After the collapse of the USSR, the Pentagon was faced with an embarrassing problem for the war business: the sudden absence of an enemy. Accordingly, the CIA put great effort into funding and training new bogeymen, one of which became Al Qaeda. But as Pentagon experts pointed out in 1999, a vague threat from dissenters somewhere in a foreign land would never be enough to convince contented Americans that colossal sums of money must be continually diverted to the war machine.
It was therefore proposed that a massive incident be engineered, to coincide with “terrorist exercises”, and thereby rely later on blaming confusion for the lack of any defensive action. As a smiling Nick Rockefeller confided to the late Aaron Russo late in 2000, Americans would soon see the presentation of a massive hoax, namely the “war on terror” in which US soldiers would pointlessly search for “terrorists” in caves, and a fearful public would back any repressive measures at home and abroad.
The WoT was worded vaguely enough to be applied in any direction, for decades, with never any conclusion – the ideal environment for the war business – with the added benefit of being applicable against American citizens, perhaps those protesting against global murder, resisting crackdowns, or simply thinking for themselves. All that was lacking was a memorable “attack” which would sear itself onto the public mind, generating sympathy at home and abroad, and one which could be pointed to again and again as a justification for warmongering, and of course for stealing billions of dollars. See also 9/11: When Religion Becomes the Patsy.
Within moments of the first explosions, hired actors were on the streets giving interviews including the puzzling “Harley Guy” – supposedly a Fox staffer named Mark Walsh, armed with a stilted script and theatrical arm waving (“..and then I witnessed both towers collapse. One first, and then the second – mostly due to structural failure because the fire was just too intense”), who never stepped forward later to explain how he managed to present virtually the entire 9/11 Commission Report’s conclusion only moments after the event, while experts were still scratching their heads about the first time a steelframe building had totally collapsed through fire, even after airplane collisions. Walsh also seems enthused about the action-packed nature of the event, as if his excited speech was rehearsed well away from the horror suffered by victims.
Leventhal then reminds him of this, the most important part of the whole story, and the one most frequently relied upon as justification for years of invasions, kidnappings, torture, removal of human rights around the globe, and constitutional rights within America, and of course vast military spending (at a time when American society is facing internal collapse and widespread poverty ) later on. The acting was so bad that various C-list actors came under suspicion as having stood in for Walsh, but all that was needed was a reasonable memory, some improv skill and common-man appeal, and an American manufacturer patriotically displayed on the t-shirt woudn’t hurt.
Equally strange is Mark Walsh’s “roommate” (second arrow) who lurks in the background before, during and after the interview, with nothing to say and no body language connection at all to Walsh – despite supposedly being a roommate and both men presumably being united as witnesses to the biggest attack since Pearl Harbour – and completely disinterested in the events unfolding around him. All other bystanders are staring down the street and reacting instantly to events around them, but the roommate never takes his eyes off the interview, during part of which he leans in close, which Leventhal seems unprepared for and surprised about. A more indepth analysis exists on this street theatre, pointing out the MIB roommate’s links with other agents on the street, as they reach for ear pieces at the same time and manouevre Leventhal out of the way, presumably in response to external prompting.
As Scientific American pointed out in a recent article, initial impressions are almost impossible to dislodge once accepted. In one experiment, a group of university students was told a bus full of old and disabled people had crashed; the students were then asked to propose logical reasons why passengers found themselves unable to leave the bus. Predictable causes such as bad hips, difficulty walking, poor eyesight, lack of wheelchairs, etc were all given. The students were then told that a mistake had been made – that in fact all the passengers were young, healthy athletes. What reasons could now be given to explain their inability to leave the bus? Almost the same answers were offered by the students, despite their seeming absurd in the context of the new information. After a powerful first impression, the human mind will go to any lengths – even defying common sense – to preserve what it has already accepted as reality.
