How Science Died at the World Trade Center

Science has been misused for political purposes many times in history. However, the most glaring example of politically motivated pseudoscience—that employed by U.S. government scientists to explain the destruction of the World Trade Center (WTC)—continues to be ignored by many scientists. As we pass the 10th anniversary of the introduction of that account, it is useful to review historic examples of fake science used for political purposes and the pattern that defines that abuse.

An early example of pseudoscience used to promote a political agenda was the concerted Soviet effort to contradict evolutionary theory and Mendelian inheritance. For nearly 45 years, the Soviet government used propaganda to foster unproven theories of agriculture promoted by its minister of agriculture, Trofim Lysenko. Scientists seeking favor with the Soviet hierarchy produced fake experimental data in support of Lysenko’s false claims. Scientific evidence from the fields of biology and genetics was banned in favor of educational programs that taught only Lysenkoism and many biologists and geneticists were executed or sent to labor camps. This propaganda-fueled program of anti-science continued for over forty years, until 1964, and spread to other countries including China.

pseudoscienceIn the 2010 book Merchants of Doubt, authors Naomi Oreskes and Erik Conway describe several other examples of the misuse of science, spanning from the 1950s to the present. They show how widely respected scientists participated in clearly non-scientific efforts to promote the agendas of big business and big government. Examples include the tobacco industry’s misuse of science to obfuscate the links between smoking and cancer, the military industrial complex’s use of scientists to support the scientifically indefensible Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI), and several abuses of environmental science.

As Oreskes and Conway made clear, science is about evidence. “It is about claims that can be, and have been, tested through scientific research—experiment, experience, and observation—research that is then subject to critical review by a jury of scientific peers.” In science, if experiments performed do not support a hypothesis, that hypothesis must be rejected. If conclusions fail to pass peer-review due to a lack of supportive evidence or the discovery of evidence that directly contradicts them, those conclusions must be rejected.

From Lysenkoism through the examples given by Oreskes and Conway, politically motivated pseudoscience demonstrates a pattern of characteristics as follows.

  1. There is a lack of experiments.
  2. The results of experiments are ignored or contradicted in the conclusions.
  3. There is either no peer-review or peer-reviewer concerns are ignored.
  4. The findings cannot be replicated or falsified due to the withholding of data.
  5. False conclusions are supported by marketing or media propaganda.
  6. Hypotheses that are supported by the evidence are ignored.

All six of these characteristics of pseudo-science are exhibited by the U.S. government investigation into what happened at the WTC on September 11th, 2001. That investigation was conducted by the National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) and it had much in common with the examples given by Oreskes and Conway. As with the false science that supported tobacco use, millions of lives were lost as a result—in this case through the “War on Terror.” Like support for the Strategic Defense Initiative, the abuses were focused on bolstering the military-industrial complex. And as with the environmental examples, NIST’s manipulations affect everyone on the planet because they prop up a never-ending war.

In terms of historical experience, the destruction of the three WTC skyscrapers was unprecedented. No tall building had ever experienced global collapse for any reason other than explosive demolition and none ever has since that time. In terms of observation, nearly everyone who examines the videos from the day recognizes the many similarities to explosive demolition. Perhaps the most compelling evidence in favor of the demolition theory is that the NIST WTC Reports, which took up to seven years to produce, exhibit all six of the characteristics of politically motivated pseudoscience.

The lack of experiment:

NIST performed no physical experiments to support its conclusions on WTC Building 7. Its primary conclusion, that a few steel floor beams experienced linear thermal expansion thereby shearing many structural connections, could have easily been confirmed through physical testing but no such testing was performed. Moreover, other scientists had performed such tests in the past but since the results did not support NIST’s conclusions, those results were ignored (see peer-review comments below).

The results of experiments were ignored or contradicted in the conclusions:

  • For the Twin Towers, steel temperature tests performed on the few steel samples saved suggested that the steel reached only about 500 degrees Fahrenheit. This is more than one thousand degrees below the temperature needed to soften steel and make it malleable—a key requirement of NIST’s hypothesis. NIST responded by exaggerating temperatures in its computer model.
  • Another key requirement of NIST’s explanation for the Twin Towers was that floor assemblies had sagged severely under thermal stress. Floor model tests conducted by my former company Underwriters Laboratories showed that the floor assemblies would sag only 3 to 4 inches, even after removal of all fireproofing and exposure to much higher temperatures than existed in the buildings. NIST responded by exaggerating the results—claiming up to 42-inches worth of floor assembly sagging in its computer model.
  • After criticism of its draft report in April 2005, NIST quietly inserted a short description of shotgun tests conducted to evaluate fireproofing loss in the towers. These results also failed to support NIST’s conclusions because the shotgun blasts were not reflective of the distribution or trajectories of the aircraft debris. Additionally, the tests suggested that the energy required to “widely dislodge” fireproofing over five, acre-wide floors—required by NIST’s findings—was simply not available.

There was no peer review and public comments from peers were ignored:

NIST published its own WTC reports and therefore its work was not subject to peer-review as is the case for all legitimate science. The people and companies involved in the NIST investigation were either government employees or contractors dependent on government work and were therefore not objective participants.

