by government action”? (pg 21)

The authors contend that conspiracy theorists suffer from “cognitive blunders” and “crippled epistemology”. Using psycho-philosophic parlance they are saying those failing to accept the official story of the 9/11 Commission, leading members of which admitted it was “set up to fail”, cannot think straight. But the “theorists/extremists” they wish to censure include by now thousands of physicists, architects and engineers using only physical facts and data; substantial figures in theology and philosophy applying elementary logic; military, political and intelligence personnel from all over the world with lifetimes of experience in how the system — including its underbelly — functions.

So, what is proposed? “Practically speaking”, the authors write, “government might do well to maintain a more vigorous counter-disinformation establishment.” (pg 19) They recommend that government officials respond “to more rather than fewer conspiracy theories [which] has a kind of synergy benefit: it reduces the legitimating effect of responding to any one of them, because it dilutes the contrast with unrebutted theories.” (pgs 15, 29) Such advice assumes that all theories — or aspects of a single theory — are essentially equal in validity or lack of validity — an odd position for legal minds supposedly sensitive to fine distinctions. But that would not matter when the point is simply to defeat citizen efforts.

More menacing, however is that the authors suggest “planting doubts [to] undermine the crippled epistemology [through] cognitive infiltration” of groups by governmental agents or by forces appointed by government. (pgs 3, 14, 15, 22, 29) “Government agents (and their allies)”, they write, “might enter chat rooms, online social networks, or even real-space groups and attempt to undermine percolating conspiracy theories.” In light of such proposals for dealing with citizens seeking truth, that Cass Sunstein is “one of America’s leading constitutional scholars” (See above link to the White House announcement) is appalling.

The authors contend that “crippled epistemology” arises from the “sharply limited number of (relevant) informational sources” used by conspiracy theorists, this making the theories “especially hard to undermine or dislodge; they have a self-sealing quality, rendering them particularly immune to challenge.” (pg 3) This drips with irony, for information coming from the expertise found within the 9/11 Truth Movement, while both extensive and diverse, has been limited only through censoring by the U.S. Government. What’s more, there has rarely been a “theory” more resistant to opposing information — more absolutely and officially “self-sealing” — than the mockery that is the official 9/11 Commission Report.

As one reads through the Sunstein/Vermeule article it is clear that the authors, while aware of the now infamous Popular Mechanics article — that absurd prop for the official governmental account (pg 18) — have carefully avoided any relevant material from within the mountain of easily available credible information that would dash their thesis. For academics ostensibly wedded to truth this is shameful.

Consider from page 20 the following misrepresentation of the position of the 9/11 Truth Movement:

“After 9/11, one complex of conspiracy theories involved American Airlines Flight 77, which hijackers crashed into the Pentagon. Some theorists claimed that no plane had hit the Pentagon; even after the Department of Defense released video frames showing Flight 77 approaching the building and a later explosion cloud, theorists pointed out that the actual moment of impact was absent from the video, in order to keep alive their claim that the plane had never hit the building. (In reality the moment of impact was not captured because the video had a low number of frames per second.”

This is a classic “straw man” set up to be knocked down. The intensely grainy few frames made available (of the many certainly detailed security camera records that exist) were not adequate to identify Flight 77. But in this instance it is beside the point anyway, because ‘moment of impact on the video’ was never a central issue in a case consisting of an abundance of strong evidence. The authors certainly know this as they seek to create the false impression that ‘moment of impact on the video’ is the centerpiece of the 9/11 Truth Movement’s case, an impression the authors can then refute.

And the authors continue:

“Moreover, even those conspiracists who were persuaded that the Flight 77 conspiracy theories were wrong folded that view into a larger conspiracy theory. The problem with the theory that no plane hit the Pentagon, they said, is that the theory was too transparently false, disproved by multiple witnesses and much physical evidence. Thus the theory must have been a straw man initially planted by the government, in order to discredit other conspiracy theories and theorists by association.”

This convolution is rife with falsehood. Witnesses have been conflicting, but of greater import is that abundant physical evidence actually points in a direction contrary to the official narrative. After creating one straw man, the authors cite (manufacture?) “conspiracists” who, once convinced that Flight 77  hit the Pentagon, now see the contrary view as a government-sponsored straw man. Sunstein and Vermeule thereby create scenarios that carefully avoid the considerable evidence countering the government’s explanation of 9/11.

The authors flit between conspiracy theory generally and 9/11 specifically, in this way suggesting connections that denigrate the 9/11 Truth Movement through association with people “mentally ill and subject to delusions” (pg 9), “conspiracy entrepreneurs — who profit directly or indirectly from propagating their theories” (pg 9), and, most disturbingly, Holocaust deniers. (pgs 7,8) While some have sought to connect the 9/11 Truth Movement with Holocaust denial (e.g., the former head of Homeland Security, Michael Chertoff, who made the association twice in the same interview –click here) there is no such relation either in the inclination of researchers, or in the thought processes involved, or in fact. One suspects therefore that such association is simply one more attempt to silence a movement that is alarming certain powers because if its seemingly unstoppable growth.

Readers of the article are guided toward a false impression that 9/11 conspiracy theories outside the U.S. are virtually limited to the Arab -Muslim world. The authors write that it is likely “that the virulence of conspiracy theorizing in Muslim nations has a great deal to do with social cascades and group polarization, and with weak civil liberties and lack of a robust market for ideas in many of those nations.” (pg 26) As to the prospect that elements of the U.S. Government might be involved in such an incident as 9/11, the authors maintain that for many people in Islamic nations “it is far from jarring to believe that responsibility lies with the United States (or Israel)”. (Parenthesis around “or Israel” in the original, pg. 10)

The implication that the 9/11 Truth Movement outside the U.S. is fundamentally a Muslim/Arab phenomenon is an extraordinary lie of omission, because the 9/11 Truth Movement is indeed global and incorporates experts of every sort, including scientists and demolition specialists, a past president of Italy and even the Russian equivalent of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff. And what, one might ask, of the protests at European Union Headquarters in Brussels, Belgium that have drawn demonstrators from all over Europe? What of the open discussions on the very floor of the Japanese Parliament that reveal agreement with the 9/11 Truth Movement?

“Extra resistance to correction through simple techniques”, the authors write, “is what makes conspiracy theories distinctly worrisome.” (pg 5) “Worrisome”? Their concern is mirrored by Philip Zelikow, who was appointed by Bush to direct the 9/11 Commission and who became the primary instrument in the prevention of information flow to the Commission, and hence its planned failure as declared by Commission members. They quote Zelikow thus: “Our worry is when things become infectious …..”.

Bill Willers is emeritus professor of biology, University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh now living in Middleton, WI. He is founder of Superior Wilderness Action Network (SWAN) and editor of Learning to Listen to the Land and Unmanaged Landscapes, both from Island Press.