The same pattern is seen in cases of abuse, where an initial fond, optimistic impression is clung to in spite of devastating experience to the contrary. The phenomenon of imprinting, in which famous faces seem familiar, and therefore trustworthy, is continually used by advertisers but its effect is also well known to dictators. In Saddam’s Iraq, it was illegal not to have a picture of Saddam Hussein displayed prominently in every place of business. The effect is to insinuate and reinforce a sense of trustworthiness and legitimacy – even on behalf of demented psychopaths – into the mass mind.
All these pretences supporting the WoT seem obvious now in retrospect, but the paranoid anti-Islamic sentiment it stirred up – gleefully boosted by enemies of religion such as Richard Dawkins (Alien and Earthly Rubbish) – also seeped into some susceptible trigger-happy minds of the military brass, to whom every difficulty calls out for a murderous solution. Of course, resistance in Iraq and Afghanistan is pointed to as a reason for more military action, but such resistance against the West is very easy to explain – since we invaded and bombed their countries. But common sense has long been abandoned in the hype and media circus. Often the argument against religion fallen back on by atheists is that only the religious would embark on acts of mass destruction “just like they did in 9/11”. What is never explained is how any followers of religion would see mass murder as helping their cause. Time and again, the enemies of religion point to the twin towers. What they should actually be pointing to is the Pentagon, and the trillions of unaccounted dollars stolen from the American people.
The horrendous consequences of the manipulation of the human are illustrated in the following article by David Usborne, in today’s Independent, which shows how appalling massacres are presented as legitimate steps just as much today as they ever were in the past:
A red-faced Pentagon has conceded that an instructor at its Joint Forces College in Virginia for military officers was until recently teaching a course advocating “total war” with Islam that could require obliterating the holy cities of Mecca and Medina without concern for civilian deaths.
The material in the course, which officers could elect to take but was not obligatory, flew in the face of repeated assertions by the Obama administration that the war on terrorism is just that and should under no circumstances be read as an assault on a religion observed by 1.4 billion people around the world.
Details of the course were obtained by a blog on Wired.com, drawn from a presentation given by the teacher, Lt. Col. Matthew Dooley, in July last year. He suggested that destroying Islamic holy sites would follow the precedents of the nuclear strike by the allies on Hiroshima in World War II and the firebombing of Dresden. His course was called ‘Perspectives on Islam and Islamic Radicalism’.
It was suspended in April after the Pentagon received a complaint from a student and Lt. Col. Dooley, while still at the College, no longer has any teaching duties. The FBI, meanwhile, has revealed that it too has recently been forced to revise some of its instructional materials to excise references that could have been insulting to Islam.
“It was just totally objectionable, against our values, and it wasn’t academically sound,” the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, General Martin Dempsey, said at a press conference at the Pentagon. “This wasn’t about … pushing back on liberal thought; this was objectionable, academically irresponsible.”
Dooley offered a theoretical war plan based on the need for “a direct ideological and philosophical confrontation with Islam”. In his presentation, he said: “They hate everything you stand for and will never coexist with you, unless you submit”. He added that as America waged that war it would be free to ignore provisions of the Geneva Convention that sets the rules for armed conflict as “no longer relevant”.
“This would leave open the option once again of taking war to a civilian population wherever necessary (the historical precedents of Dresden, Tokyo, Hiroshima, Nagasaki being applicable…).” Saying Islam has already declared war on the US, Dooley called the current American stance of seeking common ground with Islamic leaders around the world as “illogical” and the better option was “waging ‘near total war’”.
“We have now come to understand that there is no such thing as ‘moderate Islam’,” Dooley said in the July presentation. “It is therefore time for the United States to make our true intentions clear. This barbaric ideology will no longer be tolerated. Islam must change or we will facilitate its self-destruction.”
Offered five times a year for groups of 20 at a time, the course may have been taught to as many as 800 mid-level and senior US military officers before the Pentagon closed it down. Lt. Col. Dooley was himself a highly decorated officer who had served in Iraq, Bosnia and and Kuwait among others.