In terms of indirect peer-review, the international building construction community has made no changes to building construction standards in response to NIST’s officially cited root causes for the WTC destruction. Furthermore, no existing buildings have been retrofitted to ensure that they do not fail from those alleged causes.

NIST provided a period for public comment on its draft reports but the comments provided by those not beholden to government were not supportive of NIST’s findings. In some cases, as with NIST’s linear expansion claim for WTC 7, independent scientists submitted comments about physical tests they had performed (which NIST had not) that directly contradicted NIST’s findings.

There was one important exception to NIST’s ignoring of public comments. After a physics teacher’s well-publicized comments, NIST was forced to admit that WTC 7 was in free-fall for a vertical distance equivalent to at least eight stories of the building. Structural engineers have since noted that many hundreds of high-strength steel bolts and steel welds would have had to vanish instantaneously for an 8-story section of the building to fall without any resistance.

The findings cannot be replicated or falsified due to the withholding of data:

NIST will not share it computer models with the public. A NIST spokesman declared, in response to a Freedom of Information Act request, that revealing the computer models would “jeopardize public safety.” Because NIST’s conclusions depend entirely on those computer models, they cannot be verified or falsified by independent scientists.

False conclusions are supported by media or marketing propaganda:

As with the Soviet propaganda machine that supported Lysenkoism and the tobacco industry’s marketing propaganda, NIST’s pseudoscience was fully and uncritically supported by the mainstream media. Hearst Publications, the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), and Skeptic magazine are examples of media that went to great lengths to stifle any questioning of the official account and divert attention from the glaring discrepancies.

NIST depended on that media support as indicated by the timing of its release of reports. NIST’s final report appeared to be scheduled for dual political purposes, to coincide with the seventh anniversary of 9/11 and to give the appearance of finished business at the end of the Bush Administration. The timing of NIST’s other reports coincided with political events as well. These included the draft report on the towers in October 2004—just before the election, the final report on the towers—just before the fourth anniversary of 9/11, and NIST’s first “responses to FAQs”—just before the fifth anniversary. All of them appeared to involve politically motivated release dates.

The report release dates allowed time for the media to quickly present the official story while public interest was high, but did not allow time for critical review. With the report on WTC 7, the public was given just three weeks prior to September 11th, 2008 to comment on a report that was nearly seven years in the making.

Hypotheses that are supported by the evidence were ignored:

Throughout its seven-year investigation, NIST ignored the obvious hypothesis for the destruction of the WTC buildings—demolition. That evidence includes:

  • Free-fall or near-free fall acceleration of all three buildings (now acknowledged by NIST for WTC 7)
  • Photographic and video evidence demonstrating the characteristics of demolition for both the Twin Towers and WTC 7

The WTC reports produced by NIST represent the most obvious example of politically motivated pseudoscience in history. The physical experiments NIST performed did not support its conclusions. The reports were not peer-reviewed and public comments that challenged the findings were ignored. NIST will not share its computer models—the last supposed evidence that supports its conclusions—with the public and therefore its conclusions are not verifiable.

These glaring facts should be readily recognizable by any scientist and, given the unprecedented impact of the resulting War on Terror, this abuse of science should be the basis for a global outcry from the scientific community. The fact that it is not—with even Oreskes and Conway ignoring this most obvious example—indicates that many scientists today still cannot recognize false science or cannot speak out about it for fear of social stigma. It’s possible that our society has not suffered enough to compel scientists to move out of their comfort zones and challenge such exploitation of their profession. If so, the abuse of science for political and commercial purposes will only get worse.

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How Brian Williams Can Regain Our Trust

NBC News anchor Brian Williams is taking heat for having repeatedly lied to the public about an Iraq War experience that he never had. Williams has decided to take a few days off to see if the whole affair will blow over but that strategy is not likely to work given the legs that the story has grown. There is a way for Williams to turn it all around, although it would be tougher than anything he has done in the past. He could save face by coming clean on something important that he once reported and never mentioned again.

On September 11, 2001, Williams was covering the terrorist attacks of the day. Late that afternoon a third skyscraper collapsed at the World Trade Center (WTC) and Williams interviewed a New York City fireman named David Restuccio about it. Just after the building collapsed, NBC broadcast the live scene as Williams remarked, “This is like watching the collapse of an active volcano. And the dust from it is not unlike that from a volcano.” He brought Restuccio on and continued, “You guys knew this was coming all day.” Restuccio replied, “We had heard reports that the building [WTC 7] was unstable and that it would be best if it would either come down on its own or it would be taken down.”

WilliamsThis was the point at which a good journalist would have stopped and asked, “It would be taken down”? How could a 47-story skyscraper be “taken down” just like that, in the same place where two other towers had just experienced unprecedented collapse? Instead, Williams carried on as if he had not heard the remark. He went on for the next thirteen and a half years ignoring many questions about 9/11 and the official explanations for those crimes. For example, Williams reported on the “WTC meteorite,” said to be composed of once molten steel. He claimed that it was evidence of “temperatures as hot as the inner earth.” Yet Williams never returned to the subject to clarify that jet fuel-fed office fires cannot melt steel, nor has he reported on the compelling evidence for how steel could have melted at the WTC.

