Elusive information, conspiracy theories, the "real truth" and the significance of the internet
A friend of mine coined the term "Brainwashington" after watching the media-coverage in the wake of the 9-11 terror attacks on New York and Washington. A joke at first, but now, nearly 2 years after these attacks, and after investigating and writing on this case since Sep 12th - I have to admit: it's quite serious. I think we all have become witnesses and victims of the biggest brainwashing operation in history.
Strong words - but before I try to bring up some arguments for them, I want to give you some hints who is speaking to you: I started working in 1980 as a journalist and editor for the newly founded daily "tageszeitung" (taz) in Berlin. One of the main reasons for starting such a paper - independence from news agencies and advertisers - were the experiences of the german terror-hunt against the Baader-Meinhof group in the late 70's and the scaring consonance and unanimous voice of the media.
In the political spectre the "taz" somehow was placed on the left - but when the wall came down we learned, that our offices were not only spied on by West-German and US-Intelligence - as we had always suspected - but even more so by the Stasi-agents of communist East-Germany. So on the undogmatic fringe - the same scene that had given birth to the german Green Party in these days - we were treated as suspects by both systems, and as a newspaper we indeed criticised both systems and their media: the communist party press as well as the corporate newsbusiness. In 1991 I left the editorial board to work as a freelance journalist and author of non-fiction books, while some of my former colleagues made it by now into the Offices of Chancelor Schröder or Foreign Secretary Fischer - and, like the Greens as a party, the "taz" as a paper has become part of the system: the impudent and beloved little flute within the big orchestra of corporate media.
When 9-11 happened, this little flute - like all other small, independent "fluteplayers" out in the internet - had no chance to come through against the massive trombones of the mainstream media. The deep shock by those terrible attacks made people cry for an answer, an explanation, a solution - and through the mainstream media the Bush administration was able to provide such an immediate answer, which was: Osama Bin Laden and 19 islamic "Hijackers" were responsible - and a war has to be conducted to hunt them.
The Bush administrations official story has three basic premises:
The first is that Islamic terrorists, based in Afghanistan, who hate American freedom plotted and executed the attack - an attack which the U.S. government had no prior knowledge of nor any connection to.
The second premise is that in order to wage and win a war on terrorism the US of A must invade Afghanistan, Iraq and every other nation harbouring, funding or supporting terrorists and that a simultaneous suspension of domestic civil liberties is necessary for internal security.
The third basic premise is that the US-government is all good - while theirs is the very personification of evil, the "evil-doers" as President Bush likes to call them.
So far, summarised briefly, this is the official version of events and what followed. But if we look a little more closely, we have to notice that until today the criminal case of the 9-11 attacks has remained entirely unsolved. Investigations by police and authorities utterly failed, none of the real backers and preparators of these attacks were found, also no hard evidence and no terrorist was captured. In fact, after 18 months we do not know more than we knew 48 hours after the attacks, when that list of the 19 Hijackers had been published. So the results of the greatest police-operation in history amount to virtually nothing.
I think there are two reasons for this zero-investigation:
First: the secrecy of the US-administration, which has stonewalled all evidence of 9-11 -flight-recorders, air-traffic-communication etc. - and buried it in the grave of "national security".
Second: the nearly total breakdown of the media's constitutional function in democratic societies as an instrument of power-control and critical investigation.
The coverage of 9-11 shows, that mass-media is doing a perfect job if it comes to grave criminal activities like presidential sex with White House trainees, but if it comes to small sins like the 9-11-events and letting them happen, there had been (and still is) no investigative journalism at all. The mainstream-media has gone to rack and ruin and became a brothel of propaganda.
To understand this you do not need any conspiracy-theories. All you need is a closer look at the official version of events - and dozens of contradicting facts, which appeared shortly in the news, and then disappeared forever. But thanks to the memory and archives of the internet it has become possible to reconstruct the puzzle - not sufficiently yet to get a "true" picture, but more than enough to show, what the official version of 9-11 really is: a conspiracy theory which lacks any evidence whatsoever.
On May 1st 2002 BBC reported:
"US intelligence officials have admitted they failed to unearth any sort of paper trail leading to the 11 September attacks. In the most detailed account so far of the investigation, the head of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) said that after seven months of relentless work America had found no hard evidence mentioning any aspect to the attacks on New York and Washington.
FBI Director Robert Mueller said his agents had chased literally hundreds of thousands of leads and checked every record they could lay their hands on, from flight reservations to car rentals to bank account. The hijackers did not use laptops and stored nothing on computer hard drives. They dressed and acted like Americans".
Wow! These genius criminals wore no long beards and turbans, nor long knifes, they were cleanly shaven, all smiley and extremly smart, since they never dressed like arab fanatics and never saved their plans on hard disk. No one could possibly imagine this degree of sneaky cleverness...
But what happened to the report, the one that claimed that after "seven months no hard evidence mentioning any aspect to the attack was found ?" Did it make any headlines like: "Largest police investigation of history failed" or "Intelligence, Police and 9-11: deep sleep meets incompetence"...? Did it raise any questions by journalists and reporters about the competence and abilities of intelligence services and FBI ? Did any director of these services resign ? Had anyone asked any question at all?Alas no.