Many people knew that WTC 7 would come down, not just Restuccio. They didn’t think it might come down—they knew with certainty that it would. The collapse of the building was announced hours in advance and somehow BBC and CNN prematurely reported it as having collapsed long before it actually did.

However, the U.S. government position on the matter denies any suggestion of foreknowledge. And the officially reported explanation for the collapse of WTC 7, crafted by the government agency NIST over a period of 7 years, could not have been predicted by anyone. That explanation depends on a series of unpredictable factors that supposedly came together only minutes, or seconds, before the collapse took place. Moreover, the NIST explanation is known to be demonstrably false.

After the NIST WTC 7 Report was finally issued, California physics teacher David Chandler helped NIST to become more honest about the whole thing. That is, he helped NIST admit that WTC 7 was in free-fall for a period of its descent. In correcting itself, NIST admitted that the building “descended essentially in free fall, indicating negligible support from the structure below.” NIST clarified in its amended Report that “this free fall drop continued for approximately 8 stories.”

As Chandler made clear, buildings cannot free-fall through their own solid structure without the help of explosives. Others, including licensed structural engineers, have noted that many hundreds of high-strength steel bolts and steel welds would have had to vanish instantaneously for an 8-story section of the building to fall without any resistance. This is not possible except through demolition.

There is no doubt that increasing numbers of people will come to know about WTC 7 and its demolition. They will learn about the military and intelligence agencies that occupied the building, and about the powerful people like Donald Rumsfeld who had curious links to the building and yet lied about their knowledge of its destruction. And they will wonder why the media never covered the facts.

This is where Williams has a chance to use his past reporting on the WTC to regain the public trust. We know that reporters often lie to the public and they do it for a number of understandable, albeit despicable, reasons. But as Williams takes a few days off to consider his career in that cycle of deception, he might also consider what future generations will think and where the practices of intentional media deception will ultimately lead. Someone like Williams will eventually recognize the harm it does and use his or her celebrity status to openly call for the truth about WTC 7. It could be him.

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Why Would Seahawks Coach Pete Carroll Question 9/11?

Carroll 4The coach of the Super Bowl winning Seattle Seahawks is in the media again as his team prepares for a second championship game. Coach Pete Carroll is getting special
attention in the news because he is known to have questioned the official account of the 9/11 attacks. Even today, he is still looking for answers about those crimes, saying, “I will always be interested in the truth.”

The average football fan, whose exposure to questions about 9/11 is typically limited to snarky, ill-informed mainstream media stories, might wonder why Carroll would go there. Here are a dozen quick reasons why everyone should seek the truth about 9/11.

  1. The directors of the FBI and the CIA ignored or facilitated terrorism in the years leading up to 9/11.
  1. Before 9/11, the nation’s leading counter-terrorism expert repeatedly notified his friends in the United Arab Emirates of top-secret U.S. plans to capture Osama bin Laden. These treasonous leaks prevented Bin Laden’s capture on at least two separate occasions.
  1. On 9/11, NORAD was running military exercises that mimicked the events of the day. This caused the military air defense responders to confuse the actual hijackings with the exercises.
  1. In the years since 9/11, we’ve been given several, distinctly different, official explanations for the failure to intercept any of the hijacked planes. The last explanation, given in The 9/11 Commission Report, requires us to believe that many U.S. Air Force officers had previously been lying in a way that made them all look very bad.
  1. We’ve also been given several, distinctly different, official explanations for the unprecedented destruction of the World Trade Center (WTC) towers. The last explanation is false in every way and critical evidence has been ignored to this day.
  1. The U.S. government now admits that the third WTC skyscraper that was destroyed on 9/11 was in free-fall. The official report for its destruction was built entirely on a computer model that we are not allowed to see.
  1. No changes have been made to building construction standards in response to the officially cited root causes for the WTC destruction. No existing buildings have been retrofitted to ensure that they do not fail from those alleged causes.
  1. On 9/11, the Secret Service did not protect the president at his well-publicized location, despite the obvious danger from terrorism.
  1. The 9/11 Commission claimed 63 times in its Report that it could find “no evidence” related to important aspects of the crimes.
  1. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission notified the FBI of suspected 9/11 insider trading transactions. That evidence was ignored and the suspects were not even questioned by the FBI or the 9/11 Commission.
  1. The first alleged Al-Qaeda leader detained by the U.S., upon whose torture testimony the 9/11 Commission Report was built, is now known to have never had any relationship to Al-Qaeda at all. The 9/11 Commission vice-chairman has developed amnesia about that most important torture victim while his Report stands as the best, and perhaps only, argument in favor of a continued U.S. torture policy.
  1. Some of the most lucid and intelligent Americans, including Noam Chomsky, quickly feign ignorance when presented with information that contradicts the official account of 9/11.

Therefore Pete Carroll probably has good reasons to wonder what really happened on 9/11. The next question is—will football fans be able to take Carroll’s lead and move beyond the vacuous official account of 9/11? As the threat of never-ending war continues, an increasing number will answer in the affirmative.

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Barry McDaniel and 15 Reasons to Investigate Stratesec

One of the men who led Stratesec, the World Trade Center (WTC) security company, has recently resurfaced on some small business websites. This is Barry McDaniel, the U.S. military executive who served as Chief Operating Officer (COO) for Stratesec from 1996 until 2002 and then briefly became the company’s CEO. The new websites provide rare photos of McDaniel and an opportunity to review some of the many reasons why he and his Stratesec partner Wirt D. Walker should be investigated for the crimes of 9/11.

Barry2Although McDaniel has been largely overlooked by investigators, Walker has been the focus of much investigation due to inquiries into his familial relationship to George W. Bush. The familial relationship is distant, unlike for Stratesec director Marvin Bush—brother to George W. and Jeb, but Walker’s background reveals many deep state connections.

Despite playing a central role in security for 9/11-related facilities, Stratesec was not investigated at all by U.S. authorities after 9/11. The company was a subsidiary of the Kuwait-American Company (KuwAm), foreign-owned and led by Walker and a young member of the Kuwaiti royal family. As described in my book Another Nineteen, there are many reasons to consider Stratesec, KuwAm, and their leaders as suspects in the crimes of 9/11. Here are a few.

  1. Stratesec had unparalleled access to several of the facilities that were central to the events of 9/11. The company had pre-9/11 security contracts with the WTC complex, United Airlines, which owned two of the planes that were destroyed on 9/11, and Dulles Airport where American Airlines Flight 77 took off.
  1. KuwAm was linked through its directors to the terrorist network BCCI. One of KuwAm’s principal directors, Hamzah Behbehani, came to the company after working for a BCCI partner bank from 1986 until BCCI was shut down. Furthermore, KuwAm was ostensibly funded by Kuwaiti royalty, which had significant BCCI connections. The chairman of Kuwait Airways, the state airline, was Faisal al-Fulaij, BCCI’s principal nominee. Al-Fulaij was deeply involved in the operations of BCCI and its U.S. subsidiaries. Kuwait’s Finance and Oil minister was Abdul Rahman Al-Atiqi, a major investor in BCCI.
  1. Stratesec held its annual company meetings in office space leased by the governments of Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, both of which benefited from the response to 9/11. The offices were at the infamous Watergate Hotel in Washington, DC.
  1. Wirt Walker’s activities ran parallel to those of two known CIA operatives—Ted Shackley and Robert Sensi. All three men had unusual business relationships with Kuwaiti royalty and were involved in aviation and security operations. Like Walker, Sensi had an address in Oklahoma City.
  1. McDaniel had expertise in the acquisition and distribution of military ordnance. He had worked for the D.O.D. as the Deputy Director for Readiness at the U.S. Army Material Command where he was responsible for procuring and fielding all of the weapons systems for the Army. This background made him well suited to the job of acquiring and distributing explosive materials.
  1. McDaniel had links to the Iran-Contra crimes and to companies that conducted covert operations, like Sears World Trade and The Vinnell Corporation.
  1. The timing of McDaniel’s unusual career move to become COO at Stratesec matched the timing of work at the WTC that provided opportunities to plant demolition-related devices. The fireproofing upgrade project began in 1996, when McDaniel arrived, and was ongoing at the time of the 9/11 attacks. The floors of impact had just been completed shortly before the attacks.
  1. At the WTC, Stratesec focused on electronic badging, security gates, and the closed circuit video systems (CCTV). These security controls could therefore have been set-up to be bypassed as needed.
  1. At Dulles Airport, Stratesec had managed airfield access and electronic badging, as well as the security video system that later provided unique and critical evidence implicating the alleged hijackers. The 9/11 Commission Report referenced the security videotape from Dulles in three separate footnotes. The Dulles video was used to implicate all of the accused Flight 77 hijackers. Neither Logan nor Newark airports had such security videotape evidence to provide— only Dulles.
  1. KuwAm and Stratesec were led by directors and investors who were linked to deep state entities and who benefited from the response to the 9/11 crimes.
  1. After Kuwait stopped funding Stratesec, the company’s primary stockholder was a shell company whose principals were convicted of money laundering and conspiracy. This was the company called ES Bankest that illegally transferred nearly 200 million dollars from a Portugese bank to various operations like Stratesec. ES Bankest’s owners, brothers Eduardo and Hector Orlansky, and their partners, were indicted shortly after Stratesec closed.
  1. A stock purchase made by Walker and his wife, the week of 9/11, was flagged by the SEC as suspected 9/11 insider trading. Walker and his wife were never investigated, or even questioned.
  1. KuwAm’s subsidiaries, including all three aviation companies and Stratesec, went bankrupt shortly after 9/11 and there are reasons to believe that they were fronts for covert operations. These reasons include some of the facts described above and that these companies were always able to maintain strong cash flow despite dismal business performance. They appeared to close only because Kuwaiti government funding dried up after 9/11.
  1. KuwAm’s three aviation companies were operationally located in the same Oklahoma City offices—in the same isolated airport hangar—that have since been occupied by Zacarias Moussaoui’s flight trainer.
  1. After 9/11, McDaniel started a “defense solutions” and police state equipment company with Dick Cheney’s old partner Bruce Bradley. When independent investigators revealed that remarkable association, the company’s website was taken down.