Imagine any murder case with just one percent of the victims of 9-11, 30 people - and after seven month of largescale police investigation no hard evidence, no clues, no background at all is found. And try now to imagine a press conference where the head of the police admits just this - wouldn't he be grilled by the reporters immediately? Wouldn't that raise the general painstaking question, whether the police did their job right - or had they been following the wrong tracks, the wrong suspects all the time? Sure it would - and the fact that this hadn't happened in the 9-11-case, that nobody questioned or scrutinized and tried to get to the bottom of the story, shows like in a nutshell the decline and breakdown of the media.
Lets look at a few examples: about 48 hours after the attacks the FBI published a list of the 19 suspected hijackers. In the following week it turned out, that at least six of these 19 suicide-bombers were still alive. Four of them were interviewed by the correspondent of the London "Telegraph" in Saudi-Arabia - and they wondered and complained, how their names, pictures and birth dates happened to get into this "most wanted" list. They had nothing to do with the attacks, were not in the US around 9-11 and instead did their regular jobs at home: at a telecommunications company, an oil factory or the Saudi Airlines offices. Two other suspected "hijackers" turned out to be pilots on a training-course, one in Morocco and the other in Tunisia, and these also complained about being presented as massmurders. BBC, The Guardian and other "premium" papers and stations reported in the weeks following Sep. 11th 2001, that these "suicide-hijackers" are alive - and that the real hijackers might have used stolen identities.
So far no problem: the use of fake identities is quite regular for criminals or terrorists. But what do you find when you take a look at the FBI-website today? Even 18 months later you still find those names and pictures of the same "19 suspected Hijackers" - and no mention of the fact, that at least six of these poeple are alive and cannot be the real terrorists. But I assume that these 19 will stay there for ever and become history - like their alleged mastermind Osama Bin Laden, whose connection with the attacks is not established by any hard evidence either.
How can this happen? Here we enter a phenomenon of the ongoing brainwashing-operation which I have called "elusive information" - information that appears shortly - and reports some fragments of reality - and then disappears out of the media focus forever. There is no supression of any news or report, no old-style censorship with a Gestapo controller on every editorial desk blacking out unwanted news - everything might be released. In this sense we still have a "free press". But the simple appearance of a news-report does not mean that it really becomes "news", because becoming news, that is becoming part of the reality picture the media paint - means being repeated over and over again! Only the endless repetition of a report or a statement makes them "news" and foremost it is this repetition that gains them wider public attention.
But what finally gains that public attention through steady repetition is - contrary to the simple, one time appearance of a news report - strictly controlled, and the more important the media are the stricter is their control. So nobody prevented articles on the still-alive suicide-hijackers, but after they were printed or broadcasted first time, they never passed the door-check any more. No permanent repetition, no announcement in the radio-news every 10 minutes, no headline in the papers, no comments by the editors - and so those news were gone for good. Thus it could come to pass, that you might never have heard of these six still-alive hijackers, although you will agree, that this would have been worth a "Breaking News" line - and it should be one even today.
But what would happen, if those news, that at least one third of the suspects of 9-11 are not the people presented on the "Most Wanted"-List, comes into focus of the media? Would it not first raise the general question, what kind of police-investigation is this? Researching the background of obviously wrong suspects for nearly two years now?
"Conspiracy theories" and the "real truth"
It would also lead to further questions about the original passenger-lists, which never had been published, and about the identities of the other hijackers, the circumstances of their flight training and so on. But the more queries and questions are put in this direction, the more comes to light the true character of the official version as an unproven conspiracy theory that lacks all evidence. So any news report not consistently fitting the picture of the official version is kept out of that media- loop of permanent repetition, out of the making of "real truth".
But the news reports on the six living hijackers and on other facts contradicting the official version do not become untrue automatically just because they are not repeated. So there is a need of a tool, a concept, to outlaw improper news. And President G W Bush, speaking before the General Assembly of the UN on Nov. 10th 2001, literally mentioned this tool:
"We must speak the truth about terror. Let us never tolerate outrageous conspiracy theories concerning the attacks of September the 11th, malicious lies that attempt to shift the blame away from the terrorists themselves, away from the guilty."
So anything not fitting the "truth" - as produced by the media-loop - was banished as "conspiracy theories". As we have seen the official "truth" of 9-11 is itself a conspiracy-theory - so banishing anything not fitting that "truth" becomes quite ironic: it's the same old trick used by the medieval inquisition - whoever denies the existence of the devil must be obsessed by him. Old as this trick is, it is working well: before someone can blame you, blame your opponent.
The "conspiracy theories", like the official "truth", seem to have also three general premises:
The first is the foreknowledge of the attacks (and possibly even their planning) by various elements of the U.S. government before 9/11. The attacks were allowed to take place in order to bring about certain conditions, including the suspension of guaranteed civil liberties - and a reason to go to war.