Considering these things, it’s a good idea for investigators to remain alert to the activities of Walker, McDaniel, and their associates. Photos of the elusive men are not really necessary and there are still no public photos available for Walker. But McDaniel’s face has finally made an appearance on the web, along with a few other details about his activities and associations.

McDaniel’s current colleagues are a noteworthy bunch with experience in hotspots around the world. They include Kallyan Chakravorty, a former officer in the Indian Army who lists Skylink Aviation on his resume. Skylink is a Canadian company that provides aviation services in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and Pakistan. It looks a like a CIA airline but is owned by a Libyan-Israeli named Walter Arbib.

The internet resume McDaniel uses today says that he has been “providing logistical service and construction solutions on most post conflict areas of the world including Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan.” He’s just a guy who happened to be the right person to put the security system together for the WTC before it came crashing to the ground, and just happened to have expertise in explosive ordnance. He also happens to be linked to the Iran-Contra crimes, and happened to be business partners with a close colleague of Dick Cheney. Or maybe there’s more to it than that.

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Nine Questions About the Paris Attacks

Mainstream media are busily promoting a familiar narrative for last week’s terrorist attacks in Paris. As usual this narrative demonizes Islam, calls for a reduction in civil rights, and bolsters existing military aggressions. However, a growing number of serious questions have arisen about the attacks. Until such questions are answered, citizens must consider that these events might be another pretext for an ongoing political agenda.

10898227_10152491412137471_728758766975523225_nThe Paris attacks are reported to have occurred in two parts. The first was the January 7th shooting of twelve people in and around the offices of Charlie Hebdo, a tabloid that often published offensive cartoons including some about the Prophet Mohammad. The second attack occurred the next day and was said to be the work of Amedy Coulibaly, a 32-year old Senegalese Frenchman who began shooting police officers at the scene of an accident and then took hostages in a Kosher grocery.

Some parts of the story have already proven to be inaccurate. For example, FOX News and NBC falsely reported that two of the suspects were in custody, based on information from “two consistently reliable U.S. counterterrorism officials.” One 18-year old widely reported to be a suspect turned himself in (145 miles away) and was released 50 hours later due to insurmountable contradictions.

Questions that remain unanswered include the following.

  1. The Charlie Hebdo gunmen, identified by police as brothers Cherif and Said Kouachi, were said to display professional training as if they were highly-skilled Special Operations soldiers. They were calm and controlled, well equipped, and well trained. Exactly where did they get their training and high-tech equipment?
  2. Coulibaly was identified by DNA testing in only two hours. Although rapid DNA tests can be performed in a matter of hours, a match requires DNA from the suspect. How did the testing match with this man in such a short time? Did authorities have his DNA or was it already in a database? In either case, how did that happen?
  3. Videos quickly showed two people in the Hebdo getaway car with one in the driver’s seat. Why did authorities name and interrogate a third suspect (who turned out to not be involved) as the getaway car driver?
  4. Why would the Koachi brothers wear balaclavas (i.e. ski masks) to hide their identity and then simply leave Said’s national ID card in the car? If they took the time to hide their faces, why would they bring their IDs with them?
  5. Why did the masked attackers work to make sure they were quickly portrayed as Muslims and members of al Qaeda during the attacks? Witnesses said one shouted to onlookers—”Tell the media it was al-Qaeda in Yemen.” Other videos and reports indicate that they repeatedly shouted “Allahu Akbar” and proclaimed that they were avenging the Prophet Mohammad. Who benefits from this?
  6. How did the attackers escape (to the northeast—the longest route through Paris) despite the police having raised the “alarm level for the greater Paris area to its highest level.” Did they have logistical support?
  7. Why does the video of the shooting of victim Ahmed Merabet, reportedly killed by a shot to the head, suggest that he was not shot in the head?
  8. How did Helric Fredou die? A Paris police commissioner conducting the investigation, Fredou died while preparing a report on the crimes. And why did Western media not report his death for at least three days?
  9. The alleged Kosher grocery gunman, Amedy Coulibaly, met with the President of France just a few years ago. What are the odds of such a coincidental meeting and does the connection relate to the attacks?

Many people have become skeptical about mainstream accounts of terrorism. This is due to the fact that authorities, like the FBI or CIA, are often found to be involved in some way and the events always support political agendas. Therefore it is not surprising to hear people claiming that intelligence agencies were involved in these attacks, or that the attacks related to political manipulations that would “shore up France’s vassal state status to Washington.”

Whatever the truth, it seems wise to consider all possibilities when mainstream media promote stories that feed the war machine and reduce freedom. Refraining from judgment until the facts are clearer is always the best approach.

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Oswald and Atta: Erratic, Protected, and Seeking Attention

Graeme MacQueen’s new book, The 2001 Anthrax Deception, reveals stunning links between the 9/11 attacks and the anthrax attacks that immediately followed. The book also reviews some of the interesting actions taken by alleged hijacker leader, Mohamed Atta, in the years preceding 9/11. These actions suggest that Atta was trying to leave the people he encountered with memories that would support the official myth. In the few years before JFK’s assassination, Lee Harvey Oswald engaged in similar attention-seeking actions. Considering this leads to the discovery that Oswald and Atta had a lot in common.

The legend of Mohamed Atta describes a man who seemed to be everywhere at once. In just the two years before 9/11, Atta reportedly lived and/or plotted in Germany, The Netherlands, The Philippines, Czechoslovakia, Afghanistan (via Turkey and Pakistan), Oklahoma, Las Vegas, Spain, and numerous locations in Florida. Oswald also traveled extensively in the years before the JFK assassination—back and forth from California to Japan, to New Orleans, Dallas, and Fort Worth, to Mexico City, and to Minsk and Moscow.

Atta was involved in many notable events in a short period before 9/11. Among other things, he annoyed airport employees, was bitten by a dog, consumed alcohol and cocaine, lived with an exotic dancer, and killed a cat and her litter of kittens. He got pulled over for driving without a license, got drunk and swore at a waiter, and abandoned a plane on the runway. In some of these cases Atta interacted with police and the risk for police interactions was there in almost every case.

Some of Atta’s reported actions suggest that he was trying to leave clues. One such incident, occurring around April of 2000, involved his attempt to seek a U.S. government loan to help him purchase and modify a crop dusting plane for large-scale chemical use. In his one-hour encounter with Johnell Bryant, a federal employee from whom he was seeking the loan, Atta talked about security at the World Trade Center and buildings in Washington. He went on to talk about his connection to Al Qaeda and his admiration for Osama bin Laden. The most vivid memory Bryant had of Atta was his extremely dilated pupils—a symptom of drug abuse.

In his interaction with Bryant, Atta made a big deal about a picture of Washington D.C. in her office. Bryant said that Atta acted like he wanted that picture very badly. Johnell said that Atta’s “emotions kept going up and down, up and down” and he became agitated when she would not sell him the picture or give him the $650,000 loan to buy the plane and equip it with the large chemical tank. To emphasize his displeasure and heighten the experience, Atta suggested that he might cut her throat. Those are certainly not the actions of someone trying to keep a highly secret terrorist plot from being discovered.

Atta’s antics continued until the day before 9/11, when he made an inexplicable last-minute trip to Portland, Maine, leaving with only 75 minutes to catch the flight that he allegedly had carefully planned to hijack in Boston. He conveniently left the most incriminating evidence possible in his luggage.

Like Atta, Lee Harvey Oswald was busy making himself visible before he allegedly assassinated the President of the United States. His activities in that regard are described well in James Douglass’ book, JFK and the Unspeakable. In fact, reports about Oswald suggest that, like Atta, he was too busy to have been only one person. Whoever it was, the person posing as Oswald made a number of attempts to draw attention his way.

Oswald’s strange behavior in the summer of 1963 provided evidence that he was trying to be noticed. In New Orleans, he engaged in pro-Castro activities by pretending to be the head of the local chapter of the Fair Play for Cuba Committee—but he was its only member. This appears to have been a superficial attempt to support what would become the official line that communists were behind the JFK assassination.

Oswald went to Mexico City in the fall of 1963. During this visit he allegedly made phone calls and visits to both the Cuban and Soviet embassies. He is also reported to have written a letter to a known KGB agent who specialized in assassinations. The CIA monitored such communications closely and it is interesting to consider that 9/11 investigation leader Porter Goss was a CIA operative in Mexico City that same year. In any case, whether true or not, Oswald’s reported actions there indicate that he was working to provide a more recent history for himself as a communist operative or supporter.

Another such incident occurred in the last week of September 1963, when strangers visited Silvia Odio, a 26-year-old Cuban immigrant, in her Dallas apartment. They told Silvia that they were members of an anti-Castro group that her parents were involved in. Sylvia was suspicious, but the visitors said they had come to introduce her to an American named Leon Oswald, who accompanied them. A couple of days later, Sylvia got a phone call from one of them who asked, “What do you think of the American? He’s great but kinda nuts. He told us we don’t have any guts, you Cubans, because President Kennedy should have been assassinated right after the Bay of Pigs.”

Sylvia was disturbed by the visit and the call, and she wrote to her father in prison who wrote back that he knew none of the visitors. When Sylvia heard of President Kennedy’s assassination on the radio—before any mention of Oswald had been made—she was convinced that “Leon Oswald” did it and she reported it to authorities. The FBI interviewed Sylvia in December 1963. Although her testimony was not included in the Warren Report, the incident was clearly meant to connect Oswald to the assassination plot.

Oswatta5Apart from their world travels and attempts to be noticed, Atta and Oswald had other important things in common. For one, both of them appeared to be above the law. That is, they both committed crimes and yet they were not held accountable.