The second premise is, that even if Bin Laden and the Al Quaeda network based in Afghanistan were directly responsible for the attack, their support, funding and protection comes not from Afghanistan but is in fact closely connected to the Bush administration and it's allies.
The third premise is that a U.S. built oil pipeline through Afghanistan which has been in the planning stages for more than a decade is the real goal of the Afghan-war and like the U.S. Invasion of Iraq was in the works long before September 11th.
Why are these alternative viewpoints branded as "conspiracy theories"? Is it the lack of evidence? Certainly not, because there are lots of evidence for all these three premises and, compared with evidence for the official version, these proofs are quite convincing. Convincing enough at least to lead to further questions and investigations. So these alternative viewpoints are not made worthless by logic or rationality, but by definition, by a medieval banishing as "outrageous", by a kind of new inquisition defining every non-believer as "unpatriotic", "anti-american", "undemocratic" and lately even as a "terrorist". This mechanism of declaring certain viewpoints a taboo in public opinion is at the core of the media manipulation - in addition with the trombone-orchestra of the corporate media repeating the "truth" over and over again.
Thus the system works, like it did in the Middle Ages, with the difference that thanks to mass-media the new inquisition has much more powerful tools to spread the dogma and to burn it into the brains of the public. As one of the pioneers of broadcasted propaganda and brainwasher in large, Hitlers secretary for propaganda, Joseph Goebbels, once said: you can make every lie become truth you only have to repeat it often enough. So the legend that Osama and his 19 bandits plotted and conducted the attacks became self-evident truth, though remaining under control of the administration and suitable for useful changes.
We can stick to our example of the unidentified flying objects - the 19 hijackers - to show, how the spin of such a controlled truth works. When the list was published it was claimed that at least 15 of them were of Saudi-Arabian origin; quite short after the news arrived that the funding of the plotters came also from the Saudis. But a year later, on the last steps of the long prepared invasion of Iraq, the spin of this "truth" was changed in another direction - and in last February the polls showed, that more than 50 % of the american people were now convinced, that the majority of 9-11 hijackers were Iraqis and Saddam Hussein behind the plot. Considering this, we may be more curios about the next mutation of this all-utility-devils called "Al Quaeda" to Syrians, Iranians or whatsoever... than about a really independent investigation of 9-11.
The internet as the last guarantee of free communication
The mutation of the 19 evildoers of 9-11 is just one telling example how Brainwashington works, there are a lot more examples all showing a similar structure - I just finished a whole book on it. The difference between the investigation of the 9-11 events and a jig-saw-puzzle - lets say of the World Trade Center in 5000 pieces - is, that the whole picture is not on the cover of the box, you do not know what the final image will be. So you have to start to arrange some pieces which seem to belong together because of the same colour or pattern. At first you have some small islands and fragments fitting together and you start to arrange this larger pieces, to try and overrule, and so on. Would the events of 9-11 get investigated regularly - by the law authorities and by the media - the process in putting together a complete picture needs to proceed in the same manner.
But what happens instead is, that some fragments of the picture are taken are taken for the whole truth - and all the pieces contradicting this view are banished from the playfield. Only thanks to the internet which archived all the stuff swept under the table to uncover this process. The argument, that information from the Internet is not reliable, doesn't hit anymore, since 9-11 has showed that the so called quality media do not have any reliability either. Sure the internet contains a lot of weird stuff - but you should be aware of it when you browse, and not fooled by claim of non-partisanship, objectivity and the "embedded" but nevertheless holy truth. So if you want to know what is really happening, don't trust the corporate news-dealers anymore and try to de-program what was sold to you since September 11th .
The unimaginable pictures of the clashing World Trade Center are deeply connected with the message "Osama has done it" - but try to understand, that this is only a claim, and that the connection is not produced by evidence, but by a Stimulus/Reaction scheme like with the dogs of Dr. Pavlov. To avoid to behave like one of these animals in the future you have to switch to the internet as your main information source - it contains not only all the mainstream media, but also a lot of alternative voices and view and a whole bunch of real investigative reporters - a species, which is nearly extinguished anywhere else in the media-world.
As long as the internet as the last guarantee of free communication is available, as long as no teribble cyber-terror-attack breaks it down - to lead to a better and "safer", "controlled" internet - so long people with access to the web will be able to escape the empire of Brainwashington - if they want to. One reason why it is so easy to come through with propaganda, with conspiracy-theories blaming a scape-goat for all evil, is that it keeps things simple. It reduces complexity, reduces tricky, complicated circumstances to a simple cause, allows action instead of perplexity - so the public, the masses, especially in highly confusing and scaring situations, is more than receptive for a simple solution and a suitable scapegoat. From the research of primates we know, that this kind of scapegoat-mechanism is already present with apes: in case of confusing situations like thunder and lightning in the sky, they tend to run up the next hill, take a stick and impend the evildoer in the sky. So let's not behave like primates anymore - question authority - think for yourself. Thank you.
Lecture at the "Chaos Communication Camp", Altlandsberg/Berlin, Aug. 9th 2003