There are reasons to believe that Oswald might have been subjected to CIA mind-control experiments using LSD in the late 1950s. In any case, in 1959 he defected to the Soviet Union. At the U.S. Embassy in Moscow, he reportedly told officials that he planned to give radar secrets to the Soviets. That, of course, would have been treason. Oswald lived in the Soviet Union for three years and married a young Russian woman. In June 1962, he was not only allowed to return to the United States, the U.S. government loaned him money to return, never prosecuted him, and claimed to have never even debriefed him.

Although Mohamed Atta ‘s pre-9/11 crimes were not so dramatic, he enjoyed the same unbelievable luck with regard to lack of prosecution or interrogation. In 1995, Atta was investigated by German authorities for drug-related offenses yet was never charged. There is evidence that Atta continued to use drugs, as was suspected of Oswald. Atta’s stripper girlfriend, Amanda Keller, said that he “had massive supplies of cocaine” which he restocked whenever needed at one of the flight schools he frequented in Florida.  Keller said that during the time she dated him, she saw Atta do cocaine on multiple occasions.

Atta should have also been wanted for abandoning a stalled aircraft on a busy runway at Miami International Airport, in December 2000. Although the Federal Aviation Administration threatened to investigate the matter and hold him accountable, the whole thing was mysteriously dropped.

Three months before 9/11, a warrant was issued for Atta’s arrest in Florida. Having been stopped earlier by Florida police and cited for not having a driver’s license, the warrant was issued because Atta failed to show up at court for the hearing. Yet not only was he not arrested, Atta spent the next few months flying all over the U.S. using his real name without being stopped or questioned. He was pulled over again in July—this time for speeding—in Delray Beach, Florida. Instead of being arrested on the outstanding warrant (supposedly still not entered in the computer system more than a month later,) Atta was simply given a warning.

If the Delray Beach police had checked his immigration status, they would have found that Atta’s visa had expired—another crime. A month after that, Atta’s rental car was queried by police in Broward County, Florida. The existing arrest warrant still did not generate interest, despite the fact that Atta had rented the car in his own name. When Atta bought his flight ticket for 9/11, the outstanding arrest warrant was still in effect and his visa had been expired for over two months. It turned out that violating visa regulations was common for many of the alleged hijackers, yet it never caused them problems.

People have often wondered if Oswald was a CIA employee. Whether or not that was true, or can be proven, several of Oswald’s associates were CIA employees. For example, Oswald’s “best friend” in Dallas, George DeMohrenschild, admitted that he was connected to the Dallas office of the CIA. Another close friend of Oswald and his wife was Ruth Paine, in whose house much of the incriminating evidence was found. Paine’s sister worked for the CIA and Oswald’s wife later said that Paine was sympathizing (or associated) with the CIA.

Similarly, Mohamed Atta had associations with people linked to the CIA. For example, Luai Sakra, an informant for the CIA, was reportedly in contact with Atta before 9/11. Sakra’s lawyer later said that his client admitted to helping the alleged hijackers. Moreover, it is known that the CIA made efforts to recruit another of Atta’s friends. This was Mamoun Darkazanli, who along with Atta was a member of the Hamburg Al-Qaeda cell.

By early 2000, Atta was under CIA surveillance. At the time, he began contacting flight schools in the United States. This included communicating with and visiting airports in Oklahoma. Those activities led Atta to the same locations as persons of 9/11 interest such as University of Oklahoma president David Boren and Stratesec CEO Wirt D. Walker, whose company provided security for facilities related to 9/11.

The man who trained Zacarias Moussaoui, the sole person convicted of crimes related to 9/11, now occupies the same airport hangar as Walker’s companies did in the years before and after 9/11. Coincidentally, while Atta and Marwan Alshehhi were learning to fly at Huffmann Aviation in Venice, Florida, “A CIA front company called Air Caribe was also operating out of the very same hangar at Venice airport.” The southwest Florida area near Venice, where Atta and the alleged hijackers spent so much time, was home to a long history of CIA and drug trafficking operations.

Lee Harvey Oswald and Mohamed Atta had much in common. They both traveled extensively in the time leading up to their respective crimes and both sought attention in ways that would implicate them in those crimes. They were both suspected of using illicit drugs. They both seemed to be protected by authorities when they might have been prosecuted before accomplishing their tasks, and they were both associated with CIA-linked entities. Officially the biggest difference between them is that one was part of a conspiracy and one was not, but the evidence indicates that they were both operating within wider deceptions controlled by powerful people.

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Terrorism and the Evolution of Deception

Politicians and pundits often use terrorism to promote the interests of their financiers. This fear mongering goes hand in hand with attempts at war profiteering, population control, and the concentration of political power. What many are beginning to discover is that deception is integral to the success of the terrorism business. That is, the official accounts of terrorist events are typically fraught with omissions of fact and the concealment of clues that point to the involvement of more powerful people. The success of these false accounts reveals important aspects of human nature and points to ways in which thoughtful people can help to overcome such challenges.

There will always be a few people greedy enough to lie to others for personal gain, but we can live with this. What we can’t live with is large numbers of people lying to themselves because habitual self-deception is fatal. Long-term successful lies require motivated liars but also willing listeners and when millions or billions of citizens engage in such duplicity they make it difficult, if not impossible, for anyone to survive.

political-manipulationIt’s common to see people blaming the government or the media for lying and taking advantage. That’s not surprising because, in general, politicians are highly evolved lying machines and the media is rewarded for telling the majority what they want to hear in ways that promote business interests. But what is really needed to overcome that pattern is to examine how lies told by authoritative sources are accepted so easily, making it possible for some to exploit this weakness.

All people lie to themselves. We lie to justify our past actions, to promote ourselves relative to others, and to protect our self-image. The psychological biases and defense mechanisms behind these lies have been studied and are well documented.

Here are a few of the known psychological biases. 

  • Self-serving bias: The tendency to take credit for success and blame external factors for failure
  • Egocentricity bias: The tendency to exaggerate the importance of one’s role in past events
  • False consensus bias: The tendency to believe that most people share one’s opinions and values
  • Assumption of uniqueness: The tendency to overestimate one’s uniqueness
  • Self-righteous bias: The tendency to regard oneself as having higher moral standards or greater moral consistency than others have
  • In-group / out-group bias: The tendency to view members of groups to which one belongs in a more positive light than members of groups of which one does not belong

Examples of known defense mechanisms are as follows.

  • Repression: Motivated amnesia
  • Projection: Misattributing some aspect of oneself to someone else
  • Disavowal (or denial): Disbelieving a true memory or perception
  • Reaction-formation: Representing an attitude or emotion as its opposite
  • Rationalization: Attributing mental states to false reasons
  • Acting out: Precipitately acting to preempt conscious awareness

These are ubiquitous aspects of human psychology—not specific to any cultures or geographic regions. All people lie to themselves to some degree in these ways. Such lies are, without a doubt, largely activated by the unconscious mind but, as Freud noted, almost all of life is a matter of unconscious activity. The conscious mind, or the remembered present, is less involved in, and less capable of directing our lives than most people realize.

Humans developed this tendency to self-deceive through natural selection. Self-deception evolved as a way to better deceive others. Of course, deception of others was an evolutionary advantage whenever there was a limited availability of certain necessities, like food and mates. In response, detection of deception became an evolutionary advantage, as people learned to detect subtle physical clues in the deceiver. Furthermore, individuals who could successfully lie to themselves were naturally selected because they were less likely to give themselves away when lying to others. It seems that self-deception arose in conjunction with lie detection, with the two traits evolving in a sort of early arms race.

The evolution of language allowed for the skills of deception to overtake the skills of detection. The higher, linguistic consciousness facilitated more overlap between mental images due to the uncertainty, or play, in the meaning of terms. The power of language and semantics also gave way to a higher consciousness where internal concepts like the self-image originated. The imbalance between skills of self-deception and skills for detecting self-deception was enhanced by this increased level of uncertainty, and by the higher priority given to the self-image over other internal images.

We all strive to maintain a positive self-image and the increasing amount of time and energy devoted to this task is presenting risk to our real selves. In fact, we seem to defend our self-image as much or more than we defend our actual physical selves and this involves engaging in what Jean-Paul Sartre called “bad faith”. Since the self-image is not real, lying to protect it wastes energy and lowers our chances of being able to respond to any real challenges in our physical environment.

Politicians regularly co-opt our self-image by appealing to our sense of national identity and claiming to speak for it. When selling or promoting a policy, they wrap themselves in the flag. The biases and defense mechanisms noted above come into play when our personal identities are linked to our national identity. Using claims of an elusive, external threat, as with terrorism, government and media can manipulate these tendencies to frame and control the mindset of the average citizen. It all begins with self preservation, whether real or imagined.

In the United States the political system is carefully controlled to provide only two identities—Democrat and Republican. Once chosen, that simplisitic identity functions as a handle by which citizen viewpoints can be more easily controlled. Americans often don’t realize how little difference actually exists between the two parties. Moreover, politicans and media would have more difficulty manipulating a public that identified itself with more than two political viewpoints.

Similarly, each belief and opinion we adopt adds something to our self-image and creates something more to defend. Those who want war for their own purposes frequently utilize differences in religion to inflame the target populations and divert attention away from the real, usually resource-related, motivations. In more simple ways, our opinions on the subject of the day represent positions that, once made, pose risk to our identity and make it difficult for us to change our minds.

Our self-image must fit into an ever-changing mental environment or worldview. Today the rate of input from television and internet media forces people to make rapid adjustments to either their worldview or their self-image in order to maintain their mental “place in the world.” To complicate things, the media are now operated by only a few corporate interests and the internet is at increasing risk of becoming a closed, controlled-message system.

The mental environment of most people is changing and being manipulated very rapidly, with little predictability relative to the changes humanity has seen in the past. At the same time corporate interests are pursuing a power grab strategy that places the survival of the average person at a very low priority. Add to this a climactic evolutionary mental imbalance that indicates that we can no longer tell if we’re lying to ourselves, and we find ourselves in a dangerous predicament.

As thoughtful people work to monitor and reveal deception related to terrorism and other crimes, an effort to get to the root of these problems is needed. To overcome the challenges of deception there is an urgent need to understand and educate on human limitations, including self-deception and uncertainty in communications.

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